Another week has flown by.
Lek has finally finished putting her homemade mosquito nets and curtains up and I must say it has made a huge improvement to our little house. Not only do they look quite nice, but as the sun comes directly through the windows in the afternoons where I am writing, I can now close the new curtains to stop the glare on my computer screens.
But the main thing is we no longer get any flies or mosquitoes inside the house. This is a big improvement from our former home where it was impossible to stop all the insect assaults on our bodies.
I have become immune to the itching that is normally associated with mozzie bites, but that didn’t stop the little buggers attacking me. There is a lot of deadly dengue fever around, and although I have already had it once, (I was hospitalised for a week), it doesn’t necessarily provide me with immunity against catching it again, and the next time I get it, it could be even worse – possibly fatal.
The kids went back to school on Monday. Ah… merciful peace and quiet for a few hours, although we did have a little problem with our 14-year old, Neung, on only his second day back.
I woke up last Tuesday morning to be told that Neung had ‘refused’ to go to school that morning!
“Because he wanted me to take him in the car, and I wouldn’t.”
We have a motorbike which he only uses for the school run – about ten minutes’ drive away, in the wilds of Pong.
(Yes… I know…14 year olds riding motorbikes… but ‘TIT’ – This Is Thailand – as they say.)
“Why did he want you to drive him?”
“Because he said he couldn’t take his homework with him on the bike,” Lek told me. She pointed to a plastic bag containing some artwork on a card he had produced the previous evening.
I looked at the bag and the card inside. It wasn’t very big and could easily have been tied to the back of his school rucksack, or simply hung from the handlebars.
“Yes I know,” she replied, “I told him so, but he has refused to take it on his bike.”
Now I rarely interfere between mother and kids but on this occasion I decided it was time to take some firm action. If he was allowed to get away with this, it will be the foretaste of things to come.
I went to his bedroom, where he was lying face down on his bed.
“Why haven’t you gone to school?” I asked him, angrily, in Thai.
He didn’t reply.
“Give me your telephone.”
He handed it over; then I unplugged the little TV I had given him a few months ago and carried it away with me.
Guess what? An hour later he came downstairs in his school uniform, picked up the plastic bag containing his homework and spoke to Lek, (in Isan dialect).
“He wants to know if he goes to school, will you give him his phone back?”
I looked at him and nodded.
Off he went, without so much as fumble as he attached the offending plastic bag on the back of his rucksack….
That evening, when he came home, his mother was out shopping. He came over and spoke to me in English.
“I’m sorry,” he said, with a sheepish grin, “for everything.”
I handed back his phone and TV.
Crisis averted… for now anyway…
A Stroll in the Park
The rain is still continuing to fall on most days, and it has restricted our afternoon visits to our local ‘field’ where we take our daily constitutional with our three dogs. It has either been raining or the ground has been too wet and slushy for us to walk on, and the dogs would make a mess when they came home.
However, we did manage a couple of visits, and as ever, the dogs went crazy. Here’s a few pics that I took this week.
Pencils Ready – Commence Writing…
The winter season of the Pattaya writing group has reconvened, and I am now making my weekly trip into town for a bit of ad-hoc writing. For the month of November, we are meeting in the condo of one of the group members, which is located at the far end (south) of Jomtien beach. This impressive condo is on the 28th floor and has some stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.
Eat your hearts out – all you poor folk having to wrap up and shiver in Northern Europe as winter approaches.
Heat – A movie review
A few days ago I finally got around to watching the much regarded 1995 ‘cops and robbers’ movie, “Heat.”
I’m not a particular fan of this genre unless it is really well done, but Heat has been on my list of ‘Movies to watch’ for quite a while. It received high praise from most critics and seemed to have some excellent credentials
Let’s face it, a movie starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, (two of my all-time favourite actors), along with John Voight, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman and many, many more, could hardly fail.
The film is a whopping 2 hours 46 minutes, but the time just flew by, leaving me begging for more.
Heat is undoubtedly one the definitive films of any era and although it was made twenty years ago, it hasn’t dated at all and is still eminently watchable. Okay, the cell phones may have been a little on the large side, but that aside, this movie could have been made last year.
Al Pacino as the hard-bitten cop on a mission and whose personal life is falling apart, and Robert De Niro – the tough, no-nonsense criminal genius – both play their parts to perfection.
These two towering figures of the silver screen are only seen together in two scenes.
The first meeting is about half way through the movie, when they enjoy a cup of coffee together. This is a classic confrontation between ‘good and evil’; with both of them acknowledging the unstoppable forces that drive them to do what they do. They even have a grudging respect for each other – given the different paths they have chosen in life.
The second time they meet is at the end of the movie when we watch the denouement of these two mesmerizing characters played out to the bitter end.
Pacino and De Niro are totally ‘on song’ in this film and Mann has written their parts in a way that allows them to excel in what they do best.
The supporting cast, with the likes of Kilmer and Voight (both villains), are a joy to behold and the movie is acted by an ensemble of actors taken from the best that Hollywood had to offer in the mid-90’s.
Of course, with Mann directing, there is plenty of violence, and a seemingly never-ending shoot-out scene ranks right up there with some of the greatest shoot-outs of all time.
To say any more about Heat would spoil the movie for those who haven’t yet seen it.
Even if you have, it is well worth another looksie after all these years.
Go get the DVD or download it. You will NOT be disappointed.
The Corruption Stakes – FIFA vs. IAAF
Honestly, if you tried to make up a story about these two august organisations – one governing the World’s favourite sport and the other governing one of the world’s favourite pastimes, athletics, you couldn’t have made it more implausible if you tried.
I have written much recently about the out-and-out corruption that has dragged FIFA into the gutter for decades, and now we find that something just as bad – or even worse – has been rearing its ugly corrupt head in the higher echelons of athletics.
A few months ago we were presented with the news from a German Newspaper that wholesale drug taking was rife amongst Russian athletes. If this proved to be true, it made a mockery of the results and medals that had been awarded at many world events, including the Olympic Games.
If that wasn’t bad enough, this week we learned that the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, (IAAF), a certain Senegalese by the name of Lamine Diack was under investigation by French prosecutors. It is alleged that he took payments for deferring sanctions against Russian drugs cheats.
This was following information supplied by the World Anti- Doping Authority. (WADA).
Hardly have we had time to absorb this shocking news about the former president, (who had been in that role for 16 years), we are now told that the President’s son and three other senior IAAF officials have also been charged with serious violation of code ethics relating to the cover-up of drug taking by Russian athletes.
The former President’s son was a former consultant to the IAAF and has been charged along with the former head of the IAAF anti-doping department, the former president of the All-Russia Athletic Federation, (ARAF) and a former chief ARAF coach for long distance walkers and runners.
The co-author of the report prepared by an independent commission which was set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency has states that:
“…claims of doping cover-ups, extortion and money-laundering in athletics will show a whole different scale of corruption, even compared to FIFA.”
Worse than FIFA?? Is that even possible??
I can’t wait to see what the full report says when it is made available to the public next Monday.
After a stellar career in athletics and sports administration, maybe our Seb Coe will live to regret seeking yet more fame as the new President of IAAF.
What an effing mess!