Morality Camp (and… Introducing Ollie!)

Ha, I realize this title sounds like something right out of the Hitlerjugend, or maybe just something Jerry Falwell would have headed up when he was still kicking. “Morality Camp” (as it was roughly translated to me) in Thailand means kids getting to ditch school on Friday (interestingly, the Friday of their midterms) and spend the weekend at a wat (Buddhist temple) under the guidance of monks in order to learn, it seems, about morality. In this case, as I was told many times, there were actually camps at nine hundred ninety-nine wat across Thailand, with over 40,000 participants, to honor the king.

the big script top right reads, ‘gaoroi gaosip gao wat,’ or ‘999 temples’. it was a big deal. if only they could have found one more participant they would have had 1000. shame.

Because all the proceedings were, as predicted, in Thai I kind of missed out on any of the moral lessons, but I got to brush shoulders with some of the top guys in school (though, in retrospect, it seems like in my two months of employment I should have already met the director at some point?), who were all well impressed that my name translated to “angel”. Talk about morals!

I was also afforded the opportunity to snap some shots around Thung Song’s largest temple (and the only one I’ve been to in town, though apparently there are many).

king and queen, paragons of morality

healthy dog

after i took this picture it seemed like he might be undressing and i got really embarrassed… but i don’t think it was the case.

looking more moral already

this one got distracted. not setting a good example.

and this one’s on facebook: monky mcmonkerson (he’s irish-thai)

i got to snack on very moral sweet green sticky rice. and oolong tea, which i haven’t had since china!

106.5 MONK FM– all chanting, all the time

who you calling a stupa?

pirate cave

ah, the notorious symbol of morality: the ice cream vendor

All jokes aside, I was happy to attend for the brief portion that I did, and I’m sure it was a good experience for the kids. And it seems like some of that Buddhist morality must have rubbed off on me after all (or maybe I’m just a sucker for baby animals… toss up), for when a soaking wet mother dog dropped her soaking wet, eyes-not-even-open puppy at my feet (practically) yesterday, I had no choice but to take him home. Meet Oliver (named for whichever orphan you prefer [thanks David!]):

We know puppies are a bit impractical for folks in our situation, so I’m trying to not commit to the idea that we’ll keep him forever, but it’s hard to have something tiny suck milk off your fingers in the wee hours of the morning after making adorable noises without him crawling right into your little heart. Let’s just see if Trix comes around… she seems a bit suspicious.bah, still shot from a video (of course there will be a video)… apologies for the terrible quality!

About Angela

I'm not actually a sleeping monk (though if I had my druthers...).
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6 Responses to Morality Camp (and… Introducing Ollie!)

  1. Sam says:

    i love oliver. and the praying kitty. but what the heck is up with that freakish-looking dog!?

  2. Jess A. says:

    Is there a haircut code in school? All the girls and boys seem to have the same haircut! And how do they remember which shoes are theirs (in reference to the picture above of all the same black shoes lined up)?

  3. amcalonder says:

    Yeah, when they go from Prattom to Mattayom (more or less like entering middle school) all the girls have to cut their hair in a bob and yeah, I guess the guys go kind of crew. As far as the girls I’ve heard it’s to indicate “Hey, I’m a school girl… don’t mess with me.” (In whatever sense you care to interpret that.) And as for the shoes, I have no idea! I was thinking they might put something inside but I haven’t noticed anything yet. Who knows!

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