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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

Trials of a Thai Twenty-Year-Old

Trials of a Thai Twenty-Year-Old

TRIALS OF A THAI TWENTY-YEAR-OLD By Andrew Biggs If Hollywood sitcom writers ever feel hard up for new ideas, they may like to pop over to my house for inspiration. I am sharing my leafy mansion with my 20-year-old Thai niece. Let’s call her Gift, since she would be mortified if I used her real name, though that would require her reading this column, something the average 20-year-old Thai apparently doesn’t care to do on a Sunday. Gift is living with me now, since my home is

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Canine Mortality

Canine Mortality

CANINE MORTALITY By Andrew Biggs My beloved dog of 15 years is dying. His descent into canine dotage has been swift. Gone are the days when he bounded down the driveway to greet me at my front gate, tail wagging, jumping for joy, pawing and slobbering over my mid-priced Robinson slacks and Platinum Plaza work shirt. These days it’s enough for him to lift his head slowly and stare out towards me with milky eyes. The light has left those eyes, and he labours as he breathes. He’

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Nipplegate

Nipplegate

NIPPLEGATE By Andrew Biggs Tove Lo is a Swedish singer enjoying a hit in the dance clubs at present. Her song is very catchy and kind of fun. It is called “Disco Tits”, and here are the lyrics to the chorus: “I’m sweatin’ from head to toe I’m wet through all my clothes, I’m fully charged, nipples are hard Ready to go.” Needless to say it’s a raunchy little number, in which Tove Lo informs us she loves to go out to clubs where she drinks to excess, gets really high on a n

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Better Late Than Australian

Better Late Than Australian

BETTER LATE THAN AUSTRALIAN By Andrew Biggs On my recent trip home to Australia, my mother took me aside on the last day. “I can really see Thai culture has had an effect on you,” she said as we ate our last meal together. “In three ways.” I waited, quiche perched mid-air on fork, for the impending triad. “First, you are so much more relaxed and even-tempered. Gone is the hot-headed Andrew from before. “Second, you smile so much more. That’s got to be a direct resu

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Kindergarten Elites

Kindergarten Elites

KINDERGARTEN ELITES By Andrew Biggs Congratulations to the little boy on page two of the Bangkok Post last Wednesday, throwing his hands up with joy at being selected to attend Chulalongkorn University Demonstration Elementary School. Actually, the six-year-old wasn’t “selected” per se. He passed the exam required to enter grade one. He was among only 100 who got in out of more than 2,000 students who sat it. I wish the kid well … really, I do. He has learned a life lesson ab

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Korean Dream

Korean Dream

KOREAN DREAM By Andrew Biggs Chai grew up on a small plot of farmland 30 km outside of the town of Kalasin. His childhood was that of waking up, planting rice and vegetables, going to school, coming home, planting rice and vegetables again. Rinse and repeat. It was a circle. That’s how Chai himself described it, drawing one with his hands. “A circle every day,” he said. “The circle made me really tired. I wanted to leave.” He said this circle happened from birth up

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Not Deaf, Very Dumb

Not Deaf, Very Dumb

NOT DEAF, VERY DUMB By Andrew Biggs There has been a commotion this past week in the media over the appearance of two attractive young westerners begging for money at a Khlong Toey intersection. Just four days ago The Bangkok Post published a photograph of one of them, a woman, clutching a bunch of Thai flags and trying to flog them off car window to car window. There was a man as well. Why were they begging? Why were they so attractive? And most importantly to the authoritie

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Superstupids

Superstupids

SUPERSTUPIDS By Andrew Biggs This week’s tale of pretentiousness and warped social mores begins in the sleepy seaside town of Hua Hin. Sleepy seaside town? Such was the description of Hua Hin when I first made a stop there a quarter of a century ago, but now? There’s nothing “sleepy” or even “seaside” about the place. It’s a beach town where you can’t see the beach. The main road doesn’t run parallel to it; I have no idea where a family who decides “I say! Let’s go to

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Street Food, Street Carnage

Street Food, Street Carnage

STREET FOOD, STREET CARNAGE By Andrew Biggs There are two categories where you can find Thailand sitting at the top of the world charts. The first is for street food. There isn’t another country in the world that can match the variety and quantity of what is peddled roadside here. CNN has lauded Thailand, in particular Bangkok, for the best street food in the world. So has Conde Nast Traveller, Virtual Tourist, Skyscanner … the secret is out. The second category where we hav

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Once You Go White

Once You Go White

ONCE YOU GO WHITE ... By Andrew Biggs Deadlines can be merciless things. I have a weekly deadline for this column to which I strictly adhere, and just writing that sentence makes me peer ominously out the window for fear of a lightning bolt splitting me asunder. Like all journalists, your favorite columnist must send this column in at a specific time and day, and if I am a little late, then my editor turns into a monster. I am telling you this because a news story dropp

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Cross About Wires

Cross About Wires

CROSS ABOUT WIRES By Andrew Biggs An important high-level meeting this week resulted in my being driven down Sukhumvit Road from the Ploenchit intersection all the way to Asoke. This was largely due to my driver taking a wrong turn. How I would dearly love to extrapolate on this minor point, focusing on the shortcomings of the Thai education system that fails to equip some Thais with the necessary knowledge to read maps. How else do I explain my driver, despite Google Maps s

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Chaos And Hermes Handbags

Chaos And Hermes Handbags

CHAOS AND HERMES HANDBAGS By Andrew Biggs This is the story of a Hermes handbag, an ageing academic and an overzealous police force. It is a story that one hopes will end in common sense, but then again I hope to win the lottery on the first of next month. Let’s begin with the cops. Here in Thailand we have a special division of police officers whose task it is to crack down on cyber crime. What constitutes cyber crime is laid out in the shadowy Thailand Computer Crime Act of 11

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Hoary Old Cogs

Hoary Old Cogs

HOARY OLD COGS By Andrew Biggs The truth and the military make strange bedfellows. This is not, necessarily, a savage indictment on Thailand’s current military regime. It’s true of any military. When ranked from most important to least, qualities like courage, fortitude, strategy, strength and unity are considered characteristics way, way more important to the military than trifling, annoying tenets such as truth and honesty and, let’s be frank, democracy. There are two parti

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How To Get Good At Thai

How To Get Good At Thai

HOW TO GET GOOD AT THAI By Andrew Biggs I have a great story to tell you that will appeal to any non-Thai currently doing battle with learning the Thai language. My life turned a full circle this week as I began a teaching gig at Ramkhamhaeng University Demonstration School. A gaggle of my best teachers are there in February conducting an extended English camp, and on day one I went to the school to show my face and chat to the students. It was also very emotional, as it was

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Education Disgrace

Education Disgrace

EDUCATION DISGRACE By Andrew Biggs There is nothing particularly outstanding about the tiny rural school of Wat Ban Pathong Tha Noen Samakee, 360 kilometres north-east of Bangkok. It is just off the main highway that runs all the way up through the North-East of Thailand. While it is located in Nakhon Ratchasima province, on a map it appears closer to Khon Kaen. This is the heart of rural Thailand. The school is a collection of wooden and concrete classrooms. The front boasts

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Greng Jai

Greng Jai

GRENG JAI By Andrew Biggs Happy Songkran, dear reader! This is the traditional time I close the windows, draw the blinds, and remain ensconced in either my bedroom or, when I’m feeling adventurous, the living room for three whole days. I’ve been through all the Songkran stages. I’ve stood on the back of a pick-up with 18 others, splashing water from giant barrels while zipping through the streets of Chiang Mai. I’ve sat on bamboo mats pretending to enjoy local rice whiskey as wiz

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Smashing The Glass

Smashing The Glass

SMASHING THE GLASS By Andrew Biggs Anybody doing business in Thailand has horror stories about red tape. Not a day goes by where I am responsible for felling at least one tree from somewhere deep within a national park. Page after page, I sign the bottom of useless photocopied pages, in triplicate, one after the other, all the time either contemplating life or how to end it all and put myself out of this bureaucratic misery. A recent under-the-wire news story revealed Thailan

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Aunties Mad As Hell

Aunties Mad As Hell

AUNTIES MAD AS HELL By Andrew Biggs You may have noticed it’s been difficult to get your Thai friends to go out on a Wednesday or Thursday night. That’s because the country is in the grip of a soap opera on Channel 3 called Buppha Sanniwat. Everyone is watching. Thai soapies usually feature violence, betrayal, corruption, fabulous wealth and injustice. Interestingly, Buppha Sanniwat features none of these, but that doesn’t matter. Thais are getting those ingredients in real l

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A Story of Gambian Proportions

A Story of Gambian Proportions

A STORY OF GAMBIAN PROPORTIONS By Andrew Biggs I wonder how many of my readers could pinpoint the country of Gambia on a map. No, no reaching for Google Maps. What does it border? What is it famous for? Such questions need not bother you too much, especially if you are feeling like I am this morning following a prolonged visit from Uncle Smirnoff and his delightful travelling companion, Ms Absolut, just last night. I couldn’t pinpoint Gambia either. It’s in West Africa, a ti

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW By Andrew Biggs The news about the burgeoning fake cosmetics industry — and the celebrities risking arrest for being presenters — reminds me of an incident last year in my own office. I have changed the names of the people concerned to protect them from instant arrest; my staffer Piyapong shall be henceforth known as “Pek”, while Benchawan shall be called “Miss Lek”. This is what happened. I was aware of a change in the office air; over a short

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The Boy With Half An Alphabet In His Suitcase

The Boy With Half An Alphabet In His Suitcase

THE BOY WITH HALF AN ALPHABET IN HIS SUITCASE By Andrew Biggs Little Potae came to stay with me over the school holidays. His parents went to the South to work on a construction site. Could he stay at my place while they were down there? That, dear reader, is how I ended up with an 8-year-old in my house for a fortnight. In the West we have a saying that fish and house guests go off after three days, but this truism does not work in Thailand since rotten fish, i.e. >>pl

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Songbirds

Songbirds

SONGBIRDS By Andrew BIggs This week our prime minister came face to face with the hottest musical group in Thailand. The group is BNK48, a band I’ve been aware of for at least six months. This is not because of any predilection for following the local pop charts, something I would only recommend as punishment for tourists overstaying their tourist visas. They first came to my attention thanks to a catchy little song that has been ubiquitous since the end of last year. There

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The Pied Piper of Briefcases and Washing Machines

The Pied Piper of Briefcases and Washing Machines

THE PIED PIPER OF BRIEFCASES AND WASHING MACHINES By Andrew Biggs It was a dark and stormy night. I’d been beating away for a couple of hours — on my Macbook — when I felt the need for a break. So I casually flicked on Facebook. Scrolling down my Timeline, catching joyous glimpses of the wildly interesting lives of Facebook Friends living life to the fullest (as opposed to me, still working at 9.30 pm on his own), I happened to notice an ad for a leather belted briefcase.

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On the button

On the button

ON THE BUTTON By Andrew Biggs A brand new community mall opened at the end of my soi in leafy Samut Prakan. It transformed the community. Suddenly I had a KFC, Au Bon Pain, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, MK Suki, Pizza Hut and Domino’s within walking distance of my home. Why would one need to venture into the city ever again, other than to check for cholesterol levels and diabetes? Driving into the car park the first time, there was a big shiny automat

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Summoning the sacred spirits of stupidity

Summoning the sacred spirits of stupidity

SUMMONING THE SACRED SPIRITS OF STUPIDITY By Andrew Biggs My office was abuzz with the news of the medium who went on TV last week and summoned the spirit of an ancient Brahman god. “You should have seen it,” the maid, Noi, excitedly told my staff. “At first she was normal, then right there in the middle of the interview, suddenly –” Noi paused to contort her face into that of someone suffering from extreme diarrhea owing to over-indulgence in fermented fish paste. Noi spoke

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