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Bangkok, Singapore And The Grounding Of Swissair

  • Written by Anonymous
  • October 18th, 2005
  • 32 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

An amusing multicultural zig-zag story.

Prelude: Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks French, the businessmen Singaporean, the playmates Thai, and it is all organised by the Swiss. Hell is when the chefs are British, the businessmen French, the playmates Swiss, the police Singaporean, and it is all organised by the Thais.

(I altered that a bit from the original version where the mechanics are German and the lovers are Italian.)

I have only been in Singapore one day of my life, for 24 hours or something like that. Since Singapore is such a miniature place, I find myself completely entitled to write about it and compare it with Bangkok, of which I am not sure that I know it much better, even after living 2 years there. Of course, if you feel that I am a megalomaniac, abort your reading now or enjoy my writings as the views of a clown.

But let me tell you what happened on that day in Singapore. The city has a nice airport and every time I board a Singapore Airlines plane I first get a stomach cramp before I enjoy the almost too perfect service on board, because our national airline, Swissair (not Swiss, which is nothing but a patch up for our lost national pride, something like a plaster on the neck for person who has just been beheaded) could be still competing on the same level or even top Singapore Airlines. Yes, that is right folks, I am Swiss (yeah and please don't come up with Roger Federer now he is such a mind-numbing person. The reason why I say that is because everywhere I went in Australia and said I am Swiss they came up with this killingly uninteresting tennis player. Maybe they should not bring the sports reports first on the TV news, it kind of damages the brain.)

Once I went to see an apartment building in Bangkok, in fact it was Hong Nam View Apartments Lang Suan. I enjoyed the nylon wrapped legs of the receptionist and started my slimy Thai charm chatting with her when she showed me the various apartment types (and almost every angle of her legs of course). I explained to her that I am Swiss, after she asked me the mother of all Thai questions: Wehr your comm fromm Seeer?. Normally I get the uuh and aahs, when I say that I am a Swiss. People instantly trust me a bit more. They think all Swiss are civilized. Well, talk to my dates, they would deny that I can even eat with knife and fork. Personally I love being Swiss too, but only if I don't have to stay in Switzerland. The further away I am from there, the more I love my passport. Of course I find Switzerland by far the most boring place on earth one can imagine and believe me, there are not even many Swiss in my friends list.

Anyway, so I said to that lovely legged girl that I am Swiss. She said Switzerland was kind of beautiful and clean, but she very much preferred Singapore over Switzerland. I found that opinion quite challenging and all what was left of my national pride, (which is unfortunately not much since the grounding of Swissair) started to pour into this fatal debate. First I asked her if she had ever been to Switzerland. She said no, never, but she emphasized proudly that she had been to Singapore. I find that quite typical Thai ignorance. You ask a Thai, what is the best country in the world and he will automatically say Thailand. It will just shoot out of their mouth. You can ask them also: Have you been out of your country and he says no. Okay, let's put up with this attitude, because we want to respect the way of life of our host country, nest pas? At least I did at that moment, because I truly adored that girl's legs.

I entered a long monologue and explained to her the world according to Statler&Waldorf. Something like this: Switzerland has become Switzerland because every Swiss has a built in microchip in his head which tells him/her not to throw a bubblegum on the street. In Singapore, bubble gum is re not allowed because the government is afraid that the Singaporeans will throw bubble gum on the street. The difference is, Switzerland's law and order comes from within, Singapore's is forced upon by the cane. Of course, Singapore has no mountains and lakes and all the other cute features of Switzerland, but that is not the point now. Yes, Singapore is a bit like Switzerland in being dull because of over-organization, but in a different way. In Switzerland, in the early 1990s I used to buy heroin on a market-like place in town, very much tolerated by the government. But there was always a police car standing nearby, just in case somebody overdosed. That is typical Swiss in my eyes. The Swiss might be boring, but they are extremely liberal. In Singapore, even if you are the country manager of an oil company, you go to jail for several years, if the police catch you with a ridiculous Ecstasy pill. I am not into drugs anymore, I dig girls nowadays, but hello? Who wants to live in a zero tolerance place? Not me. Bangkok is on paper a fascist zero tolerance place too, but in reality it is the opposite, it is the wild wild west. (simple example: the new alcohol restriction law. If they know you, they give you the booze at any time, and if they don't they won't. Also depends a bit where you go, Family Mart or CP's Seven 11.)

To my opinion there is no law in Thailand – except of Murphy's law taken in the meaning: "Anything That Can Possibly Go Wrong, Does". In Thailand there are many different civil laws for many different persons. There is not the same law on the street if you drive a Rod Ben SLK 230 kompressor or a low so blue dented Toyota Pick up truck. Maybe I love Bangkok, because deep inside I am an anarchist and not because I wanna be part of the upper ten thousand (like some corporate westerners who got a lucky transfer to the kingdom of Siam and now behave like they own the world or something, even they just learned how to tie a tie after their arrival in Thailand. You can watch their primadonna attitudes at All Seasons Place, frankly, they just make me sick. PS All Season is the only place in Bangkok where Bangkok has become a bit like Singapore. Just try to sit on the balustrade of the garden there and see what happens. The All Seasons SS will come and get you evacuated in the blink of an eye.), I was lost already in these upper ten thousand business people circles back home and where especially hated the reptile minded McKinsey Teflon-heads.

In Switzerland I sometimes had very negative thoughts about the immigrants and refugees spamming my country and taking advantage of our social welfare and what not. I wished that our government would be strict like the Singaporeans. But I only wished it in my thoughts, I never held beer damp speeches about it at the regulars table. I know, when it would be done what I wished for in reality, we all would lose. A country should never be totalitarian ruled, better tolerate a little bit of abuse of the system than tightening the screws so that no one can breath anymore. I learned that from Singapore. Thank you, PAP.

So why did we unfortunate Swiss lose Swissair and why is Singapore Airlines still doing so well? Because the Swissair management was behaving like a Thai management (or better said like a Thai management would behave in my personal opinion) would have behaved in the last ten years before the grounding. The only big difference between Thais and Swiss is that the Swiss are better organized then the Thais. But Ladies and Gentlemen, believe it or not, but the Swiss are suffering from the very same problems the Thais suffer from (or enjoy):

1. Sleaze/nepotism in politics and economy
2. Tendency to wipe problems under the carpet and an addiction to keep harmony within a group instead of risking having an open conflict. And keeping face is not just very Thai, it is also very Swiss. Because Switzerland is such a small place and people have been living with each other for hundreds of years, everybody knows everybody and the people are very reluctant to have open confrontations with each other. Similar to the Thai way of life, backstabbing is also very common. The result of the addiction of harmony and the simulation that everything runs smoothly inevitably leads to ignoring problems. The management may save its face, but the company gets ruined. Exactly this happened to Swissair. Switzerland turned down the possibly to merge with KLM, SAS, Austrian (and North West airlines), then they were dozing away the opportunity to join a strategic alliance (one world or star) they simply tried make their own alliance with buying up a lot of crappy airlines in the disastrous "Hunter" strategy. Seen from a certain angle, they were trying to keep their face after making the wrong decisions.

Well, we just hope that Singapore Airlines will not make similar mistakes like Swissair. You never know what can happen. If somebody would have said to me in 2000, that Swissair would go bankrupt a year later, I would have told him this could never happen to our national airline, to our pride and joy. Lets see how SIA is dealing with the new 10/25 A-380s and the high oil prices.

I would not say, Singapore is a bad place to live. I had a marvelous time when I went out. I actually found Singapore a much better place to go out than Bangkok. Why? Going out in Bangkok I am always paranoid of the girls. I can not get rid of the thought that the pretty girls in the clubs have gone through a hundred hands already. As I said many times on this page: Thai girls have no hobbies, so their hobby is sex and what they would call love. It's a nice hobby, but some take it to the amateur level and some even to the professional level. Myself, I also have the bad habit of dating girls, but it is not a hunting sport for me. I just like the company of cultured girls. When I look at the club scene in Bangkok I see amateur level girls (money involved or not) and I see pro level girls. That turns me off. In Singapore, I did not see that. I went to various places and I had a great time being chatted up by Chinese girls. I did not have the impression at all that these girls were chatting me up for money. Even some guys came over to me and said: What are you doing here all alone, where are your friends and so on. They just wanted to comfort me and I found that extremely nice. I am very bad when it comes to chatting up people in bars. But in Singapore, I never felt that pressure I felt in Bangkok. When you chat up a girl here or when a girl chats you up (normally you should run by then) it's always greed hanging in the air like the sword of Damocles. Okay get it from this side: I was with a girl in Tapas. She was attractive, was teaching English at the Gotham City institute and had lived in the United States for several years. When she went to get the drinks, I felt totally naked. Even I tried to avoid eye contact with anybody, I noticed that the girls on the next table who where already with a bunch of young handsome foreigners were eyeballing me. I could not hide from their hungry eyes. I mean, staring is like a bad habit I think. In America it is seen as even more rude as in Europe, but that is exactly the reason I usually just don't go to these trendy places. I am sure if I would have gone there alone, these chicks would not have even looked at me. But because I was with a sophisticated and alternatively trendy dressed Thai girl who spoke American English, I got their immediate attention. It is so unbelievably childish, that it is just not funny anymore. And if you go to these places alone, what will happen? You gonna stay alone all night, or you will be picked up by a hooker. The cool girls will be too cool to speak to you, because they are staring at the boys who are there with other girls.

In Singapore it isn't like that, at least not where I have been. I am sure there are some hooker places, but in Bangkok you can just almost go anywhere you want you will still find pro and amateur girls. Okay, you can go totally local, but then you have to speak Thai. In Thailand, as a very stupid and general rule, good/decent/whatever-you-wanna-call-them girls hardly date foreigners. If they date westerners, they usually met the westerner more or less by accident and not by specifically looking for them.

Well of course I did not get the receptionist at the Hong Nam View Apartments and the lovely legs are still waiting there for me. No need to go back their either, the girl thinks I am a psycho. Thai girls always think that you have a screw lose when you start philosophizing. Maybe not the ones who read the Stickman site and I bow for them. It is nice to know that there are some self-critical Thai people and they have all my respect. Some would say now, Khun Statler, why you stay here in Bangkok when the nightlife is so much better in Singapore? Well yes, it is a good question and I will try to answer it now.

Bangkok is a great place to live. I love Bangkok for the reason I dislike Singapore. Thai people are so unorganized, so messy, so forgetful. But they are lovely. Every time I walk out of my building, I don't simply walk out. I pass the cleaners of my floor and have a chat with them, then I pass the doormen and he surely has some question about some English phrase he picked up. It is possible that I explained it to him 3 times already, but since I am in no rush in Bangkok, I will explain it to him a 4th time and a 5th time. After I pass the doormen, I salute the people working in the restaurant and I am pretty sure, that they have some comment about my attire. If not, they will ask me where I am going. Now I am outside and I pass the shop. They will recognize that I am passing their shop, due to some built in sensor they have in their Thai body. I am not quite sure how they do it, but they see me every time and they never forget to give me a big smile and wave with their hand. Of course, if the shop door is open, they ask me where I am going. Now I am on the street, passing a bank. I don't say hello to the security guard there, I just say: Plon tanakahn (which means something like I am gonna rob your bank). He probably replies that he will gladly help me to do so and I always get laughter, no matter how many million times I use the same joke. When you are in Bangkok, and you are in a good mood and in-sync with your conscience, there is no better place in the world to live. Thai people can feel, when you dislike them, when you are here just for the cheap sex and the bars but you hate everything else. They might not be clever and they can not point out Kathmandu on the world map, but they can feel if you are an honest, good, willing person or not. And as I said, smile at them from the bottom of your heart, and you would be surprised how many people and street vendors say hello to you. Not to sell you anything, they will forget that they are out on the street to make money, they will just love you for smiling. The rarest commodity in Bangkok is a smiling, happy westerner.

I know it is hard to smile on Sukhumvit and that is the reason I never go there. Sukhumvit is the dark area, the negative energy spot of the city. I am not talking about the Nana area. No, the sois around Nana are okay and I also like the Arab quarter over there. The worst part of the Sukhumvit is the places where the western foreigners live. Why is that and why do I think like that? Am I out of my mind? Maybe. Sometimes you have to be out of your mind, to jump to another level of conscience. My point is: If you are a hi-so Thai, you would not tolerate it if somebody treats you badly in a restaurant. You probably complain to the manager, I am not a hi-so Thai and I don't know in detail what he would do, but he would not take it just like that. Of course, he would not get the shitty treatment in the first place. He or she would act noble, as it should be according to their position in Thai society and the people who serve him will respect it from that moment on, if they have not grasped it before.

Western foreigners in the Sukhumvit area (warning: I am over-generalizing) do not present themselves as someone who needs to be respected. No wonder they get the shitty treatment from the Thais. I am always very surprised how much effort and positive energy I have to put into my dealings with Thai people in Sukhumvit until I get the same treatment I get around Lang Suan, Siam (except MBK) or Sathorn. Call me a snob, but I don't want to get the fuck off farang treatment. Let me explain more. Yesterday, I was meeting a friend around the Emporium area. She lured me into a restaurant I usually would not go to. For Thai standards it was a good restaurant, but I was reluctant to go inside. I cant explain it in words. Some places you maybe pass everyday, but you never would go inside. Well, not to upset my friend with my elitist attitude, I followed her inside. At least we found a nice, quiet table which I chose, of course. Last time I let her choose the table, she managed to pick the worst table in the restaurant, even the best table next to the window was available. She argued that she did not want people to see her eat. This I think is typical Thai, but forgivable. The waiter in this place was a ladyboy and s/he approached the table and handed me the menus without a word of salutation. I said a bit louder than normal: Good evening. S/he looked at me surprised and I just smiled back at s/he. Instantly s/he changed her attitude. I am quite sure that if I had been a Thai costumer of some status, I would not have needed to do that. As the evening went by I met almost all waiters and staff in the restaurant, especially when my female friend went back to her townhouse go get something she had forgotten. They looked at me like an unknown animal. Even though I have lived almost 2 years in Bangkok, I still behave like the first day I came. I chat with the people and I make jokes. My jokes have not gotten better, but my Thai has. Since I was quite alone with the staff I started to tease them softly. Probably you are off in the best way in Thailand, if you behave like a child. Make simple, harmless jokes and the people will love you for that. They work quite hard for very little money and they are thankful for it. And as I said, not many western foreigners have the ability to transform themselves back to their childhood. Of course don't be too childish that the Thais lose all respect from you. But when you cook at home you don't use all the salt you have for your soup. Just a touch is enough.

Try to do that in Singapore. I don't think they would find it so funny. But if you give them a big tip, maybe they will give you a smile when you leave and excuse your infantile behavior. In Switzerland they probably would ask you to leave the restaurant for harassing the waiters with your smile. A smile is a dangerous thing in Switzerland. I remember last year walking down the Bahnhofstrasse. The only people smiling were the tourists and me. Well, I was a tourist too. Living there permanently I would lose my smile too, I guess.

Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 18:3) Unless you become like a child, you will never be happy in Thailand.

That is my version of this biblical quotation. And I say something more to defend the agnostic, infantile Thais:

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

You know who said that? It was not Jesus or Buddha. No, it was an American man called Thomas Jefferson.

Does it have to do anything with softly rebuking a ladyboy waiter? Not really, but it is fun to contemplate about these things, when you have nothing better to do, like me. And you cant complain if I write zig-zag because you did not pay for it. If you have a busy schedule and you want to gain fame and fortune, you better not come to live in Thailand. You would waste your talent and your energy as well. Even myself, I try to avoid doing business with Thais, it is tiring. They constantly change their minds and you have agreed in a meeting to do things so and so, be sure that they will come up with a new meeting to change the goals. One step forward, to steps back. For business, please go to Singapore (or Switzerland). I know that Singapore now is the role model for Bangkok, the mayor of Bangkok said something lately. He wants to turn Bangkok into a city of learning. I wish him good luck in his undertaking. Bangkok can never be Singapore just like a zebra can never be a thoroughbred racehorse. Cobbler, stick to your trade. I am not sure what trade I could mean for Thailand/Bangkok. Maybe tourism. But then, if the wages rise, they would have to improve the standard of service here tremendously. Thailand will not be a discount destination anymore. I know the attempts of the government lean in that direction, but I am not quite sure if upper class Europeans really would come over here. I think they are quite happy in Dubai.

Take a look at the Elite card project. The aim was to attract long term and high-spender tourists, as well as investors. The Thai government had first hoped for 100,000 members within a year and one million members within the first five years, but then they could only sell around 500 cards within the first year. Surprisingly, 95% of the people who bought the card were Asians. I guess they bought the card because it kind of "allows" foreigners to buy land in Thailand. When I say it kind of "allows" foreigners to buy land in Thailand, it has the typical Thai Catch 22 in it:

The Elite card project was controversial from the outset, because one of the special privileges tied to the card is the possibility to "acquire and possess land" once the Land Privilege law is passed. The problem: there is no sign of such law being passed.

Foreign individuals and companies are not allowed to own any interest in land, expect for a few exceptions such as those granted by the Board of Investment. Until a new law is passed, the Thailand Privilege Card Company has set up an ownership structure to be used by cardholders seeking to purchase land under which TPC will own the land on behalf of the cardholder. But this point has raised legal issues, with some lawyers saying the interim ownership structure is in conflict with some existing acts and could exposed the cardholder to prosecution.

TPC is optimistic that the new law will be passed within the next two years. "Once the law is passed, there should be much more interest into the card," they add.

Well, I don't think there will be more interest in the card. People would maybe buy the card if they got a work permit with it and the real ability to own land. The Thai government will of course not grant that. For me it is very interesting that the government of this country tries to act like a Tuk Tuk driver who promises to take the tourists everywhere for only 50 baht, but is never committed to keep his promise from the beginning. That much for Thai politics. I want that article published. Thank you.

Now, I don't wanna go where I am temped to go now. Let's leave the body trade out of the discussion. I wish Bangkok and I wish Thailand to overcome that specific trade, but I think it is unrealistic. Thai people rather play every day lottery than put together a diligent business strategy. They just tend to go the easier way. I am the same. I also like to go the easy way and that is why I live in Thailand. With one difference. I don't work here. Well, I do in a way in the think tank of my own room, but I don't interact with Thai nationals. I would go mad if I had to work with Thais, I am sorry folks. Okay, let us see what happens if you work with Thais:

Every morning I like the same things from the restaurant downstairs in my apartment:

– Cafe latte
– 2 pieces of toast and butter

I just like butter, okay, so to hell with the cholesterol level in my blood. Normally it takes them between 5 minutes and one hour to bring it to my room. Sometimes, they don't show up and I have to call again. When they arrive, in one out of then cases they forget the bill, or they have the bill for another person who ordered yoghurt for breakfast. So I check always before I sign the bill. Never sign anything blindly in Thailand. Not because they want to trick you, they are just fan clan wan (daydreaming), you know what I mean. Sometimes the coffee comes with no sugar, sometimes with 3 packs of sugar. Sometimes it comes with brown sugar and sometimes with white sugar and sometimes, they have 2 packs of white sugar and one pack of brown sugar. Also one in about 10 times, the milk has gone bad. The toast is sometimes totally black and sometimes the bread is not toasted. Sometimes they bring me whole wheat bread and sometimes I get white bread. When I am having a bad day, I tell them off. In normal days, I just enjoy the variety and the fantasy of their service. <Easy solution, buy a coffee machine and buy bread from a good bakery and do it yourself!Stick>

When I order something from the in-house supermarket, it gets even funnier. They have a tendency to replace the employees to other branches as soon as they know their job and the needs of the people in the apartment building. With the help of the in-house supermarket people I discovered Thais' weakness no. 1: False assumption. Let's get real. I order something expensive, let's say I order a prepaid phonecard, 500 bath. The girl comes, she gives me the phonecard and I give her a 500 bath note. That would be normal. But do you know, how many times I ended up with a phonecard and 500 bath change in my hand? If I would be mean, I would keep the money. But since I am a nice guy I call the girl, who is already on the way back to the elevator and tell her that she had given me 500 bath change, assuming I had given her 1000 bath. That means, she had not even checked the money I gave her. She just assumed, its a 1000 bath banknote. Since it also works vice-versa, you better check what you sign or receive.

Let me tell you another story, because you might say, the girl is uneducated, and she is from upcountry and so on. I tell you, it is in their genes. I know a Thai girl in Sydney, she has been living there for about 12 years, she is 35 now (but her English still sounds Superthai). Actually she is a graduate from TU. I arrived at Sydney airport and she was supposed to pick me up. I waited 2 hours for her. Then we drove to her house. She found it locked and did not know where she had placed the house key. Then we had to drive to the other end of town to her aunt, who had another key to the house. When we arrived there, we found that the aunt had gone out. So that TU Thai girl started to call her aunt, but the connection to her aunt broke down because the aunt's phone ran out of battery. So we had to drive to all places where my TU girl suspected her aunt to be at that particular moment. We found the aunt gambling with slut machines in the War veterans club (or something like that). Because my TU girl could not resist the temptation, she had to start gambling too. Of course she said it would only take ten minutes, but ten minutes turned into an hour. After she had lost all the money she had in her pocket, we went to her place where I wanted to take a shower. Unfortunately, the Thai girl had left on the warm water tap and no warm water was available.

Dearest reader: Do you ever wonder, why so many foreigner jump out of their apartments in Thailand? If you are not prepared for these situations, then don't even think of coming to live in Thailand. Or do it like me, I try to not deal too closely with Thais and I never give up the lead when I deal with them, especially not if I am in a relationship. Once, a 20 year old Thai girl had me under her thumb for only a month, the result was 19,000 baht less money in my bank account and for about a week I even lost my faith in mankind. (submission Nadja, John and me). Well, I survived to work in a mental hospital at the age of 20, I survived being arrested and charged for espionage in Syria, so I guess I will also survive my Bangkok time without further brain damage. What does not kill you, makes you harder. Who said that again?

I think if you work in Thailand, you either become like them (not taking responsibilities, if the outcome is positive you say you did it, if the outcome is negative, you blame the hot weather or the rain, etc etc.) or you leave. I don't wanna leave. I like to live here, but to work? I think if I would start to work somewhere, I would probably have to fire all the people first and employ some people I could work with. But then, these people I hire they would need to work with other people from outside and I can not fire the whole country. So I don't work in Thailand.

Thailand's ONLY advantage is its low wages and a more or less stable country. The country is stable because of the feudalistic hierarchy system. Well, lets just think of a minimum salary of 30,000 baht per month. What do you think will happen here? Hell will break loose. 80% of the workforce of today will be unemployed. Instead of 10 people working behind the counter in a restaurant with 10 guests, you will see only one, cooking, cleaning and serving people. This person will not be allowed to botch anymore. This poor person will not get away with a cute smile. This person will need to do real work in a proper, organized way, otherwise she or he will not get trough the day. If the day comes when they would pay people real money in Thailand, you will see all of the security guards disappear. You will have no girls anymore to put your supermarket goods into a nice bag. You will have no drivers anymore and you will have to say goodbye to your dream world life in Thailand. Social unrest will be around the corner, because people will be simply starving here. Of course, you would have to pay real money for sex, not just monopoly money. Would you really want to pay 100 Euros for 30 minutes of sex with an Isaan girl? Let's just calculate it through. A whole night with a Thai girl would cost you around 250 Euros. If you want to have that pleasure every night, and you would want to have it, well, it is 1750 Euros. Since most people stay two weeks, it is 3500 Euros. If you will engage the same girl for your holiday, she might be willing to give you a discount. Tourists will not come anymore, because what Thailand really has to offer, is nothing compared what for instance Spain can offer for the same price or probably cheaper by then. And nobody from Europe needs to fly 12 hours to Spain. But don't worry, working class people will not earn real money in Thailand, at least not in the next 30 years.

I am not sure if Thailand's plan to catch up with Singapore is serious. I don't think so. It sounds good, but the people are not motivated and the gap is way too big.

Thai people are happy with what they have. I have a friend, a quite wealthy and also attractive Thai women in her 40ies, maybe early 50ies. She is still very cute and totally not a snob (at least not in her demeanor) like most of the rich Thais, otherwise I would not spend time with her. For some reason only she knows, she sometimes likes to be my taxi driver and chauffeurs me around in one of her various Star limousines and sports cars. You know that on many crossroads there are street vendors, so she buys stuff there. Buddha flowers and things like that. When the street people approach her car, they are not upset to see her wealth. No, they admire it, like she was some kind of saint.

Thais are not ambitious in general, like the Chinese. When they can take the easy shortcut by marrying a foreigner, they will do that first, or they will hope to win in the lottery as I already said. I don't know Thailand's future, but it could be that Thailand has already seen its best years, economy wise. Maybe the biggest handicap of Thailand will be its own culture of easy going and ignoring the rest of the world. But as I said, for me this is a good reason to live in Thailand. I don't wanna see the rest of the world right now.

It kind of reminds me of my school days. We had swimming classes, I think it was every second Wednesday. They had two levels. I was quite a good swimmer, my step-parents always took me for beach holidays, but because I changed the school they had put me in a lower swimming class level for some strange reason. But I loved it there. The kids of the higher level always had to undergo torturous contests and long distance races. As for me, being in the lower level group, we had a lot of fun playing around with balls in the small basin, which was even heated and our swim coach was a lovely looking girl. The higher level group was swimming in the cold water of the big basin and I always felt pity for them. For no money in the world would I have changed to the higher level group, which was trained by an old ex-army captain. They offered it to me several times but I always refused. I think it was a good decision. I was more of a play around shallow water person then an ambitious long distance swimmer. But I knew that I could keep myself over deep water too, if I really had to.

How do I want to end my article? Well I was thinking a good end would have been: Yesterday I went to my motorbike taxi group. They all asked me if I am alone today and where my girl was. Well, I said, today I am alone. The were all laughing and making suggestions where I wanted to go. I said I wanted to go to Thanon Convent, because I had an appointment to clean my teeth at the BNH hospital. Okay, I got on Wan's motorbike, the young guy who lives behind MBK. I liked him and I liked his motorbike. He was not really reliable and always late on appointments, sometimes did not even show up if he went drinking the night before because I gave him too much money for his services, but as a person, he was just great. We drove off and I asked him for the helmet. He said: No poplem. Police my friend. I laughed, the mild sun was warming my face and I from that moment onwards I truly was in a Bangkok state of mind.

Stickman's thoughts:

It is easy to complain about things in Thailand, but if they were changed, then Thailand almost certainly would not be as much fun as it is now.