Pink Shirts Surround Me !

So I arrived in Thailand 2 days ago after a long and dusty bus trip from Cambodia. One thing I found a bit strange was that everywhere I looked there were men wearing pink shirts. Maybe its a cultural thing I thought – thai men are more relaxed about these things. But I’m staying with a friend who lives here, and it turns out there is an explanation. The King of Thailand is much loved and revered in the country – he is the longest serving monarch in the world, even beating our good old queen Bess back in England. In thailand its a crime to step on a coin or a note someone has dropped because it has an image of the King on it. The King will be 80 on Wednesday but recently he has had some health problems and spent some time in hospital. His royal astrologers told him that upon leaving hospital he should wear pink as it was a good colour to restore his health. Hence when he left hospital a few weeks ago he wore a nice pink shirt and pink jacket. Since then Thais have been going mad to get there hands on pink shirts. One local company has sold 40,000 shirts in the last week and cant make them fast enough.

In my evangelical days I’m sure I could have come up with a great analogy about how we should all emulate the KIng but those days are gone. I’m just loving being in such a different culture and seeing how life is here in South East Asia. And I believe God has a sense of humour and a sense of fun – I believe he enjoys the fact that thousands of people are wearing pink shirts. Maybe we can learn from that.

Pax Christe Tecum

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2 Responses to Pink Shirts Surround Me !

  1. ellietheelf says:

    Pink shirts can tell stories of pain, a few years ago I buried a senior loyalist paramilitary here in Belfast who loved pink shirts. His life came to an end in a hail of bullets outside his front door, a few years before that I buried his son who died in tragic circumstances in Thailand where the this little pink shirt story comes from and one of our fellow travellers currently is.

    I have two pink shirts and I never wear them without thinking how choices in all our lifes can have such destructive consequences.

    As we journey through Advent we will all have different choices to make that may seem small and insignificant, but the two funerals that I did and mentioned above I know the early lifestyle choices that these two people made started with what seemed to be small insignificant steps – so as attentive pilgrims lets tread carefully through Advent as we handle eternal things.

  2. ahna says:

    Indeed, a few years ago when I (a white American who was living in Japan at the time) was going to travel on holiday to Thailand, I was told that there were two things the Thai people took very seriously and that would be sure ways to offend if I joked about: Buddhism, and their King.

    Sure enough, there was ample evidence everywhere of the devoutness of the people towards these things — wats (temples), photos of the King, etc. My friend and I, while there, decided to escape the hot weather one afternoon and seek reprieve inside an air-conditioned movie theatre. We saw the British film “Billy Elliot,” and before the film started there was a five-minute piece of patriotic footage showing the King in different scenes, greeting the people, waving from a balcony, walking in the mountains, etc. The music swelled dramatically, the shots were gripping, and the King looked so beneficent and regal. By the time it was over, *I* was proud to be Thai!! It was THAT compelling.

    My point, exactly? Not sure. Just that it is amazing how influential some key figures in the world are in helping shape the values and sensibilities of the people who look up to them. And I guess since we all, at some level, seek to emulate those whom we admire, we might want to choose those figures with care.

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