Hi Xuan and everyone,
Did you have a good weekend? I am back in Bangkok now with Steve, Josh and Rachel. We had a good run back in the car from Pattaya and made it back before the crowds. There have been no comments on my blog ‘Magical Moments’ so far, so I’ll leave you with the vocab challenge and the grammar questions a little bit longer. I'll also tell you a little bit more about our holiday next time.
Xuan, welcome to the BBC blog and I am really looking forward to chatting with you over the next few weeks. I thought you made a very good effort with your first blog and I liked the photo of you. Tell me, how did you spend your days off? What did you do? Here are a few corrections for you. Each sentence contains 1 error - look especially at the words in BOLD. How can you change the sentences to make them correct?
1. Nowadays Vietnam is the peaceful and friendly country
2. We want to make friend // glad to make friend
3. My English is not well
4. This is my first entry on BBC's blog
Also, Xuan, here is a challenge for you. I don't know how much you know about me or if you have been reading my previous blogs or not. So, instead of me telling you about myself, I would like you to think of at least 10 questions to ask me. Think carefully about using correct question forms when you are writing your sentences. You can ask me anything you like and I will try to answer as honestly as possible :-)
OK, let's talk a little bit more about Thailand now. Today I want to tell you about spirit houses, like the one in the photo at the start of today's blog. You see spirit houses on every house compound in Bangkok, whether it be a huge, high rise condominium or a traditional Thai wooden house. Thais believe in ghosts and spirits (this belief is known as animism). They believe that there are spirits who inhabit the land. When a new building is built on a particular plot of land, Thais believe that the spirits might become angered because ‘man’ is trying to take their land away from them. So in order not to offend the spirits, when a new house or apartment block is built, a spirit house or san phra phum, is built on the same location.
The installation of a spirit house is a very technical business. Every aspect has to be carefully considered. For example, if the spirit house were located in the shadow of the main building, the spirit would not give his protection.
Here is the spirit house which is in the garden of my apartment block.
Spirit houses come in many shapes and sizes, but this one is built in the shape of a traditional Thai temple. Inside, on the raised platform, you can see a pair of male and female spirit dolls, symbolising the spirit of the place.
They are being attended by a range of servants, who sit on the balcony outside.
The cleaning staff at my apartment bring drinks and food out to the spirits every morning, which they place on the balcony. Flowers, incense and other offerings are also brought to appease the spirits and to keep them happy. It is common for people to wai, or press their hands together in prayer whilst bowing, when they walk past a spirit house, as a mark of respect to the spirits.
In this picture you can see garlands of marigolds, which are an auspicious flower, adoring the sirit house.
Finally, here is a shot of the spirit house from the resort we have just been to. it is made of teak and again is carved in the style of a traditional Thai temple.
Despite Thailand being a very modern country, traditions such as the maintenance of spirit houses are upheld and are very important in the daily life of most Thai people. This mix of old and new, modern and traditional is, for me, one of the most interesting aspects of Thai culture.
If you would like to find out more about spirit houses, I found this link on the web. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_house. Spirit house can also be found in other south east Aisan countries, such as Cambodia and Laos. Xuan, do you have spirit houses in Vietnam? Can you, or anyone else, tell us about some other traditions in your country(ies)?
That's all for today, folks. Speak to you again soon,
good run - a good drive
to attend - to serve
teak - a type of wood
to uphold a tradition - to keep a particular tradition alive
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