Thai Sojourn: The bless.

A few days ago I thought that it was time for me to note down the experience in Bangkok, the last bit. This is because I was feeling satisfied that all curtains were rolling down, and it was time to call it a day. Well, it wasn’t.

Monday and Tuesday were exceptionally special days, four days before I leave for Tokyo.

As a preparation for the two days, Friday was spent asking and trying to figure out where the scheduled workshop would be. My boss was busy, I could see it on his face. But since my ungiving up spirit tells me unless a door is slummed on me it is still open, I went ahead to inquire what was necessary for me to know. Furthermore, an earlier engagement with his deputy or assistance has proven not quite successful. She, with her satirical laughter suggested, “I am not your boss, you know?” That sealed everything. I was not at anytime planning to have her assist me in any way. Thats how my feeling of self sufficient functions. That to avoid discouragements, stick to your self, and stretch yourself as much as you can. This is a painful process, nevertheless.

I went to my boss for the first question. Or submission to be precise. He hasn’t followed up my former deadlines. So I have taken obligation to put deadlines on me. It went well. But largely confirming my fears. That though the greatest moments of my work was spent feeling that I wasn’t understanding my assignment, my boss neither did. If one of us is confused, that is absurd, but if the two of us walk in the darkness, how dark is that darkness? Either for PR or whatever, he seems  quite surprised that I had done that much. My Spirit in her stubbornness said, “you cant just trust that, you’ve got to dig deeper into waters that look still.”

After taking a seat at my lonely office, which lacks a better description of its location with the wing, I quickly realise that I had one more thing that would be much better if clarified. So after a few minutes, I walk back to his office. Furthermore, I was told, “you should not be afraid to ask anything you want to know, anytime.” You know those words that people use without actually knowing what they mean? Stupid is taking them, especially the compliments, literally. But wisdom is also taking them for your own sake, and building up the world you want to live with them. If they be negative, I will let you know how to deal with them later.

I felt like the answer he gave was, “why can’t you google it.” What a misery google has brought unto us! Do they have the meeting schedule, locations, tasks, just to name a few all discerned by google. I felt like I was missing something, and the evils around me confirmed, “see, you are not that good, not that smart, you don’t just understand a thing.” But perhaps of the greatest annoyance, it was the laughter and words of the assistance that rejuvenated the feelings of greatest hatred. Her laugh was suggestive of some despising something. Someone expressing the feel that somebody is extremely inadequate.

Monday came. And it was time to find my way to the hotel. My dearest people in Thailand, the Taxi-Drivers, had their day with me. After stepping out of my premises, I had not plans to pick a motorbike. But something told me that it was faster, and perhaps better placed to make me not late. But we did go to the wrong address again. The immediate outcome, that I was late for such an officially staged occasion. I arrive sweating profusely, like a pig. Mon is such a kind lady, her smiled killed all the negativity in me.

But soon as I enter, the laughter of the assistant is heard from a far. Why would you laugh suggestively again? She brought about the pain, that specific pain that took me to the Korean experience. About six years ago in Kenya. Her face takes on the wife of my former boss, and pastor. We had a rough encounter. My first with intercultural experience. I expected him to be Kenyan, treat me like a Kenyan, and have foundational understanding of my society. On the contrary, he expected me to be Korean. Though it is a place I have never been. I somehow, in his mind, was supposed to have learnt the language, culture, norms, and everything about the land of the yellow people. It never occurred to me once that our fights were because we treated each other with the most idealist minds of deepest pleasures of our cultures. I only realised this after stepping out of my very own, and meeting the otherness. In Japan, I was treated for what I was in that culture; minority, outsider, intruder, foreigner, alien, different, and not possessing any potential to understand what it is being a Japanese. Thanks to this treatment I started to think of what I am. And the most rewarding thing is the ability to fit into the created otherness-ness and feel gratitude no matter the reaction from the host communities.

So this lady brought back the pain, when I knew not how to engage with those different from I. She unwittingly ignited the passion to go see, learn, and re-live the moment with the Korean community. But today we only speak about the morning before the workshop.

I can see though her eyes the shout, pointed at me on why I was late for the meeting. But I got the power to ignore, and stand as if nothing really happened. I was scheduled to feature in a talk show. Which I must say was casually communicated previous night. It actually brought to me the thoughts about how shallow the media can be, and why it should not be trusted. I tried to inquire about the discussion topic. To my surprise, I was told to wait and respond as the need arises. There is no way to be sensible in this case. So when this morning I was told nothing about the feature, I assume it is because I was late for the meeting. But I am also relieved because I did not want to pose as an expert on issues I understand little or nothing about. 

Some people are gifted with the ability to make others see the invisible, and imagine themselves going beyond all limits. Others choose to make life difficult, not just for themselves but also to pull others into their mess. We know the group that one belongs by simple look at the fruits of our labor. The fundamental issue is however that we can choose to make people have a feel of worth. That feeling can thrust some to becoming people they never imagined.

For the power of our attitudes can only perhaps be compared to power of our tongues. Though a small organ, tongue can lit fire that burn not just bushes that have no significant use, but also bring down what we spent years and time building.

A group of students, in the midst of the signals I was battling with, taught me a great deal of what it means to focus. I know that I am exceptional with students. I find no struggles whatsoever expressing my passions to the students and igniting theirs as well no matter the barriers of language, race, or ethnicity. It is the fact that I was surrounded by them that I found strength and greatest means by which I concluded my trip. They indirectly told me to love. They showed me new frontiers in Asia.

Thailand is exceptionally special to me hence then. But my eyes look back to Japan, one that taught me to love, no matter what.

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