Mobi-Snaps: Samut Songkran
Good God, its February already! Time really does fly past when you’re having fun – or in my case getting old and decrepit. It only seems like yesterday that I was having my Christmas dinner and setting myself a few goals for 2013.
So a couple of days ago I got into a bit of a panic at my lack of progress and I decided to take a quick peak at the list I published in ‘Mobi -Babble’ on 30th December, 2012, to assess the damage.
I was actually pleasantly surprised to discover that although I seem to spend most of my time at my computer not doing very much, I have made a fair bit of progress on several fronts.
Let’s look at some of those ‘resolutions’:
- complete the editing of my novel….
Well, I’m delighted to say that I’m almost there. I’ve finished trawling through the entire, 217,000 words of text and have made substantial changes and amendments. I confess that it was a much bigger task than I had anticipated and there is probably not a single paragraph in the entire novel that has escaped my ‘editing pen’.
Some of the changes are very minor, but more often, I’ve had to substantially re-write sentences or paragraphs, as upon review, my writing just wasn’t up to par. I am assuming that the few of you out there who actually got round to reading my previously published text will attest to this.
I guess I was too close to it to realise just how clumsy some of my writing was. Anyway, the task is now done, but I am still not entirely happy and have decided to review the text one more time before putting the novel back into my blog. I am hoping that this latest review will be much quicker as the text should be pretty close to perfect by now! (That’s the theory anyway). Possibly another week – or at the most two – and it will be finally done.
- return of my piano to my home….
Box ticked – see my blog of 20th Jan – mission accomplished. Although I already have a fairly large collection of sheet music, I was delighted the other day to discover a web site that not only has printable sheet music for just about every song ever written, but the site can transpose any song into any key I desire. This is great as I much prefer to play music in the keys of C, G or F. If the music is in a key with too many pesky black notes I seem to have a problem. I guess I’m a racist pianist.
- a trip to England in July with Noo to see my two daughters and my brother…
Tickets booked and paid for, Noo’s visa being processed.
- renew efforts to sell my house
Well let’s see. I’ve had two new ‘for sale signs’ made and erected on the main road, leading to the house; I’ve placed a new paid ‘ad’ in one of Thailand’s most widely read classified websites; I’ve had three new agents come and view the property and put it on their websites; my wife and I are in the process of fixing and ‘tarting- up’ the property. The outside has been re-painted and the interior painting is now in process. The house is looking pretty good right now, and soon it will look even better.
There is still much to be done, but I think it is a good start, and the main thing is that I’m encouraged that the ‘higher-end’ house market is slowly starting to pick up. There are still more houses for sale than there are buyers, but at least there are now genuine buyers around – unlike the dire situation during the past few years.
All in all, I think I have done pretty well in the first month of 2013, and give myself a ‘9 out of 10’. But I mustn’t get complacent and I must push on. I think I have to put ‘all hands to the pump’, (well two of them, anyway), to get the novel wrapped up and then I will be free to turn my attention to other matters.
Last Wednesday I took Noo and her son to Samut Songkran to spend the day with her elder sister. Samut Songkran is in central Thailand, about 200 kilometres drive from Pattaya, on the way to the south – about 33 kilometres north of Petchburi province.
It is an easy, 21/2 drive from Pattaya, straight up the motorway towards Bangkok, past the airport and take a left on Bangkok’s massive outer ring road, (Thailand’s answer to the M25), to meet up with Route 35 which runs from Bangkok down to Petchburi and beyond.
I have been to Samut Songkran on two previous occasions, (once just passing through on my way to Cha Am), but this was the first time that we went to Noo’s sister’s house. It is a bit off the beaten track, in an absolutely delightful rural setting, surrounded by streams, rivulets and lush undergrowth.
I was highly annoyed to discover that I had left my camera at home. Maybe it’s me, but I really struggle to get decent pictures out of camera phones, even supposedly good ones like the one on my Samsung Note. Sure, I know how to point the phone and push the button, but most of the resultant pics are nearly always of dubious quality, to say the least.
So it was a huge disappointment that I couldn’t add some nice snaps to my Mobi-Snaps collection, but I did manage a few, almost passable ‘phone-snaps’ of the area near to ‘eldest sister’s home’, which I have published above, in my Mobi-Snaps section. I think it gives you an impression of how lovely it is around there.
Farewell, My Lovely!
Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time will be well aware of my hatred of hyperbole – particularly of the Yankee variety.
Over the past four years we have listened to hyperbole after hyperbole from President Obama on how America is the greatest country on earth, on how its army has the finest soldiers on earth, on how the Navy Seals’ abduction and killing of Bin Laden was one of the bravest and most brilliant military operations ever carried out in the annals of history, on how America makes the finest cars the world has ever seen… I could go on and on and on…..
If any of my American readers would like to have a small reality check, I strongly suggest they watch the You Tube clip of the opening of an American TV series entitled News Room. It may be disturbing to your American senses, but it is the unvarnished truth – Go on, watch it:
Quite frankly, the next time I hear an American say that America is the only country of ‘Freedom’, or that it is only in America where anyone can achieve their dreams, (AKA The American Dream), I swear I will puke my guts out.
Ask the hundreds, if not thousands of billionaires from all over this planet, including many from my own country, all of whom had the worst possible start in life, yet succeeded in realising their dreams, whether they agree if America is the only country where the dreams of ordinary people can be realised?
The trouble is that all this ridiculous hyperbolic nationalism, and the beating of American chests has been going for so long and perpetuated by so many people of influence who should know better, (like Obama) ,that a vast majority of ordinary Americans actually believe it is true.
Wasn’t it the Germans who became convinced they were a superior race a few years back because their leaders kept telling them it was so?
The other day, during a hypocritical and cringe-worthy love fest on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Obama stated that Hillary Clinton was one of the ‘greatest Secretaries of State, America has ever had’.
Later, Google chairman Eric Schmidt called her “the most significant Secretary of State since Dean Acheson.”
There – you see? Two of America’s most influential and respected citizens said so, so it must be true, mustn’t it?
I mean – what a complete load of hogwash! Ask any independent political commentator worth his salt if Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State is up there amongst the ‘Dulles’s, ‘Kissingers’, and ‘Bakers’ of this world, and they will laugh in your face.
OK, it might not have been her fault that she was unable to do anything noteworthy during her period of office, but that doesn’t mean that we should pretend that she did. Although I personally have little time for her, I accept that she did her best, and worked very hard, but she has little, if anything, to show for her 4 years in charge.
For starters, it is an open secret in Washington that Clinton was little more than a figurehead, and that all major policy decisions were not made by her, but by Obama’s own set of special envoys, including the late Richard Holbrooke. She never enjoyed anything approaching a close relationship with Obama and was generally frozen out of White House policy meetings.
In fact, the Pentagon and intelligence community now controls vastly greater resources than the State Department does, and has far more impact on US relations with trouble spots like Central Asia, Yemen, the Persian Gulf, and so on, than the State department, so it’s hardly surprising that Clinton cannot point to any major achievements.
I heard one of Obama’s acolytes say the other day that Hilary was a great Secretary of State because she brought back respect to America from many countries around the world.
Did she? Now what country was that, may I ask?
So just who does The Annointed One think he is kidding with all this nonsensical and praise directed at the most infamous cuckqueen of all time?
Well… about 300 million Americans… that’s who!
Jemima and Julian – The End of a Beautiful Love Affair?
I wrote about WikiLeaks, Assange and his flight to the Ecuadorian embassy on 26th August, 2012 in a lengthy piece entitled: ‘Assange, WikiLeaks and Gunboat Diplomacy…’
(It can be found HERE).
There was a short follow-up to my main story in my blog of 30th September, 2012, entitled: ‘Assange back-stabs his backers’
(It can be found HERE)
In my first article I wrote about how some of Assange’s closest friends had become disillusioned by his arrogant and dictatorial behaviour. In my second article I mentioned how some of the high profile people who put up the cash for his bail stood to lose it after he sought asylum in the Ecuador Embassy without having the decency to tell them what he intended to do.
Amongst that number was Jemima Khan – one time heiress, ex-wife of Pakistan’s most famous cricketer turned politician and nowadays associate editor of the ‘New Statesman’ magazine.
Last Wednesday, Jemima wrote an article in the magazine about losing faith in Assange, saying she has come to believe that he is “undermining both himself and his own transparency agenda – as well as doing the US department of justice a favour – by making his refusal to answer questions in Sweden into a human rights issue”. She suggests he risks becoming like “an Australian L Ron Hubbard”, in a reference to the founder of Scientology.
Khan argues that “WikiLeaks – whose mission statement was ‘to produce … a more just society … based upon truth’ – has been guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion”.
When she told Assange she was involved in the film ‘We Steal Secrets’, directed by the highly respected American documentary maker, Alex Gibney, she suggested that he view it not in terms of being pro- or anti-him, but rather as a film that would be fair and would represent the truth …
He replied: ‘If it’s a fair film, it will be pro-Julian Assange.’
“Beware the celebrity who refers to himself in the third person”.
Maybe the lovely Jemima, along with others who contributed to Julian’s bail, such as journalist John Pilger, film director Ken Loach and publisher Felix Dennis, two members of the British aristocracy, a Nobel Prize winner and an eminent academic, should have given the matter more thought before putting large sums of money – and trust – in a man who is clearly an unbalanced, self-righteous, narcissistic, egotistical prig.
Serves’em right, say I.
‘Life in The UK’
Since 2004, the British government has published a handbook which has been issued to all aspiring immigrants who wish to take up British citizenship.
Would-be ‘New-Brits’ have to thoroughly immerse themselves in the information provided by this handbook, as before they can be granted citizenship, they will have to pass a test based on it’s contents.
The government has recently announced that a new version of the handbook will come into force in April of this year, and there have been a number of changes including the now discontinued requirement for aspiring citizens to know how to claim hand-outs and benefits from UK social services.
Just think about this for a moment. Up until April of this year, nobody could be granted British citizenship unless they could demonstrate a thorough knowledge of how to go about claiming unemployment benefit, housing benefit, disability benefit, free medical care and all the other thousand or so hand-outs that are made as a matter of course to just about anyone who is smart enough to go to the right claim office and fill out the correct forms.
I kid you not. I have actually downloaded a copy of ‘Life in the United Kingdom – A Journey to Citizenship (Second Edition. Eleventh Impression 2011)’ and it is jammed full of useful information on how to become an instant financial burden on your new sovereign country.
There are whole sections devoted to housing, and benefits, with summaries that make statements such as:
‘Check You understand – How to get help with your benefits and debts…’
‘Homelessness – If you are homeless you should go for help to the local authority…The housing department will give advice on homelessness and on Housing benefit…’
‘Check you understand – Where to get advice about accommodation and a moving…What to do if you have problems with your neighbours…’
What a shame they are revising the handbook. I will be most interested to see what the new handbook has to say on these matters.
Maybe the government should just set up a help line which states something along the lines of :
‘Once you have been granted citizenship, just phone this number to kick off your new life of scrounging…’
They could co-opt the well-known ‘999’ number for this purpose… After all, free hand-outs to immigrants must take precedence over calling the emergency services…
In fact, the emergency services could be changed to one of those premium numbers and contracted out to an Indian call centre. That’ll stop all those winging bastards complaining about being being robbed, having their houses burnt down or suffering from a heart attack!
Woe is Poh (Part 2)
Yes folks, following my long piece last week, I can assure you that this story has a long, long way to run.
After the governor of one of the major Bangkok prisons announced that there was no way that Kamnan Poh could be transferred to his home province of Chonburi, due to lack of medical facilities there, the Corrections Department Director-General has now approved the request by the Kamnan Poh’s family to have him transferred from Rachatan Hospital (in Bangkok) to Chonburi Central Prison. The DG believed that security at the Chonburi prison is tight enough to hold inmates with over 30 years prison terms.
As for previous concerns that the prison does not have a health centre to care for sick inmates and that they have to seek medical care outside and might escape, the corrections department chief said that he did not believe Kamnan Poh could escape, as he is an old man with bad health.
The Chonburi criminal tycoon was transferred from Bangkok on Monday morning, escorted by commandos and police to prevent any unforeseen incident, and is now back in the womb of his family and under the protection of his loved ones.
I wonder when the esteemed Corrections Department Director-General will be placing the order for his new Ferrari?
I predict that within a year, Kamnan Poh will be granted a pardon and released from prison on the grounds of extreme age and ill health. We’ll be told that he only has “a few months to live”, but once back home, he will make an amazing recovery…
Shall we all pray for the pathetic, murdering little bugger?
Click here for this week’s collection of Mobi-Pics