As a Westerner living in an increasingly Westernized world, I sometimes forget that other people in other parts of the world developed the same sorts of ideas but with different implementations. Things I take for granted – for example, a base 10 number system – are not always the same around the world. One of these things happens to be the Gregorian Calendar. You know, the thing that tells you what day it is today? Well, while Thais use will often use the Gregorian calendar, they more commonly use a unique Buddhist Calender. The Thai Solar Calender is the official calendar of Thailand and, while it never used to line up, it currently follows the same pattern as the Gregorian (i.e. New Years is the same, 7 days a week, etc.). As confusing as this might seem, it’s relatively easy to convert the dates because the only real difference today is the year. Simply add 543 to the year and you’re good to go! So, while Year 0 on the Gregorian was instituted as the supposed birth of Christ, the Thai calendar sees Year 0 as the supposed death of Gautama Buddha.
I feel this may be relevant:
As Dr. Cooper points out, you don’t need chopsticks for most food in Thailand. Traditionally, like many cultures around the world, food was eaten by hand, but this changed in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Siamese King Mongkut brought about this and many other reforms that included adopting a spherical world geography as well as improvements to woman’s rights.
But it was his brother, vice-king Pinklao, who devised and implemented the modern Thai use of utensils. After watching the dinner etiquette of an American missionary, he chose the set of utensils from among those presented to be used at his dinners. In practice, this most often includes a fork, held in the left hand, and a spoon in the right. Knives are rarely used, and chopsticks are usually reserved for noodle dishes or dishes from other Asian cultures.