Daily Archives: July 25, 2005

Goodbye Thaiphile, Hello Thaiwriter!

Sawasdee Krab fellow bloggers!

He’s baaaack so grab some snacks, go ahead and go to the hong nam now because it will be an hour to read this one for sure I bet hahaha.
Since our diligent webmaster Richard has been, as usual, hard at work of late making changes to Thai-Blogs.com so our home on the web for all things Thailand is even better, I’ve decided the time has come to really get serious about my own blogging, which I admit I had been a tad lazy about here and there, and really get with the program!

First thing needed was some changes and ‘upgrades’ myself and since my PC was out for a major overhaul/upgrade the past two weeks what better timing? I still kept up with reading everyones blogs and writing comments but I was having to use my older, clunky 10 pound, 2 gigabyte laptop and we have a mutual relationship it seems, we both hate each other! I swear getting that laptop to work was like wrestling with Satan!

So I am most grateful to have my PC back with a now much faster processor, way more expanded memory plus a lot of the accumulated junk on it thrown out and upgraded from basic Windows 2000 to Super Cool Windows XP Professional – cool! Thanks to my friend Mike who did all the upgrade and repair work for me gratis since he really loves doing stuff like this and does it for a living. Kinda like me finding the perfect job where I get paid to live and work in Thailand and share MY expertise on THAT. Nope that’s not a hint to get paid for my blogging Richard lol. Anyway, always good to have your very own tech support guy on hand 😛

While I was waiting to get back in the game and thinking how I could upgrade my blogging I came up with some good ideas so todays blog is about, well, blogging! 😀 These are some ideas for things I’ve changed and some that obviously are still in the works, everybody ready? Buckle yourselves in cuz here we go!

The Name Game

The biggest (so far) and most obvious, as you can see is, ta-da – my new name! Although I was quite fond of ‘Thaiphile’ and it was a pretty cool name it did have its share of problems too, namely trying to explain to some people what the ‘phile’ part meant. I guess you had to be a student of Greek to really get it but I won’t go into that. Let’s just say even after my best explanation sometimes I still got a ‘deer in headlights’ blank stare from some folks.
“A Thai what?”
Maybe it’s not the name that confuses some; maybe they just aren’t into Thailand as much I am. You think? Could that be? Naaaaah 😉

Actually I know Thai friendly folks and just plain Thai fanatics (of which I am #1 as you can see to your right), are a pretty special breed and I like it that way. We are all the more unique for our fascination and appreciation of Thai culture, people, arts not to mention food and anything else Thai that we like. Besides if everyone was into Thailand there would be no room on the net!

So I am at my favorite sidewalk café one day in my usual spot to watch people – especially cute, asian and,ahem, single walking up the street and thinking what would be a new name for me. The Blogger formally known as Thaiphile? Nope, too long and anything else I thought of that sounded cool was even more abstract sooooo ..I was stuck.

I was also working on writing some of my Thai homework and thinking how cool the language is to write and how much I like it (and unfortunately how much better I am at writing it than speaking it) and then *ping* ..light bulb goes on!

I am, in a sense, a writer. I love to write in Thai. Thai. Writer. THAIWRITER! That’s it!!

Continue reading

Chinese Festival in Pattani

Devotees carry a god cart walk through a bonfire of hays and charcoal during a worship for a Chinese goddess at a ritual procession at the Chinese community in the Muslim-dominated province of Pattani, southern Thailand, Sunday, July 24, 2005. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
AP – Jul 24 5:31 AM

Dragon dancing troupers dance through a bonfire of charcoal. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Pre-Wedding Hustle

[I will put more pictures up later on]

So, Brandon proposed in August 2001, outside the building where the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX.com), where we met and worked together, once was in Santa Monica.

If we could have it our way, we would probably have ended up in Las Vegas either in a Star Trek Experience wedding with a room full of friends and families, Klingons, and Vulcans; or at Excalibur where we could be a lady and a knight. Another idea that Brandon proposed was an old western wedding. You know, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid kind of old west.

We would have a great time at either one of those weddings. But we didn’t think out folks would like that very much. Because both of us are the youngest of our families, Brandon being the last one to get married and I’m the first, we had to consider in our parents.

Not to mention that we were looking to them for money to throw the shindig. Heheh.

My parents didn’t press on the subject of the dowry, bless their hearts. They understand that Americans don’t run to mommy and daddy for money to marry their girls like Thais do. Besides, “the money from Brandon is coming back to you guys anyway, why do we have to go through all of that?”

Brandon didn’t quite like the idea of the dowry either. He understood the traditions, but it didn’t make him feel better. He felt that it was like “buying” me from my parents.

So both sets of the parents agreed to pay for the wedding as wedding presents for both of us. If we were under budget we can keep the rest.

Brandon and I agreed on a shortened version of Thai wedding at Wat Thai Los Angeles with families and close friends, No procession. No silver/gold gate. None of that stuff. Later on, we’d have an American reception back in Long Beach area with everyone else.

All of that with very limited budget and just about 5 months to pull it off. In American timeline, five months to plan a wedding is quite last minute.

Since I’m not a temple goer, I sought knowledge and assistance through Aunty Tim, a close friend of the family who has practically been my mom in the US since I got here. She was a big help in coordinating with the Wat. We didn’t have an auspicious date calculated like folks do in Thailand. First of all, it’s because we have to coordinate with the reception location, and secondly, we were pressed on time. Sunday, January 20, it was.

My mom did have the date we picked ran back home anyway, just to make sure that at least it’s not the ultimate unlucky day for our marriage. It wasn’t. Not the ideal date, but that’d do it.

Through the temple, we were able to secure the Thai florist/cultural cooridnator to prepare flowers for the offering to the monks and Buddha images, flower tray for the blessing, a Puang Malai, Thai garland, for me to use for bouquet toss later on, and boutonnieres for the attendees and parents to be used at both affairs.

It would have cost us $200 more if we were to order bride and groom Puang Malai as well. But my mother said she’d bring those from Thailand.

Huh? Flower garlands from Thailand, arriving a week before the event? Would they last?

Mom arrived with artificial Puang Malai’s made with scented soap. That’s right, folks. The beautiful “jasmine and rose” garlands you see here around our neck are made of soap. Each individual jasmine buds and rose petals are molded out of soap. Talk about something you can keep forever from your wedding!

Brandon’s Thai wedding suit was tailor-made in Thailand as well. We had the alteration people at the mall measured him and sent home the measurement. By the time the white silk suit with gold Thai silk sash arrived for the wedding, the waist line was a little tight. We also had to move the neck button so Brandon could breath. The suit fit alright, just a tad tight all around. Brandon was careful when he wai because he was afraid he was going to rip the shirt.

My fault. I fed the boy too well. Hahahaha.

As for my wedding costume, mom brought the one she wore at her own wedding. She did, thank goodness, bring a brand new blouse and Paa Toong (sarong skirt) just in case hers didn’t fit.

Holy moly skinny mama!! Hahaha!

The only original piece from mom’s wedding costume I could wear was the Sa-Bai (sash)! I could barely squeeze into her shirt. And forget about the Paa Toong!! I have too much butt for that thing. Gosh. My mom was a stick back then!!

Many of the Aunties, my mom’s friends, sent along their wedding presents in a form of supporting wedding items. Our wedding rings were a gift from an Aunty. Our wedding favors were also a gift: the Lai Kram (blue and white) ceramic Paan (a tray with stem) with our names and the wedding date on them. Some jewelry I wore that day were also gifts.

That is one key thing that distinguishes Thai wedding from American: the gifts. Americans have a registry, pretty much a wish list of what they’d like as gifts from their guests. These items are usually fine china, glasses, pots and pans, linens, and other household items for the couple to start their lives together. Thais, by nature humble people, don’t ask for gifts. People would come to the wedding with envelopes of checks, gift certificates, or cash. Some people do give gifts of jewelry, gold especially. In Thailand, a hunk of gold bracelet is as good as cash. Take it in to a gold merchant, and voila. Although, the idea of that is for the bride to enjoy the jewelry and when the time gets really tough, she can sell them.

We didn’t have a registry. It did throw some people off. But our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and parents were instructed to let folks know we like to shop at certain stores. Although we ended up with a lot of standard wedding gifts (vases, George Foreman grill, etc.), we also had plenty of gift certificates and cash as well.

Back to the preparation for the Thai wedding. Once everything was in place and mom arrived, Aunty Tim took Brandon, myself, and mom up to Wat Thai to speak with the monk and the florist/cultural coordinator lady, and to do a mini rehearsal of the day. Since our guests would be consisted of mainly farangs, we wanted to make sure someone would be there to do a play-by-play translation. We were assured there would be someone there.

The day came. No such person materialized. But we’ll get to that in the next installment.

Brandon was taught to graab (prostrate), and we rehearsed the progression of the ceremony. First, we pray at the Buddha. Then we graab our parents and our senior guests. (Oh yes, senior honored guests or “Puu Yai”, meaning literally adult, but in this case the elders.) Then we’d go up to the monks. Wait. Or was that the other way around. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Someone would be guiding us through the ceremony.

Oh, and what a ceremony it was!

To be continued…