Friday, August 22, 2014

Why is everything in Thailand so disappointing?

Now, this is for sure a click bait question, and thanks for reading. Of course not everything is disappointing in Thailand. otherwise we wouldn't live here. But I guess I am not the only expat who is sometimes very frustrated, disappointed, even angry about Thailand and the Thai people. THE Thai people .

So where is this coming from?

Most of my posts develop from some thoughts I have driving on my motobike in the morning bringing my wife to the BTS station. Traffic in Thailand is something that can make you really frustrated. So there was this mototaxi driver who just cut short, forcing me to make a sudden break. "Why they don't learn driving?" was my first thought (I am long enough here to never say this to a local). But then I realised that in one year driving so far I had no accident, not even close to one. That was not just because of my good driving. It was also because most people here are driving not too bad.

It is in us to make this separation. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who has this we vs. them thoughts. This has nothing to do with racism. First of all many people here really let you know you are a foreigner, starting with "Falang" and ending with  different price structures. But this is understandable, both from the historic point of view as well as in business matters.

My theory is that we have quite high expectations. Most of us expats live here because we love Bangkok, Thailand or Asia in general. It is the paradise we always wanted to live in. The garden Eden. And we still have this romantic idea that this place and the people are different (Thai nationalists actually believe this in a very serious way), everyone is so kind and helpful. We WANT it to be that way, because we do not want to admit that the dream never came true or that reality is just different.

Because, in fact, Thailand is not so different from other places in the world, western countries included. There is just one human race, and we all have a lot of things in common. Bad drivers? Go to Offenbach in Germany! THEY, as we from north of Frankfurt say, will never get the idea how to drive.

Driving further there is this woman I see every morning. She works in one of the nearby factories as you can see from her uniform. She pulls a trolley filled with rice and dog food. Every morning she feeds the soi dogs between Lasalle and Bearing. How kind she is! But I never had this thought about how kind THE Thai people are.

Sometimes we need to remind us that life is as different as people are.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Explore the Digestive System at Central World

Bumrungrad Hospital is having a so called Digestive Health Fair 28-31 August at Central World 1 Floor/Atrium. I was told that you can actually walk through a digestive system model. Of course you will get all sorts of advice how to be nice to your intestines before going upstairs to the restaurants.

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to make a DIY snake catching stick

A few weeks ago we had a Python in our compound and me and the guards were not able to catch it without hurting the animal. The main reason was inappropriate equipment. The little grabber I used in Laos for much smaller snake was just to weak for a 1,5 Meter Python.

You may have seen those snake sticks in TV, formed like a hook. The presenter carefully lifts the snake with it and shows it to the camera. while this is possible, it is only for professionals. So I constructed something that gives you more distance, about 2 meter.

What you need is:
 2 meter pvc tube, 15mm diameter, 1.5 mm thick
2 caps fitting to the tube
5-6 meter strong rope.
That should costs not more than 5 USD.

Next step is drilling holes in the caps. The hole needs to be big enough to get the rope through, and you need two holes per cap. Pull the rope through the hole and the tube, through the next cap and back. This way you get a sling at one end and the lose ends on the other. Make sure you knot the loose ends properly, because once you caught the snake, you don't want the rope pulled through again. This devise should also work for other animals like monitor lizards. I am still waiting for the next snake, but tried it with my dogs and it works. Be careful with the sling, just make it tight enough to get hold of the animal without asphyxiating it.




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Craftsmanship fair: modern design of the young Thai generation

For some reasons expats seem to prefer to go to new restaurant openings and roof top bars more than to more local events, because I haven't seen too many foreigners at BIG or the recent craftsmanship fair ay BITEC. With this blogpost I hope to help increasing the number at least for the next event: The Thailand Innovation and Design Expo 2014, 18.-21. September, Queen Sirikit Convention Center

So what are those fairs about? Mainly designer stuff from young Thais who are entrepreneurs, business people, artists. They produce organic salad, wooden beds or small houses. Below you will find a selection of exhibits I have seen at the recent fair at BITEC (that's a convention center that is actually accessable by BTS, via Bagna station). One product I like is De La Lita, a salad dressing. Well designed, fresh made, incredible delicious. They do everything right regarding marketing and distribution: A Facebook page, a website and you can buy the products at Tops, Villa Market and Gourmet Market. Try the basilica dressing, its awesome.

Something very different and on a larger scale is Homes at Home. They are selling houses - made of wood, rather small, but also inexpensive. Sunshine 9, the big one, costs 30.000 USD. It is build in a few days, out of wood from New Zealand. They claims it is termite safe. You can see their products at

Since we all want to be more independent mushboom might be a solution for growing your own mushrooms. It comes in a kit in a paperbox, more information on

Amantee makes finest french style bread, only the shop is quite in the middle of nowhere in 10120 Chongnonsee - Yannawa. Their webiste shows some products. We tried the fig bread and can only recommend it.

Some more impressions below.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Some thoughts about Barcamps

Barcamp Bangkok is coming soon, on August 23rd from 10am-5pm at TK Park in Central World. We try to keep the tradition of the awesome Bangkok Barcamps, but I was actually asking myself, what makes a Barcamp a good Barcamp.

Having organised those events in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and now in Thailand, many people always look at numbers. Cambodia has Barcamps in nearly every city and more than 1000 participants in Phnom Penh. Laos as well looks at - although lower - numbers. Myanmar is the record holder with 4000 or so.

But it is not so much about numbers. A Barcamp is just a place in time where people come together to share knowledge and get connected. The more people, the more connections, yes. But even a 50 people Barcamp like the last one in Bangkok in 2012 is a good one. Sometimes it is just a restriction by venue. This year we can only accommodate 350 people. So it is far from the 1000 participants in 2009. But it doesn't make it less good.

Some organisers also want to make a Barcamp a professional event. Like any other conference. But it is the exact opposite. We don't pay speakers, we don't lick a sponsors ass. No champagne, no canap├ęs.  Local food, if any. Water, and some 3-in-1 coffee. We focus on the people and their way to collaborate. It is a pure experience. No distractions and kind of pure honesty. You don't have to pretend to be a successful entrepreneur, it is ok if you failed with your last business. It doesn't matter if you don't know everything about programming - there are people here to help you.

For me, a successful Barcamp is one that happened. That is my duty as an organiser: to make it happen. Everything else, and this is the core of the events, is in the hands of the participants.

A bit of background about Barcamps:
A Barcamp is a so called un-conference. We don't know who is speaking and we don't know what about. That is up to you. In the morning at between 10am and 11 am we will set up a time table and available rooms. You can pick a time slot (usually 30 minutes) and then write down the topic you want to talk about. Languages can be Thai  or English.


If we have more speakers than times lots we will conduct a voting.

From 1pm to 1.30pm we will have a lunch break.

5.30 pm will be the closing ceremony.

Participation is free. But we expect participants to be part of the event, and sometimes to give us a hand if needed.