Last weekend, one of my best friends and his fashion brand-founding wife gave me a belated birthday present. It was an oversized, cross-shaped, glow-in-the-dark necklace decked out in hand-sculpted daisies and pearls, an item from his wife's latest collection. Even though it's cross-shaped, the necklace didn't strike me as having religious overtones as it has been stylishly manipulated into an amazingly well-crafted accessory. I love it so much that I wore it two nights in a row when I was out about town over the weekend.
The first night I was only asked about it once, by a foreigner, who wanted to know if I was religious _ to which I replied "no" right away. Raised by an atheist father who sneered at all forms of organised religion, especially the ritualistic aspects of them, I am _ on paper, anyway _ a non-practising Buddhist. So religion has never been my forte, but over the years I've learned enough to respect other cultures and beliefs, and I do believe in kharma.
The necklace became problematic on my second night out, however. In a club swarming with Western tourists and expats, three foreigners requested a photo of me and another person sneaked a snap when he thought I wasn't looking. I'd love to say it was because of my blinding beauty and dashing personality, but that would be a total lie. It was all because of my oversized, cross-shaped necklace. I reckon that a lot of Thais, if they were to spot a farang wearing an oversized Buddhist amulet, would flock to take a picture too, perhaps.
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