Tuesday, June 28, 2005

International Relations

Hi everybody. My name’s Milt Everheart. I retired here to Thailand, oh, I’d say it was back somewhere’s around 2000 and 1. Well, I tell ya, this here place is just full of so many god-derned good folk it just makes me wonder what’s happening to my good ole USA.

I work here part-time as a volunteer in the local hospitals. I help them out by talkin’ to the foreign folks come over here for their vacations and all. Boy, and let me tell ya, these foreign folks really hate us ‘mericans. At first I was kinda upset and all, but now I kinda see what theys mean. I suppose that felly George Bush should just quit. If he’d know how much these foreign people hate us he’d quit and make room for someone like, well, someone like Truman or a felly like Eisenhower. Now I’m not really hip to all you young folks out theres, but I think that’s what the country’s missing. A felly like that Goldwater who ran back there in ’68, I believe.

Yeah, now I’m just an old so-and-so, but dern it, I’m not no bad person like this fella from Sweden done told me other day. I hear tell them folks over there in Sweden speak good ‘merican and got them a hell of a fine social welfare system. Makes me wish I had some ways to get this Swedish felly in touch with the folks there over at the White House. Ah, there’s only so much a fella can do. Something I done learnt here in this old life ‘a mine.

Well, I suppose that’s all I can say for nows. Man like me done seen some things in his life—Whew! Boy I tell you what!—But, I never thought these fair eyes’d see the day my good ole Red, White and Blue be so darned hated all over this great world. Makes a man wonner, don’t it? Ah well. Hope y’all have yourself a fine day. Maybe we can go out get ourselves a drink over there near the beach. I hear tell they got them Asian boys over there likes to make themselves look like wimmen. Woo dog! Ain’t this some funny ole world!

Yours Truly Indeed,
Milt Everheart
Patong Beach, Thailand

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Give and Give


Young foreign volunteers clear Ton Sai beach on Phi Phi island of rubbish six months after tsunami. Once a jewel of Thai tourism, Phi Phi has been curiously forgotten in Thailand's reconstruction drive, leaving much of the work to foreign volunteers who have taken up the task with often limited means.(AFP/file/Pascale Trouillaud)


Interesting picture. So, one of the most popular and visible Thai vacation spots has been “forgotten” by the reconstruction plan?

“We move all volunteer bad smell farang Phi Phi. Make fix ho-teyl good good! Fix bar. Fix boat. Get smart farang work no money. Thai people only watch. Maybe boom big farang woman. Nevermind. Make bit-ness soon. Have bit-ness bad smell farang again same before! Take money recon money government buy new Mercedes. Give some money monk over temple make feel sabai sabai. Nevermind. I born top Thai have skin white color.”

How about that one farang guy, the one with the hat in the background. He doesn't have a clue, does he? He’s so close to so much fun (Patong Beach) and he’ll never even know it. There’s a Western image for times.

Thai Guilt

The following comes from a study on Thai depression entitled “Symptoms of Depression in Thai Patients”. You can find the entire study here: http://www.mahidol.ac.th/mahidol/ra/rapc/sadd.html.

I’ve extracted the part about guilt. I find that most of the Thai people I know belligerently lie about everything; no regard to consequence; no guilt. What follows may be an explanation, but—I want to be clear—I’m not trying to validate the behavior.


“Feelings of guilt were founded in 59 % of patients, which was in agreement with other studies. None of our patients verbalized these feelings spontaneously. Only after being asked specifically that they acknowledged these feelings. When being probed into more details, the content of guilt feelings tended to be impersonal rather than personal. The patients explained their impersonal guilt feelings as belonging to bad deeds in their previous life or "old karma" which replicated the findings in India (14).

Gupta et al (6) were not certain whether this should be called as guilt feelings. We think that this feeling should not be interpreted as true guilt feeling, because the patients do not show the same feelings as patients with personal guilt.

In the context of Thai culture, it is common to relate one's miserable life events to bad deeds from the past, or even from one's previous life when such event is profound. Seventy-five percent of Thai in average (ranging from 62 % to 96 %) believe in this concept (13). In some instances, such belief even serves as a mechanism of defense against the whole range of negative experiences. The cause of depression is attributed to one's karma which is then, often said in a tone of accepting the state of being without ability to change one's lot. Besides, the patient feels relieved and looks forward to the future since it would be this time that he could pay all his debt(15). Some physicians in our country even offer this concept to their patients as a form of psychological support.

We regard both "guilt" and "sin" concept problem as the "semantic" language problem. Thai and Hindu, as described earlier, often attach bad deeds in previous life to both words. To be used in proper sense, this feeling state should be called specifically, in Thai culture, as 'present life's guilt' or 'present life's sin'.

However, among patients who expressed personal guilt feelings, the content were similar to those described in other studies (10, 16, 17). Only 33.6% revealed true guilt feelings which is relatively low compared to that of western studies (4).”

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Trouble in Cambodia


The one with the gun is the one who shot the child.

"I needed money as soon as possible so I shot this boy and also because this kid was crying a lot, more than the other kids."

Ex-Worker Led Assault on Cambodia School

By DANIEL LOVERING, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 17, 5:52 AM ET

SIEM REAP, Cambodia - A man driven by a grudge against his former employer spearheaded an assault on an international school in northwestern Cambodia, taking dozens of children hostage and silencing a crying a 2-year-old Canadian boy by shooting him in the head, police said Friday.

The 23-year-old ringleader allegedly persuaded three friends to don masks and storm the school in the town of Siem Reap Thursday morning, herding a teacher and about 30 children into a classroom.

Police say the men, all in their early 20s, wanted to extort money from the foreigners and well-off Cambodians whose children attend the school near the famed Angkor Wat temple complex — the biggest tourist attraction in this impoverished country.

The children, aged from about 2 to 6 years, came from about 15 countries.
The alleged gang leader said he initially planned the raid as revenge against a South Korean man who employed him to drive his two children to the school, said Prak Chanthoeun, deputy commander of military police in Siem Reap province.

The suspect said his employer recently got angry with him and slapped his face, causing him to quit his job and return to his hometown in the central province of Kandal.

"Every day, he thought about taking revenge against the South Koreans. So he bought a pistol, then called three friends from his home area," said Prak Chanthoeun.

He then "proposed that they go to the school, find the two Korean children and kill them. But when they arrived there, they didn't see the Korean children," he said.

Ou Em, head of criminal police division in Siem Reap, said police plan to charge the suspects with "illegal detention of persons and kidnaping for ransom."

He said the four are expected to appear in court Saturday. A fifth man was also arrested on suspicion of involvement even though he was not at the scene Thursday.

Police described the four as small-town gangsters looking for easy money.

"They learned there were the children of rich foreigners at the school," said Prak Chanthoeun.

The government, however, was investigating whether the attackers may have had political motives and sought to sabotage Cambodia's tourist industry, which brings in millions of dollars annually for the cash-strapped government.

"We want to know if they belong to any specific group and what their motivation was," said government spokesman Khieu Kanharith.

Dozens of children managed to escape the hostage-takers by hiding or scrambling from the grounds, but police said the ringleader shot the Canadian boy soon after the raid began because he was making too much noise.

Prak Chanthoeun quoted him as saying: "I needed money as soon as possible so I shot this boy and also because this kid was crying a lot, more than the other kids."

A tense six-hour standoff ensued as police negotiated with the gunmen and parents waited anxiously outside. The four demanded money, weapons and a vehicle.

Authorities gave the attackers $30,000 and a van, but when the men got into the vehicle with four children, security forces smashed the van's windows and yanked them from the vehicle.

Some parents grabbed their children and dashed away, while others surrounded the hostage takers and beat them before police took them away, said Prak Chanthoeun.

On Friday, European post-trauma experts and some Cambodian health workers arrived to provide psychological counseling for the victims.

"We're now trying to establish communications with all the parents and teachers involved," said Iris Uyttersprot of the Belgian Technical Cooperation, which coordinates Belgian aid to Cambodia.

The family of the dead Canadian boy had arrived recently so the father could work at a new hotel in normally tranquil Siem Reap. Parents of many children at the school work in the tourism sector.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

“She my best freyen, but only have two.”

“Two best friends.”

“Yeah. Only have two.”

“But . . .”

Don’t say it.


“Why you stay Thailand? Me want go Mair-ee-caaaaaa!”

Globali-- Ah! Don't say it.

Check this story out:

Tuesday May 17, 07:00 PM

Thai PM fears personal debt ballooning from credit cards

BURI RAM, Thailand, (AFP) - Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he worried that Thais may be accumulating too much personal debt and turning to loan sharks, according to a government spokesman.

"Prime Minister Thaksin expressed his concern that at the moment there are many Thais who have more than 10 credit cards," spokesman Chalermdej Jombunud told reporters.

Because of "fierce campaigns to offer credit lines that could lead to an overload of debt, they could turn to loan sharks," the spokesman added.

Thaksin gave the example of one credit card holder getting a 300,000 baht credit line (7,500 dollars), allowing the holder to spend 3.0 million baht if they had 10 credit cards, the spokesman said.

Chalermdej said Thaksin has assigned Finance Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Bank of Thailand Governor Pridiyathorn Devakula to examine the issue.

"Thaksin expressed his concern because he wants to block low-income earners from having too many credit cards by coordinating (information on) a card holder's background among credit card issuers," Somkid told reporters.

The Bank of Thailand said at the end of the first quarter of 2005 there were 8.9 million credit cards issued by Thai commercial banks, foreign banks and non-bank lenders.

The central bank in July 2004 raised the minimum income level needed to get a credit card to 15,000 baht a month from 8,000 baht for bank lenders. Non-bank lenders do not require a minimum income level.

Thaksin was chairing Tuesday a weekly meeting of the Thai cabinet, held in the northeastern province of Buri Ram.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wrap my legs in plaster, Tell me more lies about Vietnam

So, I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes the things I like so good. Well, I mean, the music and books and things like that. Well, I mean, the people who did the stuff, I suppose. I’m thinking it’s probably because they . . . what they do is some sort of the truth about themselves; they’re speaking in a voice that is their own; shared elements to be sure, but their own in other areas. It’s like some sort of open tap of John Coltrane or William S. Burroughs. Something we might all have, I dunno.

What'll happen if you just sort of open and let go? I do it when I program, when I write computer programs to a certain extent. But, no one sees that and I want someone to see it, I guess. Is that it? Maybe. Something really cool about a well-written application, the slickness of structured computer code. Yeah, good stuff. It's cold and runs really well. Took a lot of thought and pays off in an invisble sort of way.

Trailing off into self-examination is boring self-importance. Keep it to yourself. Fuck it.

“Yes! Fuck it! You and all your bum pals—your call for a generation! I got some news for you Lebowski: The bums lost!”


Monday, June 13, 2005

Dynamic rules, you oxymoron

New week here in BK-town. I got no idea what the hell's going on--sameoldsameold.

A buddy of mine's getting married. The ceremony's up in Isaan, Northeastern part of the country. It's on for this Saturday, a little earlier than he . . . than he was told.

Sometime back in February, my buddy and his girlfriend were up in Isaan visiting her family and taking care of the house she was having built. They went to the local monk for some marriage consultation. The wiseman listened intently, quietly pondering their situation and the star signs. Without warning, he picked up an empty beer bottle and smashed it over my buddy's head. The bottle broke nicely--indications positive, game on. The marriage was announced inevitable, a November ceremony reccommended (the stars and all that.)

Thais say many things, some of them are actually true. But, when it comes to planning and dates and time, there is no doubt of the statement's integrity: there is none. Time and planning are some crazy whiteman black magic practiced by crazy white black magicians, the filthy bastards. How rude, holding people to some sort of accountablity. It's madness, I tell ya. I mean, how do you expect things to never get done?

No matter. My buddy's got a great setup. I wish him all the best. Very lucky guy.

OK. Enough from me today. Check this link out. Absolutely hi-larious stuff (not for the sensitive.)


I talk to ya.


Friday, June 10, 2005

Prospects are looking pretty good!

Had a few JackCokes yesterday in one of the places on soi Nana, the corner of the Plaza and the soi. This girl I talk to most times I’m there came over. We started talking—well, not really. I don’t know. Let me explain. What I mean to say is that I listen, she talks. That’s how it works. I gave up talking to them a while ago; I only talk when it’s time to place my, ah-hem, order.

So, she starts to talk. She asks me . . . First she apologizes, “Oh, I sorry. You not think bad, but I want ask quey-shun. You not . . . not that other man, man not like lady other man, hmm

Nope. I like girls, my dear

“OK. Nevermine. I sorry not want ask but think, OK, I ask. You look like man maybe not like other man like man not lady. Sorry.”

No problem. It’s probably how I’m dressed. (I was there after work in my Chinese copy Guy Laroche shirt and Chinese copy Pierre Cardin tie.)

“No!. Not you clo’. It way you make you look when you have some drink or smo’ cigarette.”

Ha. No. I like lady bigtime.

“What bigtime?”

Don’t worry about it.d

“Why not worry? You try lie me make me angry like all man come bar and take time make me feel bad. Why make feel bad?”

It’s OK. OK?

She looked at me hard and smiled. “OK. You not lie me I go boxing you you lie me again, OK?”


I looked away and drank a little more. Then she says, “I ask you about gay because me want to know if you go sleep gay with man.”

No, dear. I only sleep lady.

“OK. I sleep lady before, you know?”

I just smile.

“Yes! Oh, she very beautiful lady. Have big boob I like touch and smell.”

Ha Ha.

“Sure! I not lie you! Oh, I love her very much!”

Are you gay?

“No! I only go with her because I like lady big boob and blue eye and yellow hair! Oh she so lovely!”

So you’re not gay?

“No! Why you think?”


“I know her because she good friend my boyfriend.”

Your boyfriend?

“Yes! He not know but then he know because she tell him she love me. But, no love her but she love me and I love she soft soft, but not love hard like man.”


“She touch me soft soft like lady and have heart like man. Love like man. You understand?”


“Oh, she love me I not love her. Only love big boob. Love lady big boob!!”

Ah, dear, you’re making me horny.

“HaHaHa! You man sure. I think maybe you lady big boob.”

So you’re joking?

“What joke?”

About this lady.

“No. Why you think joke?”

Because . . . nevermind.

“Oh, I love my darling big boob.”

You’re a lesbian.

“Lepsian? No me no lepsian. Me like man. Cannot have baby lady big boob.”

You’re gay.

“HaHaHa! I not gay! I like lady make me feel soft have big boob. Ohhh . . .” she looked off down the soi.

So, you’re not gay?

“No! I tell you already! Why you try make me angry so much I want never go man except go man who have lady?”

Jesus. Sorry.

“Why Jesus? I never say Buddha like man always say Jesus. Ha! Maybe you love Jesus nevermind Thai lady!”

Good God.

“Yes, God good man but not same Buddha. You know?”

Aye, yai yai.

“Yai Yai! Yes, you big big. HaHa!” She kicks me in the nuts and runs. “I go find my friend! Where my friend!” She’s off down the soi.

But, I . . .

I cough and take deep breaths. She’s gone.

Just another day. They’re all pretty much the same now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

About Respect

I used to think I didn’t really deserve it because I was a tourist. Then, I got a job teaching and I thought, well, I don’t really deserve it here either because I am actually just a tourist who thinks he’s a resident. Then, I got a job in my field of expertise and I realized: I do receive a level of respect I’ve never had at my jobs in the US, but I tend to let the cultural misunderstandings grind on me and make me forget about the positive. So, yes, I receive respect—it’s not all cold flips of the backhand. In fact, I really enjoy the respect when I receive it. But, there are times that wind me up, that make me think all the good stuff is just a cover over the real stuff (which is the bad stuff because it seems nowadays that the only truth is the dark shit; only the evil is true and the good is just a mask over evil because everything’s really just evil, at least that’s what they say.)

When you come here to Thailand, be it to work or visit, it seems as though Thais like to lump us of all in a visitor category, regardless. It’s just one of things about living here you just gotta deal with; it’s how they see us. It can’t be changed without paying your dues bigtime. Even after that, a lot of us find that things still aren’t too much different. It’s all about us giving to them. That’s why we’re . . . that’s why they allow us to be here. It’s harsh, yes. But, this is the truth in most cases (of course there are exceptions): we’re here to give.

Often, over the past few years or so, I think about the Indians I’ve worked with back in America. I think about how it must be for them, about my situation now as it compares to their situation back in the US. There’s a lot of similarities, but I’m not going to say they are the same because, flat out, they aren’t. Indians in America have been given a terrific opportunity to better the lives of themselves and, most importantly, their families. The “give” is that they have to put up with cultural exclusion and confusion. The “take” is that they can build themselves financially and develop the future for their children; there’s a great boost in hope.

For me, the “give” is enormous and the “take” is . . . not much. More and more of my self-respect is robbed from me as each week goes by. I am forced by my situation to capitulate more than I ever thought possible.

Now, let me say this: As one grows older, this is a fact of existence, the erosion of your confidence, I mean. No doubt. But, the trick is to make sure you’ve got that thing or things in your life that restore your soul, that keep your faith. Maybe it’s your girlfriend or a good set of buddies, someone to lean on. I’ve found that to be a major irony of this place: A lot of guys come here because sexual satisfaction is immediately available without commitment. A lot of us think that’s all we need because the real stuff—moral support and love—is too damn complicated to deal with. If I could only get laid as often as possible, we think. But, due to the nature of Thai society—this place where we live—one really needs, more than ever, that other person to lean on and prop up your soul. So, you struggle with this because there really are very few Thai women or Thai people who will ever be there to lean on. The majority—as has been discussed endlessly on stickmanbangkok.com—rarely care for any person who is not a member of the immediate family. Or, in most cases, rarely care for anyone outside of their mother.

So, you go through tons of Thai girlfriends, ditching each one because she’s wacked; because she, nor her family, has an ounce of respect for you. You realize this and start to give even more because you think, “Shit! I’ve been such an idiot to think anyone would give respect to a guy who sleeps around behind his wife; to a guy who so readily took in a hooker without consideration.” You give and give until you realize no Thai will ever give you a thing back; that they couldn’t give a rat’s ass no matter what you do.

At least that’s what you think because, again, you’re concentrating more on the bad. You forget the times they washed your feet or cooked you food or helped you catch the right bus or took the time to show you exactly where to go even though by doing it it’d make them late for work. All the dark shit will easily block out the good if you let it. Ask anyone who’s lived here for a period of time if a Thai person has ever said to them, “Why you think about bad?” At first I always thought this was a perfect example of their ignorance—and, in a way, it definitely is. But, as time has gone I think what they meant was that I let myself be blinded by rage when I should just let it go. It’s that balance thing: The good must live alongside the bad. Bad cannot be eliminated any more than it can be pinned down into submission.

In Thailand, if you can’t ride this balance, you gotta ask yourself what the problem is and stop trying to change the others around you. You can’t do it, plain and simple. What a cliché, I know, but, you can change yourself

It’s good and bad out there guys. Thailand isn’t going to save you from the law of life. No different here than back home, with regards to life, that is. Be strong enough to forget those who disrespect and reciprocate the ones who do. That’s the coolest thing about Thailand, the balance thing. It’s how everything works here. It’s in the air. It’s how people live.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Truth Doesn't Make a Noise

So, I’m askin’ myself why this is so damn funny? I mean, it’s like this time I was being chased down the road in Angeles City by this Cerebral Palsy guy asking me for money. The guy was having such a hard go at it, but I couldn’t help laughing my ass off. I was minding my own business and this guy just sort of started to chase me. It didn’t help that my buddy was encouraging the guy either. This was one of those moments where you do something and you know if God sees it you’re going to end up in hell for sure. I felt like such a shit for laughing, but it was so goddamn funny.

Fast food places in Bangkok wind me up to no end. This type of place and the way service is executed makes the frontline Thai staff so obviously uncomfortable, and, in turn, it makes me very nervous as well. But, being the ever-capitulate society, Thais put on the uniform and stand behind the counter all bouncy and bubbly because, after all, this is sanook mak mak territory bigtime. You got clowns and balloons and Japanese toys and fuchsia colored drinks; sing-songy kiddie music, loads of ketchup, pickles, hamburgers and fish filets. It’s a karaoke party without the whiskey and soda. When a farang hits the cash register, though, sanook turns to tok jai in an instant. The staff is now serving farang people farang food and the fear that they’ll get it wrong is palpable. Actually, for some, it’s probably the pure amazement that we really do eat this stuff; some of them watch you walk away from the counter as if they’d just witnessed a spell of black magic.

“Good God! He’s going to eat that Big Mac!”

I have to say this, though: It really is a nice change to be taken care of by a happy little teenager rather than a grim trailer park mother. But, as I said, the places in Bangkok wind me up.

Anyway . . . The following just sort of happened the other day.

I ordered a #4 meal and the nervous smiler told me the price, “119 baht”.

I nodded and smiled warmly. I said, “OK”.

He stood waiting with his smile and hand out. I just smiled warmly back and said, “OK”.

He goes back, and all the workers are now nervously trying to figure their next move. While the grill and fry people go about their jobs (they’ve got the best position in the place and they know it) the frontline service staff is shitting it.

The sandwich and the drink are now on the tray, but we’re still waiting on the fries, and I know I should be cool and follow the protocol. But, I can’t.

“OK mister. You give me money now.” The kid says smiling again.

I look at him for a second then say, “No. I’m sorry, but my friend tell me today Free For Farang Day. Man have white skin free!!”

The kid’s freakin’ at this point, still smiling. He calls over the manager.

“My friend tell me Free For Farang today.” I say.

“Who your friend?”

“Just tell me: Is it free for farang today?”

“Who your friend!”

“Wait a minute, OK?”

I catch the manager’s eyes. The manager nods. He’s listening. We’re both smiling at each other—him because he’s Thai, me because I really can’t believe the manager is putting up with this b.s.

I look at him playfully in the eyes and say, “OK. Now this ‘Yes’‘No’ question, OK?”


“Is to day Free For Farang Day?”


“Can I get a discount?”

“Sure. OK. No problem. How much you want?”


“OK. No problem.”

The kid quickly takes 10 percent off and I pay. I grab the tray and, just as quickly, go to a table and eat. Both sides have no idea what just happened or why. I eat my meal and walk out of the place smiling. I wave to the manger and the kids. They reluctantly wave and smile back not sure if they’d made a mistake and treated me wrong or if they should grab the wet mops and hot grease and chase me out yelling “Fuck off Joe!”

They should have beat me and called the cops, but they didn't. This is Thailand, get the picture?

I laughed my ass off for blocks, the rest of the day in stitches. Hi-fuckin'-larious, this place.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I'm still only in Saigon.

The past days of my time has this Apocalypse Now in my head every morning. What the hell? I'm here in Bangkok and I cannot ever leave.

When I'm back there all I can think of is getting back here. When I'm here . . . shhhit.

I was in a go-go bar last night--the place all lit in purple black lights to make the dark brown farm girls look whiter. One of 'em came up to me, "You face white!" No shit. I'm a honkey. I looked in the wall of mirrors behind me and, no shit, my face looked like it'd been touched into a tray of white powder.

By Friday I'm poisoned from the pollution. The skin on my face is all red and yellow, my mouth tastes metallic. In blacklight I look like a corpse. I gotta stop riding home afterwork on the back of motorcyles, through the shitty bus traffic, slave worker pickups and put-put tuk-tuks.

The week at work is the week at work. I'm glad I have the weekend, but I'd suffer through a lifetime of weekdays if that's all there was-What choice would I have?

Thing is about writing for other people to read it's that you gotta be careful with what you say. I've never been that way (which explains why I've ended up in this shithole country) and I'm not going to start now.

Truth is what you feel. A lot of times I despise Thais and Thailand, but it's only what I feel. The problem isn't Thais and Thailand, it's me. The feelings are true but the action is misdirected.

Friday, June 03, 2005

TJ in Bangkok

For reference, this is the first post. I wanna see how things look before moving on with others.