Sitting here drinking a packet of coconut water in a hot summer day reminded me of Strange Tales of Tamil Nadu. It is a cautionary tale of excessively drinking this innocent fruit, it might turn out deadly.
Tamil Nadu – South Indian state secretly practices the ancient custom of thalaikoothal , an involuntary euthanasia of elderly dependents, sick children or the incapacitated who are deemed too troublesome to be taken care of by their family members. This is common in impoverished villages where families can’t afford the cost of caring for their old or the sick. Sometimes as with human greed, thalaikoothal is practised when property or money is coverted.
Thalaikoothal means head pouring, involving slow oil bath.
The old man is presented with a soothing oil bath in the wee hours of the morning, and fed with large amount of young green coconut water. The high potassium content in the coconut causes renal failure in the poor victim and the victim dies slowly while his relatives will decorate his deteriorating body with flowers and dresses him. Sometimes the whole family or the whole village would gather to celebrate his slow death, to mark the occasion to his eternal peace. Death, it seems is a blessing to his sufferings of old age.
So concludes my strange recollection. An cautionary tale of drinking too much of a good thing. Don’t drink copious amount of young coconut water. It is bad for you. But not when you practice Thalaikoothal.
@andrew spooner tweet on 28 July 2013
When @ Andrew Spooner, tweeted an image of Adolf Hitler logo character resembling the colonel of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken Fast Food chain) o from Amusing Thailand website out to the Twitterverse, he unleashed something that even he cannot stop…
Portland, Oregon, USA
At a homeless shelter in downtown Portland, Oregon
It is fascinating to be in Portland, its a very interesting city filled with various characters of life. Downtown Portland is a little grungy, some parts are pretty old and there are streets where there are homeless people roaming around near homeless shelters. For a wealthy country like the United States, it is heart wrenching to see how many are marginalised and the wealth gap just keeps widening.
For someone who comes from Asia, where we do struggle and receive no government help at all, I am puzzled by the amount of people choosing to be homeless. They have their own stories to tell and clearly some are mentally ill and have become drug dependent. But why would there be such unusual amount of young people choosing to be homeless is perplexing to me.
I don’t want to photograph nor interview them because I was only there for a few hours, it would take a whole project to discover this whole situation that America is facing and I am not the one who do it.
Maybe in Singapore we are too comfortable, to realise how tough it can get in the Land of Dreams. But we are Asians and we have grown up to believe that no one would help us. Being homeless is not an option in our society where it is deemed illegal by our Singapore government. Since there is no one out there to help us, we must help ourselves and not rely on anyone especially our government. Even if it is dark and bleak, we discover tiny pieces of Hope, hope that is instilled in us since we were young. That’s the Asian culture, we grow up thinking that there is hope somewhere out there and we have to find a will to work towards that even if there is no outside support at all.
That;s the difference between the Land of Dreams and where I live. Hope is sometimes taken from people and darkness fills in the gap.
At least we have Hope, and sometimes we need to spread that to others who need them.
When signs like this appear, I have to listen to it.
Road trip time!, its time to plan!
taken at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
I have been having a mini existential rebirth. With everything that is happening to the world at the moment, nothing seems to be what is it. The places I am visiting currently seem to be experiencing tons of environmental changes.
When you read this, I should be in some middle of some jungle out in Papua New Guinea.
learning spanish for next trip but I am mixing up my numbers with part hindi and part spanish. its ek do tin char panch chhay sath for hindi, uno dos tres quartro, cinco for spanish, but I ended up with ek dos tin quartro panch