By Father Joe Maier, C.Ss.R.
Years ago now, maybe 11, his Granny died just after a terrible slum fire. That horrible night, teenager Gee carried Granny out of their shack and watched it burn.
They lost everything. Even Granny's antique betel nut chewing box. With no home, living "make-shift" on the street, Granny died only two days later. For roust-about young Gee, she was his only family.
He'd dropped out of school and grown up mostly alone in the slums and alleyways of Klong Toey. He spent some time with us here at the Mercy Centre, where he went to school for a while.
New Year in Thailand – traditionally – is 13 April. The fifth moon of the Lunar Calendar. So Blessings to each of you for the coming year.
May your rice harvest be abundant with enough to eat in the coming year for you and your children. May your ponds and water ways be abundant with fish. May your water buffalo calve healthy offspring. May your own children be strong and a joy and honor to you. And may your own elders bless you specially. Tomorrow is the day you pour Lustral water – perfumed and flowered – over their hands and bow at their feet thanking them and asking wisdom and courage for the coming year.
I write this from a “Bangkok under siege” We do not know what will happen.
Born 23 years ago out of a desire to keep her husband strong plus save a few precious baht, Auntie Muey's restaurant on two wheels is a Klong Toey legend
She started her fast-food career selling second breakfasts to "sweat labour" workers in the Klong Toey River Port from her bicycle. They'd walk the seven minutes from the riverside docks to a hole they'd knocked in the wall between the Port and the slum.
Auntie Muey was on the slum side of the wall. Safe from nasty Port Authority guards who would want free second breakfasts from her!
Easter Letter 2010 –
Holy Week – Easter – Meet you at the Jubilee - and a medium sized piece of Chocolate with only one bite taken out.
It’s Friday morning in Holy Week. The Day Jesus Died. We wear Black Clothing in sorrow, mourning and respect, leave our jobs for the day, if we can, eat simplest of food, take off our shoes to walk barefoot in solemn procession to show respect to the Holy Cross. Once again, we formally “Tell our Sacred Stories.” Re-live these Events to ourselves and our children. We, today in our turn, as our ancestors have done for 2,000 years.
by Father Joe Maier, C. Ss.R.
Our almost eight-year-old Klong Toey Miss Nong Ming made the Bangkok 10 o'clock night TV news a couple of nights ago. She shouldn't have though. In fact, it was "bad form".
True, the camera blurred her face, but, "darn it", for some dumb reason they blurted out her full name and showed the place where her family camped out under the tollway along with Miss Nong Ming playing with other street kids, recently off the street at a "family child protection centre".
Stars & Angels & Magi
by Father Joe Maier, C.Ss.R.
Slum Children teaching Jesus how to ride his bicycle
Before the heavens and the earth were formed - “even before the Bible began” after the time of Middle Earth - our Sacred Legends of Christmas started with a new star in the heaves. Three Magi – those who could plot lunar calendars and maps from the stars, learned men from the East - “discovered” this new unique star.
Their oldest accounts, dating back a thousand years before Christmas, spoke of mystic and sacred meanings: they told of a Child who would be born – a special child – the Son of God. That a Star would point the way to the birth place on earth of this child.