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Thai Life, live, reflected and quote back


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And now, … for something completely different!

Right!  All you Monty Python fans out there, sorry to disappoint you, this isn’t really about their greatness, well perhaps remotely! But nice to bring them up as it’s what they stood for that I’m pining for here and this gives me an opportunity …

So for all of you that don’t know Monty Python,  please educate your sense of humour, quickly! Watch this!

Have you ever felt in need of something different? A different point of view or should that be view point?  

Life can feel  quite stale at times. So it’s good to move your standpoint and see the same old thing from a different angle, don’t you think?

I’m not talking about having a debate and gain perspective by opposing. I’m talking about breaking away completely from what you know.  Standing on new ground, gaining new perspective, fresher way to approach life!

I occasionally  have the urge to be in a completely alien ground where there are no reference point. A place where I cannot apply all my learnt knowledge so no reference point, no labels, no opinions.

I’m not having a wanderlust here. No need to travel away and immersed myself in alien culture. I’m talking about being  here and look at this old Thailand with new eyes, a fresh perspective.

Life isn’t just about one shopping mall to the next or one blockbuster movie after another or even one top nosh restaurant to the next, is it?

Life doesn’t necessarily mean following trends or keep up with the Joneses (but since we are here, it’ll be keeping up with the hi so’s!).

It’s not about being in the know but of really seeing and accepting with no judgements – no reference point. We need to free ourselves from what we think we know and align ourselves with what we don’t know, the unknown!

How? I do this by stepping away from the mainstream culture and going on a quest for an alternative one.  There are a hidden world out there, waiting to be explored. There are exhibitions of really exciting contemporary arts, theatres, alternative comedy – I have embedded an example so enjoy! Of course, there are meditation retreat which I find the most helpful but more about that some other time!

So how about you? Do you need to occasionally break away and if so how do you do it?

‘Til next time.

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Knowing Thai alphabetically (Part II)

Hi there! Let’s resume our unfinished business: getting to know Thais alphabetically. We’re at the second lot of another 11 alphabets now. Let’s go!

ฌ (Chor Cher) ต้นไม้

Cher is not Thai language but it’s derived from Khmer, meaning tree. When it comes to trees in Thai context, I always think of the trees bound with several colorful cloths. Are you familiar with this kind of trees? They’re not street art nor an accident. But the decorated trees hold our believe in deity. We do believe that some ancient trees are resided by deities. To show our respect to the deities, we adorn the specific trees with multicolor cloths.

ญ (Yor Ying)

Ying represents females. Well, girls at Patpong or Soi Cowboy are just the tip of the iceberg for you farang guys. The diversity of what thai women is far beyond you can imagine. Staying away from “Thai girls’ stereotypes” you have in mind will be most appreciated.

ฎ (Dor Chada) ชฎา

Chada is not a common thing you’ve seen in everyday life. It’s a pointing hat made of gold or silver and decorated with jewels and flowers. If you’ve seen Thai traditional masked performance Khon, then you’ll spot chada on some actors or actresses. If you haven’t experience how marvellous Khon is, visit  http://www.salachalermkrung.com/khon.php

ฏ (Tor Patak)

Patak is boring to talk about. This device is a combination of wooden stick and a pointing metal at the tip. It is used to control animals.

ฐ (Tor Santan)

Base or foundation is called santan. It’s quite a formal Thai word. You can simply call it tan.

ฑ (Tor Monto) มณโฑ

Monto is a name of a lady but not a lady in real life. She appears in ancient Sanskrit epic called Ramayana. Monto is a wife of antagonist Rakshasa. Ramayana is most-selected epic adapted to Khon performance. (If you have no idea what Khon is, it’s clear that you miss my Dor Chada.)

ฒ (Tor Putao)

This alphabet means older people. In Thai culture, olders are put in a higher echelon than the youngers. This means we have to respect them, act politely with them, and put ourselves inferior. For example, when we walk pass them, we have to bend our backs a little. This day, most youngsters don’t do something like this anymore. But I think the sense of superiority and inferiority between the two classes still exists.

ณ (Nor Nen) เณร

A buddhist novice is what we call “nen”. The age of people who wants to be ordained as nen is below 20. Nen have to hold ten precepts, including no make up or any other cosmetics. Here’s the surprise. A couple of months back, there was a news story: some nen appeared with rose-colored cheeks and pink lips! Is this any kind of Buddhist revolution in Thailand?

ด (Dor Dek)

Dek are our future. Yes, they’re our seeds, the children. Every year, on the second Saturday of Fabruary is their day, the National Children Day. On this day, everything is free for children. They’re privileged. I miss those days. Do you?

ต (Tor Tao)

Tao means turtle. I don’t know why I think of TMNT when I reach this topic. Maybe because it’s the cartoon I grew up with. Have to stop right here before I go too far.

Let’s talk about tao in Thai context. I bet you already know that we’re Buddhists. Being Buddhists in Thailand is always relevant to making merit. And you know what? Turtle is a mean for our merit making. We do buy turtles and release them in the water. That’s how we do good deeds!

ถ (Tor Tung)

Tung is bag and… Umm. I think I should talk about plastic bags. When we go grocery shopping at 7-11, Tops, or whatever supermarkets. Apart from contents inside, what we left behind, ton of them in fact, is plastic bags. So next time, when we do some shopping, I think we have to bring our own canvas bag. There. Quite a perfect ending. Talking green!

I have two more lots to go! See you next time.


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10 Things I hate about you …

Picture from Sweet Nostalgia

Picture from Sweet Nostalgia

Remember my list of 10 things that I love about Thailand? Well, I thought I try a different tact to get your notice!  Since you don’t respond to love then let’s try its equal and opposite and talk about  hate! Or rather what I really hate about living here! See if you care enough to comment!

I’m not the first to write about things I hate about Bangkok! I did see other bloggers moaned about living here, one in particular has 5 x 10 Things he hates about … Guess that makes 50!!! Interesting read indeed!

What is it about hate that fuels our minds! On second thought tell me that later!  Well.  the 10 Things on my list that get up my nose are:

1. Inconsideration of commuters be it cars, buses, trains, Sky or otherwise and pedestrians

The reason this is my number one, is because it makes me the saddest! Commuters the world over are alike, bad mannered, inconsiderate  BUT  (yes it’s a big but! ) I expected Thais to be different. Perhaps because I have memory of another time when people were considerate and had more sati and body awareness!

 2. Over Sweetened Thai Meals

Sugar seems to become the dominant taste  in all savoury foods from curries, somtam and  even noodles … prevent me from enjoying street foods.  It’s even worse in the case of noodles as people who like the sweet taste can put the sugar in themselves!  Obesity will not be a problem as Thai women are excellent at starving themselves but diabetes will be!

3. The lateness of some people

OK so you have to be 2 hours ahead here because of traffic but to all my mates out there, if you are two hours late for our dates again you’re dead! No excuse! That goes for work meeting too. I was once in a meeting which a participant was two hours late because  … no good reason.

4. Hiding the truth behind a smile

Have you ever noticed that white lies are practice to a high art here? One must never offend anyone! Now that is the sort of good manner that I can actually do without. How about this? You can step on my toes or  flick your hair in my face while commuting on trains, busses or underground, in exchange for honesty!

5. Plastic Bags

Yes all of you shop owners out there, no need to wrap up your goods in so many plastic bags! At 7 Eleven, I bought a carton of milk and that had 3 bags! One for the milk, one for the bag that’s holding the milk and an extra one for protection?!?  Asked them not to put the milk in bags, they looked aghast! Bought a guava at the street vendor and that had 3 bags too when all I need is just the one!

6. Thai Soaps on TV

I absolutely adore Thai ads but Thai soap operas sent shivers down my spine even while I’m killing myself laughing! To think that people are addicted to this and some even aspire to the lifestyle, aghhhh!

7. People that waves their bank notes at stall holders to cut ques

Has this ever happened to you? I had this experience too many times! You simply stand there, waiting to be served then someone come along and demand to be served by  waving  the one thousand bank note at the stallholder to cut ques! Gosh that is just insane and damn right rude. This takes materialistic to the extreme! I’m totally aghast at this practice!

8. The amount of paper work needed to conduct a normal civic things like change address, name or get your money out of banks, etc

I’m sure you all know this one! So no need to expand.

9. Rubish Tipping

Yes,  you people who simply chuck your rubbish from your car windows onto the streets, or simply throw your rubbish onto roads just after you’d eaten!  

10. Moaning about how bad things are

Lastly me writing about all these! I actually hate moaning but as I’m getting older and older and older , huh …  I’m turning into Grumpy  Old Woman!

So your turn, come and share your pain with me!

 

 


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Knowing Thai alphabetically (Part I)

Do you want to know us better? Then, I suggest that you learn about us through Thai alphabets. You have your own alphabets, so do we. Let’s begin with the first 11 alphabets from total 44.

Note: the first syllable of each alphabet is for rhyming purpose only.

 

ก (Gor Gai) ไก่ชน

I think most farangs step closer to Thailand by food. I bet first dishes come into your mind are Tom Yam Kung, Pad Thai, and Tom Kha Gai. That’s right. That’s the gai I’m talking about.

 Gai means chicken. We do consume chicken like you farangs do. Worse than that, we also have some kind of traditional sport involving chicken. It’s cock fighting!!! It’s fun for human yet cruel for those little chickens out there.

(Kor Kai)

Kai means egg. But, don’t tell anyone I tell you this: kai can mean balls as well! The simple explanation is their physical appearance. In case you don’t buy me, just compare the egg with yours! So be careful. Use the word “kai” right in the right context.

 ฃ (Kor Kuad)

Kuad means bottle. I can’t think of anything about this one yet. You can lend me a hand though. If you think of anything Thai about Kuad, you can tell me.

(Kor Kwai) imagesCAGMVIMR

Warning! You should ask your Thai friends to pronounce this one for you. This word is tricky. If your toung is twisted in a wrong angle or something, this word can mean something like ‘penis’. I told you!

Meet the baffalos, the living earth plough, or you can call them kwai. These big black animals are valuable for us, the country of agriculture. They are the important parts that help farmers do rice farms. Personally, I like their innocent eyes, so adorable.

ฅ (Kor Kon)

Kon means human or people or homosepian or whatever you would like to call. I don’t know how to define Thai kons for you. We are quite different from others in the different parts of this crazy world. You might like Thai kons or you simply don’t! If you want to know why, then experience it with yourself!

ฆ (Kor Rakang)

Rakang is bell. You don’t find it in ordinary Thai household. The place where you can find rakang is in temples. It is used to announce times for monks. For example, at 11 am. the bell rangs to announce that it’s a lunch time for monks.

ง (Ngo Ngu)

Ngu is snake and snake is ngu. Believe it or not. Some of us eat snake. But don’t get me wrong. We don’t eat it raw or fried or anything. We ferment snake’s gallbladder with alcohol. Someone I don’t know claims that the essence is good for health. So use your discretion before trying it!

จ (Jor Jaan) จานเบญจรงค์

Jaan means dish or plate. Yes, it’s a tool we use to contain food. Thai culture has sophisticated dishes. It’s called Benjarong, traditional five-hued porcelains. A food container and a food for eyes!

 

ฉ (Chor Ching) ฉิ่ง

Ching is a Thai musical instrument. It’s composed of two metal cup-shaped cymbals. We clap them together to make a sound.

There’s another issue about ching that I still wonder. In Thai, we have a slang to call lesbian couples “Tee Ching (to clap ching)”. I don’t know why we say that. I will definitely tell you about this, just need deep information from linguists.

ช (Chor Chang)

Here comes to my favourite alphabet chor chang. It represents one of Thai symbols Elephants. They battled alongside our ancestry in the past. These days, they still work for their mahouts’ survival. We own them a lot.

You can give a support to Thai elephants here: http://www.asian-elephant.org/program_e.shtml

ซ (Sor So)

So is chain.

Do you believe that, in the old days, some of us were chained? And the chained people were slaves or tas in Thai. It really happened when there was still slave system in Thailand. The unfair system was declared determinated by King Rama V in 1905. I’m so grateful for the King and happy that I wasn’t born in that era.

See you next time with the next 11 alphabets. Bye for now.


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Outsourced Pregnancy, No pain, You gain!

I walked into the office this morning, picked up my free copy of the Express, my coffee and sat down for  breakfast before tackling another week of work.

 The photo on the Front page captured my attention, a happy Oriental couple holding a very contented baby with an Indian lady.  Then I read the  caption which totally made me feel quite dazed!  Outsouced Pregnancies, are you for real?

A Bangkok-based company has gone on the Internet offering the service of surrogate mothers despite there being no law -as yet -that allows the practice of ‘outsourced pregnancies’

I had to look up the clinic on the Internet and got very confused.

The website is called babe 101 which in a literal sense, quite apt! Yet the media refers to this clinic which must have come from the web add, as Babe 1001. What with the extra ‘0′? But that is the least of my concern here.

This is a Taiwanese owned business that tried to escape from the Taiwanese legal loop hole by setting  up the clinic outside Taiwan. Read this, from their FAQ,

Where is your Taiwan branch? What is the address ?
For now, surrogacy in Taiwan is legal, but illegal for commercial surrogacy agency; for this, we set reception offices in Bangkok, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. And contact office in Viet-Nam(you may refer to phone/e-mail to contact us or visit us in person !)We have been doing our best to strengthen our credibility, to complete clients’ request and maintain our reputation is the prime guideline we have reserved.
In Taiwan, we are now consulting with attorney to set an office to provide more service; also we get ready to apply a legal surrogacy agency in Taiwan asap while restriction has been removed.

The poor English makes this even harder to accept! But there is more,

Why should I need surrogate mother ? What’s the advantage of surrogate mother for surrogate births?
  1. Choosing a health and young woman, it can provide the baby a superior environment of birth.
  2. Female of consignors can get rid of any inconvenience and uncomfortableness.
  3. The consignors can continue to work without worrying about losing job or business intermission. It is quite suitable for the women who desire to have kids but no time for pregnancy.
  4. Unnecessary to fear birth pangs.
  5. Unnecessary to worry about out of shapes on stature; neither to fear the intimacy fading with husband.
  6. Embryo selecting can pick up the best quality one to implant into young and health surrogate mother. The finest combination surely makes you be more confident to your child.
  7. Without sufferings birth pangs、out of shape, no intermission on business or job. However the baby is 100% blood relationship with you.
  8. Under extremely strict control and selecting in all process, it is much higher possibility to have outstanding than normal.
  9. No descends is somewhat a regret for one’s family, with our assistance, you can successfully carry on.

The word “mother” is no longer apt and they are now  referred to here as “the female consignor“, the birth process has no sacred value and consigned to a business transaction! This demeans the whole principle of  family!

Infertility is a sad medical condition for couples that wish to start a family. The process of discovering that you are infertile is a painful and traumatic one. Therefore, a chance to become parents to these couples will seem  god-sent. But to actually make this,  a commercial transaction,  is highly unethical. Not only to the couple but also to the surrogate mothers.

In plain English, the blurb means,

You can have someone else get pregnant on your behalf at a fee. The  benefits are:

  •  don’t have to look unsightly or suffer the birth pain,  not to mention the illness of pregnancy!
  • can still carry on working!
  • can carry on having sexual pleasure without the interruption of a pregnancy!

 A friend of mine said that means sex will be for pleasure only and not procreation! Now tell me if you agree, is this highly unethical or what!


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Me, the Animals

I’m an animal fiend. Those sleepy koala, fluffy panda, cute dogs and such are my best friends. I can smile even when they do stupid things. They have an “adorable gene” runs in their veins. Sometimes I wish I could be those little dog on a rich lady lap, flying away from human’s troubles here. However there’re some animals that I don’t wish to be them.

1. Maa or Dog หมา

If I were a dog here in Thailand. I could live as a king in a luxurious mansion and had someone fed me with expensive meat in a silver spoon. At the same time, if I were plain dog without excellent pedigree or good breeds to back me up, I could end up on streets, living freely as street dogs. It was good to live my life as free as a bird. Still, there’s always a ‘but’. Food is the first but. It is a golden rule for most street dogs to live around restaurants district where food are plenty in the trash cans. A big piece of bad meat can be compared to delicacy from always-furious Chef Ramsay. But they could expect it only when they found kind people. Life like the reality show “Survivor” is the next but. Street dogs have to outlast their friends on street. They can be voted out from this world by speedy cars, mean people, or even other street dogs. Want to know the worst case scenario? Then be street dogs in Isaarn or noth-easthern part of Thailand. Some of the dogs here is not the object for fussing about. But it’s a big meal for dog meat lovers. Rest in peace, my friends in the dog heaven.

2. Hiea or Monitor Lizard เฮี้ย

Although Hiea’s apperance doesn’t fit at all with the word “adorable”, my heart goes out for them. Why? Because it’s the animal that always takes the blame from us people. In Thai language, hiea has two meanings:

  • The monitor lizard
  • A swear word. A degree of hiea as the swear word can equal to f**k in English. Therefore, when someone does something very bad and evil, he will be called “Hiea!” This is why I perceive Hiea as my poor animal. They do nothing wrong in their lives, except that they kill and eat chickens or other smaller animals once in a while. But it’s the way life is. They have to do it for survival purposes. Why do their name deserve to be the bad word?

3. Panda แพนด้า

Why panda is in my list when the father, the mother, and their baby girl are our nation’s sweetheart? Then imagine yourself in a mirror room. All your actions, eating, sleeping, or even scratching your balls, are monitored by strangers. Who are these strangers? They are not family and not even in the same species! Can you feel how frustrated they are?

Here in Thailand, what kinds of animals you want to be or not to be? Bye for now. I have to go watch Linping’s progress. Oops!!!


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It can only happen here or can it?

So we are in mid August now and what has happened this month to make Thailand, the world greatest tourist attraction you might wonder. Umm so do I.

Could it be that we just hosted the Guinness World  Record Screaming competition in Pattaya? You decide.

Wasn’t that spectacular! Something to come over and scream, lol!  Well this is something  I’m glad  that we didn’t win! Can you just imagine what it’ll be like if one of these girls, did win! But honestly, they are doing this all wrong! Just go and measure the decibel at the Jonas Brothers concert, I’m sure that will be a world record!

Right just for the record,

Loudest scream by a crowd
A scream by a group of Scouts (all Finland) was measured to reach a level of 127.2 dBA, in the grounds of Toivala’s Metsäkoulu, Siilinjärvi, Finland on 16 April 2005.