God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

17.04.10 challenging times in Thailand

Bangkok under siege – thousands of so-called “red shirts” are blocking since weeks Bangkok and since days the business centre of the city. People died in clashes between police and demonstrators and the mood is not festive like in other days during songkran, the Thai New Year. My drive from the airport already shows the difference – few cars, no traffic jam – the streets are not packed and even the fun part – throwing water at everyone passing by is accompanied by less joy then otherwise. The big shopping centers in the middle of Bangkok are closed and business is loosing billions of cash and the country lots of tourists.

Since years I travel to Thailand – and since years the political turmoil is visible – two years ago I couldn’t leave the country because the airport was occupied by demonstrators – the year before military rule had taken over and one was greeted by a couple of tanks on the street – well, we will see how it develops the next few days.

And still, the mentality of the Thai population demands that even under these circumstances life has to go on, as normal as possible and obviously with “sanuk“, experiencing a moment of some joy and fun, even in sad circumstances. tackling life to the best of abilities. This is, what I admire, this ability of living life to the fullest in the very moment of existence.

Comparing Thailand and South Africa, there are so many similarities: the good will, but so often failure of government to get it right, corruption on all levels of society, poverty in most parts of the country, the inability of politicians to catch a full picture before making decisions, a complete different sense of logic than we have in the Western world…

But there are fundamental differences: you can walk the streets day and night without being scared of being robbed or mugged – the crime rates are very different. The delicious food one can find day and night at a street corner, the love for good food and the sense for beauty and perfection are other differences.

I feel privileged to be raised in a European society, able to work in an African society and relaxing in an Asian society – the mixture presents me with a openness – some would certainly say: relativism – I personally cherish, even if it leads sometimes to contradictions in my life which are difficult to explain to others.

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HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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