This morning, we started at 5:30AM with giving alms to the monks. We all sat in a row on the side of the street with a bucket of sticky rice and we waited for the monks arrive. When they came in line, we quickly pulled out small balls of rice for distribution – there were monks from five temples in total. From our seats, we could see monks of different age groups- they range from teenagers to men in their sixties.
We later learnt from the tour guide that there are three types of monks in Laos: firstly, every boy must enter the temple when they are young, and they can choose to stay and serve in the temple for a period ranging from 3 months to 10 years. Secondly, when a family member passes away, the family must choose another member to serve in the temple after the memorial. Thirdly, some would choose to become permanent monks, and they would stay in their temples forever, studying Buddhist wisdoms and books. These monks could never get married, but they can still contact their parents and family. All the monks have sacrifices to their lives- they are restricted to certain activities, and they are only allowed two meals a day.
After arriving at Bangkok, we went to collect our bags and checked in again. Then we walked back to the gate where we all sat down to share and reflect on feelings about this trip. While reflecting on the trip, we all felt that this was a really great experience and we are very lucky to be living in a comfortable environment in Hong Kong. Also, we shared some ideas on what we felt about the community, where we compared it with Hong Kong; the people in Laos were really friendly and they are willing to be helping people out no matter what, but most of the people in Hong Kong would be counting on how much they would receive rather than how much they would give. Overall this trip is a great opportunity for us to see how lucky we are and to cherish the things we have now.
Bloggers: Spring Cheng and Mimi Chung