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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Young Isaan Thai Man's Buddhist Ceremonial Head-Shaving

My dear younger brother Mark arrived home last evening just as the second hour of the series finale of The Following was commencing at 9:00 p.m.

I had watched the first hour, and was of course quite engrossed in the proceedings.

He no sooner settled into his chair than he felt the need to begin talking of how ─ in his retirement ─ he could easily get used to enjoying the sunny weather that was so gloriously evident that day.

Apparently I am supposed to be riveted by this seductive attempt at distracting me from the programme I was very much involved in.

Gaining no response from me as I struggled to retain my focus upon the developments at play in the show, he then started to recount the fiasco of a barbecue he had earlier that evening at his girlfriend Bev's home.

Man, I don't care!

But I only said it in my thoughts.

The only way to get his silence is to withhold any comment at all.  He had nothing to say that could not be voiced during a commercial break.  The problem with engaging him at the commercial break, however, is that he will not get to the point. 

He seems to need to tell the whole story from the very earliest beginnings.

If he spoke apace, perhaps that would be considerable.  But he only says a few words...pauses for 10 or 15 seconds...continues on for a few more words...and so on.

He's plastered, and having trouble elucidating his narrative with what is proving to be an elusive vocabulary (compounded by a besotted brain that is battling weakly to remain on track).

Sometimes I wonder if ─ somehow ─ he may even think that these continual pauses that delay the finish of his tale are a ludicrous ploy to whet my interest in what he's saying.  

Fortunately, he gradually perceived the story-flow on the television set, and began paying attention.

I must say, the finish to The Following was not expected by me.  FBI agent Ryan Hardy seemed to be the sort of man who needed love in his life.

That he would allow the World to believe he had died just so that he could commence a vigilante lifestyle of hunting down and killing anyone in the social order's shadowy upper echelons who were behind Theo and the mysterious and powerfully-appointed Eliza, almost doesn't jibe.

I can only assume that whatever it was that Joe Carroll had forced Ryan Hardy to recognize in himself had taken him over.

I wish the series could have enjoyed a far happier ending, however.

It escapes me now as to why I remained up as late as I did, but I think that it was around 12:10 a.m. before I got to bed.

My sleep thereafter broke such that around 4:45 a.m. I took a bathroom break.

My breathing subsequently was not as hampered as it has been in recent nights, and I didn't feel too bad when I finally decided to rise around 7:10 a.m. ─ a process that took a few minutes, for the urge to attempt further sleep had suddenly set in, and I was reluctant to leave my bed.

I worked at compiling a new post at my Lawless Spirit website.  I was tempted to complete the whole thing and publish it today, but I knew that doing so would consume all of my afternoon.

So I completed about half of it, and then spent some time out in the sunny backyard ─ I suppose I acquired about 20 minutes of sunning of both front and back while wearing just some shorts.

It is so darned hot now!

Summer seems here already.

Yesterday I had been writing of Raman, someone I knew from my days at Transport Canada ─ I worked there from just after mid-September 1996 until earliest August 2001.

Raman had sent me an E-mail Sunday evening seeking voice contact with me, but not saying why.

After a further E-mail exchange, fairly late last evening he sent me a message saying that he would contact me today via Skype at 3:00 p.m.

I was logged in for his call, but he never made the contact until about 3:15 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.

And then we had a face-to-face video chat for over 1½ hours.

It is good that I had not tried to complete that post at my Lawless Spirit website.

In fact, I am having trouble finding the time to make this post ─ I will have to complete it late this evening, for my evening T.V. viewing is less than a half-hour away.

Anyway, Rama did have an issue he wanted to share with me, but I am inexperienced in the area he was seeking advice about ─ it concerns his sister-in-law's employment situation in the federal government.  I won't get into that, however.

I did seize upon the notion of sharing Raman with a former co-worker of mine who also knows him from Transport Canada, and I suggested to Raman that maybe the three of us could connect.

Angela was someone Raman very much liked, and so he was entirely in favour of this.

I have sent her an E-mail enquiry to see if she would be inclined for such a gathering.

Perhaps I should have sweetened the pot somewhat and let her know that reestablishing this sort of contact with Raman could prove beneficial to her and her husband, for Raman has a home in Mexico.

He has told me that I am welcome to visit ─ as is my wife Jack ─ anytime he is staying in it (which he does roughly from November of each year through to the following April).  

He spends six months there at a stretch.

I have no doubt that he would be as generous to Angela if she extended the hand of friendship.

Switching topics, though, now I have a sequence of 13 photos I want to post, with this overall description I gave them in the Google+ album they are filed in:
This took place back in April, I think.

My wife Jack's nephew Mark ─ who is at least 21 years old ─ was going to experience the life of a Buddhist monk for either one or two weeks.

I am only going by what my wife said to me.

Mark is not any more spiritual than anyone else ─ according to my wife Jack, he was doing this because Isaan people in Thailand believe that if a son does this, then his parents are assured a place in Buddhist Heaven.

Mark's a good son, so he's giving this a shot ─ who would not want to try and ensure Heaven for their parents?

The hair-shearing process is taking place.

Note that Buddhists do not have Heaven as imagined by Christians ─ it is not some place the 'good' dead would go to and live forever.

Obviously this took place in Thailand ─ and probably at the family 'village' of Nong Soong, which is at most a 15-minute drive outside of Udon Thani City.

In that first photo, the man directly behind Mark is his father; and the woman kneeling beside Mark is his mother Lumpoon.  Lumpoon is one of my wife Jack's two sisters.

I cannot presume to identify anyone else ─ I have been away far too long.

His mother Lumpoon is still down by his side here:

There seems to be a ceremonial sharing involved in this hair-shearing ─ here in the photo below is his Aunt Penn (or Pen) taking a turn while her sister (Mark's mother) is still on the floor beside him.  By the way, both women are my wife Jack's two sisters:

Mark's father is off to the left, and his mother Lumpoon behind him, while someone else gives some cuts:

I don't know who this little cutie-pie is having her turn as barber, but that is Mark's grandmother seated at the left with what appears to be a purse upon her lap ─ she is my wife Jack's mother:

Mark's father in control of the razor, while mother Lumpoon again takes up the rear behind the lad:

Mark's mother Lumpoon is headed off to the background while Mark has this bit of a close-up:

I don't know this girl shaving him, but that is Mark's grandmother again, seated to the left:

The job is nigh finished, while Mark's father stands at the right looking most solemn:

Aftermath clean-up:

And a couple of shots of some touch-up shaving of the naked pate:

There are subsequent photos of Mark being celebrated, and then donned in his monk's robes, should anyone care.


I close tonight with this entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 24 years old, and living in a cheap rented housekeeping room for the month in New Westminster.
SUNDAY, May 19, 1974

David caught me at my room after 8:30 a.m.  Later, as I promised, Bill & I picked him up and took him to Newton.

Then we went and collected the kids and a friend, and Daboda, and headed off for Mud Bay ─ but never again.

I have a letter to mail concerning the premiere of the Giant-Sized Defenders.
My old friend Philip David Prince also roomed in New Westminster.

I had been living in a rented house prior to this month with my friend William Alan Gill ─ he and I tended to do our best to avoid answering David's knockings ─ his visits were sheer nuisance.

However, now that I was in this bleak and confining housekeeping room, I may have been more receptive to David's visits.

I had first known of David in Grade VIII at Newton Junior High School in the 1962/1963 school term out in Surrey.

He was unusual ─ he physically matured early, and had thickly haired chest and legs (which were heavily-muscled), and he was six feet and one inches (nigh 185½ centimeters) tall.  He was also a great distance runner, but entirely developed the skill on his own.

Even the 'toughs' steered from him because he was reputed to be nuts ─ he had been institutionalized in the mental hospital Essondale (Riverview), and would continue to be so periodically.  I estimate that he likely spent at least half of his teen years there, in total.

Back in junior high school, he would sometimes declare that he was a Martian ─ this kind of freaked fellow students.

Mostly, though, he was non-participatory in group sports during gym ─ he just had this unnatural ability to run distances while looking almost Tarzan-like.

He lived with his sister and his parents on Hyland Road near Newton, and that would be why Bill and I drove him out there on this day in 1974.  He wanted to see his mother. 

"The kids" Bill and I picked up were the two beautiful young daughters of my brother Mark's girlfriend, Catherine Jeanette Gunther.

Mark and Jeanette had gone to a Calgary wedding of one of Mark's cousins for that weekend, and our very young cousin Wendy Halverson had been assigned babysitting duty.

However, Wendy was likely only about 14 or 15, so I was expected to be there as often as I could.

Bill owned and drove a car, so I imagine that we must have arranged to take the youngsters ─ and a friend of theirs ─ to Mud Bay.

We likely went to the dyke area where the Serpentine River empties into the Bay. 

I honestly do not recall the adventure, but I know that the little girls could be far more than I could handle, and Bill was a push-over.  I am sure the misbehaving little tykes were nearly unbearable once they were unleashed there.

The Bay had no usable beach ─ it was called Mud Bay because of the sloppy terrain that could be rather dangerous to anyone unwary.

Daboda would have had a thrill, though ─ he was Mark and Jeanette's German shepherd, just breaking into his youthful prime.

I was a great Marvel Comics super-hero (and super-villain) fan ─ I loved the costumes.  Sometimes, I even mailed Marvel fan letters, a few of which got published.

I wonder if this was the edition of Super-Size Defenders I was referring to?
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