Mobi-Babble – 30th August, 2015

azzy

 

Mobi- Babble

“Azzy” – It’s done!

Believe it or not, I’m finally finished – all 68 chapters and 128,000 words of it. After two long months of trawling through my novel, line by line no less than five times, I now feel that there is little more I can do to improve it.

It took two full months – twice as long as I thought it would, even working 6 – 10 hours a day. There is no doubt that editing a book – especially one’s own work – is a long and difficult task.

I don’t doubt that there will still be the odd typos, grammatical errors and bad /superfluous phrasing, but I have decided it is time to call it a day. Certainly flicking through the text at random, it all looks pretty good.

So now it’s over to my book promoters to see what they can do with it. Their job is to get it out to the reading public through social media and by whatever other means they consider appropriate. Fingers crossed that this time I can sell a few.

As soon as the book is published and available on Amazon and other eBook platforms, I will let you know.

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Sporting Successes

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, after pouring over my computer for umpteen hours a day editing my novel, I have been pleasantly distracted for the past week or so by watching the world athletics championships from Beijing every evening.

This is probably the first major sports event I have watched for quite a while, and it has been extremely relaxing and enjoyable – even more so as the Brits have been doing so well – in fact – their best ever in this particular competition.

Sadly, the heavy cloud of illegal drugs and doping hangs over any athletics event, and I wonder how long it will be before some of the recently applauded winners are stripped of their medals.

It was particularly disturbing to learn that no fewer than  60 former drugs cheats who have served their bans were participating in these championships. In the men’s 100 meters final alone, no less than three of the athletes lining up were former drugs cheats, and quite a few of the Jamaican athletes – men and women – who garnered a host of medals, were former cheats.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the meet was Usain Bolt beating drugs cheat Gatlin into second place in the 100 and 200 meters finals – if there ever was a superstar of the modern era of athletics, it is Bolt.

Close behind Bolt in the hero stakes is Mo Farrah who incredibly won the 10K and 5K yet again. That is three world championships in a row he has won both events, to say nothing of the 2012 Olympics. None of his fellow runners competed in both events – only super Mo could do that … and win.

As a Brit, I also applaud Greg Rutherford who won the long jump, and of course, the wonderful Jessica Ennis-Hill who won the heptathlon, only 13 months after giving birth. Both these athletes repeated their Olympic gold successes in London.

Lovely Jubbly….

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I also very much enjoyed watching the fourth cricket test match against Australia, where not only did England regain the ashes but also skittled the Aussies out in the first innings for 60 runs.

We won’t talk about the fifth test match….. but it was a dead rubber after the 4th match – job done!

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The Health Saga

I completely forgot about my hospital appointment a couple of weeks ago, what with attention being devoted to editing. I have rescheduled for the end of September, although quite frankly, I fear there is little more that the good doctor can do for me.

There is no doubt in my mind that my chronic stomach condition is caused by anxiety and stress. Short of prescribing some even more powerful anti-depressants, (which will turn me into a zombie), the only thing that will help my condition is to find a solution to my financial problems.

As I wrote recently, my stomach was near perfect during my trip to the UK as I stopped worrying and resolved to enjoy my holiday with my family. As soon as I returned to the reality of life in Thailand, with a wife and two lovely kids to support – and my money running out – the constant stomach pains and daily bouts of diarrhoea started up once again.

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It’s A Boy!

No – not mine…

Congratulations to a good friend of mine, whose wife had a lovely baby boy last Wednesday in Bangkok Pattaya hospital.

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View from 12th floor, Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital
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Lek in mother and son’s room
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In the lift…!!!

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Where is the Thailand I used to know?

Thailand is becoming quite an unappealing place to live, although I cannot really contemplate moving anywhere else as that would involve leaving my family behind.

The bullshit in Thailand just seems to get worse and worse by the day – or is it me getting old?

Not a day goes past when I don’t read the latest Thai news and throw my hands up in despair. There are so many things wrong with Thailand these days, and in today’s blog, I will take by far and away the biggest of the country’s problems – corruption.

I really do believe it is getting worse. Last week, I wrote about the ‘Mother of  All corruptions’ the $20 billion rice scandal. This week I will just mention a few corruption stories that have been in the news just during the past couple of weeks.

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Digital for Analogue?

A former secretary-general of the House of Representatives was engaged in corruption when he prepared a 15 million Baht project to replace analogue clocks at Parliament with digital ones.

Apparently he violated criminal laws. There are also nine other government officials who have also been found guilty in this case, and they have been punished by a 2-to-4-per-cent cut in salary!!!

Is it me, but what with Thailand’s faltering economy and many urgent projects on the government agenda, do we really need to know the time in digital format rather than analogue format?

Let’s face it, every man and his dog have their heads glued to smartphones all day long – where they can immerse themselves in digital clocks till the cows come home.

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The Infamous Klong Dan wastewater-treatment plant

The Government will have to pay more than 9.6 billion Baht in compensation to a consortium over the corruption-plagued Klong Dan wastewater-treatment plant, which was cancelled when it was 98% complete.

The project was mired in irregularities, including the sale of land to the department for the project at a highly inflated price. The department decided to scrap the contract and accused the consortium of  fraud.

This corruption case has been going on since the mid-1990’s and it has taken some 20 years to complete its passage through the Thai courts. Along the way, the Criminal Court ruled in Nov 2009 that the deputy interior minister and 10 other defendants including consortium executives had colluded to sell public land to the department in order to fraudulently secure rights to the project.

The minister was sentenced to 10 years in jail for bribing officials to obtain the land.

 

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There I woz – digging this ‘ole…

A large hole has appeared on Pattaya Beach promenade which came close to causing a number of tourists to disappear into the bowels of Pattaya earth…

The 1-meter wide by 2-meter deep hole appeared in the promenade opposite Pattaya Police Station and has exposed a major problem with the entire promenade which has been poorly constructed. Recent heavy rain has washed away the foundations which consists mainly of sand.

Residents and visitors to Pattaya this year may recall the recent road disruption and chaos when the local authorities decide to chop down all the trees, build an additional lane on the road, and construct a brand new promenade along Pattaya’s beach Road.

Most of us old Pattaya hands knew that it wouldn’t be long before the whole thing started to disintegrate, but even I was surprised how quickly the holes started to appear. The present hole is by no means the first, and certainly won’t be the last.

The only reason this work was carried out was to put corrupt money into the hands of countless officials, and their contractor friends. The old promenade with its shady palm trees and benches was perfectly acceptable.

For some strange reason The cost of this project is a closely guarded secret….

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Roller Derby?

A member of the Pattaya council has complained about safety rollers which have recently been installed on some of Pattaya’s roadsides at a cost of 10 million baht. They are supposed to protect pedestrians from cars which may lose control.

The official claimed that the rollers had been purchased by Pattaya officials and were very expensive and completely useless. He added that there was corruption involved. (really???)

He said that the Traffic Engineering section of Pattaya had asked for a budget to purchase the safety rollers to be installed on the road near the railroad. The congress rejected the request and said they are too expensive and didn’t believe that they would reduce accidents. However, ‘somebody’ pushed the project forward until the budget was approved.

Dear oh dear…

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The Tax Man Commeth… and Go-eth…

Several state tax officials will have their assets confiscated in relation to a corrupt 4.3 billion Baht tax-refund case. 

The anti-corruption panel has frozen 179 million Baht worth of gold owned by a former Revenue Department Head and two other officials from the same department.

The three officials’ assets were frozen as a result of inquiries by two anti-corruption panels. A source stated that the Revenue Head’s assets amounted to 600 million Baht. ($20 million)

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The Never Ending Jet-Ski Saga

Pattaya officials were warned by the Indian government that the city faces a boycott by Indian tourists if it doesn’t put an end to Jet Ski scams once and for all.

The Pattaya Deputy Mayor chaired an emergency meeting called on Aug. 7 after government ministries forwarded letters from India and other countries complaining of continued extortion and intimidation by Jet Ski operators which Pattaya City Hall has repeatedly failed to regulate.

The Ministry of Interior in India has reported that their nationals have continually been ripped off and scammed by Thai Jet Ski operators. Officials urged Pattaya to cooperate with a Thai-Indian bilateral committee and disclose which, if any, of the many promised regulations actually have been enacted or enforced.

The head of the Tourist Police Division in Pattaya said that taking matters to Pattaya Police at the Soi 9 headquarters may not be help. He said victims that have come to the Tourist Police have complained they first went to Soi 9 and were ignored.

As far back as 2011, the Pattaya Mayor said Pattaya’s police are part of the problem, with corrupt officers assisting scammers in extorting money from tourists and earning some of the profits.

So? – Tell us something we don’t know….

 

 

 MAB mini pic