Monthly Archives: September 2004

The letter to his teacher

I found the letter kevin wrote to his teacher, don’t tell him I posted it or even read it. But for us it was very touching, and made us proud. As mentioned previously he is an honor student and has never missed a day of school in his life and he is nearly 15 years old.

Dear Mrs. &^&%^%&^%,
My name is Kevin &%(*(^*(^% and I just wanted to write to you so you could know more about me. i thnk the more information you and I share, will help us get to know each other better. I’m a freshman at the &^%^&%&^ High School and I enjoy being here, even though I have only been here for about 3 days. So far your on my list of favorite teachers because your a very nice person. I hope we don’t get too much homework in your class!

I was originally born in Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia and my family and I came to the US when I was about 3-4 years old. I’m fourteen and to this day I love being in America because it has many freedoms and opportunities around. My parents are now divorced, but both my parentshave found someone else that they care very much for. To be honest I ca’t speak my language, i know it sounds a bit silly, but it’s probably because I went to school early as a child and focused more on English than anything else.

My mother has developed good English skill and speaks English to me most of the time, but she also speaks her language to me and I can usually understand her. My best friends are Casey %$%$ and Ryan #!@#. Ryan is in the same class as me when I was in your room. This summer wasn’t very fun because of issues with friends and things like that. Ryan and I saw some movies most of the summer and that’s about it. Someday i hope to work with computers and if not that, I would like to become a chef and cook.

I came from !$%%!$$%@%^ Middle School by the way. So far my life is free from violence and drugs, I plan to stay this way all my life. People still get my last name wrong, but it doesn’t really bother me at all.

Well, thank you for your time. I hope I haven’t made you fall asleep or caused you to become bored from my letter. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in your classroom throughout this year!


The typos are his not mine 😉

Hot Air

It has already been one week in my new house. Many of the main pieces of furniture have already been bought and delivered. The living room is very comfortable with the sofa and 29 inch t.v. The kitchen is doing OK with the electric stove, fridge, rice cooker, microwave and water filter. The office is just about finished as well as my library. The furniture for the third bedroom was delivered today. All that remains is the dining room table and some outdoor furniture.

The air-conditioning was fitted last week. I had a guy that services the air-conditioners at school install them for me. I have known him for a few years now. He came over to the house first to advise me on which brand names were good and what size I would need for each room. I knew this was going to be expensive but I wasn’t quite prepared for the final bill. The two small bedrooms worked out at nearly 17,000 baht each. That was OK. However, the office and my bedroom are twice the size. At first he suggested a 24,000 baht model, but then changed his mind and suggested a 30,000 baht model which is more powerful! He said the rooms were too big. That came to a whopping 100,000 baht! Most Thai teachers have a starting salary of 6-8,000 baht per month. So you can well understand why that in our row of 9 houses, only three have air-conditioning.

When I planned the house I insisted on having a big bedroom/living room for myself. However, I didn’t really take into account that a bigger room would cost more money to keep cool. I am not only talking about the unit but also the extra electricity needed every month. This is something I will have to remember for my dream house! Another little problem we have at the moment is that there isn’t enough power for us to turn on more than one air-conditioner at the same time! Apparently I have to increase from 5 amp to 30 amp. Like everything else, this costs money and I have to find 11,570 baht to do this.

The living room on the ground floor doesn’t have air. I wasn’t too sure if this was a mistake or not. I was trying to save money but I really want to be comfortable as well. However, so far it has been quite pleasant. With the doors and windows open at the front and back of the house there is nearly always a wind passing through. With an electric fan on the wall and one standing on the ground I have been OK so far. The temperature was around 31 Celsius for most of last week. Tonight it has been raining and it has gone down to a chilly 26 Celsius. I know that is not really cold for most people but it is cold for me. I suppose I have been here too long now.

‘Many Thais make light work’

The title of this blog is very typical of Thailand. Thais believe in serving with the personal touch unlike in the west where machines seem to have replaced much of the work force. There seems to be a worker for every part of the working process.

Here are a few of the examples I have seen so far:

[b]The Petrol Station[/b]
At the Esso station the other day I counted eight workers on the forecourt filling up cars with petrol and cleaning windscreens and three more workers inside the shop serving. If you drive a car into a petrol station in Thailand you do not even have to get out of the car. This, of course, is a blessing as most of the time it is too hot to stand the heat outside for too long.

This is not the same scenario in the UK. We fill up our own petrol tanks and then go and pay for it in the kiosk, where there will be only one or two workers.

[b]The Car Wash[/b]
You can sit back and relax at this one. You are greeted by one or two workers . (Where are they in England?). You drive the car onto a conveyor belt, turn off the engine and wait for it to take you through the car wash. At the other end there are the same two workers waiting to rub your car down with a shammy leather. All for the grand price of one pound.

[b]The Road Sweeper[/b]
We are used to seeing the road sweeper lorry out and about in the UK’s town and city streets driven by one man. In Thailand, this again is entirely different. They have a lorry too, but the difference is that the whole process is carried out by about seven workers. There is the driver, then in front of the lorry is a man washing the road with a big hose and following on behind are five women sweeping the road with long brooms.

[b]The Multi-storey Car park[/b]
Numerous numbers are involved in looking after this car park in Thailand. On the way in you collect a ticket from one or two workers, (one in a booth and one outside it) and then on each level in the car park is what we would call parking attendants, who salute and help you back into a space. The ‘parking attendants’ have whistles which they blow to signal safety or danger and to let you know when to stop moving. I have yet to work out the differences between the whistles. It all seems the same to me.

It is not unusual to ‘double park’ in the car parks. The brakes of these cars are left off, whilst the owners shop. This is to enable the attendants to shunt the cars back and forth to free the blocked in cars when their owners return.

On the way out of the car park, you give your ticket to another worker and then quite often there is a another man with a whistle to help you turn onto the main road.

In England, we would probably only have one or two workers, who would wander around the car parks making sure we have bought a parking ticket.

[b]The Shops[/b]
Thai shops are just teeming with workers waiting to help and serve you. This feels a bit strange coming from the UK where it can take what seems hours to find someone to assist you.

In the bigger shops, you have to leave your bags at the door with attendants who will give you a tag and look after your bags whilst you shop.

In Supermarkets, your bags are packed for you and the cashier will start serving the next customer whilst waiting for you to pay for your food, thus saving time. There are also many more checkouts which leads to few queues.

No updates available

I haven’t posted in a few days, been busy with life 😉

I did want to post a list of famous (sarcastic) quotes that I found on a Pattaya news website a while back. I thought they were really cute….

Thirteen famous predictions
by Barrie Kenyon

1. Computers in the future may weigh more than 1.5 tons. (Popular Mechanics 1949)
Man were these guys short-sighted.

2. We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out. (Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles 1962)
To think, this is the greatest rock band prior to Silly Fools.

3. The abdomen, the chest and brain will always be off limits to surgeons. (Surgeon General to Queen Victoria 1873)
Said only 100 years ago, kinda frightening.

4. Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. (Professor of Economics Yale University 1929)
Month’sbefore the stock market crash that caused the great depression.

5. The advent of water tight compartments has all but removed the threat from mid ocean collisions. (White Star Line 1911)

6. The telephone has too many shortcomings and is unnecessary for companies with a full
complement of messenger boys. (Western Union Internal Memo 1876)
Was this guy ever fired you think?

7. Data processing is a fad that won’t last a year. (Editor of Business Books Prentice Hall Publishing 1957)
Quite an industry now, seems they may have been drinking.

8. I can assure you that our naval signals are immune to code breakers. (Admiral Donitz to the Japanese ambassador 1942)
Another one proven untrue in WWII.

9. But what is a microchip good for? (IBM Engineer 1968)
Coming from IBM??

10. Seriously to suggest salt and vinegar or beef flavored potato chips is like maintaining that bingo is here to stay. (Marketing Adviser to Smith’s Crisps 1969)
Salt and Vinegar is one of the hottest selling flavors of potato chips in the US, and people still play bingo weekly here.

11. Everything that can be invented has been invented. (Commissioner of US Office of Patents 1899)
Before the Airplane, Rockets, Computers, Velcro and Rollerblades. I mean how much do we even use from the 19th century? 5555

12. 640K ought to be enough for anybody. (Bill Gates 1981)
My computer has 1,528,000 to his 640.

13. The threat of AIDS will have wiped out prostitution as we know it by the end of the century. (Public Health Professor on Larry King Live 1986).
So sad, the only one with a decent hint of truth. We could only wish it could have turned out that way.

I found the letter Kevin wrote to his teacher but he sitting behind me now, so I can’t pull it out and copy. He would just get shy and embarrased. So I will post it next Blog for sure!!!

Learning to read and write Thai

[b]A Complete Beginner[/b]
I am a novice when it comes to learning to read and write Thai. Even though I have been visiting Thailand for 7 years on the trot, I never seem to be able to find enough time to learn to read Thai script, I have always relied on the romanised words.

This year is going to be different. I am determined to impress all my Thai friends and learn to read properly. I think it will help me speak Thai too.

[b]Panic Stations![/b]
I have always panicked at the sight of the number of constonants and vowels to remember. There is sooooo many! And to make things worse some of the letters change sounds depending on where they are in the word and now I have discovered ห which is sometimes not spoken! Aaargh!

Another fear I have is the TONES! OMG! I could actually be saying something quite different to what I intend to say. That is so frightening to me.

My first Steps at Learning Thai I use a lot as well as Both these sites have been a godsend to me in helping learn Thai. I am continually amazed how such a vast resource can still be free and I hope they will continue to be free!

I also use the Forums alot especially the learning thai forum. Although, I must admit some of the topics are way too advance for little old me!

I have a good library of Thai books. Infact I think I must have nearly all the Thai language leartning books on the market! Maybe if I just stuck to one, I might be further ahead than I am now. My excuse for the huge number is that most of them teach me to say ‘touristy’ phrases like ‘Where is the Dusit Thani Hotel?’. I don’t need such words, as I always stay with my brother and friends in Thailand.

All these resources and still I am not any further learning Thai. Why? I guess it is time. This year will different.! (I think I have heard myself say this before, infact I think I have said it every year upon returning to England)

[b]How I am learning to read[/b]
I find it easier to remember the letters by reading words I know. I have written out words with similar sounds and have grouped them together. This has helped me enormously to remember the different sounds.

A daily dose of listening to the vowels is helping too. I use the following page

I am also using the Thai lyrics to practise reading. I love listening to Thai music. I play the music on my mp3 player which allows me to slow down the music so that I can read and sing.

I have also downloaded and listen to all the mp3 resources on I believe that saturating myself in Thai will help.

I have recently discovered this fantastic website. It not only has many children’s stories written in Thai but also some of them have the story on mp3.

Mike’s site has been an invaluable tool for me. It not only helps romanise the thai script for me but also it separates the words for me too. This is so useful to me as I am still finding it hard to spot where each word ends and begins. Thanks Mike

Any tips welcome!