A visit to the Bamboo School's (Thailand) Lakeside Chapel

                                                        Bamboo School
The Bamboo School exists to fulfill God's direction given in Isaiah 58.
We're located in the mountains up against the Burmese border in the small village of Bongti, home to 541 families with an annual average income of just US$180/year.
There are currently 63 residents (many of them orphaned, abused, medically challenged, retarded, or refugees of economic poverty) that God has molded into a family.

Many of you know that Ciejay and Me , are very much supporters of the Bamboo School near the Burma  border in Bongti, Thailand. The Bamboo School is a orphanage , that is held together and run by a lady,the kids call MOM MOM Kat, I call her Kat for short . She is a wonderful , and committed person to the Task God has called her to do , I know of no other person with so much love and compassion ( and energy) for unwanted children. She is truly what God calls "The Salt of The Earth".The school is not funded by any one particular organization , even tho Kat is a Seven Day Adventist, Children of all religions , are welcome, the school is funded by freewill offerings , if you would like to know more about the Bamboo School  check out their web site at http://www.bambooschool.org/ .

My friend Jerry took a trip thru the mountains to visit Kat and the Kids , this past Saturday , we wanted to take some bakery goodies for the kids that Ciejay had a lady who bakes in our neighbor hood ,she had her to bake a bunch of small cream filled rolls , enough for the kids to have for a couple days for an afternoon snack.
We got there just in time for their Sabbath Day Church Services at their new Chapel by the Lake , what a beautiful place , and we enjoyed a great sermon from Kat and some really wonderful singing of hymns from the kids . We visited for a few hours  and really enjoyed our time with the kids . I took a lot of pictures and will post a few for you to see , If you are ever over this away and would like to visit the School , give me a call and I'll show you the way .                                                                     Malcolm and Ciejay

Tha Reua Chinese Shrine

Many posts on this blog relate to the history and culture of Phuket, such as the page about the Heroines of Phuket and posts about the Phuket Mining Museum for example. I also like to visit temples and shrines around the island. Phuket has a mix of Buddhist temples, Chinese shrines, quite a lot of Mosques and even a couple of Christian places of worship. In particular the Chinese shrines fascinate me, and in a couple of months (starting 26th September) the Phuket Chinese community has it's biggest festival - the vegetarian festival (see Phuket Vegetarian Festival Schedule). For 10 days the Chinese shrines are the focal point for celebrations, prayers and bizarre rituals.

Tha Reua Shrine is probably the most visible Chinese Shrine in Phuket, since its right by the main airport road just south of the Heroines monument. Any transport from the airport to the main beaches (Patong, Kata, Karon) will pass this way. If you've seen a big shrine by the side of the road, it's probably this one!

Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

Dragon at Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

Tha Reua is an old Phuket community in the center of the island. I believe there was an older Chinese shrine in the area, but this new one has been built - construction started about 10 years ago, maybe more.. seems to me this shrine has been slowly growing ever since I came to Phuket! The new shrine is just about 99% complete now, maybe needs a bit of work around the edges, but... wow! I have been to all the main shrines in Phuket, but somehow had never, ever stopped at this one until a couple of weeks ago. I was impressed! A huge amount of work has gone into Tha Reua Shrine, the decoration is amazing. In particular, there seem to be dragons everywhere.

Dragons at Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

Roof of Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

I will be back here sometime during the vegetarian festival. I can imagine this shrine looking most impressive at night and people dressed in white come to pray. And there are a lot of gods to pray to! The main altar features a huge array of statues of all sizes and colours.

Inside Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

Some of the faces on the altar ...

Tha Reua Shrine, Phuket

Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

The Chinese shrines in Phuket are always full of colour and interest - over the next couple of months they will all be spruced up and painted and will be getting ready for the vegetarian festival. Much of the time when there are no festivals, I find the shrines empty. On this day I turned up in the late afternoon and found one old caretaker shuffling around, and just as I left a minibus turned up with a group of half a dozen Russians. Map below - Chinese Shrines in Phuket :

View Phuket Chinese Shrines in a larger map

Running and The Red Sky ...

Last week I began my run looking at an ominous dark sky hoping to get a run in before the heavens opened.  Approaching the first hill, the game was up as the rain began.  The front edge of the storm was a mere tease, promising much more if I didn’t turn around and head home, so home it was.  With my distance having been cut short I took the challenge to race the dark wall of water that threatened to overtake me.  Sure enough half a kilometer from home I was engulfed in a torrent of water that left me sloshing my way home in what felt like buckets of water strapped to my feet.

To make up for the short but fast run, the next day I added a couple of kilometers and went all the way to the dam and back.  I suffered a bit after that and broke my running routine with a bike ride the other day.

Yesterday the scene was set for a repeat performance but luck was with me.  The villagers were all heading home from their fields and orchards, passing me plodding along in the opposite direction into a dark and foreboding sky.  This having become a common scene no one was offering me a ride home this time.  Keeping a close eye on the dark low hanging storm front, it was with relief I watched as it passed just one village to the north of us.

As the storm backed up against the mountains to the East dropping its heave load, we were blessed with a spectacular show.  Assuming that was it for the day and feeling a bit hungry I sat down for a light fish dinner in the dinning area.  The longer I sat the more spectacular the colors in the sky became.  My wife suggested that I should perhaps take a picture but I assured her the best had surely passed.  Finally I could take it no longer, grabbed the camera and stepped out the patio door.  Without a tripod, I braced against the low fence for stability in the very low light.  The light may have been fading but the colors were peeking and absolutely spectacular.  This is what I captured.

On ageing

Nobody knows a man better than his
3)Barber (Not hairstylist)

BTW, that list is in reverse order. I know that wives will not be thrilled about losing to his mother. But spare a thought for his mother. She lost to his barber!

It was my haircut day, a Saturday couple of months back. I was looking forward to the barber working his magic on my hair and transform me from nobody-with-lot-of-hair to nobody-with-little-hair . I have this special connection with my barber. We meet once a month and instantly connect.

"Come in! Come in! Had your breakfast?"
(I sit at the vacant chair.)

For the next half an hour we connect like those two childhood friends who don't need to talk when they meet. We exactly know what each other wants.

I - less hair.
He - more business.

Before leaving I smile to acknowledge his skill. He smiles back conveying, "It was his pleasure." That is an example of great relationship. A relationship where there are no disasters of expectations that go wrong, misunderstandings that explode, insensitivity that hurts.

But something changed that day. He popped the dreaded four-word question.
"Do you want dye?"
"Your hair. Do you want to dye your hair?"
"But.. But why?"

He pointed at that reflecting thing called mirror. He tilted my head to show my sideburns where the hair had caught the fresh

snow of the old age winter. If your life is not the basis of any docu-drama movies like Schindler's list then seeing your grey hair for the first time in mirror can easily be your most harrowing personal experience. But my barber, for some reason didn't understand that. He kept selling the idea of dying my hair. I politely declined, paid him and left without smiling that day.

You might be wondering why I had not seen the grey hair in mirror before? Allow me to digress to explain how men relate to mirror. We believe that mirror is something that supports and fills the wall. And it is something that one stands in front of
when they brush or comb , because there is nothing else better to stand in front of. But we really don't see what is on the mirror. Never! We have T.V to see what is on.

I went home that day and looked at my past photos to see when exactly the old age had crept on me. And I saw the obvious answer - old age was always creeping on me. If my hair color could be used to represent the demographics of a city - I have
decayed from NduguNdugu of Central Africa to Harlem of fifties to Madras of Pre-Independence era. And whites were winning every day. I will probably have a photo to represent Arctic Tundra within a decade.

But I am not going to go down without a fight. I am never going back to any barber who suggests I dye my hair.

From Funny Side Of Life

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Letter from a father to his son

I know you can't read yet. And I know I don't write well either. But the things that has to be done now must not wait for the skills that can be learned later.

When you start reading this letter you might get this fancy idea, I can't imagine how but you just might, that this situation is like that popular Hindi movie and you are that cute little kid ..

Well, stop thinking those things because the kid in the movie was way more cute than you.

Then you might wonder why I am taking the trouble of writing a letter when I can just tell you what I want to say to your face. But the problem with the real world is, you can't always tell what you want to say to a person's face. Especially to a kid's face. And sometimes you really don't want to say anything. You just want to..

Let's talk about the time you dropped the digital camera and broke it. In the real world, I can't slap you across the face or, I am going to leave this sentence trailing by putting those cute little dots because even in Internet world one has to be cautious as some crackpot may read this and get crazy ideas and I might be charged as an accessory for aggravated assault, ..

In the real world what I am supposed to say when you dropped the camera is, "Oh, that was my mistake! I should not have kept it in the top shelf beyond your reach, well hidden behind all those clothes. It just raised your curiosity. You had to see whether it would break if you drop it. So, you waited till I went to the toilet and.. I totally understand. It was my fault."

But it was after you dropped the camera that we remembered we had neither seen nor copied the photos of the costly vacation that we took couple of months back. So while you are sleeping the sleep of the contented person who has done his day's duty and your mother is uploading all the pictures to that place in Internet where all the vacation pictures go and sending invites, I have entered a philosophical mood.

Is it odd that I have time to see the vacation photos of friends, acquaintances and strangers and make a list of places to go, sights to see and things to do but have no time to enjoy the memories of places I went, sights I saw and things I did?

I do not want to finish this letter in a philosophical note. So here is a piece of advice to you, my son.

Don't turn me into a philosopher. Stop breaking my stuff.

From Funny Side Of Life

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If you liked this post, you may also like You've got iPhone? Guess what I've got .


Today is a sad day at the Burgess's , Our boy Bok (dog) passed away ,and went on ahead to the rainbow bridge to wait for Ciejay and Me when we pass by someday.
Bok was a stray ,that found his way to our home and hearts as a little puppy he was , not even a month old, he was nine months old when he was poisoned , by someone or something , we'll probably never know . Bok never meet a stranger during the day and was loved and enjoyed by all who live on our road , a couple of our neighbors loved him as much as we and they called him Peter, he could understand Thai and English and was very obedient when told what to do.BUT when nightime came and he would take his post on our front porch , then, he was transformed into Bok the Wonder Guard Dog and everyone was a stranger till morning. He will be missed , If you have dogs  watch after them as they like Bok will love unconditional and sometimes  that's not to good. Take care of them as you would a small child and never allow any folks to be cruel to them.

The Rainbow Bridge

inspired by a Norse legend

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they stop, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.
ฉ 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

I Do a Walk-About

Well, not a very long walk-about , just a walk around the yard and our house , some in-side and mostly outside. Folks are always wondering what kind of a house or hut we live in here in the LOS. I thought I would take a few pictures to post and show you that we are not as far removed from civilization as some folks seem think that have never been to Thailand . A long time ago in one of my first post here on  Retired in Thailand and Loving It  , I showed pictures of the house ,before and after the remodel, you see we bought a 8 year old Thai concrete house that was 70% finished when it was abandoned, and sat empty for about 8 years  , really run down and some structural damage no one was interested in buying it to repair or live in , but Ciejay and Me  had a dream of turning this into a home for us in Thailand , so with a lot of blood, sweat , and tears , we think we have almost after 7 years got it just about like we want it .There will always be little things we see that we want to do and as time and money allow we'll try to do what we can.Now we are happy with the little make-over we have done and hope you enjoy the pictures, I put little brief caption on each to explain them . Malcolm

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