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Asia’s oldest cardinal turns 94, speaks of rice, TikTok, (and how to be Church)

“I have to thank my teacher. He did not convince me to be a priest, but he told me to study well.”

HE turns 94 years old on January 25, but he says he is not aware of it. He is dubbed a “legend” among Catholic Church leaders, but he does not want to broadcast the things he did.

He watches television, “a lot,” but he does not use a computer or a mobile phone.

Do you use a cellphone?


A cellphone. Do you use one?

Only the telephone, the old one. They answer it for me.

Do you watch television?

Of course.


No, but the television, about the news, about the people.

Do you have social media?

I have something. (Smiles)

I will have a TikTok with you.

I know TikTok. (Laughs)

Early every morning, he wakes up and walks around the property he built to serve the needs of the Catholic faithful, not only for the clergy, of Thailand and Asia.

He speaks to the flowers, the trees, most of which he planted himself, and the fish in the man-made lake in the middle of the property which he developed since the mid-1990s in a province outside Thailand’s capital.

He enjoys the early morning sun, and his early morning walk. And he talks of planting, of farming, of the soil, of life, like an expert.

“Now we have the lemon, we have banana, we have coconut,” he says, pointing at the trees surrounding his small residence across a sprawling cemetery that has become one of his most recent “projects.”

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