Thinking about what we have done so far in Thailand, my mind is bottled with so many thoughts– it has become quite challenging to process what life is like as a Thai person. In the lens of Acharn Linda’s nested model, I see the impact of all three society, natural/environmental world and economy.
From my observation, Bangkok and many aspects of cities such as Chiang Mai are becoming more commercialized and globalized. This can be seen in many forms. My first encounter to this is definitely upon the our arrival in Bangkok. Lavish city sky scrapers were everywhere and more were in progress of being built but contradicting this image were the impoverished homes, trash and construction surrounding them. I believe that due to the booming travel industry, many natural process of living in the city has been altered to accommodate the industry. The buildings and especially the marketing of ethnic cultures and their clothing. For example, it was not shocking to see Hmong patterned clothing and designs but to see it in almost every other vendor and almost in every clothing or good– was a little upsetting. I started to feel as though a part of my identity was being sold as commercialized good and that it’s value is as good as what it was sold for. Secondly, it felt as though these goods from different cultures (Hmong included) were exotic and often sough after since they were marketable and so many foreigners did not know who these different ethnic people were and what their traditional clothing and designs meant, it is just fashion.
The following picture is one capturing how ethnic cultural designs, patterns and clothing were utilized to make fashionable hand bags, earrings and necklaces all of which were sold in more than one market.The gallery was not found!
An additional piece to the travel industry, is the romanticized idea of elephants in Thailand. It became quite clear that foreigners love elephants regardless of race, age, sex or anything you can think of. I myself have become engulfed in this wave despite being aware to a certain extent. Below you will see that in Maesa Elephant Camp, Chinag Mai, the crowd bustling to see the many elephants. It is our interest and consumerism that allows globalizing of culture and traditions. Sometimes it is hard to see which part of this is truly traditional and cultural especially the relationship between an elephant and it’s Mahhut. While the relationship may be genuine, the intention is questionable.
The gallery was not found!
The few things I felt at ease watching was the sun setting after the monk chat in Wat Suan Dok. It felt so natural and calm after experiencing the busy city life. An interesting picture I captured was of the wooded pegs that were used to maintain the tree branches. I was curios to why they needed to maintain the tree branches when they can just let it grow naturally.