My First Coup d’Etat: How It Hasn’t Changed Anything For Me -So FAR!

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We’ve all been waiting for this to happen which is why I was I perplexed by the BBC’s correspondent when he was quoted saying the martial law came as a surprise here. Sweetie: you should be spending less time frequenting Patpong, and more time sober and talking to people. It was a surprise to you maybe, but not to the rest of us. The only surprise was that it was initially just martial law and not a coup –well not for long!

On that topic,  how smart was it to just invoke martial law saying they were only interested in keeping things safe and help a peaceful resolution? The follow that by getting all the leaders in one room and, after a bit of dissent,  detaining key players and taking control.  Well played sir, well played.

Don’t you just love how I say this as if I’ve experienced a bunch of them? My brother was in  Paraguay for the ’89 coup so I am claiming expertise by association.

Many friends have wondered how this is affecting me. Apparently some people are flying home. If this is true, they are using the coup as an excuse to get out of here. Thai coups are typically sedate as far as coups go and those in power make a big effort to keep things as seamless as possible for foreigners and tourists.

Here’s my list of why, so far, it has changed nothing:

1. Schools are closed for five days, two of which are the weekend. I homeschool so nothing different here.

2. All TV broadcasting is off incl. international news channels. I don’t have an antenna or cable connection for my  TV  Again no change.

3. Ten pm curfew. Bawhahahahaha. I homeschool two kids 6 and under. I am in bed drooling wine by this hour watching Game of Thrones and pretending to prepare tomorrow’s lessons. “Kids, this is how you brew mead!”

4. Um, I can’t think of anything else for the time being. But I’ll be sure to update you all.

So, it’s official. I am a coupbie! Yes that’s coup newbie. Genius right? Sadly not my creation but credit given via twitter. Yes that’s a please follow me on twitter @multilingualmum! It’s also where I am RT some of the more salient stuff related to the current coup.

Readers please note, I am not trying to make light of what is going on here. Well, perhaps I am a bit but that’s my coping mechanism. I just hope that Thailand can find a way to resolve this peacefully and find democratic and lasting solution.

 

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From One Expat to Another: Go Home!

gold plane pin on map of thailand

It’s hard enough trying to integrate into a different culture, especially if you barely get by in the language, and particularly if the city is rife with expats, some of whom are often living in fairly luxurious conditions and may have slightly lost touch with reality, as well as others who aren’t living la-vida-expat, and yet, have still lost touch with reality. Can we keep that farang sense of entitlement in check please?

I am no Thai political expert so I won’t go into details. Thailand has been through a number of political upheavals over the years. The country is experiencing one now, with the supporters of the two major parties clashing over the political future of the country. We have faced months of on again, off again protests and road blocks. The violence has been mostly sparse and contained. As far as having to experience political upheaval, we foreigners –a.k.a. Farangs– have had it pretty easy here.

Last week, the country’s supreme court ruled that the current prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra,  had to step down due to an abuse of power. I have no comment on these charges. I neither read nor write Thai and I don’t pass judgment on here-say. This ruling led to an announcements by both groups to march and protest. It was called the ‘final battle’. One should note, if these last few months are anything to go by that Thais like using the word ‘final’ and this battle will likely continue to drag on for some time.

In any event, public transport was packed with people getting to their rally sites. I brilliantly chose this day to head into town to run errands. All the protesters I came across were  in good spirits, donning their ‘colours’ . As I squeezed into the BTS – also called the sky train- I heard a fellow farang with a very sour face say

For f*ck’s sake get a job!

I wanted to go all bat-poop crazy on him but I didn’t. Because culturally, it would have been inappropriate. So here’s my open letter to the guy riding the BTS around Noon on Friday, who said those words as the train filled with passengers at the Sala Daeng station:

 

Dear Farang man, dressed all in black and sporting, in my opinion, way too much jewelry,

Excuse me? Get a job? Who the f#%k are you? What do you know about these people? Really? Can you tell me that you know for sure these people don’t work nights, or took off for the long weekend, or took a personal day? Do you know how many of them may be teachers and currently on summer break? What right do you have as a GUEST in this country to pass such judgement based on absolutely ZERO FACTS –though I understand this is all the rage in the US where you, like me, are from.

And on the topic of the US, aren’t we the first to support free speech and people’s right to protest? Where the f*%k do you get off being so rude?

Oh I am so sorry, did these actual citizens of the country you are temporarily living in get in your way? Were you late for an appointment for yet another piercing? Is that a problem for you, that nationals  of their country are using the public transport system put in place for them? If so, may I suggest, from one farang to another:  GO THE F*%K HOME.

You give the rest of us a bad name and you don’t deserve the visa you were issued to be here -if you even have a valid visa.

Oh, and one last thing, the only person who should wear a ring that size -let alone three of them- is the Pope.

Sincerely,

A fed up farang.

 

 

Bangkok Living: 20 Ways You Know You’re Embracing Your Inner Thai

Expat blogs in Thailand  

I’d like to thank the many readers and friends who helped me win the Thailand category and made me one of the top commented on blogs during this year’s expat blog’s competition.

Here’s the winning post, in case you missed it first time around!

If you had told me two years ago that I’d eat in the gutter off plates washed in a plastic basin, filled by a garden pipe, and prefer it to most restaurant meals, I’d have called you as mad as the hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Yet Thailand is just that, a country as wonderful and beguiling as it is perplexing. No sooner do you think you’ve cracked the code that another contradiction presents itself to figure out.

So here I am, squatting on a plastic stool, finally ordering things other than Pad Thai and Thai Green Curry and loving every second of it. This is my attempt to create a list of my experiences that encapsulates the tell-tale signs that I’ve finally acclimatized to my new home.

Drumroll please!

20. You no longer bat an eyelash when seeing a man riding on a pink bicycle or a python slithering across your garden.

19. Friends are chosen less by chemistry and more by the number of miles of traffic between your homes.

18. When you talk about a white Christmas, you are referring to a white sandy beach.

17. You stop wondering if you’ve found yourself on the set of Charmed when everyone suddenly freezes in a public place to that lovely tune in the background (aka the national anthem.)

16. TukTuks are for tourists unless you are trying to transport a dining table or 15 friends to a party.

15. You can finally use a squat toilet without peeing on your ankles.

14. You automatically switch between mouth and nose breathing as you walk by sewers and street food, respectively.

13. Sidewalks are for street vendors and open-air eating, not pedestrians.

12. You think it’s weird when you don’t find sugar as a condiment.

11. You don’t think twice of riding amazon (for us ladies) on a motorbike taxi while texting on your phone.

10.  You loose your wallet more often than you loose face.

9. You cringe when new arrivals do the Wai (hands together in a prayer-like position) in stores and restaurants.

8.You’ve accepted that YES, means ‘yes’, ‘no’, & ‘ I don’t understand a word you’ve just said

7. You aren’t surprised that your waitress, with full foundation and red nails, is sporting  a three-day beard stubble.

6. You eat all baked goods, including chocolate chip cookies, muffins, and –as a New Yorker this last one pains me– bagels with a fork and knife.

5. Seventy-Five degrees Fahrenheit (24C∘) feels like jeans and sweater weather.

4. You finally stop trying to shop for booze between two and five in the afternoon.

3. You eat by pushing food onto a spoon with the back of your fork and your knives haven’t seen the light of day in months.

2. You can’t bear to flush toilet paper and keep reaching for the ‘spray’ when back home.

1. You no longer wonder if that’s his niece.

Sawatdee khaa Y’all!

P.S. Feel free to share any examples you think should have made the top twenty!

To read other amazing entries including my favorite: N is for Nomads, an A-Z on why Mongolian living is awesome. Click here!

 

 

Bangkok’s Emporium: Pooping on the Spirit of Christmas and Charity

I seldom blog in anger. Well ok that’s not entirely true but if I do, it’s published on BluntMoms and is reviewed by the most awesome editor ever.

Emporium Bangkok: Killing the Spirit of Christmas and Charity

Tonight however I am so disgusted that I am putting all sensible thinking aside and posting a rant at 11pm at night, when I am exhausted and behind on many other writing commitments including my Monday Musings post.  And yes we are nearly Thursday.

There will be typos of all sorts but tonight I don’t care.

A wonderful small children’s theater group called Curtain Up Drama decided to organize a Christmas Caroling event to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines last month. It was the biggest storm ever recorded and has left innumerable people devastated.

Curtain Up Drama Charity Caroling for Haiyan Victims

They reached out to Emporium to get the OK to sing out front and the Shopping Mall, much to their surprise, said they could perform indoors. There were some caveats: the song list needed to be approved and the mall asked that we wear long trousers and skirts and no sandals. (Even though if you wear these to go in and shop at Louis Vuitton, they are quite happy about it).

It was all good: Song list approved, flyers made, email sent out with dress code.

A dedicated group of us showed up with children, many of which were sporting christmas hats, white dresses with wings, etc. We had some excellent choir singers among us. The rest of us (like me) put in a lot of heart and an acceptable number of false notes.

About halfway through the event, they came down and asked us to leave. The ‘official reason’ was that we weren’t in choir uniform as promised. This is absurd given that at no point was this agreed as is obvious by the fact they were telling us what not to wear.

In truth, Emporium decided that we didn’t look ‘posh’ enough for their tastes and in the true spirit of christmas, decided to hell with the victims of Haiyan, let’s make sure we don’t offend a potential Chanel client.

Well here’s what Coco Chanel had to say about people like you:

Coco Chanel Quote: I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all.

Emporium: You are the Christmas Grinch. You are everything that is wrong with the world. You care only about image, not about heart. I will never shop at your store again. (I may just use the loo if I am passing by. After all, I have kids under the ages of 6 so that’s all you’ll get from us). I can only hope others join me in a boycott of your store. (Ok, I realize I am thinking about them since I am writing this post but I’ll be terminating this affair once I’ve adequately shared this message)

Dear readers, I don’t often beg that you share and tweet my posts but today I am setting standards aside and pleading with you to help me get this message out.