DONE THE BARS? BEEN THROUGH THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE? SEEN ALL THE LADY BOY SHOWS? WHY NOT CONSIDER BECOMING A MONK? YES, YOU TOO CAN TOP OFF YOUR HOLIDAY IN EXOTIC THAILAND BY PLAYING AT BEING A MONK. WE OFFER AN EXCITING RANGE OF MONASTIC PACKAGES AT ATTRACTIVE PRICES TO FIT ANY BUDGET. EXCELLENT FOOD, GREAT PHOTO OPS, GUIDED TOURS IN THE AREA – AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO BECOME A BUDDHIST. FOR BOOKINGS AND FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE GO TO http://www.monkforamonth.com/ Yes, me too. At first I honestly thought it was a joke as well. But then, one sometimes gets the feeling that much of Buddhism in Thailand is a joke. What is more interesting is that the organization that runs this mock-monk program, The Blood Foundation, has a distinct Christian leaning. One of its two published donors, the Partners Relief and Development and the Khom Loy Development Foundation, is strongly Christian. These donors in turn receive support from Christian organizations like the Mekong Minority Foundation and controversial groups like the Richard Haugland Foundation; see http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/06/361357.shtml. This is not to say that all Christian aid organizations have a conversion agenda, but many do, and sometimes it’s carefully concealed under the guise of ‘development’, ‘cultural exchange’ and ‘leadership programs’. This way they get brownie points for doing good, receive donations from people who wouldn’t usually give to missionaries, get help from volunteers unaware that they are helping to evangelize native peoples, and make converts too. A hundred and fifty years of conventional evangelism in Thailand has produced a very merge harvest so ‘development’ has become part of the new strategy. Conventional missionaries are not allowed to operate in Burma so now Burmese refugees in Thailand have become the ‘target people’ like the hill tribes before them. And it’s mainly financed by good-hearted folk in the West unaware of the hidden agenda. And the Buddhists? Not savvy enough or concerned enough to worry too much about it. After all, everything is impermanent, isn’t it.