Sunday, December 25, 2011

30 Minutes Left of Christmas

          Does anyone else feel like December is breezing past us faster than we can recall the lyrics of the 12 Days of Christmas? Actually, I wish Christmas would officially last 12 days. Why didn't we ever take the hint from the song?

. . . . . . . . . . 

          Despite managing to get decorations up and cards sent out on time, Christmas is still less Christmasy for me this year. I think whereas physically I have accomplished all of what it is I usually do this time of year (for instance: making sure I have Christmas colors on me when I step outside the door), mentally I'm away from the holly and gingerbread, tinsel and sleighbells. It's a surreal experience. Like, I'll burn my traditional Christmas mix CD without the ambition to listen to it. I'll buy presents for people without registering mentally that the occasion is for Christmas. I'm just not present in the season, though I can't pinpoint where exactly I am either. I'm probably immersed somewhere in thoughts about the Worlds Debate Tournament (becoming a reality in a day), life after college, and what has become of the people I saw everyday when I was in high school. Maybe I'll always be the Student Council President in my head.
          Anyways, for the sake of blogging, here's how I spent Christmas. I just realized how eventful my Christmas day looks after listing it out for my friend, Josh, seconds ago on Facebook.

      • Woke up early. Made breakfast for my three-people clan. Opened presents.
      • Left the house at 9 a.m. to meet up with Pang to buy traditional Thai dresses at Pahurat (apparently Bangkok's "Little India"). 
      • Got our dresses and adornments. Parted ways.
      • Incredible traffic. Then a long walk in the sun and uncommonly cool air.
      • Ice cream.
      • Returned home. Cleaned, packed my suitcase, and made a mess.
      • Christmas dinner by mom. Heavenly as usual.
      • Watched Tangled for the first time and fell in love with it.

 Happy Hanukkah, everyone.

Courtesy of Mom

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bangladeshi Rock Music

I got introduced to Nemesis, a local rock band, while I was in Dhaka. This song, Kobe, which means "when?" is the first single their new album, Tritio Jatra, released just this year. What I heard from the experts of Bangladeshi music - I mean Zaber and Mabrook - is that "when?" is about the band's frustration of not being able to produce an album in 5 years. You can see in the music video that the singer is trying to break free from strings that have been holding him back. Yea... take that literally. I understand the frustration though; I waited 5 years for My Chemical Romance to return after the Black Parade. =P

          Anyways, enjoy Kobe. =]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Twenty Taka"

          I'm on the way to getting my life back. I'm at the homestretch - one more online exam to go - so I thought I'd step out of the track for a minute and tell you about what's been keeping me busy.
          Earlier this week, I came through the gates at Suvarnabhumi airport, dressed in a turquoise Bangladeshi sari, with red lips, red wedge heels, my strawberry blonde hair in an up-do, and a functional laptop backpack on my back. It was actually entertaining collecting the stares, smiles, and comments from Dhaka to Bangkok. Immigration was definitely easier to pass at Dhaka in that getup. For anyone planning to travel to Bangladesh, you might want to consider wearing their traditional clothes - stylishly, mind you - to Shahjalal International Airport.
Me & Art; Me; Me & Dad
           You can probably guess my camera worked overtime on this trip to Bangladesh. I actually did take a lot of pictures, despite the fact that I was there for debate. To be honest, I would have probably never had the opportunity to visit the country if it weren't for the tournament, the 3rd Asian BP Debate Championships, hosted by North South University.

         Here's the part you ask me how I did and I tell you swell. Truthfully though, my partner and I put up a real good fight - together. =] Pon was eloquent and unnerved from round to round as usual. As for me, I'm 4 months experienced now, and I personally feel that both my progress and determination have been boosting exponentially. Kudos to me. 

Team Chula 2
          As for being in Bangladesh, the environment was nothing like I've ever experienced. Firstly, it's a Muslim nation, so dress appropriately. If you forget that fact or underpacked - which was my case - don't worry! Solution: get a sari, or a kurta for men. I got a beautiful cotton sari for only 1700 taka. That's like 680 baht, including the two-piece you wear under the sari. Silk ones are about triple the price, but that's still a good deal. Don't try to buy one by yourself though or wear one yourself with only instructions from Google. Get a local to help you!
         But truth be told, there is a lot to be alarmed about in Bangladesh. To begin with, the traffic is the worst. I swear I did not see a traffic light there. There are no lanes and no rules. Maybe just one, which is  honk continuously.  Expect to get harassed by the poor when you're sitting in the car during a jam. They can get aggressive and really in your face too. And don't even try to escape the smell of cigarette smoke; there is no such sanctuary in Bangladesh. And Bangladesh has the worst mosquito problem in the world. They're everywhere and can suck through clothes! Another airport tip: don't go into your gate until boarding time. Confined area + mosquitos... you do the math. Better to roam around in the airport. 

         Bangladeshi food however makes up for the madness. Okay, the take-out meals we got for lunch during the debate days were... crap. But if you get the opportunity to eat a home-cooked meal or hotel buffet there, you're in for a flavorful treat. I know Pon absolutely loved the biriani rice. I was crazy for roti and chutneys. I have to extend a special thanks to Zaber who treated us to a home-cooked lunch at his home, introduced us to Bengali contemporary music, got a car to drive us around, and helped me buy a sari.

Zaber's Crib. Bengali Coke!
          Overall, what I value most about the whole trip was meeting great debaters, adjudicators, and organizers from all over Asia. And apart from debate, downtime with perverted word games really took my mind off reality, which was what I needed. (1 word: pwnage!) 

Fraternizing with the Japanese team. Do I blend in?
The Chula gang at Asian BP 2011
Definitely excited about meeting more people at Worlds (Philippines) in 2 weeks. =]


Monday, December 5, 2011

Father-Daughter Movies

Today is Thai Fathers' Day, and this post is for Dad. 

          About 3 weeks ago, I watched Tower Heist with my dad at Central World. Then last week, we watched the original Ocean's 11 at home. (Yes, I'm back home now.) These two movies struck the longest leisure conversations my dad and I haven't had in a while, and it made me realize something. That there are particular types of movies I can enjoy so much with only my dad. It surprised me that I never gave an active thought as to what exactly makes a movie a "Father-Daughter" movie for me, and so I've been inspired to compile a list of criteria here:
  1. Comedy from beginning to end, but NOT the sick, retarded kind that characterizes distasteful movies like Austin Powers, Bruce Gigolo, and Epic Movie. (Feel my raging dislike?)
  2. At least 1 (2 would be more ideal) classic Hollywood actor in lead role. The mention of any of the following names, for instance, would spark unconditional interest from us:  
    • Jack Nicholson
    • Robert De Niro
    • Ben Stiller
    • Steve Martin
    • Morgan Freeman
    • Reese Witherspoon
    • Drew Barrymore*
    • Eddy Murphy
    • Tom Hanks
    • Jim Carrey
    • Jackie Chan + Chris Tucker
  3. Action. Crime. Trickery. (Any or all.)
  4. Nothing philosophical, or thought-provoking, or tear-jerking. We aren't movie-criers anyways.
  5. Out-takes at the end. 
  6. Only "realistic" special effects. 
    • Examples: car bombs, falling from a skyscraper, 2012 stuff... even aging backwards is fine. 
    • Non-examples: vampires, blue creatures, aliens, robots, Voldemort (unfortunately), animation...
    • Borderline: superheroes
  7. Martial arts sequences are a plus! We like to point out specific moves.

          It's worth noting that this list far from describes my favorite movies.  But I think it's only normal to have different "settings" for the different sections of your life. That why we don't try to integrate all our cliques together, right? Or why keeping them separate doesn't necessarily mean that one is not good enough for the other.  I treasure the tight relationship and abundant mutual interests I have with my dad. It's only sad that our types of movies have dwindled in box office release over the years (or maybe I'm just don't have as much downtime as I did in 1998, when Rush Hour just came out and when TV ruled my life).  So I guess my belated thanksgiving is for Tower Heist, the original Danny Ocean and his gang, and flood-induced holidays. Thank you, God. I love you, Dad.

Bonus Material: 10 Father-Daughter Movies Off The Top of My Head
              1. Rush Hour (1998)
              2. Rush Hour 2 (2001)
              3. Meet The Parents (2000)
              4. Bruce Almighty (2003)
              5. Legally Blonde (2001)
              6. Showtime (2002)
              7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
              8. The Sting (1973)
              9. Bowfinger (1999)
              10. Something's Gotta Give (2003)

*My dad met her several times when E.T. was still in the production process. Why can't my life be that cool?

Friday, November 25, 2011

What The Fuji Are Thais Thinking When They Come Up With "Japanese" Names for Products

9 Lamest "Japanese" Labels Coined By Thais, off the top of my atama.

  1. Fruito - As a Japanese, this name is painful to hear! And unfortunately for me, it is the most commercialized of Thai-created "Japanese" products on TV here. Probably because advertisers actually got a legit Japanese - albeit half - to star in the commercial. Ugh, that fact gives me even more of a headache the size of Godzilla. Okay, I get what Oishi Co. Ltd. was trying to achieve. It's a green tea and fruit fusion drink. They wanted consumers to know that the product involves both fruit and the Japanese hype. They also understand the basic concept of Japanese phonetics - that each letter represents a vowel sound - BUT they got the vowel wrong in this case. It's "Fu-ru-u-TSU" or "Fruitsu", yo. Not, Fruito.
  2. Sushido - What the Fuji is "Sushido"? Why, they're donuts that look like sushi of course! Genius, Mister Donut Thailand, genius.
  3. Grilliku - Another failed attempt of making an English word sound Japanese. 
  4. Shabushi - A failed attempt of meshing the terms for two Japanese cooking styles: "shabu shabu" and "sushi". Rule of thumb: NEVER mesh Japanese words together, even if they're somewhat closely related. "Shabushi" sounds too much like the Japanese word for lonely, "sabishii". Who wants to eat at a restaurant that will remind them of how unlovable they are?
  5. Chakuza - Here's another popular advertising strategy used by Thais for Thais: using Japanese terms which are associated with violence or toughness to glamourize an in fact harmless product. In this case, Japanese mobsters are being associated with a tea-soda. When you drink this, you should feel like a boss.
  6. Kamikaze - Again, associating Japanese violence with a harmless product. Here, the harmless product is Thai teeny-boppers.
  7. Yayoi - Do people even know what this word is? It's an ancient Japanese civilization, a tomb culture to be exact. I just think that's a weird name for a restaurant with a such bright color palette: pink and yellow. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if the franchise required gray interiors and their employees to dress as Japanese zombies.
  8. Mirei - This product ALMOST avoided the wrath of my criticism. At first, I only saw this tea drink's name written in Japanese as "Mi-ra-i", which means "future". It wasn't that lame of a name for yet again another tea drink. At least the word is a legit Japanese word. But then I saw the Thai transliteration, and I have no clue what "Mirei" means.
  9. Oishi - This company is responsible for 4 occupations on this list (#1, 4, 5, 9), and the reason why this company has committed so many crimes of incorrect transliteration is probably because the company's name itself is misspelled! Technically, it should be O-i-shi-i. Just one letter - bummer.

          I could probably come up with a 10th if I had the motivation to put in the effort, but fortunately I don't. =] Actually, despite the mockery above, I do find Thai people's fandom for Japanesey things charming and flattering. It's weird to think about because I'm also Thai. Imagine half yourself being flattered by the other half... To be true to my Japanese nature, none of these things are authentic Japanese. But I think "Thai-created Japanese products" should be its own genre from which to judge because obviously these products are not complete failures. In fact, I actually like Chakuza!   

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Act 1: Returning With New Friends
Act 2: Pride And Prejudice, The Play

Preface: finally, a legitimate experience to blog about.  
I shall put away my pseudo-blogging tricks for tonight.
          Today I brought some new friends, friends that I have made in university, to ICS, a place which bears so much history and influence to me. I'm just going to say this out and upfront: I was so nervous! What would these people I've just recently earned the approval of think now about me after getting a close look of who I was in high school? This is somehow more nerve-racking that meeting them for the first time. And ironically, it was me who insisted on walking them through my life. So if the tour was unimpressive, there would be no one to blame but the guide.
         Another fear I had was of getting too caught up with the past that I would leave my present to stand awkwardly in the background. Fortunately, both parties were very enthusiastic to adapt to each other. Take my fellow Nitade freshman, New, and my AP English teacher, Mr. Jonathan, for example. New, being the living troll meme he is, went up to Mr. Jonathan, whom he has never met, and said, "Mr. Jonathan!" [He got the name from me 2 seconds before] "Remember me? It's me, New! You taught me two years ago." At this point, any other teacher would have begun to rack his brains out, trying to remember a New in his class two years ago. But Mr. Jonathan... being Mr. Jonathan, responded, "Oh, you! You sat in the back!" The rest of the conversation went something like this:

"No, no. I sat in the front."
"Oh, did you? I could have sworn..."
"Yes, but I still got so many detentions from you because of the exotic animals I brought to class."

          These two deserve applaud. It was pretty perfect too that New met Mr. Jonathan of all my teachers because from getting to know him in Nitade, I can just tell that in his high school life, he enjoyed language arts. A moment of internal beaming for me right there.
. . . . . . . . . . 
          The second part of this story entails why I went to ICS on this particular day: there was a play tonight.  I can't explain why, but something about being an alumni makes coming back to watch a play more exciting. Honestly, I wasn't this excited about plays during my last years at ICS when I didn't really act anymore. Maybe the sudden interest is partially due to the fact that I'm currently reading The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, and it's getting me into classics and theatrics. Or perhaps the incentive of retrieving my birthday gift (a movie) from Mind...

Anyways, some shorthand thoughts about the play:
  • Mind (Mary Bennet) and Navraj (Mrs. Bennet)'s comedic talents were invaluable to the show. 
  • Mr. Neil as Mr. Bennet was a big surprise but also a pleasant one. He's actually perfect for the role.
    [New gave him the loudest hoots from the audience.] 
  • Truly felt for Maple (Jane Bennet) about her on-and-off mic situation. 
  • Rose was a beautiful Elizabeth. 
  • Drama department seems to have invested in costumes this year!
    But perhaps the money was taken out of the funds for sets and props. 
  • Chris (Darcy) and Elliot (Bingley) will probably be recycled as male leads for the rest of their years in ICS. That's not a bad thing. 
  • For Pride and Prejudice, I expected more romance. Suggestion: big finale kiss. 
  • Biggest surprise was Moriah, 9th grade, for the role of Catherine. I give her the rookie award.
  • An abundance of backstage crew members might actually be counterproductive...

. . . . . . . . . . 
          On the last note, I'd truly like to thanks my friends today, old and new. To the old ones (who are actually young), thank you for being excited to see me and my new blonde hair and for your collective efforts in putting on yet again another ICS play. I have not forgotten how much extra time from schoolwork it takes to be in the production, whether you're an actor, in tech, or sales. And to the new ones, thanks for coming and walking with me. As much as my "fantastic tour" was for you, it was for me as well. I didn't realize until today what a privilege it is to be able to share a history you're so entwined in and so proud to be.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Keeping In The Skeptic Brings Out The Geek

          Greetings from a 3rd floor apartment in Rama 3! I've been living here for almost a week now due to the precautionary hypernoia of my parents - mostly mom (sorry to point the finger). Okay, yes, I admit that the front of my house is no longer dry, but I still strongly believe that our efforts of moving the sentimentals to the 2nd floor will have been in vain. But that's okay. An underfurnished livingspace creates the perfect platform for redecorating. Which I'm honestly really excited about. Especially now that Thailand has an IKEA.
          But I don't want to get ahead of myself. Only God knows when things will be back to normal, when thinking about the interior design of your house doesn't make you look like a callous stuck-up. So let me keep it current with how #ThaiFloodEng has changed my daily life.
          I've been keeping myself busy, and not. With Nitade repeatedly pushing back the reopening date, I've been couped up in my "new home" without HBO, StarWorld, unlimited internet, and musical instruments. This has forced me to return to my former #1 hobby of reading. That just sounds so beautiful.  And I'm reading exactly the types of books I used to: classics, factbooks, and historical fics (missing murder-mysteries). I love the feeling of boosting up my literacy. 
From bottom to top:
1. Last Friday's Guru mag 
2. Have not read yet. But won't be able to put down for sure.
3. Still pondering the paradox of time travel.
4. Motoki, my fellow "hafu", gave me this last week. Very skillfully chosen. I can relate so much to the main character, the Book Thief. And I used to have a Holocaust fiction phase in middle school. Almost finished.
5. Today's purchase. Very amusing. Good for when I need an intermission between #2-4.

. . . . . . . . . . . 
          I feel that I've also leveled up in photography since "evacuating". There's just something about being in the middle of an unfamiliar situation that makes me want to press the shutter button at every little thing. As if I hadn't already been shooting manually, my camera settings are even more customized. Noobs, stay away from my Canon! I usually never publish stuff unedited, but this post contains only raw photography.
Technique was dead-on for this self-portrait.
ISO 1600 with flash. 1/20 Shutter.  F5.6.
Customized high contrast.
A vehicle in motion.
Newly dyed hair.

. . . . . . . . . . . 
          I even shot and edited a 30-second video featuring a gecko's heartbeat. But I'm not going to air that here, or else you'll realize how lame I am and never read my blog ever again.
          Other things I've been doing that are of the unusual are attending a funeral, frustrating myself with Microsoft Spider Solitaire, and dining out! Dining out every night is a big deal for me since I come from a family where everyone cooks.
          On the other hand, how I've NOT been keeping myself busy is by not volunteering for flood relief as much as I could be, making no effort to contribute to family income besides abstaining from shopping, and making no effort to improve myself as a debater besides showing up for selections. Wouldn't hurt for me to give a little more damn about water levels and flood politics either. Unfortunately, the paperbacks and hardcover on my desk right now completely consume my interest. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Sandbag Douchebag

          Desperate times may cause people to act irrationally or unlike themselves, but in the case of my underhanded "uncle", such times only amplify his true depraved character. The desperate times I'm referring to here is the current flood crisis. When people are racing to raid the convenient stores for canned foods and bottled water - albeit not the expensive pink ones labelled Evian - contracting local laborers to build concrete shields in front of home entrances, and collecting boulder-weight bags of sand to build more shields against the waters. Sandbags in fact, have become a highly coveted commodity that sandbag-theft isn't exactly unlikely. I just didn't expect it to happen in my community, to my house, by my own "family".
          My sandbag scenario is this: I've got a concrete wall guarding my front door and sandbags piled in front of that wall like steps so my parents and I can get in and out of the house without tearing our crotches. Well, one day the sandbag steps were noticeably reduced. It was the day, my douchebag "uncle" brought his workers to fix up the home he never lives in, the house next to mine. Apparently, my "uncle" pried my parents all day about how much it cost us to get our wall built, how many sandbags we had, what other measures we were taking to deflect the flood, and how much all of that cost. My family, used to this man's obsessive stinginess (he's as rich as hell!), were also used to helping our neighbors out. So, we gave him all the tips to protect his useless home from the flood. And he repaid us by stealing some of our sandbags when we weren't looking. 
          Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I jumped to conclusion about the missing bags, here comes the resolve: This morning, about 4 hours ago, there was a prolonged banging on my door. I knew it could only be one douche. Being the brat that I am, I ignored my "uncle's" call and also refused to wake my dad up for such a lowlife. Eventually however, dad woke up, realized my "uncle" and his henchmen were back in the neighborhood, and went down to do some damage control. What a hero.
          He confronted my "uncle" about the missing bags. And when a man as honest as my dad accuses you, you know you have no way out except confession. So he confessed to stealing one bag and made his workers return one bag. Except he didn't just steal one... My dad then demanded that my "uncle" return 2 bags.
          Deep down, I believe "2" was a generous offer from my dad. But I won't complain. I'm pretty proud of my dad. I still hate my "uncle" though. His comment after all of this was: "ขอโทษ... กูมักง่าย". Excuse me? You're sorry that you're negligent? So you were negligent of our intelligence, of our tendency to notice things? Gosh, even the truth from this man is despicable!
. . . . . . . . . . 
          As I was writing this entry, one of his workers came into my property to urinate on my beloved banana tree. Funny how he thought he could get away with that. I saw him look left and right. Can't really tell  if there is someone inside the house watching you, can you? Where I am blogging from is right behind the front door. I have a clear view of my banana tree. I wonder how many much more drama will occur before the day ends. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

False Vacation

  • Skype with Richelle. check.
  • Leave early to have McDonald's Breakfast with dad. check.
  • Go to Chula to pack food for flood victims. check.
  • Mail a letter to Spain. check.
  • Afternoon nap. check.
  • Create a new outfit from an old T-shirt. check.
  • Organize my girly things. check.

I'd say I was productive today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hong Kong Shutter Speed

TIP: Click on a pic. Then use arrow keys.

Your Slowness Will Be Penalized

          Hey everyone, I'm back in Bangkok. Back to fend the flood. But to be honest, my stay in Hong Kong wasn't any less stressful. Most of my time was spent walking up and down a mountain-university, debating intensely, and finding myself in awkward circumstances with people. Tell me how that's a vacation!  Even on Halloween, the day of my departure and my only free day, we did what I would call "extreme strategic shopping". Ploy, Pare, Pynx, and I are officially, pro international shoppers. We planned and timed everything. For example, at H&M in Central, we had exactly 20 minutes to make our selections, endure the line at check-out, pay for our stuff, and get out! *Note to males: this is technically impossible for females.* And we were like this throughout the whole day, at every store. I literally had lunch on the run (gobbled down two creamy raisin muffins while on foot inside IFC shopping mall). We saved Mong Kok (downtown area, lots of street shops) for last, where we bumped into the rest of our people, those who wanted to relax more and spent their entire day at Mong Kok. Puh-leaze.
          I truly believe that a second later at any spot I hit, and I would have missed my flights. The gate closed for no exceptions at 21.00... I walked through it at 20.58. Sweet! But boy, were some of the seniors pissed. And I believe I deserve a little more credit than anyone else for managing two cameras and wearing high heels. Like a boss.
          Here's the first batch of my Hong Kong trip photo montage. Expect a follow up post. Enjoy. =]

Flying Emirates. Their food & in-flight entertainment were superb!  Look how happy Aim is with her mango juice.
A random montage of Pong and New at nights.
New turned 19 on Oct. 31st.
HK street food! I have to say Hong Kong cold tofu milk is the best remedy for traveling fatigue. Even the convenient store ones were so satisfying.
Adventures of Mika and the Three P's.
Mong Kok - like Siam Square, but more spread out.
Random favorites of Central, Hong Kong.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Zuckerberg Way of Relieving Rage

          What is with the sudden parental crackdown on what I wear?! The raised brow before I walk out the house has always haunted my only-daughter life, but now skirts and shorts that used to pass inspection are "too revealing"? WHAT WHAT WHAT? At this rate I'm going to run out of long pants! I bet this is the result of a paradigm shift in bottoms' length. What do I mean? I mean the freshman skirt that I've been wearing to classes faithfully. To be even more of a rule-stickler, I've been wearing my skirt at the stipulated length: covering calves! They're so used to not seeing my knees, I guess, that they begin to equate knees as my "privates". Two people need a reality check. 

Left: parents' expectation // Right: my day look choice from

I also don't think long pants will lower my risk of getting raped. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 Most Awesome Wikipedia Pages (Categorical)

In No Particular Order:
We've all Wikipedia-ed our names haven't we? 
2. Culture: Stereotypes of East Asians in the Western world
Bowl-cut for boys. Straight long bangs for girls. And we all do martial arts.
3. Fashion: Mullet (haircut)
"Redirected from MULLETS" - For some reason, people feel the need to type it in capital letters. 
4. Human Behavior: Awkward Silence
"When Europeans communicate with Japanese, a period of meaningful silence is sometimes misinterpreted as an awkward silence." ... *awkward silence*
5. Facial Hair: Toothbrush moustache
So relevant to life.
Note: if you search "Hitler's testicle", you'll be automatically redirected to "Adolf Hitler".
6. Websites: Wikipedia
A Wikipedia page about Wikipedia?? Genius.
7. Food: Fried egg
Hands down the cutest Wikipedia page, ever.
8. Personalities: Lord Voldemort
Lovely profile pic.
9. Movements: Troll (Internet)
"In Thai, the term 'krean' (เกรียน) has been adopted to address Internet trolls." - Wikipedia deserves respect for this.
10. Politics & Economy: Thaksinocracy & Thaksinomics
Votebuying: check. Cronyism and Nepotism: check. A double standard and biased judiciary: check. Populism: check. Conflicts of interest: check. Tax evasion: check.
Rent-seeking and extortion: check.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


10 things on my mind right now:

The flood will come. 1
Will there be any attractive single men at the Hong Kong debate tournament? 2
Can't wait an eternity for my friend to return my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows;
am seriously considering buying ANOTHER COPY. 3
Post-flood diseases. 4
The ongoing demise of my academic well being at Nitade. 5
The mental acceptance it takes to swallow your jewelry so calmly. (watching Schindler's List) 6
The ethics of shopping for unnecessary items during desperate times. 7
How to think like Steven Levitt and write like Stephen Dubner. 8
The words noetic, zeitgeist, eugenist, and provocateur. 9
Burger King milkshakes (plural) in my stomach. 10

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Movie About The 7-Eleven Seaweed Snack Owner

Recognize this snack?

          It's Tao Kae Noi! The fried seaweed snack we all see commercialized on TV, on the side of the rod maes, at BTS stations, and of course, right on the shelves of the 7-Eleven down the street. But do you know what impresses me more about the snack than its availability at 3000+ locations for a cheap price? That the owner of this Thai, multi-billion-baht snack brand was only 19 when he shook hands with the big bosses at 7-Eleven Thailand HQ. Oh and did I mention that at the time his family was 40 million baht in debt? 
          To be honest, I knew none of this before Wednesday night when I attended the pre-release (for Commarts students) of the new GTH movie, TOP SECRET: Wai Roon Pun Laan (TOP SECRET: Teenage Billionaire). The story is based on the real success of Itthipat Kulpongvanich, "Tao Kae Noi" himself. (Tao Kae Noi means Young Entrepreneur or Little Millionaire.)
          Directed by Songyos Sugmakanan, an alumni of my faculty, TOP SECRET is apparently the first biopic about a Thai entrepreneur. Hopefully, it won't be the last because I do enjoy The Social Network type movies. For a film about a convenient store snack, the scenes are uncommonly artistic. But then again, this is a GTH film. One of my favorite scenes was the turning point of the story, when Ittihipat, or "Top", in the car with his girlfriend, eating some fried seaweed she brought back from the beach, realizes he wants to start a fried seaweed business. Okay, that description sounds cheesy, but it really was visually aesthetic. 
          In a chestnut *movie allusion*: good story, true story, GTH, Top played by heartthrob (albeit with a very 'guan teen' face) from BBA Chula, fried seaweed. Go watch it. And don't forget to buy a bag of Tao Kae Noi seaweed to accommodate the viewing experience.

Left: the least guan teen of this movie's promotional posters. Oh, brother.
Additional notes: 
Top is played by Patchara "Peach" Chirathivat.
The real Top will be 27 this December

          The only warning I have to offer is that it'll make you feel like an unmotivated slob. I am not doing enough to make a living. Look at me, blogging for no money.