Monday, May 31, 2010

Reality Time, Au Pair Thailand

I found out sometime ago, Au Pair Thailand is bull shit. For you Host Families who have gotten them, you’ve been taken for a good one year ride.

First, for the most of us who have never heard the word Au Pair in our entire lives….

An Au Pair is a young person between 18 and 30 years who becomes a temporary member of your family. Usually, it's a young girl (90 percent) but more and more often, young boys are taking the opportunity to improve their language skills and get acquainted with a new culture.

In exchange for free board and lodge, a private room and pocket money (in the western European countries between 200 and 280 Euros per month (140 and 170 pounds), the Au Pair will take care of your children and help with light housework including vaccuming, dusting, preparing the table for meal times and emptying the dishwasher. The costs for flight and language courses are usually paid for by the Au Pair.

Screening is an important key to a successful placement and exchange experience. Au Pair in America utilizes a multi-tiered screening process to ascertain an applicant’s appropriateness for the program.

Applicants are interviewed in person by a trained interviewer. We also monitor the interviewer's performance and applicants complete evaluations about their interviewers. During the interview, the interviewer assesses the candidate’s suitability, ability to speak English and educational level.

Now if you still want to believe in your Au Pair (if you happen to be one of those Host), I suggest that you find the next hyperlink that brings you to other blogs. Especially on the multi-tiered screening process, what I am about to write, is the truth of the workings here in Thailand. During one period of my time here, I was in contact with a bunch of Au Pair candidates (con artist) before they got sent off. I, saw the truth, you the Host Family do not.

About Au Pairs, the following are just marketing materials.

All applicants who meet the program’s minimum requirements complete a four page application detailing occupational histories which are child care experience, educational achievements, interests, hobbies and other personal information. They write an essay describing life in their home country and reasons for wanting to become an Au Pair or companion in the United States. Each applicant is also required to submit photographs showing herself with the children in her care, her family and friends.

All Au Pair in America applicants will have successfully passed a background investigation, which includes verification of schooling, references, psychometric test and a criminal record check (where available within the scope of the laws of a given country).

Applicants provide at least three written references, one of which must be a child care reference. An academic reference is required for all EduCare applicants. Three references will be confirmed by telephone. References from relatives are not accepted as primary references.

Applicants are required to submit a medical report completed in part by a physician. Each medical report is reviewed, and any areas of concern are investigated prior to their arrival in the United States.

Now the truth about some of them…

Occupational History
Some worked as sex workers or coyotes (bar top girls you see in night clubs). But they of course, unless in the wrong state of mind, will never write about the truth. These girls are very good at men hunting and are always looking out for the next golden tortoise to bring them away from what they are. They don’t want to return to the old life when they get back to their home country. So, observe and you will know they are working to that objective as primary, looking after your children is secondary.

Child Care Experience
None for most. Surprise now why the one you have in your household is clumsy at changing the diapers and sometimes does not show any relationship between what you read and what she does? Some agencies here will require the candidate to attend a set number of hours of child care training. But the truth is and always will be, that particular requirement is “close one eye”.

Personal Information
Oh, she so loving, she so caring. It’s only written. It’s like applying for a job and one will never write that she drinks with men and dance her gyrating hips in g-string all night, sleeps in the day, persuade money to part from men, …… and more, believe me, much much more.

An essay describing life in their Home Country
Again, only pretty pictures and lovely flowers are painted of course. Majority of them come from poor family background and lifestyle which you cannot comprehend. Families are normally broken and upbringing has always been tough. They find ways to survive, it may not be acceptable to you. But again, you never will know her true lifestyle.

Reasons for wanting to become an Au Pair
Reason as already elaborated in Occupational History. Some that had gone landed “farang” boyfriends in a matter of weeks. Could be gullible guys from your neighborhood, strange people they meet in clubs during weekends and worse, your plumber while you are away in the day. A number of them Au Pair had already been reported to have disappeared from the Host Family. Dissolved into the population and gone underground, you aided in their passage to America, they smile and thank you in silence.

Submit photographs showing herself with the children in her care, her Family and Friends
I was astonished when they started to call up everyone they know so they could borrow the children of their friends, relatives and whomever they know to take fake snapshots.

Passed a Background Investigation
Meaning that they provided a self selected list of people for the agency to call. And in preparation, all the parties that will be called had been pre-empted and been told what to say.

References from Relatives are not accepted as Primary References
Family circles are very big here. Relatives WILL be called but the relationship not revealed.

Applicants are required to submit a Medical Report
Mediocre. I myself paid just THB200 to get one simply signed from the any clinic around my neighborhood as part of the process for a job interview. Your Au Pair may be an incubator of undesirable diseases. Your child is with her everyday of the year.

Interviewer assesses the candidate’s suitability, ability to speak English
I doubt the interviewer’s language intellectual level. The candidates I spoke to, I had to spend more then a minute trying to figure out what they were trying to say. Oh be warned, they are quite bad with reading the labels on the gadgets in your house, simple gas stove will become exploding gas stove because labels are in English.

..and as a side note…. About Driving your Kids Around
Well, there is this chance that they all be smashed into smithereens on the freeway and you can’t differentiate which parts are car and which parts are children. Acquiring a driving license in Thailand does not require proper prior driving lessons. So if you happen to get one of those bullshit Au Pairs, there is zero common sense at work while driving your kids around. They will just drive into the path of a speeding trailer because they have got no driving logic. They just pretend they know how to drive since they wrote it in lie to score points in their profile.

Enjoy your ride some you trusting Host, it will be a long one.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bangkok, The Aftermath….

So they extended the curfew all the way till this morning. Officially it has been announced on papers that it’s over. Although, by right, for the past week, curfew starts from midnight till 4am, but by left, we know of clubs that remained opened still. This is Bangkok, what do you expect? People to follow the rules?

So Central (ironic, it is also called World Trade) is gone, they had not decided as yet to tear it down. She may still be “repairable” as reported, but depends. I may give her a miss if they decide to just repair. Don’t want to die in a communal pool of shit crapping in the toilet as the building collapses.

And the aftermath of the massive Red BBQ Party remains in full view over Bangkok for all to contemplate. Will it happen again? Maybe yes, maybe no, we never know. Friends said the hardcore had gone underground, recuperating for the day to come. Let’s see.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reds went Supernova

Our Sun, shines bright and noticeable, stable. But when and it does happens during which the nuclear fuel contained is about spent good, she suddenly contracts and with a surprising turn, explodes with such energy it can be detected throughout the galaxy. Of course, Earth will be incinerated in the process. In a way, that’s how the protest here went out, with a big bang. The protest went on for months, and then the soldiers moved in. Protesters were significantly reduced, and suddenly, all hell broke loose. But just like a supernova, that will be the last signature. The reminiscence glow will remain for eons to come in space, the memory of the reds this year alike. It’s over it seems, but the incinerating will go on for a while.

Majority stayed home, my office stopped for a whole week. I ventured out, no one can stop me from watching Shriek IV on its opening day. I wanted to see Puss fat. And so in the cinema, I laughed away with only a crowd of twenty. The malls, they were still opened but rather empty. Extra security, guarding against the terrorist.

Ratio of nice legs, sexy bodies to normal crowd, abnormally off scale here where I stay. The night ladies were out in groups or with their daddies, their work place had either closed or had no trade.

Car parks were empty, Starbucks was not opened. And just after three the shops started closing. I went to another Starbucks, but they closed at six early. Back home, stayed home as the curfew started at nine.

Just one more note when a star goes out. After a Supernova, the star collapses on itself into a possible black hole. A black hole is not a pleasant thing to have.

Terrorist Camouflaged in Black Shit

I think the farangs in the news circle are having a holiday. No one is doing the spell checks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It was 10pm, Central was still Burning

Well, that’s how the skyline looked like from where I stay. It was the night near to 10pm, Central World was still burning. I could hear gunshots as I snapped in the warm summer air. That’s not the only site torched, there were many. Much earlier in the morning yesterday as I left for work, I could hear the distant explosions from my balcony. And as I sped eastwards and glimpsed into my rear view mirror, I could see dark smoke bellowing out from Bangkok. Ironically it was rather scenic in the morning light, like the volcanic eruption up in Iceland now.

Just incase you are wondering, why no one was putting out the fire. The Central World fire had raged on for hours, and has some many others. News reported whenever firefighter approached with water, gunshots will be heard. So… they scrambled away.

In contrast to the Chinese seventh month, Thais are burning metal cars and concrete buildings. In contrast to the paper money, Thais are burning real banks and currency. It’s outta hand as one could see. Wickedly, excitement did surround me as no one in Singapore will have the correct ball specification to do such a thing.

Late into yesterday afternoon, a call was received. Be back in Bangkok by 8, or stay in Rayong for the night told I was. Curfew, we never had Curfew in Singapore before. So later on yesterday, I discovered that at 180km/hr, the Volvo consumed 16 liters of petrol per 100km. The heavy car, the faster the more stable it was. A feat of Swedish engineering as I experienced slicing the resistive smog filled air like a hot knife easily through butter. Stable she went, turbo spooling, Pedal to the metal, I overtook the police cars. And, I was not the only one. The Motorway late yesterday evening was an arena of erratic high speed driving as people sped back to Bangkok. It was awesome in a way, sadistically.

And back in Bangkok I was, the neighborhood filled with an abundance of activity. People queued up to buy drinking water, food and such. Stockpiling they were. Seven eleven was filled, most of the shelves empty. Many other 24 hour marts, closed they already were.

Newspapers covered the large glass panels, looting and mischief expecting they were. And darn I missed the ATM, they were shutdown. Radio cautioned the public to draw cash in advance for preparation of what’s to come in the next two days. What? What will come? I queued in Seven Eleven, made sure I had two packs of ciggys for the next two days to come.

How a society break down, I am getting a taste of it first hand now. Its starts with petrol pumps running out of petrol, yesterday morning the pump I went had none. So on my return journey, I filled to the brim before entering Bangkok I did. Everyone was filling up, the queue was just long. The tankers had stopped delivering, because one was high-jacked for this nationwide event.

Next food shortage will follow, as market trips and delivery will be made impossible. And so we want to go instant, but then the convenient stores will run dry. Or they will be closed and so expect looting next. Humans will fight for survival, an instinct born in all mammals.

So should the situation get any worse, prepared I am sure to a level. I have much instant noodles in my cupboard, and those frozen spaghetti in my freezer. Should the electric be cut, rely on noodles only I will. And so how next “chu-chian-yee-ting” (Japanese Sesame Oil Instant Noodle) depleted? Its ok, I got a huge 3kg bag of rabbit food, I will eat when survival instinct takes over. I am sure my rabbit will not mind sharing. Finish already then how? I got a decorative water feature out my balcony and it’s full of algae. If I dry it and sprinkle salt, I think it can pass of as Japanese seaweed. Rabbit can eat that too, since it’s veggie in a way. Next? Ok, there are these small little toy dogs such as Chihuahua, Terrier, Shih Tzu that normally wonders around my neighborhood. I will eat them before my neighbors realize their pets can be food. I think Shih Tzu makes good Shushi. Then next how, finish eating neighborhood dogs? Go for parrots, can be colorful substitute for the meat in Chicken rice. I will not eat cats because I think they give quite a good scarring if you attempt to kill them. And lastly, under the direst of circumstance… eat my rabbit. It can fit in the microwave quite nicely anyway.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bangkok Burning

That was the skyline yesterday. The mob has this in trend thing of burning vehicles and tyres. News reported that Monday and Tuesday are declared official holidays. School term which was supposed to start today had been delayed by a week. I wonder why they call it a holiday. Holidays are festive period. I guess because of all the firecrackers, excitement and occasional stray bullets hitting someone, they consider this to be one big party minus the booze. My office had sent out last minute emails yesterday asking us to stay home, no work for Monday. The mod is approaching a junction near where we work. Could be in range of M79 RPGs, my colleague joked (note…”joked” we are still taking it lightly).

Now one thing about Bangkok is that there is no zoning, which means all commercial, tourist and residential areas are rolled into one (again… like a bad game of SimCity). So many residents in the down town affected areas are suffering from food shortage, no food and they are very upset about it. However TV highlighted that those hawkers who ventured in to sell are making it big time (there’s always entrepreneurship somewhere). I won’t worry about food when and if the mob reaches where I stay. I have backup reserve already in my apartment. I can eat my rabbit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bangkok Bang Bang

Bang… more bangs and bang bang bang. That’s what had been happening over the past 2 days. The sound of explosions and shootings happened all over down town. It is more like a state of confusion now as all don’t know what is shooting who and what has been shot. News feeds showed people throwing firecrackers mainly but I bet it’s more then that. On Friday, we received SMS forward from unknown sources stating major shopping complexes out of town will be targeted so avoid them. Friends reported that if we want Gucci bags, we could get them free by venturing into the shopping malls down town. I think what he meant was you could break into the shops and no one cared. But I have not seen any news of looting as yet. Reds got shot, soldiers got shot, taxi drivers got shot and motorcycle taxis also got shot. Another Reuters reporter got shot and the radio was suggesting Reuters gotta do lots of Tamboon (visit the temple) this year to correct their luck. Friend of friend’s stories had it that she happened to be in a downtown jam returning to her office when all of a sudden, she saw several motorcycle taxis downed by unknowns. Everyone got out from their cars and scrambled. Everyone, regardless of sides was just getting shot if they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Scary aye? And yet, contrastingly, just out of the town area, Thais are still shopping, pubs are still full of party goers. Popular diners are still filled to the brim on weekends, we are all still working and going about our project scoping and customer visits. Starbucks, I was there, remained still a poser place for people chatting and surfing away on their notebooks or iPad.

A storm is brewing now as I type, the horizon is very dark. Come rain heavy soon it will and wash away the chaos in town. The onset of raining season, many expected the red shirts to cease and return to attend to cultivating their farms. But will they and maybe they will. But we expect the acts of sporadic violence to prolong. As mentioned, we don’t know who is who and what is what now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Clearing Red Areas

It had been announce yesterday that soldier and police will go clean up the red areas. BTS and MRT ceased to pick up passengers at selected stations. Roads closed after 6. Many offices closed early and then….. massive traffic jams as people started to self evacuate from down town. Just the usual.

And in the hours that progressed as reported in the news this morning, shots were fired, some people (very few) were shot. Office buildings bored the scars of stray leads, cars that passed by were harassed. I think they partied with grenades as well, and it was chaos in these limited down town areas. And so, most business there will not operate today.

But out of town, all is normal. We will work today, we did not evacuate our office 4pm yesterday. Warning emails were issued by HR, go home early they stated. But worked on some did still.

How extensive the red shirt supports? Here above show you I have. I was buying my pork’s leg rice for dinner, the hawker had his notebook on WLAN. Turned on speakers loud and blaring he did, was logged on to some online red oriented site was he. Oh, the propaganda speeches, in streaming colors and video. And some homes clearly exhibited their sides with TV turned on loud. To the red channels it was tuned to, for the neighborhood to listen to. And of course, no one complained of noise pollution. No police dare come intervene.

In the pantry my colleague walked up and asked… .
Colleague: “So hey, which do you like? Red shirt people or Yellow shirt people?”
Me: “I prefer naked people, really, especially girls…”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fish Spa

Lately, I have been seeing these spas popping up everywhere. Someone must have brought the idea in and within no time, we see them in almost everything shopping malls high-so and low. In case you don’t know what they are, it is for you to soak your smelly feet in for a period of time. During which the fishies will eat away at your dead feet skin as they soften up. And in the night when the malls are about to close, the tanks are covered over with a white cloth as the attendees break off from work. To which an idea I sprang. I will release leeches and piranhas when no one is watching.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Two months and they are still at It

Everyone is now tried of the situation and the protest has set in to be the norm. No longer was it like when it just began where uncertainty and a pinch of excitement hung in the hot summer air. Threats, blood spill, clashes whatever, no one really talks about it now. Bangkok simply got used to it. It’s really hot now and reported in the news was that the temperatures of consecutive summers has gotten only worse as the effects of global warming sets in. But the reds never gave up, I respect their endurance. I went through field camp without changing underwear for max five days, I wonder how some of the reds does it longer (maybe they don’t have underwear).

Occasionally now, when reported black shirts decided to play grenades in order to heighten up the spirits, the public transportation system shuts down and causes massive jams cascading though the arteries of greater Bangkok. I was in such one. Left the meeting at 4pm, reached home only at 10pm. Not complaining I am, that’s the way life is here now.

So we all carry on with our businesses (less those in affected areas). Fear to begin with was only slight and has but gone now in all. Colleagues we know some join them Reds on the weekends, perspiring under the oven sky. Colleagues we know some branded Yellow we have. And yet we talk, we drink, we have fun still and fight not once did we.