Sunday, December 2, 2007

The golden month

December 2, 2007

I mentioned in the last entry that I was expecting Matt B's arrival. Matt was a good friend from work back in Chicago. He was one of the two people at DDB that I think
would appreciate the culture differences. Matt proved my assumption was right.
Initially I was planning to hang out with him throughout the trip. Just a week before his arrival, I got a job offer and had to start on a short notice. So, the whole plan was cancelled and Matt had to wander on his own most of the time. But he never ceased to impress me. In deed, he was doing great on his own.

So, Matt, my hat's off to you. And I hope to see you back here again next year.

Last Friday was my last day at work. After 5 weeks at work that seemed like forever, I finally called it quit. As much as I like working, or call myself a workaholic, I do have limit. I can tolerate long hours of work on occasions, but not every day until my dedication has become part of job description. It seems normal here that business hours could be extended into to midnight or 3-4 am in the morning. Employees don't complain because other companies are doing the same thing. I can't help but wonder why people work this hard but the country doesn't go anywhere. Why is Thailand still a developing country? (note: it's my sarcastic joke, you don't need to find the explanation.)

Anyway, my life theory is hard work brings success, overwork brings death.

By the time I got burned out from work, the other job offer came along. It's from an Australian design consultancy company based in Bangkok, offered me a Design Manager position. My new job responsibilities include managing people and overseeing all the work. I won't design anymore, which is perfect because I will have time to do my own work for my own company.

The best of all is I feel like I'm back in the States again. DDB has a great work culture that's become my standard of what the company culture should be. The Australian company offered me the perk and benefit similared to that and beyond. They allow employees to be off on both Thai and Western holidays. It's the kind of company I want to work for. It's the company that cares about its own people that, in turn, will be awarded by great work from people with appreciation. I for one, believe, great work comes from happy people.

The end of the year is right around the corner. December is a month of long holiday break and celebration. Bangkok at this time of year is looking great with holiday light decorations and out-door beer festivals across the city. The weather is decent. It's cold enough that I'm thinking about wearing kneel-high boots to work. (not common here) I love Bangkok in December. Tim and I agree if the weather is like this
all year round, we will never want to move elsewhere. Tim is also doing so great on his new role at Citibank, which reassure us on our moving home decision. And myself - things are coming together after rough months of adjustment. I'm feeling obtimistic about my future. I'm hoping I will fit in at a new place so I can end my job hunting. On the next entry, I will update you about my new job and my journey down on a remote Island, South of Thailand.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Is life full of surprise

NOTE: the last day of October is approaching and it occurred to me I should write something before the month ends.

Q and A

Q: Where have I been?
A: Having a few job interviews here and there, eventually decided to take a job offer from a decent design firm. My employment started a couple of days ago.

Q: My own business?
A: Still do it. Will do both at the same time until the business's strong enough I can do it full time.

Q: Life in general?
A: No fun. Getting back to work is not fun as I wished. In fact, it involves too many cups of coffee, stress, headaches, and long hours of dedication. I feel like I'm losing passion over those factors. Being independent for 7 months was boring BUT peaceful.

A: Life is full of surprise. I thought things'd get better after Tim and I landed a job. We both now have a decent job. But I haven't yet felt contented. Confusing.

A: LOST and not (yet) found
My passion. My willpower. And my sparkle eyes.

In case I don't have time to update anything next week, just want to give you a heads-up that Matt B. is arriving next Tuesday (Oct.30) I'll write about him when I have a chance next time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Brand Building - Bean&Leaf

September 19, 2007

Part of my future plans is to build my own brand, which led to my current interest in developing a brand identity for domestic tea Market. Speaking of its taste, Thai tea is second to none. However, it's been a big disappointment after seeing a number of tea products in the Thai market, none of those has differentiated itself from its competition. Thai consumers still opt for well-known and/or imported brands because of its worldwide recognition. Bean&Leaf is created based on the need to refining tea packaging, and to creating brand identity that has equal standard to internationally well-known brands.

Below is some samples of Bean&Leaf tea package;
Let me know how you think about it. Would you pick them up from a shelf?

Herbal Tea packaged in a clear bottle. Ideally the plastic bottle
will be replaced by tin can.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The good, The bad, and The ugly

September 13, 2007

The Bad
Three weeks ago, I got home late, one night, to find my dad lied unconscious in his bed. My sister, brother, and I tried to wake him up but he didn't seem to respond to our words. So we called an ambulance. After a preliminary diagnosis, the ER team immediately placed him in ICU. Dad was suffocating. His heart beat was 165 bpm that put him at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. That night, we had to go home because they didn't allow visitors to stay over in the ICU. By the second night, his condition worsened. He couldn't breath by himself so the physician team decided to intubate him. A nurse informed me about side effects of having a tube down his throat and inside his body. But that's the only choice we have. It wasn't pleasant experience to see him on a mechanical ventilation. I cried so hard that night.

My dad wasn't healthy to begin with. As far as I remember, he was always overweight. His obesity caused him several diseases including congestive heart failure, hypertension, and gout. Due to accumulation of fat in his trachea, his sleeping posture was merely sitting up. If he lied down, his trachea'd get pushed by the fat which let only small amount of O2 passing through his lungs, and causing him to suffocate.

The blood tests came back and confirmed he had lung infection or Pneumonia. It could be malignant in elderly people, specifically people who have congestive heart failure. The doctor tried to comfort our feelings but didn't make any promise on positive outcome. Most hospitalized patients had weaker immunity to fight diseases and were likely to develop onset diseases later on. On the forth day, a sign of his underlying mental issue emerged. His mouth and nose were covered with the O2 mask and intubation, yet tried to give us a sign language. He insisted he saw dark evils who were trying to kill him in a middle of the night. He seemed nervous about it, then asked us to stay over. After a visiting hour, he began to yell and pull out his intubation and IV that left the nurses no choice but re-intubating him, which consequently caused the bleeding and swelling in his trachea.

After a week, his lungs started to clear up and his physical condition recuperated,
However, not for his mind. His severe physical illness,later, developed Delirium - a condition of severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function. We decided to have him transferred out of the ICU and to a private room that we were able to stay with him. We took turn to stay up in order to watch him 24/7, and did everything to regain his memory. Our great effort started to pay off by the end of following week. He's starting to come back.

Now, dad's back home. He still needs special care so we got him a professional
caregiver. Over all, our lives are getting back to normal. Having too much stress
put me into getting sick, but I'm getting better as well.

The Good
• Tim and I accepted an offer from ExxonMobil to host its global Team Building Seminar held on September 12. The timing wasn't perfect due to my dad's situation but we tried to work it out. Considering our zombie condition, I was so grateful with the outcome. We got to meet 12 management attendees from the US, which gave us a little excitement.
• After doing a marketing research for 6 months, I've gotten familiar with Thai consumer behavior that, in turn, led me to the idea of opening my own business. Currently, I am in the process of forming a brand building company. If things go as I hope, it'd be launched by the end of year.

The Ugly
It's growing stronger inside me. It's the feelings I've been trying to reject. But now I have to admit it. I miss Chicago. I miss my life, my friends, and my work. I have to repeat myself over and over I've moved on. Thailand is my new home now. But deep down, I still think of it. Maybe this is life. We always yearn for something we don't have, and careless of what we already have.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Kenmore Home

August 11, 2007

My parents are stuff collectors. You'll never believe how their small house contains that much stuff. Most of which have seen its better days. Like a 20 year-old washer that's no longer served its function, and should have been eliminated years ago, is still sitting on a floor next to a brand-new washer they just purchased. One day, I offered to throw it away, just to get a big NO NO from my mom. The broken washer has sentimental value, said my parents. As far as I recalled, they never give up any of their possessions. They have at least a couple of identical items on their list such as 2 fridges, 2 washers, 3 TVs, 7 stereos, 6 DVD players, unlimited supply of dishware and cookware, 4 industrial sewing machines, over 300 pairs of shoes, 10 tables, roughly 40 boxes of magazines and books, and so forth. The house has been like a big storage full of stuff and has little room left to sit or walk.

Having to live in the storage/ish/ house growing up, I had aimed to have a minimal house, which won't have anything beyond the means. Minimalism inspiring has not only affect my Utopian dwelling, but also significantly influenced on my lifestyle and design work. My Zen philosophy is "messy house is messy mind" Messy house is depressing. And living in depressing environment will never do good to anyone, specifically people who need creativity on their every day lives.
Over the course of my presence in Chicago, I had made a few places home. But there was a place I have felt emotional attachment for. It's apartment we resided before moving back to Thailand. Took me three months to find it, and took me a fraction of minute to fall in love with it at first glance. I know right then this was it.
My search's complete.

The apartment has two bedrooms/bathrooms, which takes up a whole floor on a second floor of a 3-story brownstone building. As it's on a second floor, the room temperature remained at a comfortable level all year round. Adding to its charisma is original 1940s wood doors and mirror, in perfect condition, that the owner decided to keep during the renovation. The focal point of the place is a living room. It's a big room with high ceiling and giant windows exposed a luxury of natural light through a day. My favorite moment was when I opened a bedroom door to see the living room in the morning. Looking out the windows was like watching live painting by the nature. The light coming through windows in various angles at different time of day created intrigued dimensions to the room, especially while the sun's going down - my favorite moment of all.

Writing about the place takes me back to those beautiful days. I still remembered the day we're leaving for the airport. The empty room looked doleful in the morning sunlight, anticipating a couple who couldn't wait to move in the next couple of weeks. I looked around for the last time and said good bye to it. Promised myself that some day I will have my actual home, not a rented one. A home full of joy and gratification that will put my long journey to an end.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Outshines the brightest stars

July 25, 2007
city of Ayutthaya

It's raining cats and dogs every day. (whenever I use the idiom, I always imagine the actual cats and dogs falling down from the sky. Perhaps, that'd explain why I've seen a lot of stray dogs and cats in BKK.) Good thing is the temperature has dropped to a comfortable level. I even feel chilled at nights. You may wonder how it could possibly happen to me who, back in Chicago, walked around in a tank-top and refused to have the heat on in my apartment during bitter sub-zero winters. I guess my tough skin's peeling off.

Not only the rain that's pouring down these days, but pedestrians also have to look up and watch out for alien objects that may fall from the sky. Remembered the news about scaffolding crashed down onto a car, killing three people, back in Chicago? It's happened here as well. But it's advertising billboards that came down on people. The disaster's caused by vigorous winds blowing over 30 MPH with heavy rainfall. According to law, the billboards're designed to withstand a maximum of 10 MPH wind capacity. (note: Bangkok is not a windy city, therefore 30 MPH brisk wind is pretty forceful.) Of course, the city said the incidents never occur before in its history. Now they have to revise the law. Nevertheless, with all the record-breaking disasters news happened around the world these days, if we connect the dots, we'd figure out what caused them. (need a hint?)

This week Mr. J came up to town from Koh Tao(Turtle Island) to pick up his girlfriend at the airport. He called Tim up to arrange our reunion.
(To refresh your memory, Mr. J is a friend of Tim from work and has been here for diving courses.) They planned to be in town for a few days. In stead of hanging around and repeating the same activities, I lured them into the out-of-town trip. Ayutthaya's only 86 km from BKK so a day trip is attainable.

The kingdom of Ayutthaya existed between 1350 and 1767 A.D. It's one of the most powerful cities in southeast Asia. In 1767 the city's destroyed by the Burmese army, and the ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya historic park, which's recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most sites are within reasonable traveling distance of each other. The best way to travel around the historic sites is to rent a bike, which comes with a free map. To get better picture of the area, imagine a land in rectangular shape surrounded by the river. If you keep riding a bike along the river, you'll easily return to a starting point without getting lost. The ride's pleasant as the city's green and we could see the ruins from distance along a roadway. Some of the highlights included The Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and Ancient Palace.

During the bike trip, we found a shortcut route to the other side of the city. We followed the trail through a park and through a narrow roadway built in a middle and along side of wild plants. And it's the ancient brick trail that caught my attention enough to cease my ride and take a closer look at it. It must have been built in Ayutthaya period, I thought. Then, walked further to discover a sign half-hidden behind a shurb that backed up my assumption. I looked at the trail and paused for a moment to pay respect to my ancients who, several hundred years back, had walked on the same road. It made me wonder what it's like to live in the most glorious period in the country's history. Were they grateful?

Ayutthaya has not only left us the evidence of once the most prosperous city, but also stories of our ancients who had given their lives in the war for the country and for the freedom their descendants'd have and be proud of. It's the freedom we've taken for granted.

The city'd left me something to think about that night.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The 700 Year Old City, Chiang Mai

June 15-19, 2007

From the east side of Thailand, we're taking you to the northen Thailand - to the city of elephants and malaria, Chiang Mai. (oh.. the malaria part was a joke..don't take the pills just yet)

Wikipedia described Chiang Mai as the largest and most culturally significant city in northen Thailand. Chiang Mai's historic importance is derived from its important strategic location on an ancient trade route. The city served as an important centre for handcrafted goods, umbrellas, jewelry, and woodcarving.

My favorite area at all time is still Ping River, especially at night when the the weather cooled down and we could feel the breeze from the river. Our ritual was to start the evening with a cup of cafeine at a coffee shop by the river (picture#3).
We'd hang out until the dust settled. Then moved on to the next door, "Riverside" legendary pub and restaurant, for a good meal and live jazz music. A couple doors down the street is also my favorite restaurant known as The Gallery. The food didn't get my attention as much as its interior design. The owner did an impeccible job on preserving its original wooden structure, illustrating a fusion of traditional Chinese style in stucco with molded motifs and Lanna style, Northern Thai Architecture. A picture I took while dinning there didn't do it justic so I didn't post it here. I suggest you make a visit to the restaurant and you'll understand why I jabbered about the place.

After the dinner, we crossed a street to check out a furniture store (that its achitecture made my jaw drop once again). We browsed through the showroom and agreed that its furniture reminded us of an upscale furniture store in Chicago. later, to find out on its website that their export market is in the US including that store and its subsidiary. I can pay only one-fifth of its price tag to get the same kind of
furniture with the same quality. Well... I am in heaven.

To cross off our must-do list, the next day we paid a visit to Bann Tawai, handicraft village. There were a few stores that stunned me with its originality. if you know me well, you'd know that I have a thing for furniture, particularly minimalist influence. I'd get carried away if I found one of the kind piece. And I don't care if my wallet'll be empty for the next few weeks. LOL. Below is what I bought from the store;

The next thing down the list was to check out Maesa Elephant Camp&Nursery. So we hired a personal guide to get us there. He drove north-west of Chiang Mai, through the picturesque Mae Sa Valley, about 30 mins to get to the Camp. A half-day program included elephant bathing, skill demonstrating such as playing football and painting, elephant riding, and visiting its habitat.

The tamed elephants like to play with human. The size of their bodies may freak people out, but the reflection of their eyes are nothing more than innocent and curious act, which made me want to pat them.

We finished the trip by going to pay respect to Buddha relic at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. (picture#1and2) To reach the temple which is located at the apex of Doi Suthep, we needed to climb up a naga staircase of 309 steps. it wasn't bad after all. When we came back down, we had a driver drove us to NimmanHemin Street, the new hip area in Chiang Mai (picture#4). If you happen to be in that neigborhood, it'd be worthwhile to check out Yesterday The Village Hotel.

Need further information? Please click on the link below;

My Sacred Hideaway, Samet Island

June 11, 2007 - Our first and official grand trip

Samet Island was actually my first priority on my must-go list. I have special bond to the Island. It'd take up the whole page if I was going to explain why and how. To keep it short, Samet Island had been a big part of my life growing up. There was times I was going through a difficult time. I packed up my stuff and came to the island alone. A few days later, I was revived. As simple as that, it helped me get through one of those days a number of times.

After a week-long (non-stop) celebration of Mr.J and B's arrival, which involved booze, shopping, sightseeing, and booze(and more booze), we decided to leave the crazy city for a serene place like Samet Island. Three boys and I hopped in a bus the following day. One of them was Tim, and the two other were Mr. J and B who came all the way from the US to make their dreams come true.

Two hours and forty minutes later, we arrived in Rayong. There we met up with K.Brian, our good friend who also used to live in Chicago. He offered to show us around and took us to the island. As we got closer to it, I could feel my excitement glowing. I looked at it up close. It'd been 8 years I'd been away and my love hasn't aged a bit. The dirt road was still there. The sand was still white. And the clarity of ocean...still took my breath away. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Samet is my sacred hideaway. For someone, the island may not live up to their expectation. For me, it's everything I've asked for. Even this time, it did its magic on me again. My 'homesick' vanished. (if you know what I was referring to...)

Samet is a well-known island in Rayong. The city's located on the Gulf of Thailand, about 190 km from Bangkok. Getting there is easy. We took an air-conditioned bus at the Ekkamai bus station, which leaves every hour. The bus arrived at a ferry pier in Rayong. From there, we took a half an hour ride ferry to the island.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Note on a (seem-to-be) Normal Day

This morning, I read the local/global news as usual. Here's what I found;

Chicago this week weather forecast: Min. 64F Max. 83F
Bangkok this week forecast: Min. 77F Max. 90F , with widespread thundershowers across the country until end of May.

Do those figures put you on alert? Yes? No?

Whether you notice or not, it's happening. What we thought that's so far away from reality is coming to pass at a fast pace. The Global Warming consequences take early effect and congratulate to every one of us, we can see and feel it in our lifetime now.

Chicago temp. at this time of year isn't supposed to be warm as the record. Bangkok, on the other hand, isn't supposed to have heavy rain until the rainy season, which begins from June-October. Well, it has rained "everyday" since mid April and continue into May. Widespread rainfalls are expected throughout this month. I've been told it's just a tropical storm. It could happen during the draught season and it'll be gone soon.

O.k., I'll believe them.

I'll try to pretend there's nothing to worry about. I'll try to pretend the reason I'm awaken by the sound of heavy rain pouring down on my roof as if the sky is furious every day, is nothing but the out-of-season storms. It will come and go.
I'll try to pretend Global Warming won't affect my daily life. I still have shelter, food, and clothes. What else do I care about?

And for those whose lands got flooded and their farms which's the only source of
income got destroyed by the storms. They can re-build it next year when the weather's back to normal, right? Nothing is in danger, and not to worry about.

I'll try to be ignorant.

what about the global economy, food, and pollution? if we don't take action immediately, it'd be too late to fix. We're not dealing with human here, we talk about the mother nature, the Earth, the World - the place we all live on. What if some day the Earth's atmosphere's devoid of oxygen and its food sources're depleted. What'd we breath in? What'd we consume?

I'll try to be ignorant.

Global Warming is no longer a fictional.
But wait, the topic is too serious. I'm not ready to discuss it. Besides, who cares about Global Warming. Look around. Nobody cares because their life sucks enough that they can't even make ends meet.

I rather put a stop to it and go shopping.

I'll try to be ignorant.


(The rain is pouring down at the moment)


Here are steps that we can do to help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere

1. Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are full before running them to save energy and money.

2. Unplug your cell phone charger, TV and other electronics from the wall when you're not using them. Even when turned off, they use small amounts of energy.

3. Make sure to turn off lights and other energy-sucking devices when they aren't being used.

4. If you're leaving your computer for a while, put it on stand-by. You'll be able to restart it quickly, and it'll take less energy than shutting it down and then restarting it.

5. Do not leave the water taps on if not in use and turn off the taps properly, because one drop of water per second would waste 2,700 gallons of water per year.

6. Use reusable bags whenever you can. A plastic bag could take up to several hundred years to decompose.

For more tips, check out

Saturday, April 28, 2007

SongKran Festival

Here came the official Summer of Thailand, April is the month people wish it to pass as soon as possible. The heat index ,as of April 25, was 110 F. Well, how do we live in such climate? Once you get used to the weather here, 110F is no longer a freaking digit and 85F seems like 60F on good days.

Well, there was a celebration this month that can't be neglected to mention. It's the Thai New Year (April 13). Thais looked forward to that day because, first off, it's a long holiday weekend. People get to go back to their hometown, spend time with their parents and do some activities together such as going to Wat (temple). It's also a good time to re-evaluate their inner self and abstain from any wrongdoings. Observing the old tradition reminds them of who they really are. A new appreciation for life could be found at this time as the positive energy and good vibe're flying high.

Over the course of the long holiday weekend, Thais celebrated the New Year with traditional water festival called SongKran Festival. It was originated as a way to pay respect to elderly by pouring a small amount of purified water on their hands. The elderly, then, give them blessings in return. The youths also do it in a more
fun way. They splash one another with water to relieve the heat. Since April is the hottest month, it somewhat has turned into a water-splashing war. The water'd come
in a variety of containers (i.e. squirt guns, hoses, and barrels). They'd drive a
car around and spatter water at pedestrians by whatever equipments they have in hand. (Note: just water, no other substances) People won't get mad if they get splashed. It's an exception for SongKran. I wish I could have taken some photos to post on this blog. I didn't dare carry my camera around as it's likely to get wet and (later) broken. Tim went out one night to join the festival at a bar. He wasn't aware of
the ongoing war so he kept his cell phone in his jeans pocket without any protection. Well, needless to say what happened to that poor phone.

Asides from the event/weather update, Tim and I've spent most of our time overseeing his house renovation, yet still a work in progress. On our day off, we hang out with a few friends at a local bar. If the name Kao Sarn Road, Bars behind Lumpini Park, Ratchada Pisett, and KaSett NaVamin sound familiar to you, then welcome to the "old-timer" club. :) We hope, next month, we'd find time to leave the city for some islands. After the house renovation project's complete, we'll start looking into a job search. Until that time, I assure you'd find interesting articles up here. And of course, suitable for every age.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Moving Forward

April 11, 2007

Every year, my family go on a road trip together. Usually they would end up in a luxurious hotel by the sea somewhere near Bangkok. They would spend a night or two lounging and catching up with one another. The fact that I have a very big family and dad in a wheel chair, each year the trip get more challenging. The major hindrance is a lack of facilities for people with disabilities. Forget about kneel-down buses, priority seats, sidewalks, and washrooms for handicap, the insufficiency leave them no choice but staying home most of the time.

This year I had a chance to participate in my family gathering. Our destination is Kao Ta-Kleb beaches, Hua Hin Town, 3 hour drive from BKK. My sister planned the trip itinerary in advance and was able to reserve a 5 bedroom house by the beach for the family of 23. Before the trip, the number of attendees freaked me out as I was used to to living alone for a long time. I was worried about loosing my privacy.
Surprisingly, It turned out to be one of the best trip I've had. My sisters and I had
lived in a different places all over the world and had a lot to catch up. First night we stayed up until 5 A.M.. We sat in front of the house drinking beer and looking
at the sea at night. It was a beautiful night. What could be better than good conversation, great company, and bottomless beer?

As hours passed by, my sisters started to go back to bed, and left me and my in-law competing for a title of Last Drunk Standing. Around 5 A.M., the beer cases were empty. We were wasted but still chatted with our eyes half-way closed. Eventually we called it a night and went to bed. The next day my in-law got up hung over and had a headache. He asked if I felt the same. I said no, I was cool. Everyone thought I was a hard-core drinker. The secret is I drank half of what everyone else had. My in-law had about 12 bottles of beer. Our glasses were full the whole time. I was the one who refilled all glasses. I filled up half of my glass with beer and the other half with water. They were drunk and didn't pay attention to what I was doing. I knew drinking beer and water together will never get me drunk.

Hua Hin is a cute small town that has beautiful beaches and cozy resorts. I made a visit to the town when I was a kid so I had no recollection of what it looks like. I'm surprised to see beautiful beaches as I didn't expect shoreline beaches would be as pretty as beaches on the islands. No wonder it's become one of the most popular weekend get-away destinations for BKK people. Here's a link, in case you want to know more about Hua Hin.

We got there on Friday A.M. and left on Sunday P.M.. On the way home, we made a few stops at Ratchburi and Na-korn Pa-Tom, the 2 other cities. I looked out the window and saw the same scenery I saw 10 years ago. I smiled to myself. For once, I feel like I'm finally home.

Friday, March 30, 2007

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Here, people are obsessed with superstition.
Every essential step of opportunity or change they take on in their lives engaging a ceremony of bringing good luck to the beginning. As someone once said, "to be in a right place at a right time requires luck." And to have that luck, the whole process involves a predictor of future such as Astrologer, Fortune Teller, Palm Reader, and so forth. People will take their identity to the predictors, and have him/her looked at it in-depth. The predictors study their information and inform them of future possibilities and proper timing to take action in such business. Moreover, people go to the predictors when in need of blessing for their wedding ceremony, housewarming, baby shower, business grand-opening, and etc.

Tim and I got to observe the tradition as one of our business needed advice from a predictor. When we lived far away, we did things up on our availability. We could no longer do that as we now live in a different culture. However, we're open to a new experience as long as it doesn't hurt us and keeps our significant others happy.
The predictor took our birth date, time, month, and year, along with other information, then studied them. She looked into our past and a year ahead of us.
She gave us a warning on a few things as well as handing out a fortune day to deal business, a color for our new car, and so forth. In deed, it was a fun experience. After our long conversation with her, we learned that before she got into this study, she was a pharmacist, then a lawyer, later a business person, and eventually found herself drawn into the mysterious, yet intrigue study. She has studied in the field over 5 years now. And we could tell she's not hosting a phony show.

The study about unseen future's remained mysterious and unexplainable act. People who don't believe in it make fun of other believers. We look at it as a different field of study. Whether our future is predictable or not, the most benefit to this is to gain confidence in people when they hesitate to change their path. Self-assured people tend to have more ability to conquer any obstacle. And that's what it counts.

Stranger in the new world

March 25, 2007

Bangkok in 2007 is different from where I left off. The city has been expanded as if it wasn't big enough before. I've seen a number of unfamiliar expressways, streets, shopping malls, and restaurants all over the city. My parents house is in old town area, therefore nothing has drastically changed. Contrary to Tim's neighborhood,
outskirt of BKK, all the empty lands were replaced with high-rise buildings and restaurants. At a very first night, our friend took us out to dinner at a restaurant
that has a washroom the same size as entire Thai restaurants in Chicago. Later we found out most restaurants we went had a similar construction - hugh dinning spaces and gigantic washrooms. Not to mention good food and cool ambience, I gave it 5 stars. In case you wonder about a cost of lands here, NO, they aren't cheap. I guess Thai restaurant investors must be loaded with money and can afford to build 2,000 sf washrooms. We noticed, not only restaurants here that have generous sizes, but also shopping malls. We were surprised with extreme changes around Siam Square, shopping district. Before we left there weren't Siam Paragon and Central World. I'm so intrigued by the size of both malls as they're incredibly hugh and very cool in design. Tim and I spent a whole day in Central World, yet won't be able to finish every floor. It's that big.

The shopping block is filled with trendy/good looking people. It's where modeling agents gather and look for new models. So, we saw mixed race people hanging around here. We noticed more number of white people. Some travel through BKK, and some live here. We know because they act and dress like local and even have Thai's body structure. Good news for those who want to loose weigh, Thailand is the answer for you. Come to BKK and you will loose 10 lbs in 1 week. :) I may loose some weigh as well although I eat 5 meals a day. It's the weather here that burn body fat super fast. The temp. is around 85 F during a day and 80 F at night. It's hot and humid, yet still bearable. So far I don't have any problem as I feel more energetic in hot weather. Well, there is a long way to go and I have to see how April's weather goes though. (April and May are the hottest months.)

Here's a clip note of what I've seen during my first week in BKK;
Improvement in public transportation
• Trains
My first impression is the trains here. Both elevated and underground trains are in great shape. The trains and its stations are super clean and look new. The only drawback is the train lines aren't connected throughout the city. People still need to have a car, hence bad traffic remains.
• Speed boats
People who live along Jao-Pra-ya River have a chance to ride a speed boat to Sa-torn Pier for a train station. I took advantage of it as my parent's house is closed to the river and much enjoy riding those boats.
• Cabs and buses
no improvement except for a fare increase
• City
Greatly expanded. Hardly see sky as expressways cross bridges, and elevated railways built on top of one another. However, there are some part of BKK that's frozen in the time. Whatever they looked 10 years back, these days, those places remain the same.
• People
Majority are friendly and sweet in nature. They are willing to engage in our conversation any chance we asked for direction.

And myself....
As much as I like the city, there is a big adjustment I have to make in order to live here comfortably. I miss Chicago from time to time when I see things I dislike here. However, there is nothing left in Chicago for me to go back to. This is the first time I feel like I don't belong in both world. I guess time will help. I have to give it a try.