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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

Coffee Porn

Coffee Porn

COFFEE PORN By Andrew Biggs Last Sunday was the last day of National Book Fair at Queen Sirikit Convention Center, where your beloved correspondent had a booth. The bad news was that book customers are dwindling, and not just at my booth. The worldwide trend is away from physical books and towards e-books. Sadly in Thailand, the trend is simply away from physical books. The good news? My booth wasn’t so far from the convention center’s restaurant and bar, the latter of whic

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Nightmare On Retail Street

Nightmare On Retail Street

NIGHTMARE ON RETAIL STREET By Andrew Biggs Just got back from a clothes shopping trip in Los Angeles. Hardly justification for a column, I know, but bear with me. Things get a little more deep and meaningful as we progress. Buffalo Exchange is a popular clothing shop for hip American teens so I went there today with my American niece Sabrina. Fourteen-year-old Sabrina and thirty-something-Andrew have so much in common. She’s ultra-cool (that’s not one of them) and loves seco

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Gestapo Car Park

Gestapo Car Park

GESTAPO CAR PARK By Andrew Biggs The Don Mueang car park is absolutely full but there is a tiny, tiny sliver of space right at the entrance — and the security guard has agree to let me park there. For this reason I will neither be condescending nor critical of him. Little do I know at this point, however, my father’s declaration throughout my childhood that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” is about to ring true. I admit that when it was clear there were no parks I did

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The Ultimate Garden Party

The Ultimate Garden Party

THE ULTIMATE GARDEN PARTY By Andrew Biggs Yesterday the Ploenchit Fair completed a full circle. The quintessential British event returned to its mother’s breast, the British Embassy, as a swansong for the grounds themselves. There are not that many annual events on the Expat calendar that have stood the test of time. There are the various embassy balls, of course, and this year Fight Night made a successful return after its alleged demise in 2016. But nothing comes close to

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Sane Censors

Sane Censors

Sane Censors By Andrew Biggs Back when I was working at Channel 3, one of Thailand’s two major free-to-air commercial TV stations, there was a unique department consisting of three very refined, elegant ladies. They were older women who dressed immaculately, often in colorful Thai silk dresses. Their hair was perfectly coiffed; softly-spoken and friendly, they always greeted me with a smile and kind words. Once they gave me a book on how to transliterate Thai words, which was very

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Speaking In Tongues

Speaking In Tongues

SPEAKING IN TONGUES By Andrew Biggs Thailand is reeling with another monk-in-sheep’s-clothing scandal. A monk is flying on a private jet to Europe for a shopping spree. That was after he made a TV ad for an air purifier. Not bad for a guy who’s taken a vow of poverty and whose wardrobe consists of three saffron robes; why go all the way to Paris to buy those? This is what happens when we worship men more than religion. I’m very familiar with religious charlatans, growi

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Detoxic: The Colon Column

Detoxic: The Colon Column

DETOXIC: THE COLON COLUMN By Andrew Biggs By the time you read this column, I will have returned from a week away at detox. Yes, you heard right. Detox. Angelina Jolie’s done it. In fact just about all of Hollywood has done it, so naturally, it’s my turn. I’ve never really been into detox – it’s something people with too much money, time, and toxins encrusted onto the walls of their intestines do. And yet for the first time in my life, I am giving up all worldly pleasures and dis

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Bordering On Insanity

Bordering On Insanity

BORDERING ON INSANITY By Andrew Biggs On the road to Phnom Kulen I spot the sign; a turn-off to Preah Vihear. “Oh look,” I say out loud. “There’s the road to Khao Pra Viharn.” “That’s not the way you pronounce it,” says my guide. “It’s Preah Vi-here.” “The Thais pronounce it Khao Pra Viharn.” “The Thais don’t own it,” says my guide. I am in the North of Cambodia not far from Siem Reap, home of the Angkor Wat and a town which, by its very name, reflects a troubl

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Slow Boat To Oblivion

Slow Boat To Oblivion

SLOW BOAT TO OBLIVION By Andrew Biggs As any long-term expat knows, Christmas and New Year is the time of year when relatives and friends of yore suddenly pop up on our doorsteps. I’ve seen decades lapse between last seeing a face and the unheralded Facebook-friending back in August, followed by, a few messages down the track, casually mentioning he will be “passing through Bangkok” with his wife and child from a previous marriage. I must have been asleep the day my primary

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Talk Of The Old Town

Talk Of The Old Town

TALK OF THE OLD TOWN Andrew Biggs I have a houseguest this week in the form of Captain Pat, back in Thailand for a brief holiday after 10 years away. He’s been with me two days now and it’s interesting to see the reaction on the faces of some Thais he runs into, one of whom literally melted upon seeing him. “I grew up with you,” she gushed, clutching her chest. “You were a part of my morning when I was ten years old!” It’s true. A little more than ten years ago, Captain

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Now If It Had Been 42 I Would Have Understood

Now If It Had Been 42 I Would Have Understood

NOW IF IT HAD BEEN 42 I WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD By Andrew Biggs   He appeared out of nowhere. My personal assistant. He was dressed in his work uniform. I don’t know where he came from but he ran towards me. As he neared he smiled and crouched down right before me. He must have been about a meter away from my face. He didn’t say a word, just kept beaming at me. With a flourish he brought his right hand up and displayed, prominently, the number four. Then,

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Fresh Breath

Fresh Breath

FRESH BREATH By Andrew Biggs Late Saturday night something happened to me that has never occurred before in the quarter-century I have spent here in Thailand. I got breathalyzed. It was an experience that filled me with a number of emotions. Thankfully one of them wasn’t remorse for downing a Smirnoff Ice four-pack in the hour preceding, since I am a responsible upstanding member of society who doesn’t mix alcohol and driving — that and the fact I was battling a severe cold.

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The Part-Time Teetotaller

The Part-Time Teetotaller

THE PART-TIME TEETOTALLER By Andrew Biggs Buddhist Lent is upon us. I’m going to refer to it by its Thai name, Khao Phansa, not to be a show-off but more because I’ve never felt comfortable with “Lent.” It conjures up too many childhood memories of sanctimonious religious friends broadcasting their hunger pangs in the lead-up to Easter, not to mention that dreadful “Forty Days and Forty Nights” hymn we were forced to sing. Khao Phansa on the other hand is light and bre

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What's In A Thai Business Name?

What's In A Thai Business Name?

WHAT’S IN A THAI BUSINESS NAME? By Andrew Biggs There is a building not far from my home in Samut Prakan that I pass whenever I take a shortcut to Sukhumvit Road. It’s a boring, designless concrete factory or shop or something or other. And out the very front, in very big letters, is the name of the business: “NEWISH GERMS”. It’s a name that has left me wide awake on starless nights. For the life of me I can’t work out what it means. I mean, it’s got to be a lab or chemical p

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Broken-Hearted Weed Killer

Broken-Hearted Weed Killer

BROKEN-HEARTED WEED KILLER By Andrew Biggs This week I made a mercy dash to Chantaburi after receiving a disturbing phone call Sunday evening. “Lersak’s tried to kill himself,” Samai breathlessly told me over the phone. “He drank weed killer at your house.” Not the kind of thing one wants to hear after settling down to one’s first Sunday screwdriver; I was in my car and on the motorway in no time, hurtling towards the eastern province at a speed that would have required 100 B

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Buffalo and Blackheads

Buffalo and Blackheads

BUFFALO AND BLACKHEADS By Andrew Biggs This week’s number one song on the Thai pop chart is a song by Stamp. Hmmmm. Stamp. Is it just me, or is the name of that band just a little … bit … D-U-L-L? Far be it from me to offend anybody in the Thai music industry, but it’s the kind of name you’d think up with your school friends and let’s see … what can we call ourselves? “Eclipse”? Nah, the chemistry nerds in grade 11 have already chosen that one. “Stardust”? Heavens no. Everyo

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Boats And Erections

Boats And Erections

BOATS AND ERECTIONS By Andrew Biggs There is a billboard that caught my attention this week while sitting in a taxi flitting in and out of four lanes of traffic on the three-lane city expressway. It depicts a young man and woman sitting back to back desolately on a bed. It was clear they were desolate by the hang-dog expression on the man’s face, and the ankle-clutching stance of the woman. It’s not often we see desolation on inner-city billboards. I’m far more used to billb

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Scribe Diatribe

Scribe Diatribe

(Author’s note: From 2012) SCRIBE DIATRIBE By Andrew Biggs Today is day one of my re-emergence after a month of hibernation, albeit self-enforced. I step out of the cave, blinking and rubbing my eyes, oblivious to everything that has gone on around me. And it’s all because I wrote a book. Yes, a book, dear reader. An entire book. In a month. In my non-native tongue. I know what you’re thinking. I’m just some well-connected columnist spitting out sometimes-witty obs

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Pornographic Politicians

Pornographic Politicians

PORNOGRAPHIC POLITICIANS By Andrew Biggs It’s been a pornographic week here in Thailand, full of breasts and genitals and all sorts of other body parts that have no place in Thai culture. Hardly the stuff that the government wants to be known for, I know. Just listen to our politicians scream whenever Bangkok is depicted by foreigners as the sex capital of the world. Not that they were doing much screaming this past week. Drooling, yes. Screaming, no. This week we discovered

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Bearded Lady

Bearded Lady

BEARDED LADY By Andrew Biggs “Oh my god Khun Andrew … what is this?” It’s not a week after Songkran and I’m in a studio to record a radio show. The incredulous voice belongs to my co-host, Puk, who has just arrived. She walks towards me, eyes wide open. “A beard!” she announces. “Yes, a beard,” I say. “I grew it over Songkran. God knows I had nothing else to do.” That was meant to be a joke but it goes over her head. “It’s not very long,” Puk answers. I want to

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Handlebars of Death

Handlebars of Death

HANDLEBARS OF DEATH By Andrew Biggs Bangkok is a great city for anybody with a death wish. If you want to overdose on heroin, come on over. Try crossing the street on a zebra crossing. Just choosing the wrong song in a karaoke bar can get you killed. And here is a new way: slip on some spandex and spending a leisurely day on a bicycle. Bangkok is a city choked by traffic. Most western cities allocate up to 30 per cent of their surface area to roadways. In Bangkok we have

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I Like My Gods Big

I Like My Gods Big

I LIKE MY GODS BIG By Andrew Biggs Back in the 1970s when I was a little boy, we had a tourist attraction not far from home called the Big Pineapple. How tragic. How could modern civilization think to build such a thing and think it would be popular? I am reminded of the immortal words of P.T. Barnum who claimed there was a sucker born every minute. The Big Pineapple was a monstrosity, yes – but it was also a big hit. The state I grew up in, Queensland, is the only state

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It's The Thought That Counts

It's The Thought That Counts

IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS By Andrew Biggs HBD Those three letters coursed relentlessly across my smartphone screen last weekend. The message came from students, friends, acquaintances. Every time it beeped at me I admit I felt all warm and fuzzy, which was nice since I was on an alcohol-free weekend and I needed something to get me through, though after a few dozen times they also brought tinges of regret. Regret that I was one year older? Nah … regret at how the in

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The South's Biggest Justin Bieber Fan

The South's Biggest Justin Bieber Fan

THE SOUTH’S BIGGEST JUSTIN BIEBER FAN By Andrew Biggs Her name is Arena and she accosts me on the front lawn of the Songkhla resort. “You’re Andrew Biggs!” she cries. “I used to watch you on TV when I was a little girl!” Yes, dear reader, I am blessed to be greeted with such a comment, though it is very much a double-edged sword. While it is nice to elicit a reminiscent smile, that sword is also rusty and painful as it plunges deep into my ego, reminding myself that thi

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Armpit Girl

Armpit Girl

ARMPIT GIRL By Andrew Biggs There is an ad on Thai TV at the moment for a skin product that whitens your armpits. That’s right. Your armpits. It’s an add for a roll-on deodorant but the main thing is not that you smell nice. Rather, your armpits will be white. The first time I saw this ad, I immediately took off my shirt and examined myself before a full length mirror. Dispelling immediate thoughts of starting a diet on Monday, I lifted my arms to see if indeed I had black ar

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