T.I.T. Video Blog 3

I was to lazy to actually sit down and write a long post, so I thought I’d record a quick video blog to give you guys a little post birthday update. I talk about my exhausting week, ceremonies, and what I’m probably going to do with my upcoming free time next month. Anyways, have a watch and thanks for stopping by as always. I’ll write a post over the weekend so be sure to stop back through for a visit.

Dear God…Can I Slow Down Now Please?

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the world this happens to find you.  It is a very hot and windy early Wednesday afternoon here in the Big Mango, and yes I’m writing a post here at work when I probably should be working…but oh well, right?  We’ve 2 days to go now till the big “to do,” goes down here at work and our super special V.I.P comes to help celebrate our 13th anniversary.  Yes…you read that correctly as we are having a big ceremony to commemorate lucky number 13 , and no…I don’t get it either.  I actually have my own ideas as to why this particular anniversary is being celebrated with such earnest, but I’ll just keep my mouth shut in the interest of my own job security.

Anyways, I have more important things to talk about as yours truly will turn 30 yet again tomorrow for the 4th year in a row now.   I know, I know…I don’t look a day over 29 but age maintains its assault on even me.  Don’t birthdays seem to come around faster and faster the more you have them, and I think I stopped being excited about them back in my mid to late 20′s.  I feel like this because thanks to birthdays I’ve gotten slower at losing the extra pounds, I forget important things easily and I’m both graying and losing my hair a bit.  Aging sucks doesn’t it?  Also, around this time every year I start to question myself as to my achievements and accomplishments gained thus far in my life.

So, I invite you to join me down this birthday checklist I go through in my head annually.  For starters, I’m a very loyal employee and loved by my boss though it is a really low paid dead end job.  I’m also on my 3rd year of a completing a graduate degree that would’ve taken me less than 2 years with half the effort if I were at home.  What else?  I live half the planet away from my family that I love dearly, but I have a stable loving relationship partner that I share my life with here in Thailand.  Further, My body is not physically what I want it to be, but I do have the free time and the means to take myself off to the gym 3 or 4 times a week.  I have a steady income, a nice roof over my head, and many people in my life that love me dearly.  Life may not be perfect, but is it ever for anyone?  Do we ever truly get everything we want in life no matter how many years go by?  I try to always balance the negatives with the positives, and I guess that is what keeps me sane.  I have my goals and though I may not reach them in the time frame I expect, you can be sure I will reach them.  I’m the most stubborn person I know!

So, on that note, I’d like to thank you so very much for stopping by to visit and share with me here.  I always appreciate all the comments i get and emails I have received since I started this personal journey through writing.  Also, thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes I’ve already received from some of you guys.  They mean a lot to me!  Take care of yourself where ever you may be, and talk to you again very soon!

Sensationalizing the News…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this happens to find you.  It is yet another steamy Sunday here in the big Mango and I thought I’d post a few random thoughts here for you today.  I sit here writing over my coffee and frosted flakes, and I’d like to send out a special “thanks” to you guys that sent nice emails lately.   I received some very sweet emails from a couple of my readers, and it is always special to me when I hear from you guys.

There is not much to update on concerning the politics here in Thailand since my last post.  A very large group of protesters have taken the grounds outside government house  as of Friday calling for the current inept Prime Minister to step down, and he is adamantly refusing as expected.  I mean if you’d been handed an entire country’s economy as your personal banking account would you want to give it up?  Anyways, one thing about the situation I would like address that has caught my attention is the misuse of certain English language vocabulary being used in the local English press.  We have read words like “seige” and “mob” being used to describe the events unfolding here in Bangkok again and again.  Words like these are being used to evoke images of violence and civil unrest.  However, A “mob” is a large crowd of disorderly or unruly people intent on causing trouble or violence.  There have been absolutely no “mobs” at any time during the protests, and the protesters have acted in a very polite and orderly fashion.  In true Thai style the protesters have been calm, peaceful, yet firm in their message.

Furthermore, the events that unfolded over the past few days can hardly be called a “siege.”  the dictionary defines a siege as when an enemy military force surrounds a town or building cutting off essential supplies with the aim of surrender for those inside.  The protesters took the grounds surrounding government house late Friday afternoon, but I can almost guarantee you that the various government employees that work there will travel to and from work tomorrow with little or no incident at all…including the current Premier himself.  This is not a “siege.”  I can’t help but think the local media is just trying to sensationalize the unfolding events, but then again this sort of padded reporting is the same in any country, including my own.

I don’t want to dwell on Thai politics to much for fear of the little men in brown turning up on my doorstep so I’ll move on.  As many of you already know, I’m facing my last week of being 33 because I will celebrate my 34th birthday on Thursday the 26th.  Birthdays for me get less and less exciting as the years roll by, and I’ve started reflecting on the state of things in my life as you do on birthdays.  I feel like I’m just not where I wanted to be in life at this point in time, as I expected to be finished with my degree already and starting a better job by this particular birthday.  Do you ever feel like life is just flowing by, while you are standing still?  It is just a feeling a have at the moment but in order to not sound like I’m whining I should and will close here.  I’m going to try to do something productive with my Sunday afternoon.  I hope everyone is enjoying the remnants of their weekends, and that the week ahead is productive.  Have a good one and I’ll write again really soon!

Blame it on the Stars…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this happens to find you. It is a very cloudy Wednesday morning here in Bangkok and I think the humidity outside must be at about 200%. One of the most unpleasant obligations that many educators have to do is yard or playground duty to watch the kids or welcome parents in the mornings. This morning I had gate duty for 45 mintues, where we are expected to stand and cheerfully greet each and every parent that comes to school. I do my best, but I’m not so good in the mornings and the humidity and heat makes you feel like your fully clothed in a sauna after you’ve stood out in it for a while.

Anyways, I want to get on to my topic for this post before it leaves my mind. So, I came across something yesterday in the Bangkok Post that was just to good to pass up and I wanted to make sure to share it with you guys. I showed this particular front page story to two of my friends yesterday and one burst into laughter, while the other shook his head at the sadness of it all. Yesterday here in Bangkok in a headline story from the Bangkok Post the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was quoted in an interview where he placed all the blame on astrology and the alignment of the stars as the reason behind the current severe political and economic problems facing the kingdom of Thailand.

On Monday, Mr Thaksin blamed the alignment of planets for current economic and political woes. “Be patient until July 2. When Mars leaves, the situation will improve,” he said.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breaking_previous.php#

He then later went on to communicate to his parties huge base of supporters that things would start to improve after July 2nd because Saturn was going to move somewhere, and therefore things in the country would obviously begin to immediately start getting better. Now, if that’s not the funniest case of passing the buck, I don’t know what is? However, I see two things wrong with this picture…aside from it being an obvious display of the sad/comical state of affairs with the government here.

Number one, the fact that he’s making these public statements at all reveals who is really pulling the strings in the government here in Thailand. The current ruling administration is working feverishly to amend the newly created constitution of the country in order to edit laws which would make the former premier innocent of his corruption charges. Also, I’d like to remind my readers that it was this very same former leader that the military moved against to remove from power recently, and yet here he his spinning stories in a weak attempt to allay the growing fears and concerns of the public.

Secondly, the percentage of the public that this message is directed towards is sadly a large percentage of the country’s population. The same uneducated masses that voted this corrupt regime into power twice will buy into this excuse for the shortcomings of their politicians, hook line and sinker. Now, I have written before about the lack of standardized quality education outside of Bangkok, and thus stories like these can pass into the public’s conscious as valid explanation and reasoning for events currently unfolding. Sadly, It is in the interest of the upper class here in Thailand to maintain a low standard of education, and thus people will never realize the extent to which they are being duped by those in control. It is sad reality for so many of the people of this country, and my heart goes out to them. Have a great rest of your week and speak to you soon!

VideoBlog number 2: A little catch up on my week…

Hey guys,

I know it has been about a week, so I should apologize first i guess. I thought i’d make it up to you by recording a video blog today, so go ahead and have a watch. I’d like to send out a special thanks to ZillaFag for suggesting blip.tv as it worked much better for uploading than youtube. Thanks so much, and you guys make sure and go over to check him out! Hope you like it!

Sunday Morning Politics…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this finds you.  It is a quite, subdued Sunday morning here in steamy Bangkok, and all I can hear is the sound of the air conditioner and some soi dogs barking in the distance.  I’m sitting here  contemplating things to write about as I finish a yummy bit of raspberry jam on toast and a coffee  flavored with caramel creamer…(Yes, I have a sweet tooth).   I actually feel like turning on a bit of Jazz music to accompany my Sunday morning, but our house guest is still asleep and I’d hate to be inconsiderate, being the good southern boy that I am.

Anyways, enough ramblings about my life and on to the topic I wanted to write about today.  I actually had quite the humorous story to tell, but I think I’m going to keep that for another day.  Now, I ‘VERY’ rarely dive into politics here on my blog, as I was raised to think of politics as a very personal thing.  We were always taught that one’s politics where no one else’s business and to this day I rarely enter into meaningful political conversations aside from the occasional barbed comment or two with my family.  Sooooo, to the small amount of right wing Republican readership I wish a wonderful week ahead, right now.  I’m going to talk about my liberal politics a bit today, so you can stop reading right now and come back to visit me here another day.

I was watching CNN last night and was lucky enough to stumble across Senator Clinton delivering her concession speech to all her supporters.  I watched the speech very closely, and I felt a sense of great pride in seeing her ability to still hold her head up high after losing such a long hard competition.  She and Mr. Obama have run a good race, but in the end he garnered enough support to pull just ahead.  It could not have been easy for her to give that speech, but it was definitely something she needed to do.  I would have expected Mr. Obama to do the same were he in her position.  I sat here hearing her drum home her support behind Barack Obama time and time again and cringed every time I heard “boos” in the crowd.  She talked about how the Democratic Party is like a family  and how we need to pull together now to push towards a common goal and I couldn’t agree more.  We are the underdogs, the minority voice, or the little guy against all those bullies out there in the world so lets put aside our slight differences.

As I said, I heard a lot of boos from the audience to begin with and such was to be expected I guess after such a close hard race.  Yesterday, I also saw a female Clinton supporter in New York tell a reporter that she would rather vote for McCain than vote for Obama.  So, to all you would be turn coats out there in the Democratic party I’ve just got one thing to say.  GROW UP!  This sort of behavior reminds me of the kid who tips the game board over when they lose, or packs away their toys and go home.  This isn’t chutes and ladders  or Monopoly here and there is SO much more at stake than pride.  After all, we are a like minded family and I’d hate to see the engine of bigotry win because of the loss of a little face.  It saddens me to think that we couldn’t all pull together and work towards toppling this right wing regime currently holding the country in the iron grasp of bigotry.   Gosh, you can almost see the  Disney villain sitting back to smile and rub his hands together when I see us fight amongst ourselves like this.  Enough is enough, so again I whole heartedly applaud Mrs. Clinton for taking this defeat in such a dignified way and making an effort to bridge the divide.  Don’t turn your back on us now, because the common goals and dreams we all share are bigger and more important than your broken pride.  Sooooo, let’s work together to put the bully out of the school house!

Have a good week ahead, and I promise another dose of my usual rambling lightness in a couple of days.  Thanks so very much for stopping by as always, and check back again in a couple of days if you feel so inclined.  I’m off to enjoy my Sunday!

What another coup ‘detat? Yawn….

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this happens to find you.  It is a steamy rainy Tuesday night here in Bangkok, and I’m sad to report that I’ve come down with a bit if the Bangkok belly once again.  I usually get it twice a year or so, but it gets less and less severe the years I continue to make my home here in South East Asia.  When you first visit Thailand you are warned not to eat food off the street, not have ice in your drinks, and never to eat peeled fruit from vendors.  However, as the years roll by the temptation is to great and so you start to become adventurous and tempt the fates from time to time.  This type of tempting catches up with most ex-pats eventually and we all succumb to usual few days of extreme non-comfort of food poisioning.  It’s almost a right of passage here I guess.

However, enough of that unpleasantness and on to the topic i wanted to talk to you guys about today.  I received an extremely nice email from Craig and Leslie over at the Royal Pains today, and thought I’d talk about their question in my post.  Those two never cease to inspire my writings, so if you’ve a bit of free time make sure you go over to their website and check them out.  I guess the rumors of another possible coup de’tat here in Thailand have reached you guys at home, so I’d like to let you know I’m all safe and sound with no worries about unfolding events.  I remember that I did panic during the last coup that we had here, but when soldiers were presented with flowers and garlands my fears soon turned to amusement.  The elected government was overthrown over night and the constitution was ripped up, and to my surprise the local population seemed over joyed as events 2 years ago.  However, in a very short period of time the exact same government has been re-elected once again and so coup rumors have been non-stop since the last election ballot was counted.  However, you may ask, if people are so very unhappy with this group of politicians then why give them back the government again?  Why did they win again if they are such terrible and corrupt leadership?  I am by no means defending the current leadership, because if you do a tiny bit of research you will see that they are in fact an extremely corrupt group of leaders.  Watching and reading the local news is very often like an episode of the Sopranos, as the leaders of the country act like thugs and mob bosses you see in old gangster movies.  They do and act as they please without a single interest for the wants of the people, but i guess the same could be said of governments the world over…including my very own.

I think a large part of the problem here can be traced back to flaws in the country’s education system.  I read a short article today in the newspaper and a professor in the top university here in Thailand was quoted as saying “Thais lacked discipline, are not punctual and prefer light work, jobs in the service industry or those involving religion or philosphy would be the most suitable for them.”  He went on later in the article to say that problem was that “the Thai school system was unnecessarily developed and based on Western doctrines.”

Shocking isn’t it, but keep in mind this is coming from a supposed expert in Education here in Thailand.  I had the opportunity to travel upcountry last year to visit one of these ‘over developed’ village schools and I think the students sitting on the floor in open air classrooms doing their best to achieve some semblance of learning might disagree with the esteemed professor.  If they were any less developed they would sitting under a tree scratching in the dirt for their daily lessons.  Now…take some time and think about this.  You see, when election times come in Thailand It was the villages and members of Thai society outside Bangkok that elected the previous and current government, so I don’t think it is fair to say we are dealing with a problem of “over developed” school systems and the “evil influences” of western society.  If anything, these members of society need their system of education developed further in the worse kind of way and then in time, as an adequate education system takes it course, they can perhaps learn what their votes really mean beyond a 200 baht hand out.  This cycle of election-coup-election-coup could be corrected with advances in education in the country at large, for as the education level rises in the general population the elite that maintain control would begin to loose their grip.  Individuals like this Education Expert would lose their mass of locals only suited to the service industry, and the country could move forward.  However, it is in the best interest of the ruling elite here to keep the general populace blissfully unaware.

So, could there be another coup ‘detat?  Maybe.  Am I concerned?  Not in the least.  Hope you have a great week ahead and will talk to you in the next few days.