Daily Archives: September 4, 2006

Living and working in Paradise

What was the first impression you got when you came to Thailand for the first time?
As for me….my first visit 12 years ago was a 3 weeks vacation at Phuket.
I booked a charter travel and stayed at Vises Hotel in Patong.
12 years ago Patong was kind of a small town with bamboo huts and wooden houses and dirt roads.And a very nice and clean beach!
The first impression I got was HOT and SPICY food….WARM weather….poor people….dirt cheap clothes and food….FAKE goods on every corner…..and a girl in every bar who wanted to fool you into buying drinks and sex….
Today 12 years later it is almost still the same…except the prices has raised tenfold!Except the roads has been paved! Except the bamboo huts and the wooden style Thai houses has been exchanged with concrete towers and shop houses!And except that you hardly can see the beach for beach chairs, vendors and tourists!And the water is kind of ugly!
But apart from that Patong looks like itself 12 years after my first visit.

I have lived 5 years in Pattaya. After 5 years living and working in Pattaya I got fed up with the drunken foreigners, the girly bars, the go go bars, the traffic noise and pollution, the dirty beaches….so I relocated to Phuket because I remembered how nice it was 12 years ago….and now I am living in Patong which is almost similar to Pattaya with drunken foreigners, girly bars, traffic noise, pollution and dirty beaches……

But you know what? I still love Phuket! I just relocated to the east coast of the island. No noisy traffic and pollution, no girly bars, no drunken foreigners and no dirty beaches….it’s Paradise!

When I decided to relocate from my native home country and settle in Thailand I had a dream of living and working in Paradise.
No cold winters, no expensive living costs, no pollution, no traffic noise….and no dirty, over crowded beaches….
And I end up in Pattaya!! What a joke! But Pattaya is a good place to do business….Later I end up in Phuket and Patong….what a joke! But Phuket is also a good place to do business….and more a kind of Paradise than Pattaya….but an expensive Paradise….

So WHAT is Paradise? Paradise in Thailand?
Well…. it depends on WHO ARE YOU? What do you expect from Paradise? Ask 100 people the same question: “What is Paradise?” and you get 100 different answers!

For me Thailand is still Paradise….even 8 years experience here in the Land Of Smiles has learned me something…about myself! And about Thailand indeed! And I am still learning!

Take my advice….if you want to live and work in Paradise then stay away from the over crowded tourist destinations like Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui, then you will be more likely to discover your very own Paradise here! And at a fraction of the cost in these high profit tourist magnets!

But if you just want to retire in Paradise and don’t bother of the prices and overcrowded beaches….well then Phuket or Koh Samui might be what you’re looking for!

Miss Thailand 2006

(Source: the Thai langauge Thai Rath newspaper, 4 Sept)

(Photo: Courtesy ‘Thai Rath’. From left to right: Miss Slilathip, Miss Lalana and Miss Phannapha)

Just late last night in Pattaya, Chonburi province, the final 18 contestants for this year’s Miss Thailand crown put on a wonderful finale to seek out the country’s most stunning girl. The interest in Pattaya for this year’s show was phenomenal with an abundance of former beauty queens and socialites attending.

Besides just the Miss Thailand Crown on offer, plenty other financial awards for ‘special abilities’ were distributed out among the 18 finalists. These awards included ‘Miss Nice Characteristics’, ‘Miss Smart Money Queen’, ‘Miss Lovely Skin’ and ‘Miss Friendly’.

Leading into the top ten finalists’ round, the coveted ‘Miss Country’s Sweetheart’ award (taken from public national SMS votes) was handed to ‘Number 7’ Miss Lalana’ (N’Jiab).

Not just scoring on lovely-looks, the competition’s girls were also judged on their ‘personalities’, ‘intelligence’ and ‘self-confidence’ etc. In fact, in front of the packed arena the girls, ‘on their own’, had to give their best though-over answers to tricky hand-picked questions. These included ‘What do you think about foreigners copying Thai-patented products?’ and ‘What can we do to fight global warming?’
(Just like in previous years, one of the top ten girls found it extremely hard to answer in Thai as it wasn’t her native language).

Into the final round, there were just 3 girls to select from, ‘Miss Salilathip’, ‘Miss Lalana’ and ‘Miss Phannapha’. With the audience rocking in excitement, it was quite obvious that teenager ‘Miss Lalana’ was the people’s favourite. They were not to leave disappointed as the host of the evening, one of Thailand’s most famous TV presenters ‘Mr Nino’ – called out the name of the eventual winner ‘Miss Lalana’ or nickname – ‘Jiab’.

Miss Lalana won a cash prize of 1million baht, a huge diamond worth 400,000baht, a car worth 1.5million baht – plus other valuable prizes.

The gorgeous Miss Lalana 172cm at just 18 years of age is a student of medical science at one of the country’s most prestigious universities ‘Mahidol’.

*Added some extra notes myself – ITV Live Coverage*

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When Name Change is not an Option, Then What?

I find myself start writing the second blog in less than a week after the first one, but I believe I can use some helps with my ‘personal’ problem related to my ridiculously long Thai name and last name.

Generally, Thai names are pretty long, especially when spelled out in English. Growing up in Thailand, when I was in pre-school age; I had no clue how to spell my first name—let alone last name. There are 10 letters on my first name and a total of 16 letters on my last. I remember eying my friend sitting nearby, hoping to copy their name. I had done that for a while until the teacher called for a meeting with my parents to address ‘the concern.’ “Your daughter cannot spell her own name and we hope you guys can help her at home,” that’s what the teacher recommended my parents.

At Satit Prasanmitr Elementary School, I wore the school uniform, which required students to have their name sewn on the top left of their shirt. My mom took me to this vendor near Phahurat to pick up the uniform. I remember we had always had to stay a little longer because either they misspelled my name or we got charged a little extra for labor. When living in Thailand, my name didn’t really bug me since it is common for Thais to have long names, but things have changed when I arrived to the U.S.

It started off with an Immigration officer at Chicago airport who was so amazed with my extended version of human’s name. He raised his eye brows, said a couple of “wow” then looked at me. The human instinct in him drove him to ask me how my name was pronounced. So I pronounced. I remember pronouncing my name aloud several times, and of course, he couldn’t say it.

Later on, this similar incident has been happening on a regular basis. Whether I go to a gas station, bank, driver license branch and basically anywhere I’m required to use a credit card and/ or driver license with my whole name on it. People seem to ask me the same questions over and over. It goes like this:
Other: “Wow! Your name is so long” while looking at my card and my face.
Me: “Yup!”
Other: “How can you say it?”
Me: “Er…Don’t worry about it.”
Other: “C’mon…will you say your name for me?”
Me: “Okay…………………………………..”
Other: “Wow! I will never be able to say that.”
Me: “Okay…..Can I get my card back please?”

It is getting better. The worst part is: when one person sees my name, she or he seems not to be able to control themselves. They will ask their friends nearby to look at it. Everyone makes the same gestures…the same exact gesture, and makes the same comment. One time I went to a hospital to get a CT scan, the radiologist saw my name and asked her colleagues in the room to look at my name. We are talking about 8-10 people here—RN, ENT, more radiologists and some MDs. At that moment, I felt like sitting in a zoo, and yes, I was the one in the cage.

After years have gone by, I start getting irritated. (If some of you don’t get it, think about what if you have to pronounce your name to strangers whom you will never meet again on the daily basis.) It starts to bug me so bad.

I am aware that these people just ask out of their curiosity, which there is nothing wrong on that. But I am the victim here. Every day new people will ask me to say my name, which I don’t see any benefit of cooperation. The worst part? I can’t really get mad at an innocent stranger, can I.

I will not take name changes as an option. I love my name and will never change it to make it convenient for those strangers. And for your record, nickname doesn’t cut here. These people who ask don’t know me, so they don’t care what my nickname is. Any clue what I am supposed to do?