A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Painting at Baan Sillipin

You won’t believe it but I am going to Art Lessons here in Thailand.

I had read about an art exhibition of Impressionist Paintings and Watercolour in the local paper.

By the time I got around to visiting it the actual exhibition was over,but one morning a friend and I drove over to see what the small Art Gallery where it had been held looked like.

Six Kilometers over a pot holed road full of gravel on the back of a motor bike wasn’t really fun,but the lovely woods and hillside overlooking the sea made up for it.

We eventually came to Baan Sillipin,which actually means Painter’s House in Thai.

It was idyllic.

Set back from the road, a large old traditionally built Teak house greeted us.

It stood alone in the wood ,surrounded by tall tropical trees,their hanging branches and liana giving shade and a feeling of tranquility. Orchids of various hues had been planted in baskets hanging from the tree trunks and on the pond a couple of ducks swam contentedly.

We spent a while looking at the paintings in the gallery. Many very vivid with Buddhist motives,others paintings of western scenes looking somehow out of place here.

My friend being naturally more inquisitive than I am, wondered what was down the wooden staircase leading round the back of the building. We went down and found a large hut,of which the openings for windows and door were covered with mosquito mesh so we could see quite clearly there were people in there painting.

“Lets go in” he said

“No we can’t do that” I answered,knowing how painters don’t like to be disturbed.

In we went.

And that’s how I found Nang,my Art Teacher.A wonderful lady who is teaching me to paint in Watercolour Thai style.

It’s a different technique to the wet in wet method that I had got used to. It’s very bold for water colour,and in the beginning I was a bit sceptical,but it seems to work,especially here.

Last week I finished my first painting at Nang’s,and if I do say it myself I think it’s brilliant.

Christmas in Thailand

A lot of water has flown down the Chao Phraya since I last wrote a post.It doesn’t mean that I didn’t think about writing but I was experiencing so many different things,meeting interesting people and feeling a little like a Thai. No news is good news.

With the help of new friends I was lucky enough to get to know Thailand a little,from the side that the average tourist doesn’t see, and learn to love it for all it’s faults.

We Westerners mustn’t come to Thailand and try and teach them our ways,we must accept how the East is, and not try and change it, with time they will teach themselves. In so many things they are light years ahead of us and we could learn from them.

Today I saw my first Christmas tree outside the next shopping Mall.

Tall,and plastic and blue.

The Thai of course don’t celebrate Christmas.

It was for us.

Khob Kuhn Ka

In Buddhas Garden

As I wrote after my last journey to Thailand, I am not a fan of travel guide books. Although they can be helpful I find most of them too subjective and prefer to rely on a good map,information desks, history books and the wonderfully dangerous way of learning by doing.

Prior to my departure from Switzerland this time my youngest daughter gave me a hard covered book as a going away present.My first thought was; Oh no, I’m already over the luggage allowance, and I would have liked to have left it behind. Of course I couldn’t do that,it would really have upset her,so something else was left and I took along ;

“In Buddhas Garden” by a Norwegian Journalist called Tor Farovik. A journey through,Vietnam,Cambodia,Thailand and Burma.

I have found it difficult to put the book down.

Thor Farovik has worked as a journalist abroad for 25 years.

He has now managed to write a travel book,that is as entertaining as any good novel, embroidered by many quotable quotes;

” We shall not cease from exploration.

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time”

T.S Ellot

and at the same time giving us the past and present history of the four Asian countries without it being the least bit boring.

He introduces us to the Buddhist Philosophy,and makes it understandable. Environmental and political problems are not left untouched,as neither are his encounters with the people of the individual countries and the tales they have to tell. Last but not least it is a transport guide for the travelers who can’t or don’t want to fly around these countries.

I read this book in the German version,I don’t Know whether it has been published in English,but I am sure it has been since it was first published in 2006 by Frederking & Thaler.

I think it a “must read “for all venturers,and otherwise to Indochina.

A Trolley Full of Calories

Probably it is a trait found more in woman. Inquisitiveness. But then you could say it’s because we are just more interested in certain things.

Standing in line at the Supermarket for instance. I don’t know about you, but I always look at what everybody else has in their trolley,and in the few seconds it takes to look, I build my opinion about them,which I must admit isn’t always noble. Maybe because there are more and more people buying things who are having difficulty fitting in the food lines.

Yesterday the very overweight young woman in front of me put a large packet of Florentines,a delicious,toffee type cookie of fruit and nuts coated with a heavy layer of milk chocolate on one side. (Yes I will post the recipe) Plus a jumbo pack each of M and M’s, and Maltesers, a one kilo bag of refined sugar and a bottle of red wine. (Nothing against a glass of red wine of course)

There are people out there,like my blogging colleague Joe Felso who have started counting calories,and I wonder why more people can’t do it, for we all Know what obesity brings us, and it isn’t as though the food that make us fat is cheap.

Why can’t the food stores scan the calories as well as the price.

In Switzerland all medical care must be paid for. It is very good but very expensive,and health care insurance costs rise each year. We now have thousands of families in the county where I live alone, who can’t afford health insurance or pay for a doctor to treat their sick children, because others can’t discipline their eating habits and are making themselves chronically ill which we all have to pay for.

I think it is time Insurance companies gave some kind of bonus to people that could verify a certain weight loss over a years period,then there might be an incentive to count calories and eat healthier.

Chinese Today

The second lesson of Olympic Chinese is easy too.

I hope you managed to remember the first.

hao (how)——- good

zao shang hao (zow shang how)——–good morning

ni hao ma? (ni how ma)——–how are you

So if like me you have only managed to keep the word hao in your head,you are almost there.

As a little piece of consolation for fellow Bloggers over 40. It has been proved that older learners of a foreign language usually have to learn a new word nine times, and forget it nine times,until on the tenth time it will stick.

Good Luck

Is China Attacking Us?

German author,Political Scientist, and China expert,Wolfgang Hirn isn’t sure that China deserves the miserable reputation that it has in the west.

His two books “The Chinese Challenge” (Herausforderung China) and “Asian Attack” (Angriff aus Asien),published by Fischer, make interesting reading.

China is gigantic,China is suspiciously, “foreign”,and then there are all these 1.3 Billion people.

China will become,next to the USA the second superpower in the world and that makes us all somewhat frightened.

But didn’t we encourage it all for our gain?

Environmental pollution in China is immense,and the Chinese are eating more and more meat.But can we condemn them for that? Shouldn’t we be pleased that for the people there things are beginning to look better?

China has at least managed to free 400 million people from deepest poverty. What they are doing is legitimate. The West challenged China to at last participate in world trade. Now they are certainly doing this ,following the rules of globalisation and we must live with the consequences.

We had hoped that human rights and democracy might follow, after the theory that an affluent society brings the wish of complete freedom for all. In South Korea and Taiwan it worked.

It hasn’t worked in China yet, because the middle class is not big enough, and interestingly this section of the people, which one might have thought were all for political freedom is not in the least interested in it,because then, they would be completely in the minority and 700 to 800 million peasants would have their say.

Up until now their  authoritative system has worked for developing China,and many a western manager enthuses over it.

In China Peking decides, and at least at this stage it is probably the only way to get anything done. Other countries with a democratic system take years deciding on anything because every ones interests must be taken into consideration.

By 2012, ninety seven new airports will be built in China-and they will be built.Whether the environmentalists agree or not.

That is why China has managed better to get more people out of poverty as the democratic India has.

Maybe come time, come change, and we should admire them for what they have achieved.

The Most Expensive Woman in the World

Sue Tilley is the name of the lady,and she has just been sold for 33 Million Dollars.
Lucian Freud painted her in eight hourly sessions , three times a week over nine monthes.
He called his painting “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”

She earned about 40 Dollars a time,and is now famous.

Lucian Freud is one of the most outstanding and brilliant portrait painters of our time and “Supervisor” is the most expensive painting ever sold by a living artist.

But he is not for everybody,

as the controversy over his 2001 portrait of Queen Elisabeth II proved. A lot of people thought she should have locked him up in the Tower of London for it.

“I am only interested in painting the actual person; in doing a painting of them,not only using them to some ulterior end of art” says the 85 year old.

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