Monday, 1 October 2012

Why do foreigners read? Bangkok floods and malls.


Today's title was inspired by Armin, my Austrian friend who is partial to saegoats. His latest Filipina girlfriend asked him this very question only last week. Remember foreigners means white people. Armin believes the mere fact that she asked this question demonstrates why many South East Asians are spectacularly thick and blissfully happy to remain so. I appreciate there are dumb people everywhere but speaking as someone who has travelled extensively throughout the world I agree with Armin that South East Asians are among the thickest. Of course, I don't mean every single person in SEA is daft but a huge swathe of these populations display ignorance to astounding levels.

A few examples:

I watched a movie with a woman who'd never heard of Hitler. I asked a lady working in a petrol station where the road went and she had no idea. A man in Trang couldn't add 90 and 10 without a calculator. Armin's girlfriend has no idea where Austria is and is oblivious to where he even comes from. The list could go on and on. Part of the problem is that these people tend to have no curiousity whatsoever amongst a whole raft of other issues. I'll not be holding my breath in anticipation of the first ASEAN moon landing.


I went to watch Ted and Dredd at the local Multiplex last week. One of the advantages of living in a city adorned with more shopping MEGA-malls than anywhere else on Earth.

Arabian Nights

Here's Mike on his last night in Thailand before heading to Saudi Arabia. We got hammered and I ended up missing the next day at work because I had to water my cactus. As you can see we had a good laugh as the road outside slowly flooded because of a shower.


This is Michael, one of my work colleagues and most recent friend. He was born in Hong Kong but raised in the US of A. It's cool hanging with someone who is Asian in appearance as most Thais will assume he's Thai even though he can only say a few words. Here we are in a Vietnamese noodle shop where he pretended to be Vietnamese. It was funny as the Thai guy said a few Vietnamese phrases that left Michael floundering. Michael speaks American but can still teach Chinese at school (although his forte is Psychology). Nice lad. I love talking about all things Chinese with him.

As we were eating it started to rain. The streets were rapidly transformed into rivers. This is when I got flu and missed two days at work. I blame walking through these knee-deep, cholera-filled waters for 10 minutes. I looked quite conspicuous for the Khao San Road area of the city attired in a shirt and tie with my trousers rolled up to my knees and carrying my socks and shoes. Most people have dread-locked hair and fisherman pants here!

On a random weekend ride around BKK I passed this Buckingham Palace type building. I'm not sure exactly what this place is but it is near Dusit park in between Ratchada Soi Sam and Khao San Road.


Armin arrived once more from his travels to meet up and share some tales. It's always an absolute pleasure to spend time with Armin. Here we are with another of his friends Forian from Germany. We went to Soi Cowboy to gawp at dancing naked prostitutes as Forian miserably contemplated his impending flight back to Germany the next day.

The next day I walked about 5km to Paragon Mall to meet the spiritual Austrian. I passed this man with his head down at a bus stop. Either he'd asked one too many tourists if they wanted or tuk-tuk or, more likely, he was simply tired and couldn't be bothered walking back to his suite at the Marriot.

We're both called Steve. We're both from the North. We both have blonde hair. We're both in our 30's. We both play football. We both earn the same weekly wage. Erm sorry, scratch the last bit. Apparently Stevie G earns  around £187,000/week while I earn about £350/week. It would take me around 12 years to make Stevie G's weekly wage. MMmmmmmm. I wonder if Stevie G will start teaching English in Asia once his footballing days are over? Admittedly, £187,000/week to £150/week would be a bit of a drop but I'm sure he'd have enough of a financial cushion to parry the blow.

ASEAN's biggest aquarium deploys the favoured two-tier pricing system. I'm not even going to tell you what the prices are as it makes me too mad.

The outfit on the right costs about £1000. That's fine in New York, Paris or London but it's questionable whether one might purchase such an outfit in sweltering Bangkok. A lady then appeared and warned me mot to take photos? Why? I have no idea?

Aaaaaah. The famous Nana Plaza. At night this place is a neon-lit haven of sleaze. Sex tourists from around the world travel thousands of miles to watch naked dancing prostitutes in the various bars inside. It's really not worth the bother. Stay at home. Look how minging the whole place is. The birds aren't that much better.

More building next to a massive bottle of coke. Coke must spend unimaginable amounts on 'marketing' around the globe. If they spent a fraction of that money on improving the safety of their production sites in India I would applaud them. As things stand they're just another nasty corporation. I wonder if this building site will be another glitzy shopping mall in the near future. I certainly hope so because if there's one thing Bangkok's short on it's glitzy shopping malls. There's only about 50 within a 5km radius of me.

Playing tourists. Armin being eaten by a shark.


Two more months working as a maths teacher and this will be mine........ALL MINE....hahahahahaha.

This is another mall called Terminal 21. I think it should be called Terminal Cancer as I believe these 'churches of consumption' are a sickly growth on our societies. Have humans always been so materialistic? That lighthouse down there reminded me of submarine three-point-fixing off Clock Point in the Firth of Clyde.

A plastic London bus recklessly driving through the mall. We ate in a Mexican restaurant not far from here. Possibly the only Mexican restaurant in the world that doesn't do Cilli Con Carne??

After the Mexican I started feeling sick. A feeling that was exacerbated by passing this Manure fan shop. The urge to vomit was palpable.

I ran to the toilet and was surprised to learn that I'd been teleported to Tokyo. Which button do I press for........??? Surely that's way more options than necessary? Perhaps this is the beginning of ASEAN's moon landing program?

Armin adopting a meditative pose in the Starbucks near Khao San Road. I forgot whether his coffee was short, tall or grande. Needless to say there was no Nescafe + Coffeemate so I had to endure a capuccino. It was small, expensive and minging. A bit like normal Nescafe with loadsa frothy whipped cream on top.

There is a Chinese teacher with one student in my classroom while I have a free period to pen this. I wish my classes had one student. Talking of work, this is the best job I've had in Asia. I love the school, the colleagues, the kids, my routines and even the location. I have waited until I've been here 3 months to mention this in case I was still in the honeymoon period. We have a 12day half-term holiday soon.

I'm currently reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. It's alright. I managed to put some metatags on this blog and even install a facebook 'like' option. I also discovered a quirk about working in Thailand. When you do a medical check for your work permit, you have to be checked for syphilis but, interestingly, not HIV. So AIDS is OK but Syphilis NO WAY???

Getting on for 3 months in Bangkok and I like some things but dislike others. Everyone agrees the traffic is horrible. However, Bangkok has given me a totally different perspective on Thailand and its people. The world seems to be urbanising at an unprecedented rate and people obviously like to part of the cut and thrust of city living. However, Sateeb will probably be meditating in an Indian Himalayan village this time next year. Give me nature over malls any day of the week.


Tammai kon nanachart aan nagsue? Why do foreigners read?

1 comment:

  1. ClocH, naw ClocK... but at least your Clyde built immune system got a start on cholera-proofing you for the Bangkok floods