Thailand is, an independent country, located in southwest Asia and is considered a tropical country. The capital is Bangkok and is also the largest city within Thailand. It is the 51th largest country in the world with a surface area of 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi). “In the Thai language, the full name of the city is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. The lengthy name is usually shortened to “Krung Thep Mahanakorn,” or “Krung Thep”, which means “City of Angels”. Within Thailand there are 63 million people making Thailand the 20th most-populated country. About 3% of the population is Malay, 14% are Chinese, and 75% are Thai. Being most of the population is Thai the official language is Thai. (Thailand) (Division) Area of Bangkok Mountainous landscape of Northern Thailand Thailand is mostly Buddhist with 95% of the population practicing Theravada Buddhism. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with King named Bhumibol Adulyadej as the current leader. He is the longest raining king of the Thai monarch and is the 9th king of the house of Chakri.
He is also the longest raining king in the world, raining for more than half a century. The King is recognized as the Head of the Armed Forces, the Head of State, and the upholder of the Buddhist religion. (Thailand) In Thailand the Ministry of Education supervises public and private education. Starting 2002 free education was introduced with the standard 12 year program, similar to what we have in the United States. With six years of primary education starting around the ages of six or seven. Which is followed by three years of middle school and three years of high school, ending around age 18.
In 2004 there were 8. 8 million students enrolled in the 32,413 public school programs and 1. 9 million Students were enrolled in the 178 postsecondary educational systems. The education system has made the literacy rate in Thailand 92. 6 percent. (Division) Within Thailand there is a big agricultural community that has been growing rice for centuries. There are ceremonies that serve as help and good blessing for growing crops. Rain-making and Cat Procession are the common ceremonial rituals performed by the rice farmers of Thailand. The rain making ceremony takes place in Bangkok.
In the ceremony the lord of the Royal Plowing Ceremony throws rice seeds as he walks around the Grand Palace and the Crown Prince of Thailand watches. Cat Procession involves villagers throwing water at a cat. They believe that a “crying” cat brings a fertile rice crop. (Perehudoff) Rice farming contributes big part of the Thai economy. Half of the farmable land area in Thailand is occupied by rice. And about half of the countries labor force is involved in the production and exporting of rice. Mostly Thai women work in the rice fields. Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice.
They are traditionally strong when it comes to the production of rice since they have perfected their methods over the years. Thailand plans to increase its land available for the production of rice, adding 500,000 hectares to the already 9. 2 million hectares of rice-growing areas. Keep in mind that one hectare is the equivalent to 100 acres or 100,000 square miles. According the graph the production of rice since 1961 has generally increased. The mass production of rice calls for the high demand of rice farmers. (Rice production in Thailand) (Shii) Rice is very important to Thai society.
It is the most commonly used food of most Thai citizens. Jasmine rice is the dominantly produced type of rice in Thailand and is a higher quality of rice. This is why it goes for more than double the price of other types of rice on the global market. But the Thai rice industry faces three major threats. According to Evenson the top three threats are, “increase in competition in the international market; the growing competition with other economic activities that increases the cost of production, especially the labor cost; and degradation of ecological conditions. Rice production around the world has become more competitive.
This makes it harder for Thailand to keep its competitive advantage with its Jasmine rice. As for the modernization of the nation, it has lead to an increase cost of labor. This makes it more expensive for rice farmers that used to use cheap manual labor. Finally the massive amount of land used for the production of rice may have long term negative affects on the yields of the land. (Evenson) (Shii) Since the country is 95 percent Buddhist, there is a big population of Theravada Buddhist monks. Theravada literally means “the Teaching of the Elders” or “the Ancient Teaching”.
Theravada is the oldest surviving Buddhist school and was founded in India around 250 BCE. It is closest to early Buddhism and historically has been the predominant religion. There are over 100 million Theravada Buddhists worldwide. [ (Theravada) ] Theravada promotes Vibhajjavada, meaning “Teaching of Analysis. ” This concept says that insight must come from experience, critical investigation, and reasoning instead of by blind faith. However, the scriptures of the Theravadin tradition also emphasize following and consideration of the advice from the wise.
It is also believed that one’s own experiences are tests and its practices should be judged. The religion in short teaches selflessness and to achieve enlightenment is there ultimate goal. Meditation is the key tool in attaining enlightenment, meditation means to positive reinforcement of one’s mind. [ (Cousins) ] The minimum age for a Buddhist monk is 20 years old. However, boys under that age in the monastery are novices also known as samanera. Novices shave their heads, wear the yellow robes, and observe there elders. There is no minimum age to become a novice, boys as young as seven are accepted.
While one is a monk they are celibate and can have no physical contact from a woman. In Thailand after young men complete their educations as a monks they most of the time leave the monastery; they are not bound to stay. Monks are seen to have many virtues. It is also seen as repayment to ones parents for their work and effort in raising him. Thai men who have been ordained as a monk are seen to be a fit husband by Thai women. They are seen as more mature and ready for marriage. The monasteries get donations from the community donations could be food money or supplies and they are also not taxed by the government.
In rural areas, Buddhist monasteries give peasant boys an education in temple schools without them having to commit to a permanent monastic life. [ (Theravada) ] In the monasteries, the monks follow the lifestyle of the Buddha and his first generation of disciples by living close to nature in forest, mountains and caves. A typical day for a monk consists of studying the Buddhist teachings and meditation with only one meal a day. The monasteries still keep alive the ancient traditions like meditating in the forests. Monks also often go out to a secluded remote area (usually in the forest) to work on self development.
They walk with no shoes and bring only necessities. Necessities generally consist of bowl, the three robes, a bathing cloth, an umbrella tent, a mosquito net, water, a water filter, razor, sandals, some small candles, and a candle lantern. [ (Canon) ] There are many different cultures within Thailand. Some people look at other people’s cultures and look down on them. Maybe it’s because the culture is not as technologically advanced as theirs or it’s just so bazaar that they don’t understand it. The truth is you can’t judge a culture until you understand them first.
Before my research I viewed the rice farmers and monks of Thailand to be dirt poor and not as smart as smart as people in the United States. But I was wrong the rice industry is a multi billion industry and the literacy rate of the country is 92. 6 percent. The monks have chosen there humble way of life and are on a higher level of thinking and reasoning than I will ever be. I learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover; I let my stereotypical instincts get the best of me. Each culture is unique in its own way and this is only two of many cultures that exist in this beautiful country.