Friday, May 9, 2014

Wat Rong Khun will never be the same

I've been to this place a few times, it's really unique and kind of startling.  It's up in Chiang Rai, Thailand, the straight up northernmost province in the country.

They had an earthquake up there last week.  Variously reported as 6.1 or 6.3, either way a Californian just smiles and says, yeah, that'll set off the car alarms.  That's below our threat level, we Californians, the earthquake-ready building codes in Los Angeles keep us safe from harm in a low-six quake.  Not everybody has it so good.  Recall that thousands can be injured in many central Asian countries in quakes lower than that.  Those mud-brick houses don't hold up so well.

And it looks like this temple suffered what might be a fatal blow too.  I'm no engineer, and I haven't seen any engineering reports, but those cracks look pretty real to me.

Not to worry.  The guy who put this thing together will probably just do whatever it takes to make it right, even if he has to start over again from scratch.  He has consistently refused money from the government or the monks, and he has turned down post-quake offers of help too.  He's an artist, a painter, his stuff has real merit.  He's also a great fund raiser.  I wish him luck with this new challenge.

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