Saturday, April 05, 2008

Songkran has Changed

So what happens on Songkran? The picture above shows what’s gonna happen. Expect scores of drunk drivers, scores of accidents. Any festival in Thailand in this era is represented by the sounds of recurring sirens, injuries and untimely deaths.

It is going to be the Thai New Year just the week after. Denizens of the Kingdom making plans for their annual home visit. Hordes of cars will be leaving Bangkok, family reunion long awaited ensues. It is much like Chinese New Year and scores of business will be off an entire week. And so, we all expect the postcard exhibited spirit of happiness, all the smiling Thai faces drenched of course, all the extra friendliness, all the colors and water splashes. But is this really the case?

I spoke to an old lady, a generation into the future from me. I asked the aunty what she is going to do on the joyful day, expecting an answer that she will walk the neighborhood and celebrate with the long time residence of her surrounding.

Aunty: I am going to stay at home and not go out at all.
Me: What? Why…? Songkran, Thai people love Songkran and it is time for celebration, reunion, splash water with stranger right?
Aunty: No way, stay at home safer. Long time ago, Songkran was pure, we were all happy and throw water at each other. Nowadays, people put salt in the water and that makes our body really itchy after we get splashed.
Aunty: When I took bus last year during Songkran, people throw ice blocks at the bus because we had our windows down. They shattered the window. Songkran nowadays is a crazy period, so dangerous. I am going to stay home.
Me: errr… wow.. that’s bad… why throw ice? I thought it is just powder mix with water at a max to prank on strangers?
Aunty: Thai people are crazy nowadays, it is no longer like during decades ago where Songkran was celebrated purely, with pure water to cleanse on to wash away the bad things. Now, you won’t know what get splashed on you.

Songkran has lost her meaning in this modern society. It is now a period to be celebrated with caution against recklessness, you have to be on guard all the time. Songkran is no longer the period where one could be walking the streets getting to be splashed gleefully. The meaning of the festival is to wash away the bad things, but now…. bad things come to you in surprising splashes or projectiles. The whole country will be drenched in a messy dirty concoction instead of being washed by the pure splashes. What have the people been watching on television to cause such a cruel twist in a pure tradition?

So sad.

And what do I do on this festival? I have been scheduled to work in the bloody power plant. Rich people don’t work on holidays. Poor people do.

1 comment:

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