Morning in Bangkok

I went out at 6am to the store because I desperately wanted some bottled water or soft drink. It’s so hot in the front room without airconditioning and the big old fan that I use dries my eyes out so much they feel awful in the morning. Unfortunately the shop wasn’t open yet and I’ve been told they’ve been opening later lately. Disappointed I walked back around the corner to my apartment, and I passed something that I really had to take a photo of. I quickly ran back to my apartment and grabbed my camera with the 300mm lens on and jogged back around to the “street” between the two buildings that comprise our apartment complex, Racha Resort.

I took a couple of photos of the sparrows to warm up, but then I edged around the corner and took the photos below. Now let me explain the reason for this photo. I like photos of people in whatever country just doing everyday things. I think photos of people living their lives are more powerful than the most beautiful sunset shot. So what’s the photo of ? A girl of maybe junior high age, I couldn’t tell from behind, exercising with a hula hoop, though it’s really anyone’s guess as I was a long way away and she had her back to me.

Ok, so but do you know why this is so uniquely Thai ? Because the Thai government had an exercise program to encourage children to be active some years back, and I’m not sure, they may still have it, I was only told about it by a friend who’s lived here a long time. In the program, they gave every child a hula hoop and it was promoted as a healthy and fun exercise to do in the morning before school.

And that’s what these photos are, an illustration of how Thai government initiatives result in certain cultural norms and activities that are uniquely Thai. Just as an Australian from a certain generation will remember being forced to drink a carton of unpleasantly warm milk at school every day, I imagine Thai children that grew up during the implementation of this particular government policy all remember, exercising with hula hoops as a kid, since they were given to every child (or every family, I don’t know the details).

So there you go, a few pretty photos and an interesting fact about Thai culture that you might not have known.

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