Thailand

Songkran Splendours 2012

This post was supposed to be up last week but I had no WIFI for the entire week thus the delay.
Anyways I am in Hanoi now and the WIFI here is pretty stable so you can expect lots of backlogged stories from Thailand and new ones from Hanoi<3

img 6857 1 Songkran Splendours 2012 Jamie Chan

Praying in Temples during Songkran

Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word which means ‘going forward’, ‘passing’ or ‘moving’ so the Songkran festival is the Thai’s way of celebrating the new year and boy do they celebrate it with a splash…

I was very fortunate to be able to take part in the festivities as Emmy’s aunt brought me around the temple to pray. So I poured scented water on the Buddha’s image and put the coins in the bowl:3
I have no religion to begin with and its been a long time since I’ve prayed but I must say that it was rather meditative while I placed the coins in the bowl as the sound seem to ring while you focus on the wish in your head. I asked for a better year than the last and for the wisdom to make the right choices.

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The string given to me by Emmy’s aunt. I had to wear for it 3 days as it was blessed<3

As I was shooting a lot in Wat Poh (Poh Temple), I got to sample many delicious traditional Thai food that gathered in the temple during the festival<3
It was absolutely delicious and ridiculously cheap. Ate. Like. A. Pig.

There were also traditional performances at Wat Poh<3 Ranging from cooking demonstration, traditional song and of course, the dance. And yes, Emmy danced<333

Besides visiting temples, eating good food and experiencing all things traditional during Songkran, this festival is kind of like a civil water war…
The idea is that the water and powder that you splash/ smear onto others will remove the bad luck from them. Thus you are more or less expected to thank the person who splashes cold water on you and smear powder at your face.

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Playing Songkran in the traditional get-up!

Songkran on the Streets

This picture was taken after I survived a shooting and human stampede at Khao San Road. Emmy basically had the idea that I should dress up like his gang of dancers which is a white shirt and the traditional dancing pants. Little did I know, this means that I was targeted even more by the locals and they were relentless in smearing talc powder onto my face and blasting water in my direction because I was seen as ‘enthusiastic’ in taking part in the festival >.>

Then again, experiencing Songkran as a local was INSANE. For starters, the roads were so congested and pumped with dance music I could hardly breathe at one point of time. People were trying to bob to the music but we were so packed that any slight movement was very uncomfortable. I tried to smear the powder on people’s faces so I decided to target the pretty and good-looking ones<3
However, thanks to my get-up, I was getting more powder and water than I could give out>.>

Twice, I thought I was gonna die or hurt myself as my vision was impaired thanks to the lovely people who smeared the powder in my eyes causing my contact lens to dry up. The first was when a group of guys rushed towards me and people were just jumping out-of-the-way. They were chasing and trying to beat another guy and I was caught in the middle as I can’t see beyond my fingers… Like a drama, they flipped a few tables and left as soon as they came.

The second was when I was stuck with god knows how many drunks dancing/ bobbing to the music when all of a sudden there was a really hair-raising scream. Nobody took notice at first until the music stopped and that was when a wave of panic ran down the crowd and it started a human stampede. People were pushing and shoving that I was so afraid of losing the group because of the sheer amount of people and panic!
Turns out that someone got shot and I was standing right next to them…
That kind of concluded Songkran for me as we decided to call it a night. And there you have another episode of don’t tell my mother where I’ll probably say that I was asleep or something.

More pictures of the festival:

img 0888 1 Songkran Splendours 2012 Jamie Chan

The only time no one gets angry when you do this…

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Enjoying the water

Anyways hands down, I conclude that Songkran is the craziest festival I ever covered. It would probably be great if I had an underwater casing for my camera as the rain cover I had done a really bad job and was kind of useless. My Lowepro bag, on the other hand, held up pretty well and I am really chuffed I got the bag! I even sold the vanguard in the process so it’s a good swap!

The bad news is that the festival thrashed my darling S90 T_T
By thrashed I mean I see water in the LCD screen… So I guess my S90 is officially history:(

Anyways if you are searching for some fun and don’t mind getting wet, I would highly recommend the Songkran Festival. Just make sure that your ‘gun’ is bigger than the others. Heck carjack the fire truck and use the water hose.

img 0886 1 Songkran Splendours 2012 Jamie Chan

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