Daily Archives: July 14, 2007

Free Bird

I finally met the great Stephen Cleary, the blogger formerly known as Steve Suphan, in person just over a week ago. (Richard, you’re next!) Unfortunately, we didn’t have a camera to document our pleasant evening. But nonetheless, a few of points to ponder came out of that few hours spent over a few beers at a Langsuan pub.


Pick a language and stick with it

When I called Steve up, I wasn’t sure if I should speak English or Thai. So I started in English. Then he said something in Thai. I said something in Thai. The phone connection was bad. I thought he said something in English but he was actually speaking Thai. Eventually, I just stick with English. Hahah.

The language confusion continued on when we met in person at the pub. The waiter was fully prepared for Steve’s ordering in English, but Steve speaks Thai. You can see him/her did a double take. Then he pointed to me, and since I was speaking English with him, I blurted out my order first in English then I corrected with Thai.

Yes. We left a pretty good amount of tip.

What you see is not what you get

My brother and my dad first were notified that I was going out to have a beer with a friend at the pub a few doors down. Then I let dad in on the fact that I was meeting a writer who writes for the Nation and he is a dude. Then they both found out that I was meeting a writer who writes for the Nation who is a married farang man from Suphanburi coming to town for the night.

Well, easy to say the conversation I walked in on before I left the house was this:

Dad: Have you been tho the Pub Three Doors Down?
Brother: Once or twice.

Me: So have I a few years ago. Was there with my friends for dinner. That place was packed.

Dad (nodded then to brother): What kind of a pub is it?

Brother: Some locals go there but it’s mostly farangs. And much later, “those girls” would come in to pick up the drunken tourists.

Me (glaring): How exactly would YOU know THAT?

Brother: *shrug*

My family? Passive aggressive? Never!

I didn’t want to return fire but seriously though. Find me one of “those girls” who wear thick geek glasses. I dare you. *sigh*

Anyway. There we were, Steve and I at the pub. Two blogger-peas in a pod, sipping our beer, chatting away, and confusing the hell out of the waiters. Haha. Obviously, we were not farang tourist and a Thai hooker like any innocent bystanders would assume.

But can we help it if people are to go ahead and think that? We can’t.

Any Thai girl who says that they don’t care what other people think would be lying. To actually say that “we don’t care what people think” already means that you have thought about it. We do care because we go into public forum to talk about it, to fight stereotypes, to claim our rights to just be “any other Thai girl” instead of a “potential Thai hooker”.

We do care, but we choose not to let it get to us.

I asked Steve to one day write an entry about what it feels like to be a farang guy married to a Thai girl living in Thailand. You always hear the Thai girl side of the story, but what is it like for the men? Do they feel the same pressure of stereotype? I am curious to know.


With a few story ideas in our pockets and a memory of our first face-to-face meeting forever linked to the house band rendition of “Free Bird”, we parted way.

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
There’s too many places I haven’t seen
And if I stayed here with you, now
Things just wouldn’t be the same
Well I’m as free as a bird now,
And a bird you can not change.

Until next time, my friend. Until next time.

Nang Nak Ghost Shrine

Nang Nak

Every Thai person knows the ghost story of “Mae Naak Phra Khanong”. The story has been made into movies and television dramas countless times. A recent movie version called “Nang Nak” was popular with foreign audiences. The basic story is about two lovers who used to live in the Phra Khanong area of Bangkok over one hundred years ago. Shortly after they were married, her husband, Nai Maak, is conscripted into the army. While he is away fighting a war, Nang Nak gives birth to their baby. Sadly, both the mother and child die during the birth. Unaware of this tragic event, Nai Maak returns from the war with plans to settle down and raise his new family. The spirit of Nang Nak couldn’t accept her own death so it disguises itself as a human. When Nai Maak returns he finds his wife and baby child waiting for him. Little does he know that he is now living with a ghost.

Although there is no historical record to show that Nang Nak was a real person, the local people strongly believe in the power of her spirit. Towards the end of the movie, Nang Nak is cornered at Wat Mahabut. This is a real temple and this is where you will find an extremely popular shrine for Nang Nak. People believe that if you go to her shrine and make an offering then the spirit of Nang Nak will look after you. I haven’t been back to this temple for several years, but I wasn’t really surprised the other day to see that the shrine was just as popular as ever. I could see that she had changed her clothes and that she now wore a wig. In the picture below you can see she is also wearing make-up. A little bit creepy to say the least.

Nang Nak

People who go to this shrine to pray for good luck often give the spirit beautiful clothes and also cosmetics. Toys and gifts for the child are also given. She is holding the baby in her lap. In the above picture, a devotee is putting some gold leaf on the image. This shrine is also popular with young men who have to report for the conscription draft. They have to pick a coloured ball which tells them either they are conscripted into the army or are free to go home. Obviously Nang Nak is very sympathetic, so young men flock to this shrine before the draft is called in order to pray for good luck. Other people seeking good luck are the ones that play the Thai lottery. People believe that Nang Nak gives out the winning numbers for the lottery. In the picture below, people are rubbing the bark of a tree in the compound to see if they can see any clues about what the winning numbers will be.

To get to Wat Mahabut, take the sky train to the end of the line to On Nut. Just north of the station, on the east side, you will see Soi 77 On Nut. The temple is about 900 metres down this road on the left. Look out for Soi 7. You will find the temple at the end of this lane. The shrine is at the far side of the temple near the canal. Just follow the crowds! I have marked the shrine at our ThailandPhotoMap.com website. From now on, all locations that we write about at thai-blogs.com will be marked on this website. If you want to win the next Thai Lottery and cannot visit this shrine or any other shrine in Thailand which is considered lucky, then you are welcome to visit our virtual shrines at WinThaiLottery.com.

Nang Nak