These are strange times in Southeast Asia, especially lately. Where I live in Thailand we are still officially under martial law after the military coup back in May. Life has pretty much returned to normal, although with media restrictions and a zero-tolerance policy towards protests of any sort, what qualifies as “Free Speech” in most countries does not exist here at the moment … which is more than a bit disturbing. But hey, the World Cup is ongoing — and that apparently enthralls about ninety-five percent of the Thai populace — and the curfew has been lifted, and the junta is “returning happiness to the people,” so all is well … at least on the surface. We just won’t talk about, uh, anything else.
Meanwhile, across the border in Mandalay, they currently DO have a curfew, imposed after last week’s violent “Teashop Riots”. Hopefully, things will quickly calm down there too and the people in Mandalay can walk around their neighborhoods or visit their local temples or mosques without fearing for their life.
Whenever all this bad news gets me down, I have a sure-fire cure for the blues: monk photos! Yes, a little monk mood therapy goes a long way towards restoring a sense of peace and normality to the world. So here today, to lift our spirits, are the novice monks from Tat Ein monastery in Shan State.