Meeting My Luck at Wat Chaiwatthanaram
In this blog post, Khun Poom talks about his luck of becoming a conservator at Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and unexpectedly finding his own form of riches in the form of a lacquered Buddha statue.
Many times while I was unemployed, my dad always said to me, "Sometimes, if you want the right job for you, you have to rely on luck." I did not want to rely on luck so much, because it looked like an excuse to be lazy and unenthusiastic. I continued to search for my next job, until I saw a job posting: this job was unknown in Thailand, but it interested me. Although I didn’t have much knowledge of the job, and my English skills are low, I chose to apply, and now I have a job at Wat Chaiwatthanaram working with the World Monuments Fund. I have to thank my luck about the job alone, but also to the story that has been at work here.
The first task I was assigned was to clean the Buddha that sits beside the restored Meru cloister. The Buddha is dilapidated and had not being cleaned for a long time, as seen from the moss and dirt that covered the Buddha making a black-green color. A month ago, I spent an entire day of work cleaning the Buddha, sanding and polishing to remove the stains. Calmly, the cleaning of the Buddha must be done small point by small point— many toothbrushes broke because I had to use them to clean the Buddha.
Many times when people ask about my job, they are often confused when I give the answer of Assistant Conservator. I have to explain the work done: "Clean Buddha and repair the historic." Many people understand immediately what I do, even if this job is not known in Thailand. Many people joke about it. They say “If you find some numbers, please come talk with me!” I smile and agree, but ignore it and continue to work hard. It is unusual for foreigners. In Thailand, many people buy the lottery hoping for riches. Many people rely on the Holy Script and try to find these imaginary numbers. Einstein noted, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," and many Thai people still adhere to this principle, but I cannot see the imaginary numbers.
Once, as I was determined to clean the Buddha, I found a strange black spot on the statue. I thought it to be moss, but it was too rough to scrub and my brush broke off. I later realized it was a Lacquer piece (or Lak in Thai. I never thought Lacquer would be there, because the Buddha is so weathered on the outside. This showed how the former Buddhas were once gilded. I felt like I found a real treasure— it's better than the winning lottery numbers. It is a driving force in my work.
So finally, I have to thank luck, as I work at Wat Chai. Although I won’t find the winning lottery numbers for the chance of riches, I get something better. The experience, motivation, new knowledge and impressing colleagues. I must be thankful to have found luck.