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The magic broom

January 9, 2012

Many Garden School students have remarked that every time they see Ketsanee she has a broom in her hand. Plants and animals might be dying of thirst, still, the first priority in the morning is to sweep floors and pick leaves. Many times it has caused me frustration too, why waste time on this, why can not a pregnant lady take it easy and ask her workers to help her, or even better, ask them to go and care for the garden? This morning I emphasized I wanted an answer why four grown-ups were more busy with picking leaves and sweeping than caring for the animals? Not that I wanted to start a quarrel, but I was curious to understand why morning sweeping behind the bathroom building, which nobody ever sees anyhow, is considered more important than life?

Ketsanee gave this a long thought and then she answered that indeed everyone in her home village do this, and she said that the morning is the time of birth, and you need to take away everything old to make way for the new. She claims that if they do not do this, there will be no progress, no evolution, no income. Then she added that in Chinese culture it is the opposite, they all clean after working hours, claiming that you may sweep your income away if you do it in the morning.

I agree with the Chinese logic. If you spend endless hours on pointless cleaning rather than survival and development, you waste your time (and money). Maybe that is why many wealthy families in Thailand are Chinese – they gave work highest priority? And maybe this obsession with cleanliness is why you rarely get sick from Thai food?

Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden



2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2012 11:00 PM

    Kate forgot to mention after the Sweeping what?
    Just back from a long trip through central & NE Thailand the answer would seem to be burn the leaves, plastic, bottles etc.
    This can happen by day or night and soon we will see the forests burning at night which will make the floods more severe when the rain comes.

  2. January 16, 2012 9:35 PM

    You hit it on the nail, Eric – there are substantial cultural differences between Thai and Chinese people, even when it comes to as simple as sweeping the floor…

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