I was walking by Erawan shrine about two months ago on the upper walkway between Siam Center and the Chitlom station. Thinking about if I should go down and photograph the shrine, which I saw so many days and walked by so many days. There were an awful lot of people down there milling around.
A business woman hustled by me on the walkway. Full suit with a skirt, in a hurry, wearing sunglasses and carrying a briefcase. I moved out of her way because she looked like she’d run me over otherwise.
I was surprised when she stopped, put her briefcase down, took off her sunglasses, bent her hands and turned her shoulders to face the shrine. She bent her head down and prayed in an intense 2 second moment.
This was probably a minor event. A busy person walking, maybe between meetings, taking a moment to pray as a part of everyday life.
I wanted to mention this because it framed my impression of the Erawan shrine as a place that’s important. Not just a “tourist attraction” as I’ve seen it described so many times in the news today.
I didn’t understand the context the Erawan shrine closely. I didn’t know why a shrine existed in such a dense shopping area. When I saw a woman behave so intensely and with such reverence toward it became clear that I didn’t really understand how important it was – and might take a while to understand how important it was – so I held off for a while on going down to take photographs. Today I regret that.