My dear Kacvey

On every second Monday of October, and on every fourth Thursday of November, Canadians and Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving. A statutory holiday has been established both in Canada and in the US to allow citizens to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest.

As you have quite a number of close Canadian and American friends, you certainly are on the list of the guests who are invited to celebrate the Thanksgiving in their home during this auspicious day of the year.

Enjoy the traditional turkey meal, and the football game on TV featuring the Detroit Lions! and do bear in mind these words by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Let us pause here for a moment and reflect on the value of Thanksgiving with regards to Khmer, expatriates or otherwise. In Khmer Buddhist rites and customs, we also have days when we do prayers of thanks and pay gratitude to divinities, nature and ancestors: Chaul-Chégn Vassar, Bonn Pchoum Ben, Baing Skaul, Om Touk Sampéas Preah Khè, Ârk Ambok, Poun Phnom etc … The names differ, the spirit does not.

But here are some societal and down-to-earth questions that we all should deeply ponder not while eating but while the mind is at work:

– Whom does the poor or the dispossessed have to be thankful to?

– Whom does the one who lost his/her land and roof to land grabbers have to be thankful to?

– Whom do those who lost their forest habitat to foreign corporations have to be thankful to?

– When rivers and lakes are appropriated and controlled by foreigners, whom do local fishermen have to be thankful to?

– Whom do the unemployed and the laid-off have to be thankful to?

Be well, Kacvey!


Update: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday 26 November 2015

To paraphrase Henri David Thoreau, we are grateful for what we are and have and our thanksgiving is perpetual.

But Victor Hugo went even further when he said: “To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and knows where it must go. Your prayer knows much about it than you do.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Kacvey!