Airplane Landing in Carribean
Bad news from this part of the world. My computer and hard drive crashed a few days ago and all is lost, except for stuff stored off line such as this blog. All my pretty pictures! Gone! It was a really strange hard drive crash, slowly took almost a week as my computer slowed down day by day, until the platter wouldn't turn and I couldn't access anything at all including Win XP. Of course, nothing was backed up, so I've lost most of my images, though I can go back and rescan some of the stuff.
I've ordered a replacement computer from Dell but it won't arrive for about a week, so expect blogging to resume around the end of the month.
But life without a computer and a blog is, well, wonderful. It's been many, many years since I wasn't chained to a computer......
Friday, April 15, 2005
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Casinos on Sentosa
The question of permitting casinos in Singapore has been going on for several years, and now it finally looks like the government has reached their decision, which is yes. Two reasons. Malaysia, Philippines, and Macau already have casinos, which draw large number of Singaporeans, not to mention Malaysian-owned Star Cruises which leaves Keepel Harbour in Singapore several times weekly and makes gambling cruises to nowhere. And Singaporeans love to gamble. Local casinos will attract local residents, who will most likely blow their weekly paycheck and thereby financially aid the government, rather than do something sensible such as save for retirement or take a vacation in Bali.
The other reason is local casinos will attract foreign tourists who will pump up the flagging economy and improve the employment situation.
And in typical Singapore fashion, a public referendum has been banned by the government and scientific polls to determine the attitude of the public have also been banned. As always, the Singapore government knows what is best for the children, who have no choice but to mindlessly follow along.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- Leaders of the city state look set to legalise casino gambling in a controversial bid to revitalise a country better known for strait-laced living than Las Vegas-style glitz.
In his attempt to turn the affluent city-state into a Monaco of the East, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is making a big gamble himself in his first major policy decision since taking power in August, political analysts say.
Singapore's media have trumpeted the revenue-generating benefits of a casino for months, but anti-addiction campaigners and much of the public are bitterly opposed to the idea.
"It is quite high stakes for Lee Hsien Loong considering this is seriously the most important decision that his cabinet has made," said Chua Beng Huat, a National University of Singapore professor who has written several books on Singapore's politics.
If approved, the casino will form the epicentre of a $2 billion resort boasting theme parks, the island's biggest shopping plaza, a museum, convention halls and a 1,500-room hotel either on Singapore's Sentosa Island or closer to downtown.
Read the Rest
When I started blogging about nine months ago, it was difficult to find great blogs that covered the issues, but silly blogs by adolescents were in abundance. Slowly, over the months, I've uncovered a handful of insightful blogs and even included a few of the more gossipy examples in my blogroll...which I badly need to update.
Today, while wandering around my Singapore blogs, I dropped into the always wonderful Singapore Commentator, who mentioned a brand new blog from a lawyer, former prosecutor, 31 years old, father of two, and currently working in the banking industry.
I doubt we will ever see this guy stick his tongue out.
Gilbert Koh is a fine writer who intends to provide his legal analysis about Singapore issues within his blog, and he's well worth checking out, though as a former prosecutor you can probably figure out his political and social leanings.
Be sure to read his Everyone Has a Mother post from yesterday, and join in the comment fray.
Singapore Legal Mumbo Jumbo Demystified
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Water Wars on Soi Cowboy
Yes, I'm back from a short vacation and trying to work my way through a weeks worth of Asian blogs, and it isn't the prettiest site. And no, I wasn't in Thailand for the annual Thai New Year known as Songkran, but I've already experienced the water throwing festival several times previously, on Khao San in Bangkok, Patong on Phuket, and even down in Samut Prakan.
Ron Morris at 2Bangkok has been posting Songkran photos on Khao San Road for a few years, and they are excellent and plentiful, but today I discovered a handful of Songkran images taken over at Soi Cowboy. A very different take on the event, though a few dozen more images would be appreciated. And the always amazing Richard down in Samut Prakan has posted about a dozen excellent photos of a small town Songkran.
Bangkok Metblogs Images of Songkran on Soi Cowboy
Ron Morris Songkran Images on Songkran on Khao San Road
Richard Songkran Images in Samut Prakan
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Home to the Free
It is almost impossible for any developing country to have significant economic progress, if their national growth rate of population exceeds their GNP. If your GNP grows at 2%, and your population grows at 3%, then it's a losing battle. You will grow poorer.
What if your country grows it's population at a larger rate, but your economy grows at a slower rate? A recepie for disaster, and that's exactly what has been happening in the Philippines for several decades. Many Filipino families still refuse to use birth control and have very, very large families, which they cannot support. The result is staggering poverty, but the strength of the Catholic Church over the beliefs of most Filipinos means that very few will ever plan for their family. The women are largely sexual slaves of their husbands who get what they want, anytime they want.
That's the position of the Catholic Church. No family planning, no birth control, no women in the priesthood -- women as second class citizens. Pope John Paul has been one of the biggest supporters of these positions.
MANILA Delia Paje was only 16 when she got married. She had her first child at 18, and now she is four months pregnant with her 10th child, who was conceived barely two months after she delivered her last child. At 37, she looks 10 years older - pale, weak and malnourished.
Paje's family has no steady income. Paje earns an average of two U.S. dollars a day selling vegetables, while her husband, a construction worker, does not have a permanent job. They live in a cramped hovel in a slum in Mandaluyong, one of the cities that compose Metro Manila. Several of their children are sickly; some spend their days playing by the gutter, naked and with dirt on their faces.
Paje's experience with motherhood, and the hardship that comes with it, mirrors the Philippines' population problem, which is the subject of a decades-old debate between the Roman Catholic Church and the government.
At the center of the debate is the assertion by officials and economists that the Philippines' rapid population growth is threatening to counteract whatever economic gains the nation makes.
The church, which forbids contraception like condoms and the birth control pill, accuses the government of twisting the facts. There is no population explosion, it said. Blaming the population growth for the country's poverty, the church maintains, is disingenuous.
From 2003 to 2004, the Philippines' population grew 2.36 percent, one of the highest rates in Asia, according to government data. In a report about the Philippines, the Asian Development Bank wrote that "more than 5,000 people are born every day in a country where the number of poor people has increased by more than four million since 1985."
At this rate, the population, now estimated at 84 million, could reach 111 million by 2015.
International Herald Tribune Reports on Christianity in the Philippines
This is a rather strange story, since when has the government of Brunei failed to pay their bills to British military contractors? Are they broke? Have they pumped out all their oil and are now on shakey ground, or has it just been the highly irresponsible and wildly extravagant spending habits of the children of the royal family which have finally bankrupted one of the most oil rich countries in Southeast Asia?
LONDON, APRIL 3: Britain's largest defense contractor, BAE systems, is taking the sultan of Brunei, one of the world's richest men, to court over a row involving over $1-billion order for three naval ships, a media report said on Sunday.
The contract worth over $1.3 billion was agreed several years ago and the Bae, led by chief executive Mark Turner, launched the first ship in January 2001 and the two other ships have also been completed since then, "The Sunday Telegraph" reported.
However, all three remain moored at Bae's Scotstoun Yard on the Clyde river in Scotland, as the sultan has refused to accept them because they allegedly fail to meet his specifications, the paper said.
It said talks to resolve the dispute have been taking place for almost a year, adding it is understood that a date has now been set for the case to be heard at the international court of arbitration in Paris.
"We are currently in arbitration and consequently cannot discuss the issue," a Bae spokesman was quoted as saying
Brunei is bankrupt?
Posted by Carl Parkes on Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Field of Skulls
Why do many Chinese deeply resent their treatment by the Japanese over the last century? And why do the Japanese refuse to admit their crimes over that period? Here's one breathtaking example uncovered by the always amazing EastSouthWestNorth.
The caption: "This photo of the eerie memorial to residents of Hengyang, which the author entitled 'Stadium of Skulls' was his first contribution to Life magazine, and led to his being hired as Life's war correspondence in China. The Japanese had massacred five thousand of the townsfolk in 1944. Survivors of Hengyang dug up the corpses in 1946 and carefully arranged them on a hillside for the memorial. In the upper right and bottom left are the bones of the victims."
For comparison, the killing fields at Choeung Ek in Cambodia had 8,985 victims to be exact (see my previous post Cambodia Travel Notes - Part 3 (Choeung Ek)), although the photographic impact there is less striking than Rowan's photo.
To my mind, the massacre of five thousand people in one place at one time should take a significant place in the collective memory, but I had somehow never heard of this. More often, I am barraged with arguments as to whether 300,000 or 20,000 were massacred by the Japanese at Nanjing. That debate is handicapped by the dispersal of the victims all over that city, whereas the dead of Hengyang must have all been dumped in mass graves. Once excavated, those skulls and bones can be dated (i.e. they died about the same time) and catalogued for physical trauma (e.g. shot by bullets, stabbed by bayonets, etc). But I barely even know the name Hengyang, much less about any massacre.
Going through the Internet to search for any details was not very illuminating. Most of the links all point to a single story (see Tom.com). This may be an example in which the Internet is not yet all encompassing; that is, there are probably still plenty more written texts that have not been digitized for the Internet.
The Horror of Hengyang
Sumatra Earthquake 2004
So what has happened to the US$4 billion donated by the West to help the tsunami and earthquake victims of late 2004? Nobody knows, but the city of Banda Aceh and smaller towns on the northwestern coast of Sumatra have reportedly received very little aid, and are still living in extreme poverty. No help from the Indonesian government, and it's now been over three months since the cataclysmic events of last December.
Where has the money gone?
Remember: Indonesia has one of the most corrupt governments in the world, and is only exceeded in it's pure corruption and venality by a handful of African nations. That 4 billion given to the Indonesian government has probably gone down a hellhole by now, and if the government and military hasn't stolen all the money by now....just give them a few more months.
Give money to Indonesia. Feed the rot.
Three months after the devastation, residents in the tsunami-ravaged Aceh region of Indonesia have begun asking where the relief money is.
There is little sign in the region of the billions of dollars in donations from governments, aid organizations, civic groups and individuals, and displaced residents are becoming impatient, the International Herald Tribune said Wednesday.
The only thing we've gotten is small packets of food and supplies, said Samsur Bahri, 54. Where the money is, we don't know. It's just meetings, meetings, meetings.
Indonesia's state auditing agency said it was having difficulty accounting for portions of more than $4 billion it received in donations, as it was being put in the hands of various government agencies.
Indonesia's state auditing agency said it was having difficulty accounting for portions of more than $4 billion it received in donations, as it was being put in the hands of various government agencies.
Anna and the King
I'm sure that many of the readers of this blog have spent time in Thailand, and sometimes reminisce about all those wonderful sights, and sounds and smells -- those romantic canals in Krung Thep, that wildly exciting ride up the pure waters of the Chao Phraya, that sleepy village of Chiang Mai with its traditionally dressed maidens and innocent night market, with all those well-scrubbed and completely happy tribal people.
Time to wake up. Bangkok and many other places in Thailand are now nothing short of a nightmare at times (not always), and everybody needs a reminder of the bad that goes with the good. So here's a message I just received from a friend of mine in Bangkok.
gearing (no pun intended) up for the 'big move' to the studio tomorrow. having survived 5 nites in the well worn Miami (vice) hotel - ugh if those walls [let alone the rest of it that's sustained unchanged (they sew up the rips in the sheets!) for 35 yrs]) it's the price i pay for ultimately finding ..... nirvana.
yes folks am happy to announce i've found bangkok's answer to arkady! domenique renucci (and in case y'all are thinking that sounds italian - you stand corrected - it is corsican!! "you will not find an italian w/that last name" (who knew!)
she teaches 3 days/wk at studio and she ROCKS! wow - she 'bout killed me today. 1st of all she works ala' natural' - in other words - no air conditioning. (mind you the breeze does not often blow thru downtown bangkok)
wow - have not sweat that much .... EVER! i was having nervous bikram flashbacks - but this was different afterall - all the windows were open! imagine doing bckbending calesthenics... inhale up - exhale down/10 times!!
(this breathing is counter intuitive mind you - it's always been other way 'round for moi) she is task master on perfect placement/alignment etc... i won't go on, but of course could 'wax poetic' about the whole experience (i love using that phrase in a sentence!) suffice to say after her class i had to come home and take 2 hour nap (and anyone who knows me - knows i haven't taken a nap in 40 years - except that time on spring break in mazatlan when i slept 48 hours strait, but that was
did my 'border run' yesterday - oi vay - what a negative experience! northern
border w/burma was such a piece o' cake in comparison and was soooooo naieve when booking the mini bus to cambodia (little did i know it's the border to siem riep - where every tom, dick and harry on planet goes to catch the next bus there or back)
then the bus driver copped attitude w/moi cuz i wouldn't purchase (for an extra $12 ) the 'quicky package' where they speed up the process for you. i hate that sh*% - so of course he was mad/irritated w/me cuz i made 'a big deal out of it' (imagine that) he said i'd slow the rest of them down (they were all of 1/2 hr ahead of me)
funny thing is it would really be no big deal if it weren't so bleeping hot/humid! the whole ordeal lasted about 2 hours, but it was pure torture!!!!!!!!!!!!! was going to go to ankor wat for 'sangkron' (thai new years) holiday, but don't know if i could bear that again!! may head to beach instead and fly (when am rich/famous) to ankor next time am in town!
if i sound like am getting finiky in my old age - i am! can't bear the thought of staying in hotel/guest house worse than the one i'm in (read: khao san road - famous backpacker/cheap digs area) i really can't bear the thought of going to 'pat pong' - the famous prostitute area. i find it all so appalling and disturbing.... bla bla bla (you boys LOVE hearing that stuff - i know! -
jerrry and i had good argument about whether it empowers or as i would think
disempowers women!) actually the most disturbing thing yet is seeing the many baby elephants they have on leashes wandering the sidewalks in heavily traffic downtown!!!!
it's sooooo freaky (for them) - their poor little eyes are bugging out of their
heads - it just ain't natural! it's bad enuff being human and having a sense of speeding autos - how it can be entertaining for people who revere elephants is beyond. but bangkok is the exception to the thai rule - these people have strong cultural laws/mores, but here it goes out the window if it means making a buck/baht!
just a 'bangkok observation' - the khatoeys (litterally translated as girly boys) here are virtually indistinguishable from a real woman! they look and smell soooo much better than a real girl - i find that a little disturbing also to be honest! who could compete - i couldn't look that good no mattter how hard i tried (oops - maybe it's been too long since i tried....) 'going native' here means spending $100s at the make up counter and shopping at 'fredericks of bangkok' (which i actually did do on my last trip to bkk)
better sign offf - this thing is ready to kick me off - another interesting 'bkk observation' the internet cafes here are a racket! stumbled into one today (on sunday 1/2 of regular ones are closed) that unbeknownst to moi until it was too late charged not 1 baht/hour, but 2!!! any of you asia travelers know that is off the scale just 'not cool'! that's practically paris prices, but what can you do!
Miss McDonald in Manila
It's happening again with a recent report about prostitution in the Philippines. Lock up your daughters! Beware of sex traffickers! The article even goes so far as to speculate that the fourth largest industry in the Philippines is prostitution.
I've been traveling around the Philippines for over 20 years, and as a generally single male, I know what I'm talking about, and the fact is that prostitution is not widespread in the country. Sure, if you really seek it out, there's often a small, dark cafe somewhere in most towns...way out on the edge of town... where girls are available. But it hasn't been an obvious open industry since the mayor of Manila closed down the go-go bars in Ermita over a decade ago. It's not a problem, certainly not as obvious as the preponderance of prostitution in my home town of San Francisco.
So who are these people who keep issuing these frightening and completely ridiculous reports about the widespread popularity of prostitution in Thailand and the Philippines? In all cases, they have an economic agenda to keep themselves in business and keep the money flowing into their organizations, whether it's a private group in Bangkok or some division of the United Nations. And I'm getting pretty sick and tired of their sensationalistic and self-serving announcements.
The study describing prostitution as the country's fourth largest source of the gross national product should prod the government into intensifying its campaign against the social malady and the information drive on the health risks faced by those in the sex trade.
The study, commissioned by the United Nations Children's Fund and entitled "Child Pornography in the Philippines," showed that new technology such as the Internet has taken pornography to a new level that is much harder to detect.
Ermita said the government will also use moral persuasion to enhance its information drive on women's health. He urged the media to help the government disseminate information and succeed in fighting prostitution.
Malacañang ordered the Department of Health to lead the information campaign against prostitution.
Prostitution Hysteria from the Philippines
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Chris Myrick left his safe abode in Singapore (Orchard Towers) for the wild and wacky world of Shanghai, to pursue journalistic excellence, and not have wandering pandas pawing through his trash.
What’s not well known outside of China is that pandas also act like raccoons. Most people think raccoons are cute, but anyone who lives in a raccoon-infected part of North America will testify that raccoons are vermin.
Chris Myrick on Pesky Pandas in Shanghai
Bernard Trink Arrives in Bangkok
Bernard Trink from New York City arrived in Bangkok shortly after WWII, and set down his roots and patterns and eventually found himself employed as a writer with Bangkok World, and later another daily publication which put out his Friday gossip column about what's happening the in the Land of Smiles. Bernie then developed a style and snazz with quips and curiosities that followed other gossip writers of the time, such as Herb Caen in San Francisco. Everybody read the Friday column by Bernard.
He later moved on to a private website that has been open to the public for several months, but today they announced that Bernard has moved on to other issues, so Bernie's weekly column has come to a close. We miss you, Bernard, and thank you for all the great work you have done and wish the best for your wife and family. God speed.
Sukothai Loy Kratong by Carl Parkes
Oh, that Stickman. He's married and happy and really doesn't hit the nightclubs and bars in Bangkok, but he's got a posse and they report back to him, and then he reports every Sunday from his perch in the Bangkok Towers, over the madness below.
Wandering around Siam Square late Saturday afternoon can be quite pleasant, to say the least. The area is full of some of the most attractive women on the planet, all done up as pretty as can be, often in the most sexy, revealing clothes you can imagine.
Super short miniskirts, ultra tight jeans, mid-riffs on display, provocative tops with equally provocative slogans, you name it - it's on display. There are even large groups of extremely attractive young women in their university uniforms with the skirt a few inches shorter than the regulations stipulate.
The first time visitor or the uninitiated could be mistaken for thinking that this was an area of high sexual tension, a bunch of the cutest creatures on the earth dollied up in such a way that makes you think they're looking for someone to get down and dirty with. It would be very easy to think that they are all participants in some sort of sexual carnival, and in short, see them as a bunch of nymphomaniacs. Think again.
I've never made it to Brazil but I've seen plenty of photos of the local women and have heard many of the stories. Donning the bare minimum on curvaceous bodies that must have come straight from heaven, every guy I know who has been there can't help but tell story after story of the local girls, the way they dress, and the way they, ummm, errr, perform. Only a eunuch couldn't get excited. But that's Brazil. Are the local Thai women a similar bunch?
How often have you ever been jumped by a Thai woman who has desired you in a moment of lust or passion? When was the last time she actually suggested something a little naughty? The beach? The back of the car? Accessories? Other participants?
What's the bet that you can't put a tick next to any of these?
Is the sexy appearance of so many of the country's maidens representative of their attitudes towards the horizontal shuffle? Are they vixens dressed accordingly or does the country's traditional, ultra-conservative attitudes towards pleasures of the flesh remain pervasive?
In a country where the average woman is particularly easy on the eye, a country which is famous the world over, rightly or wrongly, for its sexual image from its large sex tourism industry, is it not unreasonable to assume that the locals may well be a bunch of sex maniacs, or at the very least, a bunch of keen participants?
Thai women exude femininity, and will cut it with the best of them in making themselves look not just good, but great. But when it comes to the bedroom Olympics, are their performances commensurate with the way they look?
Many relationships start off like rabbits, but like the cousin of the hare, do they end up like a tortoise? Is sex seen as a way to capture a benefactor, a way to get their claws into your wallet. (Of course this could be argued the world over and would certainly not be limited to these parts.)
Getting back to Siam Square, for the little princesses all dollied up, it would likely be a nightmare for a guy to actually come on to them. As good as they look, and as sexy as they appear, actually partaking in the pleasures of the flesh is just about the last thing on their mind. They simply want to look good. Looking good is important in Thailand. Look good and you gain face. Face is important. More important than sex.
But what of the working girls? Many farangs suggest that perhaps there is no correlation between their profession and how good they are at it, which is kind of damning. I mean, if you hired a lawyer, you'd expect him / her to know about the law. If you went to a mechanic and they couldn't fix your car, you'd be disappointed. So what is it with the dreaded starfish routine? And what about the bloody shower and towel ritual?
Nerves of Steel? Read the Rest
Saturday, April 02, 2005
The Beach by Carl Parkes
Incredible. The Expat@Large in Singapore actually has a real job, and isn't just another failed English teacher or hippie bum working his way around Asia. Something to do with MRI, kitty scans, and medical technology that has taken him from Australia to Hong Kong and now down to Singapore, where he was recently abandoned by his longtime Filipina housekeeper.
Phil, we need to get your Filipina back to Singapore! Really, what can I do?
Between his days as a serious technical geek, he makes frequent trips to other countries to soak up the culture and learn something new about indigenous activites. Just last week he was up in Patong on Phuket in Thailand, and wandered into a bar where he heard the most shocking story from a fellow Aussie. These things happen, when you are about to die.
A few years ago, I went to Patong and Samui with Tom Yamagata, dying of terminal cancer, which claimed him a few days after his return to San Francisco. He won two free round trips to Thailand at the premier showing of The Beach and invited me along for his final days.
Walking back along Patong road past a group of Aussie-owned girlie-bars when an Aussie voice calls out, “Hey mate, what’s the rush?”
Anathema usually, an Aussie voice, but I was feeling like company so I turned back and joined a couple of guys who were sitting around a table trying to chat to two girls. Beers all round. Then the incomprehensible Swedish guy got up, all smiles and handshakes like we were best buddies since school, and left. I started chatting with the slightly defocussed chubby fella in the white singlet, shorts and thongs.
“How long you here for?” I asked.
“Ah, just till Anzac Day, mate. Gotta get back.”
“Back to work?
“Nah. Hospital. Operation.” He took a swig of his beer.
“Got bowel cancer. Jack the Fucking Dancer. Doctors reckon I got six months.”
I was taken aback, as you would expect. And this is a true anecdote - this guy just started telling me he was dying.
“You’re looking fit enough,” was all I could think of to say. No sign of the jaundice that you’d expect once the liver metastases got their firm grip. No bloating with ascitic fluid. No drained cachetic cheeks and grey-rimmed rheumy eyes. He was still chubby enough, bull-necked, heavily jowled. Maybe fit is not the word. He just didn’t look sick - not 6 months to live sick.
“Mate, I lost 2 stone in two months.” He took another swig. “Down to 99 kilos.”
I took a swig, wishing I only weighed 99 kgs. “So you’re here specially for some fun before the big chop?”
“Nah, come year three or four times every year, since I retired. Trucking business. Always come here. Love it. Gonna miss it.”
He paused, then out of nowhere he said, “I’m a good mate of Warnies. I know Shane quite well. Could ring him right now and he’d say, “G’day Rob what’s up?’ “
I nodded. I don’t know anyone famous.
The girls were sipping their beers, not understanding anything of the conversation. A lessening in the background noise: the TV channels were being changed to a rugby match.
“OK, gotta watch this. Nice talking to ya.” He got up, a bit wobbly, smacked one of the girls on her tightly jeaned bottom and wandered to the bar for a closer look at the match.
“Yeah, you too, “ I called after him. “You’ll be right. Good luck with op - hope they get it all.”
I sat for a minute more, finishing my beer. I looked at the girl who was still sitting next to me, smiling expectantly.
Phil Visits Patong
Bloggers in Southeast Asia often come and go with the seasons, and sometimes abandon their blog due to work constraints, school, boredom, lack of anything to say, etc. But most quit blogging due to an onslaught of mean comments -- vicious attacks and trolls which can quickly muck up your blog and make it a less than pleasant experience.
That's what happened about six months ago to David at Mango Sauce in Bangkok. His comments section got completely out of control and descended into anarchy as all the nutcases joined the fray and tore into David and his finely crafted blog. Sure, David was writing mostly about the sex world in Siam, but he certainly didn't deserve the personal attacks, and so he quit his blog.
But not completely, as he let his now silent and comment free blog live on, and he's been quietly reviving the blog with some new comments. David is a very talented writer with loads of wit and insight into the world of Thailand, and perhaps he will tone down the sex angle and find new issues to discuss. Comments are still disabled, but it's encouraging to see the return of one of Bangkok's most original voices.
The only good farang is a dead farang
A poisonous anti-farang rant is perhaps the last thing youd expect to find in The Nations motoring supplement.
Ordinarily, this seldom-read pull-out offers its readers a meager diet of trite locally-sourced wisdom ("remember to bring plenty of food on long journeys" etc.) sandwiched between syndicated reviews of foreign cars that often lack a dealer network in Thailand. Yesterday, however, a Thai journalist called Pattandesh penned this blatantly racist tirade on the pretext of Shedding light on flashing lights.
Many Americans and Europeans choose to spend their retirements in Thailand. Thais are generally very nice to foreigners, and we sometimes tend to honour them more than fellow Thais. The majority of foreigners who come to Thailand are good people and dont cause problems. But some capitalise on our generosity and use Thailand as a hiding place to get away from crimes they have committed back home. Some even go further and start committing new crimes in this country.
We all disapprove of the criminals, paedophiles and drug-dealers who take refuge in Thailand but Pattandeshs definition of a "bad farang" goes a little wider than this.
Today there are certain foreigners who rely on being "farang", and trick Thai women from the provinces into marrying them. In return they give the women a small amount of money every month in exchange for being able to live in the Kingdom permanently. In the process they also get a partner in bed.
Pattandesh seems to be suggesting that caring and responsible foreign husbands are "bad farangs." He probably also believes that Mother Teresa "tricked" the starving beggars of Calcutta into accepting food and nursing care so that she could selfishly extend her visa - the evil bitch!
Some of these farangs take advantage of legal loopholes by setting up independent organisations and find ways to publicize themselves. They go to the provinces, donated a petty sum to schools, or take photos at restaurants and small factories in the villages, all so they can send the pictures abroad and claim they are doing charity work. They are angling for support money from international organizations. They lie to people and say that they work for an NGO, even though their work does not benefit the public and is merely a commercial enterprise.
It seems that I was right about Mother Teresa. Foreigners who do charity work are also "bad farangs." This must come as a shock to the many dedicated volunteers who rushed to Thailands aid after the devastating tsunami.
David at Mango Sauce Returns!
Friday, April 01, 2005
English Teacher in Shanghai
How should Westerners greet each other when passing in China? What is the proper behavior and is it different elsewhere in the world? Sinosplice explores those issues, plus some great comments.
SinoSplice on Passing Strangers
Bangkok Rush Hour
Steve in Suphanburi posts about ghosts in Thailand in the always fabulous Thai-Blogs.
A few days back when picking up a copy of the saucy Thai Rath daily I spotted the dreaded headlines of "The Ghost Eater."
After a cremation last week in Nakhorn Phanom the relatives of the deceased went back into the jungle to pay their last respects and bury the remains, only to find a skinny skeleton savage of a guy munching away at a part of the corpse that hadn't burned. In shocking disbelief and anguished anger they ran and reported the matter to the Nai Amphur (district chief). Obeying his command the local hell-belly police revved up their bikes and went to check out for themselves this so-called Ghost Eater. On arriving at the scene, sure enough the savage is STILL there chomping away, this time photographed with a big toe poking out of his mouth. Darned afraid, the savage runs into the bushes for an hour.
The police on pledging that he wouldn't be arrested finally comes out wai-ing away to all the bewildered officers. Down at the station and with a stack of news reporters waiting to gabble up the story, the police in charge ask him why on earth had he been eating a corpse, to which he replies, "I was darned hungry and anyway that was the best lunch ive had in ages."
It was soon brought to light that the savage a certain Mr. Sakhorn had been banned from his village after being released from jail after serving 15 and a half years for chopping up his mom. Having nowhere to go the savage made do with the jungle as his new home. Wondering to the sanity of the guy the police called in their psychologist who after a 2 minute chat declares to the press, "I see nothing wrong with the man, he was just feeling a bit peckish that's all."
Next thing we know the police have the savage sign a tatty confession that read along the lines of "I promise I will not eat a corpse again" before being released, only to be heaved off to the local hospital after he almost threw up the remains over the lieutenants desk.
The next day there he was again making headlines with a foto of him propped up in a hospital bed with a beaming smile for the cameras proudly looking at his pic in the newspapers and said to quote: "Its great being famous and now me story has gone worldwide!" Just that morning a proper psychologist had told the press "There is something with this patient and so I've decided to have him stay for a couple of weeks under my close observation."
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Bull Jump in Spain
Nothing to do with Asia, Travel, or Photography, but here's a Google ad that popped up at Gadling, probably since they mentioned Lobsters in one of their travel posts. It's cruel, ironic, and thoughtful.
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Choose From A Variety Of Delicious Lobster Recipes! Free & Easy
Sin City Slate Review
Benny in Sin City
Bruce in Sin City
Jessica Alba in Sin City
Clive Owen in Sin City
Rosie Dawson in Sin City
The movie of the season is out and the reviews are pouring in. Everyone is spellbound at the amazing images and graphics conjured up by the artist/director and actual director Roberto Rodriguez, but some have pointed out the shortcomings of a pure adaptation of a graphic comic to film and voice the standard complaints about the cold-hearted look of CGI. The cinemas here in San Francisco will be packed over the weekend, but next Monday looks like a good opportunity to catch a matinee.
Oh, the final picture of Rosario Dawson should be noted by Mr. Brown and entered into the Singapore SexyBlogger contest. I'm too lazy and think Singapore bloggers should have something better to do with their time, so MB, Miyagi, or Cowboy needs to get on this one.
Wired Review of Sin City
New York Times Review of Sin City
Slate Review of Sin City
Today is the one day of the year when amatuer jokesters come out of the closet and inflict their weird sense of humor on the world. Ron Morris at 2Bangkok actually beat the rush and posted a fake warning on his blog, that his website had been blocked by the Communications Authority of Thailand. One day early here in America, so I didn't get the joke and sent him an emergency message of concern. Very funny, Ron.
Sounds like Malaysiakini website also sent out a joke that didn't go over too well with somebody in the upper echelons on government, and Jeff Ooi at Screenshots is all over the story. There's another tale going around the internet that Lake Toba might be the next major explosion in Asia, but I can't really tell if it's a April Fools joke or the private hallucinations of an Australian scientist.
Here's the best one -- an elaborate website with hilarious advertisements:
Many readers have been writing in about a graphic used yesterday on Google's search page. It shows the word "Google" with strangely hypnotic, multi-colored swirls of paint. Some of my readers think this "Goo-graphic" is meant to be a subversive homage to this new drug called “Mary Jane.”
I did some digging and it turns out they are correct. Somehow this "Mary Jane" is much more noteworthy in the eyes of the pathetic liberal shills at Google than the resurrection of our Blessed Saviour.
Have you heard of "Mary Jane?" Do you have kids? Parents? Friends? Acquaintances? If you stop reading now, you do so at your peril.
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