Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rodt Nham Dum Hua 2014

Page Rodt Nam 2014-04329Dear Matt and Mar,

This was the first time for our family, well on my side anyway. Your mother came from the Chiangrai and has been doing this very Thai tradition forever, lol.

I was so happy to see you two rodt nham dum hua, Matt was a little shy but Mar was all in, simply because it involves splashing water, haa haa haa.

Happy (Thai) New Year again baby :-)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Songkran 2014

Songkran 2014-04113Dear Matt and Mar,

Happiest of Songkran 2014, and we’ve just got back from Pattaya, there was a mini ex - BMW Thailand get together :-) what a laugh… and you two had a wonderful time too. Mar dove and swam non-stop for an hour, no wonder afterwards her morning nap was over an hour longer, and just the same for Matt, for him, afternoon nap comes rarely now a day but it was everyday during our time in Pattaya.

Anyway, will write another post on this trip, just wanted to say happy (Thai) New Year babies… we’ll try to make this year even more fun than the last… haa haa haa. Love you…

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On a whim…

Dear Matt and Mar,

This past weekend was a long weekend, but we didn’t have any special planned, instead we spent Saturday trailing after you two on your usual classes. Sunday’s morning started with a quick visit to Wat Hualumphong, then Mar slept her way through your mother’s mass at the church while Matt (unbelievably) behaved impeccably. Lunch with the family was probably the highlight for the day, then I’d made the wrong decision to drive to Phutthamonthon… wow, what a mistake that was. The road next to Phutthamonthon was over ran by the red shirts (pro Thaksin supporters), took us just a little short of an eternity to get out of there and back home.

Samut Songkram-04068Monday, your mother and I woke up with absolutely nothing planned, after you two had breakfast it was on a whim that we decided to have a coffee at D&L, but it was full, so once again we were driving to absolutely no where, we were bored of BKK and wanted you two have some fresh air, and again on a whim we were off to Samut Songkram (about 80 Kms away).

Along the way we stopped off at Don Hoi-Lot, famous for its seafood restaurants, neither of us had been here before so we were quite overwhelm with all the choices for restaurants. So whom do we turn to for advice? Pantip’s web board of course, haa haa haa, and we weren’t disappointed, the service was pretty good but what surprised us the most were the prices…

Samut Songkram-04093

After lunch we drove further into Samut Songkram to visit quite a famous church, but by the time we got there, both of you were fast asleep. So after a quick chat and literally 3 minutes after our arrival, we were off again to the famous Umpawa floating market.

Someone must have forgotten to make a live sacrifice to the sun or something, because he/she was very angry that day making heat almost unbearable. Worst thing was, Matt was still fast asleep but Mar was up and gearing to go. The solution was a simple one, I’d bundled up Matt into Mar’s pram, and soon all four of us were strutting our stuff down to the floating market… and 5 minutes we were back in the van, haa haa haa haa.

Actually Matt and I were ahead, and we were the first one to get to the bridge where what felt like the entire population of Thailand have decided to turn up, that and the searing heat was just too much.

As soon as I looked back at your mother across a tidal wave of people, we didn’t have to utter a word, I was Dr. Xavier and your mother was Jean Grey. The heat, the people, Matt was fast asleep, Mar didn’t want to walk and I was drenched in sweat… time to go home…

On the way back to the van Mar managed to grab a bag of fish crackers… wow I have never seen you so happy… haa haa haa.

As this was the last day of a long weekend, the traffic was horrible coming into Bangkok,  but at least we were all together and smiling…. haa haa haa.

Monday, March 31, 2014

April 2014, what is Papa doing?

Dear Matt and Mar,

Just realised I hardly post anything about work, so just to let you know of my current major assignments, just look down left and down right… there is an Oxford comma between the photo, simply meant two separate projects :P, haa haa haa.

Paul West Gate--horz

Well that is enough about work :-) haa haa haa.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nice to see you again :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

It’s Qingming festival once again, your great grand mother (my father side) whom passed away when your grandfather was just a toddler is at rest here.

Qingming March 2014-04018-Edit

This is an old cemetery, pretty much right in the middle of the city of Bangkok. Now mostly as people passes away they are buried outside of Bangkok (some for economic reasons and some simply because there is no space available), so some of your great grandmother’s neighbours have been moved to join with the rest of their recent departed family. Each year as we come back here, more and more grave have been dug up and relocated.

It is a tradition for Chinese family to bury their passed away loved ones, but our family is a bit different, it all started with your great grandfather (my mother side), he was a very forward thinking person (I can still remember him very, very fondly). He strictly informed his family that when he passes he didn’t want to be buried, but instead he wanted to be cremated (Thai tradition). The reason was stunning, he didn’t want his descendants to go through the hassle or to inconvenience his descendants with the need to come and continue to look after the tomb especially on the Qingming festival, instead we should just celebrate it at home.

That was the beginning of a new tradition with my immediate family, then when your great grandfather passed away (this time from my father side), prior to that he had also asked for the same route, but unfortunately your grand father got into trouble with some of the older relatives.

Qingming March 2014-03990-horz

Don’t get me wrong, we truly cherish this annual event, but both of your great grandfather was very special, and brave to step our of the norm and to do what they thought was best for the future generations to come, of course there is no right or wrong, just a different road taken.

Hard to find

Dear Matt and Mar,

I am afraid by the time you are grown up enough to be let out alone, shop like this one will be fairly hard to find in BKK or even in Thailand. Some would say, these are acceptable casualty of progress. Oh, you’ll probably find a replica somewhere in a themed community mall by some seaside town, trying to create a niche for the shoppers to visit. I have already seen a couple of attempts, the soul just isn’t there as it’s not a part of the community but a setup to do nothing more than just to get you to open up your wallet.

Modern trade (large or small) will all be that you’d know, what a shame, perhaps you’ll find some real reminisce of this in some Thailand’s forgotten upcountry hamlet. This photo was taken in Yangon, although not the capital city of Myanmar, but it is by far the number one city in terms of trade and development.

Within the group I was travelling with, number of years were thrown from person to person on how many years back it is when compared to Bangkok, 20, 30, 40? Frankly and personally for me I couldn’t even make an educated guess (simply I wasn’t here).

For me the number of years back are totally slightly irrelevant, what is important for ‘business planning purposes’ (we were on a business trip) is the ‘speed and acceleration’ variable, that is how soon will Myanmar catch up with the rest of the ASEAN community,  with the right budget, determination, proper planning and incorruptible people in charge, even if they were 40 years back, I can assure the both of you that 40 will become 30, 20, 10 in a blink of an eye.

So, am I sad to see this type of shops being flushed out by ‘progress’? Yes, but and I surprise? Absolutely not, at the end of the day even this type of shop (no matter how charming it is) is a business, revenues must be more than expenses, if not then ‘progress’ will win, and for Thailand it looks like soon a knockout punch will be hurling itself soon enough. If the owner can not make enough to support his/her life, it is obvious that he/she will have to find another work stream and close down the shop, making way for the 7/11 of this reality.


MM Market-03814

Sofia’s BD 2014

Sofia BD pageDear Matt and Mar,

Well what can I say, yet another BD party for the both of you to attend, and both of your won’t remember this, but you two look forward to every party you were invited to, and  I mean every party… haa haa haa.

Sofia is Matt’s SHB friend as well as being our neighbour :-) So you two were really looking forward to this one.

On the day Mar decided to wear her favourite dress to the party, that is her ‘swimming dress’, haa haa haa, definitely the coolest girl there (physically cool of course, haa haa haa).

Matt got a bit too dramatic with the balloons, haa haa haa, with a shield, a gun, a sword, a belt and a helmet. Certainly a very dangerous person if you were living in Balloonville :-) unfortunately you are not lol.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What a laugh :-)

Fun timeDear Matt and Mar,

I am sure if there is a hundred of these indoor play facility  for children your age, we would visit all of them.

This must have been a couple of weekends back, the community mall is named Park Lane (probably a single word), and the fun park is called ‘Play time’.

Much smaller than Funarium, but in all honestly, probably just as fun, well especially for me with those Canons’ turrets, what great fun those were…

I also like the sand pit, special kind of sand, very fine, Mar took to it like bacon in my stomach, haa haa haa haa haa, that is she loved it, getting you two away from the sand pit was a bit of a challenge, haa haa haa.

Oh, almost forgot about the room full of balloons (and two huge fans on the ceiling going full blast)… haa haa haa, even I was running through the balloons like a forty two year old village idiot (well didn’t really care, was having far too much fun)

At least it is moving…

At the rally-03923-Edit

Dear Matt and Mar,

Today the protestors are on the move once again, and it has been a while too.

So there was no surprise that the it felt like the whole of Bangkok had come out today.

Great photo ops, and I wasn’t disappointed. Do I agree that changes are necessary, absolutely I do, but for the life of me I have no idea how to execute the change.

At the end of the day, we must get back to the ‘General Election’, and what is to stop the current administration getting back into the controlling position?

General election has to be fair, but buying vote is rife (on all sides), and it will continue to be a part of the Thai General election for many, many, many years to come, unless there is no demand meaning no one wants to sell their vote (then a blue pig flew over a piece of frozen hell).

It is already illegal to buy votes, so there is no need to introduce this law, perhaps the opposition wants harsher penalty if one was to be caught buying votes… but according to my memory… hardly anyone was caught buying votes… Perhaps I have missed the news, perhaps the protestors had already released on the things they wanted to change, I think time to hit the Google, haa haa haa.

A walk in the park…

At the Park-03859-EditAt the Park-03870











Dear Matt and Mar,

Living in the centre of Bangkok is, lets just say ‘convenient’, that is if you want to buy things, go to a good school, to buy things, close to good hospitals, to buy things… haa haa haa, considering that we don’t buy much it is a bit of a disadvantage… haa haa haa.

What we do really miss is a huge park for you two to roam, don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of nice parks down town, but it seems most of Bangkok’s population has the same idea as us, haa haa haa. But we do our best, this park was somewhere on Rama 3, the grounds were kept pretty clean and it was of good size with plenty of interesting things for all age group. We certainly had a fun time here, I kept forgetting a football though, haa haa haa.