It’s been 2 months since I visited my friend Paiboon in the forest monastery of Wat Pa Don Hiay Soke, and I’ve finally finished the video interview I filmed with him there. I hope you enjoy it.
It was a tremendous learning experience for me, personally, spiritually, as well as technically. I’ve always wanted to visit with Paiboon again ever since I first visited him in 2007. I’ve had the idea of filming an interview with him for some time, to let Paiboon’s friends back in Singapore see how he’s doing and to see a little of what life is like in the forest monastery.
Somewhere along the line, during filming and editing, I realized that the story could be better served by concentrating on the content that was more universal, rather than simply personal, and more people could hopefully benefit from hearing Paiboon speak.
There was a wealth of material I didn’t use, but don’t worry that it’ll go to waste. Paiboon and I have something else to take care of that – something even better, but it’s been delayed due to the floods in Thailand, so the announcement will have to wait.
I haven’t filmed and edited a video since my student days in 2000, so please forgive the errors in the video. I ambitiously took on the project with a Canon 7D, a professional camera that even the pros need to know how to use to get the best out of. I also had to relearn an editing app from the ground up. Working only on the weekends and weekday nights I had free added to the long time it took for me to finally finish.
This video wouldn’t have been possible without three people. First, my friend Junming of Haroko Studio was the one who persuaded me to get off my ass and actually do it. Secondly, Jason of Brotherhood Films who taught me everything I needed to know to actually film something, and generously lent me the equipment I needed to get it done. Thirdly, my fiancé, who was a hundred percent behind me going off for a week by myself to a secluded village in Thailand. I can’t thank the three of them enough.
And of course, special thanks to Paiboon for agreeing to do this, and the patience of everyone at Wat Pa Don Hiay Soke, who must have wondered what this non-Thai speaking foreigner was doing running around with his camera everywhere. Thanks too to the friends I made there; Sor and Zai, who helped me breach the language barrier and kindly made sure I stayed fed.
I had the good fortune to spend a lot of my time with Paiboon, simply sitting around in the temple or doing a one-day road trip around north Thailand. We talked a lot, about Buddhism, life, and of personal things. I met so many friendly and helpful people in Wat Pa Don Hiay Soke, and managed to visit places off the beaten path thanks to Paiboon.
I feel grateful for the entire experience, and I can’t believe I ever hesitated to go.