Have you written a letter today?
The past month has been one where my ENTIRE focus has been on work with very little leisure time. But today marks the first day of an indefinite period of no income (AKA, a holiday”) as the school term finally finished yesterday. How am I spending this first day of vacation? By traveling to my company in order to turn in grades and time sheets and to try and install computer updates while connected to reliable wi-fi. I am also trying to write this month’s edition of “Monthly Meanderings” completely from scratch; usually, I compile notes for each section during the last week or so of the month. I’ve just been too busy with testing, etc.
August saw my return to high school and I’m still trying to adjust. My leisure time went from “perfect” to “will I ever have free-time again”? September will be even busier but I should be able to take a lengthy holiday starting the second week of October. At least the weather has largely cooperated; the mornings and evenings have been relatively cool with only the rare thunderstorm.
We 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!
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.
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.
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…