The Passage of Time
As the title might suggest once again, I’m writing while travelling this time from Shanghai to Bangkok, as the first part of my trip to Mae Sot, the Thai/Burma border town.
Having risen before dawn to get to the airport on time, I proceeded to check in. The check in attendant informed me that the flight was cancelled….and I had been put on a flight three and a half hours later with a different airline….”The Passage of Time”……after losing my jacket which had my phone and wallet within, trekking round the airport with a policeman and an airline representative, thankfully we retrieved the jacket with the aforementioned contents.
So it’s goodbye to a very damp Shanghai.
This will be my fourth visit to Mae Sot, and it will be interesting to see if my learning of the complex political and demographic challenges that exist, change my focus of the purpose for my being there. (I still have a huge amount to learn about Burma and the tribal and ethnic histories, the current political regime, and the overall social structure, but I will continue to seek out information and research the facts as far as I am able).
The Passage of Time, is for most of us, relevant to our lives and the relationships we form with others. Some relationships come to a natural end or closure and new relationships open up. As far as Mae Sot is concerned, I’m looking forward to catching up with some established friends, but I find myself being much more aware of the desire to help in some kind of sustainable way…..rather than simply being a human ATM.
There are many hard working people whose jobs radiate around the very sensitive socio-economic welfare of refugees from Burma and I have had the good luck to connect with a few of these people. There are a large number of other folks that I have heard of who run small organisations of their own, in education, sports, creative expression through visual art, and care for the people that live everyday on the “edge” of life, and too for those who have suffered the most awful physical and mental traumas that you might imagine.
Sometime ago, I wrote of my first visit to Mae Sot, and I got a lot wrong (seems a familiar circumstance for me…..but I keep trying). As I write, although I know, I have been extremely fortunate to be able to help a few organisations in very small ways, I wonder if my connections in this community are actually of any sustainable benefit.
Let me explain, I’ve seen it countless times, and done it myself…….I’ve waded in, wanting to be of help and with all good intentions in my heart, but sometimes it’s impossible to “navigate” your way through the day to day existence of the most needy and I unwittingly have probably caused more harm than good.
The Passage of Time…….
So, the question for me, as it was when I wrote a few days ago……..is……is there more that I could be doing or am I, in fact, causing more harm than good ? I certainly have no desire to be a voyeur or a charity tourist. I actually want to help, but I have to hit myself in the face and ask the question is it better that you stay away ???
I guess only the passage of time will really give the honest answer as is the same with mental health.
For those of you who love a person with depression or have challenges in mental health, or for the sufferers yourselves, sometimes it’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to see any hope in even taking another breath. I know, I’ve been there thousands of times and I go “there” sometimes daily, and almost certainly weekly…….but in your darkest of moments, try if you might to remember these four words…….the passage of time…….for with this there will be different “horizons”.
I can’t tell you that it’s all going to be ok, that would be disingenuous, dishonest and potentially more harmful.
However, what I can say is that tommorow is definitely going to be different, maybe only in some very small way, and that means there could be hope……
Other events that have caught my eye in the last few weeks are the award of the Nobel prize for literature to Bob Dylan. There is apparently uproar in some people’s minds that this most prestigious of awards should be given to Mr Dylan. In one of the “broadsheet” papers it was prominent, in its indignant report, that the prize came with a $1.6 million dollar cheque. Now, I don’t know Bob Dylan personally, but I would wager that this prize money is allocated to some of the many humanitarian charities that he supports.
On another matter, I wrote recently about Rodrigo Duterte’s blanket actions against drug addicts. I had a conversation with a well educated lady from the Phillipines a few days ago and according to this lady, the story that I had read and that had been reported by some of the major news networks was actually a “spinning of a yarn” by his political opponents……..now in truth I don’t honestly know what the “score” is here…..but once again to some degree I find myself with disdain and contempt for the media……
Please let me be clear about that last statement. I believe there are many good honest, matter of fact, people in the media…..but the Editors of Papers/Producers of TV News programmes are, all to often, having their strings pulled by some unseen people with an agenda, other than reporting facts.
I suppose once again the Passage of Time will tell…..then again…..it doesn’t always does it (?)
I wish you all well
With love peace and hope