Rain, Man

In Southeast Asia, Buddhist monks measure their seniority in the number of “Buddhist rains retreats” or “wet seasons” that they have experienced since taking vows. For everybody else, the wet season is traditionally a time of hard work where rice cultivation takes priority. It is a time when fields and forests also fill with delicious plants and animals. It is a hard time, but it can also be a good time.

Cats and dogs

In the wet season, transport is difficult and, in some places, even short journeys are impossible. Doing research over this time means getting muddy feet and joining the soggy masses as they traipse through puddles and across swollen creeks. Anybody writing about Southeast Asia, its societies and economies, cannot ignore the importance of the wet season, and its impact on all aspects of life.

We shouldn’t forget that getting poured on is all part of the deal. Nobody escapes the rains.