Following are questions posed to Twillingate freelancer Jim Hildebrand by students from J.M. Olds Collegiate as he wrapped up his journey of exploring Phuket Thailand. The name at the beginning of each question belongs to the student who posed it, followed by Mr. Hildebrand’s response:
Tiffany Roberts: What differences or similarities have you noticed between religions found in Newfoundland and Phuket?
The obvious difference is that 95 per cent of Thais are Buddhists of the Therevada School, which originated in Sri Lanka. It might not be quite as high in Phuket as there is also a larger minority Muslim community as well. This probably came from immigration through the decades from the Malay Peninsula. Only .5 per cent of the population is Christian.
There are temples in every town and monks can be seen everywhere. In the morning I have seen the monks walking through town, carrying a type of pot. The people will give the monks prepared foods for the temple. Monks do not cook. I have also seen people dropping to their knees in the street to receive blessings from the monks. Outside almost every home and building are spirit houses where offerings are left, incense burned, to keep mischievous spirits from entering the premises. Food, bottles of pop with straws in them, fruit can be seen left out at the spirit houses. I cannot say that I know a great deal about the religion but I have found some interesting reading by Googling “religion in Thailand.”