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Vol. XIII No.17 - Sunday August 24, 2014 - Saturday September 6, 2014


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ASK EMMA

 

Mobiles taking over our lives
Dear Emma,
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 and consideration.
Signed,
Enough with the mobile phones

Dear Enough,
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.
Yours,
Emma

Moving to another part of Thailand
Dear Emma,
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?
Signed,
Moving away

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 even motorbikes.
Yours,
Emma

My girlfriend is very superstitious
Dear Emma,
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 never wins.
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?
Signed,
No ghosts

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 side.
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.
Yours,
Emma



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