Around my work strings have been appearing. They are tied on the outside and circle the place. Nothing too big or distracting, but still, I noticed them. I thought at first that they were electrical wires since we’ve had some things happening outside that might have demanded the use of electricity, and there aren’t any outdoor plugs or anything.
Today, a monk came. Apparently to chase away ghosts. Now, I just learned of this at the end of the day, so I am not perfectly understanding of the history of this, but what I do know is that the string is supposed to ward away ghosts or protect from ghosts. The tying of strings (often as bracelets) are used in several different aspects of Thai culture. It’s generally done at weddings, I’ve seen it done at funerals, etc.
This is a cultural difference from me on an extreme scale. Even the fact that I come from a religious portion of the south, where many people are possessed with religious superstition, I can’t think of such a thing absolutely taking over a workplace. And on such a large scale. A secular workplace. A place not limited to those of Buddhist faith, there are Muslims and Hindus, too.
Tomorrow I will try and find out exactly why it is believed their is a ghost on the grounds, and what this ghost is accused of doing. I’m generally … I don’t want to say uncaring, because that word implies an angry and almost disdainful attitude, but though I notice and acknowledge cultural differences, I don’t let them bother me. (Exceptions to this would be the level of infidelity and sexual harassment I’m made aware of here, sort of a boys will be boys attitude at times, and the corruption that is a stereotype of Thailand and not as untrue as it should be.)
This handling of the “ghost”, however, has managed to get under my skin. People were supposed to disrupt their workday to go listen to a monk talk about what the ghost was up to. I have things to do!
The rain we’ve had to day, dreary and dripping followed by mini-monsoons, has not helped my mood (or the general atmosphere).
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will find out more. Until then, I will remain seriously confused and slightly perturbed.