Daily Archives: August 10, 2005

First Date!! Hello from Betong!

First Date!!! Hello from Betong!

Hello, I am ST, a charming :)Malaysian Chinese lady. I have been living and working in Thailand for more than two years. To know more about me and my life in Thailand…date with me on thai-blogs!!

Ok, firstly let me give a little introduction about where I live.

I live in Betong. There are altogether five Malaysian-Thai border towns and Betong is one of them. Betong is located at the Southern most of Thailand and the town is only 7km from the Malaysian-Thai border. It is a district (amphur) of the Yala Province with an approximate population of 50,000, of which about 15,000 are living in the town. It is made up of multi-races with approximately 40% Muslims, 30% Chinese and 30% Thai. It was the base for the former jungle fighters of the Communist Party of Malaya and is considered as one of the most Chinese populated area in Thailand, and has the highest average per capita income among the three Southern provinces, Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani.

Being a Malaysian who lives and work here, where it takes only 7 km to reach Malaysia, it is easier for the people to fly to Bangkok through the Penang airport(1 ½ hour from Betong) than through Hat Yai airport(3 ½ hours from Betong). People often come to the Malaysian border town to have breakfast and go back to work…so as you can see, it is unavoidable for me to not mention about Malaysia once in a while!:)

Due to its unique locality, Betong has a long history of close diplomatic relationship with the Perak State of Malaysia. Due to the current unrest situation in Southern Thailand, more cooperation is needed to safeguard the security and economic activities of the two towns. On the 6th of August, the opening of the 330 million Baht Bukit Berapit new Immigration Complex, ( the only exit point to Thailand via land route in Perak state of Malaysia), a lot of Thailand senior officers are invited to join the grand opening ceremony officiated by the Sultan (King of State) of Perak and I am indeed honored to be one of the invited guest too 🙂 !!.

The Thai called the Sultan as “ Sulatdtan ”. On that day, all invited guests from Thailand are excited, hoping to grasp the rare and valuable opportunity to greet the “ Sulatdtan ”. Betong Municipality has volunteered to contribute the fresh fish and prawns specially ordered from Trang for the Sultan and the other VIPs!! For me, being a Malaysian, I had never been so close to the Sultan when I was in my own country. Therefore it is indeed an exciting experience for me to meet and to politely chat with the Sultan of my own nation as a guest from Thailand! Let me show u some pictures…

This is the picture taken from the Malaysian border town-Pengkalan Hulu, a welcoming dinner for the Sultan the night before the opening ceremony day. Today, there are still quite a number of Thai living in the Northern part of Malaysia and maintaining the Thai culture.

Gift for the Sultan. Woodcraft from Chiang Mai.

Welcoming troupe. Can you see the difference with Thailand’s?

Family of “ Sulatdtan ” with Thai and Malaysian VIPs seated behind.

Hope u enjoy our first date!! Cheers!

Dad’s Thailand, my Thailand

“My dad would buy scary looking fruit with spikes and needles”

Thai people call me a dek meung nok, which means a foriegn country child. My parents lived in Chicago when I was born. At the time, they were undecided about whether I would be raised in Thailand or as a Dek Nok in America. (They ended up raising me in America, I lived in Thailand for a few years during my twenties, and now I live in the middle of England with my British husband) They decided to register me with both a Thai name and an English name. My Thai name (Nalisra) was registered as my first name and my English name (Lisa) as my middle name. Mom and dad would never call me by my first name. As a rule, Thai parents do not use their child’s given name. Instead, they use a ‘play name’. They try to dissuade evil spirits from taking their child by using a name like ‘pig’ or ‘fatty’ or ‘rat’. I never had a Thai play name, I guess my parents thought using my foreign name was enough to dissuade evil spirits that might be tempted to take me.

My parents shared Thailand with me through their stories. Most of dad’s stories were about the river…the time he nearly drowned in the river as a toddler, how he used to play in the river until it was banned after a neighborhood man was eaten by a crocodile, and about all of his favorite food stalls near the river side that he would stop at just before or after travelling on the river ferry. Food was a popular story theme for my dad. On my childhood visits to Thailand, dad would hit the market to buy scary looking fruit (with spikes and needles) then he would seek out his favorite hoy tod stall that was across the river from his university. My father’s years in Bangkok were mostly occupied by studies (he was in med school) and food. When he left in the 1960s, Thailand was beginning to change, largely from the impact of the Vietnam war.

Thirty years later, I moved to Bangkok, living and working there for over 3 years. My Bangkok was very different to my father’s. I travelled to work by car, driving an hour in the morning to travel about 10 miles along Petchburi Road and an hour and a half in the evenings to return along Sukhumvit Road, doubling the travelling time in the rainy season. Like my father, my friends and I sought refuge through food. Dad’s beloved market food stalls were still there and provided daily meals, chicken and rice, bamee noodles or pad thai for 35 baht; but in the evenings my friends and I could sometimes be found at a sophisticated Europen restaurant where we paid 500-800 baht per head for dinner before hitting a Thai discoteque or karaoke bar into the late hours of the evening. On the weekends, we would hit to the road, escaping Bangkok along the multi tiered expressways to visit coastal towns where we bought live crab off the beach and, on every street, golden mangoes appeared in March/April, piled high alongside sweet, sticky rice.

So many things about Thailand has changed since my parents left. At least some things, a passion for food and life, will never change.

Internet site of the week

Bangkok Post, 10th August 2005
Tony Waltham

A group of writers from around the world have come together to write about their favourite Thailand-related subjects at www.thai-blogs.com, writes Richard Barrow of Sriwittayapaknam School. The group is quite varied with both Thais and foreigners.

Some of them have regular daily and weekly columns while others blog occasionally as guest writers.

Some of the most popular subjects blogged about include teaching in Thailand, superstitions of Thailand, Thai food, tourist attractions in Thailand, Thai life and culture, and do’s and don’ts when visiting Thailand.

Richard also mentions that he also has about 400 Sriwittayapaknam School students now blogging at www.srinaiweb.com/diary, where he says they are writing about a variety of subjects from daily life at home and school.

The main language is Thai though a number of them are also writing in English. The youngest blogger is 10 years of age and Sriwattayapaknam is the first school in Thailand to have a web site where students are regularly writing blogs.

Another innovation is “radio blogs,” also known as podcasting, where some students record a story or a song. Sriwittayapaknam is the first school in Thailand to do regular radio blogs and the main school web site has RSS feeds that you can subscribe to so as to download the latest podcasts onto MP3 players.

Ranong & Victoria Point

I regretted for not heeding the advice on the forum on which Mobile operator to use in Thailand. The ORANGE SIM card almost made me turn RED. My friend Virat in Ranong ระนอง and I tried very hard to contact each other and what we got is “Kor Tuk Ka… tik-tok….”. My frustration is compounded earlier by the courtesy accorded by Budget rent-a-car in Phuket airport for assigning me a Toyota Avanza instead of Honda City which I asked for when making the booking via the Internet.

The journey from Phuket to Ranong is very scenic, especially near Khao Lak, where the Tsunami destruction is still noticeable. Along the route to Ranong, you can also find a lot of Mosque dotting the highway with signboards saying “Masjid”, a word that Malaysian are too familiar.

The SPA at Jansom

We checked into Ranong Jansom SPA resort Hotel along the highway after several minutes of “tik-tok” and “ding-dong” to contact Virat. As most of the nice places to eat were closed by then, we have to settle for the second best. Ranong is famous for soft-shell crabs and other food were yummy too.

We woke up early the next day for a dip in the nature hot SPA and cold swimming pool. Alternating with Hot-Cold pools was quite an experience. There are quite a lot of Chinese-looking faces around and I was able to converse with them in my Penang Hokkien dialect. Ranong has shared history with Malaysia, especially Penang, according to Kitjar Na Bangsar’s post and confirmed with my later findings.

Ranong is a small town with a beautiful park just outside the old town. The center of the park sits the bronze statute of Khaw Soo Cheang (许泗漳 ), the founder and first Governor of Ranong. In Ranong, Khaw Soo Cheang is a legend. The people here consider him to be the patron saint of the province and while we were at the monument, I saw a women and a small girl came on the motorbike to offer flowers to the statute.

The Khaw Soo Cheang statute

I have a lot of respect for the government of Thailand in that she is magnanimous to honor and recognize the contribution of a person regardless of his origin, race or creed. Although Yap Ah Loy was recognized by the British as the founder of Kuala Lumpur, the government of Malaysia always played down this fact and the history books always said otherwise.

At the old town, there are signs of Chinese influences everywhere – Chinese temples, Clan associations and shops. The market is lively with most of the fruits and food that you will find in a typical Thai market. Market and Wat are the usual place I will go whenever I visit a place.

Asking for direction to the ruins of residence of the ex-governor was easy. The old residence of the governor now rest in ruins. A small house is built on the ruins of the original mansion to house to serve as a family temple to house the plaque of the deceased Khaw family members and also serve as a historical museum to house photographs, newspaper cuttings and other items.

Khaw Soo Cheang Temple
Khaw Soo Cheang temple

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a newspaper cutting of the Star newspaper from Penang with a story on “How the Khaw rose to power”.

If you are interested in history, you can get more on www.ranong.go.th.

The other interesting place to visit is the tomb of the governor. It is located on the way to Ferry Jetty to Andaman Club where we are heading. I think the best way to describe the burial place is best with photos.

Khaw Soo Cheang Tomb
Khaw Soo Cheang Burial Ground

The place is just awesome. In Malaysia, all of the stone artifacts and moveable items are likely to be vandalized or worst cart way overnight.

I will post on my visit to Victoria Point (aka Kawthaung or Koh Song) next week.

Do Thai girls EAT?

Hello all! I have recently completed my trip to Thailand, and will be blogging more about it soon…but I would just like to start this blog by addressing an observation upon arriving in Bangkok for a few days…. Do Thai girls Eat???? Everywhere we went, I can’t help but notice that most of the younger ladies in this city are stick thin!!! Every year I visit their getting skinnier and skinnier. What are they eating? What aren’t they eating? There’s food and snacks everywhere! If I lived here for three months I’ll probably gain 300 pounds! I couldn’t walk down the street without buying some kanom/desserts to sample. So many food stalls, restaurants, how can they possibly stay so thin?? Has anyone ever pondered this?