Friday, February 27, 2009

What Car Insurance Policy for Thailand?

Another day on the road, another witness to stupidity. Can’t blame them for crashing into each other. What can you expect out of drivers in a country where you don’t have to take proper driving lessons prior in to taking a test at the driving center?

Regarding insurance, I don’t know what they call it exactly, could be level one insurance or something, but I do know, its gonna be the most expensive of all insurance policies and you better have one if you drive in Thailand. This country is unlike some countries where it is mandatory for all car owners to have at least a third party insurance, or level three as they call it here. Having a car, we adopt the same mentality and think all we need is third party.

Logic behind is that, well, firstly in cases where we were to run into someone, our policy will cover our fault. This covers us running into really expensive cars and having no money to pay. We can ignore the damage on our own vehicle and the repairs could wait.
Secondly, if someone were to run into us, their (at least) third party policy will cover our repairs. So we think third party insurance will be enough for us as long as we are careful, it is a just-in-case-policy with a calculated risk involved. DEAD WRONG THINKING!!!

My workers were in a petrol kiosk, stopped and getting their car filled. Then a car came from behind and whamp – crash. Rear bumper of our Corolla suffered quite a bit of damage, tail lights were broken and the rear had definitely changed shape (anything Japanese and is a car can otherwise be know as tin can). The person at fault was of course the driver who decided to ram his car front into the Corolla’s butt. He was a high ranking naval officer. He had no money. He had no insurance, not even third party. He had only one thousand on him, and that’s what he gave our workers. More negotiations only lead to more frustrations, his answer “no money”. Even if we do engage the police or bring him to court, we will never be able to squeeze one more Baht from him. Thailand, no money people many many, force them to pay they just say no money. One thousand Baht only, enough for the petrol back to Bangkok. This was a soldier of the country, at least he had a thousand on him. Imagine if a motorcycle taxi run into you, they could only give you some hundreds or so. But most of the time as I had even personally encountered, they just sped away, curses to their mother’s genitals!!!! (this genital thing is a Hokkien tradition).

The third party policy we have does not cover our office car in this situation. Be warned, be advice. By all means if you own a car here, get the level one insurance. Yes it will be typically five to eight times more expensive then the third party ones, costing like fifteen to twenty thousand Baht, but at least it covers everything. It covers scratches, hit and run without witness, dents, you running into trees, tress falling on you, bird strikes, cars running into you but no money to pay, fire, thief, cats and dogs falling onto your car from a high rise, bicyclist trapped under your car and you dragged him for 50 meters, drunk old man on speeding wheel chair cashing into your sides, whatever and what not. Only catch to it is that, in order to get level one insurance, you need to have a car less then ten years of age.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Eating out in Sing Buri

Working life in Thailand, an adventure everyday. MacDonald’s is not everywhere, we eat where the cows shit on the roads, we eat wherever we find anything that looks like they serve food. Venturing to a far away customer in Sing Buri, no big petrol kiosk could be found that had a civilized clean toilet. Hungry we were, we turned into a very quiet deserted house with a big sign stating “Quay Teow” (noodle soup).

Chairs and tables stacked, one lonely woman sat under the wooden roof baked by the searing afternoon sun. We could not find food for miles, we just had to eat what we found. And there in contradiction, she said no Quay Teow served, never bought noodles for the day. We could however order anything we want, such as fired rice and such. In the midst of occasional ten wheelers roaring by, it seemed we were the first customers in this entire world she had. Deserted, isolated, no one seemed to have eaten there in decades. A rolling stack of passing hay would have made the scene pretty dramatic. Our bottles of Coke were served, the ice she said “we don’t have much today, never buy”. Coke, okay it tasted like Coke… minus the bubbles that were supposed to effervescent. I sipped the dull water pondering if she bought the carton 20 years ago, one bottle served once annually.

Some chickens walked by pecking the hard ground, some very elderly chicken. Waited for so many years to be eaten, their feather were tattered, they were balding. One stared at me, and in its stare told me telepathically “order fried whole chicken or I will commit suicide tomorrow, please eat me”.

Someone came by and the place was soon immersed in the sharp melodic strumming of old E-San music. A juke box, it still worked I thought it didn’t. It had a TV in, a very old TV embedded. I believe the jukebox was made when I was still a sperm.

I ate my fried rice on the aluminum table top. The sunny side up egg slapped on top of my cuisine. Was it an egg on the way to the status of century egg? Never mind, I was hungry I just ate. Swallowing the bits, I stared up the wooden wall. The calendar, the most interesting artifact, was actually a wanted list of criminals. Just my another day in Thailand.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sudden Death

Was watching National Geographic the other day, a program called Sudden Death. In this program, Thailand’s North East was much talked about. Some decades ago in Singapore, fit and healthy Thai construction workers started dying for no apparent reasons in their sleep. The hospitals in Singapore traced and found that these sudden death victims came from E-San (North East) Thailand. In E-San itself, the folks there encounter many of these unexplained cases, people dying for no apparent reasons in their sleep. In Thailand anything un-explainable to that which can be proven scientifically means paranormal. Easy way to understand the world.

Sudden Death is a genetically passed down defect mainly in men, the heart goes into an erratic quivering rhythm so that no bloods gets pump around. Then, everything dies. The only way to save the victim is to jump start the heart by using a heart defibrillator. Sudden Death in the farmer’s terms means a visit from a female ghost in their sleep. She takes the men’s soul away. The only way to prevent one from becoming a victim, dress as woman in their sleep.

National Geographic highlighted medical intervention can help. The person needs to be tested first for heart murmurs or something. If this symptom is present, it means the entire family tree could be affected and surgery for an implant should be carried out to prevent Sudden Death for those tested positive. Cost… USD $20,000 (THB $700,000).

How in the world is a farmer earning an average THB $6,000 per month suppose to afford that? They don’t. They just die when the time comes. Have a standby heart defibrillator? Cannot afford. Maybe they can jump start their heart with a car battery when it happens. Improvise whatever. It is so different the life of many here compared to Singapore. We live sheltered in a small place, every imaginable amenity is near. We have a medical problem, our insurance would have covered it. Singapore is a place where every man and woman is a piece of walking insurance policy. In other words, we have money and money diverts death (other then being run over by SBS bus). Thailand, everything left to fate, born rich and one is lucky, born poor and life is cheap. Knowing the impending death, they would accept. Knowing an impeding death a Singaporean however, we have the luxury to engage all kinds of money incurring solutions to divert. We have a choice, they don’t. A big world of difference, a life we can never imagine how to live.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hunting for Ghost

If you live here long enough, you will start to encounter at first eerie anomalies to that which is an accepted part of Thai culture. Sometimes after periods of months, calling up your business contacts or dropping by his office to look him for a chat, you will be surprise the receptionist informs you that they have no Mr Somchai (example name) in their company, and never had before. Calling Somchai’s mobile and be greeted “the number you are dialing does not exists” or something. Mr Somchai never existed, especially with the pretty receptionist you have never met before insisting you have the wrong office with her large confused boobs eyes. You met a ghost. Does one really exists by the name of Somchai, did one encounter an angle that have given a large order once, an aid from the other world to help one’s business and then returned to the other side? It does happens, Somchais from the parallel universe.

Maybe they believe so much the fortune teller, maybe they just feel like it. If you live here long enough, you will know more then a handful of people that changed their names. Thais, I asked them why, I always do ask them why. “Err… just want to change name…”, “Err… someone else in my office higher position have same name…”, “Err.. doctor fortune teller say this name better…”. Just some but not all of the reasons. Thais can even change their sir names. It is not necessary for the wife to follow the sir name of the husband’s, it is possible for the husband to change his to follow the wife’s. Done for reasons such as wife is from a family with some distance royal ancestry, with permission from the wife’s family the husband must seek. One can change the name given by one’s parents, it doesn’t matter one’s roots in the meaning of names. Mobile numbers I see as one’s important identity in life, not to be changed as friends from a decade ago could still call and locate me up. Never the Thais see this as an essential, change them numbers one after the other they did. MSN for life I believe, but with the advent of password remembering messengers, many will loose their accounts when moving from one computer to the other. That just simply because one never bothers to remember the passwords.

Somchais becomes Samchais, Tivakorns changed to Tinakorns. Even Davids can become Jennys after an operation in the gender hospital, and mobile numbers recycling a popular statistics. Thais vanishing from the face of planet Earth just another thing of this amazing Kingdom. Eventually you will find them lost souls. Eventually they will tell you the reasons.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thai Girls So Friendly

Late in the night, I had just reached home. Before me, an attractive young Thai lady was going into the lift. Just me and her, two of us, going to the same floor of the condominium. She’s my neighbor. I can’t help but stared below her waist level and quickly returned my eyes to venture elsewhere. Then, she smiled back and we chatted. She then voluntarily unzipped, I stared at her pussy full view. I reached in and pat her pussy. She was so happy and chatted as my hands were all inside and played her pussy.

Her Persian cat is now 1 year old. (Just what are you thinking about?????!) It’s a big fat cute fur ball weighing in at 3 kgs. The eyes so gleaming with curiosity, the fur an art of brown streaks so smooth and long. Frequently she brings her pussy cat out in her kitty carrier which has a zipper door. Thai girls so friendly, she let me played her pussy in the lift.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Romancing the 9 Temples

9th Feb 2009 a holiday. Something Buddha come down from sky day again. This weekend, many Thais took to the streets to Tamboon. Like when buying cars, Thais will go full option where possible with all the fog lights, leather seats, navigation, 18 inch wheels and what not. This holiday period, Thais does a full option Tamboon. To pray at any selected 9 temples. Why 9 I asked, why are Thais so fascinated by the number 9. 9 is the biggest number before 0. 9 is the biggest. Must thus be 9 temples the Thais will visit, 9 big number equals good number.

We did a visit of 9 temples with lunch at the floating market. An unusual Tamboon compared to my office staffs driving up to Ayutthaya in a car, gig, family and all the moo barn folks had ours by boat. We “mao-ler”, or in other words, engaged one of those river Taxis all to ourselves for the pilgrimage which started at 7 in the morning.

Getting on and off the piers is an everyday thing to some here. Old as they are the senior citizens, they jumped from jetty to ship without falling into the brown Chaopaya. The river Taxis, all part of life for them, bet your grandma can’t do that, not to mention, do that for like 20 times in one day.

Walk, more walks, and some climbs. Wat Arun was steep and to some it could have been Everest. Steps so steep, I was prepared to see the Koreans on their tour cartwheel a couple of times off the sides of the temple. Of course, it didn’t happen or this blog will be filled with them injured pictures.

Fish, fishes and more fish. Everywhere there’s a temple, the rivers were just teaming with them. Feed and we all fed, the catfish so big and fat.

Rub them trees, rubba rub rub till the barks reveal them numbers for your Lottery. The old folks gathered as the playful kid rubbed. I was on a high ledge photographing, the kid came up to me and asked of me to pray to the tree, the numbers he cannot see, the blame he put on me. Diligently I obeyed and the rubbing continued. Soon after the old folks started to take out their notes and pens, scribbled the magical numbers which appeared they did.

The ledge of any temples I was told, never to step on them I never knew. It is disrespectful to the Buddha, as the action is like putting your foot above the temple. Do that at your own risk if believe me one will not, and have them cats by the ledge mysteriously attack you like tigers, between your legs they rip out your pongs pongs. I prefer the cats to stay where they are, gingerly, I entered the premise.

One thing ingenious about Thai people, they are very efficient in space usage. Under bridges, along walkways, right in front of their houses, given any empty plots of land, they will turn them into some makeshift shops selling sporadic items or restaurants. Here on the floating platforms which are suppose to be piers, they sprawled tables on it and turn them into a food court.

We all know of Noah’s Ark, I saw the Thai version if it. 2 years ago when I first visited this temple, it was under construction. 2 years later now, it is still under construction. Slowly the donations poured in, slowly the temple takes shape.

By 5pm the day was almost over. I was reduced to a rubble of melted gooey puddle. Drained of energy, and my thirst never quenched by all the bottles of mineral water. February the hot months had began, my sweating does the overdrive run. 9 temples in a day by boat, the full option Thai Tamboon pilgrimage. I only paid THB$250, that’s 10 dollars sing (SGP$) for it. Thailand the land of a million temples I presume, the temples the burning incense fumed.

Click here for full photo sets under Nine Temples Feb 2009.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Public Pools Bangkok

Here is an entry that exhibits the elusive public swimming pools in Bangkok. Finding one is a challenge for all signs here are in Thai. Looking out for one by sight is even tougher for Bangkok is like Sim City gone really wrong.

Firstly, it ain’t such a conducive environment that has the allure to pull me in. Does not have the country club feel. Notice the shades all dirty blue and wrecked by years of weathering. Why have shades?? Ain’t swimming a sport to get tanned?

It’s a sports club this place is. A badminton hall and pool rolled into one. Located deep within a soi, it has no parking lots. Normally quiet with only the occasional kids splashing about. The parents don’t dip, they chatted along the narrow sides. If you think coming to one just to drool at bikini clad girls sprawled and tanning, it just ain’t gonna happen. This is Bangkok, Thais can’t swim. Throw one in the deep end and they will drown. I don’t see no lifeguards around either.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Brotherhood

So what is the latest unseen Thailand thingy going on here in Thailand, hidden fascination of Thailand’s everyday common livelihood unknown and undiscovered by the tourist? Two big schools are killing each other. Remember our schoolboys’ behavior so many of us went through some 20 years ago in Singapore, where when on the playground we encounter a bunch of student from neighboring schools? Full of testerone pumping in our blood streams, questions on each groups “SS” (secret society) status will be thrown and any slightest wrong answer will most likely result in bruised faces, torn shirts and flying punches. Kids (stupid kids)… that was what we were up to, we were there once. If one happened to stare at another for a period longer then some mysterious number of seconds (unintentionally as he was using both fingers to dig both his nostrils at the same time or something), the other would shout back to one a question surrounding the topic of testicles in Hokkien. Same thing may follow… punches driven by pumping testerone in a teenager’s blood. Walking tall in the parks, kids looking for trouble.

See, in Singapore, we had parangs, metal pipes and sticks to bash the stupidity out of each other. But here, students have a lot more fun. They have pastimes like ridding a bike and have the pillion shoot into a group from the other school. They have home made bombs stored in their school lockers in case of World War III and they love to stab each other just because of a different uniform. The whole school is a “SS”. Police had recently raided some schools here and found an assortment of ingenuous home made weapons of mass destruction. Raid was a follow up to the increasing number of never ending I-shoot-you you-shoot-me incidents. The locals had given advice to avoid some popular destinations in town this period just in case one happens to be standing in the path of a flying bottle, bullet or whatever high speed projectiles.

Such brotherhood grows beyond that of school days and is carried in the blood of the Thais way into their career lives. As adults, the testorone level would have dropped, so luckily, we don’t have incidents where the interviewer shoots the interviewee. One common question I always observe during interview sessions which I sat in was the question of schools. And if both are from the same, the interviewee will greet the interviewer as “brother” and it is most likely that he or she will get the job. Political situation in the working environment is also driven by the same reasoning and it will be obvious when one soaks long enough in big companies. Same goes for deal. Research the customer’s background and send someone in your team from the same school if possible. The “brother-brother” thing will show results as “brother” must help “brother”. Thailand is chaotic no doubt, but in chaos there is always an order if one seeks.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Popular Items

It is amazing what people shoplift at the supermarkets. These pictures of high tech anti-thief secured chocolates only exhibit the amount of widespread petty crimes Thais will commit. They gotta eat chocolates and if no money, must steal (one large M&Ms = about 3 meals on the streets). Must be cacao addiction.