Daily Archives: January 29, 2005

Child abuse

Hello everyone. this is my first blog ever so hopefully i can communicate my thoughts well enough. i have never been to thailand however my family and i are hoping to visit within the next year. that is not the reason for my blog however. I am a college student in detroit, michigan. part of one of my courses is the study of a foreign culture in relation to business. our instructor however is attempting to teach this in a different manner. we are required to complete a project that entails setting up a proposed organization that is consistent with a percieved problem in todays world. one catch being that it has to involve both implications in not only the foreign culture but ours as well(usa). Our group has chosen child abuse in thailand as our project. we are aiming to set up an organization called the childrens innocence fund(again this is made up). however our requirements are to learn as much as possible about the foreign culture so that when the project is off and running, we are able to function in the thai culture and way of life without being completely viewed as outsiders or without upsetting or dishonoring the people that we work with.the reason we chose this subject is because the same practices happen in america(i am also a social work major and this has very deep meaning to me)

My initial thoughts on some of the causes are the effects of economy and the resulting levels of poverty that can ensue. we realize that we cannot properly function with another culture unless we are able to learn and respect their culture. that is the information that i am trying to find. i do have some documented accounts of the child slave trade from time magazine, however, i am looking for a deeper meaning to this than a paper article.

I realize this may be a very dark, touchy subject, however as anthropological research goes, i am not allowed to use any real names in my research topics or even the real areas of the study. all items will be changed to protect any information received. this may sound hollow coming from a computer blog, but i am just trying to learn from the source as opposed to a culturally biased printed report.

Thank you to all for just reading this,extra thanks to all who may respond.

Alcohol and games

Back from no-man’s land
Just got back from the Thai border town of Mae Sot. A Friendship bridge connects this trading outpost to Myawadi in Burma. Kind of ironic name, considering that the relationship between the two countries is anything but friendly. Lonely Planet is full of warnings and advices about military activities around here, but I haven’t seen any sign of unrest. I guess a couple day’s stay is not enough to see real life here. Back in Chiang Mai now, and life is not so good.

I guess this is one of those nights…
What makes drunkards turn to alcohol, what is the feeling that gives the glass in their hands in the beginning? Today I finally understood.

Not that I’m going to take up drinking, lol! There is nothing that could make me do that silly thing. But I got to feel a kind of desperate need to lock my brain and throw away the keys – thinking about life is just too painful now.

Tonight, after I finish this entry, I will head out to have dinner at one of those small restaurants by the roadside. Then I will go to the nearest game station and play games until they close. I will let the virtual world take me away from reality when the real world is too much to bear.

I think this is much better than drugs and alcohol. No destructive side-effects on the body, no hangover, just some sleepiness. But that’s okay.

So, see you guys later.

The king and the cleaning lady

The cleaning lady caught me unprepared this morning. I had only just started cleaning up the kitchen when she turned up half an hour early. Luckily the front day was still shut so she didn’t see me wiping the counter tops. Actually, she didn’t ring the doorbell so I didn’t know she was there at first. She just tapped lightly on the door. A bit strange of course as there is a perfectly good door bell by the front door. But, coming to think of it, maybe not all Thai people have door bells! Or maybe she doesn’t want to waste electricity by ringing the doorbell? Anyway, I know it is not only me. While walking around Paknam I have seen other houses with notices that say, “please ring the door bell”! I had always thought that strange. Obviously I will have to make my own sign.

Back to the cleaning lady. Although I am grateful she is here all day, she doesn’t seem to achieve much in that time. I am finding that I have to not only clean before she comes but also continue the cleaning after she has left. Last Sunday I cleaned all of the mosquito blinds and windows. This weekend I think I will have to go round cleaning things like light switches and around the door frames etc. Some of the walls also have scuff marks from when I had some furniture delivered a few weeks ago.

The cleaning leaning has already made it clear through the school that she is willing to quit her job at the hospital and come to work for me full-time! Tempting, but I am not sure if it is a good idea. Maybe she is cleaning slowly because she is trying to push the idea that there isn’t enough time in one day to do everything. I am not sure. Anyway, it wouldn’t be too expensive. She is only asking for 5000 baht per month to work full time. (Minimum wages is 3520 baht per month which is about $88.)

I will have to give this some thought. She might actually be useful later. If i ever leave the school then I will have to apply for another work permit for my work. Unfortunately these things are not transferrable. To apply for a work permit, the company needs to have 2 million baht in paid up capital (shouldn’t be a problem as the house is in the company name) and four full-time Thai workers. Having a cleaning lady would be a cheap way to add another full-timer. Maybe I should hire a driver too! I am kidding!

I suppose I should now close with an explanation of the title of this blog. This morning, I spotted the cleaning lady tearing out a picture from the front page of an old copy of the Bangkok Post. She then carefully put it to one side before crumpling up the rest of the paper. Obviously she wanted to use the newspaper to wipe the floor or counter top. But what was this pictures she had cut out? After she had gone upstairs, my curiosity got the better of me. I went over to the counter to take a look and found a picture of the king. At first I thought that maybe she was saving the picture for her daughter who might be doing a project on the royal family. Then I suddenly realised. Thai people always treat images of the king with the utmost respect. You cannot wipe the floor or line your sock drawer with a newspaper that has a picture of the king on it. I have known about this for a long time. But obviously I will now have to be extra careful that I pay the proper respect to any rubbish I might throw out. Now, where did I put that December edition of the UBC magazine? Didn’t it have a picture of the king on the front cover?