Dear Everyone,

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.

Right now, it is a “Don’t Blink” situation. The Prime Minister is trying to follow the rule of law and the Constitution. The heads of the military and police are ambivalent, trying to keep a foot in both camps. True, there is no real violence – no looting. But the city is semi paralyzed. And most of all, no one is enjoying the New Year. Normally three million people leave Bangkok and go home to visit their families. This year, all of Thailand is in sorrow. As for the present ‘troubles’ we trust and hope to see reason and cooler hearts prevail.

We of course are safe, most of our 200 children here at Mercy Centre are on School vacation and have gone to the country side with friends and our own staff for the holidays. The ‘troubles’ are in a small part of the city. I myself, am here at Mercy Centre, ‘keeping the home fires burning’ and also that everyone knows… no matter what… fat old bald headed fr joe is here – not that I can do anything or solve any problemme, but everyone feels a bit better and more secure to know I am here.

All for now – Blessings again to you all. We shall survive, but I am worried that difficult days are ahead for our beloved Bangkok and all of Thailand.

Respectfully - prayers    fr joe