Back to School!

SAM_6907We are actually nearing the end of Term 1 for the 2015-16 school year but this past week saw me putting in a full schedule once again at a government-run school, something I will continue until the term break seven weeks from now.  This is due to yet another teacher skipping out on his contract – lately, I seem to specialize in these finish-the-term substitutions.  Luckily, this time I only had to give up two of my in-house lessons (meaning those I do during the day at the language school) in order to fill in at the high school.  I still have my Saturday morning bank staff lessons and Sunday English camps so it will be quite some time until I have another day off!

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Monthly Meanderings: July 2015

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July this year was characterized by cooler temperatures, some heavy rain but not as much as during past rainy seasons, plenty of additions to my stamp collection, periods of intense writing, and a fair number of very enjoyable classes.  Things are starting to wind now now that we’ve entered August – one bank staff course has already finished and another is set to end in two weeks’ time – and I’m starting to worry about the lack of new students at my language school.  This is the time of year that I start saving money for the annual visa and work permit renewals due in mid-December and that is contingent on teaching a certain number of hours per month.  At any rate, I really enjoyed the reasonable facsimile of a holiday that this past week brought – two days off due to Buddhist lent, one lesson on Saturday morning and my regular Sunday free-day.

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Register Your SIM by 31st July

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Don’t forget that if you have a Thai pre-paid SIM card you must register your personal identification details with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) by next Friday.  This is part of Thailand’s new national security policy implemented since last year’s military coup as they feel that unregistered SIMs are used to set up fraudulent and illegal businesses as well as allowing terrorists to plant bombs.  Those people who have mobile phone contracts are exempt.

If you don’t register your pre-paid SIM by 31st July, you will no longer be able to make phone calls or use Internet or other data services.  However, you will still be able to receive calls from registered users.

Registration can be done at your mobile phone operator as well as branches of 7-Eleven, Big C, Tesco-Lotus, and Krung Thai Bank.  You will need to take your passport (the original, not a photocopy).

I registered my two SIM cards at the Telewiz kiosk at Phuket’s Central Festival shopping mall.  I handed my phone to the attendant manning the kiosk.  She asked for my passport and then entered a few USSD codes into the phone.  She then used the NBTC app on her phone to take two photos of the ID page of my passport (one for each SIM card I have).  The app sent the data to the NBTC’s computer server, connected with the servers of the five telecom operators.  The server verifies the information and sends the verified data back to the telecom operator’s server, to activate the SIM card.  I received an SMS on each number (in Thai) stating that the registration had been completed.  The entire process took less than two minutes.


Reading Streak: 5 Years!

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Today marks five years of reading at least a page a day, every day.  I haven’t missed a single day of reading for 1,826 consecutive days and I compute the average at 55.73 pages per day over that period.  In that five years, I have finished reading 373 books which doesn’t really sound like a lot unless you take into account my preference for lengthy novels and histories.

51 CUXo8aDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My pace has slowed down somewhat over the past couple of years due to a heavier work load (and the fact that I’m doing more research and writing than previously).  In fact, I’ve only finished three books thus far in July – David McCullough’s wonderful The Wright Brothers, The American Revolution: A History by Gordon S. Wood, and a slim volume called Stamps of the Siamese Kings 1876-1948: A Journey Through Five Reigns by Michael A. Jones.

I’m currently reading Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman and I expect to finish that over the weekend. 

I hope I can maintain the streak for at least another five years.  Time will tell…


A Bit of Tinglish at Central, Phuket

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All over Southeast Asia, there are examples of signs badly translated into English.  In my experience, Thailand seems to have a higher percentage of “crazy English” signs than anywhere else in the region.  There’s even a word for it:  Tinglish, which is a combination of “English” and the Thai word, ting tong, meaning “odd” (equivalent to the English “ding dong”).  The reason that the Thais making these signs rarely enlist the aid of the plethora of native English speakers lurking about is that they don’t want to “lose face” by asking a farang (foreigner) for help in any way.

Thus, we get gems such as the above example along a loading dock driveway at Central Festival, Phuket’s oldest Western-style shopping mall (opened in December 2004).  I believe they are trying to restrict motorbikes from parking along a fence that divides the two lanes of the driveway (although there are at least half-a-dozen bikes there at any given time).  “No Parking” would have been better.  The bottom part warns that violators will have a lock fastened on the front wheel of their motorbike, the removal of which will necessitate their paying a fine of 500 baht.  My guess is that this is the result of entering the Thai into Google Translate.

The one below is much, much better.  However, I believe they mean that security will check the trunk (or, “boot” if you prefer).  The only other mistakes are the capital S in “search”, no spacing between the first full stop and “We”, and the misuse of the pronoun “you” with the possessive pronoun “your” is required.  This is about as good as Thai-made signs come.

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TH-1073: Marine Creatures (Thailand-Malaysia Joint Issue)

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Issue Number: TH-1073
Issue Name:  Thailand-Malaysia Joint Issue
Issue Date: 2015-06-08
Denomination: 3 baht (2 designs)
Designer: Mr. Udorn Niyomthum
Printer: unk.
Printing Process: Lithography Multi-colour
Quantity of Stamps: 400,000 pieces per design
Sheet Composition: 10 stamps per sheet (different design)
Perforation: unk.
Size: 30×40.5mm (Vertical – measured from perforation to perforation)
Details: Adjacent Territorial Sea, Colorful Marine Creatures

This is the first time that Thailand and Malaysia postal administrations jointly issue stamp to strengthen a good collaboration. The theme of this stamp set is “marine creatures”, in which two designs from each country. Thailand presents clown shrimps, the popular coral shrimps that are widely available at Similan Island (Pang-Nga province) and candy crab (coral protector) with beautiful shell, available at Surin Island (Pang-Nga province). Malaysia presents football jelly fish (Rhizostoma pulmo), available in South China Sea, (East coast) and Strait of Malacca (West coast), and sea slug (Phyllidia varicose), kind of Gastropeda without shell.

Date of issue is scheduled on June 8, 2015 (World Oceans Day), in order to promote awareness of people in conserving oceans. Images and information of Thai designs have been provided by Faculty of Fisheries, Kasetsart University.

©2015 Thailand Post