Friday, February 29, 2008

Double Parking A Norm In Thailand

I honestly have not seen this type of parking system, ANYWHERE in the world. I have traveled to numerous countries and have NEVER seen this unique practice EXCEPT in Thailand.

If you want to double park... following are some basic rules...

  • If you are driving an auto car, keep it to "N"
  • Keep the brake down

When you need to move out and someone is blocking you, its not unusual for a passerby to stop and help you push the car aside. You have complete strangers coming up to you and there is no need for introduction, shaking hands or any formality. They know you are in need and they have been in that position before.

At hotels, shopping complexes and crowded places there are Parking Attendants present to assist.

As a matter of fact, its a very good and efficient system. It often alleviates parking problems, increase parking space at a small area and provides a solution for an unorganised metropolitan overcrowded city, like Bangkok.

But... but... I hate it when a 4 wheel truck blocks me! So big and heavy to push :-(

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Flowers Cheer Me Up

I love flowers. It just cheers me up when I look at its rich colors and natural beauty. Nothing refreshes my soul more. Its one of God's creation which I never get tired of enjoying. Every so often I feel like isolating myself from human company but NEVER flowers.

Whenever I go to the wet market, I usually purchase a mix bunch. The flowers are reasonably cheap THB10 per stalk (RM1 / USD0.35). Carnations and orchids will last longer than roses, so, the other day, I opted for carnations. At least I can enjoy my flowers for one week rather than 2-3 days.

I know, I know, you must be thinking that I am so pathetic, to buy myself flowers. Well, I have learned through the years that if you like something, don't wait for someone else to get it for you. Just buy it YOURSELF. Doesn't matter if its that dress, shoe, blouse, food, bracelet, necklace or flowers. I have learned to pamper myself, once-a-while.

The Thais being predominantly Buddhist, purchase flowers for prayers. So, the flowers are sold everywhere but mostly orchids and chrysanthemums. They will tie it up in a nice small bunch and sells it for THB10 (RM1/USD0.35).

A small bunch like this cost THB10 (RM1/USD0.34)

A bunch of 5 stalks at THB10
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Extra Activity, While In Bangkok

If you run out of ideas of things to do while holidaying or staying in Bangkok, BB gun park will be a fun activity.

BB gun which stands for Ball Bearing gun has been legalised in Thailand for the last 4 years. It looks exactly like a real gun but it uses plastic bullets. Its a very popular hobby among the local Thais. The concept is similar to Paintball.

Joel, my elder son, has been eyeing the BB gun since we arrived in Thailand. Its not legal in Malaysia, therefore, he never had a go at it. He have always wanted to try Paintball but never did. So its a relatively new experience for him.

For his last two Christmas presents, he wanted a BB gun. Each time larger and LARGER. He now owns a LARGE one - M4. The first one was a hand gun and the 2nd was a M-16 machine gun. Since we took him to the BB Gun Park around mid of Jan 08, he is now in love with the game. The army game. You know, the games we used to play as a child with a plastic, paper or wooden gun.

The place we discovered which offered this game is Tubchang. They have both BB gun and Paintball. The place is very well equipped. They have a large game area for BB gun and Paintball, sitting lounge - both air-cond and non air-cond, delicious food and reasonable fees.

large parking area

The park where the BB gun games are played

The fees are as follows:

To play: THB150 (student, cannot remember the adult cost)
BB gun rental: THB250 (Free if you bring your own)

Open from 10am to 2am. Cost is per entrance and unlimited hours.

Joel went again for the 2nd time last Sunday. He had a great time playing for 4.5 hrs, a total of 5 games. No need to be a genius to figure that he was totally exhausted by the time he finished.
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Large sitting area for players

Cosy tables and chairs by the lake

Joel in his army outfit

His favorite position... hiding

Trying to get a good shot of his enemies

Other players

Ethaniel playing his games while waiting

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

House Rules

The house rules is NO HITTING YOUR BROTHER. Anyone who hits, will be punished. Badly.

So, I have just recently discovered that to annoy each other, they kiss and hug. Huh???!!

  • Kiss with WET LIPS and MANY TIMES.
  • Hug VERY TIGHTLY till blood circulation is inhibited.
  • Kiss at the back of the neck with WET LIPS and MANY TIMES.

It is also HOUSE RULES that no NAME CALLING allowed.

So to annoy his older brother, Ethaniel calls Joel, "Honey!"

Yes, that irritates Joel.

So, bottomline. How do you deal with children who kiss, hug AND call out to each other so lovingly?

I Can Read!

I teach a phonetic program to Ethaniel and we have been at it for the last 2 years. It's a very comprehensive program which includes Math as well. Its called Christ Centered Curriculum (CCC) by Advanced Training Institute (ATI) from the United States.

The 1st year was slow. Many breaks, holidays, interruptions and lazy days. Difficult to get him to sit quietly, still cannot get him to sit quietly. I have almost done away with the dream of having my sons sit down the whole day without having to pee 20 times, tease each other 400 times, joke around 600 times and miscellaneous stuffs about 800 times a day. Yes, a little exaggeration. That's what Mothers do.

Since yesterday, Ethaniel has been able to read his blends and make words. Wow! Double wow! He has been a little slower than Joel to catch the phonetics thingy but somehow, he has GOT IT. Something must have clicked in his little cute brain.

Ethaniel: J-U, ju... jump. Is it correct?

Me: Yes!!!

Ethaniel: Yeah! I can read!

Me: Wow! I am so proud of you!!

Ethaniel: I am so happy! I can read.

Me: Why?

Ethaniel: Because I don't have to ask Mommy to read to me. I can read it MYSELF.

I can see pride oozing out of his ears. He has been wanting to read for a long time. He usually pick up some books, sit on the couch and flips it. I think staring at the pictures. Must have been very frustrating not being able to understand the words. Sometimes Joel will read to him.

Phew! My effort is bearing fruits. A proud moment for Mommy. But actually more relief. Its tiring teaching phonics day in and day out... Its about time!

He makes jokes, faces and laughs THROUGHOUT teaching sessions

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Am Going For The Travel Exhibition

Last Sunday whilst having lunch, we arranged the logistics necessary so that we can go for the travel exhibition this upcoming Saturday. SH, Chris S., hubby & I will be going. We are hoping to get some good deals for our upcoming trip.

CY will be baby-sitting ALL the children. His own 2 children, Chris S.'s 2 boys and my 2 boys. That equals 6 children!!!

Poor CY. Thanks for baby-sitting. We will buy you some Tom Yum Kung, OK?

My 1st Tag

Blogging has interesting virtual games.... Tag is one of it. I used to play tag when we were children, running around chasing each other. Somehow, blogging has tag too.

I am really not sure how to play it... But I will oblige this time. I have a feeling that it might not be my cuppa.

Here goes....

Rule: Copy the entire list and add your name at the bottom. And tag at least 5 friends. (But you can tag as many as you like)

My Little Son, Who Likes to TEST His Mother's Patience

A Homeschooler Mother's pre-warning to his 6 years old homeschooled son.

(I was in the toilet and he was not far away)

Me: We are going to start studies in 10 mins AND no whining when we begin! (He has the tendency to whine for the sake of whining. Just to show that he prefers to do other things then to study)

Ethaniel: Can I whine NOW?

Me: What did you say? *stretching my words a little, added with a touch of "I didn't hear you"* (Wanted to know if this child is THAT rebellious)

Ethaniel: Nevermind.

Good idea. Smart boy.

5th Thai International Travel Fair 2008

One of best thing about staying in Thailand are exhibitions. We regularly go for exhibitions which are held in Queen Sirikit Convention Center and Impact Muang Thong Thani. They have a whole long list of exhibitions which has been planned throughout the year. All you have to do is go to their websites and you will see the happenings at the Event Calendar. They are very well organised. Its planned one year ahead.

You can get very good deals for ALL kinds of things at various exhibitions. Local and overseas travel, hotel, home, furniture, food, garden, toys, branded goods and many, many more. In fact, almost anything under the sun! So, whatever you need, just mark your calendar and visit that particular exhibition.

Details from the website:

5th Thai International Travel Fair 2008

28 February - 2 March, 2008

The Thai Travel Agents Association, the Association of Domestic Travel and TAT

Time: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Location: Plenary Hall


1.To booster a venue for tourist to meet and purchase tourism products directly from business entrepreneurs by providing package tour and ticket at special prices.

2. To promote the air travel industry, outbound tourism as well as other types of tourism being promoted jointly to incentive groups by tourist companies, tourist attraction and airlines during the school holiday period between March – June 2008.

Go to the Queen Sirikit Convention Center for the event calendar.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What Kind of Mother-in-Law Will I Be?

My husband is the 2nd son-in-law for my Mother. My sister married years before me and later migrated to Australia. Its not unusual for Mom to visit her up to 2 months at a time. Normal life there would be cooking, cleaning, baby-sitting and of course vacationing. Its her nature to help out her daughters whenever she can. She does it all the time when in Bangkok too.

One thing I recall clearly about my Mother, she never had any expectations of the son-in-laws. She never complains that they don't do this or that for her. She is a very contented Mother-in-law.

There was a point in time when I visited her during weekdays, hubby would still be at work. The children and I will spend a few hours at her home, either having a home-cooked lunch or tea. The purpose was just to hang-out together. I will return home before 5pm to escape the rush hour traffic. As a result, for that period of few years, my husband never visited my parents at their home. It was just the children and me. My Mother never complained. But instead she makes the effort to visit us.

She loves to cook for her son-in-laws. My brother-in-law's favorite dessert is pineapple tarts and she knows that. Its amazing the efforts she makes to prepare these tarts for both him and my hubby, who happens to enjoy it as well. Last year, she made 'chang'. Glutinous rice wrapped in leaves. It was a LOT of work and she spent the whole day cooking. Needless to say, hubby enjoyed it tremendously.

Whenever she visits, she will try to prepare the foods which my hubby enjoys. I often take that for granted but its her way of caring for him. I take a break from cooking when Mom is around.

Whenever she comes over to my place in Malaysia or Bangkok, she is often very low profile. She doesn't talk a lot to my husband because she understands that he is not the "talkative type". So, she will usually creep into her room while she allows us 'family time' when my husband returns from work. Her presence does not demand attention. She is satisfied by "just being there". Not overwhelming.

Since I have such a good example of being a good Mother-in-law, I am sure I won't go wrong. Hopefully.

The Underdog - Walt Disney Movie

We purchased The Underdog DVD, a Walt Disney production and the children was watching it tonight. Its very funny and they totally love it.

"There is no need to fear, Underdog is here!"

Once a while, Walt Disney comes up with a nice show appropriate for children. Unfortunately, its difficult to get movies suitable for children these days.

Check it out.

Breakout Blogger Award

Getting two awards in two days???!! My, my. I feel like a celebrity.

Pek Imm, my new friend. She is a Mommy who writes to her children in her blog. Pretty cool, I must admit. She awarded me with the "Breakout Blogger Award". I am not exactly sure what that means but I am proud nonetheless.

Thank you, Pek Imm. Hope you will continue to have a wonderful journey in leaving an amazing legacy to your children.

You Are Very Free, huh?

When I started this blog, I emailed my families and friends to check it out.

My younger brother from Singapore commented, "You.... very free, huh? So much things to read in your blog!"

My fellow Bangkokian friend, Tang's wife, SH said, " I read your blog... but there's a lot to read, huh?"

Its true. I do have many things to write. But I am not free. In fact, pretty busy. Maybe its still in the initial period. Hopefully I continue to have many things to write in the future. My blogging experience is like newlywed, in the honeymoon period, still exciting.

A Little Boy's Questions

We were sitting together doing out studies. Joel (11 years old) and Ethaniel (6 years old) was curious about relationships - Boy Girl Relationship (BGR), that is. I told them that its OK to like girls at this age. Its normal.

Ethaniel: Do I have to marry a girl?

Me: Yes but preferably a woman.

Ethaniel: Like Daddy?

Me: Maybe. But not right now.

Ethaniel: Like Daddy's age?

Me: Yes. About that. When you like a girl, tell Mommy first (directing more towards Joel). Then, Mommy can help you to check out, if the girl is a nice person or not. You don't want to have a bad tempered, full of anger, hatred and unforgiving wife, do you? You want a wife who is a Godly person, generous, kind and does what God wants her to do, right?

Joel: Yes.

Me: Just treat the girls like friends and go out together in a group. Its not nice if you have a girlfriend and then having to break-up. Its very painful. Sometimes you feel very hurt and cries. I have gone through it before. Its tough. Your Auntie has just gone through it.

Suddenly I noticed that Ethaniel was teary eyed.

Me: Why Ethaniel?

Ethaniel: I feel very sad. *sniff*

I was so suprised at his compassionate heart. My 6 years old feeling the hurt of others who have gone through relationship heartaches.


Can I ever protect my precious sons from the heartaches of this world?

I will. If I can.

Every Mother would.

Every now and then, I will bring in subjects like this in a very informal way to let them know how I feel about things like this. Its not in a very serious tone but thought provoking. At least they know my expectations and feelings about BGR. Its not an easy topic but inevitable.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Forever Friend Award

Blogging is an interesting.... hobby. One gets to meet ..... virtual friends. Reading about their daily lives, struggles, likes, dislikes, family, children and many various things. In fact, I know more about some of my new blog friends than my friend who I meet weekly at church.

We don't actually meet each other face to face but we meet through the virtual world. Indeed, its a very hi-tech world!

Just today, something memorable happened to me. I was given an award, Forever Friend Award by Jo-N. Cool, eh? My first.

Thanks Jo-N.

FF Award

My Superson and The Super Beanie

As a mother to a son who is turning 12 years old in Oct, I have to be creative in trying to motivate him.... with the right 'carrot'. I have not been very successful in getting him to do some exercise to keep fit and healthy. I told him to jog, cycle, swim and rock climb. He likes rock climb. But we only do that once-a-week. How about the rest of the week?

So, I try to take him swimming. When we are at the swimming pool, its sooooo difficult to even get him to do 10 laps.

Just a few days ago, I told him that I will give him 5 beanies for each lap he completes. When he reaches a certain amount of beanies, it will be converted to THB500 (RM50/USD14.30). Since he was trying to accumulate enough wealth to purchase something he wants, he did an amazing 40 laps today!!!!

My Superson and the Super-Beanie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 7 - Holiday in Mae Hong Son, North Thailand

To Read Day 1 , Day 2, Day 3,Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

27 December 2007, Thursday

Today is our 3rd day into the guided tour. We are ready to move on to Mae Hong Son.

Fish Cave

This place is a popular tourist destination but unfortunately, it was too mundane for me. There were a few large fishes and clips of the Queen of Thailand visiting the place. Other than that, I am not too impressed. So, if you have to choose your itinerary to Mae Hong Son, just skip this.

To view my online album.

After lunch, we went to the Mae Hong Son market, Keng, our tour guide had to purchase some stuffs to cook for our dinner and breakfast. We are going to stay in the Long Neck village tonight! Isn't that exciting? I have heard so much about this tribe.

We took a 15 mins boat ride to the Long Neck Hilltribe

Long Neck Hill Tribe (Kayan)

Eventhough the Long Neck Hill Tribe lives in wooden shacks, yet, I noticed that they are cleaner and more organised than the other tribes. Apparently, the villagers has been "trained" for tourism. They are not shy, readily and willingly take photo with visitors, when asked.

Similar to the Lahu and Lisu tribe, they are not allowed to leave the village. The only way they are able to make a living is by making their own crafts e.g. scarf, guitar and selling various things which they obtain from Myanmar. The Myanmar border is not too far away from where they stay, so, I guess it will not be too difficult for them to smuggle in some products. I was interested to go but according to Keng, our tour guide, its dangerous. So we aborted the idea. Its about 30 mins boat ride from the Long Neck Hill tribe village.

The entrance to the village

They are very good at handicraft

Church built by missionaries

To pass time, the village girls play Volleyball

Our accommodation for the night

Mattress, mosquietoe netting, blanket.... better than expected

Keng, our tour guide and cook

There is a community area which is specially prepared for visitors. So, we had our dinner there. When we finish dinner, we were promised some presentations. Oh, this will be interesting! But first, dinner.

In 1.5 hours, he whipped out 6 dishes! Fried chicken, sweet & sour chicken, fried egg, tom yum, vegetable and soup

The village children gathering around the campfire

My children were so fascinated with the campfire that they played there for hours.... literally. Collecting dried wood and leaves to burn. Things that city people don't get to do.

Presentation by the Villagers

I was pulled in by the dancers to dance with them... Not bad. A natural. Ha ha

The Villagers played, sang and danced till late. Even after we retired to bed. I guess there are little for entertainment here.

To view my online album.

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Paranoid? Maybe. Maybe Not.

Malaysians were fed with stories of Thailand about drug trafficking, prostitution, Malaysian children abducted, limps chopped and forced to be beggars and prostitutes and many other scary tales which we read via internet or hear through our relatives.

It was really bad publicity. Till today, the stigma remained of Thailand. I do not know if the stories are true or not. Or was it some kind of scam to stop Malaysian men from coming to Thailand, for good reasons.

Since I arrived in Thailand, my personal experiences contradict what I have heard about this country. Yes, there are snatch thieves. Murder. Rape. All the things which happens in Malaysia. The awkward thing is that, its not as rampant as the crime rate in Malaysia.

In fact, when I was back in Malaysia during the Chinese New Year holidays, I was SO paranoid and conscious of my handbag and personal safety that it was really no joke.

I was at a friend's open house celebration in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. After we finished, a security guard on motorcycle warned that there were snatch thieves who preyed on two victims, few rows away from where we were. He told us to be careful of our belongings. *Sigh* What is happening to my beloved country?

Many of the friends who visited us last year raised the same question about Thailand. I don't blame them. I used to be one of them. In actual fact, you don't have to be more careful in Thailand than any other country you visit. As a matter of fact, I feel quite safe traveling in Thailand comparatively in Malaysia.

Public Transportation in Thailand

In April 2008, it will be almost 2 years since we arrived in Thailand.

In the last 1 year 9 months, I have returned to Malaysia, 3 times. Each time it feels different. Our condominium in Malaysia is currently being rented out and our cars sold. As a result, we have to stay at various places, similar to a Nomad, whenever we return to Malaysia.

My Mom will generously lend us her car up to a week at times. And the last trip, my brother & sister-in-law was kind enough to lend us their car too.

Its difficult to move around without a car, especially when we have children. By myself, I have no problem but when the children is concerned, it can be a little tricky. When they are tired, napping on the train or bus is cumbersome. Malaysia's public transportation can be improved too.

In Thailand, taxi services are very convenient and cheap, e.g.

  • Meter starts from THB35 (RM3.50 / USD1.00)
  • 99% of taxi driver uses meter. You will have the occasional ones who refuse. Just hop to the next taxi. There are heaps available.
  • A 45 mins ride will cost you an average of THB240 (RM24 / USD7)
  • If you want to use the highway, its separate. Just give the taxi driver whatever the toll charges.

Whilst in Malaysia, I took the taxi to and from the train station at Subang Jaya to Sunway Lagoon. I was quoted the price THB150 (RM15 / USD4.30), when in actual fact its about THB70 (RM7 / USD2.00). Unfortunately, I did not come across one which used meter.

When I initially arrived in Thailand,
I thought that comparatively Malaysia is better at tourism. Since most of us speak English, cheaper hotels, beautiful beaches and islands. But after staying here for the last 2 years, I have discovered that the Thais are very well organized, friendly and equipped for mass tourism. No wonder we can see so many Caucasian tourist. Other than certain “activities” which is not so obviously and readily available in Malaysia, they have outdone us in shopping, luxury hotel, food, warm and friendly welcome and many other areas.

Online Album for Malaysia Trip

I have just uploaded some photos on my Malaysian Trip.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Helping Grandma Cleaning Up

Since Mom did such a good job of feeding all of us, we decided to clean up her kitchen before we left to Bangkok.

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The children had fun sliding on the floor and spraying each other water whilst washing. Most importantly, Grandmother was happy that she has a clean kitchen.

The Malaysian Food We Enjoyed

These are all the Malaysian food we enjoyed throughout our trip in Malaysia.

Malay dish. Asam pedas, young Jack fruit, kang kung & vege

Cantonese "Yin Yong". A Chinese dish. Kueh teow with Mee Hoon.

Chinese dish. Har kow, steamed chicken, bean sprout & kueh teow soup

"Paper Dosei", an Indian dish. Its called "paper" because its made very thin.

Cendol, an Indian dessert. Consist of coconut milk, sugar, crushed ice, red beans and other stuffs made from flour

Wan Tan Mee. A Chinese dish. Noodles with black sauce and 'char siew' (BBQ Pork)

Bah Kut Teh. A Chinese dish. Pork stewed with herbs. Eat together with rice and fresh chili. A very famous dish in the town of Klang.

Satay. A Malay dish. BBQ chicken and beef on sticks, dipped with peanut sauce

Mee Goreng. An Indian style fried noodle.

Char Kueh Teow. A Chinese dish. Noodle fried with bean sprout, corckles, egg and prawn

Mee Curry. Noodles with curry, taupok, chicken, corckles, bean sprout and fish cake

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