From atop my balcony here in Bangkok, I have a daunting view of nothing but a concrete jungle of buildings that competes with each other to become taller and bigger, squishing the homes of the locals to the point of nothing but a few inches that separate them from one another, and I wonder to myself, “What has our world turned into?”
Why are there more buildings than trees? What if my view were nothing but trees for miles and a few houses here and there? How did we get to this point of massive destruction of Mama Earth? Time advances forward and technology advances forward. They even say that our collective consciousness on earth is at its all time peak right now yet I am dismayed at virtually every country I visit with my own eyes. For a modern civilization that is supposedly advancing, then why is Mama Earth’s health not advancing but digressing instead? I am especially disheartened at the digression of global citizens of Mama Earth. We are all responsible for her sick state whether or not we know this. But it is not the global citizens who I blame for they have been intentionally kept in the dark.
No, I point my finger unabashedly at the so-called “powers that be” who are really insignificant in numbers but whose greed and power are astronomical, downright frightening and very shameful.
The more modern we advance as a society, the less in touch we become with our respective cultures. All around me wherever I go, I see this devastating state of jadedness that has consumed us. What has happened to our consciousness? If the collective consciousness is at its all time high now, then how come we are so disconnected with each other? Families no longer cook and eat together. It seems so old fashioned to even bring it up. That special time has been sadly replaced by picking what restaurant we want to eat at. Getting an invitation to eat in someone’s home is such a rare commodity just as hugging trees.
And with the advancement of all the social media and smart phones with their intentions to connect us worldwide, what I see instead is a massive disconnect in the behavior of the young people towards the elderly. And I see the elderly either frantically trying to keep up with the fast pace of our modern society or not caring at all. Parents’ argument for giving their kids smart phones is for emergency call purposes, but let’s be real with ourselves. What I observe instead is a depressing decline in the respectful social behavior of our people all across the globe. When is enough, enough? When will we wake up as a people and think for ourselves once more? When will global power and greed stop feeding us competition, fear, paranoia…all of which further add to our personal inferiority complexes?
Everyone I meet and everywhere I go, I always wish that I can share with people these global declines that I see time and time again. Just when I think I have traveled to an amazing and awakened country, I am constantly disappointed to see the drastic downfall of our global society. From single plastic use to disrespecting our natural water resources to looking down at our smart phones instead of smiling at each other, my heart breaks over and over again, and I wish I could shout at the top of my lungs, “NO MORE! Enough is enough!”
But given the obvious language barrier, how do I expect to encourage them to see what I see and feel what I feel? I am at a loss every single time. And so I show through my actions. I decline using straws. I travel with my tiffin and bamboo utensils. I smile constantly at passers-by and I hide my hurt when they don’t smile back. I let my energy speak for itself and pray that it is enough. That it is positive enough. That it is empowering enough.
In Bangkok, I met a college student who, after a couple of meals of eating with me, was inspired to stop eating pork. When I stay in hotels, I reuse my towels for about three days before I ask for fresh, clean ones. I will go as far as taking my used soap to my next hotel room when I change rooms. I see more tourists wearing the traditional Thai pants and hardly any Thais wearing them. I am astounded to see Thai women scantily clad as if they are emulating the pop culture of the western world rather than honoring their modest, native ways. Western influences have infiltrated into this culture just like every culture I have observed, and I flat out just don’t like it. My purpose for traveling to different countries is to experience their uniqueness but I am so sad to report that cultural uniqueness too is a dying concept. I really do not see the difference between a Thai and an American. It’s a dog-eat-dog society here and every day is a hustle. Welcome to the concrete jungle.