Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mar is Six :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Matt and Mar,

I am so late with this post, about 3 months late, haa haa haa (sorry).

For Mar’s 6th BD, we had kept it simple again this year, a simple cake at break time at school is all Mar wanted, to see your smile and so happy to be handing out cakes was more than enough for us :-)

Slight issue with one of the cake though, haa haa haa haa haa, my forgetfulness is getting the better of me. One of Mar’s close friend is a vegan, and I had made a promise to myself that there is no way that this little girl will have to eat biscuits or a piece of fruit whilst the rest of her friends were chomping down chocolate cake, that was just not on.

So a day before Mar’s BD, I’d  left the office around noon to catch the BTS and travelled a few stations to Chidlom area. This very specific cake shop must be using some magical power in baking their cake, as just to be on the safe side I had chosen a wonderful looking chocolate cake but it contained no “dairy, egg, nut or gluten”!

I was over the moon, as this was the last piece (made today too), I carried it like I was carrying a newborn baby back to the office, where it was placed at the back of the fridge for safe keeping, while I was closing the fridge’s door I had made a mental note of “do not forget to take this home”!

As I was opening the door to our apartment, of course that was when I had realised the cake was still sitting very pretty back at the office’s fridge... my eyes rolled back so far I could see my own brain kicking itself with a huge boot.

By that time it was late, and my new office needed a key to get in... after some frantic phone calls the kind person was going to leave the key with the building security... Walking back to BTS, catching the BTS, catching motorcycle taxi, pick up the key, pick up the cake and all the way back to the apartment, took almost an hour and a half, but it was done and now I was going to be able to sleep at night, haa haa haa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the evening was the usual small cake just to be shared between the family, by this time I was already in Singapore, getting ready for another meeting the next day, so sorry for not being there in the evening baby :-) ... haa haa haa.

By the time I had arrived, most of the shops were closed, and really wanted to keep things quick and simple… haa haa haa, so 7/11 it was… life of the road :-)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Deepest Sorrow.

Dear Matt and Mar,

Wat Sri Saket-00154The cremation ceremony of our beloved late King Rama 9 was held on the 26th of October 2017, people queued up over nights so that they could joined the ceremony at Sanam Lhuang, where the people would lay the ‘Dok Mai Jan’ (flower made from thin slices of wood, to be placed on the site of cremation).

For the majority of the population, the government’s administration had set up 114 stations around Bangkok for the rest who had chosen to also lay down the flower for our beloved late King. I had totally read the situation wrong (again), I’d thought it would have been a simple task to find one of the 114 station to pay our last respect.

Our first choice was a temple near to your school, so we casually got up (Sunday), had breakfast, started to dress all in black and headed out in the van. In less than 10 minutes we’d arrived at the temple (Wat Yannawa), and we couldn’t believe our eyes. There were 2 queue leading into the temple, one to the East and one to the West. Each queue was about a kilometer long, that is over 1,000 meters of people waiting to get inside the temple. Inside we were overwhelmed with what we saw, all that love for our beloved late King Rama 9.

We’d decided to explore another station, Lumpinee Park, even before we’d reached the site, we could see that the queue was just about as long as the temple’s, so without hesitation we headed off to the 3rd stop, Hua Lum Pong.

By this time your mother had decided that no matter how long the queue was, she was going to jump down and joined the line, and on the surface it looked shorter, so your mother jumped out whilst the rest of us headed home, hoping to come out again in the evening.

By blind destiny, about 5 mins after we had dropped off your mother, my father called, he was telling us that at one of the famous temple near my parents had very little queue. Without second thought I’d made a quick u-turn, called your mother to run to where we had dropped her off.

Once your mother was back in the van, she said the queue was super long but it was hidden underground, lol. So off to Wat Sraket (Golden Mountain) we all went, only to find that the whole surround roads were blocked off to all traffic! Luckily we managed to find a parking spot not too far, to walk to the temple was full of purpose and focus.

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As this one of the main and older temple of BKK, the organiser here was fantastic, absolutely superb and professional, everything ran like a Germany engine. There were two waiting areas, with one feeding into the other (all covered, and away from the hot sun), we were in the first tent for less than 5 minutes, before we were lead into the second even bigger and beautiful decorated tent.

From the second tent we could see the main building where we had to lay down the flower, must have been the whole atmosphere and the environment you two were on your best behaviour :-) In no time we were lead into the building, there was a quick ‘how to’ tutorial. This time we had decided to let you to go by yourself, this is your experience as much as ours, and you two managed it superbly.

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After laying down the flowers, the first thing I did was to call my mother (and father), and told her to put on her skates and come to the temple as soon as possible (they only lived less than 15 minutes (on foot) away). I was prepared for the wait, but only 5 minutes later I found myself picking up the call from my mother, they had jumped onto a tuk-tuk instead of walking. By that time more and more people were arriving, I’d walked them to the main gate close to the 1st tent.

I think it was around 40 minutes later when my mother called again, she had now left the building and was walking towards us... she was very humbled to have this opportunity to say thank you and good bye.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Life on the road :-)

BlueScope travelDear Matt and Mar,

Can’t believe I’d only posted 69 posts in 2017, the lowest since 2008, 9 years ago… haa haa haa. The funny thing is that in 2017 I had taken more photos than ever, lol.

Since I had joined NS BlueScope in the middle of August, since then the amount of travelling had been mind boggling, but all necessary to drive the business forward, that meant a lot of changes personally just to maintain my normal routine.

Keeping to the eating plan have been challenging, too many tempting choices which shouldn’t even be on my plate, somehow found themselves on my plate (in abundance too, haa haa haa). Maintaining the lifting routine have been really easy, many places we stayed have fantastic facility (open 24 hours).

The travelling schedule have not let up now that we are in 2018, just have to be more vigilant with what I put on my plate, haa haa haa haa haa.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sheets of Metal… :-)

collageDear Matt and Mar,

Unfortunately my time at CMG had to come to an end… the job was great, the team was even better… but another important key proved to be something that wasn’t… so I’d left.

Now (actually for the past 4 months) I have been working at BlueScope, #1 brand of metal sheet roofing in Thailand (by far), but not without some interesting challenges. Jumping into a new industry wasn’t that daunting, the team has and still is fantastic, but what is challenging is the market forces.

No matter what the government is saying about how great the economy is doing (well, they have to say that), on the ground and certainly in the world of construction materials, which is probably a great indicator for how the economy is really doing, when all of the construction materials (not just roofing) are down, it is rather hard to believe that the country is doing great, but the other indicators are looking better, so all of our fingers are still crossed.

One of the biggest change for all of us with this new job is the amount of travel, in four months (16 weeks) about half those weeks had been spent on the road, haa haa haa. I would have found this difficult if it was a couple of years ago, when you two were younger but now Mar don’t even want me to walk her up to her class, haa haa haa. I still miss you two an awful lot though, the vdo chat have been a life safer, wherever I am in the world your smile is just a few clicks away… fantastic… haa haa haa.

More travel, more new places, more photos, haa haa haa, love you.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Back to even more fun :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

This was way back (14 Aug. 2017) we had only arrived back from Perth a day earlier, and you two were absolutely back in the zone, haa haa haa. On the other hand, I was walking around like a half a brain missing zombie…

001Obviously I took the easy way out (your mother was away), and asked what you wanted to do… haa haa haa, thinking was the difficult part, driving you from A to B was a much easier task, haa haa haa.

Off we went to Emquartier, to be more specific, to Bounce. Mar had been here once before and loved it, but for Matt, this was his first visit. You would thought that an hour of nothing but jumping around would have been tiring enough… haa haa haa, but of course no.

During our walk to lunch, I took a double take, the outside garden as we were entering the Helix was setup just like the Tree Adventure that all of us never wanted to leave only a few days earlier, haa haa haa haa, of course Mar and Matt, lunch could wait. The only regret was no adults were allowed to have a go, lol.

From a ‘nothing’ sort of a day to a fun filled never wanted to end day was a bit unexpected, haa haa haa.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

All alone in Phuket, lol.

001Dear Matt and Mar,

I can not believe this was over 4 months ago! I am so far behind on my postings and to add into the mix, Matt and I had just started Uncharted 4, and I am totally falling in love with The Last of Us (again for the 4th time)…

Back in early July 2017, as the final term was coming to a close, many parents were discussing various activities for their child / children, your mother was alerted to a summer camp in Phuket and she couldn’t signed you on soon enough, haa haa haa, Matt would be spending 2 weeks in Phuket, luckily Otto and a couple more from SHB would also be joining, at least some familiar faces will be around, lol.

You know me, Mr. Preparation... the first thing that came into my head was ‘communication’, on the weekend before you fly we all went out and got you your first mobile phone and sim, haa haa haa, watching you choosing your own number was a laugh, lol, and it took forever. The camp had a policy that they would keep the phone and would only allow the kids to have it only for a couple of hours per day (which later we found were not quite fully enforced, haa haa haa). Second thing was a camera, one must be taken to record all the fun time you had, haa haa haa, and the best choice was the old Olympus TG3 tough camera (waterproof and, (kind of) drop-proof)

In a rather short period of time Matt had to learn how to use Line (by far most popular messaging app. in Thailand), how to charge and the various phone’s and camera’s etiquettes. Overall it didn’t take anytime at all, haa haa haa haa.

Your mother and Mar flew down with Matt (also with other parents) and hand delivered you to the camp (she really wanted to inspect the camp first hand), lol, and to make it doubly sure, she also stayed there over the weekend as well, lol.

On the first night, your mother and I waited by the phone, we had created a group chat for the three of us... eventually your message popped up... hoooorraaayyy, we then switched to VDO chat for a while, and that was fun, you had settled down nicely.

As days went by, Matt was having so much fun the VDO chat got less and less and less, haa haa haa haa haa, your mother was fuming lol, and in no time 2 weeks had gone, instead of letting Matt fly back alone, your mother once again flew down to pick Matt up... I certainly was glad to hold you again, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of horror photos you had taken on the camera I gave you. (Now with hindsight, you took over 300 photos… and all I could show is one wooden parrot head, and a photo of you (probably wearing the wrong shirt, haa haa haa haa haa).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Student Council :-)

IMG_20171006_065441Dear Matt & Mar,

Since year 3 Matt has always put himself forward to be a part of student council, one child from each class would be picked to represent the class on the council for that year. From what I can gather, the process at the beginning of the year is quite simple, each child (who wants to represent the class) would put his/her name forward and would have to make a short presentation to the class. His/her peers would be the one who select the class representation.

I think more than half had put their name forward this year, and according to Matt everyone made a great presentation, and as always Matt presentation was on the lighter side, haa haa haa, many presentations touched on the subject of food, game equipment and so on, but for Matt had ended his presentation on ‘decreasing the school hours’, haa haa haa, no wonder he was chosen, haa haa haa.

Then came another surprise... immediately after we’d found out that Matt was chosen, Mar told us that she is also representing her class on the council, of course we just thought she was only copying what her brother had said... but the very next day we had the greatest surprise, for Mar was also chosen by here peers to be on the council lol !!! So one Student Council badge each… who would have thought… lol, we are ever so proud, :-) [Oct. 2017].

ZANOOK Wake Park

1507462085671Dear Matt and Mar,

Finally we made it, the last time we were here it was to celebrate Cookie and Cream BD (Twins of Uncle Mai and Aunt Ann) and that must have been around April of this year (wow, not just realised that was a long time...). You two had so much fun with the water obstacles (actually, I think I had the most fun of all) haa haa haa.

This time we really wanted you two to try the main attraction that is drawing people all over BKK to this Wake Park. Of course the Wakeboard thingy... I’ll let the photos explain the day... but wow, why we didn’t come sooner we just don’t know... No words can describe how much fun we had at the wake park (www.Zanook.com).

You two mastered the kneeboard only after about 10 mins or so... Mar ended up standing on the instructor’s board, but Matt was so close... the instructor said Matt only needed a couple more try before he could the normal board all by himself. In fact Matt was way ahead of me, I really had trouble standing, whilst Matt was off and running, haa haa haa, well done Matt.

I was such a fool, I’d went round way too many times, didn’t realised that to stop all one had to do was to let go... rather than the operator cutting the rope (so to speak, lol) and your mother was crouching the entire circuit! Haa haa haa, you were only supposed to crouch at the beginning... haa haa haa.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Well done Matt :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Matt and Mar,

I am so sorry, the blog posts at the moment are a bit like Mr. Nolan’s film timeline… a little bit confusing at times… haa haa haa. So many Saturdays ago (07.10.17) we decided to spend the morning at Suanlum, which we had not been for a very long time and it was great, we fed the fish, you two played in the playground whilst your mother and I enjoy time alone just to chat… haa haa haa.

Soon it was time to go home and as we were walking back to the car, Matt suddenly ran up to me all excited and begged for the camera… of course I said no, but I am so glad that Matt had managed to convinced me to give him the camera… because tonight, for the first time, I saw why you wanted the camera so much… haa haa haa.

I have so many posts to write… and still have not really even started on Uncharted 4 yet, and foolishly I am no hooked on The Last of Us again (for the 4th time), haa haa haa haa haa.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Perth Day 8: We are not amused MH Airlines.

Dear Matt and Mar,

The return leg back to KUL then BKK was rather painful, haa haa haa. As we wanted to have a full day on the Saturday, meaning we decided choose departure time of 02:00 on the Sunday, with hindsight I don’t think we are going to take flight this late/early again.

From the last post, you were sleeping comfortably in a café near the check-in area, and the queue was building... so after my beer, it was time to go and line up. It must have been a full flight judging by the amount of people, but they had only 3 check-in counters opened... wow it took me almost an hour before it was my turn to check in (the lady at the check-in desk was superb, professional, polite, spotlessly dressed, well groomed).

After handing over the passports, I had to dash back to the café to carry Matt, while your mother carried Mar to the check-in counter. By then it must have been close to midnight, then there was a long walk to the immigration, Matt had already awoken and was stumbling around, Mar was still in dreamland, lol, and oh boy my arms were aching.

004Getting through the security was a real pain, having to wake up Mar was the last thing I wanted to do but it had to be done. Then it was the immigration, which went through without any issue, it was just awkward with one very sleepy and one sleeping child, haa haa haa.

By then we knew things were going to turn from inconvenience to bad as by the time we had settled next to the gate (you two were now sleeping comfortably once again on the seats) the screen said the dreaded word ‘Delay’... the flight was delayed by almost 2 hours, more annoyingly no airline representative came to us to explain what was the cause of the delay! We were now in fear of missing our connecting flight from KUL to BKK, from a rough calculation we had just a little over 30 minutes to transfer, certainly very possible.

Your mother spent the extra time buying gifts, whilst I just walked around and zoned out for a while (easily done with me, haa haa haa). Boarding was again difficult, but at least we were on our way, but once we landed in KUL it went from bad to worse, haa haa haa.

As soon as the wheels touched down at KUL, we were ready to run, and ran we did to the nearest transfer counter, but the queue was long, and we really didn’t want to miss the connecting flight. By the time we managed to talk to someone, we knew immediately that we had missed the connection. It wasn’t because of us, I mean the passengers transfer can be done quickly between planes, but the issue was the off loading and loading of the luggage, and with thirty plus minutes, it was not long enough for the bag transfer without delaying the other flight.

So we now found ourselves with around 3 hours and four food vouchers in hands, MH thank you so much for the food vouchers... haa haa haa ‘not’. On the back of the food vouchers was stated clearly the names of the restaurant who should accept the vouchers, and here comes the punch to the face, not many on the list did accept the vouchers! Can you imagine, lugging you two with all the bags, choosing the table, settling down all nice and comfy only to be told ‘NO’ we don’t accept the vouchers.

Here comes a second punch to the face, for the few who remains and would accept the vouchers, they all have put a limit on each voucher (I think 14 MYR, that is around 100 THB), WTF MH? We missed the flight because of your inefficiency and probably poor management and this is all you can do for customer care? No wonder you are in so much trouble, I had thought it was because of the awful and unspeakable horror of the recent incidents that was the cause of MH downfall, but now I know that my assumption was wrong. The reason for MH poor performance which continue to spiral downwards is more fundamental, it is simply that MH is just a terrible Airlines, with pricing as the only way to compete, how can you sustain this in the long term perspective?

The reason of the delay was never informed to the passengers, perhaps MH delay is so common that they just gave up on sharing any kind of information, haa haa haa, I could go on and comment on the cleanliness, state of the basic equipment (seats, table, etc.), age of the plane and so on.

Here comes the knockout punch, when we arrived back at BKK we rushed to the luggage belt, and we waited and waited and waited... until a staff came up to inform us no more bags were coming, and that we should fill out a form. In the meantime the staff were seriously looking at his monitor, pushing a button here, pushing a button there, finally he looked up and told us that our luggage will be arriving in the late afternoon and should be delivered to our apartment no later than 20:00.

In my entire life time of travelling, (knock on wood) I have never missed a plane, I have never missed a connecting flight (literally ran across Frankfurt Airport at full speed was not fun), and I have never had an airline lost my luggage... And from my first and only time with MH, I have managed to cross two off my list, MH made me missed the connecting flight and MH lost our luggage. At least one credit to them, they did return our luggage at precisely 20:00 (I know this because I was waiting), haa haa haa haa haa haa.