Sorry, mom, a thousand apologies from me. My mother, a 60-year-old housewife, had longed for a trip to Japan and I recently made her dream come true by taking her to the Land of the Rising Sun.
The first night in Tokyo, her bed got a big, scary shake at 4am. She woke up in fear. In her mind, this room had a ghost, a Japanese ghost that shook her bed in the darkness. She was too afraid to come to my room next door as she was in shock. She was worried about how could she communicate with the Japanese spirit.
Just a moment later, her bed shook again, adding more fear while confirming to her that the Japanese ghost wanted to displace her. She wanted to go out from the haunted room, but she couldn't walk any more. What she could do was pray; every psalm that she knew from her lifetime was used.
She didn't know how long she prayed, but it was until the sunlight was creeping into her room. She opened her eyes. The holy spirit had helped her to overcome the most frightening night. She rushed to my room and told me she had met a ghost. "The Japanese ghost shook my bed twice. Luckily, I know how to pray, so I survived," she said.
Are you frightened by my mom's ghost? I was not.
I just told her that it was not a ghost. The truth was we had suffered an earthquake that night.
How did I know that? Of course, my bed was shaken too. I woke up at 4.19am and saw the clothes hanger shaking. I didn't know that what had happened, so I clutched my smartphone, looked up Twitter, searched for Tokyo and Japan and got the answer in less than a minute. The earthquake in Saitama district shook Tokyo. That was from a social network. The next thing I did was close my eyes and go back to sleep. But I forgot to tell my mom.
I admitted I laughed when she told me she had met a Japanese ghost. However, I'm sorry, mom. I know that you were fearful.
I think about my mom and her ghost while thinking about our political situation. Everyone knows that all civilisations in the world started from fear and ignorance. We created many gods to answer our unawareness, such as the god of wind, god of fire, god of trees and so on. But when science arrived, some fears and ignorance disappeared.
Under their current situation, Thai people are encountering fear and ignorance again. Some fear another coup d'etat, others fear there are plans to undermine the royal institution. No one can give a certain answer about whether Thailand will face more military coups. Or whether it is true there is a plan to bring down the highest institution.
I believe many people do not have conclusions and need more information. However, we know that some people tend to believe information supplied by people they love, such as a group's leader or political leaders.
But I beg you over the Visakha Bucha Day festival to think about the Kalama Sutta, the principles of belief that the Lord Buddha gave to Buddhists and the world that people should not be too credulous.
The Kalama Sutta told us: "Do not believe upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition, nor upon rumour, nor upon what is in a scripture, nor upon surmise, nor upon an axiom, nor upon specious reasoning, nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over, nor upon another's seeming ability, nor upon the consideration, nor upon speaker is our teacher."
Under the present circumstance, before believing something, we should have more than one-sided information. Don't let fear and ignorance or hatred navigate us. Don't think you have a ghost in your room before you open your eyes and look around.
If you want to join any political movement, no one can tell that you are wrong or you are right. But don't believe anything before you have information from more than one side. If you hear only one side or like only a political group in your Facebook network, you won't know another reason.
If you are more open to listen to information from all sides, you may know that there is no ghost in our situation.
Suphaphan Plengmaneepun is Assistant Managing Editor, Bangkok Post.
About the author
Writer: Suphaphan Plengmaneepun