Tag Archives: Thailand

Day Zero—Losing the Day, Gaining the Night

Fuck, I should be on the airplane right now but instead I’m still in bed waking up with a panic. Yes, the flight is 9:50 am and I get up at 9:40 am because of the drinks last night. The shape of the first day traveling to Koh Phangan has to be re-organised. This could be a pain on the neck but give me a thrill of being impromptu. And it turns out that the day is not so bad at all.

My flight to Surat Thani has been moved to the evening but I have to be at Suvarnabhumi Airport three hours prior to the flight to sort the additional air fair fee. It actually gives me an opportunity to double-check the luggage and leisurely watch Fringe.

At the Airport, there are hours to kill so I have lunch in a restaurant, which its Masman curry is very uninspiring, and finish Fringe Season 3. I promise to myself no more videos on the trip.

Thai Smiles is a spawned domestic carrier from Thai Airways. I am not sure about their strategy as the ticket is not that cheaper than other airlines to the same destination. However, the service is still in THAI standard.

There is only bus from Surat Thani Airport to port. And from there I’ll be taking a night ferry boat straight to Koh Phangan at 11:00 pm. That gives a chance to eat, drinks, and have a chat with other tourists. They are MBA exchange students from Canada (one of them is originally from Senegal) who are heading to Koh Tao and will be in Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. Another one is a local traveler, who is looking for a tourism and hospitality job in Koh Tao as he wants to move away from his hometown in Chaing Rai.

The night ferryboat also carries some goods to the island. The upper deck is simply laid with mats pillows on both sides. There are a bunch of backpackers and local Myanmar workers, on board. It leaves the port from Tapi River Delta and will take about six hours to Koh Phangan.

Despite of the sound of engine roaring, there is the sense of serenity, drifting in night sea. It feels like the reflection time is about to kick off. The what-if thoughts are fading away. Even though thing did not go as original plan when I got up late, in the back of my head says it is actually fine, I am enjoying the day so far and looking forward to the journey ahead.

2011 Wrap: An Accelerating and Exhausting Year

 

This month of December mark one year I have been back living in Bangkok. One year is not very long but it seems there have been a lot coming through. I could say it is the progress after all those years struggling professionally, financially and mentally in Sydney. But every time you step on an accelerator, fuel is getting burned up as well. It all comes with the package. In summary, there are two main aspects that got me both progressed and exhausted:

The job

The day before I left Sydney, I got a call from the World Bank in Bangkok about the job I applied for six months earlier to inform me that I got the offer. That changed the entire packing mood from uncertainty to some level of excitement.

There are so many challenges in new the job, it does not only acquire most of my skills: web stuff, video editing, photography, digital asset management and so on, but also takes a lot of my energy. In addition to that, there are so many new things to learn. I was worried that I would lose the mojo since I haven’t made a proper single personal work this year. And this blog now seems to be the archival of my declining tweets.

However, looking back, there were a lot has been done. It comes to realisation that I actually do what I would like to do for a living, not just to fulfil the needs to express how I see the world as I did most in Sydney years. And it does make me feel worthy again.

The physique

In July, I went for an annual check up. Everything was fine except the high blood pressure and the doctor found split heartbeats. I was recommend to see a cardiologist and had my heart checked with echocardiography. It turned out that I got stage-two hypertension. It was not actually a surprise even though I am considerably young for that since there was a heart palpitation earlier.

This chronic illness certainly changed my lifestyle. I joined the gym prior to the check up but did not take it seriously until the heart condition was confirmed. The determination to lower my blood pressure kicked in. Along with the medication, I started to go to the gym every chance I got and shed hundreds of calories out of the body. The personal trainer has become my new best friend (and also an expensive one).

I turn into an anal retentive in terms of diet, for an example, asking every restaurant what kind of oil they use for cooking. The generic cooking oil in Thailand is palm oil which is high in saturated fat. And street food are unfortunately my rare treat. And I keep track of the intakes and the activities on the daily basis as much as possible.

The only bad habit I cannot change is alcohol. I did try on the first month controlling it but, unlike the gym or the diet, I just could not enjoy it at all. You only need one last crucial thing to keep your disease going. To be honest, this post won’t be done without sitting down in a pub with a bottle of Shiraz.

However, four months later, on the latest visit to the cardiologist, the blood pressure went down to normal (although it comes up again recently, well, only if I could stop drinking). Now, I lost around ten to twelve kilos and took ten centimetres out of the waist. The body mass index (BMI) is down from slightly overweight to in the middle of normal range. Such a reward!

Working out is a new territory for me. I never thought I would be having fun with this transformation, especially later in the life like this. Maybe it is just the same as you create a video or photography work but this time it is your own physique. Or maybe it is just a joy of discovering a new adventure in your life.

A year wrap, if one could wonder how far they come in a year, just see how exhausted you are at the of the year. I am very, very, very exhausted. Although it is still a long way to get to the finish line, wherever it is, for now, what I am OK with the effort I have made in the year. Just need a break to reflect it, like tonight with a cheap shiraz under a cool night in my very homecity.

Flood Relief Home Delivery

Thung Song Hong was just a few kilometres from my old neighbourhood, Sikan. I passed the area almost almost everyday. Somehow, it was part of my growing up.

Last week, we, the same volunteers I was with in Sai Mai, went for a mission to distribute flood relief packs. The head of the community asked a friend for help then the other friend organised with the Thai Red Cross Society. We took 200 packs, 100 of water packs and some rice from the Red Cross which was quite enough for the request.

However, it was hard to ignore the victims of the disaster along the way to the rendezvous. For instance, these ladies we picked up happened to live in the same estate as the mission we were going to but their group was not on the list. They had to wait until we finished our obligation then we could spare the rest.

But there was a special treat for them. We took one of the boats on the truck and made a home delivery, going along with them. And that was filmed until I stopped the camera because I was conscious about the bettery I had left on the Flip camera I got from work to test during the weekend.

After I turn the camera off, we got to Auntie’s house and she had to climb on my shoulders to get off the boat. Then to the other women’s where around 20 people stayed together on the high floors. I could see a wheelchair on the balcony which they mentioned a sick person.

I lived around that area for the most of my life and it was heart-wrenching moment to see it was inundated. To be honest, I had never see anything like this before. They still smiled and joked about their lives. But that could be the only thing that drove them to go on.

My Dream of Noi’s Life

My dream last night
My dream last night

My Dream Last Night:

An assignment in a university class is urban myth explorations. I research on a haunted house on a riverbank in Thailand where a girl named Noi died.

Noi was physically and psychologically abused. She was not allowed to hang out with anyone after school otherwise she would be beaten. One day, there was a school excursion, she was desperate to go and sneaked out. And that lead to her death.

The house has been abandoned for many years with the rumours of the haunting. For example, there are reports that they see a figure of an old lady appears and turns into stone.

I am the last to show this piece of research in the class. It goes well but something stops me from the entire presentation. However, my friends and I decide to go back to the site to find out more about it.

Then strange things happen to us. One of the friends looks burned and shrunk after to visit the temple where Noi had her funeral. And later, I see the ghost of Noi following us all the time. Then I have just realised that what the missing report in the class is about the mother who abused Noi and was responsible for their deaths.