Life under Himalayan shadow

Someone said life under Himalayan shadow depends on the uncertainty of the nature.

This thought became clear in my mind when I woke up in the morning of March and saw Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan turned from colorful city into monochrome with icy snow.

Bhutanese has been waiting for their first snow for so long. When the calendar turned to March, many people gave up their hope to see snow until this morning.

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This might be the first snow of the year in Thimphu but for someone who came from tropical country like Thailand this was the first snow in their life.

Snow in the beginning of the spring, how lucky we are!

The exciting eyes and joyful smiles sprung on all Thai tourist’s faces. But for us, two documentarists who had a mission to do in this touring trip, lucky snow might be a big worry.

As expected, within a few hours Bhutan’s one and only main road was blocked with thick snow. The government traditionally announced an official holiday. That means our plan in Phunaka, the next city in the schedule, was officially canceled and we had to be frozen in Thimphu for 2 more days.

Before I went deeper in disappointment, there was someone trying to wake me up.

“Ouch!” Heavy snowball flew from Guide Sonam’s hand directly to my head. His annoying smile explained it all. The war had just begun!

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Sonam tried to start the fight with me.
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Our weapon

If you accidentally wandered in the town on the first snow day, please be aware of not being in the middle of Bhutanese snow fight.

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From elders to youngsters, students, policemen, or even Lama came together and turned the street into the battle field without showing any mercy. They all seemed to be skillful fighters attacking with velocity, strength, and precision. This didn’t surprise me because the skill of archery which is the Bhutan national sport seemed to run thick through their veins.

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In this war, there is no grudge. Bhutanese believe that throwing snowball on the first snowing day is a kind of blessing. Happy Snow fall!

Till now, the coldness of icy flakes seemed to put my mind at ease.

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A little game before lunch with the guide team
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Hit the pole, get the prize

Bhutan location causes unpredictable disastrous climate all year long. This shapes how Bhutanese interact with the uncertainty of life. It’s the most logical principle of life Bhutanese always hold in mind, if you cannot resist the nature, just enjoy it! If the road was blocked by landslide and they had to be struck in the road for 2 days, they just poured some tea and patiently wait. If the town was frozen in the snow storm, instead of being trapped in the house, Bhutanese still can find amusing measure in this circumstance.

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Dodge a snowball in The Matrix style

Life under Himalayan shadow might be a bit tricky and needs patient but it taught us that the mindfulness attitude can bring nature and people together in harmony.

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Right in the KK’s eye!

KK Producer of Tipitaka

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The Youngest Buffalo Jockey

When ordinary boys ride bicycles. He ride a racing buffalo.

Meet Hon, 11 years old. the youngest buffalo jockey.

He risks his life to become a master of buffalo racing

Buffalo Racing Festival, in Chonburi. It’s one of the most celebrated events in Thailand. The event held annually for more than 140 years. Thai jockey ride their buffalos to sprint across a dusty track with incredible speed.

It’s a life-risking business. On the back of the enraged buffalo anything could happen.

120 meter long track of excitement. Where one mistake can cost a life.

Hone competes in the same rank with adult jokey.

His unique balancing skill and extremely light weight make this young lad a formidable opponent.

The faster he makes, the broader he smiles. Only true passion can unleash the power inside.


The event was initiated as a way to express gratitude to buffaloes after working for farmers throughout the year. Apart from the must-see buffalo racing, the week-long festival is offering a wide range of fun-filled activities that have been created to also mark the importance of the buffalo; such as, the Most Healthy Buffalo Contest, Buffalo Fashion Contest and a parade of beautifully-decorated buffalo carts. Other highlights include a Miss Farmer Beauty Contest, Amulet Contest and Thai Martial Arts Contest.


Cinematographed by

Piya Khaisaengthong

Kriangkrai Sudprasoet

 

The Trip of No Return Home

The Road from Agartala to Dhalai is insanely curved across the high mountain. More than 70% area is hilly and forest covered. The terrain is mostly undulating and hilly. My stuffs were shook back and forth inside the car’s trunk.

Luckily, I didn’t pack any fragile stuff in my luggage, just ordinary things that kept us alive enough while traveling in such an unusual place. But I was quite familiar with this kind of experience before. Because I surly knew that there was a round-trip ticket await for us in the end. No matter how far you go. There is something waiting to take you back home.

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But after I met Shyana and Ripana Chakma. I started to think about the trip that I didn’t familiar with.

          The trip of no return home

Let me give you some brief info about our trip. My journey leaded us to Dhalai district in the state of Tripura, northeast of India. We exchanged our discussions with Chakma people, a Buddhism ethnic group who migrated from Bangladesh to settle down here in Dhalai.

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A long time ago, Chakma used to live in the east side bay of Bengal. But something which was called State Borders has been crossed on this territory, separated Chakma people from the rest. They became the minority groups who were left behind in India, Burma and Bangladesh, mostly living in Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.

Even flourishing hills in Chittagong are still engulfed by harshly flames of war and political conflicts. A small amount Chakma people who survived have decided to leave their homeland for better, peaceful and secure places.

Tripura was the one place that they were looking for.

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After I became a witness in the wedding ceremony of a young couple in the village of Andrarchara, Our faithful guide, Mr. Rega, introduced us to Shyana and Ripana Chakma, the migrant husband and his wife.

“We chose here because it was fertile and there were Chakma people living here Shyana Chakma said, 50 years old man. He talked about his reason to settle down in Dhalai. His shack is made from bamboo sticks with tightly space for only 2 persons. His house is surrounded by vegetable gardens that the couple has been put a lot of effort to make it flourishing for years. The only sanctuary place left on strange land.

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“It isn’t comfortable here but it isn’t difficult either. If it was possible, we didn’t want to leave our home” Shyana paused a second. “We still have brothers and sisters there, but we must leave”

The branches of trees were shaken by the strong wind. I looked around the vegetable gardens and saw a bright sunlight revealed the vast plains with several households in the area. Even it seemed to be peaceful here but exchanging previous life and people who were left behind is such an unbearable painful experience.

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“What did you carry along in those times” I asked.

Shyana hesitantly looked at Ripana. They discussed with eyes. The wife walked into their bamboo hut and came out with a red worn plastic bag. Ripana put her hands together up to the head before unpacking the plastic bag.

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Only 2 items were inside, one is a carefully folded picture of Buddha and another is a photo of Sadhanananda Mahathero, the deceased noble monk who were the center of Chakma people.

For every backpack that I’ve met, we usually keep important stuffs that keep us survive and help us return home safely. But for banished people like Chakma, it seemed the concept of “important stuffs” is far more difference than us.

We keep stuffs to save our life. How about our soul?

The things in the plastic bag remind them not to forget the past, the memories and the people.

There are travelers without a ticket to come back home.

Suphachai Thongsak Producer of Tipitaka

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Could we live with Big brothers?

How can we reduce risks and improve life of all elephants?

Creating the haven for them is an answer.


Baan Tha Klang village in Surin province, Thailand, is a hallmark of Asian elephant’s sanctuary.

Its unique and innovative concept aims at improving the living conditions of captive elephants.

By providing economic sustainability for their mahouts through responsible volunteer tourism.

The 180+ elephants present in the Surin Elephant Study Center.

The Surin Project helps improving these living conditions

and give these elephants the opportunity to roam freely and behave naturally.

Make them stay off Bangkok’s streets.


This is the only place on the planet that shows how human can be harmonized with big brothers.

Care and respect


One Moment: Documania

Cinematographer

Piya Khaisaengthong

Son of The Ocean

What makes you are a good diver?

Hi-tech equipment, best instructors or money?

You need nothing, if you were ‘Son of the Ocean’


Moken are a tribe in the Andaman Sea, Thailand

They live a semi-nomadic lifestyle.

90% of their life depend on the ocean

Which make them become the real life mermaid.


They can hold breath twice longer than us.

They can see underwater clearly even 4 meters away.

The Moken live off the sea’s creatures and plants by using simple tools such as nets and spears to forage for food.

Scientists have discovered that young Moken children have underwater vision that’s twice as good as European children of the same age.

They drew public attention in 2004, when most of them managed to escape the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 250,000 people by relying on their intimate knowledge of the sea.


Thanks to the vast ocean,

Their best life instructor.


This is one of our beloved project in 2017.
A feature documentary film “Conman and the Sea”

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The Rain of Dharma: When consciousness and concentration meet

The pilgrimage season to Hoshin- ji has started from January until early February when the weather is severely cold. All the monks leave the monastery in group of 10 to 15 and go to different parts of town for about 4 hours in the morning.

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Monks generally wear traditional clothes. The hat is worn by the zen monk whenever he leaves the monastery. It is designed to block his view of the outer world and to concentrate his consciousness within his own being as he walks through the city.

They do not stand in front of each door but walk along the road, uttering in a friendly manner, “Ho….” Which means

The Rain of Dharma.

Hearing the sound from a distance, people emerge from their homes and donate small amount of money or rice. As Buddha teach monks not to attend in any activity concerning production, pilgrimage season is a traditional practice of begging that follows the teachings of Buddha. Every house must be visited no matter rich or poor. The monks must not anticipate for alms.

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When the monks receive, they bow deeply. To bow, especially to a small child, is good discipline for breaking down one’s ego. Moreover, to receive this sincere donation from common people encourages the monk to train himself for the benefit of all sentient beings. All donations are collected into one box and used for the monks’ daily maintenance.

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Bun kosalwat  Producer of Tripitaka

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