In August of 2014, I was given the role of tuk-tuk driver for transporting monks from our forest temple to and from the village, in the mornings, so that they can binta baht (do their alms round).
My samlor aka tuk-tuk.
I use the word “given” very loosely. It was more like the job defaulted to me. The assistant village headman needed the time to work on his farm and village affairs. He had taken over for Tah Nah. Tah Nah is getting old (same age as me, actually) and no longer has the energy to transport monks to two villages each morning. So, I took over for Paison, the village’s second-in-command. Now, Tah Nah does Bann Noi Pakwet (aka Sawan Pattani) and I do Bann Noen Soong Pleui (our village); basically, the job was delegated to me by Paison using a kind of slight-of-hand.
At first, I thought it was temporary and went into it in good spirits. But, as time went on and Paison no longer was working on his farm in the mornings, but I was still chauffering, I realized this is a permanent job – as permanent as permanent gets, anyway.
When I grokked the situation I was in, I grew a little resentful because I see many other men in the village with samlors better than mine. Some guys have cars and others own trucks who have the time and could transport the monks in and out of the village in style.
But, the general reasoning went that since I am retired, I am the perfect candidate. Everyone is so busy… as if I’m not.
Fact is, Morning times are very valuable to me because it’s the best time of the day to put in a chunk of time on the computer, writing, gaming and staying in communication with family and friends outside and inside of
But, my wife keeps insisting this is good for my karma and the family’s karma. By being samlor driver for the monks every morning, I can boon (do a good thing) every day and serve both temple and village.
I eventually saw the wisdom in what my wife kept saying and so now I’ve been trying to adjust my thinking and feeling about this. I’m happy to do it. It’s just that I don’t want to have to do it, if you know what I mean.
My tuk-tuk and Thip's motosai, side-by-side, at the building site.
I’m probably not the only Falang to transport monks for their alms rounds, but I may be the only one in
who does so with a tuk-tuk. The more I chauffer usually 3-4 monks in and
out of the village each morning, the more comfortable I get in my new role. Of
course, it is somewhat of an honor and my personal prestige in the village is
greater as a result, but this is a work in process. We’ll see where it goes… Thailand