The Grain of Rice

Still remember some words we had to say before having lunch in primary school?

“All plates of rice,
all food you’re given,
are all valuable.
There are loads of people,
lacking food out there.
Think of little kids
with little black eyes
who cannot even have what we have.
…”

I don’t remember quite well anymore but I still remember really well what it was about and how true it really was.

Well, for Thailand, rice is one of the most important exported goods. And ofcourse, most of Thai families have rice for 3 meals everyday.

Days ago, my friend’s host mother bought a box of Thai rice and showed her joyfully. But what she told me was, “She was crazy already. She didn’t have to be that exaggerating. It’s the rice that I eat everyday in Thailand. Ofcourse, I’m not surprised.”

To me, I don’t say those words I used to say in primary school with the whole class at the same time anymore but I still recall why we had to say and its meaning. I never forget and everytime I’m full and about to leave some rice or any kind of food on my plate, I realize. Words of those and pictures of poor people coming up. So I rest a little in order to eat more later.

I don’t know about others but rice has made me, “Me.” Because of rice that my mum and my granny cooked for me, I grow up. Because of Thailand, the land full of rice, I grow up.

If you can, get only what you’re gonna eat and think first before you’re gonna waste.

My friend’s words might be a joke to her and someone.. but personally, it’s the rice of Thailand that I’m proud of.

8 responses to “The Grain of Rice

  1. Yes…thai rice…
    I wont eat any other rice other than thai rice – “Hom Mali” type.
    The Chinese has a very funny way of ending their food when inviting to a treat..
    Never to finish off everything on the plate!
    This is to show that you are not a glutton.
    However you are to finish off every grain of rice at your own home.
    This is to prevent wastage.
    The older generation will tell you that if you do, then you will certain to marry a pock-faced wife.

  2. Hi Bow! It makes me smile to see that your back here writing again – at last I get to read your interesting stories again.. yea! :D.. Well that’s so true, we often take many things in our luxurious lifestyle for granted – food, especially magical rice, is so available to us yet not to others.. Both of us even tasted for 1 day what it’s like to be lost and without food in Granada.. Well tat was fun but I’d prefer we didn’t have that much stress 555.. That’s why I try to finish eating everything (except when sooo sick) and have joined 2 charities.. And that’s why we gave one homeless guy a pizza! Maybe we should give them rice.. Did you know some ancient Japanese believed that rice contained the essense of 8 gods? Do Thai believe anything about Thai rice?

    I love ur blog, keep writing!
    Wow, hew laew.. I so miss Thai rice..
    ps. I’ll try to find my password one day ja

  3. I agree with Maykin, we have so many luxuries and when it comes to food sometimes (most of the time in my case) we don’t realize how important it is and how lucky we are to have it. I am from hispanic decend and we too have rice 3 times a day, is a must, is what makes us who we are, although two different cultures our love for rice is unmeasurable. I believe is almost a tradition or a way of life for us both thais and hispanic people, living in Canada has made realize that not all cultures value its presence but the ones that do it is a valuable part of their live. I am so glad to know that Thais also love rice they way I do, for living outside my own country I know is hard to get the REAL stuff as I sometimes call it, maybe this is how Thais living outside of Thailand feel too.
    Thanks for your post for it did not only showed me another view of Thai life but it reminded me of my own culture which I love some much as well as Thai culture.

  4. Oceanic Experience

    Regardless of this country rice or that country rice, this fruit or that fruit, this grass or that grass… everything is an food to the stomach. Starting from throat to stomach everything is JUST an food, only it is the mouth of the mind which craves and chooses for particular kind of food. When one experiences and understands the in-depth concept of the meaning of food for the stomach then what one chooses to eat doesn’t matter at all.

    Wish & request Richard Barrow to post the pic ( vulture waiting for the kid to die ) from this website http://kevincarterfilm.com/synopsis.html where this photographer has committed suicide due the depression of what he has physically experienced.

    All the so called above mentioned prayer will be only an so called ritual prayer which comes from the throat. The meaning of the prayer has to be felt in-depth in the heart and live in it experientially….understanding the VALUE of FOOD.

    happiness…all beings…

  5. Oceanic Experience

    The Photo in that website is the “Pulitzer prize” winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine. The picture depicts a famine child crawling towards an United Nations food camp, located an kilometer away.

    The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat it. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Cartner who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken.

    The months later he committed suicide due to depression….

  6. There is a Tang Dynasty poem which I learnt when I was about 10 years old. It goes something like this :

    Planting rice in the afternoon,
    Sweats dripping down into the soil,
    Do you realize the rice in the plate,
    Every grain comes the hard way?

  7. Japanese has similar itadakimasu prayer which means “I receive this food with humble gratitude” It acknowledges the efforts of the farmers & others in bringing the food to the table.

  8. Another Poem written by the same Tang dynasty Li Kun is
    春种一粒粟,秋收万颗子.四海无闲田,农夫犹饿死
    In Spring plant a grain,
    In Autumn harvest ten thousand seeds,
    There are limitless of padi fields,
    But the farmers still die of hunger.