Thai Life, live, reflected and quote back


Thailand, the friendliest country in the world?

By now most of you would have heard of  the HSBC 2009 surveys on Expats Experience and two things for Thais to be glad of. Apparently we are the country where LOVE blooms and of course we are the most friendliest country.

© HSBC 2009

Well being friendly is good but to be the Love capital of Asia isn’t that bad either. According to this survey,

Almost half (47%) of Expats in Thailand alone said they have found love!

Love aside, the most interesting bit is the integration score. This is positives for us Thais. With all the recent wave of westerners living here reacting to the word FARANG, thinking that we are looking down on them. This survey gives it another slant, a different perspective.

© HSBC 2009

I have often wondered why westerners find Thailand so attractive. Guess these are the reasons.

From a personal view, having lived in England for 32 years of my life, integration wasn’t easy.  Luckily, it wasn’t an option, we had to do it. It’s a matter of survival. But it’s made the 32 years a good experience. Integration makes one feels connected to the country we chose to live in. It makes us want to be part of that culture.

Now I feel this is exciting time. We cannot deny that our next generation will not be of one race. OK,  historical Thailand has always been multicultural. But the next generation will be a truly multicultural Thailand.  We all know or have racially mixed children, nieces, nephews, cousins,  grandchildren and even partners. This means we can no longer think mono-culturally.  Are we ready for this?

If this survey is correct and the fact that this information is open to all web surfers, will make more people want to relocate here. No longer do we need the marriage brokers, just move here, integrate and find yourself a soul mate! If Thailand Be the food of love, play on.

But … as Catherine has noted on her blog, once you Expats have integrated, perhaps its time to learn the lingo. It will really open up this country for you.  So if you’re an expat, married to a Thai then go and enrol on Thai Language class. Decode what the in-laws really think of you! Worth a try, huh?



Towards a Fair Society or not?

I spotted this article, Thailand’s shocking inequity statistics on the BKK Post and thought I share with you the figures. Then leave you to ponder what it all means for us. Are we any different from any other first world country? Do you think this is any different than historical Thailand pre-wars? What can we learn from it really?

Prof Pasuk Phongpaichit speech “Towards a Fair Society” at the King Prachadhipok Institute conference, quoted the following as facts:

– The top 20% own 69% of the country’s assets while the bottom 20% own only 1%.

42% of bank savings money comes from only 70,000 bank accounts holding more than 10 million baht. They make up only 0.09% of all bank accounts in the country. In other words, less than 1% of the people own nearly half of the country’s savings.

– Among the farming families, nearly 20% of them are landless, or about 811,871 families, while 1-1.5 million farming families are tenants or struggling with insufficient land.

– 10% of land owners own more than 100 rai each, while the rest 90% own one rai or less.

– On income distribution, the top 20% enjoy more than 50% of the gross domestic product while the bottom 20% only 4%.

– The average income of the bottom 20% is the same as the poverty line at 1,443 baht per month.

– The gap between the richest and poorest family is 13 times, higher than all our neighboring countries.

Nidhi Eeo-seewong, was quoted to say,

“Thailand will never be the same again,” he wrote. “There is no use in being nostalgic. Instead, we must put our heads together to find out how to minimise the damage.”

Do you agree?

Here is the global view,

Well this is certainly true for Thailand and that particular someone who widened the earning gap considerably when he sold his technology asset!

This is the View of BKK Post

The lack of political will among the power cliques and corruption are apparently Thailand’s biggest obstacles. But the decline of public trust in parliamentary/money politics is no reason to debunk it, she insists. It is still the best system to allow democracy to grow more strongly, to effect fair taxation and state spending for the public good, to fight corruption and facilitate peaceful conflict resolution. “We just need to be patient.”

What do you think? Can we allow things to be as is and wait for the state to change? Do we believe that we, the people have the power to change? Or do we still lack the will, the vision and the foresight to summon up change?

Answer not on  a postcard but right here below this line, please.

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A Different Perspective

I recently came across a gallery, La Lanta first on-line and later in person and thought I should encourage you to take a tour. It was a piece by the Bangkok Post on Photocubism by M.L. Mingmongkok Sonakul that caught my attention.  Here are some examples that I found of interest and like to share with you.

Photo montage of the chaophraya river by M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul

© 2009 Chaophraya by M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul

What I like  about the collection of work is that it allows the subject to tell its own story.  Often we only get subjective view of from the artist perspective even when we view a landscape, we see that only from the photographer or painter own perspective.

The next piece I also like because of its simplicity and total honesty.

Photo montage of leaves by M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul

© 2009 Leaves by M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul

Then there is  this which makes me chuckles but have a look, corrugated zinc are so beautiful to look at especially the weathered and eroded pieces.

photo montage of corrugtaed zinc

© 2009 Zinc by M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul

Now this is entitled “Yellow” and I must say, it’s my kind of yellow and I think it’s by far my most favourite.

photo montage of yellloe flames

© 2009 Yellow by M.L. Mingmongkol Sonakul

This puts a new perspective on things. It makes me take a close look at things that we often walk pass without giving it much care or attention. All things deserve a closer look at least  once in your life, for example when you travel down the Chaophraya river, have you taken noticed of the river or are you too busy getting suck into some melodrama playing right in front of your eyes? Or how many times do we walk on dead leaves without seeing what lovely texture they have and how they aged and died in such a graceful way.

Go on if you have time visit La Lanta if not then take a ten min break from your computer screena nd go online and treat your mind to a new way of looking at everyday things.

I would like to say thank you to La Lanta and here is how to get there.

245/14 Sukhumvit soi 31
Klongtan Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok 10110


Escape or confront? What’s your choice?

We all dream of living our life peacefully without facing  any major changes that might have an impact our daily life!

Take Bangkok traffic, we all seems to be able to cope with idiosyncratic drivers, taking short cuts that occasionally end their lives.  But when we have to face major roadwork that will improve the traffic conditions and road safety, what do we do?  We all feel aghast, cheated and shocked at why they have to do this now and disrupt our daily routine!

Changes are not easy to live with yet we do live in continuous flux of change but we hardly take notice! The only change we notice is when something major is happening in our lives. A wedding, a divorce, a birth and a death, getting fired, getting promoted, and getting a knock back from friends or colleagues. .. I don’t need to go on here, do I?

Before the actual change takes place, there’s usually something that instigated the change; a reason, an incident, an outcry but most of us simply ignore this. We simply get on with our daily lives and simply bury our heads in the sand or under the duvet, your choice!

Take the political situation in our country, long before the PAD or the red go marching, did anyone of us care about how this country is shifting and bending to a particular direction. I don’t think so! What we care about is how to please ourselves, our family, our friends. Or how to get what we don’t have or have more of what we like!

Each time that groups of people instigated any changes, we simply listen in one ear and out the next. As long as it doesn’t affect us then just let things be, much safer and easier that way.

The question is why are we Thais afraid of changes, new things and progress. Why do we leave things to the last minute until it gets almost out of hand before we choose to take a peep and see what’s happening!

Right now, Thailand is at a crossroad. What will you do? Escape or confront your inner most fear. Allow progress or just let things continue on as is. Can we afford to not make a choice and do something about this? I don’t think so!

Are we going to be like passengers in taxi cabs, allowing the drivers to rant about their political views and aspiration while we winced and hope they don’t turn round and ask our opinions!

What is there to be afraid of? With change comes uncertainty and not knowing but with change, comes progress!

Catherine from Women Learning Thai, recently commented on my previous post,

My take… for westerners, it’s a part of who they are. Coming up with ideas to improve where they live is all about contributing to whatever society they find themselves in.

Standing by doing and saying nothing, could be be construed as taking while giving nothing back.

Anyway, that’s just the way I feel personally. If I am not giving back to a country that is giving so much to me, then I am being selfish.

Her comment shows us the difference in attitude between westerners here and I totally agree with her.  Standing by doing nothing to most of us is easy and supported our ” mai pen rai” attitude that seems to halt many progress.

Come on, isn’t it time we wake up to what’s taking place here in Thailand. This is actually quite exciting, it’s called progress. We all have the right to decide what we want for this country and the choices are not two colours but the whole spectrum out there. All that is required of us is to stand up to what we personally believe in, escape your fear and confront your enemy! We have the right to be free so what choice will you make?


A quiet refelction on Thai Life

It has just dawned on me that I have been writing this blog for a while! My views versus the world views on  Thais, Thailand and these magnitude of words have  distorted  my vision! As much as I love words , they now taunt me.

Of late the political stalemate and all the social economic welfare discussions have masked  the love I feel for this country.  I find the repetition of the same themes, constantly churn out for our consumptions by the media greying this mind.  I’m beginning to lose faith.

The more I surf the web, the more I find endless blogs by westereners telling us what we should do, what will be good for us, how we should change. Most of the times, they a re spot on and that depress me even more!

Then if I swap to the Thai web forums and the chatters there are just as bad, opinionated, self righteous and very divisive!

My head hurts! I long for days when I can sit and chat openly in cafés, bars, restaurants, noodle stands, som-tam vans, about the future of this beloved country. But that is not going to be possible.

I feel very like the Chao Phrya river on the photo below. It looks so inviting!

This relationship I have with this dear country, is like a marriage, second quarter in.  That middle part where the romance has died and day in day out you look at your partner and beginning to see the annoying habits and as days go by, the habits get exaggerated and ultimately get on your nerves! You begin to wonder why you stay in this relationship. All you see is the other possibilities beyond your reach!

Then quietly I stumbled on this site,www.monasie.com and suddenly I remembered why I love this country so much! PhillipeB has graciously allowed me to show you his work. This is  how I have realigned my perspective back to the middle ground.

Mother and Child selling sausages, Bangkok

Mother and Child at work, Bangkok

Bangkok vegetarian Festival

Vegetarian feast with a smile!

The street tycoon

The street tycoon

Two kitten market venders

Thailand is not perceptual, post-modern thought embedded in my head! Being Thai is not about aligning myself with a philosophy or political party. Being Thai is just that! Its about being able to live with what is, in that moment and no more. The more we speculate to accumulate, the more remove we are from the essence of Thai-ness.

What do you think? These are so very Thailand for me. Thanks Phillipe for reminding me that Thailand isn’t about what’s going on but about what is!


What love has to do with it

Sorry Tina but this is such an apt title for this blog!

The word love has been used so much and mostly for commercial gains so what really is love. Too many songs has that word repeated and so diluting the meaning.  So love becomes how Hallmark defines it! But in reality is it love they sing about or this new 21st century disease, the “Poor Me” syndrome.

Then if you match these two combinations, love and a farang and a Thai relationship. Most  people become quite cynical, me included.  But I’m sick of all this  poor farangs cheated by Thai women bantering also.

Then I came across these clips on YouTube and was mesmerised by the whole thing! They are not polished American style docudrama but a cold hard look at genuine people who are looking at how to survive.

Not glamorous, not exciting, nonetheless real.  Through it all, what I saw was genuine desire for a better life. Not exploitation of the superior by an inferior. Not people trafficking by marriage.  Just lives, lives of people who suffered for whatever reasons and found solace in one another.

This made me think about my own personal views and opinions on being female and relationships. I now have to redefine my ground and rethink.

If you have time then watch all 7 clips with an open mind. Then tell me what you think?

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The Golden Ratio, can we live up to it?

Did you know that beauty is not something determined by a whim? Not something emotive. Beauty or attractiveness in a person goes much deeper than superficial appearance, apparently!

What we thought or let me be scientific here, cognise, as beautiful or attractive, can be determined by a mathematical formula.

If you have frequented the world of art history then you’ll be familiar with the golden ratio or fashionably refers to by Da Vinci as the divine proportion. Here it is in print!

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio

This makes it pretty hard to live up to for all you ladies out there right? Well, try looking at it this way.

Equation, translated!

Equation, translated!

Still not quite right? Try looking at this way then.

Still not quite sure then let’s choose somebody who is universally believed to be beautiful and attractive and show you.

Now you can see why she is cognitively beautiful!!!

Now you can see why she is cognitively beautiful!!!

What do you think? Is this how you judge beauty?

Going back to my last few blogs on the subject of beauty, do you think this applies to non Caucasian? Or is this definition strictly belongs to the Renaissance scholars and western culture. Therefore does not apply to Thais and other non Caucasians.

Interestingly, I  found something even more fascinating than measuring Angelina Jolie face and this goes beyond Divine Beauty. Sadly I cannot upload this video here so click on the image and go and watch. It’s a program from the Discovery channel on the Science Of  Sex Appeal and this one is an episode called The Beauty Of Symmetry.


So at the end of the day, it just comes down to procreation! We, males and females, alike have been spending a fortune in time and money  making ourselves beautiful. But if beauty is determined long before we were born then we are _ _ _ _ ed!  And if the reason why we are attracted to beautiful people is because we want to find the fittest to mate then back to square one folks. Save your money, and hire the best surgeon!

Beauty can then  be redefined as

A person who is genetically fit to parent!

What is your take on this? Guess this is true where Jolie is concerned, Brad and her have become super parents!