God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

The burden of travelling

Most people like traveling and I have to admit, most times I also like traveling too. The airport controls can be unnerving – but having no cell and no internet for a couple of hours is relaxing – well it seems that it is all coming back into the cabin of new airplanes. Traveling brings you in touch with other traditions and cultures, simply with other realities which might sometimes be strange, sometimes funny, but always good to know. And here the burden starts: Who at home to share the new knowledge and experience with? How to implement it into daily life? Does really anybody in the closer vicinity wants to know how things have changed for you? Does it really fit into the settings you are living in? And when it comes to my church – it is even worse as the word “relativism” is very quick used to bring downfall to different perspectives and their approaches. How much do I wish sometimes that all people could share in the diversity of the world and yes, how relative the way is, we are living in our small little world and that there as so many alternatives which have the same value than our solutions and habits..  Sometimes it is a burden to think broad and diverse…

Filed under: General, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Filed under: Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , ,

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