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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

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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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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Turd Sack

Turd Sack

TURD SACK By Andrew Biggs I once had a student who was preparing for a trip to Australia. He was a 30-year-old engineer from Chiang Mai who’d won a three-month scholarship to Melbourne. His English wasn’t great but he was a fast learner and diligent. Anyway, it wasn’t his English that bothered me. It was the way he spelt his name: Turdsack. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t immediately jump up and slap my knee and look to the heavens as I guffaw over a name worthy of

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Opiate of the masses

Opiate of the masses

OPIATE OF THE MASSES By Andrew Biggs This week your correspondent is unable to make any casual observations on Thai life owing to the fact he is 8,823 km away. Greetings from the Eternal City! As I write this I am sitting at a “ristorante” in Rome, Italy. That’s Italian for “restaurant,” by the way, a fact I gleaned from a slightly snotty waiter when I enquired as to the word’s English equivalent. I am staying not far from Campo de’ Fiori, the site where Julius Caesar was mu

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Mr Condom

Mr Condom

MR CONDOM By Andrew Biggs How comforting to see, in the pages of the Bangkok Post, young people using condoms with none of the hang-ups or bashfulness associated with that contraception. By using them, I don’t mean “using” them. The kids were blowing up condoms like balloons and wearing gaily-colored hats made of condoms in a news story that certainly piqued my interest. It also sent me hurtling back in time to my early days in Thailand, when there was a scourge across the la

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Great Moments In Thai English

Great Moments In Thai English

GREAT MOMENTS IN THAI ENGLISH By Andrew Biggs This week environmentalists cautiously hailed a victory of sorts, as the government agreed to set zero the proposed Krabi coal-fired power plant. Don’t worry, dear reader. It is not necessary to understand that first paragraph. I was just testing you. Or rather, I was testing myself. For the last few days I have been trying to create a grammatically-sound English sentence using the phrase “set zero”. Contrary to what you may be t

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Buddhist Hot Air

Buddhist Hot Air

BUDDHIST HOT AIR By Andrew Biggs The billboard rises, like a Buddhist temple, up ahead on the right-hand side of the airport highway. “BUDDHA IS NOT FOR DECORATION,” it shouts at me alongside a decoration of a Buddha’s head with an ugly red cross on top of it. Why desecrate a Buddha’s head with an ugly red cross on a billboard that tells us not to desecrate Buddhas? “That billboard is on the wrong side of the highway,” I announce to my Thai colleagues. “Surely if they want to warn

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The Circle Of Nakhon Pathom

The Circle Of Nakhon Pathom

THE CIRCLE OF NAKHON PATHOM By Andrew Biggs Greetings from Nakhon Pathom! This week your favorite columnist finds himself in a hotel room for five days in this little town just west of Bangkok. “Little town” is hardly a good description, though it was certainly that way when I first visited here a quarter-century ago. Bangkok has since extended her tentacles, swallowing up the likes of as Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi and Minburi. Over to the west is a motley crew of smallish

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Amway, Insurance And Chicken

Amway, Insurance And Chicken

AMWAY, INSURANCE AND CHICKEN By Andrew Biggs I was having a solitary lunch last Tuesday with my friend Evil Neil when a phone call came out of the blue. A phone call on my cellphone, that is. Regular readers know Neil, a helpless victim of corporate cellular phone advertising who changes his phone as often as we eat somtam, and who, with every new device, plasters superglue between it and his ear so that it’s permanently stuck to his head – hence my “solitary” lunch with him last

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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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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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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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A swine of a flu

A swine of a flu

A SWINE OF A FLU By Andrew Biggs It’s been a busy two weeks for your favorite correspondent, who has managed to travel to eight different provinces in ten days. No, not adjacent provinces either. It was down to Songkhla, then up to Chiang Mai, then across to Nakhon  Ratchasima, followed by Nakhon Nayok, Chonburi, Khon Kaen … et cetera. The result? Today, deadline day for this column, I am sick with the flu. Feeling wretched, sorry for myself, and lacking in wit and wisdom.

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Alphabet condos

Alphabet condos

ALPHABET CONDOS by Andrew Biggs There’s a new condo project being advertised on the side of the road I noticed on my way home from Rama 9 Park. It’s called White Wall and the giant billboard says: “Passionate Living starts at 33 million Baht”. The figure of 33 million, while steep, is not unusual in this modern frenzy of Bangkok real estate. It does seem an exorbitantly high price to pay for passion — and would surprise Nana Plaza patrons who are used to paying 1,500 baht plus a b

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Cultural flab

Cultural flab

CULTURAL FLAB by Andrew Biggs I have the best neighbors on all four sides of my home in leafy Samut Prakan. Truly I do. It’s the primary reason I refuse to move to the inner city — that along with the small issue of a mortgage. My neighbors are polite, friendly and watchful. They call me at work when my dog jumps the fence. We exchange gifts over New Year. And, like so many Thais, they are brutally honest. Like early this morning, which in my world was exactly ten minutes ag

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Sonnet in plastic

Sonnet in plastic

SONNET IN PLASTIC by Andrew Biggs I am sitting in a diner in the Southern town of Surat Thani, staring down at three toothpicks. Other patrons of this morning restaurant may be looking at me, wondering why this big farang is sitting with his eyes fixed on three little toothpicks swathed in plastic. It is a transitory moment in an otherwise hectic schedule; the realization that those three little toothpicks somehow sum up our obscene love affair with all things plastic.

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Jammin' about Jams

Jammin' about Jams

JAMMIN’ ABOUT JAMS By Andrew Biggs It was a headline worthy of finding scissors, cutting it out, setting it in a mid-priced Big C frame then hanging it on my study wall. “PM: VIPs must hurry through intersections” was the headline in question. I wasn’t the only one to gasp. I attended a fashionable dinner party Wednesday night, the day it was published, and it was the talk of the table. You see it’s a headline that’s open to at least two major interpretations. The prime

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My brush with The KKK

My brush with The KKK

MY BRUSH WITH THE KKK By Andrew BIggs Greetings from Hat Yai, Songkhla province, where your columnist is enjoying a foot massage at a place called “KKK Massage”. Yes, KKK Massage. That’s the name, emblazoned in big letters on a shophouse not so far from the famed, if not slightly over-rated, Kim Yong markets, where they say you can buy absolutely anything — if “anything” to you can be defined as chestnuts, pistachio nuts, dates and cashews. There are dozens of foot massage p

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Rate your Life, er, FLIGHT

Rate your Life, er, FLIGHT

RATE YOUR LIFE, er, FLIGHT By Andrew Biggs “Thank you for flying AirAsia. Please rate your flight.” This message popped up on my mobile phone after my latest return trip to Chiang Mai last Sunday night. I was the first one off the plane, and it was the first thing that bleeped at me upon leaving my Hot Seat and hitting the Don Mueang people mover that assists passengers traversing the 15.4 km distance to the luggage carousel. Rate my flight? It’s not enough for me to “l

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Bye Bye Brunch

Bye Bye Brunch

BYE BYE BRUNCH By Andrew BIggs This week marks the end of an era at the Bangkok Post, as we bid farewell to the part of the paper known as Brunch. It has been my home for almost ten years, since I began writing this weekly column in the first week of 2009. But do not despair (or rejoice); neither I nor the Bangkok Post is going anywhere. It is just a cosmetic change. Compare it to your getting a new haircut, or changing your predominant clothing color, or emblazoning a new ta

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The Cave Boys in Three Acts

The Cave Boys in Three Acts

THE CAVE BOYS IN THREE ACTS by Andrew Biggs ACT ONE: Lessons Learned I will never forget the moment man first landed on the moon. I won’t ever forget the morning the Shuttle exploded, or the night the jets crashed into the twin towers in New York. And now this week. I will never forget the moment, at 10.41 pm last Monday night, I discovered the boys in the cave were found alive. To see footage of them sitting on that rock, all alive and well, made this crusty, cur

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The price of love

The price of love

THE PRICE OF LOVE By Andrew Biggs My heart goes out to the jilted bride who made the news this week, left standing in her wedding dress in front of a crowd of well-wishers, having to explain that her future significant other had chosen insignificance. My heart also goes out to the groom. I have my nephew Neung to thank for that. The 24-year-old bride had been stood up by her 18-year-old groom. They’d met in April and had allegedly fallen in love in the three short months since.

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Biggs, Buddhists, Brisbane

Biggs, Buddhists, Brisbane

BIGGS, BUDDHISTS, BRISBANE By Andrew Biggs There’s nothing like a challenge from a cynical sibling to plunge yourself into a new adventure. Greetings from sunny Brisbane, capital city of Queensland, Australia, and hometown of your favorite columnist. I have been here for a week; a quick family visit that coincided with Khao Pansa, the beginning of the three-month Buddhist Lent. It’s also a time when often the most hopeless of alcoholics stops drinking for a whole quarter of

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From Russia with Love

From Russia with Love

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE By Andrew Biggs The email came out of nowhere and hit me like a truck. In the address field was written: “ABiggs Sunnybank78”. Just that was enough to set my heart beating and adrenaline pumping. The email came from a Romy Marotta and this is what he wrote: “It is just so unfortunate. I do know Sunnybank78 is your pass word. Most importantly, I know your secret and I've proof of your secret. You don't know me personally and nobody paid me to invest

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White Lines

White Lines

WHITE LINES By Andrew Biggs It’s not often that your correspondent crosses a road on foot. This is not because he doesn’t like walking, nor does he possess a private helicopter for short hops to the mini-mart to pick up lemons and tonic water. It is more because crossing a road is usually done by pedestrian footbridge, of which Bangkok allegedly has the most of any city in the world, thanks to the chaotic nature of the unyielding, frenetic traffic below. But this week y

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