Archive for February, 2005

Changing the channel

It’s no suprise to anyone that has been to Thailand that life can be laid back to the point where things don’t work quite as they should. Most of the time, it’s how it is and you just get on with it…

Sometimes it’s annoyingly funny. It’s usually the silly things that fall into this category. Take TV for instance.

While eating lunch today I ficked through the days TV guide and compared it to 8 channels, quickly. 5 of the 8 were not showing what the guide said they would be. Remember this is not an independant guide, it is the official monthly guide from UBC that gets sent directly to your door. If they can’t manage it, who can?

What can you say? It’s Thailand… Mai pen rai, eh?

Shame On You, Farang

Being farang and living in Thailand invariably leads to a number of predictable questions like:

  • How long have you been in Thailand?
  • (after you tell them) Can you speak Thai?
  • (when you tell them you work in Thailand) Do you teach english?
  • (after you tell them where you live) How much does it cost?
  • Can you eat spicy food?
  • Do you think Thai women are beautiful?
  • (if a woman is asking) Do you think I’m beautiful?
  • etc…

Sure, I’m generalising but you get the idea.

My whole point for bringing this up wasn’t to express my irritation at being asked any of the above, but to admit that I’m embarrassed to answer them because there is no good reason why I haven’t integrated myself into Thai society more. I don’t want to be one of ‘those’ farang, who never try to integrate and incessantly whinge that everything isn’t the way they expect.

For example, I can barely speak Thai after 2.5 years and I only know the name of about four Thai dishes and end up eating them the majority of the time. I really need to learn the names of more dishes!

Valentines Day in Bangkok

So, it was valentines day and Bangkok was filled with people carrying flowers and cuddly toys around… from giggling school girls, to grown up men on their way home. And everywhere there were entrepreneurial Thais selling flowers on the streets ready to cash in on this famous day.

What struck me was that being from Europe, I never saw such a manisfestation of Valentines Day there. Sure everyone asks each other at school how many cards they’ve received from their secret admirers and in the office it’s a competition as to who will get a dozen red roses. But you don’t see so many people out and about with so many flowers even though this is a celebration of Saint Valentine and a Christian ‘holiday’. It’s certainly all about commercialism and globalization. I wonder if in the UK they’ll ever start celebrating Loi Krathong :p

Unusual Hotel Standards

A friend of mine was visiting from Sydney last week and stayed at Silom Sofitel, which is a beautiful hotel to stay at, and going to see him reminded me of the policy that some hotels in Bangkok have of disallowing their guests to have anyone else in their room.

Perhaps this is done to discourage tourists from bringing ‘unsavory’ types to the hotel, but I’ve never found out if that is true.

My reason for mentioning this is because I was wondering if anyone else has come across this, because it has previously left me in the ridiculous situation of falling asleep while waiting about an hour in the lobby (not of Sofitel Silom) for my friend to get his act together and come down.

More Bangkok Bangkok

I thought I’d let you know that the exhibition, Bangkok Bangkok that I have been writing about also has some interviews available online. The show is going well from what I hear (and again, a big welcome to all in Spain who are reading this!) and you can click here to see interviews and articles at

island party

i’m going to a party on Larn island, off the coast of pattaya, this weekend. supposedly it’s the largest event ever held on the island.

it’s a ticketed party, but all proceeds will be going to the tsunami relief efforts of the chaipattana foundation and the thai red cross.

i suppose it’s one of those all nighter things. i don’t know of any places to stay on larn island itself, and most of the people i’ve talked to are sleeping in pattaya and just taking the ferry over to the island.

the bands playing are: Futon, Thaitanium, Ki-jo Brothers, Apartmentkhunpa, East Bound Downers, Super Baker, Penguin Villa


Tom Stephan AKA Superchumbo – Essentials Mix Radio One, Twisted America, Miss Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On”

Adam Freeland, the 1# breakbeat DJ in the World.

Local legends will also include;
Charlie Hustle Tribute Set by Ofay One, Sunzone, Dragon, Wen, Katsugi, Tann, Space Monkey, Ricky Bonneville, Stewart, Ronny, Nin, Christian, Nutek VJ’s Lighthead

Exclusive Thailand performance shows by Orange Productions from Bali that will include:

Date: February 12, 2005
Venue: Outdoor on Samae Beach, Koh Larn, Pattaya
For more information:
call: 02.653.3227

Gung Ho Fat Choy*

Well wandering around this morning saw me avoiding many people buring bins full of red paper and having my aural life assaulted by loud firecrackers… so with Chinese New Year just around the proverbial corner, it seems like as good a time as any to wish all our readers a Very Happy Year of the Rooster!

Of course, Chinese is only one of three that are celebrated here in Bangkok – along with Western in December and (traditional) Thai in April. Although I have to say Chinese tends to be my favourite (in indea, if nothing else) – less pointless than Western and much dryer than Thai.

*May Prosperity be with you (I hope, at least)

“Those who know less than me better shut up.”

That quote was attributed to Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, responding to criticism that he is an autocratic leader soon after his party’s landslide victory in the general elections. His vanguard arguement that he is a champion of democracy: shut the fuck up. As you can see, he is ever the diplomat, the silky smooth, mature elder statesman.

In case you didn’t quite pick up on it. I was being a tad sarcastic. This puerile, hot-headed, ham-fisted thug of politician buys his way into a second victory in what is being labelled as the dirtiest campaign in Thailand’s storied history of uber-corrupt campaigns, and he has the chutzpah to claim that he is the pinnnacle of Thai democracy at its finest. Then again, this is the same guy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, made his money through crony-capitalist-derived monopolies, and thinks he’s the greatest self-made man since Horatio Alger.

Fellow Metroblogger Scuba once told me a great quote about Wubya that I think is equally applicable to our PM: “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”

Beautiful Buildings

As I was passing Central World Plaza (aka World Trade Centre) yesterday, I marvelled at how much that area has changed in a year. The specific area I’m referring to is not Central World Plaza itself but the office building next door to it, which I don’t know the name of.

Just over a year ago, this building was a slab of concrete jutting into the sky and has been transformed into one of the more beautiful buildings in Bangkok. I don’t have a photograph of what it looked like before but I’ll try to get one today of how it is now.

The most disappointing aspect of it is that, while the building is beautiful (I wouldn’t want to be the window cleaner), the skytrain is blocking what could have been an amazing view.

Now all we need is for Siam Paragon (the new ‘high society’ shopping complex) to be completed and that will be the end of construction in this area of Bangkok for a while – hopefully.

UPDATE: The stupid battery of my stupid digital camera (a crappy Canon Ixus i) is stuffing up so I haven’t been able to get that photo I promised yet, I’ll try to do it this weekend.

Bangkok Bangkok

Firstly a very warm welcome to anyone from Barcelona who is reading this! Hopefully the weather isn’t too cold up there in chilly Europe.

For everyone else, I’d like to pass on some more information about Project 304’sBangkok Bangkok” (A contemporary art and film project, focusing on Bangkok) which opens today in Barcelona and can be seen at La Capella, Barcelona, Spain from the 8th Feb to 10th April, 2005.

The official press release is after the cut. Once again, welcome to everyone, whereever you are reading this from – enjoy the show and enjoy the metblog .

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