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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

Sex Education

Sex Education

SEX EDUCATION By Andrew Biggs Three new government campaigns started up this week: 1. A police campaign demands motorists stop at zebra crossings in an effort to curb the rising road toll. 2. The Transport Ministry is launching a drive to public vans pick up no more than 13 passengers per trip, in a campaign that started last Monday. 3. The Social Development Ministry is cracking down on government officers, asking them to stop the practise of procuring under-aged prost

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Educating The Educators

Educating The Educators

EDUCATING THE EDUCATORS By ANDREW BIGGS The whole country, from the prime minister down, has been talking education, bandying about two words in particular: “innovation” and “technology”. This culminated in an education fair entitled EdTex, held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, where the consensus was that for Thailand to survive, it needs an education system that is both “innovative” and “technological”. This is a wonderful thing to aspire to. While academic

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Farewell Jaye

Farewell Jaye

FAREWELL JAYE By Andrew Biggs The annual Australian TV awards called The Logies were on last week. A friend provided a link to one portion of the program. It was a less frenetic moment featuring the names and faces of those in the TV industry who had passed away in the last 12 months. So many faces from my youth popped up, while a singer provided a moving and slow rendition of David Bowie’s Heroes. This year one name and face dissolved in and out which brought a nostalgic tea

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Street Eaters

Street Eaters

STREET EATERS By Andrew Biggs Living in Bangkok is like winning the lottery; it’s surprising how many relatives and friends, and children of estranged friends, come out of the woodwork at vacation time. I have international visitors visiting me regularly, dear reader. This is how I know, despite being allergic to seafood, precisely how long it takes for fish to go off. It is the small price I pay for living in paradise. Many guests are happy to fend for themselves and

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Madness At My Local Hospital

Madness At My Local Hospital

MADNESS AT MY LOCAL HOSPITAL By Andrew Biggs As a card-carrying, law-abiding expatriate in the Land of Smiles, I am required to visit my local hospital once a year to obtain a medical certificate. Everybody applying for work needs it, not just wayward expats eking out a living in the Land of Smiles, biding their time until some statute of limitations runs out back home. It is a stipulation for having a work permit. One needs a medical certificate stating one is not suffering

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Thrust Into The Limelight

Thrust Into The Limelight

THRUST INTO THE LIMELIGHT By Andrew Biggs Back in January, 1956, a young unknown American singer named Elvis Presley released his first single called Heartbreak Hotel. While appearing on the Milton Berle Show, Presley started rhythmically gyrating his pelvis as he sang. Half the country screamed in delight. The other half gasped in horror. What was this base, barbaric, sexual abomination of a dance that stirred the collective loins of America? The Catholic Church, always on

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Sex And The Sunglasses

Sex And The Sunglasses

SEX AND THE SUNGLASSES By Andrew Biggs The woman gyrates in front of the camera from the comfort of her little room in the Bangkok suburbs. She is no more than 21 or 22. She is dressed in a polka-dot bikini top that reminds me of Katy Perry. She’s also wearing hoop earrings and way, way too much make-up. As she chats she thrusts her breasts towards the camera. She pouts, stares doe-eyed, then starts jiggling again along with her animated speech. Her shoulders heave and stret

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Phayao Penis

Phayao Penis

PHAYAO PENIS By Andrew Biggs It’s been a busy news week with all sorts of issues jostling for attention, but not a single Thai man skipped over the news from Phayao last Saturday. It was the story of the wife who cut off her husband’s penis. He and the severed appendage were whisked off to nearby Pong Hospital. In a fit of remorse the wife then swallowed a bottle of weed killer and she, too, went to hospital, albeit a separate one from her phallically-challenged husband.

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Spirits Galore

Spirits Galore

SPIRITS GALORE By Andrew Biggs It’s a particularly ghostly period in Thailand, where last Wednesday we witnessed the annual ghostly fireballs on the Mekhong River and now we’re preparing for Halloween this coming Wednesday. Seven days of spirits. Ghosts are ubiquitous in Thailand. You know how, in the West, we have the occasional haunted house? And you know how there is a variety of benign spirits in the West — playful children, jilted lovers, lonely lost Vikings, etc?

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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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The Bubble That Burst

The Bubble That Burst

THE BUBBLE THAT BURST (July, 2017) By Andrew Biggs What a jolt to my senses — and mortality — to learn that 20 years have passed since the tom yam kung economic crisis of Thailand. Man that went quickly. I was right here when it happened. I was witness to the bloated, ostentatious years leading up to it, the crisis itself, and the slow crawl out of the economic recession that followed. And I can read about it too, day by day, as it unfolded. I can’t remember who gave it

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Bangkok Belly

Bangkok Belly

BANGKOK BELLY By Andrew Biggs My chicken parmesan was an unexpected hit. Everybody at the table commented on how delicious it was. Four hours later I am in the bathroom with a terrible case of the runs. The next morning I discover one other at the table was also afflicted; the other two were okay, although one claims to be feeling “a little off” but he’s always been a bit of a sycophant and is only copying the two of us who fell victim to my vain attempt at cooking. I r

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Screeching Numbers

Screeching Numbers

SCREECHING NUMBERS By Andrew Biggs The phone number was not one I knew, but still I took the call. “This is Immigration Police … we’d like to make a time to see you.” Would such a phone call initially have given you a chill down your spine as it did with me? I may live a life as chaste as Mother Teresa but I still feel a sudden surge of guilt. It’s a bit like getting a phone call from the Revenue Department, or the Supreme Court, or the Narcotics Bureau. A shrill voice

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Lies And Deceit On The Bangna Freeway

Lies And Deceit On The Bangna Freeway

LIES AND DECEIT ON THE BANGNA FREEWAY By Andrew Biggs The Bangna expressway is a corridor of lies and deceit. Describing it like that may be extreme, but we are living in extreme times. We are required to react to everything in the most shocking way, and what better way to do that than to react hysterically to things which, back in the 20th century, warranted a cursory glance with a disapproving raised eyebrow. These days it’s not enough to be cursorily disapproving. A

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Curse Of The Dead Cellphone

Curse Of The Dead Cellphone

CURSE OF THE DEAD CELLPHONE By Andrew Biggs It was when I awoke at 5 am that the terrible realization came to the fore. The previous night, just prior to retiring, I’d performed my usual nightly ablutions. I did a quick clean up of my bedroom, placing dirty clothes in the clothes basket, as well as tossing a mountain of squeezed lemon wedges and empty yellow tonic cans into the trash. I plugged in my iPhone to charge it overnight then fell asleep. When I woke up, I reach

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Love And Debt Alleviation

Love And Debt Alleviation

LOVE AND DEBT ALLEVIATION By Andrew Biggs Guys, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is this: Never before have Thai women been so keen as to want to hitch up with you. We foreign guys are red hot in Thailand. And the bad news? That’s coming a little further down. The phenomenon of Thai women taking foreign husbands recently led to an internet bushfire that remains raging to this day. It comes in the form of Madame Praiya’s Institute for Lonely Thai

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Road Angel

Road Angel

ROAD ANGEL By Andrew Biggs One of my staff bought a car this week. It’s a second-hand Nissan Silphy, which according to the old owner is “as good as new”, a statement one must take with Goderich, Ontario, the largest operating salt mine in the world. Nevertheless my staff member is thrilled to be paying 8,000 Baht to a finance company for the rest of his working life along with any future offspring’s. It was the picture of the car he posted on Facebook that piqued my interes

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Shooting Paper Planes Into The Sky

Shooting Paper Planes Into The Sky

SHOOTING PAPER PLANES INTO THE SKY By Andrew Biggs It is hard to believe nine years have passed since Mong Thongdee hit the media spotlight. Little Mong was big news in September, 2009, a few months before the violent clashes between anti government protesters and government troops which killed two dozen people. His was a cute story; a 12-year-old Northern boy who won the national paper airplane flying competition, which apparently is an annual event. He was in grade 4

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Food Tennis

Food Tennis

FOOD TENNIS By Andrew Biggs There is movement at the end of my soi. It started a week ago and now the changes are swift. A sign goes down, a sign goes up. Old wooden planks, serving as roofs and walls, get prised apart. Tables and chairs and cookers are being gathered up and moved across the road. It was the duck noodle shop on Monday; then the fried chicken stall the next. And last night, as I returned home from a late-night meditation class at my local temple, it was Jeck,

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A Polite Lady And An Ugly Man

A Polite Lady And An Ugly Man

A POLITE LADY AND AN UGLY MAN By Andrew Biggs UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is toying with the idea of women-only train carriages. The idea is to stem the rising tide of female harassment in public places after British Transport Police reported a rise in sexual assaults on trains. Jeremy, don’t. Just don’t. I live in a country where we have such things. We, too, have high rates of sexual assault. So we have lady buses and, to my absolute horror, lady parki

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Unceremonious Ceremonies

Unceremonious Ceremonies

UNCEREMONIAL CEREMONIES By Andrew Biggs “Boss, I need to take four days off in the middle of March,” my driver said to me a month ago, breaking a silence I’d been enjoying in the car. My driver taking four days off is not a catatonic-inducing event. Just between you and me, I relish the solitude of driving myself around for a few days. I get to crank the speaker up loud, and for a short time I’m relieved of having to emit non-committal grunts in acknowledgment of his observations

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Heartsong

Heartsong

(Note: Written during the week of His Majesty King Bhumibol’s Royal Cremation, 26 October, 2017) HEARTSONG By Andrew Biggs The Royal Thai Anthem is known as Pleng Sansern Phra Baramee, or “The Song The Praises the Glory of the King”. This piece of music is 130 years old. It was the third national anthem of Siam for more than 40 years, from 1888 to 1933 — the one prior to that was the UK’s “God Save The King/Queen” with Thai lyrics. It is a curious melody in that it almo

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Take This Thermometer And Shove It

Take This Thermometer And Shove It

TAKE THIS THERMOMETER AND SHOVE IT By Andrew Biggs For the first time ever, in the nine years I have written this weekly column, I write to you with a temperature of 38.7 degrees. Apparently that’s pretty high. I’m not an expert on body temperature, but it was high enough for me to end up in a special waiting room at my hospital, separated from the Samut Prakan masses, and not because I was a VIP. At my hospital all patients are required to have their height, weight, body te

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A Choice Of Drug, A Drug Of Choice

A Choice Of Drug, A Drug Of Choice

A CHOICE OF DRUG, A DRUG OF CHOICE By Andrew Biggs Jackie is the grown-up daughter of my dear friend Kelly. Now she’s 21 and wants to take a year off university and travel around South-East Asia. This is the email I received from her: “Hi! This is Jackie! I don’t know whether Mom told you, but me and my boyfriend are going backpacking around Asia and want to include Thailand! We were wondering if we could stay with you for a week or so when we get to Bangkok! We’ll arrive in

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Road Rage

Road Rage

ROAD RAGE By Andrew Biggs Late Thursday afternoon the silhouette of my driver appeared in the doorway to my office. “Do you need to be driven anywhere special tomorrow?” he asked. What kind of question is that? I’m perfectly capable of driving myself anywhere special I care to go. I have a valid Thai driver’s license, which I got after a difficult written test— not because of the information required, but because the translation was so abysmal. In the past you had to sit

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