Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monks at Sukhothai

The orange robe clad monks are a common sight in Thailand. The monks follow a strict set of rules. They beg for their food, cannot eat after noon, and must refrain from things like smoking, drinking, sex, gambling and other vices. I read that there are 227 rules that monks follow.

Certainly, like any other persons, monks are human. I personally saw a monk buy snacks and a cigarette one evening. I even had a monk come and ask me for money when I was out with a Thai friend. My friend was embarrassed and my wife told me that it was completely improper behavior.

There are also rules in dealing with monks. One of the rules is that women cannot touch a monk nor he a woman. This led to a funny incident when Nalin, Aleena and another girl were out with Tim at a temple. The other little girl walked up to the monk, who took a step back. The girl stepped forward, and again the monk retreated. After this happened a few times, he managed to get Jacob to come over and stand in between himself and the girls.

Some Thai men become monks as teens and remain as such their whole lives. Others join later in life and server for many years. A former high ranking police officer who served many years in jail became a monk after his release.

Most Thai men become monks for at least a short time in their lives. Both of my brother-in-laws have done it at least once. Often this is done when they are young men. That might be why its not uncommon to see monks at the computer or mobile phone stores.

This is a shot that I took in Sukhothai last year. These two monks were taking photos of each other in front of the statue, so I assumed they were on the short term plan. I asked them if I could take their photos.

Its a shot that I wanted to look good. I really, really wanted it to look good, but truthfully, it did not look good at all. The sky was completely washed out and the monks were a little dark.

So I looked at it again with an eye to see if I could fix this shot. After some work, I think it looks a lot better than the image that I loaded into Lightroom. Of course, a lot of photos that I like others might not care much for.

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