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The Great old man sick

Wife's Grandpa was sick and came down from Myanmar to see a doctor. Apparently, Myanmar hospital's reputation was not very good. There is often no electricity and sanitation is at the most basic level.

My wife and her family thinks its a common cold or flu. I saw him and pulled my wife aside and told her frankly that I feel something is not right. I am a bit experience in this matter as my own father had passed away with kidney cancer. I have this gut feeling that he might have contracted cancer too.

We took him to the local town hospital in Maesai. The doctor said he had severe infection in his stomach due to an operation 3 years ago for his gallbladder stone.. Alamak.. want to smoke people also dunno how to smoke properly. He's clueless!! His suggestion was to transfer him to the former hospital who operated him. (Taichi 108 style liao) . We obliged happily anyway as he won't be able to help him much anyway.

We took off in an ambulance to a bigger hospital in Chiang Rai. Wife and baby did not go. Only wife's brother and I accompanied Grandpa. At the hospital, he was immediately admitted to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). His blood pressure was only 80/40. The doctor (who speaks quite good English) informed me that as Grandpa has mild diabetes, he needs to be monitored carefully.

After diagnosis with X-rays and blood test. Bad news. It seems that grandpa does have a severe infection in his old operation wound. But the cause is unknown. His condition is worsen as the infection has spread to his kidneys and bladder. The case was more complicated as his kidney is now failing due to his diabetes. Good news is that all this can be controlled but there is one thing in the blood test the doctor said is very bad news. His white blood cells count is way up high. 7 times the normal. He mentioned it might be due to sceptic shock which makes the body produce more WBC. So next day, after Grandpa stabilised, another blood test was taken and again, 7 times the normal.

The doctor informed me that this is a symptom of Leukemia and asked whether I want to give him a thorough check (extracting his bone marrow). I discussed with my wife and decided to say no. Extraction is painful (a big needle is inserted into the lower spine or hip) and I already checked with the doctor. Even if the diagnosis is correct, they aren't able to do much as Grandpa is already 78 and he has diabetes.

So 2 days in ICU, grandpa is feeling better. We told only her sis and her younger brother about the possibility of cancer and we wept a bit. I could only advise them to spend more time with him.

We booked a personal car to ferry them back to Keng Tung. Wife and baby is going to tag along and spend a few days there. Not a very good month indeed. Puppy died and Grandpa sick.....

Some photos

Last few blogs are a bit serious and loads of text. I really prefer a picture or photo. Maybe because I am a photographer?? hehe

Anyway, nothing new but more photos of my baby. Think this is one of the series that has my picture on it (oops). By the way, the little boy in red hat beside girl girl is her cousin Ah Chai (younger sister's son).

No More Unlimited Visa Runs!

This might not ring a bell in most Singaporean friends. I need to explain what a visa run is. :)

Visa run in Thailand is that any foreigners who came into Thailand via Visa On Arrival (VOA) are given a 30 days entry permit. Once the due day is upped. You could just go to a nearby border (like Maesai or Cambodia). Exit the country for a day and come back in on the same day and get another 30 days on your passport.

The thai law used to state there is no limits on this visa run. So basically, a lot of foreigners use this easiest and cheapest method to stay in thailand (I met a few in Chiang Mai who has done it for 3 or 4 years!)

So now the law has changes and was passed. On 1st Oct 2006. All VOA (Tourist Visa) will only be allowed to do a visa run for 3 consecutive times. (90 days to be exact) After this, they need to leave the country and wait for 90 days before they could re-enter the kingdom.

The reason is that they want foreigners to apply the proper visa. But the citeria are strict and the process is a big hassle.

Now my problem is that since my wife is not a full Thai yet(and we can't get married under Thai law) and baby is still not a Thai citizen. I can't get the O Visa which is for marriage and dependent. (Very stupid isn't it? ) That's why I have been doing Visa Runs.

Two options are left for me.

1. Get a B Visa which is for buisness or work. Very tough and if I start my ow business, I need to find a Thai partner and he has to be the big share holder 51% - 49%
2. Wait for wife to get her Tang Dao (90% Thai) not sure when though after Thaksin left :(. while waiting, I just have to exit and leave the country and being forced to leave my baby girl alone with my wife for 90 days. (will miss her dearly)

I will be back in January (thats my max stay for 3 runs) and will try to apply for the O visa again.

Just like the sub-title of the blog "Lots of problems... no solutions...."

Lots of things to write. Previews.

I have many things to write about but currently, I found myself a bit taxed. Got some web projects going on and it take a lot of my time. Anyway, here's a little rambling on what I want to write (so my faithful readers can come back and check often... hehehe)

Here's a list of things I wish I have time to write
  • Heard GST in Singapore is going to be raised to 7%. There were a lot of debates on this topic currently on the blogsphere in Singapore. I would like to comment about it
  • Baby girl now can sit and play. Also got some funny incidents that I want to share
  • Unlimited Visa Run in Thailand is over, I could only stay in Thailand for 90 days and wait another 90 days before I could return.
  • Comparision of politics in Thailand and Singapore (Have a draft but no time to edit it)
  • More food in thailand!
  • Another interesting story about another character.
  • Thai woman and Burmese woman (whoo hoo!!!)
  • and etc
All of the above I will complete them. Now... back to website and global car exports.

I killed my puppy...

My puppy died! F**k myself for being so careless. Pookie (her name given by my wife) was playing on the main road herself(she is small and can crawl through a crack in the front gate.) I caught her and gave her a timeout in their cage. (She share a cage with her mum).

She was then whinning (she always whin when I punish her) all the time for half and hour and I ignored her. Only when she starts to stop, I went to the cage and saw her head trapped between the cage's door. I freed her but she was not as acitve as usual. I thought she was in shocked so I left her alone for a while. 15 mins later I checked on her and she was heaving breathlessly. I called my wife immediately. She went to the neighbour for help. The dear lady checked her and said she's quite ok, maybe in shock as there were no physical wounds. 10 mins later, I went to wash our clothes (the washing machine is just beside the cage) and saw her vommiting blood! We again called our neighbour and she and her husband said she is dying. Apparently, her throat was injured by the trapped cage.

A few minutes later, she passed away (all of us were with her till she left). I found a piece of white cloth and wrapped her remains. We then left to the open field near our house and buried her there.

We did cried a bit. Think Xinhui was crying because mummy is crying... Cindy however is still not sure what happened. A few more days and I think she will miss her baby. Really not in a good mood now.







有兴趣的朋友门不妨到百度去寻找一番。 让您的音乐世界更宽阔点。

My wife's grandpa is a gangster!

Hehe.. Sounds like a movie title but its true. My wife's family is actually in Keng Tung (Shan state of Myanmar). A lot of politcal refugees came from Myanmar in Maesai. Anyway, I will write more about her story in another post.

Her grandpa (mum's side) is now an old and religious man. Very very religious and quiet old man. Every morning and evening on the dot will pray in front of our family altar. He is around 78 years old now, can be plue minus 2-3 years older or less as they do not have birth certificate then. Although he is a bit senile, he's still very dilligent in his daily prayers. Physically, he is quite fit for his age and he always dress himself very well when in front of guest. He is also consider tall among Thai people (1.78m). Very well built man.

I was curious about his faith and his life. So I asked my wife about it.
My wife then proceeded to tell me about stories about grandpa which she heard bit and pieces from her aunt and mum. What an amazing life!

When granpa was 18 years old, the family was so poor that they could not afford proper clothes. In thai tribal customs, wearing clean and neat clothes mean you are good(very materialistic and face value). So naturally, her grandpa was not liked by most common people. His father had died of opium overdose (very rampant in those days) and his mum is the sole bread winner for the family of 6. Grandpa was the eldest of them and was still looking for a proper job to help ease the family's financial issues.

One day, while walking along the street. He was looking at a shop selling stuff and the owner chased him away (as he was not well dressed). On that day, he changed. He actually borrowed a parang from someone(not really a parang but more like a sycth) and proceeded to rob the shop. His first robbery.

He brought the money back to his mum and told her that don't worry about money and proceeded to rob more people. People starts to be afraid of him as he was very big in size and has a very serious face. He also gets into fights but normally is the winner. So after a few years, he actually became famous and was shun by other gangsters in the area. There was a story that 6 hooligans were making a lot of noise at night (apparently drunk) and her grandpa just went out and stared at them. The 6 hooligans left immediately!

At one time, a failed robbery landed him in jail. My wife's mum was only 12 when that happened. At first, both my wife's grandma and mum visit him almost once per week (20km walk leh). But after a few weeks. Grandpa became very good friends with the prison wardens. He was also a very good cook and moreover he was considered a bit more rich in the prison. He actually cooked for the wardens and they actually pay him money to buy ingredients to cook. He was also allowed to leave the prison to buy the ingredients and he actually went back home one day (imagine my wife's grandma face in horror as she thought he ran out). So for his 2 year term, most of the time he was outside the prison walls...

Later in some point of time, he managed to save enough money to start a gambling den! Yes and my wife's dad was actually the manager of the den hehehe(my wife also helped out in the den when she was 6 years old leh). This continued until the death of my wife's eldest brother. Grandpa was extremely sad and became very religious.

I did ask my wife, is it because he felt guilty of his brother's death as he did a lot of bad things. My wife think that is highly possible and also, he is getting old and he kinds of regrets the things he had done in the past. Thus, he could only pray everyday to seek redemption.

Very interesting character, don't you think?

French Hotchkiss 35/38

Its been some time I started to build military models. Here's the first one I had build recently in thailand. Its a French pre WWII light tank. Build from the box and with heavy weathering. (Tracks are muddy and tank is dirty)

You may also wish to read up on the history of the tank here.

Nearly killed by PAP MP.

I was chatting with an old friend in msn messenger. We were talking about politics in Singapore and some interesting observations we have on our MPs. During this little chat, I kind of recalled that I had a near "accident" with one of our MP (cabinet level some more leh)
Promised my friend to blog the details here. So here goes :)

If I remember correctly, it was 2003 or 2004, I can't tell the exact date but it happened in Tampines East Community Centre (or club). Our club, NAAPL was invited (or actually paid) to perform a welcoming lion dance for the guest of honour. Sure enough, the guest of honour is none other than Mah Bow Tan (short form to MBT). We came early as usual and waited for him to come. As one of our member stays nearby in Tampines, he wish to purchase a mah-jong table for us to go to his house to play. We then heard there is some delay and the guest of honnor MBT will be late.

My friend and I decided to go around the neighborhood shop to look for the mah-jong table. Found a shop that sells it and we kind of discuss whether can fit into his car. Hehehe.

We then proceed back to the Community Centre. My friend was walking on the pavement, while I was walking on the road that leads to the lobby of the CC. Out of nowhere suddenly, a Toyota SUV (Harrier I think) suddenly appeared out of the corner, (my back is facing the car and I heard the approaching car) I jumped to one side and the car brake (almost ebrake) He was doing more than 20km/h definitely and it was a curve road. I tried to look who is the rude and reckless driver but he step the gas and took off! My friend look at said, " I think that was MBT!" And we kind of realised we were to welcome him. We took off and reached the lobby and was confirmed that he was the one that nearly ran over me. We did not need to start the performance as he was ushered to a press room and talking to the journalists. I was of course, not very happy with the whole incident.

He should at least open his windows and ask if I'm alright. But I don't think he is gracious enough to do that. Bad experience. For those non-Singaporeans. An MP stands for Member of parliament and here's a link to the joker that nearly killed me.

The same joker is also involved in this Renaming Marina fiasco. :) And the worse thing is that I heard he is give $2billion to be in charge about Orchard Turn.

Breaking down the "Firewall"

I tred to refrain myself from posting technical and computer related stuff here. But recently, I was looking around for articles regarding the Thai's monach (King Buhmibol) and I got blocked by the Thai's firewall. I hate censorship (all types) , it a kind of mockery as no matter "evil " or nonsense is in the blocked site, I wish to read it and give my own judgment (not someone who filtered it and say its not good for you.)

Singapore itself has its own firewall. Basically, most of the sites that are blocked contains pornography materials (playboy, penthouse, etc etc), drugs and religious extremist. (try going into (partially blocked I heard) or watchtower one is rather interesting if not banned)

Anyway, its a stupid idea to block them as you can easily "unblock" them :) Here's how

Get this software from here. Known as TOR and follow the instructions from the website. Dont't worry about spywares or malwares. It has none as I am using it :). You can also download the software from here. What this software do is that it acts as a proxy and tries to resolve the name and ip from an external party (mainly somewhere out of the country). It also involves in privacy protection (you can read up on the website)

Just want to share this to all my friends. Happy surfing... Errr... try not to use this to go to hor... hehehe

Crackers, Spinners, Smokes and many many more!!!

I have already mentioned about firecrackers in my previous post. As there are many varieties of explosives here in Thailand(hehe). I decide to write about it here (since many Singaporeans my age or below may have never seen or play with them before. Surprisingly, crackers here are cheap. But basically its just a one time toy and you are actually burning money (explode and gone liao)
Here's some reviews of the stuff I bought and play with (mind you, these are just part of the armada, there are many many more varieties over here)

The picture on the left shows a rocket and its varient. Both does not create a bang sound but just whizzes when its in the air. The rocket on the left could reach 6 to 7m high hehe. The other one on the right spins like a helicopter and reaches a height of 2m. I saw some kids holding the helicopter in their hand and let it spin forward (which makes it travel much furthur).
Damage: 5 baht for rocket, 3 baht for the helicopter each
Fun Factor: 6/10 for rocket 7/10 for helicopter.

Bangers are basically like its name, it gives out a loud BANG. hehe Bangers are all shaped in long tubes like cigarettes and comes in boxes. One end of the tip has some abrasive ignition material (like a match stick) So what you do is like lighting a match, you struck it with another abrasive material to catch a spark. Then you throw the banger on the floor and it will give a loud bang.

The picture you see on the right, leftmost are 2 little bangers (shortest) , which gives only one bang. The middle is a double banger (2 BANGs cosecutively. And the largest is 5 Bangs consecutive with sparks. The sound emitted is really really loud (like a gun firing). The kids here love to play this as it is the cheapest.

Damage : 5 baht for a box a small banger (20 sticks!!), 5 baht for box of double banger (6 sticks), and 10 baht for the largest (box with 5 sticks)
Fun Factor: 4/10 for both banger and double banger, 6.5/10 for the large one as can see sparks...

The little bombs in plastic bag are cracker bombs. They make loud crackling sounds and a lot of sparks. The green big one is a smoke bomb. No sound but a lot of smoke (in this case green colour smokes) There are many colours to choose from actually. Both are places on the ground and ignited with a match or lighter. Some kids here (dangerous) likes to hold the cracker bomb in their hand and wait for the fuse to almost go out before thorwing high up in the air (to simulate a firework)

Damage: 5 baht for a bag of 5 cracker bombs, 3 baht for the smoke bomb each.
Fun Factor: 7.5/10 for cracker bomb, 4/10 for smoky

Spinners are fun to watch. You place it on the ground and ignite it with a match. It will goes spinning in circle with sparks (like a sparkler stick we play) but with much intensity. It also gives off a loud whizz. In the picture, the only one which looks like a string is another variant of spinner and more expensive. It is a spinner cum cracker! hehe Besides giving off sparks and spins, it crackles like a cracker bomb (very hard to describe with words)

Damage : 6baht for a pack of regular spinners, 3 baht for one crackling spinner.
Fun factor: 7/10 for regular, 8/10 for crackling

Magic shotguns are mentioned in my previous post before. A long tube which you hold in your hand, the other end of the tube consists of a fuse. you light the fuse and point the tube up in the air. Shots of colour sparks will shoot up into the sky and explode(like a mini flare) In this picture, you see shotguns with different amount of payload. (The metal ruler is a 15cm scale to let you gauge how long is the tube. The amount of payload is (from shortest) 5, 10, 20 and 60shots Whoohoo!!

Damage: 5 baht for 5 shots, 10 baht for 10 shots, 15 baht for 20 shots and 30baht for the 60!
Fun Factor: Overall 8.5/10

Last but not least, Basic Fireworks!

I bought the cheapest among the fireworks. This is the rocket firework or in chinese, 冲天炮. Basically, you plant the stick on some soft soil or ground, light it up and RUN.. hehehe the fuse will go 5 sec and a loud whistle will follow. The rocket with fly off into the air and explode into mini sparks and crackles. The little ones already pack a punch, could fly up to 15m and as loud as a normal banger. The bigger one also flys about the same distance but the whistle is much louder and will give our a bang and mulitiple crackles. (combination of a banger and crackler bomb). There are bigger ones but errrr.... wify not very happy liao...hahahah

Damage: 10 baht for a bag of 10 small ones. The big one cost 10 baht EACH (ouch!)
Fun factor: 8.5/10 for small one (especially fun with you manage to consecutively ignite 3 of them in one go) 9/10 for the big ones.

Loy, Loy Krathong! (Part 2)

After making our lantern. We went back home to rest as it will be very hectic in the night. Evening arrives and we had a simple dinner. I took some time off to take some pictures of our village party while my wife and baby prepares for the night. Click on picture below to see a photo blog.

Came back and we took off to the main road for the parade. Wife was with her friend's car. While I took the bike. Freaking crowded and we spend more time navigating through the roads rather than watching the parade.

After the parade, we went to collect our Loy Krathong from her friend's house and set off to the canal. At the canal, we took some time to walk around (there were lots of makeup stalls selling food, lanterns and other novelties) and bought more firecrackers and a big balloon lantern. After the final shopping went down to the bank to release the lantern. Before we release, we are suppose to close our eyes and say all the bad things (like confession) that we had done to the river or water into the lantern. After that, we release the lantern into the water and look at it till it leaves our sight.

Reached home and set the balloon off. Quite fun actually, have to wait for the hot air to fill the balloon up. After that is firecracker time! Yeah. Set loads of them off and Girl girl was transfixed by the lights and sounds (never cry leh!) hehehe.

Loy, Loy Krathong! (Part 1)

First, if you wish to know more about the festival. Check out here.

Xinhui woke up early as usual and we prepare ourselves for the day. Normally people already built their lanterns a few days before, but as wify promised a friend to build it together on the actual day. Thus the last minute rush. hehe. After dressing up, we proceed to the market to get the materials.

The usual lantern is made up of a round base (trunk of a palm tree). With flowers and leaves decorating it. We bought one medium size base (cheap cheap lah), flowers, pins, plastic pegs, candles and banana leaves. Its also in the market that we found the firecrackers (hehe).

We arrive at her friend's house and the whole household was involve in building their own little lanterns.

The base was covered in banana leaves and we folded little triangles of banana leaves to decorate around the circumference and top. Pins and decorative plastic pegs are used to hold the decor in place. Simple handi-craft. But loads of fun when you do it together. Sharing tips and comparing styles. Girl girl at first, seat quietly on Mama's lap before started to throw her temper. (干打雷,不下雨). Both of us have to take turns carrying her and make the lantern.

Anyway, here's the final product.

There are also lanterns made of cakes or paper oragami. But the one above is the traditional northern thai Loy Krathong. More to come in Part 2!

Toys you don't see in Singapore. (updated)

Its Loy Krathong in Thailand. Every kids here are playing with crackers or building their own lotus shape lantern floats to be released in water. I will cover more on the festival in my next post. This one touches more on firecrackers. Hehe

As you can see in the picture, there are 3 common crackers played by people here. For those around my age or older. You should recognise the sparklers and "Pop Pop".

The longtube (like a pencil) is the most shiok one. Its called "Magical Shotgun". Once lit, you held the end and it will shoot 5 sparks (or flares) up into the sky. Each shots comes with a different colour. Wife told me that she used to play a 30 shots (bloody long tube) when she was a kid. hehe .. Would really want to get hold of that!

Cost of the Sparklers and the tube of magic shotgun is 5 baht each. Pop Pop whole box is 10 baht. Dirt cheap and there are more varieties. Will buy more and test all of them. Haha. Too bad Singapore had banned these harmless explosives.

It also makes me wonder whether the new generations of kids in Singapore will ever know about these toys beside their TV or computer games. To me, all toys are a bit dangerous in certain areas. Firecrackers can be safe too if the adults are SUPERVISING. The thing is most parents just buy a toy and shove it into the kid's hands and forget about it. Things happened and they blame the product.


Went to the market this morning and found a shop selling all the firecrackers (see above pic) can see the round shape thingie and boxes on the top shelves?? Those are real fireworks!! Price range from 180 to 300 baht (the big fat one cost 280 though). I drooling with glee liao. But wife stare at me (give me the look) so did not buy any of those big ones. :(

Anyway, stock up on the mini "explosives" heheh.. Will post more pictures and maybe review them in another post. Back at a friend's place to work on our lantern.

Its Getting Cold!

One thing I really like about staying in Maesai is the weather during the autumn
and winter season. I woke up this morning at 5.30 am (my norm is 6.30am though) and check the tempreature.

hehehe. Shiok man! Its still humid though but it will get dryer once it hits late December. The best time to come to Northern Thailand is actually in late January till March. This period, the daily tempreature should be 24 degrees in the afternoon (now still hot, about 30 degrees in the afternoon).

Anyway, the sun was dawning when I woke up. So took a photo of the dawning sun in front of my driveway.

And here's one photo with my house properly exposed. Can spot the satellite dish??? hehe


I have a dog (type is Si Shi). Actually, its my wife one lah. I never agreed with her on that purchase (long story) but now since wife got baby. I took most of the time taking care of her. (Bath, Groom, Feed and of course, clearing the poo)

My dog got pregnant recently (see this old post for more info) and we had no idea who is the father (see here for some explanation too)

Anyway, Cindy gave birth to 4 lovely black puppies (3 girls, 1 boy) on 26 Sept 2006 on her own. Here's 2 photos of the event. Could not catch all 4 puppies at same time as Cindy was very very protective of them. She would growl at anyone near her newborn babies.

After a month, the puppies are a bit nuisance. They cried a lot and shit and peed everywhere. So I told my wife we better start giving them out. We had an argument about that as I wanted to give all the pups away while my wife wants to keep one. My reason is mainly I do not have the time to take care of 2 dogs. Moreover, 2 dogs means more shit for me to clean.

At first, my wife relented and decided to give all the dogs away. On 28th Oct (recently only). My wife's friend took 2 of the pups away. So now only left 2. Cindy was quite upset for the next few days. And my wife keeps nagging me that we should keep one. I relented after feeling quite bad for Cindy and decided to keep the male. The other female is going to be taken away soon by the Ah Ma next door (the one with 12 dogs), she said her friend is looking for one and would like to keep it.
I kind of regret not taking some photos of all 4 puppies while they are around (no time really). So I quickly snapped the last 2 as a momento that the boy (still no name yet) has 3 sisters.

Puppies are fun to play with, but their shit and pee is really a nuisance :P