Update #2019-10

Greetings, readers! I’m (almost) back to “regular” blogging.

No, I didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth. I am just trying to recover from what was simple exhaustion. My 53-year-old body essentially rebelled against my unrelenting schedule.

For weeks, I had been looking forward to taking a bit of a vacation/holiday break at the end of the school year. That came at the end of the first week of March. However, on Wednesday of that week I was asked to plan for and run a two-week Summer Camp due to start the following week at a Buddhist temple school on the opposite side of the island. While we are normally given much more advanced notice for even the one- or three-day camps, I told my boss, “Sure, no problem!”

The Summer Camp was held each morning between 11 and 22 March 2019 at Wat Kitti Sangkharam in Kata Municipality on the west side of Phuket island, Thailand.

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The Week That Was #2019-05

Sunday being my usual day off and the Friday afternoon announcement that local schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday for Chinese New Year — not to mention extremely high temperatures and a huge dip in internet speed caused a great deal of relaxation (err, laziness) at the Jochim household over the past couple of days. The Thais really have the right idea on how to deal with the heat: they sleep through it. I haven’t yet mastered the art of not waking up in a pool of sweat, however.

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The Week That Was #2019-03

This third week of the year was a little odd, albeit rather routine.

I didn’t teach very much this past week, which doesn’t really bother me. Living and working in Thailand, you come to expect more cancellations than not. I don’t ever have classes on Tuesdays at the large municipal school where I spend my mid-mornings to early afternoons but I still journeyed to my agency that day in order to teach a two-and-a-half hour lesson in the evening. I was informed five or ten minutes before class time that the student was ill. Wednesday was National Teacher’s Day in Thailand so all the government schools were closed and the students were extremely ill-behaved on Thursday. I was quite strict with them on Friday and they settled down somewhat. My evening student cancelled again on Thursday and a young girl I’ve been teaching for nearly a year now cancelled her Saturday morning lesson. On both of these particular days, the students had cancelled at least a day in advance but nobody thought to inform me to save me the bus trip to the agency. It’s really annoying, but I can always find something to do in the office.

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The Week That Was #2019-02

Wow! Posts two weeks in a row….

The week of January 7-13, 2019, was fairly active in my little world extending between my home in the heart of Old Town Phuket, Thailand, and a bit west to my office in the bowels of the Central Festival mall smack dab in the center of the island with frequent stops approximately halfway between those two locations on those days that I teach high school in the huge Plukpanya Municipal School. I rarely venture outside of this rather narrow band.

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The Week That Was #2019-01

At long last, the silence has been broken! Honestly, I start too many entries in a similar fashion on this blog. The last period of activity stretched from the end of July 2018 until i posted my New Year’s Eve shaky-cam video earlier this week. I haven’t checked but I believe it to have been the longest gap in the history of Asian Meanderings and perhaps going back as far as ‘Burque Blog. Does anybody remember that incarnation?

As the end of 2018 approached, I thought that the best way to rejuvenate what was once my one and only blog was by taking a look at the year that was. I began sorting through photos taken and journal entries written each day in attempts to find something interesting to highlight. There were quite a few blog-worthy happenings throughout the year but I quickly bored of trying to find them and put them into a form that people would actually enjoy reading! I got as far as mid-March before I abandoned the project.

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A Flag for Phuket

Tri-Color Flag of Thailand, 1917-2017
Tri-Color Flag of Thailand, 1917-2017

I love flags. Since starting my A Stamp A Day blog some fourteen months ago, I have made flags and coats of arms a feature of each entry.

Indeed, my daily commitment to that blog is one of the reasons that there are often long periods of inactivity on my other blogs. I decided to take a brief break from “ASAD” this weekend; I’d published a more than 16,300-word article about the discovery of RMS Titanic on Friday that wore me out. My intention was to stay away from the computer this weekend…

“Creating” a flag for Phuket was never on my to-do list.

Phuket Provincial Emblem
Phuket Provincial Emblem

I never really paid attention to provincial flags growing up and very few of the flags of the individual United States intrigued me aside from those of Hawaii and New Mexico. I was thrilled, however, to discover the flag of Penang in Malaysia when I first visited there around 2010. I wondered why didn’t Phuket have its own banner.

Recently, I taught a class about the current tricolor flag of Thailand which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its adoption later this month. The main reason that the colors of red, white and blue were chosen were that the king of Siam wanted to show his support for the Allied nations against Germany after he’d joined them in the First World War. I thought again that Phuket needed its own flag.

A design idea popped into my head as I was writing my “ASAD” entry last night about taking a blogging break. The entries there always end with an appropriate flag and coat of arms.

Some of my favorite flags have always been those of the British Commonwealth which featured the Union Jack in the canton (upper left portion) of the flags along with an emblem, coat of arms, or other symbol in the fly portion. It’s an enduring symbol of power, I feel. It was only recently that I discovered a few French territories had the same sort of flag with the French tricolor in the canton.

This provided the inspiration I needed for the Phuket provincial flag design. I placed the Thai tricolor flag in the canton and placed the provincial emblem in the fly. Simple but it looks great. I only tried two backgrounds — red didn’t look good (too much like the British red ensigns of the Royal Navy, plus the red “bled” into the Thai flag portion); light blue reminded me both of the surrounding Andaman Sea (one of the colors of the Penang flag) and the Royal Standard of Her Majesty Queen Dowager Sirikit, the widow of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

I like it!

I then decided to find out how to make an animated “waving” version, expecting complicated Adobe Photoshop tutorials. While I did see a few of those in the Google search results, I found two websites with online tools to create the effect. One didn’t work but I’m very pleased with the results from Marijn Kampf’s abFlags.com. I simply uploaded a (maximum) 500 pixel version of my image and waited a couple of minutes before downloading a zipped folder containing static and animated waving versions of the flag. Very cool!

Don’t be surprised if I start creating even more flags. I am just now thinking of how a Muang Phuket Local Post flag might appear. Or a Jochim Family flag…