Historic time for Thailand

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This is an historic time for Thailand, according to Dr. Mano (formerly Dr. Mettanando Bhikkhu). Dr. Mano was the guest speaker at the Pattaya City Expats Club meeting on October 25. His previous talk to the PCEC was about Buddhism and its relevance to the modern world. Dr. Mano is a former monk well known in Thailand and overseas. He received two degrees from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok prior to his ordination; one being his MD in Medicine in 1981. He was the first monk graduated from Oxford University, where he was also awarded the Boden Prize of Sanskrit. He also was the first monk from Thailand to graduate from Harvard Divinity School. His most recent degree is a PhD from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

Dr. Mano has written a number of books in Thai and English introducing a new way of interpreting the Buddhist canon, including novels, dramas and more than 100 TV programs televised in Thailand for the promotion of social ethics. He is a prolific writer in English and Thai newspapers on the issues of social ethics. He presently is on the Committee for Buddhism Reformation of the National Reform Council of Thailand. He is also President of Palliative Care Thailand, Assistant Director for India Studies Centre at Thammasat University, and on the Ethics Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University.

Dr. Mano gives comments on Thailand’s coup history and his views on the current situation in Thailand along with his expectations.

Dr. Mano gave a brief history of Thailand’s political situation since 1933, when the country’s first constitution was adopted. Since then, he said, there have been 24 coups in Thailand: 13 of them were successful, and 11 were unsuccessful. He felt the present junta has made progress in fighting against corruption in Thailand.  He noted that they have shut down many brothels and casinos, and reduced the power of the mafia.  “But that doesn’t mean Thailand is corruption free,” he said.

He covered the state of affairs in Thailand under the current leadership and how their vision and policies for the country is affecting international investment, freedom of the press, the internet – Thai and Expat life in general. He said Thailand is entering a new chapter.  The country’s democratic system, police system, justice system, and election system are all being reformed. He said Thailand is facing an economic crisis, with a big wave of uncertainty after the first of next year. “It will be a bumpy road,” he predicted.

Palliative care is Dr. Mano’s primary interest as he is the president of Palliative Care Thailand. Here he explains to his PCEC audience about upcoming ASEAN training on palliative care that will be given in Bangkok in November.

According to Dr. Mano, a new constitution is supposed to be drafted by next June, and then there will be a referendum vote by the Thai people, hopefully 20 months from now. He provided his thoughts on the composition of Parliament and says that, above all, what the country needs most is education reform, including decentralization, more privatization, and less red tape from the government.

MC Ren Lexander presents the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation for his interesting and informative talk about the current political situation in Thailand and his expectations for the future.

After giving his views on the current political situation, he brought up his efforts to improve the lives of others through his Kalyanakarun Palliative Care Thailand Foundation, which offers courses for volunteers to become healthcare supporters.  The Foundation’s website (http://www.palliativecare-th.com/home#lifeisbeauty) notes it is a charity organization registered on April 18, 2013 under the leadership of Mano Mettanando Laohavanich, MD, PhD, lecturer of Chulabhorn International College of Medicine, Thammasat University, who has been working as spiritual advisor and meditation teacher for the chronically ill for over 30 years. The name of the foundation is originated from Sanskrit words: Kalyana (Beauty) + Karunya (Compassion). It offers regular training courses for healthcare volunteers to work as a team, focusing on “patient-centered” services.

Member Ren Lexander interviews Dr. Mano about his interesting and informative talk to the PCEC. Visit here to view the interview: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=goM2kreRy6A.

Dr Mano mentioned that he hopes to share his experience and that of his foundation members at the Second Intensive Palliative Care Training for Asean, which is to be held on November 9 through November 22 at Asia Airport Hotel near Don Mueang. Dr Mano’s Palliative Care work was highlighted in a recent Bangkok Post article (link: http://www.bangkokpost. com/lifestyle/social-and-lifestyle/744812/living-and-dying-beautifully.

Member Judith Edmonds conducts the PCEC’s Open Forum during its meeting where Expats can ask and answer questions about Expat living in Thailand.

After the presentation, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Judith Edmonds to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.

For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org.

MC Ren Lexander introduces guest speaker Dr. Mano at the October 25 meeting of the PCEC at the Tavern by the Sea restaurant.