Sunday, March 06, 2011

旅遊泰國 曼谷 瓦因和漢寺: 自由 / Travel to Thailand's Wat Intharawihan in Bangkok (Part 4): Of Birds and Man

Not far away from the place where I was about to take the dog photo for my blog article "申請輪迴轉世 / Dog Day Afternoon in Bangkok"), I came upon these two individuals who were sitting near the temple gate asking visitors for money.

(a) On the left, a woman was selling birds to visitors who would then set the birds free. Her sign said: "In this temple, you give freedom to the birds, you will have good luck and happiness in your life forever." I didn't ask her who had caught the birds and deprived them of their freedom in the first place.

(b) On the right, a man with an amputated leg(s) made his claim on a sign that said: "Please help for a handicaped (sic), I need money for a hospital." With his specially made bicycle, the umbrella and other set-up, he must have been there for the long haul.

As a kind-hearted visitor to the Buddhist temple, are you prepared to give money to either one or both of them?

To be frank, I did not give to neither, for the following personal reasons:

(a) Giving the bird-lady money would just encourage her and/or her associates to catch more wild birds for sale. Later into the SE Asia trip, I gave money to another tour guide who bought a fish from the market and helped it escape the frying pan by setting it free into the river (btw: He was not introducing an invasion species into the ecosystem!).

(b) Even if the man's claim was legit, it would still make more sense to give money to help a village/community/group as opposed to just one individual. Later on when K and I were in Laos and Cambodia, we made donations to MAG (the
Mines Advisory Group), a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation that clears landmines, UXO (unexploded ordinance) and other remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide; as well as to CPI (Clear Path International), a sister organization that serves landmine and bomb accident survivors, their families and their communities in targeted countries.

As I was walking thru the temple gate, there was one fleeting thought that went thru my mind:

At least the birds might have a chance to fly free. But a person who lost his/her limb(s) from landmines and other mishaps would never be freed of the living memory.

Of Birds and Man!!

Related links:
* Lotusandcedar blog article: 申請輪迴轉世 / Dog Day Afternoon in Bangkok
* Mines Advisory Group (MAG):
* Clear Path International (CPI):

Photo Credit:
* I took all three photos on Jan 10, 2011 at around 10h30 inside Wat Intharawihan in Bangkok, Thailand 泰國 曼谷 瓦因和漢寺.


The inner space said...


Haricot 微豆 said...


What you said is very possible - that the birds will fly back to her home, just like pigeons !!

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