Tuesday, 20 April 2010

From begging monks to banking monks

I would be the last person to say anything unfavourable about Buddhism, but here in Thailand, Bhuddist monks do seem to enjoy lots of privileges. They ride buses for free and have reserved seats at Thai airports. Nowadays it's not uncommon to see monks using cell phones.
Today I opened a bank account and it happened to be the first banking day after the Thai New year. Quite a few of monks rushed in with big bags of money.
I don't recall having seen that much stacks of cash. The money was obtained from people 'paying' respect to their ancestors and hope for a lucky new year.
I noticed that the monks were allowed to jump the queue. Obviously in Thailand they do not need a cue ticket, which is customary for other banking customers. Of course monastries are better off depositing their wealth at a safe bank account rather than hiding it under a drizzly mattress at some monastry. After 45 minutes or so it finally was my turn. During the time I was being helped, a monk just rushed in with a plastic bag of money. He boldly interrupted the bank assistant as he wanted to be served first. The bank assistant kindly told him to wait and continued to enter my personal data.
At that moment I felt a slight sensation of victory: 1-0 for me vs. capitalist Buddhist clergy.

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