January 30, 2008 - Nakhon Sawan, ThailandThe new year began with attending two conferences. On January 9th I attended the 10th International Conference on Thai Studies where my paper Search Strategies in the IT and Internet Era was presented. The chairperson of the Thammasat conference was Anucha Thirakanont. Then on Jan 10th I went to Allahabad, India where I delivered a paper titled Kuruksetra Remembered:The return of the cosmic center at the Allahabad Museum. My hosts were, Dr. Sachchidanand Sahai, Editor of the Southeast Asian Review; Sunil Gupta, Indian Ocean Archaeologist; Professor Radha Kant Varma, Chaiman Allahabad Museum Society and Dr. S.K. Sharma, Director Allahabad Museum. It was the occasion of the International Seminar titled India and Southeast Asia: Shared Cultural Heritage. In Delhi I was fortunate to visit the Akshardham temple and deliver a second paper at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. My hosts at IGNCA were Dr. Bachchan Kumar, in charge of South East Asian Studies; Dr. Ramesh C.Gaur, Librarian and Professor Dr. Lokesh Chandra, Member of Parliament 1974-1986. A special gift was presented to me from Dr. K.K. Chakravarty, Member Secretary and Trustee of IGNCA. Praveen and Neeraj Mittal of BRPC (India) Ltd. also offered their hospitality as did Anil Gupta, Director of Marque Ikon Pvt. Ltd.
March 19, 2008 - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
It has been an amazing experience to watch Dextre being assembled at the International Space Station. And in due poetry the day it was finished Auther C. Clarke passed away.
Something very new and very different is beginning to take shape to send humans to other worlds. But I have to also wonder how one of the most spiritual of humanities representatives is also being called a monster. The Dali Lama is struggling for his life as China is defying any autonomy to these Tibetans. It saddens me to think we would have to leave this planet with such limits on how we as humans are able to express ourselves spiritually.
July 20, 2008 - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
Over the last four months I researched the word sacred for a newly finished paper titled The Sacred Time of 2012. The paper was done in collaboration with Rush Allen. Rush is an excellent interpreter of the ancient significance of stars and how they played a part in the myths from the ancient cultures. The Sacred Time of 2012 is an attempt to give voice to the end of the 26,000 precessional cycle and how that cycle may have a bearing on the change in consciousness humans may be experiencing today and will continue to do so for quite a few more years.
The 4th Annual Indo-Thai Linkages Conference was held in Bangkok July 7-8, and I attened it again as I did in 2006 for the 2nd Annual Conference. Dr. Sahai was at the conference and I presented my Sacred Time of 2012 paper to him. I have plans afoot now to go to Kuruksetra in India in October to research the significance of the full solar eclipse at the Kuruksetra University Library. The full solar eclipse will take place in Varanasi on July 22, 2009.
Rajabhat University is quite busy this semester with the opening of the new language center building by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on August 25, 2008. I designed and taught a special corporate course (in English) on "Negotiation Skills" for managers working at the leading yogurt producer of Thailand; Dutch Mill Company. Eighteen powerpoint presentations on negotiation skills can be viewed on-line.
This semester I bought a new HP Compaq Presario laptop to aid in my work replacing my old Macintosh 3900 series laptop which was gifted to me by Ben Davis of Bolinas, California in 2002. The Compaq keyboard has Thai script to type in Thai.
On the home front my daughter will be six years old this year (Nov. 11) and she is getting bigger and bigger as the pictures show. She likes to play with her pet named Doggie. I have introduced her to the computer showing educational games and her favorite cartoon characters and of course Barbie.
August 28, 2008 - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn opened the new IT Language Center Building at Rajabhat University on August 25th at 2:45pm. I was in the receiving ceremony to greet HRH and this was my closest encounter with a member of the Royal Family since seeing the Princess open the 10th International Conference on Thai Studies at Thammasat University on Jan 10th of this year. The preparations and anticipation for the Princesses arrival at Rajabhat University represented a display of true devotion and adoration to her being a member of the Royal Family. It was a new expereince to be so close to the Princess. Knowing that I was not allowed to take a photo of the Princess at the ceremony, I took one when she appeared on television being received by Dr. Prajark Rotawut of Nakhon Sawan Rajabhat University. The group photograph shows members of the Language center staff;(L to R), Eakapop Sudsa-ard, Miss Varaporn Hadman, Assistant Professor Darett Naruemon, Director of the Language Center, Dr. Prajark Rotawut, Ajarn Willard Van De Bogart, Ajarn Suneeta Arora, Miss Nujarin Tongnoi and Nares Muenrod.
The rest of the week saw Bangkok in political and social turmoil with the PAD party taking over the grounds surrounding Government House. The PAD wants to remove the current Prime Minister, Samak, from office. Airports and railways and airlines have stopped functioning in support of the PAD. The situation is dead locked and there seems to be no communication possible to stop the confrontation.
November 16, 2008 - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
The funeral for the late Princess Galyani took place this weekend and it was a spectacle of Royal Grandeur to behold. During the month of October many rehersals took place and it was these rehersals I went to to try and write a story about the Royal Chariot which I did and finished on October 22nd. titled Ride to Heaven - The Chariot of the late Princess Galyani. I attempted to attend the ceremony but was politely refused by the Royal Secretary. I watched the final ceremony on television for over eight hours to feel the reverance paid to the Princess and to witness history in the making with a Royal family member being honored in only the way this Royal Chakri Dynasty could honor one of their own. It is an education to witness a current functioning Monarchy which has its roots in the cremonial protocol which existed in the ancient Khmer Empire.
December 19, 2008 - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
It amazes me how many different events on the world stage can take place in a month that forever chage the global mindset. The massacre at Mumbai, India has to be one of the most riviting experiences I have seen through the internet. At the same time these events were taking place in India I was reading Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children". Shifting from 1947 to 20008 was as if a bridge of memories and realities was being forged creating some vicarious experience which still was being played out. By chance I visited Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, and was very moved by what I saw so much so I wrote down some of my impressions. The New Year is quickly approaching and still I am writing trying to finish a book I began in 2002. From my postion at Rajabhat University, and having on-line connectivity at my disposal everyday, it has been possible to follow world events as they happen. I am always thinking of what Sven Birkets said in his book "The Gutenberg Eligies" and I feel there is truth to loosing one's interior sensibilities by watching the world from a computer screen. However, when I combined Rushie's world of India in 1947 with the one I saw in India today it made all the stories in Rushdie's work have a realism to them that was supportive of feeling the tragedy in Mumbai.
It is a very unsettling time globally, and finding a way to be part of my own destiny with it in my later years is an on going effort. I turn 69 this month, and with one year before I reach 70 I am experiencing an entirely new level of awareness which I want to work into my writings.
With a new Canon G10 digital camera I have been able to add another level of creativity to my photography. Hopefully a new way of seeing and expressing will follow. From the G10 Nanteta Van De Bogart is here wishing everyone a happy holiday; she turned 6 on November 11th.