Two weeks ago I went to Hua Hin for a holiday with my husband. We went for a stroll along the beach on a beautiful warm night. As we walked in the moonlight, waves lapping at our feet, I spotted some garbage left in the sand by picnickers.
I interrupted our peaceful walk to go over, pick-up the refuse, and deposit it in the nearest trash can. Then I returned to continue my romantic walk with my husband. As I walked I wondered....what compelled me to do that? So many people walked the beach that day and no one else threw out the garbage. Why me?
As I thought about it I realized it's because of the Maanii book .
Why did I pick up that garbage? It was a reflex, an automatic behavior I learned from reading Maanee as a child. In one story the teacher tells all the children to pick up a stick and bring it with them. The children ask why they need a stick but the teacher says nothing.
Finally they get to the market and the teacher tells the the students if they each use their stick to pick up a piece of garbage the market will soon be clean. And the students did it. She then explained how the market represents the earth and if each person can do a little bit it makes a big difference.
That story has always stayed with me. It was an important lesson in life and I learned it from the Maanee books. That's what makes the Manii books special. They are not just textbooks to learn Thai. They also teach the morals of the Thai people. They are an insight to understanding what it means to be Thai.
It's one thing to learn the language of Thailand and quite another to acquire an understanding of the people and their culture. Maanee allows you to do that.
It's the very book Thai children themselves have used for decades. The book relates stories which teach how to treat your elders, how to great others and how to help others. We teach our children how to read with Maanee and we teach them how to be Thai with Maanee
I really think Maanee is an important book to use when you learn to read Thai. In Thai schools the books were used in grades 1-6. Students read two books each year for a total of twelve by the time they were 10. Now, I don't expect you to be Thai when you've finished but I'm excited to watch you acquire an understanding of what it means to be Thai as you learn our language.
Language is so much more than words. It's understanding. And it's thinking. Want to have a conversation with a Thai person? Your comprehension will increase if you understand the culture and the perspective of your speaking partner. That's why I know reading Maanee is the right thing for you to do. It became a part of me and I hope you will let it become a part of you.