Monday, June 1, 2015

Achievement Unlocked: The Impossible Parking Space

This story is trivial but seems to be pretty amusing to my Facebook friends so why not. 

It all begins with a negligent, inept, or simply asshole driver. Whichever interpretation works best for you.

Earlier today, I was at the parking lot of Central Rama 2, hawking out legitimate parking spaces - I hate blocking other cars - during the peak hours on a holiday. Then suddenly, I spotted this space. It was pretty much next to the stairs, which would lead me right to the doors of Central. But here's the catch, why it remained unoccupied in an otherwise full and already double-parked lot:
To be honest, I didn't realize this was such a challenge until I started trying. And to be honest, the only reason I didn't give up halfway through when I was like "wait, WTF" was because there were cars waiting for me and I thought following through would take way less time than changing my mind. 

In retrospect, that could have been as stupid of a logic as parking like Mr. Inconsiderate here, but some misplaced sense of confidence got my car to back in perfectly at an angle to fit into this impossible pocket. 
My smooth skills.

And it was only when I turned off the engine and looked at the hairs' width of space between my vehicle and its surroundings that I finally realized that I DID NOT like car next to me. So I took a moment to grab the notepad and pen I keep handy in my car to write a very basic message to the owner of the car. It looked something like this:
I was going for "angry farang", writing it in English and all. #AECyo

Because I took some time before leaving my car, I was privileged with what happened next that would turn this so far mundane incident into one to remember.

The amount of time it took me to write the note to Mr. Inconsiderate was also the amount of time it took for the floor's parking lot attendant to ride his scooter from one corner of the lot to me. When he arrived, he immediately began examining the parameters of my car, in the manners of a car-medic, before looking up and saying to me "you are not ordinary" about 3 times. He then continued to examine my feat, applauding and adding that he had been warning people NOT TO ATTEMPT all morning. 

So that was a major boost for me because I have never really been singled out for my car-skills (though I enjoy driving). Moreover, when I returned to my car two hours later to find Mr. Inconsiderate's car still my neighbor, the same parking lot attendant came to see me again to greet me and just give me a friendly reminder to ease out completely before turning. 

As I did so, I waved goodbye to the enthusiastic attendant and Mr. Inconsiderate's car, and left the lot feeling really good about myself. Who would have thought that I'd ever have such a rush at Central Rama 2. 


Monday, May 18, 2015

Dear Class of 2016+

There are a lot of posts like this out there, but I've written this particularly for university students in Thailand, and even more specifically for the underclassmen in my program who will graduate in a year or 2 or 3. If you happen to be in my graduating class, it would be nice of you to share this with the roon nongs (juniors) you care about, eh hem! Just putting it out there. 

So, here it is goes: 

Dear Class of 2016+, here are the 3 most important things I want you to know about graduating from university that no pretentious alumni seminar is going to tell you :
I feel like in Thai society especially, when you are graduating from undergrad (and from a place like Chula), you are going to feel the heat of adults hounding you about where you're planning to go for Masters right after - and they won't blink until you say the names of several well-known institutions in the UK. But honestly, since when did doing something other than getting your Masters right after your Bachelors - like say, getting a good job, or even just figuring things out - become an unorthodox choice? It was a pain in the butt in my 4th year, the number of times people would not understand why I, straight-A Nitade Chula 47i Mika, was not working on my SOP and scrambling for recommendation letters to enroll to Oxford. I even got this from my own classmates, but I blame the adults who perpetuate this outlook on us. 

Now listen carefully, my dear underclassmen, because I am about to feed you the speech you can give to someone who'll ostracize you for choosing the "divergent" path: Education is valuable, and it also doesn't come cheaply or easily. You should feel like you need further institutional education in order to pursue it. Because it's really not worth it to spend all the money and time listening to lectures for a year or two, if it means squat to you. But imagine this, imagine waiting a few years and realizing exactly what you are lacking in knowledge. I bet at that point, an SOP will just flow right out of you, and I say that's definitely an edge in getting accepted. Moreover, when you get there because it's finally your time, you'll soak up the opportunity way more than if you had gone prematurely.

It's quality over speed. Not everybody feels that they still need institutional education right after they graduate from college, and graduate school is not something you just want to "get over with". 

So when it comes to applying for work after graduating, adults are going to be more proud of you if they recognize the name of the company you've applied to. But this doesn't mean you should only consider those "big-name" companies. I didn't realize this until I started job hunting, but there are many downsides to joining the big boys. First of all, the pay. I'm sure this is important to most, if not all, of you looking to get a job. I mean who doesn't want to be the one in their circle who makes the most $$$? The thing you have to realize, however, is that for the most part, in Thailand at least, size of the company and size of the salary are negatively correlated with each other. 

If you hate math grammar, that means that the bigger the company, the lower the starting salary you're likely to receive. A major reason for this is actually the second con of joining with big-name companies: in their eyes, you are no different than any other fresh graduate they've ever accepted. Okay, some big companies are better than others, but I speak from job hunting experience that there is generally a noticeable difference between the way that big firms treat you and the way that small firms, or start-ups, treat you. Let me explain it illustratively: start-ups will definitely see that you've written that you do martial arts and haiku on your resume. 

I've been in a pretty ugly interview with a reputable big company where, even in subsequent rounds of the interviewing process, they didn't know who I was and couldn't be bothered to look at my GPA and work experiences and so expressed that I was asking for too much for being so "unqualified". #TryingToControlTheOffenseIFeel With start-ups/small companies, on the other hand, when they have a job opening, it's because they really need someone. There's that key word again, need. They also need someone exceptionally capable because everyone pulls their weight and then some in a small company. If you think that feeling valued in a company will greatly influence your performance, then don't be tempted by that big-name company that won't bother to look at your resume. 

The only reason you should join an established big-name company is if the job position they are offering is your dream job. It's as simple as that. (It's also a plus if they're a big company that acts like a small company.) Don't join a big company so that your parents can boast about you to their friends. Don't join because you just got the job, it sounds cool, and whatever. Some of you have already envisioned your ideal career situation for 5 or 10 years in the future. If you think about the absolute necessary steps that it takes to get there, and one of those steps happens to be a certain job at a big company, you should join that big company offering that job. This might mean you won't be that person in your circle who'll reward himself with a Benz after only a few years of working, but maybe by the time that friend of yours buys his Benz, you'll be even happier than him. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

As Lame as Similes in Pop Songs

Story of the day: This morning, I got an opportunity to play a "guess-this-song" game on the radio, and... I lost! I'm a national loser! Now I have to eat my hat (do people really use this idiom) because I've judged so many players for missing on "easy" songs. Damn you, Dangerous by David Guetta!

So to avenge my falling out of a relationship I never had with pop music to begin with, I present to you this post that is really about why I find pop music so ridiculous. Here are similes in pop song lyrics that should make you go, "wait, did I just hear that correctly?" 

1. "If you could take my pulse right now, it would feel just like a sledgehammer."
Fifth Harmony - Sledgehammer // A sledgehammer is basically that thing Thor carries around. A heavy duty hammer, if you will. Your pulse feels like a sledgehammer? The wooden grip or the metal block? In any case, I'd be worried.

2. "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
drifting through the wind, hoping to start again."
Katy Perry - Firework // This is a classic, but still, um, NO! I've never thought of myself as a cheap, ugly polyethylene product of consumerism that is responsible for rife environmental degradation, Katy. 

3. "I came in like a WRECKING BALLLL!"
Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball // Maybe it's just that she went so literal with the music video... 

4. "I love you like a love song, baby."
Selena Gomez - Love You Like a Love Song // That's as creative as a creative lyric. At least Fifth Harmony, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus took risks with their similes.

5. "Feelin' so fly like a G6."
Far East Movement - Like a G6 // Didn't we all wonder what a G6 was for the longest time until someone finally screamed, "it's a luxury plane!" Alright, admittedly, this is an okay contemporary simile. It's just annoying to hear over and over again.

But it's Friday, and I don't want to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, or I guess bad songwriting in your ears. Here's a contemporary song with a well-crafted simile:

Sia - Elastic Heart
"I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard."


Sunday, March 15, 2015

10 Sentences That Sum Up My Thoughts About
The New Cinderella Movie

2. Prince Charming has an actual name and (adorable) personality!
3. Where's Bruno, the dog?
4. I was actually looking at you here, but okay.
5. Cate Blanchett is everything.
6. Why did we ever evolve from this era of fashion?
7. Those shoes though. 
  8. Phew, no red wedding for Richard Madden this time. 
9.  I wish I had been sedated during Frozen Fever.
10. Cate.

Resources: tumblr.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: The Fifty Shades of Grey... BUZZ

The fans are annoying. The dissers are arguably more annoying. Let me be the 3rd gender of annoyance and rant about these lover and haters. 

Chances are you have not been able to escape the recent buzz surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey. And if you have taken notice, I'm sure you will have found that the buzz is quite polarized. Half are head-over-heels for "Mr. Grey", unable to keep it a secret that they wish to be his "sub", and the other half are threatening your morality, love life, and feminism for going to see the movie.

Now before I begin my criticism, I'd like to offer why my opinion - in my opinion - is worth more than most that's out there. My credibility, straight up: I've read the first two books and seen the movie. In addition, as Fifty Shades is a confirmed "Twilight fan fiction", I have read all the Twilight books, (and I think I've seen all the Twilight movies, but this particular information is irrelevant to my evaluation.)

My credibility part 2: I am neither a big fan nor hater of Fifty Shades of Grey. The reason I was compelled to pick up the book was to develop a fair opinion on the series because I did not want to blindly jump on the "THIS IS TRASH" bandwagon. Even with something as insignificant as a "Twilight fan fiction", that's ignorant.

Alright then, let's start with the haters, since I find them more annoying. A lot of the hate towards Fifty Shades of Grey revolves around the claim that the story glorifies a real sexual culture known as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism), but paints this culture in absolute inaccuracy that what it in fact ends up glorifying is rape. Cool, nicely said. And just as a clarification, this comes from people who are not against BDSM. But here's the thing about this argument anyway: I can tell that the owner of this opinion has not taken the time to read the book or books carefully. As a matter of fact, I think even observant and objective only-the-movie watchers wouldn't come to this conclusion. Why? Because [**SPOILER**] the main female character walks out after she asks Grey, and Grey fully compiles, to clearly explain what kind of sexual relationship he is asking for. [**END SPOILER**] This happens in both the movie and the book. Therefore, that "lack of consent" argument doesn't stand. If anything, Anastasia (the main female character), demonstrates incredible strength against an extremely intimidating man who is in a much higher position than she. That's a yay for feminism right there. Just a tip - especially for people who have read the first book and still believe that rape is being promoted - read the second book. Apart from the excessive sex, there's legitimate content to be taken into consideration about Grey's depravity.

Continuing on, what weakens the argument of dissers even more is when they go so far as to change facts and threaten the innocently curious just to stop us from hitting the box office and spending our money. I've seen posts saying that "even the actors and the director regret making the film". I mean this can easily happen in the future when the actors can no longer be known as anyone but Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, a fate that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson unfortunately suffered for their roles in Twilight, but that is NOT NOW. Right now, the movie is breaking records at the box office, bringing the cast and crew immense success, and they are still in the middle of promoting the film. No way is Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan out there right now in interviews saying that they have deep regrets making the film and wish they weren't a part of the production. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. The actors openly say that they have "no shame" for the movie. So, two things I want anybody who has spread inaccurate information about the actor's stance on their contribution to the movie: 1) show me your sources. 2) read this: "Dakota Johnson has 'no shame' about 'Fifty Shades'" (USA Today) for starters.

Now about the threats. This one's easy for me. Watching Fifty Shades during the romance season kill my relationship? Nope. Nothing has changed. We actually laughed several times at Anastasia's delightful character. Here's something I really want to express: as Anastasia is supposed to be a version of Bella Swan from Twilight, she's actually so much more relatable and lovable. Even when I first read Twilight in middle school and admittedly enjoyed it for a while, I had always hated Bella's character. You can't blame Kristen Stewart for being painfully awkward and dull in the Twilight films, her character was WRITTEN that way. But with Fifty Shades, Anastasia, albeit her lame penchant for the phrase "holy cow", is lovable and absolutely realistic. And like Kristen Stewart, Dakota Johnson played the character written for her very accurately on the screen. #dontshootthemessenger

But in relations to the threats, I can also argue against the lovers of Fifty Shades of Grey. The movie wasn't even that provocative. Considering that the book is classified as erotica, a film transcription of it should be porn. I'm not saying I hated the movie because it fell short of being porn. NO. What I'm saying is that Fifty Shades of Grey still came across as a blockbuster, just the sex in it was a little more frequent and niche than usual, SO why are you getting your panties all twisted over it? Have you never seen Hollywood movies before? Moreover, the biggest bother I had about movie was Jamie Dornan. Sorry darling, but you are not a convincing Grey. I hate to nit-pick accents, but Grey's gotta be American. That's his background, his character, and it does contributes to the aggressive, animalistic side of Grey. I couldn't believe in Dornan's American accent, so I also struggled to believe in his desperation for Anastasia. Johnson, on the other hand, was a stellar Miss Steele.

On a final note, obsessing over Fifty Shades and Mr. Grey all the time is unproductive and unattractive. Remember, fans, Mr. Grey isn't into the girls who keep talking about him. He likes that quieter one who can deny him. Hint hint.


Monday, February 9, 2015

"Basic": A Break Down of the Term


          When I was little, "basic" meant something along the lines of fundamental, essential, the bare necessities - a neutral word, void of connotation. But nowadays, "basic" has taken on a new meaning with heavy underlying implications, which a lot of you seem to not get. Because when I say "you are basic", you should be searching hard for a comeback.
          So I write this blog, not because I've just discovered the word - it's been around for a good 1-2 years already - but because of two reasons. 1) I'm an educator at heart. And 2) breaking down this term was a worthwhile mental exercise for me. Because as easy as it is to find a perfect human example of "basic" in real life, it is actually difficult to explain such individuals in words to someone who is unfamiliar with the term. They're just, you know, BASIC. You feel me?? The best concise definition I can offer for the term (if you don't have time for the detailed one that follows) relies on a popular phrase you've probably heard from your parents or girlfriend/boyfriend one time or another - "you're one in a million." Well, being basic simply means being a part of the 999,999 in a million. 
          But if this is still not enough for you and are willing to stay on with me, my full definition is as follows:

often used in conjunction with "bitch", as in "basic bitch", 
describes an individual who... 

1. Thinks that "coffee" is sugar, spice, and everything nice blended like a DQ blizzard, only more expensive than a DQ Blizzard because it's in a cup labelled "Starbucks".
This is also why they think "coffee" is fattening.

2. Uses the words "bae" and "bestie"
in reference to lovers/boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses/crushes/partners/simply attractive people and
best friends, respectively.

3. "Feels loved" with their "bae" on Facebook more than once a month.
Degree of basic depends on how much more than once a month.
E.g. everyday = very basic; twice a month = a little basic.

4. [whose] "besties" are also basic.

5. [whose] favorite movie is The Fault in Our Stars.

6. Posts unnecessary selfies with irrelevant and hackneyed motivational quotes
But is not able to quote quotes in real-life situations.

7. Says "insta" anything.
Yes, even on Instagram, this is considered basic.

8. Quotes Taylor Swift lyrics
On their unnecessary selfie, obviously.

9. Owns a selfie stick.

10. Is oblivious to the term basic.

I dedicate this post to the basics out there, 
because we couldn't be one in a million without you guys.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Samui Calling - the Last and Final Part

Day 3: December 28th

On day 3, Pae and I were on the same page, but different books. Wait, what? We just wanted to spend the day by the pool with our books: him, Game of Thrones, and me, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Wow, that's a long title. The book was a literal laugh-out-loud though!

By evening, when we had woken from hibernating through a storm, we were again in agreement for plans: that burger bar, Stacked, we had heard about so much since our arrival, and Central for Speculoos ice cream again. On the night walk back, I spontaneously decided to get heena (similar to henna) done on my hand by a Bangladeshi woman who had a lovely 6-year-old daughter. Then later, I gave Pae a pen tattoo of a kind, since one cannot experience things without one's other half experiencing too.

On the way, and looking sharp.

Great service, menu, and environment,
probably in that order. 

Pae's "Aristocrat" burger, containing foie gras, wagyu beef, and truffle butter, among other bourgeois ingredients
My fragrant "Nicely Stacked" cocktail featuring watermelon and cinnamon
And the chicken wings with Bourbon BBQ sauce was worth going off vegetarianism for a night. 

And oh, did I mention that fireworks exploded right outside our balcony a second after?

Day 4: December 29th
Last Day in Paradise

I woke up earlier on Day 4 and did some exercises by the private pool. Sort of my way of spending time with the view to say goodbye. We took it easy that morning before heading to the airport in the afternoon. Our flight was a bit delayed (and so was the baggage claim when we arrived), but that gave us a few more minutes to sweat in the tropical airport gate and have a few more slices of actually decent complementary pizza and cold beverages. After take off, Bangkok, and life as we know it, was back under our feet in no time.
Me: "Gym tomorrow?"
Pae: "Ok."

Samui's charming airport

The snack bar at our gate.

"And they all lived happily ever after."
- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Samui Calling - Part 2

Day 2: December 27th

Meeting the Yingyoud Sisters

The tide was low and the skies were clear enough on day 2 to take a ferry to mainland (Nakhon Si Thammarat province) to visit Pae's fabulous Melbourne acquaintances, the Yingyoud sisters, on their turf. Despite what looked to us to be accommodating weather, we were still politely encouraged by concerned resort staff to enjoy the waves of their pools instead. "You're going to have to down a bottle of sea sickness meds if you're going out there today," advised our golf cart chauffeur as he bought us to the lobby where we'd catch a cab to the port. Quite confident in my own immunity to any form of motion sickness, I asked Pae if he had the same kind of confidence. He did. We were already on the boat when I asked.

On the other side, the Yingyoud sisters picked us up and drove us through winding roads and thickets to their restaurant, Krua Tangke. There, we had a filling "linner" (lunch/dinner) of Thai seafood dishes and banter - Pae vs. everyone else, to be specific.

Before catching the last ferry back to the island, we stopped by another Yingyoud establishment for cider, a bit of Thai dessert, last words and strong wind. When we managed to find transport back to our accommodations on the other side of the island - no easy task at night - we whipped out The Grand Budapest Hotel and what was still left over in our fridge from the "honeymoon special" of the day before. You'll see.

Tall-Dark-and-Handsome on the port.

A Telebubby

The Famous Butt

Check In

The Yingyouds facing adulthood.

The second joint.

"Happy Honeymoon" Blueberry White Choc Cake