Jury Duty

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Some might think that I’m a bit weird that I think Jury duty is interesting, I recently served and became $52 richer. This is not my first time, actually third time, and second time for this county. My first time was in Queens County, in Jamaica courthouse, Jamaica, NY. I was only in my early 20s and we had to show up at the court house at 9 am and stayed till 5 pm for a week regardless of being picked for a case or not. The jury assembly room is huge; I think it’s over 300 jurors called at one time. This one is a lot smaller, there were only about 65 of us in the jury assembly room, and I only had to serve for 3 days, and then dismissed.

Some might ask why trial by jury. Why call men and women away from their affairs to help try lawsuits in Court? Why not have a judge, or several judges, to hear and decide all cases? As stated in the United States Supreme Court, speaking of trial by a jury said:

“Twelve men of the average of the community, comprising men of little education, men of learning and men whose learning consists only in what they have themselves seen and heard; the merchant, the mechanic, the farmer, the laborer; these sit together, consult, apply their separate experience of the affairs of life to the facts proven and draw a unanimous conclusion. This average judgment thus given it is the effort of the law to obtain. It is assumed that twelve men know more of the common affairs of life than does one man, that they can draw wiser and safer conclusions from admitted facts, thus occurring, than can a single judge.”

Of course, time has changed, the language in the United States Supreme Court needs to be revised to reflect the current state that we’re in, as the judge of this case that I was sitting in during the juror selection process is a woman, and the jurors are men and women.

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Cleaning Wat Don Cemetery Part II

It’s commonly understood that once a person is buried, it is considered a final resting place for most culture, but not for the Thai and Lao culture as I’ve heard and understood. As for this story told by Pah Un, Wat Don Cemetery is located in Sathon district in Bangkok, Thailand. It’s well known in the area, and the graveyard contains burial remains of people of Chinese heritage. It is mainly for those that pass away and have no relatives to come and claim their bodies, such as those that die of a sudden death like a car accident or any type of accident, which is considered ‘Tai Hong’, and their bodies would be buried here temporary until being dug back up again to be cleaned, and performed a final ceremony of cremation, those spirits would then consider to be rested in peace. I think it’s a bit shocking to the Westerners, but very common practice in the Southeast Asia region.

This was a story told by Pah Un…

I remember seeing something similar to this on TV, where they would take skeletons, which I remember vividly, was seeing the skull and other parts and washed it in an aluminum basin, very similar to washing vegetables, or clothing, but how they actually are doing it, I’ve never seen. I wanted to be a part of it, probably would get all kinds of ‘Boun’ (charity), as they promised in their poster, at the moment I’m just full of greed for ‘Boun’.

After putting some thoughts into it, I called and asked my friends to join me for such a noble events, to go and clean, clear a cemetery. I tried to explain the process to them as best I could without scaring them. I asked, asked, and asked; surprisingly none would volunteer to go with me. The majority would say that they are afraid of ghost, afraid that the image might stay in their mind, afraid that they wouldn’t be able to go to sleep, and even asked if I’m not afraid. I told them that there’s nothing to be afraid of because the events will take place during the daytime, but bottom line, they all told me ‘If you’re not afraid, then go by yourself!’

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Cleaning Wat Don Cemetery, Part I

I think community service is a great way to give back to our local community. People become involved in community service for a range of reasons, for some, serving community is altruistic act, for others it is a punishment. I’m going to talk about the altruistic act only because I think it’s noble for someone to give up their time and energy for the benefits of others.

I found an interesting article in Koosang Koosom Magazine, written in Thai language by Pah Un, which she admitted that she likes to do charity work, not that she is a good person, but deep down inside, it’s mainly for her own selfish reasons. I personally think that her reasons were a bit odd, but I guess not odd among the Thai community. She might not think that she is a good person because of her selfish motives, doing something to get things in return, but I think its all how you look at it, from my personal point of view, I think she is a good person in the Thai community, and there should be more like her. Most of us do charity work expecting things in return, for some of us that claimed that we don’t want anything in return, I think we still want to see the happiness and joy from those that we helped, what we received back is enough reward for us to continue to do good deed.

Pah Un did many good deeds for the Thai Community, but she always prayed that her good deed will reward ‘her’, either in this life or next life. She would buy a casket to donate every month hoping that she wouldn’t be involved in any type of accident, she’s not afraid to die in a car accident or anything along that line, but afraid to be handicapped. She donates her blood every 3 months, and is an organ donor hoping that she will not have any major illness or disease, because if she does then they can’t use her organ. She donates money to buy books for less fortunate children hoping that she will always have good memory, and that she will not have Alzheimer’s disease at an older age. The question that she gets most from people was ‘Have you seen any result yet?’, and her replied was ‘I can’t tell you yet because life is a long journey, but at least the reward is in my heart, I get to see many good things in life, even if I’m not rich, but at least I’m not poor either.’ I personally think that she has an odd way of looking at things, but that’s not important, the most important thing is the good deeds that she is doing for others.

Then one day, she saw a sign from a Thae Jewh of Thailand Foundation, inviting anyone to help with a charitable event in cleaning and clearing an old cemetery. As soon as she saw that sign, a thought went through her head and she said, ‘I like to do charity work and I’ve done most that you can think of, but never done anything like this before, I’m curious as to how they clean and clear the cemetery’, so she signed up for the event.

Her adventure was very interesting; I would have gone with her if she asked me to join her. I’ll continue with Part II, describing the event in detail, please come back and read ‘Cleaning Wat Don Cemetery part II.’

Wat Don Cementery

Continued at Cleaning Wat Don Cemetery Part II