Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Head Gash is No Cash in Thailand


The other day, actually its been a few weeks ago but I've been too lazy to write about it, I returned home after a very long and exhausting day of work. I was in a bit of a bad mood as I had just found a pimple on my chin. Now I'm old, and so for me to get a pimple on my chin is kind of rare. The thing is, it's damn hot in Thailand this time of year. I mean damn in the literal definition like borderline hell conditions. Most days it's about 90 + and we have 70% humidity but it just won't rain! But, like an idiot, I play basketball and badminton nearly every day in the middle of the afternoon and drench myself with perspiration. So this time of year you see blemishes sprouting on everyone -- who can battle all this heat. I mean I get a facial treatment every weekend, but still my skin is not impervious to these zit fertile conditions.

Where was I? Coming home, and I got out of my truck and was sort of looking at my zit in the side mirror of my truck. Then my favorite little kid was hanging in the doorway of our building playing with the maid, she is partially terrified of the tall goofy Farang and partially loves to wave and say 'Hello' before hiding her face in her mother's bosom. She's only about 1 and a half or so, so just cute as a button. The maid was lowering the sun screen which guards the front door in the late afternoon and this screen, basically a pipe with a tarp attached, came down right in front of me and CRACKED me on the head.

I had no idea I was hurt until the baby started crying. "It's okay honey," I said, trying to joke with her and tease her into a smile; and I almost had her there when a big streak of crimson ran down my forehead and into my eye. "Ahhhh," I yelled, "WHAAAAA" she cried. Both of us scrambled for out rooms.

Now, I have a hard head. I've tested this fact far too many times in my rather idiotic and violent youth. But still I was a little woozy on my way to my apartment. BUT, this is Thailand so you think I could sue over such a thing, Americans I know you do, but think again. Here it is truly walker or customer beware and so common sense rules. I walked into the pipe, it sucks and it hurt like a pipe to the head, but it was really my fault so no pay out will be forth coming.

Oh well, take a look at the idiot's head.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Satit Kaset Bowling Over All Champion

Being a champion is much more than just winning, its about winning and being given a really cool trophy with a ribbon tied on it.
One week ago Satit Kaset International held their annual bowling tournament at SF Strike Bowl here in Bangkok. I felt good coming into the competition and developed a smooth swing which carried me to a 3 game combined score victory over several hundred other competitors. Because of this remarkable and awe inspiring achievement I have decided that all student and fellow teachers will need to refer to me next year as Master Bowler Ajarn Sim instead of simply Ajarn Sim. I believe that this is a title that better fits my current standing.
Now I would like address the one or two detractors to my title, a better term for them would be jealous competitors who failed to find a way to win, when they might say that the bowling tournament had strange scoring rules and this gave me an advantage. Okay it is true that this was a one ball competition, so no spares had to be attempted, and it is true that any even number of pens knocked down counted as a strike and any odd number counted as a spare, and it is true that I hit a number of 2 pen frames which were converted into strikes, but as they say what matters is not the rules or regulations, but adapting to and using these rules to secure a very cool trophy with a ribbon on it.
I am American, and what that means is very simple, "Just Win Baby" and then everything else is forgotten. I refer to what one of our founding fathers once said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Now I can't remember when Knute Rockne said this or even when he was the president, but I do believe in his wisdom. This quote has fueled my vision of competitive sport my entire life and that's probably why I will be polishing the trophy on my cabinet this weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Asia Books Brings in Those Who Hear


When I first starting re-writing the early chapters of Those Who Hear, a novel which actually was originally written in 1st person and I had to switch to 3rd person, it was at Coffee World in the Mall Bangkapi where I would work. I actually had no intention of publishing the story, but like an inventor who needs to tinker when there is nothing else to do, I found myself drawn to this old story and wanted to see if done correctly. In those days there was a shoe store across from Coffee World, but I usually sat on the railing which faced out across the vast exhibition hall of the mall. Here everything from cars to Chinese food might be being sold on any weekend and the variety of products and the lovely ladies who demonstrate those products was always creative inspiration.Now Those Who Hear is a published novel and I live far from this mall and make it there very rarely, so of course a fabulous new book store has come in across the hall. Of course Asia Books placed an order for THOSE WHO HEAR last week and so I am very hopeful that this book finds a home, a very temporary one, on the shelves of this lovely new store in my old stomping grounds. If you visit Bangkapi, please visit Asia Books new store and while you are there, pick up a copy of THOSE WHO HEAR. If they don't have it, DEMAND IT be ordered! Of course they should also have a copy of ECHO POOL in stock and if they don't, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Douglas Adams Birthday Today


My good friend Speedy brought up the fact that today would have been Douglas Adams' birthday, only his 56Th. He died far too young. If you click on the title you can go to his website and read all about him. He was known as a great speaker, but without a doubt will always be remembered for his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. I loved the books, and laugh every single time I hear the opening song of the movie. So long and thanks for all the fish Douglas!

Douglas Adams, photo taken from his website.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Review for ECHO POOL

Tom White, on the far left, is pictured here during an opening event in Aceh Indonesia. He is the acting chief there in charge of CHF which is rebuilding the infrastructure of this tsunami devastated island.
Tom had this to say about ECHO POOL:

Hi Sim, I am really enjoying reading Echo Pool...at about page 160 or so, as Duke is about to walk out on Arraya. Its a nicely structured novel, and hits home about a story that is unique but close in some ways: the expat overseas, pondering the past, experiencing the right now, love, friends, trying to make way. There's also a piece of Americana in it, somehow the oddities of how we grew up in high school, the father and grandfather frontier experience...a lot in the mix told directly and simply. It makes me ponder things...

Thanks so much Tom for your support of my writing and for the hard and dangerous work you are doing in Indonesia. Openings like the one pictured above are probably the biggest reward you get for such a difficult job.

Nike Shoes are JUNK

I have purchased two pair of Nike shoes in the past year, one for badminton and one for basketball. I really can't believe how much more I paid for these shoes, especially considering the no-name brand shoes I'd bought before lasted twice as long. I am not a name-brand guy anyway, in fact I won't wear any shirt or slacks that shows the name of the company who made it -- what am I their spokes model? But I used to think with Nike you were getting a good value, boy was I wrong. This basketball shoe split like this after about 12 games. Which means I paid $9.16 per game for these gems. I can't believe the lack of value!
Sadly my badminton shoes, which are not pictured here, also split like this and it happened after only about 9 games. I think I'm done with the swoop! The imitations and copy shoes are just a much better VALUE!
Cheap Chinese shoes may not look as cool, but they work fine for me and they last a lot longer than these expensive American shoes which are made in China anyway.