Sunday, November 30, 2008

Will Santa come to Bangkok this year?

He better watch out,
He better not cry,
He better not come,
I'm telling him why,
PAD is staging in town.

Santa wearing big bright red, flying over the Suvanaphumi, will definitely be blown out of the sky with RPG. Rudolph better have afterburners.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bangkok Now - Calm before the Storm?

It is not every so often that when I go to the shopping complex around my house that I get to park my car easily in the evening. Yesterday was just one such day. It was not crowded and there were plentiful parking for me. Within the complex, a sense of peace contrasting from the bustle of a normal work day. A calm, an eerie sense of clam.

Yesterday, some of the big companies had let their staff off early for the fear of a rumored impending coup. It is a day for people to go home and be with their families should there be a major event. But I bet the people let off went to join the mobs instead. And no, coup did not happen yesterday and no one is sure now what will come as speculation of every kind spreads.

With nothing to do but just to wait, businessmen hooked up for casual meet ups which were not in their initial tight work schedule. Some Singaporeans, stuck in Bangkok, with surplus time thus met up. The conversation from business jumped quickly to everything under the sun. Foreigners were indirectly benefiting the shopping scene as their packed short trip of clothing cycled out (aka: ran out of clean underwear). Some with nothing to do mentioned that they just hung at MBK, spend money, ate, idled and waited for news. Calling up Thai Airways on their emergency number as instructed on published mediums results in no avail. No one picked up. Some became the ball in a ping pong game, with their Singapore agents telling them to contact Thai agencies and the latter telling them to call back the former. With no idea then what to do, they went for massages, karaoke in the night and of course to experience the hidden pleasures of Bangkok. An indirect drive to the tourism industry in the midst of what should have been a tourism disaster. So true till their money ran out should the situation extend if indefinitely.

If mountain in my way, I move the mountain some say. And people returned to Bangkok via alternative exhaustive routes. Land in Phuket, bus to Bangkok. Transit in KL, then to Laos and bus into Bangkok. All kinds of surprising route were thought up. It is easy to get in but getting out is the tough part. Flights from Chang Mai to Singapore all booked till 6th December. Train tickets to Malaysia all sold out. What other way thus to spend the time? Go for a holiday some had planned. A weekend driving to Kanchanaburi, a day or two at Pattaya, but as kiasus and kiasees some will be and rather not venture for the uncertainty of danger they think. So they just wait, and waited and will wait further till the situation irons out. But will it soon?

A round of coup, some domestic airport forced closures and the countless protests I had seen. For the first time I will say, this one is different. This one is major. Thais had the TRT, and then the PPP and of course now the PAD. Even the ARMY and whatsoever ABC could not unify the country like we have the PAP. I take my hat off for the PAP thus, which one word shrinks the balls of all. PAP, one direction, many angry and yet what can we do? We better not do. All we can is but to adjust our mind to the tune of PAP (in other words: kee-kar-lumpar-dua-suay-liap umm-kar-kong-chu-lai). Chaos chaos, never so peace. But in chaos comes a balance, or a balance will it not?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Red & Yellow Bangkok War

Airport closed, people can’t get in nor out of Bangkok. My Singapore vendor will be stuck for a while thus, unable to go back today. Surprisingly the news & TV shows still that of football and other entertainment with only occasional focus on the airport closure and protesters’ activities. Red throws stones and slingshots at anything that wears yellow. Yellow with more firepower opens gun fire at red. Innocent passerbies wearing the wrong color are in for a treat.

Then this guy how wah?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recycle = Money

Recycle brought to an extreme extend. Poor folks of the countryside have removed some supporting screws and nuts. They sell them at the metal works, the money they get then feed their thirst for alcohol. News had some months ago reported of high voltage towers collapsing in the countryside as their supporting bits and pieces gone missing. This is how it is in Thai cases of extreme survival skills. I happened to see this which looks like a failed attempt to remove a heavy nut.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tom Kah Soup

As tourist we go Thai restaurant, and we stereotypingly always order Tom Yam Soup. Next time, try to order Tom Kah Soup. My favorite so far is Tom Kah Kung (Prawns in spicy Thai coconut soup). But be warned, it seems like a difficult dish, for most restaurants I went does not make a good dish of this. Barn Lai at Ekamai have good ones. Some obscure restaurants in the harbors of Laem Chabang make good ones too. Trail and error, discover for yourself the other tastes of Thailand.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sometimes I hate my Rabbit

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath
And I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
The wabbit peed on my feet!!!!!

Just when I was about to sip my coffee on the balcony he did it again, and he ran very fast back into my room and hide. I have been trying to explain to him, I am not lamppost. Lamppost is thin and tall. I am not that thin and not that tall. Idiot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rayong Clams, Big and Yummy

No, I was not on holiday again. Just a casual lunch we don’t know where to eat. Along the coast of Rayong we drove, the thousand shacks lined the road a plenty. We had lunch, a casual lunch. And next to the sea on the sands we sat. The repetitive sound of waves breaking, surprisingly just another working day in Thailand. In sharp contrast to eating in the concretes of Singapore, I say Yipee yay yeah.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Halt your Pacemaker

Strange aye a sign like this? Never see it before. Watch where you step in Bangkok if your life engine is that of the electronic. Step into these areas and it may stop and you could say goodbye Earth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Fifth Winter

It’s been a week of good cooling weather. The climate on some days end of year is that of Perth in later summer. The sun strong and yet gentle, the breeze lightly cool and dry. The sky after the rain is splendidly clear, the clouds and the blueness so distinctively identified. As I sipped my hot coffee on the balcony overlooking Bangkok just after the lazy sunrise, the overwhelming sense of blissfulness again hit me. It’s my fifth Bangkok winter here.

Some farangs had curious questions for me, asking when I will return back to Singapore. Ain’t Bangkok too chaotic and dangerous a place to live in they asked. Ain’t Singapore such a safe heaven to be in. And my reply would always be, that I have never in my life been so truly happy before. I love the chaos. I love the unpredictability. I love the vastness of this Kingdom, and the myriad variety of experiences. I am free, soaring in my dreams, a life out of the cage called Singapore. Yes, the uncaged heavy yellow bird I am.

I was at a Wall Street party recently (a English language teaching institute in Thailand), a party I reluctantly went to with gig. The music I liked they played, of Enigma and Gregorian in tune with Halloween. You could never hear such good beats in Thai pubs, for they have all already been drowned by the hip hop. The lyrics which I know the Thais don’t understand, but they just for no reason follow. In my up state of enchanted rhythms, something set in. Starting a new challenging life in Thailand is not all that a bed of roses. Be aware the roses have thorns. The age of loneliness will come.

One will know coming here alone means no more can-chat-anything sessions with pals, no one to truly understand cock jokes and no one to truly share a real laughter with in an English movie. One cannot change the culture it is, but one must change oneself to laugh in the conversations of Thai. Some lucky folks here have communities in which they gather. Enclosed in their own special group of expat culture sharing their common views, they laugh in their own flock merrily. I the Singaporean however, still till today a lone albatross out of place in the Andaman sea of Thai. Undiscovered maybe, but I blame it more on my unbalanced lifestyle not making an effort to contact. For I want to drive strong a career, for how much longer can we learn? Socializing I can wait maybe, my views we cycle once in this time space, we need to know as much as we can. A bad lifestyle I know, but I must finish walking the path I chosen. I miss my friends.

Seeking a career I found now, a difficult task for all expats. The Thais views us as expensive cost centers, invest in us they will normally not. The most prestigious Thai companies, in reliable proven expensive solutions they invest rather not. So what are us expats then to consider, when the idea of sound investment they doubt. I work exploited alongside my potential, to peak in my innovative skill I have not. And yet I have to carry on, and bear the third gear torque. I want to maximize myself, the time will come but when abouts? Pay sucks, but I am happy, that’s all that mattes now.

Thailand, where some men are prettier then women and where women have girlfriends prettier then the men’s. This Kingdom so strange and chaotic, and yet the plentiful mysteriously attractions so magnetic. Everyday there is something to discover, everyday a holiday to remember. I live my holiday, my name is Kings. Parental stories told when young, I happened to be named after the King of Thailand for reasons. I am back in Thailand now as such, a complete cycle I have come. I am home in Thailand now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why Thai Girls like Farang?

After numerous researches talking with Thai…. a report I have. Yet another interesting reasoning of why Thai girls will fall anytime for a farang (ang moh) man and readily have offspring with them lucky people any time of day.

Since childhood, the girl toys that mummy brings back home will always have the westernized white skin, the golden locks of hair and the blue green eyes so colorful and attractive. This image of “cute” has thus been imprinted into the Thai girls’ mind since early childhood. Every shopping arcade they go to, rows and rows of these dolls lined up enchantingly on the shelves. As they grow up, the impression solidifies subconsciously. And when they reach reproductive age, their biological clock ticks towards wanting a blue eyed child, not the dark Thai child.

Imagine a shopping aisle lined with dark brown baby figures, black hair and the un-characteristics black eyes. Imagine holding a black doll, a black Cabbage Patch Kid. Somehow it just ain’t going to work. Somehow this part of the departmental store will just be that little bit darker. Marketing of such products just ain’t gonna work in this international age. Instead of getting children wanting the dark dolls, you get strange people buying them for voodoo purposes. Mattel figurines which are named after “crab” “cat” “fish” “sugar cane”, Ken made dark skinned and renamed as Somchai, gosh… think about it.

So, who is to blame then? Do we still assume Thai girls like farang just because of money? Maybe we should just blame some on Barbie and Ken then.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thai Wedding – Thai People Version

Fortunately, it does not call for waking up in ungodly hours of the morning as practiced by the Thai Chinese. Set in the village of wooden huts and broken pavements, this is the real Thai wedding of the real Thai people.

Like the Chinese version, they do tease the groom with simple sabotages such as making it difficult for him to enter the bride’s home to acquire his prize.

One odd thing about it is, they carry whole stalk of young banana trees to which I do not understand the significance of. Must be kampong thing. * And what about for Chinese then? What trees? Durian tree I tell you, all 50 feet of it full grown with branches leaves spiky fruits and all the curry pok ant colonies to be shoved through the door into the room filled with elderly relatives. Two trees, not one.

And of course, no event is Thai without alcohol. Most of the men already smell like midnight boozers in the pubs. For me, sunshine and booze don’t mix.

Like the Malay weddings in Singapore, a tent is set up to house the party goers, the food served simple in buffet style.

The sin-sod (dowry) of some THB$30,000 or more, the traditional practice of the Thai village. It was beautifully arrange in a concentric pattern of leaves with attention, the valuables, currency, gold and all placed on it. * What about the Chinese? What placed on the leaves then aye? Durian I tell you, a dozen of it freshly plucked from the shoved in tree. What about American marriages with the Thai family? What placed on the circular leaves? No leaves I tell you, just stack up family size pan pizza from Pizza Hut, Super Supreme, Hawaiian and all.

Pour the blessed water over the hands of the couple, done a countless times by friends relatives and neighbors. As I poured I mumbled blessings, wish them good life, money come, good baby and bright future. * So what about Chinese again, what is the corresponding part of this ritual? Everyone throw a thousand lighted firecrackers at the couple. Can also aim large fireworks at them to brightly light up their lives.

This, the Thai wedding, the way it had been and always will be. Resisting the weight of modernization, the tradition persists.

[* All reference made out of scope to other wedding cultures are fiction, do not practice. If insist, practice at your own risk. The writer of this blog shall not be responsible for any collateral damage caused by durians in doing so.]

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Samet Ville Resort

Mention Thailand to anyone a few things will come straight to their minds. Girly bars, ladyboys and cheap branded goods – aka imitation. Now, imitation as I experienced in Thailand goes beyond that of just jeans shirts and other apparels.

The normal definition of Resort:

re.sort [noun] (r-zôrt)

1. An area where many people go for recreation, usually in remote and natural locations which allows people to stay over.

2. A frequently visited location with numerous activities for the customer to enjoy, good food, wine and all, where customers are diligently served and prioritize as number 1.

3. A top notched visited place for people to enjoy with luxurious accommodation, providing hotel equal services and a very good night’s sleep.

4. A place for people to re-charge their souls on weekends from their normally exhaustive working life.

The Thai definition of Resort:

Samet Ville re.sort [con] (ke-na-bluff-overprice r-zôrt)

1. An area where many people go for recreation, on Koh Samet beside the sea, THB$4k per nite. Equally expensive to some proven luxury hotels in Phuket and other parts of Samet.

2. A frequently visited place by Bangkokians for it is 2 1/2 hours away with limited activities for the customer to enjoy – no spa, average food at inflated prices, bring your own wine and in company of free mosquitoes, where customers (I) have been ignored countless times by the serving staff and customers (I) can wait 30 minutes for their order and 20 minutes for their bill.

3. A top notched visited place for people (I) to realize the luxurious accommodation seen on web is in fact just some smart photo shooting skills, providing the normal pump-pump hotel equal services and a very sleepless night in cheap mattress and thin cheap feeling blankets.

4. A place for people to torture their (I) souls on weekends from their normally exhaustive working life and to return to live doubly tired, feel being cheated and yet there is nothing they can do about their awful experiences. Especially true after complaining to the all ears reception staff who have nil experiences of dealing with customers’ (I’s) complain and had no strategy whatsoever tactics to soothe the customer.


There will be no towels for your shower till you asked for it, in the middle of shower when you suddenly realized you have nothing to wipe your ass with. The towels when asked for, are yellow when delivered.

The dinner promised in the package with seafood and delicious Thai cuisine are but cold BBQ food and tiny boiled shrimps (10cm), dirty mussels (4cm) and a lousy bowl of Tom Yam soup (soup fortunately served hot, diameter 20cm).

There are many styles of accommodation to choose from. As to why one would go for THB$4k instead of THB$2k (2k still expensive) is that one would expect a more comfortable sleep. However, one would then realized 4k bungalows are units shabbily split in two my removing connecting doors and covering with a thin piece of plywood.

Resorts normally have crowd control with security guards on petrol to ensure a gentle environment in unity with nature. However here in Samet Ville RESORT, your neighbor could turn their units into a noisy gambling den. All the rowdiness can be heard clearly through plywood that one will realize does not entirely cover the opening. In the night once could peak at each other through the vertical opening at the corner of it. So, one can see neighbor’s girlfriend’s bosoms and compare shape and size to one’s girlfriend’s bosoms. Bear in mind that so can one’s neighbor do the same.

Since one’s resort’s neighbor is that does not have a civic mind for their thoughts had been drowned out by alcohol, one would then decide against confrontation and decide to drown oneself at the restaurant 11pm in the night ordering beer. Only then to realize the joint is closed and to be brushed aside by the unfriendly staff who will not make any exception in a effort to make one happy.

The closing time of the next door gambling den is then determined by one thus when patience runs out at about 2 am, by directly confronting the tattooed neighbor to ask his friends to keep quiet.

The morning hearty breakfast promised after a bad night of sleep is set in shadowy old plastic tables and chairs, with a singe bowl of foul porridge served.

As pictures above shown on the quality of materials in the room, these are low quality accommodations one would encounter in many parts of this Kingdom masquerading under the grand name of resort. Samet Ville Resort, an imitation resort one can give a miss to without regret, and one to regret if gone to.