The other day I tweeted a request for more people to log into my blog so that I could finally get past the magic number of 100,000 hits.
After I tweeted, I suddenly realised that I was already well over the 100,000 mark as the hits during the first 5 months of my blog are not included in the WordPress total. This is because that I only changed over to WordPress on December 19th 2009, but the blog had been going, with a different blog host since July 2009.
When I migrated to WordPress, all my early blogs were also transferred, and within the WordPress Admin ‘stats’ I can find details of the hits during those early months, but they are not included in the overall total that is shown on the front of my blog. Never mind, it’s of little import, as I am now well over 100k whichever way you look at it.
I have been accused of being obsessed with the number of hits and readership levels,and while I would certainly challenge the notion of an obsession, as I pointed out at the time, I would hardly go to all the efforts of writing a twice-weekly blog if nobody bothered to read it. Every composer wishes people to hear his music and every writer wishes his offerings to be read.
It is true that part of my reason for writing is therapeutic, and I would probably still continue to write even if virtually nobody read it, as it keeps me occupied, and I enjoy and need the discipline of doing it. But none of us are free from vanity, and when my readership suddenly jumps upwards for a while, I feel good about it and when it languishes, I feel rather out of sorts, trying to work out what I have done wrong.
My blog has been going for almost 3 years now – 2 years 9 months to be precise, and during that time I have published some 366 blogs. So a very rough and ready calculation shows that I have averaged something in the region of 273 ‘hits’ per blog. I am sure however, that doesn’t really reveal the true picture: the nature of, and fluctuations in my readership levels , something in which I will never really have any grasp so I will stop worrying about it.
The content of my blog has changed quite a lot since I wrote the first words in July 2009. At that time I was on the verge of leaving Dang, my last wife and I was still a hopeless, practising alcoholic. The contents of my bog mainly concerned my daily struggles for survival and it also contained many detailed accounts of my earlier life, in the form of ‘Mobi-Vignettes’.
I had many adventures and misadventures with women and alcohol during that period, right up to November 2010, when I first shacked up with Noo, and most, if not all of them provided raunchy and graphic material for my blogs.
In those days I received far more comments than I do now, and a great many of them were related to my lurid adventures with the whores of Pattaya and elsewhere. It amazed me how many people took exception to my tales, and in a particular the high number of angry readers who accused me of lying.
This was surprising to me on two counts. Firstly, anybody who read my ‘no holds barred’ blogs, where I wrote about everything that happened to me – good and usually bad – warts an’ all, must have surely realised that what I was writing was the unvarnished truth. Given this desire to reveal all, why on earth should I lie about the women and the games I got up to with them? For the most part, I came out with no great credit, and I almost invariably made a fool of myself. It just didn’t make any sense that I would be lying about it all.
But it is more than this; even if I did invent or exaggerate my exploits – so what? Who cares? You can choose to believe me and enjoy reading my rubbish or you don’t. If you think I am making it all up and don’t like what I am writing, why on earth would you bother to read it – far less, take the effort to post nasty comments? It frankly defeats me why anyone would bother. They obviously haven’t got much of a life and much as I hate to say it, I can only assume that jealousy is at the root of much of their peculiar reactions.
There was even one regular, incensed commenter, who consistently accused me of blatant lying and challenged me to meet up with him and have a contest to see who could pull the best whores!! I mean… WTF!
These days, the content of my blog is much ‘cleaner’. I try to make reasonably intelligent comments on a variety world events – some of which I feel passionately about – and sometimes I comment on more trivial matters – that just happen to capture my attention, together with local stuff on Thailand and the Thais, and my modest attempts at reviews of TV programmes, films and even the occasional book.
All this, in addition to regular updates on my own humble progress through life with all my myriad health issues, my constant striving to do something ‘useful and meaningful’ with what remains of my life, my on again-off again novel, and my relationship with my wonderful little Noo who is fast turning into the best thing that ever happened to me
The frequency of comments posted on my blogs has dropped to a very small trickle and often disappears completely. I guess in the old days, my more controversial writing, and more lurid lifestyle, was more likely to attract angry and/or critical comments.
My blog has gone through a number of fundamental shifts since I first started writing it and I never stop experimenting and exploring new subjects to write about in new and hopefully interesting ways. I have no idea how many of my present day readers have been following me from the early days, and if they do, whether they approve of the changes I have made over the past 3 years.
I will probably never know the answers to these and other questions I have about my blog and its readers; so I will just plough on regardless and hope and trust that all of you dear readers out there in blog-land, continue to find something worthwhile in Mobi’s blog to read.
I know 100,000 hits is not that much to brag about and there are many blogs out there with literally millions of hits. Well I don’t have the drawing power of celebrity name and neither do I have any sponsors or any means to promote my blog except by word of mouth. But I am humbly grateful for small mercies and truly appreciate what I like to call my discerning readers – those ‘special few’, who know something worthwhile when they see it…. only joking…. but thank you all, anyway.
Roll on the next 100,000 hits…
The Cultural Divide?
Since I have Lived in Thailand, and in particular since I stopped drinking, (next week it will be 15 ‘dry’ months and counting), I have, in the main, managed to keep my fiery temper in check.
I think my temper is something I inherited from my father, as he had the most violent temper of any person I have ever encountered, and at the drop of a hat he would be transformed from a quiet, almost civilised human being, into one of the most fearsome, frightening monsters you are ever likely to encounter. When in full throes, his blood curdling screams could be heard from one end of the street to the other.
I have been aware all my life of my propensity to lose my temper and remembering the terrible effects my father’s temper tantrums had on me and others, I have always tried my best to control it, with varying degrees of success.
Certainly, whenever I do lose it, I instantly regret it, and it is soon over and whenever appropriate, I will apologise to anyone who has been on the receiving end. This is not always possible as I am usually justified in getting angry at someone or something who has done me or others some kind of wrong, but being angry is one thing, going off in a high pitched paddy, is quite another.
These days the main butt of my anger – and occasionally my temper – is myself. As some of you older readers may testify to, part of the process in growing old is the increasing incidence of having ‘senior’ moments – when the act of doing silly things or forgetting to do things, intensely annoy us, as we know deep down that we wouldn’t have done such a thing, or more likely wouldn’t have forgotten to do such a thing, when we were younger – when our mental capacities were more reliable.
Sometimes, when I do something stupid, I laugh it off and put it down to ‘Mad cow’s disease’. But occasionally, particularly when I am alone, I allow a sudden terrible temper tantrum consume me, and I shout at the top of my voice for a few seconds – realising full well that I am being ridiculous and that am out of control. Of course I am never really alone, and as soon as I start shouting, the dogs come running and gather round me and try their best to calm me down. They never appear scared, just concerned that their master is losing his mind – which of course he is.
Occasionally, I do this when Noo is around, but she has got used to me and just ignores my stupid behaviour and she knows that within a minute or so, I will have calmed down and everything will go back to normal.
There is nothing worse anyone can do in Thailand – particularly if you are a farang – than lose your temper in a public place. It is simply not done and deeply frowned upon. Anyone who does it, is looked upon as a stupid barbarian who is behaving very badly and is in the process of losing an enormous amount of face for both himself and for anyone who happens to be with him.
Conflicts between Thais are resolved by talking it through with a smile on their faces and never, ever by shouting.
Shooting? Maybe! But never by shouting.
OK, I concede this statement is not full proof as anyone can see by tuning into the daily soaps on Thai TV, and indeed I have personally seen some pretty angry arguments between Thais during the years I have been here, but by and large, the rule holds. However hard it may be for Thais to put a smile on their face and talk politely, and however aggrieved they may feel, raising their voices is normally a no-no.
This is particularly so in business a context, where sometimes a great deal of money may be at stake or one party may have been seriously cheating the other party. But rarely will a voice be raised; rather they will agree to disagree and then one party will take a contract out on the other. Killing someone in cold blood is far more preferable to shouting at them in public.
Much more civilised…
But joking apart, even in the day to day situations where a customer has cause to complain about a product or a service, then smiling and polite talk is the order of the day; quite unlike in the west where it is not an in common sight to find aggrieved customers shouting and screaming in shops and offices.
So every time I see a farang losing his cool in a shop or service centre and start screaming at a Thai manager, I inwardly cringe, for it is always the worst possible thing he could do. In a Thai’s eyes, the farang has immediately lost face and there is no way they – the Thais – are going to do anything to help a person who behaves so badly in public.
But knowing this doesn’t stop me from occasionally ‘misbehaving’ in public.
One of the things that still makes me very angry are certain aspects of Thai driving. But it is not Thais who drive badly, nor who those drive slowly, nor those who cut in or cut me off that upset me; I am quite used to all that. These things are much more due to ignorance on how to drive properly and bad driving habits picked up from their peers than any deliberate intent to inconvenience other road users. In fact these days, I can cut in and cut off drivers as good as any Thai…. If you can’t beat’em, then join’em, is what I say.
No, the behaviour that gets my goat, is behaviour which seems to demonstrate a total lack of consideration for other road users – totally selfish acts which, if done in the west, could well precipitate some form of violence in the form of road rage. I will give you three recent examples of what I am talking about.
The other day I drove into a ‘soi’ which bordered a busy, outdoor fresh food market. This was the first of two parallel sois; the first was for in-going traffic and the adjacent soi, on the other side of the market was for exiting traffic. I turned into the ‘in’ soi, parked up, did my shopping and then drove round to the back of the market and thence out via the exit soi. Just as I approached the main road, there was a pick-up truck, parked in the middle of the soi in front of me, completely blocking the exit to the main road.
I waited and waited, tooted my horn, but not a sign of the driver. Meanwhile the cars were backing up behind me. Eventually, after about 5 minutes, the driver duly appeared, carrying a load of fresh vegetables, and without a care in the world and not a single backward glance, climbed into the vehicle and drove off. Needless to say, I was fuming, and Little Noo was busy telling me to calm down. Grrrr…
The next episode is one that occurs all too frequently. For those who don’t know Pattaya, the main Sukhumvit Road, that runs from North to South, parallel to the sea and carries a huge amount of vehicles on its 8 lanes, as does Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. Also, as with Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, the Pattaya road is blessed with a number of strategically placed U-turns, complete with feeder lanes, which allow those who are turning, to safely weave their way into the outside lane traffic flow.
This is all well and good until some selfish driver decides to use the U-turn to cross 4 lanes of fast moving traffic so that he can enter a small soi or business located on the far side of the road. Of course this dangerous manoeuvre can take a very long time to complete, as there is rarely a time when the road is completely clear to allow safe passage for a vehicle driving at 90 degrees across a busy highway. In the meantime, a huge backlog of traffic builds up behind him, all waiting to do a proper U-turn.
The driver who is trying to cross 4 lanes of fast moving traffic couldn’t give two hoots about the hold ups he is causing, and if he has to wait ten minutes – then so be it. He could just as easily have driven to the next U-turn and then worked his way over to the left hand lane, and no one would have been inconvenienced. But that would have been too hard. Grrrr…
Last week, when I drove to Bangkok in the early morning for my hospital appointment, I stopped at the motorway service station to fill up and to take a ‘leak’. So I duly parked up at the first pump bay (there were two), ordered my fuel and popped next door to relieve myself. Upon my return, the attendant was just finishing off and I made ready to make a hasty departure. Ahead of me at the second bay, a large truck had parked up, which was not a problem as there was plenty of room on the right side of the bay for vehicles to pass.
Or was there???
While I was in the loo, a minibus had driven past the two fuel bays and parked up on the right hand ‘drive through’ lane just past the second pump bay. As I paid my bill and fired up my engine, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I watched as a large Thai family, including a tiny baby in arms, disembark from the bus and stand around by the minibus doors, laughing and talking.
My exit had been completely blocked by the bus who had inexplicably decided to park up in the ‘drive through’ lane of the gas station, rather than at one of the countless parking bays in the road outside. This little incident, together with my anxiety for my forthcoming appointment and the need to get there as soon as possible, brought on a mini-tantrum.
As ever, Noo told me to calm down, that I should just wait until the truck had filled up and then I would be able to leave, and what’s a few minutes here or there? Grrr…
The above three ‘driving’ examples seem to show that some Thais have a complete lack of consideration for others. But thinking about it, I wonder if this is really true? Maybe it is just a cultural thing, as the absence of any real sense of urgency and the lack of any imperative to get something done within a given time framework, is still deeply embedded in the Thai psyche. Certainly you can see the difference in driving habits between a provincial city like Pattaya and the much more westernised ‘Big Mango’, Bangkok.
In Pattaya, if you are more than a dozen vehicles or so back from the lights when the traffic light turns green, nothing will move for quite a long, infuriating period of time. Each driver will not get ready to drive off until he has seen the vehicle in front of him move off. But in Bangkok, as soon as the lights change, it is almost as if the whole line of traffic moves off as one. The difference is chalk to cheese. Maybe its time for me to simply accept that this is the way it is, and just go with the flow…
I have no excuses for my final anecdote on the subject of temper tantrums.
The other day I went to in Big in Central Pattaya with Noo to do some shopping and to do a bit of business at the AIS service centre.
I have had a phone contract with AIS for over 10 years and in the past have also included a phone for my wife in the contract. When I separated from my wife, I removed her phone from my contract and now I have decided that I will replace Dang’s number with Noo’s number as a little ‘thank you’ to her for being so good to me.
As soon as I started to explain to the AIS girl what I wanted to do, she snapped back at me that I need a work permit. I politely explained that I had had a contract for ten years without having a work permit and that my friend had just opened an AIS account barely 2 weeks ago without a work permit.
‘No work Permit, no contract’, was her abrupt reply.
‘But I already have a contract’
‘If you want to put her on your contract you must start again. No work permit, no contract’
I have heard about this nonsense of needing a work permit before and it has always turned out to be wrong. I strongly suspect that it is a standard excuse they dole out so that they don’t have to go through all the onerous paperwork involved. Fob off the stupid farangs off with any bullshit story.
Yes… you guessed it, I lost my temper. I started shouting and screaming at them that I had been a loyal, AIS customer for over 10 years, that I had spent hundreds of thousands of Baht, that I had previously included my wife’s number without any problems, that I had never failed to pay my bill on time and so on and so forth.
Of course I was making a fool of myself and when I told them that I would cancel my contract and go to DTAC, the girl told me that I was welcome to go…and ‘please hurry…..’
Coming to my senses and knowing I would get nowhere by continuing the confrontation, I calmed down, retired to lick my wounds and off we went to do a bit of shopping. It was then that I realise that my blood sugars were very low – a common cause of short tempers amongst diabetics – so I told Noo I would go and have a sweet coffee to get my sugars back up and wait for her to finish shopping.
‘Where are you going?’
‘To that little coffee area, opposite the checkout lanes.
‘But that’s right next to AIS!’
‘Aren’t you shy to go there?’
‘The lady from AIS might see you?’
BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a Hoot!…