Saturday, 14 November 2020

Urban wage slave


Me little blog has racked up 300,000 clicks. Who'd a thunk?

Let's look back a little. A year ago I executed a perfect PDR (pay-day-runner) from a shitty school in Chiang Mai. Even my mate NeckTat refused a full-time job there. He had zero qualifications - other than an impressive array of tattoos. He was dragged in to cover a Primary teacher who'd just PDR-ed.

When a zero-qual-twatpacker doesn't want to work at your school, you have to ask yourself some serious questions. Are we asking too much of our teachers for too little pay? How can we make working here more bearable?

Well, you could start by looking at workloads.

Anyway, back to NeckTat, I liked the lad - a right Cockney geezer he was. I enjoyed talking to him at lunch.

"Why don't you want a full time job mate?"

"I ain't got time to scratch me arse in this place."

And he was right. I left a week after him.

Why am I talking about this? It just so happens I've passed another probation period. Probation? What's that? Glad you asked. It's a criminal law term whereby a convicted criminal undergoes a period of supervision in lieu of prison. Schools use them to gauge an employee's willingness to debase themselves. See how sycophantic and obedient a particular worker drone can be. Married men, generally, are the best candidates as they'll eat an impressive number of shit sandwiches. Both at home and at work.

So why are you there? Good question. It turns out I'll be hanging around longer as the salary and working conditions are agreeable. Almost unbelievable in fact when compared to my last two jobs in Thailand.

So the job's alright so far. I even like my fellow worker drones - they're a good laugh. However, none of them are working towards freedom. In fact they're climbing higher up the greasy pole of modern day wage-slavery.

If you win the rat race ...... you're still a rat.

I do this so that I won't have to do this.

My only beef is living in a massive city. 9M people live here. And 1M of those live on my road. Or at least that's what it feels like. I haven't heard silence in the 13 weeks I've been here. Just full on aggressive noise 24/7.

Like me, Schopenhauer abhorred noise. I love his work and cherry picked this: "Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but also a disruption of thought. Of course, where there is nothing to interrupt, noise will not be so particularly painful."

Hehe. My building even shakes every time a large truck rumbles past with its invasive horn perpetually transmitting high-amplitude longitudinal pressure waves directly into my ear canals. C#@ts.


Minimalist living and a high savings rate. That's the game here. In 2013 I retired at 39 with $225,000. In 2014 I spectacularly un-retired as I lost it ALL in a scam. I was young, dumb and full-o-cum. Focused on booze-n-birds. Grossly ignorant in the ways of investing. Looking back I can only laugh at the naivety.

Had I put that $225k in simple low cost index ETFs I'd be worth $500k today. Without lifting a finger. I try not to dwell on that too much. Cudda, wudda, shudda.

Instead, I've worked the last 6 years as a teacher in Thailand, China, Cambodia and Vietnam. However, a minimalist lifestyle, a high savings rate, self-discipline and investment education has led me to a diversified portfolio that has grown to the same GBP sterling value that I lost in 2014 (adjusting for exchange rates).

I currently save around 90% of my salary. I live pretty much how I did in Battambang. My colleagues think I'm crazy. That I deprive myself of the joys of life. However, it doesn't feel that way to me. I unsubscribed form a life of vacuous consumption years ago. My needs and wants are simple. And cheap.

The passive income generated from bonds and dividend stocks easily covers my living expenses. This is supplemented by capital appreciation from growth stocks and bitcoin.

So why don't you quit the 50hr/week job and life in a shitty megalopolis?

Good question. A few reasons.

Firstly, the pay is as good as it gets in the "Ed-Biz". May as well milk it for a while and keep stashing those 90% lumps into financial assets. One month of this equals eight months on a Khmer beach - an acceptable deal. Secondly, crossing borders is tricky right now with all the corona BS. Thirdly, the misery is punctuated by occasional bouts of job satisfaction - particularly when a lower ability kid has a light-bulb moment - that can be rewarding.

May as well entrench myself here until the restrictions ease. I do however dream of wiling the days away in Cambo as opposed to daily 10hr grinds in a chaotic megalopolis.


Started running again. These trainers were the only size 44 in the shop. So I bought em. They're bouncy and do the job. I've found a 5km route that has some quiet (for here) streets. First I run over an 8-lane bridge that traverses the Saigon River - the traffic on there is incredible - and with the pollution I'm breathing, a 5km run likely has zero net health benefit?

Me mates

Round at Andy's pool. And dinner with Pete and his fiance. My current crop of colleagues are a great bunch.

Coffee and BanhMi - can't beat a bit of Viet scran. 

Puncture repair dude does it next to a tree. But he doesn't have inner tubes. Obviously.

TRC - means I can stay here until Oct 2022 so long as I continue being a worker drone in sector 7G. Seems only Cambo is happy for me to sit on me arse all day. Thailand and Vietnam want their pound of flesh.

Had a grand old time with Andy one Saturday. When someone rocks up in a Toon top with a can of piss and a tab on the go, you know it's gonna be a fun day.

We were both born in Ashington's old hospital yet find ourselves teaching in the tropics. A-Levels. Maths and Physics for me, Computer Science for he.

Haway the lads.



    From Scott...