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Baby Sick again

There's an outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease here in Maesai and all the schools are closed for the week. Not sure how Girl caught the disease but I guess its at the carnival where lots of kids were playing.

Anyway, she developed the rashes from her feet first and now spreads to the mouth and hands. Saw the first doctor (at night and wife a bit panicky again) and the clueless joker gave anti-biotic. Errr... I am not a doctor but I do know that Amoxycilin is for bacterial infection, not viral. Next morning, we went to the larger clinic and this doctor is more informed. Explained to my wife the anti-biotic is not necessary (actually she already convinced by me liao) and ways to make her feel better.

Guess I might not be writing much for the week. The thing will last for a week and girl seems restless. A bit worried on she will get dehydration as she had difficulty in swallowing. Doctor did said ice and cold stuff will help so lucky girl now have ice-cream everyday liao... :P

New Project

I am actually planning to start another blog more on history and philosophy. Most of the things that I would write on this new blog would be personal experiences.

For historical part. Historical texts or books that I have read that I wished to share. With my own opinions on how I perceive these events. I enjoy history since my Secondary days and I still do now, so I guess its just another way of archiving what I have read. The Internet itself is a big repository of historical information. (Just that I need to really filter out the facts and fictions)

On philosophy, it will be mostly based on religious views and texts (ready to be bashed liao) and interesting human behaviours that I have observed till now. I am no Plato or KongZhi (Confucius). But just my own personal philosophical view of the world that I wished to share.

I am still thinking of a good name for the new blog. And will update here once its up.... :)

Being Gracious

Just want to follow up a bit on Javert's post on a gracious society. His post lets me ponder, how do we define being a gracious society??

For me, I think its easier to just list some of my ideas of being a gracious society. And its not really a big list at all.

1) Be responsible for their own actions in the public. (Eg, If you smoke or wants to sneeze, make sure you are away from another person etc)
2) Be kind and thoughtful to all the people around you (sincerely, not face value)
3) Be polite when we talk or converse.
4) Be helpful to those who are in need of help.
5) Obey the law, rules or conditions.

I think just the 5 points above should be enough to be a gracious society but its easier said than done.

When I was young, we still talk to our neighbours and called them Auntie or Uncle (like Kampong). The main wooden door of my house is always opened unless at night and sometimes the gate is not lock when my sis and I went out and play with the other kids in the same block. Nowadays, people go back to their flats and locked their doors and gates. We are taught by our parents and teachers in school to be polite and respect the elders. My father and mother always set a good example to me by being polite to anyone we meet, giving up their seats on the bus to the elders or those who need it more than we do (and explain to us why we need to do it) What happened to the good old days?

Why is that so? What's happening to us?? Is our education really a failure? I'm sure those same values were taught by the parents of these "current" adults in Singapore. Like Javert did mentioned, if the adults don't set an example, our next generation will just be the same (or worse) than us. There must be another reason for this change. Is Singapore over crowded as a reason??

I think overcrowded may be a viable reason as its seen here in Thailand. People here in Maesai are more friendly and gracious than those in Bangkok. Rural people are warm and really really sincerely helpful. That's why I like it here (I hated Bangkok). So now our gahment really want 6 million people crowded on an island......

Baby & Rice

Girl eating rice from a huge spoon...

The Carnival

Every year in Maesai, there's a big carnival at the Chinese Temple near the main road and it attracts a lot of people (espeically from Burma Thachilek or Keng Tung) to come and play. There are rides, games, live bands, Bingo and food and drinks. The carnival lasts for 2 weeks and we already went there twice. It opens at night and we need to pay 20 bath per pax for the entrance fees.

Girl is older so we allowed her to take on some rides. She did enjoyed herself on the Merry-go-Round and mini-Train ride. But was not too happy on the Ferris Wheel with Mummy. Not sure why but I don't think she's afraid of heights, maybe its a bit boring going round and round... Wife is actually enjoying more from the dart games and Bingo (got prizes leh). There's also a rock concert at the back which you need to pay to get in but we never bothered. But seriously, this year's carnival was better compared to last year. More new rides and games are spotted.

And there is this funny show (more like a display) that we paid 10 baht each pax to see. A kid with his head on the table while we can't see the rest of his body. hehehe. Wife did asked the boy whether he's comfortable and he nodded. Not a bad idea to earn some money from a simple illusion. And they did it quite well too. I was sneaky and took a picture while no one was looking... heheheh

Cost of seeing a doctor in Thailand

I have a lot of things to write but have been busy lately as wife is sick. Some of my friends had asked me how cheap and good is the medical facilities in Thailand. So this time, I took the opportunity of showcasing how they price the fees here.

Do click on the image to see a bigger scanned picture of the reciept. I had removed my wife's name as its not relevant. Anyway, the clinic we went to is the largest PRIVATE clinic in Maesai and it has a bigger hospital (about the size of Changi General hospital) in Chiang Rai. Of course since its private, we are expected to pay more for the consultation and drugs. Anyway, the total cost is 524 baht. About 25 dollars in Singapore. The breakdown is very interesting as you can see. Consultation itself is 30baht!! which is less than 2SG. Scary. Drugs wise, a bit more expensive as wify had a serious infection and need an injection plus 3 different types of pills for her to take. If I remember correctly, once you have an injection in Singapore, normally the price would be around $30 for public Polyclinics (that's 2 years ago when I experienced that, not sure about the price now). So normally, without any injection, the price range would be 150baht to 350 baht (depending on the drugs issued).

But here's the interesting thing, even if I am the one (a foreigner) going to the same doctor, I will be charged 30baht for the consultation too. And I still pay the same price for the drugs. If I go to the public hospital in Maesai (there is one but bloody long queue). All I need to pay is 30 baht and a heavily subsidized price for my drug (more than 50%). If you are a Thai citizen. Lagi best as you only need to pay 30baht for the consultation while drugs are totally FREEEE. Yes FREEEE!

So I pay cheaper price but do I get better service?? Well, there's a bloody playground for my girl and other kids at the clinic (slides and swings) and big sofas and television at the waiting room. No air-con but nice ceiling fans. The clinic we went is actually a huge 2 storey building with their own X-ray machine, blood test rlab, EKG machine and a CT machine. Yes, a CT machine(multi-slice some more) in Maesai and I've checked the price. 64 multi slice CT full body scan cost 999baht (45SGD). Wat lau, I'm getting one liao..... :P

The Invisible Lines

I managed to convince my Ang Mo friend (Mr G) to exercise more often by taking a walk. So for the pass few weeks. On and off, If I am not running for the day, I would join him in his walk around the neighbourhood.

Today, we had an interesting experience. We decided to take a walk to the nearby Friendship bridge just a km away from our house (yup, its that close). This bridge is already constructed but there are many constructions still going on at the entrance of the bridge. Mainly the immigration checkpoints and custom houses. We walked straight into the compound and none of the security guys stopped us. Maybe because Mr G is a farang :P. Anyway, there were two pathways in the construction site to the bridge. We took the nearer one which is on the left and head on to the bridge. Again, no one stopped us. All the people we saw were construction workers. No immigration or border police at all. Closer to the bridge was a custom house (like those we see in Woodlands or 2nd link in Singapore. And we could see the bridge from where we stand.

Feeling adventurous on how far we could go before being chased off. We crossed the semi-constructed immigration building and went straight to the bridge. On the bridge, we met a guy on bicycle that told us we could not go any further. We thanked him for the information and he left. This left 2 of us alone on the bridge! And its wide open (no barricades at all!). I looked at Mr G and smiled. He smiled back and we crossed the bridge... Maesai River (the border) was just below us. We stopped at the other end of the bridge anf officially, we were in Thachilek, Burma without any passports. hehehe. We actually wished to continue but we saw a Burmese guard sitting about 60m away from us. He didn't noticed us so we decided its enough and headed back. On our way back, we took the right path this time as we already took the left path. We were chatting on why there are no border police or immigration officers at all?? We were speculating that maybe today is a public holiday (Teacher's day in Thailand) so maybe all at home?? Well, just when we were joking about it, we saw some containers (make shift offices) on the path we were walking and discovered it was the immigration office!! We walked pass but an officer came out and questioned us where we are going. So we just told him that we were just touring around and he just left us.. haha.. He seemed a bit puzzled why we walked out from Burma to Thailand...

Anyway, its an interesting experience and reminds me of something too. Yanni the famous composer also said this before. An astronaut was in space, looking at our beautiful earth. He tried to spot a country and could not do it. Something was missing and he learn what is missing, the "lines" that supposes to be borders were missing. :) All these artificial lines are made by us. There are no lines in the beginning and we made these "lines" to differentiate ourselves, while humanity all along is the same.

Thachilek Trip

My Ang Mo (farang) friend asked me whether want to go to Tachilek for a day trip. He needs to cross over to get some jewelery from his supplier so I agreed. We park our bikes near the border and this time we cross over in VIP style. Made 2 copies of our pass port and placed a 100baht on top of them with our real passport. The custom took our passport and stamped a VIP pass on one of the copies and passed back to us. Over at Tachilek, we paid the $10 US day pass and within 15mins from our house, we are in another country.

How should I describe Tachilek? Its a bit run down but I actually felt its market is more vibrant and heretic. Of course, Tuk tuk drivers and fake cigarette peddlers keep on bothering you. So have to learn to ignore them. Sometimes, its so fustrating that you feel like punching them (especially the cigarette peddler which keeps on haggling you even though you politely told them that we do not smoke.)

We head down to his supplier to settle his work first and he spend about half and hour over there. We then proceeded to get some DVDs. Not bad man, the shops are opened again. There was a big raid last month but now it seems everything is back to normal. Bought some and continued to jalan jalan a bit. Ang Mo friend told me about a shop that sells all funny stuff from China. We went and found some interesting items over there. I bought a Head light magnifying glass for myself. Pretty cool. Basically its like a hat that has a torchlight with two clips in front. You could then attached the magnifying glasses on the clips. Very useful for my miniature modeling. And it only cost 500baht. Very happy.

We then shop for clothes for baby and wife. The range of clothing is quite similar to Maesai as most of them came from China anyway. But the price is a bit cheaper over here though. After the shopping, we were supposed to look for a nice restaurant that my Ang Mo friend saw when he visited last time. But we found out that it has closed. So we had Islamic food instead at a corner. Pretty good Nasi Ayam and the price is same as Maesai (consider expensive in Burma liao).

After lunch, walked a few more and headed back to the border and crossed over. Not bad for a half day trip. :P

Back to normal..

Basically some of my closer friends are wondering whether the break-up with my wife is going to happen. Good to say that it is not going to happen for the moment (maybe it will). But who knows how the future would turn out??

Anyway, we talked things over and already more or less settled on a certain directions or things need to be done.

First, while waiting for her status to change. I think I am better off going back to Singapore to work. Basically, I would be back in Singapore to earn more money :P. Since without a proper status, we can't start a business at all (unless we use nominees) and for the moment, we had no idea what to sell anyway. Moreover, this kinds of solve the current Visa issues that I was having. At least since I spend more time in Singapore, I could easily just come back on VOA and do not need the Tourist Visa at all.

So I guess this period of time would be the last time I stay for long in Maesai. I already bought my tix which I would leave on the 29th Feb. If I was to return, I would most probably be back like for a week or 2 if I could get enough leave or offs for my job to spend some time with them over here. This is quite a hard decision but I think its a good one. Will be tough for me but somehow, after we made this decision, both of us(me and my wife) seems to communicate much better nowadays and the rift seems to be mending....

I guess I would be long term in Singapore until wify get her status or I have a complete solution for my VISA or employment in Thailand.

Hope for more better days to come and sorry for being lazy. Been busy watching DVDs that I just bought from Thachilek and spending time with my girl. hehe

Thailand in mourning.

Think most of you already knew from the news that the elder sister of Thailand's king HRH (Her Royal Highness) Princess Galyani Vadhana just passed away. The whole country is mourning and people are wearing either black or white everywhere.

As a foreigner here, I am in a bit of a culture shock regarding the Thai people and their beloved king. The recent birthday bash for the king feels more like performing a religious event rather than real partying or celebration. Its pretty scary as you cannot (even as a foreigner) critised the monarchy at all. So if you do say something disrespectful or even questions any issues regarding the monarchy to a Thai, the chances is that they will get offended is very very high.

I do like the King. He's smart, hardworking and genuinely concerned for the poor and I do believe most people who are critical about the monarchy are not actually criticising the king. Its the people who serves indirectly or directly in between the monarchy and the peasants are the one making the real trouble (the rich, powerful and noble people). And I do sincerely think they are the one controlling the country and how people should behave in front of the Thai royal family.

And its getting worst. Recently, a well known website was shut down by new laws imposed by the interim government. This all leads to an interesting thought for Singapore too. LKY (you know who) is like a King (more like Emperor :P ) and he too, are served by some middle people that is currently blinding him with false information. So maybe its not his fault for having the pay rise. (yeah right).. And another thing I wonder is there any Singaporean that pray and worship him (you know who) like the Thais do??

Trip to Wat Pa Kohm

This Wat or temple is a newly built temple in between Golden Triangle and Maesai. Its about 12km from where I stay and because wify said a famous monk will be there and lots of people would be there. Since I am trying to mend things with her, I agreed to bring her to the event today.

We already prepared most of the stuff the night before. Water, girl girl's milk and stuff and I filled up the petrol for our bike. It was quite a long trip. 20 mins on the bike as the max I dare to go was 60km/h. There were tons of Pick-ups or Swang Tiao ferrying people to the temple. We reached there and already there was traffic control. Wat lau, Ren Shan Ren Hai (flooded with people from Thailand, Burma, Lao and even Cambodia). We could only park the bike on the outskirt of the temple and proceeded to walk to the temple ground. The main building is still under construction and we have to climb to the top to pray pray and go to the huge tents next to the temple (see picture on the right). Got free food and its bloody delicious man. Maybe I was hungry but there were tons of volunteers cooking and giving water and stuff. We walked around and wify managed to meet tons of friends and relatives from her hometown. Baby was in sarong and curious about the whole procession.

We were about to leave when I noticed a big parade moving towards us at the main road. I told my wife to go to the road and wait as I think some VIP is coming. True, the famous monk that my wife came to pray pray was on a sedan carried by people to the main tent. hehehe.. so Wife very happy get to see her idol .. :P

Anyway, the way back was also heretic. The whole road was jammed with people leaving and more people coming. Took some time to get back onto the highway. Quite an interesting event but alas, forgotten to take my camera gear with me.... have to settle with my lousy phone camera...

The fearless baby

My girl is "fearless". Why do I say that?? Here's a list of things she's done or tried to do.

1) Jump from bed to floor. Succeeded to land on face. Cried and still doing it.
2) Front flipped somersault(almost) on her own.
3) Ride Bicycle even though fell from it before.
4) Burst a big balloon with her teeth. Looked stun at first but laughed later. (other baby cry liao)
5) Climbed the kitchen chair and fell. Got bruised and still doing it.
6) Climbed from the floor to sofa to the window grill. Slammed the window and nearly hit her fingers. Still wants to do it.
7) Tried to touch hot charcoal with her bare hands. (Never succeeded)
8) Run and fell so many times I lost count.... Especially when floor is wet and told her not to run.
9) Likes to hang upside down (by me holding her legs)

Think the list can go on more. She likes to try things and most of them are quite dangerous. A bit dare-devil for her age and she kinds of think that she has an invisible force field around her :P. And to make things worst is that she is lighting quick in her reflexes. Can suddenly run and change direction or grab something without you noticing. My house already had a collection of spoons from different restaurants which she grabbed before leaving. And she do know how to use tricks to get your attention away from her.

Now pray everyday some "God" protect my little bugger. Jia lat man.....