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About this blog

Andrew Biggs personal Blog, open for You and everybody to read and comment on!

 

Entries in this blog

Signs Of The Times

Signs Of The Times

SIGNS OF THE TIMES By Andrew Biggs Every day as I leave my gated community at Samut Prakan, I am greeted by the smiling face of Dr Natthaphong Robkob at the end of my soi. Not just at the end of my soi. Every three metres or so along Srinakharin Road, there he is. He is the candidate for the Thai Local Power Party, and he is running on a campaign of making Samut Prakan “the envy of the world.” With the skytrain currently being built along Srinakharin, resulting in traffic sn

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30 Years In Thailand

30 Years In Thailand

THREE DECADES By Andrew Biggs How was your Valentine’s Day? Mine was really, really special. This had nothing to do with love in any of its myriad forms, running the spectrum from unconditional at one end to Nana Plaza at the other. I just clocked up 30 years in Thailand. This milestone won’t garner as much national interest as, say, dangerous air pollution or politicians plotting ingenious methods to return to Thailand. However it was quite jarring for your columnist,

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Cultural Carousel

Cultural Carousel

CULTURAL CAROUSEL By Andrew Biggs The phone call came early Saturday evening. “Khun Andrew,” came the familiar voice of my accountant. “We need to have a meeting. An urgent meeting. With you, the general manager and me. We’d like to meet with you.” “What – right now?” I asked. This was Songkran Saturday night. Who holds business meetings on Songkran Saturday night? I was wandering down a dark Ekamai soi carrying four bags of ice and a vodka bottle to a dinner party. No

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Blood & Water

Blood & Water

BLOOD AND WATER By Andrew Biggs At my office, we are gearing up for a major new business venture starting May 20. It’s consumed all our time for the past six months. Luckily I have a core team that’s been diligent and dedicated. At last Monday’s meeting I made it clear — we were in the final stretch. This was the exciting part. Nobody could take any time off before May 20. Let’s start this project and get it up and running. Everybody nodded their heads, including my two

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Healthy Conundrum

Healthy Conundrum

HEALTHY CONUNDRUM By Andrew Biggs “Khun Andrew, please give me some words of support. I applied for a job and wasn’t accepted. I’m soooooo upset.” This plaintive tweet arrived last Tuesday. Had it been a few short years ago it would have been an email. A few short years before that the student would have put it on paper, stuck it in an envelope, and took it to the post office to buy a stamp. Ah but my age is showing. The tweet came from a student, Suchada, and the above

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Cheek Sniffers

Cheek Sniffers

CHEEK SNIFFERS By Andrew Biggs Here we are in Thailand wedged between Christmas and New Year in the season of goodwill, generous in our hugs and kisses and sniffing cheeks, regardless of race and religion. Stop right there … did I just write sniffing cheeks? Yes I did. Thailand may be the Land of Smiles but we are also the Land of Sniffs. We are perhaps the only country in the world where we sniff cheeks to show affection. The western world loves to nudge and wink and ma

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The Words Just Get Ickier

The Words Just Get Ickier

THE WORDS JUST GET ICKIER By Andrew Biggs Spent a lovely morning down at Ickier the other day. Actually I’d been wanting to check it out since the week it opened, when the flood was at its peak, but I was smart enough to know 40 billion cubic metres of putrid water wouldn’t deter tens of thousands of local shoppers. It was a little quieter this week when I made it to Ickier, conveniently located a few kilometres from my home in Bangna. I’m sorry. Have I been calling it

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For The Love Of Mike

For The Love Of Mike

FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE By Andrew Biggs There has been a 33-year gap between the last two conversations I’ve had with Mike. “Hey Biggsy remember me? Your old mate from school! How the hell are you? Guess what … I in LERVVVVV as the septics say!” That was the more recent of the two conversations. Society has radically altered between that conversation with Mike and the one before it; in that three-decade space in time human beings no longer communicate face to face. We comm

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Fried Bananas And Traffic Jams

Fried Bananas And Traffic Jams

FRIED BANANAS AND TRAFFIC JAMS By Andrew Biggs Never have fried bananas posed such a threat as they did this week in the Land of Smiles. The Pom Prab cops had their hands full, stamping out a scourge they claim causes Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams. This story begins on an inner-city street not far from the Nang Lerng market.   Like most of Bangkok, Nakhon Sawan Road is gridlocked day and night. I have read entire chapters of Crime and Punishment waiting for the lights

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The Charlatan's Son

The Charlatan's Son

THE CHARLATAN’S SON By Andrew Biggs Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived in the eastern province of Chantaburi. His nickname was Plabu, or “Goby Fish” in English, and at the age of five years 8 months he approached his father. “Father, I am going to die in 15 days,” he announced. “Please buy a tape recorder. I have some things to tell you.” The year was 1974. All sorts of terrible things were going on in the world; Richard Nixon resigned, inflation was spira

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A Province Bathed In Yellow

A Province Bathed In Yellow

A PROVINCE BATHED IN YELLOW By Andrew Biggs Greetings from the haze hub of the world. I write this column from my bedroom in Samut Prakan, which is where I am supposed to stay for the whole day if I am to believe official government warnings. For the last five or six days, everything has been bathed in yellow. This has nothing to do with my home décor, and I’ll have you know none of my marble tiles or linoleum is anything near yellow in color. I’m talking about outside

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The Perfect Despot

The Perfect Despot

THE PERFECT DESPOT By Andrew Biggs The phone call came in the evening more than a month ago. “It’s Somtow,” said Somtow Sucharitkul, maestro extraordinaire, doyen of Opera Siam, popular author of sc-fi, talented elder statesman of the Thai art world. “I’m thinking of putting on a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Full orchestra. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in a lead role.” I had to cup a hand over my mouth to contain the squeal of excitement. It was th

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James, What Have You Done?

James, What Have You Done?

JAMES, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? By Andrew Biggs It’s a bad week to be male and Caucasian in the Land Of Smiles. A firestorm erupted in the Thai media, with one story gripping the nation for almost an entire day which is an eternity in these modern viral here-today gone-tomorrow times. On Wednesday afternoon a group that preserves Northern Thai culture called Chiang Mai Araya braved the blistering heat and staged a protest outside the US Consul in that city, demanding justice and

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Thwarted By Pop Stars And Lightening Cream

Thwarted By Pop Stars And Lightening Cream

THWARTED BY POP STARS AND LIGHTENING CREAM   By Andrew Biggs   How was your International Women’s Day? Mine was a shambles, thanks to ten thousand women. Last Tuesday afternoon there was the unholiest of traffic jams on Viphawadee-Rangsit near Chatuchak Park and Central Lardphrao in the early afternoon. And who was sitting hungry and alone in his ageing Teana, unable to move, in the middle of it? I blame it on karma. How else would you explain my meeting a client at

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Ragin' In Thailand

Ragin' In Thailand

(from 2013) RAGIN’ IN THAILAND By Andrew Biggs I had a neighbor in my first year here, a young guy who lived with his wife and new-born baby in the apartment next to mine. I can’t remember his name, since time and Uncle Smirnoff have well and truly erased it, so let’s call him Lek. One evening I came home to an amazing spectacle. The entire ground floor of the apartment block was empty. Normally people would stand around smoking and drinking and playing Thai chess and k

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Failed Again

Failed Again

(from 2016) FAILED AGAIN By Andrew Biggs The nation’s Year 12 examination results are out. In short … the nation failed. Again. This column is not going to be a damning condemnation of the Thai education system (as opposed to a non-damning condemnation, Andrew? Be careful. You’re about to be critical. You wouldn’t want to kick things off in tautological territory, wouldn’t you?). First of all, things aren’t all bad in Thai education. Actually there are positive things ha

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Early Christmas

Early Christmas

EARLY CHRISTMAS By Andrew Biggs I spotted it for the first time at exactly 9.47 pm last Monday, November 2, 2014, as I drove past the car park of Tesco Lotus on Rama 4 Road. Lit up in neon blue, it spiraled up into the night sky and caught me completely unaware to the point of nearly ramming into the dilapidated green and yellow taxi directly in front of me. A Christmas tree. Yes, it was pretty, dear reader, much prettier than the spiky aluminium one they used to heave u

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Uneasy Pass

Uneasy Pass

UNEASY PASS By Andrew Biggs Life in Thailand is full of surprises, like last Saturday when I topped up my Easy Pass. “Don’t use it for four hours,” the helpful toll booth attendant told me. “I know,” I said. “I’ve topped it up before. But I appreciate your help.” “Kha,” she said, helpfully. And with that, I sped off down the freeway without a care in the world. Just writing that — “without a care in the world” and all those “helpfuls” — belies what is going to

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Hiring In The Modern Era

Hiring In The Modern Era

HIRING IN THE MODERN ERA By Andrew Biggs I have a problem which is making me tear my hair out … metaphorically of course. I am in the process of hiring new staff but it just doesn’t seem to be getting off the ground. In fact it has been a dismal, utter failure. “We need more front counter staff and sales girls,” I announced at a recent staff meeting, a meeting dubbed the Anti-Think-Tank by some less loyal staff, since they allege it consists of my barking orders, everybody si

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Bangkok, All Grown Up And Trendy

Bangkok, All Grown Up And Trendy

BANGKOK, ALL GROWN UP AND TRENDY By Andrew Biggs It has been a while since I donned designer clothes and made my presence apparent at an inner-city PurchaseSpace, but that is exactly what I did earlier this week when I met a close acquaintance for savoury delicacies and wistful repartee at EmQuartier. Oh god did you manage to get through that lead paragraph? I nearly didn’t. Writing it felt like wading through quicksand; it’s as if I’d given birth to a thesaurus mid-sentence. And

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Escalator Incident

Escalator Incident

ESCALATOR INCIDENT By Andrew Biggs Two young Thai ladies are about to crash into a foreigner twice their size. The accident is going to knock a cell phone out of the hands of one of them, resulting in scowls and an apology from the wrong party. That surprising incident will happen at the very end of this column, a good 20 paragraphs away, so let’s pick up on their conversation just prior to the event. These two girls are dressed in Bangkok suburban chic; flip-flops and

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Getting Down At The Doggy Disco

Getting Down At The Doggy Disco

GETTING DOWN AT THE DOGGY DISCO By Andrew Biggs in Hollywood, California It’s been a nightmarish two days for me here in the States as I have traipsed around the neighborhood trying to find a new beautician. Not for me. For the dog! What is it about there Americans? Their economy is up the shute and unemployment is rising fast. I see businesses close on a weekly basis in my neighborhood which, if you haven’t noticed my mentioning it 276 times already in this column, is Holly

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Dodgy Draft

Dodgy Draft

DODGY DRAFT By Andrew Biggs Three Weeks Ago I haven’t seen Tee and his mother for more than three years, ever since Tee came begging for a loan to help with a down payment on a pick-up truck. What a difference three years makes. He has transformed from pimply 17-year-old to strapping, albeit pock-marked, 20-year-old. His mother explains how much the two have missed me and how they are both well. “With the exception of one thing,” she says. Tee looks at me with eyes

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Ceasefire on Sukhumvit

Ceasefire on Sukhumvit

CEASEFIRE ON SUKHUMVIT By Andrew Biggs It’s a jungle out there on the streets of Bangkok. Behind the wheel we curse, cut in front, blast our horns, tailgate, angrily flash our lights, and do whatever we can to ensure we get to our destination quicker than any of those other despicable drivers. We create lanes out of the shoulder. We ignore all notions of fairness; if there is a line of 20 cars lined up to get off the main road, that won’t stop some buffoon in a dirty white pi

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Road Monster

Road Monster

ROAD MONSTER By Andrew Biggs It’s always fun catching up with Ronnachai, though the most recent time I saw him it nearly didn’t happen thanks to an incident along the way. “I got pulled over for drink driving just outside Buriram,” he said. “I blew 82, whatever that means.” Next to him his best buddy Tam burst into laughter and slapped his knee, while Ronnachai rolled his eyes and broke into a smile. We were sitting at a roadside café on a mountain not far from his and

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