Daily Archives: May 21, 2005

Big Brother is Watching You!

For about a month or so, UBC have been broadcasting the Thai version of Big Brother. If you didn’t know, this is a tv program where people live in seclusion in a house for two or three months. Each week someone is voted off until only one is left. This person then wins the big prize of a house. Big Brother is broadcast 24 hours a day on UBC 16 with highlights on ITV every evening. This reminds me a bit of our school. We have cameras every where and our every move is watched by the administration. They even have a camera and microphone in our staff room.

I have watched Big Brother briefly a few times but it has been a bit boring and tedious. Basically there has been no drama. It is the nature of Thai people to be non-confrontational. So, there are no big fights or arguments. Everyone seems to be getting on well with each other. I haven’t seen Big Brother in the UK but I guess this is in complete contrast.

However, the newspapers have been full of stories this week of the hot and steamy scenes that have been broadcast live. Apparently two of the contestants have fallen in love and have shown affection for each other. The behaviour has been labelled as very “un-Thai” and the shows producers have been summoned to appear before the House committee on religion, arts and culture. What did they do? Well, according to the newspapers, they were seen “holding hands, touching, hugging and lying together on the sofa and sharing a blanket on the bed”.

What I find most strange is that there is no mention of the men massaging each other and actually spending the whole night sleeping in the same bed. In Thai society, no-one blinks and eyelid when two policemen walk hand in hand down the road. But, according to the Bangkok Post column Gor’s World, when Panrit walked down the market holding hands with his girlfriend he was scolded by his teacher! Then, what about Thai soap operas? Is the House Committee really proud of how these soaps portray Thai life? Wife battering, mafia bosses and a lot more is portrayed as the norm. Then, two people hold hands on national tv and it becomes headline news!

Anyway, as can be expected, I am sure the ratings for this reality show have gone through the roof this week. I even have it on now as I type this. Sadly, Toto the man who acted in an “un-Thai” way was voted off last weekend. All that is happening at the moment is some boring talk around the kitchen table. Time to go to bed.

If you want to watch live video streaming then just go to this web site:


sawadee krap

I stumbled upon this website by accident when I was doing research for an upcoming trip to Chiangmai. And boy, was I pleasantly surprised to find an outlet in which I may document my growing fascination with Thailand with kindred spirits!

I am Le, a 25-year-old Singaporean male. I’m quite embarrassed to admit this but my first impressions of Thailand were restricted to shopping cheaply, praying at the Four-faced Buddha and catching a Thai Girl show in Bangkok. I love Bangkok for its frenetic energy and vitality but at the same time, I couldn’t (subconsciously) resist not putting myself on a pedestal and snobbing it as a city with no soul.

All this changed when I volunteered to be the co-leader for a community service project in Surin. Along with 20 other Singaporeans, I was to help the villagers of Ban Selangpan construct a library in their primary school.

I remembered reading Touch The Dragon (by Karen Connelly ) in preparation for my trip and thinking to myself how absurd it was that mai pen rai [never mind] came up so frequently as I couldn’t imagine anyone needing to use on a day-to-day basis.

Mai pen rai turned out to be arguably the phrase I used most often throughout my 2-week stay in Ban Selangpan. Coming from a nation where mistakes are never exorcised as they may return to haunt you, it was refreshing to see the Thais shrug off minor irritations with genuine nonchalance and cheerfulness and focus on a more important business of pursuing fun.

I realised that there’s more to Thailand that I have given her credit for. And if i may flatter myself so (hee), since I consider myself as a go-with-the-flow kinda person, I took to the Thais’ obliging mai pen rai nature like a duck to water.

I guess that’s when my love for Thailand was born.

As someone who has been trying to learn about Thai culture ever since he returned to Singapore, I hope that this blog would help me to explore my feelings and conceptualize them into words. To expedite my growth process into a well-informed Thai fanatic. This seems like a brutally honest, introspective, yet non-dysfunctional and safe environment to exchange ideas with fellow-minded bloggers. I can’t wait for the fun to start. *grin*

Music in Bangkok’s Lips.

The city of Bangkok has music all around, whether it is on top of the world at Baiyoke Tower, or in a small hall hosting a gathering of welcome or farewell. Thai music itself is foot tapping, you can break into dance the moment the music is played. Some songs are very soulful like Loi Krathong.

Bangkok however has exceptionally good knowledge about western music. Recently in a farewell party in Bangkok, I sang Frank Sinatra’s “Saying Something Stupid”. Immediately after, a Thai friend told me that the song had also a Thai version. Karaoke has brought out the singing talents in many of Bangkok’s people. Even people from near by countries like Philippines and Indonesia have added colour. At one time in Baiyoke Tower a Filipino Band used to play good music.

Some songs that I have heard sung in Bangkok are old classics like Sinatra’s “Stranger in the Night” and “My way.” In fact the Head of an Institution in Bangkok has written words following My Way and has made it his Institution’s Signature Tune.

Silencing the Critics

I just got back from seeing Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, and dinner at the Palms Thai restaurant in Hollywood with a few friends which included my friend Irena, the Russian blonde who loves to eat and cook Thai food I mentioned in earlier blog entry. Of course, they let me do the ordering and conversing with Kat, our waitress, in Thai. A few folks did want something specific.

Travis, a friend of Irena, wanted chicken panang curry. So far all the food I ordered was Pedd Noi, a little bit spicy. Kat asked if the panang would also be Pedd Noi. I relayed the question to Travis.

He shook his head.

“You want it spicy? Like American spicy, or Thai spicy?”
“Thai spicy.”
“Are you sure you can handle that?”

I looked up at Kat. A grin on her lips. I nodded. She raised her eyebrows. Let him find out for himself, I told Kat. She gave a chuckle and took the order.

Wouldn’t you know, Irea has a vat of chicken panang to take home with.

Today’s lessons:

1. Never underestimate the power of Thai chili.
2. Spicy, ordered by a Thai, is several notches above spicy ordered by a non-Thai.
3. If you’re in a Thai restaurant with your Thai friend, you may want to listen to her suggestion. Duh. 🙂

On a tangent: Star Wars III rocks, y’all. I went in with low expectation since I was burned from the last 2 installments, and I came out pretty jazzed. Not the best movie ever made, but I was thoroughly entertained. Just try not to laugh out loud during the “dramatic” and “romantic” scenes.

First trip with my boyfriend

“Why does it take so long?!”
“Is he lost?!” asked Bow to Richard over and over while waiting for Mike and Joel getting out of the airport.

Then the white cute (lol) guy walked nearer and nearer.. Mike was really there.. It was the first moment I met my boyfriend for the first time in 2 years of our relationship.

Mike and Joel stayed at Richard’s place. There are Gor and Tai there, too. It was a nice place with cable TV, air-conditioning and also free breakfast!! Wicked, isn’t it? Anyway, it was the first time I met my boyfriend and I really had no idea how to act :p We were kind of nervous at first, a little bit hesitated to talk (although we had been on the phones hundred times already lol) but I felt like “I cannot let it be like this, it’s our first time together, it’s gotta be the most amazing period!”. So I told him to meet me the next day at the top of my soi (won’t waste any time) in the morning because I had to catch up with some exams (I missed it because I went to Japan).

I waited..1 – 2 -3 and finally 5 minutes passed, he was still somewhere, didn’t show up yet. I was so worried because he didn’t even know what his address was yet so if he really got lost, he might not be able to get back home. Then I told myself to wait for 5 more minutes, it wouldn’t be that late and there he came! 😀 We went to school together for a few days and at last I could finish my final exam and my grades turned out not so bad hehe 🙂 I was glad.

I was free of school since then so we (including his friend, Joel) started to hang around!

Crocodile farm, the biggest one in the world! We didn’t see much because of rain. I thought we could stay a little longer somehow (Well, we paid for entrance already) so I asked them if they wanted to try crocodile soup but that made everyone go straight to the taxi to go back back home :p

Then a boat trip to see lives along the rivers in Bangkok and the snake farm so we were too late to enter Prasri Rattana Sassadaram Temple, that’s why we got a picture of exterior only hehe.

We also had lunch at MK restaurant with Dada Stevenray!! It was his shout, thank you so much!!! Was one of the best meals 🙂 (cuz it’s free, JK!)

We visited Ancient City, too. It was amazing there! So enormous and everything looked so real. There were bikes and some kind of bus provided, we took bikes 🙂 so it was a little bit of an adventure tour. We were so tired after seeing some beautiful constructions and at last Joel said ‘I’m hungry’. We dropped by a wooden restaurant there and I ordered heaps :p. Joel : I said I was hungry but not that I could eat a horse. – -” Sorry, man I thought you were that hungry. The funny thing about us eating al-together was they always let me decide and what I decided always torture them especially hot and spicy stuff. Joel, again, : As soon as I’m back to Aus, I’ll go find fish and chips! rotflmao!!! Well, better behave (including eat) like Thai when being in Thailand, by the way, dudes.

Sadly, Joel went back after two weeks had past but Mike still wanted to stay 2 more weeks. I had noone to laugh at and Mike had no-one to talk to at night. So I took Mike around as much as I could and one day, my granny took us to the national museum. We had fun altogether becasue Mike so admired my granny and she so liked him (always invited him to eat at our house).

And the last day came.. I was at school, Mike was already at the airport, waiting. I thought I would be too late coz I was busy finding something for him ~ just to make him remind of me a’.. finally, I found “a ring”. I took a cab and was there just in time. We waited for the check-in time, in complete silence. I wanted to say a lot like usual but somehow I just chose to be quiet instead. I guess I was too sad to say anything, we had a really great time together, we laughed a lot (Mike even did T-T once coz of laughing too much!).. and I didn’t wanna let him go. I gave him a ring, he gave me back some pills :p I used to give him to cure his headache. And at last, the check-in time ..which was the time he should be on the plane already! So he was in a rush.. I saw him again but he was far away, I shouted his name..maybe it didn’t come out ~ because I felt like drowning. He didn’t hear.. and eventually, he was out of my sight. I took a cab .. I cried a lot ~ The taxi driver was curious for sure but he didn’t ask anything. I kept crying ~ waving to the plane passing by alone like an insane person .. but Mike, I would trade anything to be an insane person in everybody’s eyes as long as your heart stays with me 🙂

I was so sad for a while but now I’m back ~ strong once again. I take all the happiness and beautiful memories we drew together to keep me live days after days. I now know the reason to stay in this world. I miss you every minute of every day.. I’m looking forward to meeting and being with you once again soon …. although that time may take forever but believe me, I won’t leave you ..never. You’re the one I’m breathing for..thanks so much for everything you have done and given me..thank god also for creating human beings and thank your mum for giving you birth…

*I don’t know if I’ll still be alive tomorrow
I don’t know when the world’s going to end
I don’t know what will happen if the red rain falls and the moon turns blue
But the only thing I know is I do love you*

It was the busiest but happiest rainy holiday I’ve ever had.