Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"""AMAZING""" Thailand

The Airport

So the list of complains go on and on about the new airport (name I still can’t pronounce nor spell). The tarmac is cracking up now and they have to close off many sections of the airport. Planes have to land elsewhere to refuel as traffic congested up due to section closure. Duty free shops breeching their contracts by occupying more space are now being faced with penalty and someone gonna get fried for “closing one eye”. Fortunately the control tower that somehow resembles the world’s largest inverted cigarette shoved into the ground is still standing. And just when you thought that things can not get any more worse or stupid, it hits you. Racing against the clock, I made it past customs. With ATM card on hand, I approached Siam Commercial Bank’s Currency Exchange.

I asked “Any ATM machine here? I need to make a withdrawal for exchange.”
Short answer back “No.”
“Where is ATM?”
“Can I go outside now that I checked in?”

Then the next farang beside me began to make a joke out of it “Mai dai mai dai, everything mai dai….(cannot cannot, everything cannot)”. My blood boils at airport planning. No ATM machines after check-in. Just what kind of image is the airport trying to paint about Thailand to tell the world? I flew with only 360 Baht in my pocket. Thailand – land of a Thousand Smiles. Airport – Terminal of a Thousand Dumb Asses. I wonder if wind too strong, the roof will fly off the airport terminal.

The Cinema

There is a great trilogy movie right now called King Naresuan. It is about the very detailed history of Thailand, how she was just provinces with independent Kings, about the wars, about the role Myanmar played during the pre-nationalized days of this country. The movie was made on a budget of BT$700,000,000. Yes, seven hundred million Baht. I asked if there were subtitles in English. A slow doubtful “Yes” came as the reply from the promoter beside the show schedule screen. Again I asked the same when I brought the movie tickets over the counter. “Yes” and the infamous Thailand smile I got from cashier. So I spent 3 hours in the movie, no sign of any subtitles. Gave a good one to the gay manager after the show and she-he only apologized. This is to be a BT$700,000,000 educational patriotic nation movie but what foreigners get to learn from it? We get to learn that Thai women in the past do not wear bras and are topless. Myanmar women however, are covered. King Naresuan, a great Thai movie rendered meaningless by incompetent useless clueless movie ushers. Second time I encountered this exact situation.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thai Wedding

Thai Wedding

Something interesting about a Thai wedding is that for what seems to be Chinese Red Packet (Ang Pow) to be given, use any nice envelope will do and put the money within. Then write you name across the front and stapler it right down the center, through the contents. Why I asked? Thais said then on the morning after the wedding, the bride and groom will have a hard time getting the money out. And when they are at it, they will see your name and be aware that you have contributed. My friend did that with his nails till they are all chipped out and yes, he remembered every one of them contributed.

The normal amount to give would be THB$500 (SGD$20 only - considered high) and you could bring your whole family along for that. No reservations required and let the seating mess up, it always does anyway. Even when the Thais are invited to Singapore for weddings, they will still stick to the same amount or lower and as such, your Thai tables will sure be money looser.

A Thai wedding is much like us Chinese weddings. Waking up at ungodly hours to benefit from the superstitious good timing, a Mercedes decorated, Yam-Char (drink tea) with parents in houses of both sides and a grand wedding dinner. Well not so grand actually for the normal average as the dinner will be held at badminton halls and such public facilities. Hotel weddings are very rare and only for the rich. See photos under Thai Wedding Dec 2005.

Anyway, next time I attend a wedding, I will make sure the paired couple remember me not for just a week, but for a decade for the packet offered below.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An Island Not Too Far Away


I held on the steering and became one with the acceleration. I felt the graininess of the tarmac as all four 16 inches of alloys grind hard via her soles of 50. As I stepped on the gas, my limbs were one with the block. I saw the gas ignite as it compressed and finally slammed down hard on the piston face fiercely on her down stroke cycle. I was one with the purr, as the combusted swirl chanced upon the opened valve and charged away. The pull on a fresh batch of potent concoction via the low tail pressure I left behind I felt. 160 on I went strong against the aerodynamics of nature. Purred on my car, purred till she roared and I was singularity with the experience. Tore on through the fabrics of the atmosphere I did for hours till I reached the ends of earthly grounds and be greeted by the calm waters. This is life as it should be. This is car as she should be.

So anyway, while all you guys were still back home driving at a pathetic 90, cops eyeing you from behind the lalang bush, friends with the mosquitoes, I discovered a secret island here in happy land. Satthahip. A place just south of Pattaya. It was crystal clear waters and white sand beach on a nearby naval island. A place just 2 hours away. Go again I will.

Thai aircraft carrier deck.

This is where they drop depth charges as lovely gifts to submarines…. I think.

Boat ride to secret island, no ang moh in sight.

Ride on glass bottom boat on island.

Step on glass to commit suicide and bring all with you.

Lesson on snorkeling and light diving. Do not dive with full breath he said, will cause brain to explode and die or something…


Island paradise.

If only it was beer.

Seafood by beach, relax de-stress finale.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Volvo Car (Thailand) - Liars

From Bangkok Post - Motoring - Friday January 12, 2007
Bangkok Post

Volvo's ETM in question
This is a letter to bring attention to public about a defective component in certain Volvos built between 1999 to 2002 with electronic throttles.

All of the following models with petrol engines are affected: not just the 1999-2001 V70 and C70, but the S60, S70, S80, XC70 and the model year 2002 V70 non-turbos and C70s. Also, all S60 and V70 Bi fuel models are affected.

Sources have indicated that there is a 94% failure rate on this item before 100,000 miles (160,934 kms), which happens to be beyond standard warranty period covered by Volvo Thailand.

The ETM (Electronic Throttle Module) used in these Volvos worldwide will have a high failure rate due to a defective design. The component in the ETM wears out resulting in the car going into erratic idling with a diarrhea of black soot coming out from the exhaust.

At such times, the engine may shut down without warning and cause the car to be out of control as the brakes will be rendered ineffective. Sometimes the car accelerates without even steeping on the accelerator. Even without complete engine failure, an erratic and low power output form the engine may also result in loss of control with no braking power.

This, I have experienced personally many times and believe is the cause of accident mentioned herein.

Dealers in Thailand were well aware of this problem long ago. The ETM will not be replaced if the car is driven in without the engine check light on. And, if the warranty has already expired beyond the standard period, customers will have to pay for it.

What then bothered me is that Volvo Thailand knows of the defect and that the ETM may fail and pose a danger to the driver before 100,000 miles and not taken any preventive measures. Over in other countries, there are already many reports about this incident.

Motoring replies :This letter was forwarded to Volvo Car Thailand and here is their response.

Thank you very much for bringing to our attention the concerns from one of your readers regarding a problem with the Electronic Throttle Module (ETM) on some Volvo car models.

First, assuming that not all of your readers know what ETM means, let me explain in simple terms that it is a device that controls the quantity of air entering the engine and, consequently, the vehicle's speed.

In certain of the involved vehicles, a combination of throttle positioning sensor irregularities, a dirty throttle housing, and/or inefficient software calibration may cause a warning lamp to light and the subsequent onset of limp home modes. This results in a high number of these vehicles going into limp home mode without need.

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this condition include uneven engine idle, and/or onset of "limp home mode", a condition that affects drivability potentially restricting maximum vehicle speed to between approximately 20-60kph.

Volvo's firm opinion is that this is not a safety related situation and we have had no report from anywhere in the world that has proven that an ETM malfunction has caused an accident.

The remedy for this is an Electronic Throttle System software upgrade. Volvo Car Thailand has since November sent letters to affected customers in which we offer a software upgrade at one of our Volvo dealers. This procedure will be completed at no cost and will take about an hour and half. Due to service scheduling, the Volvo dealer may require the vehicle for a longer period of time.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind our valuable customers in Thailand that the best preventive measure and remedy to avoid this kind of problem is to have regular maintenance service by our Volvo dealers, who then perform the necessary controls as part of normal procedure.

MATS OHLSSON Vice President - Customer Service Volvo Car (Thailand)

My follow up in Bangkok Post’s forum…

Date : Jan 13, 2007 02:32 PM
Author : S70 Volvo Owner
Subject : Volvo's ETM in questionnew

Referring to the letter “Volvo's ETM in question” on Friday January 12, 2007 of Bangkok post, here are some extracts of Volvo’s reply:

“Volvo's firm opinion is that this is not a safety related situation and we have had no report from anywhere in the world that has proven that an ETM malfunction has caused an accident.”

“The remedy for this is an Electronic Throttle System software upgrade. Volvo Car Thailand has since November sent letters to affected customers in which we offer a software upgrade at one of our Volvo dealers. This procedure will be completed at no cost and will take about an hour and half.”

This is crap from Volvo. I am the guy who wrote the incident letter, faxed and emailed to Volvo Car (Thailand). No reports from the world? Than what was my fax to them all about sent last year? Wonder if their fax machine burnt up. Wonder if their email sever ate my mail. What are the incidents reports all about that constitutes to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, EA05021 NHTSA Recall Campaign Number, US? And to reply that the software upgrade procedure will be carried out at no cost, then I am wondering why is there a receipt I got from a Volvo dealer that stated I paid for the upgrade. And to top it off, they did not care to explain the “secret” warranty extension on the ETM hardware (not just the software) that has a warranty extension of up to 10 years or 200,000 miles (321,868 km) that many Volvo owners elsewhere in the world are enjoying. ETM hardware cost about THB$25,000 and I had to pay for my replacement where elsewhere, it is replaced for free under the extended “secret” warranty. Do check your car, dear all affected Volvo owners. If your ETM (below intake manifold) does not have the yellow label but has the white one on it, means it has not been replaced yet.

Trackback: Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Defective ETM in Volvo Can Result in Accident

Energizer Fukkerbunny

Humping Rabbit

My rabbit turned crazy on me. When I gave him my hand to pat him, he began a very strange move of hugging me with both forelegs. Two days in a row now, he vibrated up towards my elbows as his forelegs tried to grip and pull his fur body upwards. Then he humped my fingers. So I kept my hands and whatever protrusions of my torso out of his reach under blanket. He circled me all over and crawled onto many parts of my body when I lay on the bed watching TV. He was trying to find a mating spot. It was creepy when I sat upright in front of the TV and he started crawling up my back. Just what is he thinking about???? So I started walking away from the bed. He followed. And so I ran round and jump up my bed, in circles around the room I ran. It gave chase like I was his sexual prey. WTF!!!! GAY! Aren’t rabbits supposed to be docile gentle and sensible creatures??? Only dog licks but why is my rabbit licking me, not to mention humping me??

Rabbit in a Box

To every cause, there will be an effect. Cause: Horny bastard. Result: Rabbit in a Box.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How to pay Road Tax in Thailand?

Now… time of the year when my road tax expires. For vehicles to be driven in Thailand, you need two things pasted on your car. One is a small orange square label that is a mandatory 3rd partly insurance plan offered by the government. The other is a bigger square label, big and red, with 2550 on it.

The 3rd party insurance is necessary to protect the innocent incase you decided to stampede a bunch of Thai beggars walking the roads selling garlands or that irritating dark kid who, out of nowhere, appears and wipe your windscreen with dirty drain water at traffic lights.

The 2550 label is actually a yearly road tax matter. Although the year we know today is 2006, Thais have a fantastic calendaring system and all government systems recognize 2550. Without these two items on, you will be making many of the traffic policemen happy.

To get your vehicle renewed, drive near JJ market and look for the big English words that read Transportation Bureau or something. Turn in via the only entrance open and good luck. Imagine yourself on the planet of Tatooine in Star Wars. All signs within are but a bunch of curly strokes and muddle.

With some luck, you will end up in Building 2 where the receptionist will be yakking at 150% the speed of speech but your language processing within that brain of yours is only at 10% efficiency. Then a whole bunch of white forms will be trusted into your hands and yes, they all look Tatooine to me. Bring a Thai friend, save all the trouble. Make sure you bring someone brainy along and he/she should be able to fill them up and you just have to sign for. Then drive car into Lane 1 or 2 for inspection. After that, park your car somewhere, which is if you can ever find parking space. Back into Building 2, submit forms and wait. Then be ready to receive more alien forms and you will be told to go to Building 4 level 4. Take a stroll under the big hot sun, via the parking lots to Building 4 some 200 meters away. That’s when you get more Tatooine forms. Give to Thai friend. Later, you will be redirected back to Building 2. And then after some more waiting, you will be told to go to Building 4 again. Expect to get more forms. And then finally when you submit all the forms, you will be told you got some external documents amiss and have to come back another day. So, the day would have been gone by then. Go home have beer. Better luck next time.

How to pay Road Tax in Thailand? My reply, is I don’t f**king know. I don’t even have any idea what was going on and what’s with all the walking between Building 2 and 4. All signs on building, all forms, all sample forms, all staff, all Thai. Even parrots that I encounter in Thailand speak only Thai. So to all you English speaking only species, you wanna live in Thailand, live like a Thai? Learn Thai, that’s the only way, Thailand does not have any thoughts for catering to the minority of us. And the words “systematic”, “organized”, “efficient” and what not, cannot be translated to Thai because there are simply no such things and such words here. The only places where you can find good English directions here are the touristy places where the money leaves your pocket.

Don’t get me wrong with all my whining. I love Thailand.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thailand 2007

This is a land where you can be sipping coconut on the beach with an angry anti-Singapore mob behind when all of a sudden a giant wave sweep you up and away. As you tumble in the Tsunami of broken houses, boats and limbs, you get knocked into a number of huge-ass military-coup tanks parked alongside the streets, anchored by its weight, still in the chaos of natural forces. The Tsunami however drenches the burning houses which causes are by negligent fires or cigarette butts fanned by the unusually cool windy and dry December conditions. With bumps on your head and injury too many to count on your body, you make your way to the telephone booth to dial 911 after the water subsides, only to be blown to pieces by some terrorist bombs placed in some plastic bag below the bloody coin phone. All the witnesses surrounding your very unlucky day then quickly point their fingers at Takshin who happens to be thousand of miles away. Much to the terrorist dismay, you are not actually blown to pieces because maybe they had used firecrackers for explosives. The helpful people then assisted your crawl to the next booth to make your emergency call. You spend half an hour trying to speak to bad-English-speaking telephone operator before she finally understands you are in pain. Ambulance then arrived after a 1 hour wait and you are dumped into the back of a pickup truck with sirens attached. That’s when the 15 year old engine gave its last puff in the makeshift ambulance and the nurses decided to transfer you to the MRT. Unfortunately, the MRT driver did not read his manual and so the train passes you at full speed and crashed onto the back of another train upfront. So you wait another hour for the next ambulance to arrive outside the station. Finally it arrived but your soul leaves your body as the vehicle inches its way to the hospital in a major traffic jam.

Well, that sums up what Thailand could be about nowadays. Happy New Year.