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Friday, June 20, 2008


Hazel Shield turns 95

Today is my mother's 95th birthday. I've talked to her, courtesy of Skype, a couple of times in the last month or so. She was in good spirits. Imagine the changes in technology she's seen in her lifetime. I think that telephones of any kind would not have been common during her childhood. When I was a kid the idea of seeing someone live while you talked to them in another country was the stuff of science fiction. And now here she is actually doing it.

While we were chatting I took this screen shot—maybe not a great pic but not so bad considering we are over 7,000 kilometres apart. As a kid, it probably never occurred to me that it would one day be possible to take a photo of someone 7,000 kilometres away.

Happy birthday Mum.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The prediction

Maire decided to pay a visit to Moor Doo (Doctor See or fortune teller). I don't know if she had something on her mind or perhaps it's something she does regularly. She paid 800 baht for a consultation. Not being one who consults fortune tellers I don't know if that would be cheap or not but I can tell you that for the average Thai that's not pocket money. They can go to a medical doctor for way less. And having paid that much, I guess it means the prediction is not taken lightly.

Moor Doo indeed had something to tell Maire—there will be a car accident and her teenage daughter, Luuksau, will be killed.

Luuksau and I have an arrangement. We get together most nights to tutor each in our respective languages. She is a delightful young lady I am very fond of her but I wouldn't say she is particularly together. Even before hearing this news she had very little nail remaining on her fingers. And unless our lesson is a barrel of fun she often has difficulty concentrating.

Last night, as you might imagine, she just wasn't with it at all. And who can blame her? Thais take this sort of thing very seriously.

'Khun John, if it was you, what would you do?' This kid looks up to me like a trusted grandfather.

'If it was me, I'd ignore it.'

Yes, I would. I accept my karma, my fate. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. And I know from experience that I'm not afraid of death.

But Luuksau is not me. She is distraught. Maire insists that she go to the temple. They haven't explained what is going to happen there. Perhaps there is a trusted monk who might have some advice. Perhaps the temple will receive a large donation that will make merit for Luuksau, changing the course of her karma. Or perhaps it'll just buy her a better life next time.

The other plan is to change her name. I understand this is intended to confuse the spirits.

I don't know what comes next. I sincerely hope the story ends here and there's nothing more to report.

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