taking over our lives
I have encountered this phenomenon on more than a few occasions, sometimes
its Chinese tourists, other times its Thai people and others its fellow
westerners. It is this absolute unwillingness to listen or pay attention to
what someone else is saying. I do not know if this is a result of everyone
having the attention span of a gnat or because they are so busy staring at
their phones that they have turned off from all reality but it is widespread
and getting worse.
Walking on the pavement and this man is standing right there, looking at me.
He clearly sees me walking his way and yet does not move out of the way. He
is too busy staring at his mobile and when I say excuse me just looks at me
like I am an idiot. I’d like to say it was due to a lack of understanding
but when I said it a second time, yet louder, he said in a surprised tone a
very clear “Oh sorry.”
I am not sure how to remedy this situation, it seems as though this mobile
fever has overtaken not only Thai society but the world at large. Too often
people are consumed by their own interests and don’t seem to see that there
are other people out there that they should also take care and consider.
Not asking for any advice Emma, just bemoaning the loss of human interaction
Enough with the mobile phones
Emma does understand your concerns; I am not sure how many times I have seen
teens and even adults staring at their mobiles and disregarding those around
them, including the members of their own group. It is a sad state of affairs
and one that has no remedy as it seems to have infected all ages so it is
highly unlikely the parents will teach their children better social skills
since they seem to be lacking them themselves.
However, one thing you can do is to ensure that others do not do it around
you. Emma makes certain to draw attention to this when someone is with her,
not rudely of course but in a gentle teasing tone asks if the phone is so
very interesting. This usually works to embarrass the other enough that they
put the mobile down.
Moving to another part of Thailand
I am moving to another part of Thailand and would like to take my motorbike
with me. I am not sure how to do this, where I am going is much too far to
drive a motorbike comfortably. Also I have far too many things to carry to
load on my motorbike for the drive. I was planning on travelling on the
train for the trip and was wondering if I could carry my motorbike on the
train as well? It would be a lot to have to keep an eye on as I will be
switching trains during the trip but suppose they are used to this and it
would not be too much trouble. Or is there a better way to do this short of
selling my beloved motorcycle and buying another one in my new home?
Dear Moving away,
No need to sell your trusty steed! Nor is there a need to put it on the
train either. The best and easiest possible option is the Post Office. Yes
it is true, not many know this but it is possible to post your motorbike.
Emma is pretty certain you need to take it to the big post office over by
the train station, so on your way really, and post it from there. Emma
suggests you go there ahead of time to see what they need and how long it
may take, usually no more than a few days surprisingly. They will need the
green book, I believe, and you will have to drain all petrol out of the
motorbike once you arrive at the Post Office so best to drive it until the
level is very low.
Many Thai people do not even know of this wonderful service but there it is,
yet another amazing service offered by the Thai Postal Service. I love the
Thai Postal Service, a one stop center to pay bills, send money, parcels and
My girlfriend is very superstitious
My Thai girlfriend is incredibly superstitious, she believes in ghosts and
sees lottery numbers everywhere. I wouldn’t mind so much except for the fact
that it interferes in our lives; she won’t sleep alone in the house when I
am out of the country working, her mother must come and stay with her. Of
course when I am back the mother remains so now I have both of them living
there. She refuses to even ride the bike out at night for fear the ghosts
will get her. And her mother feeds this fear.
Finally, she sees lottery numbers in everything, literally everything; the
shapes of clouds, the bark on the trees, whatever crazy dreams she may have.
She quizzes me on my dreams so she can find the winning number. Of course
all the money she spends on lottery tickets is never coming back as she
I am at my wits end with this Emma, I love her but her crazy behavior is
sending me around the bend.
What can I do about her fears and what I see as her gambling addiction?
Dear No Ghosts,
Many Thai people believe in ghosts, in fact so do many western people they
are just perhaps more unwilling to admit that they do. Ghosts are part and
parcel of much of Thai culture and are as ingrained in the folklore as is
the Big Bad Wolf in ours. To make light of her fears is not going to make
her feel better and is certainly not going to make her inclined to take your
Emma should add that many Thai people do not like to be alone; they are a
group oriented people who find our desire for solitude unfriendly and a
little suspicious. So even if your girlfriend were not a believer in ghosts
she would still feel more comfortable having someone around when you are
gone for long periods of time. Add in that women are taught to rely on men
for protection rather than on their own abilities and the fact that many
women, everywhere, are a little afraid to go out alone at night then perhaps
you might have a bit more sympathy for her fears and a little less derision.
As for the gambling, well, if she is only buying lottery tickets then you
need to ask yourself how much is she actually spending and does it seem out
of control? If she is literally spending thousands on lottery tickets and
can’t stop then perhaps she does have a gambling addiction. If it is only a
few and she has few other expenses then perhaps give her a bit of leeway and
appreciate that she is not a shopping addict or a drunk or drug addict. Or a
true gambling addict who spends millions on cards and dice.
Emma suggests trying to look at things from her point of view for a change
instead of just your own.