Loi Kartong…..

Today is the celebration Loi Kartong which is a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand and certain parts of Laos and Burma (in Shan State). The name could be translated “Floating Crown” or “Floating Decoration”, and comes from the tradition of making buoyant decorations which are then floated on a river.

Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November.Loi means 'to float', while krathong refers to the (usually) lotus-shaped container which floats on the water. Krathong has no other meaning in Thai besides decorative floats, so Loi Krathong is very hard to translate, requiring a word describing what a Krathong looks like such as Floating Crown, Floating Boat, Floating Decoration. The traditional krathong are made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or styrofoam. A bread krathong will disintegrate after a few days and can be eaten by fish. Banana stalk krathong are also biodegradable, but styrofoam krathongs are sometimes banned, as they pollute the rivers and may take years to decompose. A krathong is decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, incense sticks, and a candle. A small coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits. On the night of the full moon, Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits.Government offices, corporations and other organizations bring large decorated krathongs. There are competitions for the best such krathong. A beauty contest is a regular feature and fireworks have become common in recent years.

 

Loi Krathong is often claimed to have begun in the Sukhothai by a court lady named Nopphamat. However, it is now known that the Nopphamat tale comes from a poem written in the early Bangkok period. According to H.M. King Rama IV, writing in 1863, it was a Brahmanical festival that adapted by Thai Buddhists in Thailand to honor Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama. The candle venerates the Buddha with light, while the krathong's floating symbolizes letting go of all one's hatred, anger, and defilements. People sometime cut their fingernails or hair and placed the clippings on the krathong as a symbol of letting go of negative thoughts. However, many ordinary Thai use the krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (Thai: พระแม่คงคา).The beauty contests that accompany the festival are known as “Nopphamat Queen Contests”. According to legend, Nang Nopphamat (Thai: นางนพมาศ; alternatively spelled as “Noppamas” or “Nopamas”) was a consort of the Sukothai king Loethai (14th century) and she had been the first to float a decorated raft. However, this is a new story which was invented during the first part of the 19th century. There is no evidence that a Nang Nopphamat ever existed. Instead, it is a matter of fact that a woman of this name was the leading character of a novel released during the end of the reign of King Rama III – around 1850 CE. Her character was written as guidance for all women who wished to become civil servants.

Kelantan in Malaysia also celebrates the same celebration, especially in the Tumpat area. The ministry in charge of tourism in Malaysia recognises it as an attraction for tourists. Many people visit the celebration each year.

 

Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as “Yi Peng.” Due to a difference between the old Lanna calendar and the Thai calendar, Yi Peng is held on a full moon of the 2nd month of the Lanna calendar (“Yi” meaning “2nd” and “Peng” meaning “month” in the Lanna language). A multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky. The festival is meant as a time for tham bun, to make merit. People usually make khom loi from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, to which a candle or fuel cell is attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air which is trapped inside the lantern creates enough lift for the khom loi to float up into the sky. In addition, people will also decorate their houses, gardens and temples with khom fai intricately shaped paper lanterns which take on different forms. Khom thue are lanterns which are carried around hanging from a stick, khom khwaen are the hanging lanterns, and khom pariwat which are placed at temples and which revolve due to the heat of the candle inside. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom, where now both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time resulting in lights floating on the waters, lights hanging from trees/buildings or standing on walls, and lights floating by in the sky. The tradition of Yi Peng was also adopted by certain parts of Laos during the 16th century.

 

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I am way ahead of all of you…..

According to the Buddhist Era I am in the year 2556…..

Thailand mainly uses the Buddhist Era which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian year. The year AD 2006 is indicated as 2549 BE in Thailand. Despite adopting ISO 8601 (see below,) Thai official date is still written in DDMMYYYY format, such as 1 January 2549 BE (AD 2006) or 23/04/2555.

ISO 8601 Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times is an international standard covering the exchange of date and time-related data. It was issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was first published in 1988. The purpose of this standard is to provide an unambiguous and well-defined method of representing dates and times, so as to avoid misinterpretation of numeric representations of dates and times, particularly when data is transferred between countries with different conventions for writing numeric dates and times.The standard organizes the data so the largest temporal term (the year) appears first in the data string and progresses to the smallest term (the second). It also provides for a standardized method of communicating time-based information across time zones by attaching an offset to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Looking around you wonder if in the future the world will be like this.

Some people have no time, they are working 7 days a week, every three to four months, if the employer decides, they can take a day off!

When people are in restaurants, bars and even clubs they are always attached to their smartphones/tablets, they just need to know what everybody else is doing, they then feel the need to tell everybody else what they are doing.

Could this be a Facebook entry of the future?

“I have just been on the dance floor, danced to the music, it felt strange dancing and not being able to check my phone. Luckily the dance only lasted 1 minute so my phone and I were not apart for long!”

Then there is the traffic, a short journey takes so long because of the crazy traffic jams and nobody walks, they love taking busses, taxis or motorbike taxis. When mentioned that I was going for a walk to the Tesco Lotus, everybody was in shock they said take a taxi as it is very far! It is a 20 minute walk!!

Pollution is just so bad, you are walking in the street and the bus passes you all you can see is black exhaust fumes, one just has to cover their nose!

 

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Changing bad habits…..

Starting weight: 88.8kg
Target weight: 63kg
Weight recorded on November 12th 2013: 82.2kg

Over the last two months, I have proved to myself, that if I take one day off from training, I can put on 4 to 5 kg in weight, which takes a week of VERY hard training to take off!!

My diet has consisted of vegetables, steamed rice and lots of water (6 – 7 litres a day) I have not had cheese, bread or any other naughty foods for two months, you could say, without realising, I have taken on a vegan diet, although the very odd occasion I will drink milk and when visiting the Gurdwara have tea. Who can refuse Indian tea!?

Before coming out to Bangkok my eating habits were terrible, eating lots of bread, cheese, fried foods, sugary foods and other naughty goodies. After every meal I had to be close to the restroom, 'just in case I needed to go' which more often then not I had to visit a few times. In a day I had endless restroom visits, my stools were never solid!

I have felt and noticed my health improving so much, after eating I can comfortably go for a walk without worrying 'if' I need the restroom, in fact now I only visit the restroom once a day and my stools are solid, you could say they are picture perfect…..do not worry, there will be no pictures of them!

Believe me when I say the change has not been easy, for example after training, when I head back to the apartment, I take the lift to the 14th floor, there is a television in the lift and I am sure they know when I enter because all of a sudden there is an advertisement for pizza!! Have you noticed how everything looks so tasty when you are hungry?!

My weight has dropped to 82.2kg I need to keep up the Muay Thai and eating habits as my target weight is still 63kg…..

These delightful goodies are now a thing of the past!

 

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Apartment…..

Starting weight: 88.8kg
Target weight: 63kg
Weight recorded on November 2nd 2013: 82.8kg
For the final month of training I have decided to rent an apartment. It is a 10 minute walk from the gym.
At this point I attached some pictures of the apartment and realised my kachera were in full view! so better clean up and take more pictures!
my apartment
The next picture was taken when I first viewed the apartment
 
As I have stayed in the 'village/ghetto' as I like to call it for two months, people have started to know who I am and become friendly. When I was moving to the apartment people stopped me in the street and asked “are you leaving?” They actually had a sad look! I said I am moving to the apartment at Lumpini Condo Town. They all seemed happy, it felt like the boy from the ghetto had done well!!
 
As you can see the apartment is very compact, but it is a nice bug free environment. Also, I get hot water, which helps my bruises!
 
When I was living and training at the gym it just did not feel like I got any downtime, being in the apartment now feels like I get downtime and am able to attend the training sessions with a fresh mind/feel…….in fact I have now even started training in Sundays.
 
Also, as I am still teaching English and finishing around 9:30pm, I will not have to walk back to the gym, where most of the time the village dogs chase me………I fear dogs, they chase me, snakes scare me and I see so many…..!!

 

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7 eleven…..

If you are ever shopping at the 7 eleven in Thailand and are given these

keep a hold of them and use the stickers to get money off your next purchase at 7 eleven. 1 sticker equals 1 baht off the price. Does not sound like much but it all adds up!

 

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