Monthly Archives: September 2006

Best Non-traditional Thai Food

Like I’ve mentioned earlier in part one (Best Non-traditional Thai Food on 09/25/06,) good foods along with good atmosphere equal great dining experience. Below is what I’ve compiled. Please note that these places are recommended according to my own dining preferences (and some trusted friends.) These restaurants and dining places are all in Chiang Mai.

The Riverside Bar & Restaurant ( Located by Mae Ping River. This restaurant is one of the greatest. The restaurant is divided into three sections—the first two are live music where you can enjoy yourself and companies with live music and great food. The outdoor section is where you can sit under candle lights and enjoy quite conversation. Riverside offers 75-minute dinner cruise along Mae Ping River where you can order your food before the boat takes off. They only charge 70B per head, which is extremely reasonable comparing with what you will get out of it. Besides, the food here is delicious. I recommend Spiced Tofu, Wrapped Chicken in Banana Leaf, and Green Curry Fish Balls.

Pop/Am Restaurant: Located near Pratu Chang Puak. I usually go to this place when feeling like having a home-like ambience—much like pa and ma restaurant. Pop/Am offers both Thai and European foods. And even though the price is a little high when compare to food portions, but you are sure that your money will be well spent. I recommend Chicken Curry with potato and shrimp cakes.

Fried Meat Balls near CMU Health Park: This is not a restaurant, but more like a food tent. Last time when I went there, the tent has been transformed into a nicer version of tent with actual picnic table. There is no name for this place, but if you go down to Chiang Mai University and cannot find health park, just simply ask anybody. The shop is located right there in the middle of everything. I recommended Mixed Meat Balls and orange juice (these are basically all they are selling anyway.)

Faay-Hin Market: Located within CMU campus. This night food market is basically a big food court with wide variety of Thai foods to choose from such as famous salad, fruit shakes, made-to-order places and you name it. Prices are very low since it is a major dinner place for college kids, and foods are pretty good. I recommend exploring everything they sell there from food, drinks and dessert. It is a decent dining spot if you are looking for a low-key place to hang.

Egg-Wrapped Shrimp Pad Thai: This vender is located in front of Pra Too Mueag Wall. The owner/ cook starts setting up her shop on the side walk around 4-5 pm. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Pad Thai, but p’Nui, the owner, gets me converted.
This place sells one of the best Pad Thais in the world.


My suggestions to traveler:
See, I don’t know much about other cities, but here in Chiang Mai, you can basically find good foods anywhere. Most great dining locations are not recorded in Chiang Mai guide book. The best bet is, ask the locals. They live there. They know better. They can point you towards the right direction. Enjoy.

Thai Pronunciation Guide

With the opening of the brand spanking new Suwarnnabhumi Airport, I think it’s important that we let the foreigners in on how we pronounce the name.

Suwarnnabhumi : su-wan-na-POOM

I know it should read “su-warn-na-boom-me” according to its spelling, but that’s not how us Thais say it.

Most of the time, any Thai names written in English is pronounced differently than how it looks.

Romanizing/Transliteration isn’t always a good thing. 😉

The way Thais spell out Thai words in English makes the word appear luxurious. Look at how pretty the words look versus how it would look spelling out phonetically.

Sawasdee –> Sa-wad-dee. The “S” at the end of “was” is an “D” sound in Thai spelling.

Thaksin Shinawatra –> TAK-sin SHIN-na-wat

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. 😉

Another case in point, Thailand is pronounced TIE-land, not THIGH-land. (Please, hold on to your jokes. How else could I convey the pronunciation in writing!?)

All kidding aside, how we spell our names out extravagantly in English is not just for show.

Like, Suwarnnabhumi, we spell out according to the Pali or Sanskrit roots.

The name of our king, for example, Bhumibol is pronounced Poo-mi-poan in Thai, but it is written out in English according to how it is spelled in Thai (and “L” stands in for “N” sound at the end of a word, and such) and staying with how root word should be spelled.

But how do you know how the root word should be spelled?

Okay. This is purely from my observation. If someone has a better explanation, by all means please illuminate us all. But my theory is that the English has ways of jotting down the words in Pali, Sanskrit, and other languages and dialects spoken in India. Like, yoga. Yoga is known in Thai as Yo-ka. Maharaja –> Maha Racha. So certain words are supposed to be romanized a certain way. Something like that.

Still with me?

Before we go further, let me just say that this is a GUIDE on how to pronounce Thai words written in English in order to better communicate with Thais in Thailand…and to be able to pronounce the names correctly and feel proud of yourself! This is NOT a Thai lesson. For that, please visit

Now, you may continue with a cheat sheet to pronouncing Thai words written in English.

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What is wrong with foreigners in Thailand?

Yes….what is wrong with foreigners in Thailand?
Why do they keep pissing you off?

I’ve been in business more than 8 years now in Pattaya and Phuket….and I’ve been pissed off so many times that I can’t even count’em!

Maybe the term “pissed off” is a bit too harsh….but let me explain what I mean:

You have a property or a business or something else for sale.
You advertise this in different spaces, either online or in print media.

You get tons of responses….and here the “problems” start:

Many responses are from curious “farangs” with dreams in their eyes but no money in their pockets to actually purchase your offer. “Time wasters” to use a well-known term.
I bet we all know them….and I bet we all hate them! Am I wrong?

These time wasters all pretend they’re interested, and maybe they really are, but how on earth will they ever pay for your property/business/items!! They very well know they don’t have the money, so why the h… waste the time of serious foreign business men who just try to make an honest living? Why the h… make the business man think that he “has a sale” and then just “disappear”….in other words….they often make the foreign business man think they has a sale and then they just stop replying to your phone calls, emails and SMS messages….like they’ve vanished from the surface of the earth!

As a professional business man you know very well the importance of follow up emails, SMS messages or phone calls….
You do some follow up…. But in most cases you get no response at all….
When you get response you can’t help thinking that you now “have a sale”.
At least you hope so! Even the toughest business man with many years of experience can’t help feeling kind of excited each time he gets a positive response even though he very well damn know that this is possible just another damn time waster….more about that later!

Back to my question: What is wrong with foreigners in Thailand?
Why do they keep pissing you off?
I have often wondered why!!
There might be a simple explanation, but so far I’m still waiting for the answer!
Some answers could be:

• The guy is lonely? He just needs someone to talk to!
• The guy is just dreaming? “If I had the money I could buy this property/business!”
• The guy is envious? “Why does everyone except me have a property/business?” So it’s maybe only a kind of “revenge”…? “Make the life of those lucky bastards with properties/businesses a h_e_l_l….” ????
• The guy is simply lying to himself? “I take a look at this property/business because I know I’ll get the money to buy it soon…”…
• The guy is just a simple looser? The only way he can get some “content” in his life is to make other people feel like losers!? A saying goes: “Do to others as you want them to do to you!” . But those losers change the context: “If you’re a looser, make others feel like losers, too!”

Bet there are many of you who’ve been in contact with time wasters….what is your best bet? Why do people act like this?

I have met all of the above mentioned time wasters…..if any of you time wasters read this please let us all know why you act like this!? Thanks in advance! I don’t expect any responses 🙂
But one thing I want to tell all of you time wasters! “Keep away from me! I have better things to do!”

The Thai Coup and Eight Hard-boiled Eggs

When I first heard of the coup in Thailand, I was discussing President Aroyo with a Filipino lady in a provincial city, somewhere in the UK, where its respectable citizens were outraged by the Christmas light that the city council has put out far too early before the actual celebration.

The news of the coup did not surprise me, since I have been informed that the outed PM had transported some of his belongings to the UK three weeks earlier. On the other hand, I was confused. It didn’t make sense to me. How suddenly could the grey British sky seem so bright? How could a pro-democracy person with a righteous mind that is myself feel such a relief? How could I feel so optimistic and that there is hope?

I walked back home passing the railways station. A girl from Isaan who is working there came out and asked me whether I had heard the news. She said that she also felt relief that her elderly parents wouldn’t have to be dragged out from their village to greet the PM again. “There is such a thing called karma, you know?” She added at the end.

Yes. she was right. This is probably why, for me as well as for other Thais, the world seems so much brighter. It is not just about bad guys get what they deserve, but it is also the restoration of the Dharma. Everything about Taksin and his policy is against the Buddhist belief. He and his family members are so driven by greed and lust for power so that it is hard for them to understand the word ‘enough’.

Later that evening, I came back to my home and turned the TV on for the first time in months. As expected, it was the major story in the news programmes. Nevertheless, they did not seem to understand the situation, and were too lazy to try to understand it. They called him a democratically elected PM. They probably turned their heads away when the PM threw our constitution out the window, or when he ran the country without consulting the parliament and acted as if he was above the law. They also claimed that Taksin was the first PM to bring the money to poor in the rural area. Yes, right, but at what cost and in which manner? The British reporter probably cannot make a distinction between a ‘cheap’ loan and an ‘easy’ loan. Hence, the story of the land being snapped up by the PM’s associates when the people in the rural areas failed to pay back the loan has been left unreported.

I remember that one reporter also made an assumption that the coup, somehow, has been influenced by the king. I am not sure if this assumption is true or not, but it made me wonder, if it is so, “WHY”? The monarchy has a lot to lose. If the coup went wrong, this would mean the end of it. Even though it went well, their roles in the reformed politics will certainly be reduced. Moreover, they will have to encounter with much criticism from the international governments and media for being ‘un-democratic’.

On the Saturday morning after the coup a copy of the Guardian, and sat down in a cafe. On the front page, there was a story about Prince Charles and how he likes a hard-boiled egg for breakfast. To ensure that the egg will be up to his liking, his servant always puts eight boiled eggs on the table. In the Review section, there was an interview with Mr. Jeremy Paxman a political commentator and a republican, who has been dubbed ‘the BCC’s Rottweiller’. At one point, the interviewer asked him what would he think if the queen of England would organize a coup like the king of Thailand. Mr. Paxman simply replied “Off with their heads”.

Suddenly, tears ran down from my eyes – not with sorrow, but with joy. I never was a big fan of the monarchy, and I did not quite understand the frenzy around the celebration in Thailand several months ago. However, I understand now why we love them, especially the king. If it is as the western media claim, it shows that the king thinks not of himself, but his people as well as how to restore peace, harmony and the Dharma to the land. I am not sure if I or anyone were in his position, we would be brave enough to do the same thing.

Looking at a hard-boiled egg in front of me…..I just wonder if anyone else in the cafe would share my thought about the consititution-less land I am living in, its equally corrupted government and the lost of lives in the unjust war somewhere in the Middle East. On the second thought, it is far more important to get the hard-boiled egg right, and look at the Christmas lights! This is outrageous!

Media – what do they know about the coup?

Thai school children offer their respects to a soldier.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

In 1978 whilst the Thai King was visiting and helping a remote area in the North East a Western journalist mistakenly thought the King was trying to influence the communist insurgency. He asked “Do you think your visit and support to these people will decrease the number of the communists?”

The King replied “I don’t know if it will reduce the number of the communists but I hope that I am making them less hungry.”

All Thai people love the King and he loves all his people. He is the father to the entire nation, no matter what their religion or beliefs. He does his best to help the people. In the following story, which is a simplified explanation of the coup, the King of course is referred to as the father, whilst the deposed Prime Minister, Khun Thaksin is referred to as the older son or lost sheep. It explains the coup and Thai peoples’ feelings quite well.

the Kingdom and the lost sheep

Our father has always loves his children dearly.
Our father has never been raged and called his kids stupid.

When he tells us about a problem, he always has a moral lesson for us. So when we think about it again, we then will understand life better.

He always reminds us to brush our teeth before bed to keep our teeth strong. But we always realize that after we already lost our teeth again and again.

He always tells us to “work hard and be honest”, so that will bring us a good life. He never tells us that we have to be rich, so we’ll have a good life. He tells us that we can be happy with what we already have, not what wealth will bring.

Our father has more than 60 million children.

He has never traded his own kids or taken advantage of them so he would have a richer life.

Even with his vehicles, his old shoes, he saves them and takes good care of them. When they’re broken, he would fix them, and not just throw them away.

He never forced his kids to pay him a penny so that he would have more money for himself.

He always says to his kids that we have to walk together.
If only the oldest son would have a great luxurious life, while his other kids are suffering. Being fooled by all kinds of materials from the oldest son, that eventually has changed them into a slave of money, technology and gambling. Such idea, for him, has never been called a Development.

Our father has told his children to select their representative to work for the family’s most happiness, not for the family’s most profit.

Everything should be done for the sake of the family under different conditions inside and outside the house. But there’s only one very stubborn, prideful child in the house. The only one child, who covers his face as an innocent sheep, is trying to put his feet in the father’s shoes.

He uses his siblings who don’t aware of the situation and those who do but give in to the only evil magic, “Money”.

From a few black sheep in the house, now the cult of wealth, the cult of pride and the snob has been spread in our society.

From a tamed sheep who comes from the faith of people and who once respected even the poor ones on the side of the road. Now he has become a mad and snobbish one who can be furious and rude to everyone around him. . From an ordinary man whom the father once trusted to manage the family despite his shadiness in the property. From a humble one, he has become the founder of fear, hatred, insult and accusation that anyone who does not agree with him is a fool. He has become the vainest leader who dares to judge his 60 million siblings ’ human rights and even invade their thoughts and way of life.

From an open and innocent man, he has now become a mysterious one who would never answer any questions and is afraid of giving any answer, and who has seized his family’s properties to be his own.

Our father once said, “ I loath the corrupters” (King Rama IX is the second king in the Thai history who has a speech cursing corrupters of the kingdom, and he already cursed the current government.)

The lost sheep said any investigation is not necessary. Since he is the biggest one in the family and anyone who has a problem with him should look out for their job security.

When our father says someone is his good child.
The lost sheep says that child must be kicked out of the party.

The father says we should live with a sustained economic.
Those lost sheep, instead, concern only about what to eat and yell at others, “You’re gonna live in a slum, you fool!” The father says we have to go together and develop our family. The lost sheep has sold national welfares to make profits for his own friends. Even in the House of Defense, he dares to choose which one he wants and not want to be in there—and nobody can change it as the father must always be under the house’s law

Thai Buddhist monks walk past an M60 tank.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

I mention this as I have been very disappointed with the media coverage of the recent Thai coup. It has shown how little journalists understand Thailand and the other places where they work. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Some are sent for only short periods whilst others may be sent to cover a region for a year or two. But even then, they are paid Western wages and live in expat areas and hangout in expat bars. They generally do not speak the local language and have very limited schooling in world history. They of course see things through their own views and perceptions that were developed in their home country and culture. And of course their job is to report interesting and exciting news that people will watch or want to read.

It is important to be aware of all this when you read the paper, a magazine or watch the news. To understand the world you must read between the lines and analyse what you are seeing and hearing. Who is it that is saying this? Who is he supported by? Why is this camera angle a close up or this one from such a distance? What knowledge does this person actually have and where did he get that?

An example was the ABC news last night. Obviously a news crew has been sent there to cover the coup and any developments. So last night the news showed a close up of a demonstration against the military coup. They spoke about the demonstration and didn’t mention what else was going on. It seemed as if maybe there was drama in Thailand and people had begun complaining about the military takeover. I don’t think the ABC were deliberately trying to misinform people, they were simply trying to make a story.

Which would have been hard. There is no story. Yesterday most Thai people went about their business. They are happy and relaxed. The vast majority of Thais support the military coup and are not anxious about the situation. The demonstration that occurred had only 20 people. Thailand has more than 63 million. The anti Thaksin demonstrations had 100s of thousands of people taking part. 20 people is nothing. And it was watched and allowed by the military who don’t want to stop people supporting democracy. Although they do want a temporary stop to divisive actions it really isn’t worth hassling 20 young people holding a 15 minute call for elections.

So anyway, please be careful of what you see and read; it may not be an accurate reflection of the truth.

Oh, please also don’t believe articles which say the King had a part in planning the coup. These are quite rude and again it shows how little journalists know and understand. Actually the King and Queen have been sick and both recovering from surgery lately. Normally they are very busy helping people. They don’t waste time and energy on politics and coups. Their aim is higher than politics. They simply help all the Thai people. It is true that they have endorsed the new leader, General Sonthi, and this is an important step in Thailand as it gives the new government legitimacy. I suspect the King will offer advice to the new rulers, but I do not think he had anything to do with planning the coup. This is not what he does.

Lastly please ignore ignorant governments who say that the coup was wrong. Unfortunately we will only have our beloved King for so much longer. He is already old. While we have this amazing man, who all Thais love and respect, this is maybe one last chance to hold such an action and get the constitution right before the politicians are let loose again. After the King goes, there will be no such unifying force in Thailand whom we can all trust without any doubt. We will only have politicians to choose between. So this is another reason why the Generals were probably right to do what they did now, in the interest of the Thai people and their future. Of course little Johnny Howard doesn’t have the intellect to understand this but I hope at least some of his people do.