Trying to Understand
I’m not one of those folks who gets off bashing everything they don’t understand about Thailand and the Thai people but I had two questions I’ve yet to receive a satisfactory response to. They’re not meant to be insulting. I just really would love if someone could explain this to me.
Thailand has to be the migraine headache capital of the world. Or maybe I just happen to attract people who have a propensity for them. Seriously though, I’ve never met so many people in such a small sample size that complain that they suffer from migraines. And I’m not talking about the run of the mill headache here. I’ve had more Thai women tell me that they’ve been hospitalized for headaches than anywhere else in the world.
According to some websites on migraines I’ve checked out they say that about 16% of all people will experience at least one migraine over the course of their life. Some will have a migraine headache multiple times over their life but most only have one. Based on that, what are the odds that out of say 100 Thai women I know, AT LEAST 10 (probably closer to 12 or 13 but it’s not like I keep stats) have told me they’ve been hospitalized with a migraine headache during the time I’ve known them. Given that I’ve probably known the girls in the sample an average of less than one year, what kind of amazing odds would there have to be that 10% have all had a migraine in that short of a period?
I can already hear some people chuckling saying that maybe it’s an excuse (oh, not tonight honey, I have a headache haha). But why? I mean, if some girl you haven’t spoken to in a month hits you up and you ask how she’s been and she tells you she’s been in the hospital with headaches for 3 days what point was her to make up a story? I have to believe she’s being honest.
I don’t think it’s environmental because I’ve heard it from girls living in Krabi, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and various parts of Isaan.
Am I just running into some freakish statistical anomaly? Do Thais really do suffer from more headaches than most people? Do they carry more stress around as a result of the whole mai ben rai attitude?
Anybody who can shed some light on this care to comment?
Buddhism and Meditation
Maybe this is related to the above question but I recently started asking every Thai friend I run into whether or not they meditate. So far I’ve received 80% no and 20% seldom. But don’t Buddhism and meditation go hand in hand?
I mean, some of these folks are the type who wai every spirit house, temple, and shrine they pass. Some wear big Buddha amulets for good luck, good health, etc. Many regularly go to temple and make merit.
But they don’t mediate.
I’m not passing judgement. I’m well aware that not every Christian goes to church every Sunday, every Muslim doesn’t abstain from booze, and not every Jew holds off on pork. I’m just curious. Because if you ask a Christian why he doesn’t go to church he can probably articulate his reasons. Same for the Jews and Muslims. But when I ask why Thais don’t meditate I’ve gotten answers ranging from “I’m not a monk,” to simply a blank stare as if the question itself was stupid.
I know that Thais don’t practice the most strict form of Buddhism and have a lot of other influences on their take on the religion but when you think of Buddhism you think of meditation.
I don’t even have any theories on this one. I’m completely clueless. Anybody who can shed some light on this for me gets some karma points from me