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An olive tree in Chiang Mai

October 28, 2011

This morning I woke up at dawn – no alarm bell, just a chorus of birds. I strolled around in the garden enjoying the quiet, the beautiful morning light, glistering cob webs, sparkling birds, our water buffalo contentedly grazing, butterflies sailing. To me, quiet implies absence of any engine (car, fan, radio). In such an environment you can hear leaves fall and the grass being munched by Poi Fai (our water buffalo). Some nights it is so quiet you can hear the wing beats of the bats. Being a constant gardener I also saw things needing attention, but I decided to attend to those after coffee. Moments of intensive life are precious.

Although we have had visitors and tour participants during the past few days, our main source of income, yesterday’s warning by the British Foreign Ministry regarding tourism in Thailand will be followed by others and that will strike us hard, again. Had the flooding been an isolated event it would not have meant much. Only one year’s income lost. Unfortunately the Thai catastrophes and bad publicity have been going on for many consecutive years, and at some point you may have to shut the doors and seek peace somewhere else. A short retrospect:

2008 The yellow shirts occupied the international airport.

2009 The red shirts caused street violence.

2010 Red shirts and army in severe street battles.

2011 spring: earthquake in Burma

2011 now: flooding, landslides, embassy warnings. Chiang Mai is fine, but why would a Londonian journalist care?

All this in the middle of a worldwide economical downturn.

I sometimes think journalists also contributed to the ongoing economical downturn. A few years ago I participated in a seminar with a renowned Swedish economical analyst who predicted the American economical downturn, but he assured us that for the first time ever we had strong growing economies also in Europe, Japan, China and India, so the economical downturn would not be severe this time. He forgot the journalist factor, and he forgot the fact most of us are just monkeys with clothes. It is a feature of intelligent people, they assume everyone think logically like themselves, when in reality a perfect prediction demands an ability to think like an idiot. When CNN reported signs of recession, all other news agencies worldwide reported the same thing. The population of Earth was told there is a recession, and so we created it, by holding firmly to our assets also within growing economies (75% of the world). Voila!

When there was an earthquake in Burma earlier this year, a Bangkok Post journalist erroneously reported that Chiang Mai was affected and there was a picture of a demolished house (from Burma). All other journalists worldwide copied his article. And so citizens of Chiang Mai lost billions in tourist revenues simply because that one journalist wanted a nice-looking article. I believe journalists have more power than bankers. Like everywhere else in society the journalists are composed of different people. There are greedy people who would sacrifice a region for a scoop, there are stupid people who misunderstand everything, there are people with hidden political agendas and then there are the gentle and intelligent journalists which, like in the rest of society, are very rare.

Well, these are thoughts that pop up when the brain rests from urgent work. A focus on digging trenches or futile marketing prevents you from seeing the larger picture. Indeed I see how the Chinese gentlemen used to gather their thoughts by relaxing, and by aroma therapy, i.e. using the fragrance of the Buddha hand fruit, Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis  (see the Dokmai Dogma avatar to your right).

Growing an olive tree in a tropical monsoon climate seems impossible, but with an elevated flower bed you can. This picture was taken after the heavy rains here, and it is doing fine. It is more difficult to attract people to come and see it, due to the grim world outside the gates.

Eric Danell

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2011 9:49 AM

    I wonder at what age you stop being wrong all the time? The same day as I wrote this blog, we had visitors from Australia, Norway and Japan, more people than in a long time. We also received a booking of 40 Thai people. I know nothing. I understand nothing. I think I just keep gardening.


  2. October 29, 2011 2:16 PM

    Lovely post and way to spend the morning gardening. You are lucky to be living outside of the city amongst nature. It’s unfortunate that we cannot escape the mainstream media hysteria no matter where we are!
    We hope to come out and visit your gardens soon.

  3. Will permalink
    October 29, 2011 10:18 PM

    Hope it stays busy Eric! And hope Bangkok stays as dry as possible…

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