We were scheduled to spend today at the zoo with Noo’s son, to celebrate children’s day, but it was cancelled at the last moment when we were called by his school at the crack of dawn and told he had to come in and attend their own childrens’ day celebrations.
I would add that nobody knew anything about this in advance – including the teachers – as state schools are run ‘top down’ and the headmasters run them as their own little fiefdoms.
Yesterday, Noo took her son to the nearby village of Pong, by the lakeside, to join in with other local schools to celebrate their special day, and collected him exhausted in the late afternoon and we all thought that was that. No mention was made to parents or students of any more activities for today, Saturday.
I suppose you could say they couldn’t organise a ‘piss-up in a brewery’ or maybe a ‘whorehouse full of 21 year old Issan virgins’, but the fact is that it has always been thus with Thai state schools.
I well recall simiar situations in previous ‘existences’. I would express my frustration and anger when nobody at school could tell me exactly when a school term would end, and when the new one would start. The teachers never knew, and nobody ever seemed to be informed until a few days before it actually happened.
It was all decided by the dictator … oh sorry…headmaster. Whether he knew in advance and just didn’t choose to tell anyone, or whether even he didn’t know until the last moment, when he would decide on a whim, or maybe on a date that would suit his own personal diary, God only knows?
But the Thais are so used to this lackadaisical way in which their schools are run that nobody seems to care or lift an eyelid in protest at this lack of forward planning or provision of timely information regarding school activities.
I suppose I should have known better, but when Noo suggested that we all go to the zoo, I decided to invite a few friends and make a day of it, so this morning I had to hurriedly ring around and embarrassingly cancel all the arrangements at the last moment.
Right now, as I am writing this, Noo’s son is enjoying himself with his classmates at the crocodile farm…grrr…(or maybe snap! snap!)
All roads lead to…
There has been a bit of a ‘road revolution’ up here by the lake.
For the past few months we have been subjected to the noise, dirt and inconvenience of huge road making vehicles parked outside the moo-bahns and restaurants that scatter along the lake as the entire legth of the crumbling, potholed dusty road that circumvents Lake Mabprachan, from south to north, has been undergoing repair.
The work seemed to have been going on forever, and has been so haphazard – sometimes one section would be dug up or covered with loose gravel, then another section several miles distant would receive similar attention – that we all wondered when it would finish and what sort of job they would do.
Well folks, it’s all done, give or take the few final touches to some of the new road markings, and I have to say that despite the seemingly totally disorganised way they went about it, the result is simply breath taking.
We now have a beautiful, pristine blacktop road, running from the southern end of the lake in Nong Prue municipality , right around the lake perimeter to the northern end in Pong municipality.
Not only do we have lovely new road, but the highway authorities have raelly gone overboard as regards the erection of crash barriers at every bend, road markings everywhere, reflective warning signs and goodness knows what else, along the entire length of new road, in a worthy attempt to make the road safer and reduce the number of accidents.
So from being a road that was quite dangerous to drive on – especially after dark – it is now almost a pleasure to take the nightly spin upon it. How long it will last is anyone’s guess. The 12-wheel earth carrying trucks, the massive ready-mix cement vehicles, the JCB’s and similar road disintegrating vehicles, together with the annual tropical rain storms will all conspire to destroy what is now one of the finest rural roads in Thailand. I give it two years.
Shall we diary it?
Mobi’s House for sale!
Those of you who have been following Mobi’s misadventures for several years will be aware that I still own a house, (and a wife), in addition to little Noo and the house I am currently renting .
My own house has been on the market for 3 years now – and to be honest, apart from a few odd viewings, I have often despaired of ever getting it sold.
The house is a pretty grand affair, and when I lived there it was known as the ‘Mobi-Mansion’. It is set on almost a rai of land, with a grand, open-plan, southern colonial-style lounge, a fully equipped western kitchen, a Thai kitchen, four huge bedrooms – all ensuite, with a hue covered terrace that looks out onto a large swimming pool (with Jacuzzi) that runs the length of the house. On the opposite side of the pool is a self-contained, 2-bed chalet, together with a picturesque summerhouse which is ideal for poolside drinks or afternoon snack.
The aluminium front gates are operated by remote control and lead up a long, sand -washed driveway to a large covered car port.
The location is even better today that when I chose it for my home back in 2004. It is situated on a country lane, close to four other large properties, all built by the same English builder, and is two minutes’ walk from Pong fresh food market which now boasts both a Tesco Express as well as a 7/11. The house is 2 minutes’ drive from the Bangkok/Rayong highway, providing easy access to the airport, Bangkok, and central Pattaya, ( the driving time from the house to central Pattaya is 12 minutes), and is 5 minutes’ drive from Regents international school and also less than 5 minutes’ drive from Lake Mabprachan which is fast becoming a very pleasant area of landscaped, lakeside parkland.
I spent a small fortune on furnishing the house with the finest pieces, and the place is pretty much ready to move in to.
In all, I reckon I spent close to 15 million Baht; buying the land, building the house and furnishing it. Back in 2008, it was valued at 18-20 million Baht. That was when the market was booming and since then, much has happened to depress the house sales.
However, since the floods in 2011, many well to do Thais have suddenly ‘discovered’ Pattaya, and many have started buying property there for weekend retreats, and even for family homes -with the bread-winner commuting to Bangkok, which takes around 75 minutes. There has also been a recent influx of wealthy foreigners into Pattaya, many of them looking to buy upmarket properties.
I have been paying for basic maintenance on my house ever since I left Dang, my wife, and she has continued to live there and look after the place until we find a buyer. I was pleased to note the other day that despite my misgivings, Dang has kept the house in pretty good condition and has recently spent her own money to give it a coat of paint, fix some broken stuff and generally keep it in a saleable condition. It is really looking very clean and nice.
She too would love to get it sold so that we can both cash in and get on with our lives.
How much? I hear you say. Well, all things considered – especially my desire for a quick sale – I would accept the best offer I got, close to 12 million Baht. Believe me, it would be a wonderful deal, as it is way below the cost of building and furnishing such a place. The Chanod, (land title deed), is with me and is free and clear of encumbrances. No company is involved in the ownership.
So one of my New Year resolutions is to renew my efforts to find a buyer, and in case you were wondering – yes – this section of my blog is part of that effort and I make no bones about it.
If anyone out there in ‘blog land’ is interested or knows someone who might be interested in buying my house, then just click on the ‘comments’ section, and write a brief message and I will get back to you directly by private email.
Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also open to discussions on sales commission if you think you may have the wherewithal to find a buyer.
Hypocrisy is alive and well in the Land of Smiles
I could write from now until next year about the nefarious goings on within the echelons of power in successive Thai governments.
There is a school of thought that supects the situation may soon get completely out of hand and that this year, Thailand may end up in yet another major political crisis which will bring the entire nation to the brink… of what? .. civil war…anarchy…who knows?
There is another school of thought, and I tend to side with them , that the politicians will continue to muddle along, much as they have been doing over the past few years and somehow will avert any major confrontations or actions which would be a prelude to major disaster for the country. In spite of the ever heightening rhetoric and increasing vindictiveness between the opposing forces, I feel they will always pull back from the proverbial brink.
After all, Thais have always been past masters at compromise and muddling through, and even in recent months we have seen one side or the other back down when it looked as though violence may erupt.
These days, it seems that most sensible thinking citizens, from both sides of the political divide, are far more concerned with the politicians’ determination to bring down their opponents in a court of law, by uncovering a transgression they may or may not have committed, rather than on getting on and governing the country. It would seem that all politicians are totally obsessed with the idea that their mission in life is to catch out a member of the opposing side committing some legal infraction. Suits and counter suits are the order of the day, be they civil or criminal. There is just no end to it., and everyone is thoroughly fed up with the whole effing nonsense.
I suppose we can all be grateful that these days Thailand is blessed with a civil service that can pretty much run the country regardless of what shenanigans their political masters get up to. In fact, there is an argument that says that Thailand may very well run much better without all these totally corrupt and power seeking, privileged cliques stciking their hungry fingers into the country’s pie.
A few weeks ago I was amused to read a Forbes survey that stated Thai politicians and their families, especially some people close to the Prime Minister and her government, rank among the richest stockholders in the country.
Thailand’s 40 richest people, many of whom hold key positions in Yingluck’s government, have a collective wealth of US$55 billion, an increase of 22 per cent from $45 billion last year.
Forbes noted that many of Thailand’s wealthiest are looking to take on international rivals, on the strength of an expected 6-per-cent growth in the Thai economy this year. For a country that some outsiders see as beset by political turmoil and rural insurgency – never mind last year’s calamitous flooding – Thailand has done remarkably well by its richest.
Yet I thought that Pheu Thai party and their Red shirt supporters were champions of equality and their mission in life was to improve the lot of the poor, downtrodden citizens of rural Issan, and that the wicked Democrats were part of the ruling establishment who only cared about clinging onto their inherited wealth?
Honestly, the hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide is mind boggling, but I know who I’d rather have running the country, apart from the civil servants, that is…
Where (the f..ck) Are we Now?
Is it just me? Or is the entire planet being conned by a has-been musician who is trying to make a comeback in his dotage?
Is this the ultimate 21st Century, internet driven, mass hysteria we have all been dreading?
I have not observed such unbelievable hype over a new single since the discovery of a lost track by John Lennon, some years ago – and that was pretty much rubbish too.
I have listened to so-called music expert after music expert rave in sublime adoration over Bowie’s new song, ‘Where are we now?’.
Every DJ thinks it is the greatest piece of music since Bach’s St Mathew Passion!
Now don’t get me wrong, although I’ve never been a wild fan of Bowie – like the rest of the world seems to be – I am the first to admit he has written some ground-breaking very memorable songs, many of which have astood the test of time. Amongst my personal favourites would be: Space Oddity, Life on Mars, Heroes, and Absolute Beginners; and there are plenty more.
But come on people! Don’t try to tell me that this fairly boring dirge is in the same league as his songs of old? It’s not a total disaster, but it is very ordinary, and I guarantee you that if this song had been released by any another artist it would have died a very quick death.
So because it is Bowie it has to be good?
What utter tosh!
Ask anyone under 21 and see what they think.
I stand to be corrected but I don’t believe that there is a single modern day musician or song writer who has written anything worth a damn, once they have passed their 40th birthday. Song writers – or shall we say ‘tune-smith’s’ – always seem to have a ‘purple patch’ in their lives when most of their great songs are written, and this rule seems to apply to The Beatles and Stones every much as it does to the likes of Burt Bacharach or even Leonard Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In my opinion, two of the greatest musicals ever written – Les Misérables and Miss Saigon were written by the Frenchman, Claude-Michel Schönberg. He seems to have poured all this creative, emotional output into those two wonderful works and the musical loving public has been the fortunate beneficiary. But has he written anything worth a damn since? Not a single note that is noteworthy; and I include the disaster that was ‘Martin Guerre’.
Many song writers continue to churn out songs as they get older, but very few, if any, capture that enduring magic that was in the ones they wrote when they at their creative zeniths. Just look at some of the dross that Paul McCartney has produced in recent years – yet without a doubt he is one of the finest 20th century song writers ever to have ‘put pen to a “treble cleffed” manuscript’. Ditto the likes of Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka and so on and so forth.
So come on, guys, the joke is over. For God sake call a ‘spade a spade’ and admit this song is the outpouring of a man trying to deal with the fact that he is over the hill and his best days are behind him. The biggest favour anyone could do for Bowie would be to shut up about the bloody song and stop buying it, so that the deluded fool may be brought back to some semblance of reality.
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