Quiet, solemn tradition was nowhere to be found when a 180 kg. man planning to become a monk paraded through Pattaya sitting on a towed jet ski with a brass band and waving female assistants.
Satit Puakpong, 20, undertook the most non-traditional of “naga” processions to Chaimongkol Temple July 10 with the blessing of his family of jet ski racers and owners.
The parade set out from Jomtien Beach with parents Kritsana and Saroj Puakpong carrying sets of monks’ robes at the head of the procession, followed closely by a brass band.
Satit Puakpong arrives on his chariot en route to ordaining as a novice monk.
Next came a lavishly decorated pickup truck that was towing a family jet ski. On the dry watercraft sat the imposing figure of Satit who, at 180 kilograms, was only slightly heavier than his cousin Kriangkrai Bunmachai who was holding a sun-blocking umbrella for his relative, accompanied by a host of pretty girls waving at spectators.
Astounded pedestrians and drivers could only smile, laugh and take pictures at the unique, co-ed approach to a normally staid, male-only affair.
Saroj said he felt it was appropriate for his son to head to the temple for his ordination on a jet ski as the family not only owns rental jet skis, but because his brother is a professional jet ski racer and his uncle is an Asian gold medalist in the same sport.
The garish exhibition turned things down a few notches when it pulled up at the South Pattaya temple. From there, things went much more conventionally, with Abbot Jariya Piwat ushering Satit into the monkhood under the Buddhist name “Ahpaparo.”