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.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

There and back again (x4)… haa haa haa

Dear Matt and Mar,

Yet another trip to gorgeous Myanmar, although after several business trips, the country is still as wonderful as the first time we’d met… Only spent a couple of days this time round, and spent the majority of the time in various meeting rooms, but what free time we had was spent enjoying the streets and the people. The development will undoubtedly come fast and just hoping it’s charm will remain the same :-) Can you wait to take you two there one day.

MM wow

The free program from Microsoft, ‘ICE’ never fails to impress me… creating seamless panorama once again.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What a shame…

Suanlum-03513Dear Matt and March,

‘Shut down Bangkok’ by the protestors opposing the current government have some what calmed down a little, after blocking off some of the key road intersections for a few weeks, they have now all joined up and essentially taken over the main park in Bangkok, Suan Lum.

We visited Suan Lum for our usual ‘boat in the lake and feed the fish’ time, and so it was kind of inevitable that we would run into the protestors, I wasn’t surprise by the size of the gathering, but I was truly sadden by the effect of having so many people camping in the park, it is a huge park (by Bangkok’s standard), and I think most of the grass had already died, people were smoking and the litter was clearly building up, but I am guessing for many people the cause is worthwhile enough to ruin the bushes, grass, trees and whatever wildlife (I am not talking about a safari here, haa haa haa) there is.

Personally I feel the pressure on the government had totally disappeared since they have retreated into Suan Lum, apparently they are waiting for something, so some inner circle people kept saying… Well I truly hope they won’t have to wait for long, otherwise they may just as well pull up all the trees and pave the whole once ‘blooming’ park for I am sure there won’t be much left if things kept going like this, what a shame, all in the name of politics, and at the end the real people who will gain from this, certainly won’t be the people who walk on the streets. Because at the end of the day, crappy people will eventually find their way back into power, unless the weakness in Thailand’s democracy is dealt with, to have the majority of the population educated enough to make the right choice and put their Xs in the right box, so that for once, this great country of ours gets a person worthy enough to be her PM just like she deserves. I’d wished they’d kept their focus on the streets.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One step at a time…

Dear Matt and Mar,

For the longest time I’ve been worried about Matt’s Thai language development, of course this is all my fault, haa haa haa, speaking to him in English when he was younger (since birth) was easier for me, then as he grew up all of the media (books, television, radio, music, board games, toys and so on) were pretty much all in English (although there are some great Thai apps on the iPad though), then came the school… no wonder he has no confidence speaking Thai.


It got so bad that there was a little tension in the family, anyway, your mother found a Thai teacher and so you’ve been having extra Thai lessons every Friday for quite a few months now.

Then came your school report, your Thai evaluation was pretty bad, haa haa haa, and that got your mother rather worried (it’s not just me now). So she got talking to one of your friends’ mother and found that JJ goes to this special Thai school… guess where we went last Saturday? Haa haa haa haa haa.

Matt had to sit through a 15 minutes test, the evaluation came back pretty positive, there were about 8 characters that he didn’t remember, and orally Matt was rather flat with no tones, in essence he was speaking Thai like a non Thai, but at least his Thai was polite, ending every conversation with the teacher with a krub :-)

Anyway, he will stop having the Thai lessons at home and attend this class instead, by the way we didn’t force anything upon him, the new school is great, nice, clean and fun… haa haa haa, Matt actually said he was looking forward to next Saturday when he will start his first real lesson.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hey, whose birthday was it anyway?

page BDDear Matt and Mar,

On one’s birthday, who needs a room full of great close friends, endless supply of alcohol beverages, loud thumping glorious music, and enough food to feed the ten thousands… :-) well… actually that all sounds rather gooooooddddd, haa haa haa haa haa haa, only kidding.

Actually, this was one of the best ever… I’d actually got my own cake haa haa haa… then I had to pretend not to notice anything while your mother and Matt ran around getting the cake, the candles and the plates ready.

I was then told to go out on the balcony (with a stunning clear, floor to ceiling glass door) and then pretended that I could not see Matt and your mother rushing and giggling all the way to the kitchen.

I was then told to act surprise when the lights went out (I should have won an Oscar for that performance), then came the best part, Matt gingerly toddling behind your mother pretending to hide my present under his shirt (which happened to stick out a mile) and Mar sitting on the sofa didn’t have a clue on what was going on.

As soon as Mar saw the burning coloured candles, she rushed off the sofa and ran to the small table where your mother had placed the cake. I have never heard such a brilliant ‘Happy Birthday’ rendition, flawless in the passion, and volume, unfortunately the tune was slightly off (by about 5 keys), in case of Mar, I think she was singing the song with the Martian’s lyrics, and you two were smiling all the way.

Guess who blew out the candles? Certainly wasn’t me… haa haa haa, it was hilarious… thank you for a brilliant BD in 2014… (after you two went to bed, your auntie was kind enough to stay a little longer to allow your mother and I to sneak out… haa haa haa).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Knee replacement

Yaai knee op-02505Dear Matt and Mar,

It has been a few weeks since your grandmother (Gio’s mother) had a knee replacement, and she is doing fine, although still needing a walking frame to get around, but she is improving as each day passes. It hasn’t been the easiest of time for all of us, especially when the protesters at that time were still occupying that entire area surrounding the Chulalongkorn Hospital, but they were thoughtful enough to clear an access way to and from the hospital.

The hospital is one of the most famous in Thailand, famous for being the best public hospital and the busiest, famous for having the best teacher come doctors, famous for being one of the oldest hospital in Thailand. So we knew she was in good hands.

Yaai knee op-02496I haven’t been here since ever, and was immediately smitten by the design and the d├ęcor of the place, in some part it was like stepping back in time (in an absolutely good way), the small details were very refreshing although it was obviously old (but well maintained). In Thai, there is a word ‘Klung’, difficult to put an English translation to it, like an ‘aurora’ of the place, a feeling that you are in a special place.

So far so good, I think your mother is looking forward to having her mother walking unaided by the walking frame, and I think that should be soon.

Dennis and the Planet

Dear Matt and Mar,

I am finding hard to find the time to keep the blog up to date with the various events that are currently rushing by, haa haa haa, so far I’ve missed posts for 3 birthday parties, haa haa haa, will catch up later I promise. The final week before half-term, the whole of Matt’s year were asked to dress as a Planet (yes, really), in my mind I was really looking forward to seeing hundreds of young kids with fat round suit… haa haa haa, and then last week was book week, so the whole junior school were asked to dress up as their favourite book character.

Matt the Planet-02868Lets start with the Planet… considering your mother only realised the night before the day, her effort was first class, haa haa haa. Personally I kind of dreaded this, as the last time you wanted to be ‘water’, haa haa haa.

Gio: "Matt, which planet would you like to be?"
Matt: "I want to be Pluto Mama"
Me: "But Pluto is no longer a planet Matt, it's just a lump of floating black rock, besides I haven't got a clue on where to begin to make you look like Pluto, why do you want to be Pluto anyway?"
Matt: "Because it's the smallest one, and I am thin, so I want to be Pluto"

As you can see we've tried our best...

Me: "If anyone asks just say you are the moon, ok?"
Matt: "Is the moon a planet?"
Me: "Just say you are Saturn then" haa haa haa haa haa haa.

By the way, judging by what I saw, I am sure the revenue for the tin foil business went up by about 75% :-)

At the end of the day, I asked how Matt felt about his costume… ‘Stupid, Papa haa haa haa haa haa’, we have never laughed so hard together… haa haa haa.


Book week-03388When we asked Matt what he would like to be on Book day, it answer came pretty much right away… ‘Dennis the Menace’ from the Beano comic, well not exactly a book but pretty close enough, and was fairly simple, but with 24 hours to go the real team got to work. Your mother went to a market, my mother went to another and my auntie also joined in the search by visiting yet another market… all in all I think they must have searched pretty much all the clothes markets in Bangkok, haa haa haa.

Winner bookweek

Anyway the hard work paid off, for me it was close enough to the Beano’s Dennis… haa haa haa, and the best thing was that you were over the moon, thanks to the three musketeers. For the icing on the cake, you were the class winner for this costume, I was told it was because it wasn’t like bought off the shelf, personally I’d thought that Otto should have won it, he came as the Minion, brilliant. But I think the best of all, all the princesses were absolutely beautiful, can not wait to see our Mar in one of those dresses when she grows up.