Sunday, January 31, 2010
Customer was smiling sweetly after talking on the phone in Thai.
Eddie: Your family called you?
Customer: *shakes head* A-DULT-E-RY
Sometimes in Thailand, sinning is so in-your-face.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
In the last few months, I have:
1. Rented and renovated a home-office, dealing with contractors who were unprofessional and instructing them using sign language.
2. Applied for water, electricity, internet, corporate bank accounts, set up cctv systems, company data backup systems, sounds straightforward enough, but trust me, when the official language is thai, achieving the above stated is a MONSTROUS task.
3. Signed millions of documents that were scripted with bean sprout characters, feels like signing my death sentence 20 times a day.
4. Lost my passport and my hp within 2 months.
5. Nearly got conned by taxi drivers twice but take note of the word nearly.
6. Called ard 25 pple for interviews and only managed to interview 12, one of them applying for the wrong position.
7. Gotten screamed at by my staff at 10pm in the night for sending him an email asking him to send me clearer pictures if he wanted me to help me look at them and tell him what the object was.
8. Received a resignation letter after sending an email to ask a constantly-2-hrs-late-for-work-or-AWOL staff to try to be punctual.
9. Consistently worked 6-7 days a week to make sure everything in the company is running properly.
BUT, I also have:
1. Had my ROM with the most beautiful lady in the world.
2. Gotten complete trust from my board, which I appreciate so immensely that I will fight tooth and nail to make the company work.
3. Found an amazing man called Rit who is my good staff, as well as my good friend. My life would be upside down if he was not around, and I will make his life better in return.
4. Gotten closer to my ex-clients, Khun Nivest, Weerapong, Nat and Mew. They are now my great friends.
5. Sat at a VIP table at possibly the largest and grandest wedding I will ever attend.
6. Visited most parts of Thailand and realised how beautiful and blessed this country actually is amidst the political uncertainty.
7. Taken photos with a country music superstar, watched a hiphop star perform and a new up-and-coming local band strut their stuff on stage.
8. Found and attended a great church with the most sincere and inspiring lead Pastor.
10. Been nicknamed "village head" by my manager for being greeted by everyone around my home office when I step outside though I speak an awfully mini bit of Thai.
Oh.... looks like I have more positives than negatives.... guess I can't complain much. Before I sign off, here's a sneak peak at how TES Power Equipment Co., Ltd. looks like.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Before we start let me first clarify that what I am going to show you is exactly what I saw with my own eyes, I will not show you anything that I have not seen yet, so there's really much much more here:
Farmland... endless and endless acres of it, looks green now, but before harvest it will look golden and then it will be just dark brown mud after harvesting.
This snack is extremely pretty but I have never eaten it before.
This is the first time I ate crepe cake, it's divine
Most people know that Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have colourful flowers, but does anyone expect this sight? You might need to pay much much more to go much further away to see sunflowers.
Waterfalls..... this is a fake one, haha.
How about a real one then? I think there are countless waterfalls here.
Doi Inthanon on the Northern tip of Thailand
This one is at the Southern tip of Thailand
Most importantly, the people! Fun loving and welcoming, what more can you ask for? I was lucky enough to meet Mr Thaksin and Mr Obama during my trip. Abhisit is nearby too.
Last but not least
Me! Yes, I am in Bangkok, very much so. So if the reasons above do NOT give you a reason to come, this last one should be convincing enough.
PS. I had many more pictures to show, Mountains, Lakes, Rivers, Beaches...... u know what I mean.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Because of these 2 kind souls below, Rit and Om (Rit is currently my warehouse supervisor), I have the honour to have first-hand experience on how a typical Thai spends the evenings of every 5 December. First you go to some park and around 730pm, you light a yellow candle and wait for further instructions.
Someone would announce the time for everyone to sing, and everyone would start singing a song, with no music, nothing, and it's not the national anthem. The conglomerate of tens of thousands of people would just sing in unison. It's just really kinda incredible to be amongst something like this, though I don't understand the lyrics at all. It just feels like love is in the air, a different kind of love, a love given from the people, to their King.
The picture below is my futile attempt to tell you how many people are involved, and this is only one of the countless parks in Thailand. The key is to look across the lake, look at the little shimmering candles across the water. There were even MORE PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE!
After the song is done, everyone raises their candles into the night sky and shouts something in unison. I believe it would sound something like that in English, "Long live the King!"
Following that would be an extravagant array of fireworks. This time, i heard, the display was different, because while usually there will be only 1 display, there were FOUR separate displays of fireworks. After the first 2, the horde started to disperse, only for the 3rd display to begin, and the Park was half empty when the 4th display took place. I was lucky enough to view all 4 as I was lazy to squeeze my way out with the crowd initially.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Me: What's wrong with learning Thai?
A : There's nothing wrong with Thai, just that Thailand is the only country using Thai, not very useful when you go out of Thailand. Comparatively something like Spanish or French would be more useful.
Me: Well, I get your point, but if I can dedicate 27 years of my life to learning SINGLISH for 4.6million people to understand, I think learning Thai for 70million is well worth the trouble.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I personally think she's quite pretty, but since I don't speak Thai, I couldn't communicate with her to find out more about her. My weird feeling started when she said that it was her birthday and P agreed to buy her a birthday cake. Before we went to the place they sang, she brought us to a bakery and chose a birthday cake she liked.
My heart dropped when we reached the bar they were singing in. It was open air, dark, smelly with a big stage in front. All the ladies were around 40 yrs old, made-up like wayang. They took turns to sing some ancient Thai country songs. But oh well, that's not the point of the story, but I really thought we were conned. It was not some decent pub with nice music and all.
Then this 19yr old young lady appeared as the only young female performer and wore a very skimpy outfit. She would probably never be able to see this, but I shall not publicise pictures of her skimpy dressing.
After an hour and a half of torment, I suggested to P we should just cut the cake and go. Then, the cake was taken out, all the old friends came, dressed skimpily as ever, sang the bday song and I took this picture (I think this picture shouldn't be offensive as she has covered herself sufficiently though u can get the point):
Ok then the drama begins. Barely a minute after being so happy, she started crying and fell into her mother's arms. The mother started crying too and girl looked inconsolable. I was later told by P that it was the first time in her 19 years that she had celebrated her bday with a cake and that she felt very sad as her father was not with her anymore. Apparently the dad got her mom pregnant when she was 15 then left.
All this did not seem fake at all. In fact, though I had been sceptical about everything and thought we had fallen into a trap to spend money at this run-down bar, I started to think about life in general.
A 34 yr old mother would encourage her daughter to join her, wear revealing outfits to sing and entertain men, in the same bar where she can see men taking advantage of her daughter in front of her very own eyes?
A 19 yr old who has not been given a birthday cake for celebrations before? This is probably unthinkable for pple brought up in Singapore or Malaysia. I have friends who get angry for not having a bday cake for 1 birthday, and suddenly a girl sitting in front of me gets emotional over receiving the first cake of her life? Trust me, it was an unbelievably simple cake, costing 5 times less than what you have to pay at Breadtalk.
Perhaps, some people are really having it much worse than us, much much worse, beyond what we can imagine.
Perhaps, some people enter this line because, they really have no choice.
Perhaps, we should really look at what we have, and be content, be satisfied that someone bothers to buy you a birthday cake/s every year, that your parents are still together, that u can call someone Dad, that u are not forced into a controversial industry etc.....
The night sure did not end the way it began.
I am not saying that P's behaviour should be tolerated (as he clearly tried to take advantage of the lady), nor am I saying it was right for me to put myself in such a situation in the first place.
If I am being more sceptical, I can think that this was a rehearsed act, and the young lady could be using the same trick every night to earn sympathy from customers, but is this important?
These ladies don't even have a chance to take a proper picture of themselves, so while we are lamenting over the low resolutions of our cameras, we should just be satisfied and content, because, right around you, there could be many who would die to be like you, but will never be like you, even if they die trying.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
This will not be a blog that sounds fantastic, nor a blog that will look amazing. This is just something for me to kill some time when i really have something to share, and for people who can't find me/contact me to see exactly what I am up to, and hopefully, in due time, everyone who reads my blog will have some knowledge or travel tips in Bangkok/Thailand. So, it is never a waste of time to pop in here to have a read!
Anyway, Happy New Year to all. For all who still do not know, I am working in Bangkok for the foreseeable future, and if you are interested to know what I do, I might share it when I feel like it in the future. However, do drop me a message if you are ever coming to visit, and I will do my best to meet u or even bring u somewhere interesting.
For the first post, let me just make it simple. In my experiences with Bangkok taxis in my 3 short months here, I must say that taxis in Bangkok are normally comfortable (they are all Toyota Corolla Altises) and cheap with a metre making sure the rates are the same. However, i have recently had 2 bad experiences, both with taxis from the airport.
First, please have a look at the picture below:
Ok, this is what the airport pple will give you after helping you tell the taxi where u want to go before you board the taxi. Just remember, this piece is for you to KEEP.
Keep, meaning, never give it to anyone until you leave the taxi unscathed. Unscrupulous taxi drivers will ask you for it, then after that, with his highly customized meter, charge you double the actual fare or more, and since double the fare will not be overly expensive, as you would pay that in your home country anyway, they would get away with it.
This is the other side of the paper. It contains the details of the driver and the taxi, and information telling you you have to pay for the tollway as well as a 50baht surcharge from the airport. And also, the number to call to complain etc.
So, if you hand this to them and you do not know what's happening, then you will have nothing against them when you realise it.
I handed this paper to them but ended up not paying extra due to my experience in taking taxis from the airport as well as my limited knowledge of Thai, but please do not hand this to them if you read this blog.
If you keep this, they will probably not switch their meters to the speed mode if there is one, or they will probably know they need to give a discount at the end. Just as a rule of thumb, even if you are deep in town, usually the meter reading will not go beyond 350-400baht. I have taken taxi maybe a hundred times here, and a distance like from Orchard to Changi will be around 150baht, varying depending on traffic. If you see the meter jumping every 1 or 2 seconds, u are in trouble.
Otherwise, if you have a feeling, "Hmmm, Bangkok taxi really isn't so cheap after all", or "Wow, Thailand IS BIG, 80km from airport to town", or later in your trip, u are expecting to pay 300baht getting from your hotel near town to Siam Paragon or Platinum Mall, chances are you have been 'killed' at the airport, and try not to be killed the next time you come.
All in all, the taxi culture here and the prices are very nice and good, don't let this post scare you, I am supposed to help you! And, even if you get 'killed', it won't cost you a bomb, just that I do not want those taxi drivers to earn a single cent more than they deserve, and vice versa.
This post is becoming long and boring, so I shall stop for now, see you next time.