A little while ago a friend of mine showed me a photo devoted to a lazy llama named Lisa. I thought it was funny, as I’m particularly fond of animal jokes as well as humor about laziness. Nonetheless, this morning was dominated by dealing with laziness and so it’s a worthy commentary on the lazy Lahu Llamas we have around us here at Legacy sometimes, as well as the hard work it is to figure out what is really going on when one does not know the language of the land. At any rate, I hope you are all amused.
Last night, basically the entire student body asked (and received, from me) permission to go watch a boxing match (probably a Muay Thai match, to be precise) at a local temple. I kept the matter in mind, because the fact that music was playing until very late at night meant that even though I had to work this morning, it was obvious that not everyone had to. Therefore, I was less than surprised this morning when the tired students (who probably hadn’t slept very well) thought (mistakenly) that they were going to be off of their farm duties. But that was only the beginning of troubles.
As it happens, all of the employees at the office are Buddhist, and so all of them got off (apparently this wasn’t known very far in advance either, and I had never heard of the holiday at all until this morning). That includes our driver. Fortunately, one of the other teachers had been practicing the stickshift with an old white truck, so it was parked at the school. After a couple of phone calls the students got on the truck (which was dangerously overcrowded) and after numerous stalls it got off to the farm.
At that point, I thought the problem was done, but sadly, it was not. Later on, I got a call about the whereabouts of two of the farm employees who were not Buddhist and who therefore should not have been off on a Buddhist holiday, and they were relaxing and using the computer and all of that, and of course their boss was not very pleased with it. At first he called to say that he was very unhappy and that they were in trouble.
Of course, when it was later found out that it was an actual Thai national holiday, that he was less upset and more apologetic, but still, that’s a lot of work for a lazy holiday. To make a long story short, I ended up getting over half a dozen phone calls over a four hour period to deal with a holiday that should have been known about and planned for. I’m not very happy about that. To make it even less pleasant, none of the students could explain to me what the day actually meant when I asked them in class. If you’re getting off of work for a day, you need to be able to say what that day is, or it’s completely useless.
But I also got to thinking about a different matter. Thai calendars show a lot of holidays. I was reminded of the Catholic Europe, with all of their feast days and holidays and general lack of work ethic. Just like culture helps explain a big reason why Northern Europe is far better off than Southern Europe, the same is true for Southeast Asia. Sadly, in many of the wealthier countries of East Asia workers are heavily exploited and kept from their vacations, but in their home countries everyone wants to be a lazy llama, it appears. It’s hard to understand the price of our laziness when we see little reward for our labor. There are so many problems that must be dealt with simultaneously, so many constraints before lazy llamas can be turned into productive and hardworking societies. But how to tackle them all?