Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Election Day

Yesterday was holiday and not because of Christmas Eve. No jingle bells here. Only jingle my own balls. It was an off day for government companies succeeding election Sunday.

Well, it was much like in Singapore, held at schools or any other public facilities. They have this strange rule that no alcohol was to be sold and no pubs to be opened during the days before election.

Political people waving flags at roads junction wooing for support. It did be better if this was accompanied by the sporadic Chinese dancing lions jumping over the giant waving flags into oncoming buses.

As soon as past 3 pm, the party signs magically disappears. The people stripped them from the roads, brought them into the houses to be used as recycled materials. For that hole in the wall, to be the shade of the road side food stall or to be sold for the wood. Trends of the scavengers, wise of the normal street life here.

No... she’s not promoting some Yan can Cook shows..

Basically it was an election of mainly the Takshin supporting party against the non-Takshin supporting parties. The result being Takshin’s party having near 50% of overall votes. Looks like he will be back. Here is the strange trend I found interviewing people casually. Bangkok people tend to anti vote Takshin. Reason being they see Takshin as the country seller, selling many important nation owned entities to the foreign hand. They joke that if Takshin is back, you will see Singapore currency notes replacing the Thai Baht.

I traveled and I spoke to the upcountry guys. They seem to favor Takshin. Each village was given funds during his time for progress. Sounds like how we Singaporeans get the “Progress Fund” or something in our CPF aye? Each district was sponsored a scholarship during his time for one lucky student. There are about 400 districts. There are about 400 students overseas now. When he was overthrown, the funding stopped. There are about 400 poor villagers who have to sell their house, land, cows, car and buffalos just to make sure their sons or daughters could continue their education. Anger driven, the mouth works overtime and soon, they all wish he is back. Some told me though they know that he and his family were benefiting the most during his regime, they don’t really care because welfare clearly reached them. The Bangkok people however, see this as “buying them out”.

Then in retrospect I thought… hey.. progress funds and etc in our CPF… wow.. our government simply bought all of us. Yes, all 4.6 million of us. Amazing.

Getting to Hoi Lot

And here’s for G, who left a comment asking how to go to Don Hoi Lot. Firstly, I am pretty bad in giving detailed directions. I found this map on the net and modified it to show the location of Don Hoi Lot. G, you did have to know how to get to Central Rama 2.

Through my years of getting lost in Bangkok, I have learned to ignore most road signs and to navigate by landmarks, the position of sun relative to earth at different times of year and the time of the day. We all know guys don’t ask for directions and navigates with a mental map marked with N,S,E,W. Gals however, are always better with zoomed in details, such as knowing at which particular junctions to turn left or right. However, gals do not know the orientation of the junction relative to Earth’s four corners. That’s why, always bring a gig or some female form when traveling. In addition, they can read Thai unlike us. With combined mental map details and arguments, you will eventually get to your destination. And… never ever use Seven Eleven as landmarks, too many of them around.

Get to that long road that leads to Central Rama 2. On that road, follow the big green signs towards Samut Songkhram passing Central on your right. Much further along this way, you will start to see the blue tourist attraction signs that indicate Don Hoi Lot. Eventually, you will reach a bunch of bridge crossings and the sign will indicate for you to cross the flyover into the city of Samut Songkhram. At that point continue to drive straight, do not turn into Samut Songkhram. Finally, just a few short kilometers after, there will be a tourist attractions sign that points left to Don Hoi Lot. Turn in to that road and continue until you see the sea. That’s it. Good luck, eat scallops till you drop.

I asked, why so many places have Don this and Don that? What exactly is a Don? Don, according to the Thais, is a raised land, something like a plateau, hill or mountain of sorts. And on this raised land, is an area of festivities such as a market, a temple or some happy thing etc. I like Don Hua Nom, they make me very happy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Buddha Spa - Pavilion Samui

Samui Photos here

Click on Samui Dec 2007.

Samui is a Sad Place

Samui, a small island of joy as we have thought. Until you talk to the islanders, will you discover the local folk’s perception of this sunny southern paradise. Samui is for the broken hearted. A tattered relationship, a second woman in marriage, an abandoned life. The masseur told her own dark story, and that many have come to work on Samui from various part of the Kingdom. Just to get away from it all, just to start their small lives anew. Lonely on the island, a new job, a group of new found friends, and many with a similar relationship saga. And always the hoping for that unexpected twist of luck, of wedding that foreigner, the white prince on the Suzuki 4WD, and be brought away into another life impossible unaided.

I talked to a number of the Samuis, and many of the small resort owners have always the uncanny similarity of daughter or themselves being married to that overseas husband. Could she herself be that capable owner, I tried hard not to tarnish the sight by probing further. Wonder no more, the number of bars and their saucy workforce in the after dark of Chaweng and Lamai. They do their best to speak a different tongue. They live their fullest drinking the brew. In their nightly encounters with different strangers different nights, they forget the stories of old that drove them to their becoming. In their nightly encounters, maybe just one is what they need to make a difference.

Don’t speak, don’t listen, don’t want to know Thai. Maybe I should not have heard and kept Samui a simple happy paradise in my mind.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Spa Samui

Saturday till Wednesday Thursday. Discovering the island life again.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Typical Thai Family Day

Today is a holiday again. This month of December, there are two holidays and one Election Day. Election Day = holiday. When holidays coincides near to weekends, many of them Thais will return to their local village, to be with the mother, father, the truckload of family members and the famous farm buffalo. Thais are family centric and visits relatives on holidays.

We picked up gig’s mom and her gay uncle for a trip to Samut Songkram. Its another province south of Bangkok. In Singapore, we bring parents to shopping malls, dine in posh restaurants. Over here, we bring them to the seaside markets and dine in the restaurant on stilts above the sea. Her mum enjoyed throwing all the curry crab debris into the sea very much. Gay uncle is still saving for his sex operation and was happy just eating the simple steam fish.

A relative of gig’s in the village has a water front house with her own jetty and dumping river. Life is simple here where average Thais are not surrounded by the many EMF emitting gadgets in typical Singapore. Many of them still stay in beaten down homes of which some are wholly made of wood. Many of them are squatters awaiting the dreaded day of modernization. Where do they go from there but the down line of poverty. The living standards have been elevating. The average Thai salary has not.

Extreme cleanliness is not of importance as long as there is a bed to sleep and a hole to shit. Some Thais have never even seen or taken the MRT before. They live in tiny circles around their homes and villages. Ask yourselves if you are able to live in these conditions. We are spoiled brats of society that need concrete and feed on a constant source of electromagnetic waves for survival. Molded by the city state, scenes like these makes me ponder what do they do every minute of everyday. Friends that we meet back home, at least we know they stay in HDB. Friends that we make here, only a minor percentage are that of our expected social quality. We should never despise the living conditions, this is Thailand, this is what we have to expect to live here.

Don Hoi Rot, the Bamboo Clam market next to the sea in Samut Songkram. Main produce of shellfish, squid and fish sauce.

Scallops, SGD$2 for about 12 of them, BBQed simmering in butter. Didn’t know Thailand produces scallops.

Giant Otak, fish, crab or mixed seafood for SGD$0.80.

Eat the roe of the horse shoe crab. I remember, Singapore’s east coast was full of them when I was young. You can find them humping their brains out on the morning beach. Now they are extinct in Singapore.

Giant prawn paste ball. Here they use it for fried rice. Rojak does not exist here. It would be fun to fall on one of them and smell like a walking giant lan jiao for one full day.

Millions of cheap seafood…. Thai price.

Now we all know why maids hang around open spaces behind Wisma on weekends.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Father’s Day Thailand

Today is “wa-si-lin-lao-beh” day in Thailand and it’s a pubic.. public holiday. So what do most of the Thais do then? Nothing…. Absolutely nothing. Because their father had most probably ran away with the other women.

Well since it is winter now, these beer gardens have been sprouting up everywhere like some kind of seasonal flora. They only grow in the months form November till January wherever there are empty plots of land. They will be gone with the onset of summer but will return faithfully next season. On the night before Father’s day, these gardens are full of people.

And why not head to the pub on the eve of a holiday since it is just the beginning of the month and pockets are full of salary? Better to spend the money now then to keep and keep for what as the Thais have always said. But I hated the pubs as usual and since it was an “office” gathering, I had to patronize.

Fuck you Thai Pubs with all your lousy hip hop songs. I endured 3 hours yesterday. They had live band, badly mixed hip-hops and songs with squeaky vocals. Squeaky songs - ever step on a bird? Well that’s how it sounded like.

However, the girls were as usual pretty and sweet. And here’s how it works. Have to do some Math here. If you are a pubber, you jolly well know that it is quite common to be hit on occasionally and there after… bang-bang.

In the typical arena of a Singapore pub, 1 in 10 girls will be good to look at (lets call them SYT – sweet young things). When you score, there is a 90% chance she is not in your SYT level, unless you are deadly drunk or on some heavy medication. Multiply that by the order of chaos, 1 in 4 pub trips (Singapore’s theory) you score, your chances of success becomes (1 / 4) * (1 / 10) = 0.025 * 100 = 2.5% hit rate.

In the typical arena of a Thai pub, 6 in 10 girls will be SYT. When you score, there is a 60% chance she is in your SYT level. Multiply that by the order of chaos, 1 in 2 pub trips (Thailand’s theory) you score, your chances of success becomes (1 / 2) * (6 / 10) = 0.3 * 100 = 30% hit rate.

In Thai, your typical hit rate is 30 / 2.5 = 12 times better that in Singapore. Note, this calculation is based on typical local pubs.

If you are Asian and in one of the city pubs, your hit rate will be severely condensed to near negative values. These pubs are infected with Sarong Party Girls.

Calculation does not work in Patpong, Phuket and Pattaya pubs because your hit rate will be severely inflated to near 100% values. It’s a different breed of girls in these areas.

So how does the average diminutive SYT make her move? Very daring compared to Singapore I would say. Lets not get into details but the base algorithm here would be, they initiate some body contact, you response.