Announcing JEAM or Jerry’s Elephant Awareness Month! What’s this all about you might ask. Well gentle reader, I’m glad you asked. Here in Thailand there seems to be a dichotomy when it comes to the elephant.
Tong Suk at the Elephant Nature Park
On one hand the elephant is truly revered. Elephants are a critical part of Thai history. Epic battles were fought with the warriors riding elephants. They appear in all aspects of Thai mythology, history and culture. They are used in marketing and advertising to a very great extent. “Chang” means
Elephant in Thai; Chang beer is the most popular and heavily advertised brand in Thailand.
Temple Candle Holder
Several Flags Included the Elephant
On the other hand the elephant has been and is being exploited by man. The suffering is horrid, just horrid. From logging, now illegal and mostly eradicated in Thailand but still legal and prevalent in neighboring Burma, to street begging to tourist performances and trekking elephants are being abused.
One terrified baby elephant, begging on the streets of Chiang Mai
Enter JEAM. For the next month every time I go anywhere with a camera I’ll be collecting images of elephant things. Signs, brands, statues, stuffed toys and anything else I happen to see. I’ll then share the images with you in hopes that when you see them you will feel a bit of compassion for the real elephants here and around the world.
Tong Suk will never have to beg or suffer other abuses
Oh, since we are on Thai time and to commemorate the 18 to 24 month gestation period that elephants endure to continue their species, Jerry’s Elephant Awareness Month will from today through the last of October and may continue into early November depending on my travel schedule.
Wood carvings are very common
Pounded silver is common as well