Dear God…Can I Slow Down Now Please?

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the world this happens to find you.  It is a very hot and windy early Wednesday afternoon here in the Big Mango, and yes I’m writing a post here at work when I probably should be working…but oh well, right?  We’ve 2 days to go now till the big “to do,” goes down here at work and our super special V.I.P comes to help celebrate our 13th anniversary.  Yes…you read that correctly as we are having a big ceremony to commemorate lucky number 13 , and no…I don’t get it either.  I actually have my own ideas as to why this particular anniversary is being celebrated with such earnest, but I’ll just keep my mouth shut in the interest of my own job security.

Anyways, I have more important things to talk about as yours truly will turn 30 yet again tomorrow for the 4th year in a row now.   I know, I know…I don’t look a day over 29 but age maintains its assault on even me.  Don’t birthdays seem to come around faster and faster the more you have them, and I think I stopped being excited about them back in my mid to late 20’s.  I feel like this because thanks to birthdays I’ve gotten slower at losing the extra pounds, I forget important things easily and I’m both graying and losing my hair a bit.  Aging sucks doesn’t it?  Also, around this time every year I start to question myself as to my achievements and accomplishments gained thus far in my life.

So, I invite you to join me down this birthday checklist I go through in my head annually.  For starters, I’m a very loyal employee and loved by my boss though it is a really low paid dead end job.  I’m also on my 3rd year of a completing a graduate degree that would’ve taken me less than 2 years with half the effort if I were at home.  What else?  I live half the planet away from my family that I love dearly, but I have a stable loving relationship partner that I share my life with here in Thailand.  Further, My body is not physically what I want it to be, but I do have the free time and the means to take myself off to the gym 3 or 4 times a week.  I have a steady income, a nice roof over my head, and many people in my life that love me dearly.  Life may not be perfect, but is it ever for anyone?  Do we ever truly get everything we want in life no matter how many years go by?  I try to always balance the negatives with the positives, and I guess that is what keeps me sane.  I have my goals and though I may not reach them in the time frame I expect, you can be sure I will reach them.  I’m the most stubborn person I know!

So, on that note, I’d like to thank you so very much for stopping by to visit and share with me here.  I always appreciate all the comments i get and emails I have received since I started this personal journey through writing.  Also, thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes I’ve already received from some of you guys.  They mean a lot to me!  Take care of yourself where ever you may be, and talk to you again very soon!

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Sensationalizing the News…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this happens to find you.  It is yet another steamy Sunday here in the big Mango and I thought I’d post a few random thoughts here for you today.  I sit here writing over my coffee and frosted flakes, and I’d like to send out a special “thanks” to you guys that sent nice emails lately.   I received some very sweet emails from a couple of my readers, and it is always special to me when I hear from you guys.

There is not much to update on concerning the politics here in Thailand since my last post.  A very large group of protesters have taken the grounds outside government house  as of Friday calling for the current inept Prime Minister to step down, and he is adamantly refusing as expected.  I mean if you’d been handed an entire country’s economy as your personal banking account would you want to give it up?  Anyways, one thing about the situation I would like address that has caught my attention is the misuse of certain English language vocabulary being used in the local English press.  We have read words like “seige” and “mob” being used to describe the events unfolding here in Bangkok again and again.  Words like these are being used to evoke images of violence and civil unrest.  However, A “mob” is a large crowd of disorderly or unruly people intent on causing trouble or violence.  There have been absolutely no “mobs” at any time during the protests, and the protesters have acted in a very polite and orderly fashion.  In true Thai style the protesters have been calm, peaceful, yet firm in their message.

Furthermore, the events that unfolded over the past few days can hardly be called a “siege.”  the dictionary defines a siege as when an enemy military force surrounds a town or building cutting off essential supplies with the aim of surrender for those inside.  The protesters took the grounds surrounding government house late Friday afternoon, but I can almost guarantee you that the various government employees that work there will travel to and from work tomorrow with little or no incident at all…including the current Premier himself.  This is not a “siege.”  I can’t help but think the local media is just trying to sensationalize the unfolding events, but then again this sort of padded reporting is the same in any country, including my own.

I don’t want to dwell on Thai politics to much for fear of the little men in brown turning up on my doorstep so I’ll move on.  As many of you already know, I’m facing my last week of being 33 because I will celebrate my 34th birthday on Thursday the 26th.  Birthdays for me get less and less exciting as the years roll by, and I’ve started reflecting on the state of things in my life as you do on birthdays.  I feel like I’m just not where I wanted to be in life at this point in time, as I expected to be finished with my degree already and starting a better job by this particular birthday.  Do you ever feel like life is just flowing by, while you are standing still?  It is just a feeling a have at the moment but in order to not sound like I’m whining I should and will close here.  I’m going to try to do something productive with my Sunday afternoon.  I hope everyone is enjoying the remnants of their weekends, and that the week ahead is productive.  Have a good one and I’ll write again really soon!

The Stereotype of the Sexpat…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night where or when ever this finds you in the world. It is just before 10 AM on a lazy overcast Sunday morning here in the Big Mango, and I thought I’d sit down and bang out another entry for your reading pleasure…or not as your tastes may be. Last night my partner and I departed from our usual routine and went out for a nice Saturday evening dinner. We visited a nice Thai restaurant called the River Bar for a nice meal. We drove across the impressive Rama 8 bridge/monument and had dinner on the Thonburi side of river. It was a very nice romantic dinner of baked fish, spring rolls, and sweet&sour pork. We don’t get to do those very often, unfortunately, due to my partner’s work schedule so it was a really nice thing for us to do together.

Anyways, I want to get to the topic in my head before it floats away into nothingness as things often do when they cross my mind. There is a ugly brush that is used to paint most foreigners living in Thailand that I’d like to address today with you. You see, there are a few assumptions or myths perpetuated by many if not most people ,both Thai and foreign, about us western men living here in Thailand:
1. The main motivation or factor for Western guys to move here to Thailand is sex and we only come here for the easy access to sex.
2. Western gay men are unable to be faithful and commit to monogamous caring relationships with only 1 partner.
3. Western gay men over certain age are only attracted to young dark skinned guys or girls.
4. Single western men have sex many times a week with random different partners for the purpose of one-night stands.
5. The sex industry in Thailand is caused by and used exclusively men from western countries.

So, firstly I for one did not move to Thailand for sexual reasons. I met my former Thai partner in the US while we were in school. We were together in the US for 7 years and I decided to give moving here a chance when the time came for him to move home. Also, I have another very close friend that moved here for a previously established relationship as well, and we have both agreed many times how these sort of racial stereotyping annoys us. To be perfectly honest, I really couldn’t even find Thailand on a map when i first met my partner, much less know about the sordid international reputation. Secondly, I know gay couples that have been together for decades and are just as happy being monogamous as some heterosexuals. The desire to step outside a relationship for sexual fulfillment is not limited to sexual orientation or race.

Thirdly, this idea in Thailand that all western men are attracted to very young dark skinned boys and girls is the biggest bunch of krap I think I’ve heard here. Everyone has different tastes in the world or else Baskin Robbins wouldn’t bother with 31 flavors. You don’t get to decide what your eyes find appealing so it is not fair to assume everyone of a certain age and race has the same tastes. Fourthly, I did not and have not ever engaged in a constant stream of one night stands on a weekly basis. This would apply here, home, or anywhere else in the world as my sex drive just isn’t high enough and perhaps I’m to picky. The randomness of meaningless one night stands has never appealed to me but I certainly wouldn’t throw stones when it comes to this point. To each his own, but my point is that it is just not me or my western friends.

Finally, I have heard many times over the years that the sex industry here in Thailand is perpetuated by the western male. This silly myth is easily dismissed by the presence of the massive structures used as “massage” parlors here in Bangkok around the ratchada area that cater almost exclusively to Thai clients. There is also a street called soi Thanaya here in Bangkok filled with “karaoke” bars that cater exclusively to Japanese clients seeking female short term companionship. However, I think westerners are more open when the frequent these type of establishments as it is not uncommon to see a westerner sitting in an open air bar with a “friend” on their arm for the evening. I think many Asian cultures are more private about such things, and thus the myth has been perpetuated that only westerners partake in such carnal activities.

I don’t know why I felt I needed to get that off my chest, but it is a conversation I’ve had with close friends very often. I wonder why it seems to be human nature to stereotype our fellow man? We are so quick to label one another as we pass in this world, but the world is a much more colorful place than we give it credit. There is a lot more depth of character out there passing you by, so next time you make an immediate assumption about someone I hope you pause to consider your thoughts again. Obviously, there are going to be those that fit your stereotype but not everyone wears the same size clothes, right? Anyways, I hope you enjoy your Sunday and will speak to you again very very soon. I’m thinking the next entry will be a video blog so make sure you stop by again soon!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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A big warm Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all from the city of Angels here in Thailand. I was sitting here trying to think of something creative and thoughtful to write about the holiday, but i must confess that I’m just not feeling that inspired by the luck of the Irish this evening. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that I don’t really remember having big celebrations for growing up in rural Alabama, despite the heavy Irish background in my family’s history. Though I’m certainly not going to put my last name out here for the world to see, I can assure you that my last name is VERY Irish as some of you will know already. However, we did celebrate it today with the kiddies at school and I had on my green to avoid being pinched by the other foreign teachers.

Actually, the thing I thought of that I wanted to talk about today is age and health. I heard two different people on two different programs talking about age and health related issues twice today, so it naturally got me thinking about my own age and health. Firstly, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasters on my ipod on the way home from work, and one of the things he talked about was how life changes when your birthdays move beyond 30. When I was in my twenties I spend all my free time going out, and It made me stir crazy if I had to sit at home an entire evening with nothing to do. I wouldn’t have been caught dead at home on a Saturday night cause I couldn’t stand thought of missing something, no matter what that may have been. However, when the days, months and years of my life started to slip beyond 30 things changed. These days I much prefer to be at home than any where else in the world, and I actually look forward to spending the entire weekend at home being lazy and catching up on not much to do. Age has caused me to lose the desire to be out running the streets, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

However, another problem age has caused affects my health and I’ve really started to be concerned about it lately. I don’t eat any different, and I do the same routine at the gym, yet I seem to have gained weight. I heard on television tonight that our bodies really start to age after 30, and that it is important to work harder to keep in shape. It seems unfair though doesn’t it? I had all that extra energy to burn in my twenties, but nowadays I’d rather have an afternoon nap than spend a couple of hours sweating to the oldies at the gym. My partner keeps trying to get me involved in doing aerobics, but I’ve been resisting thus far. Maybe I’m just a bore, but the thought of being the only white face dancing about with a group of Thai girls in front of a plate glass window just doesn’t appeal to me. However, I must admit to you my faithful readers that I’m about treadmill and stair mastered to death. So who knows, right? The next time you pass the gym keep your eye open for the foreigner out of step, stumbling over the step bench. So in closing, as always make sure you have a great week ahead where ever you are in the world and how ever this finds you!

Where have the Republicans gone???

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Told you i’d be posting a lot more this week.  So I’m sitting here having a bit of marmalade on toast with my coffee and watching CNN.  I’m not sure why, but I only like to sit and watch CNN in the mornings when I’ve just woken up over a bit of breakfast.  Occasionally I might turn it on at night if I’m doing a bit of ironing, but most of the time I seek viewing entertainment elsewhere.  I thought I’d take a stab at politics today, though I’ll be the first to admit that It’s not a topic I enjoy.  I usually avoid talking politics like the plague, as my fear of confrontation is usually to strong to allow healthy discourse on controversial topics.  However, that’s what this is all about, right?  I started this blog to help me find my voice so why not throw a bit of controversy out there.

It is funny yet strange to turn on CNN here in Thailand and the only news stories that are running deal with American politics.  Lately, stories about the presidential race are taking up the majority of air time on news channels here and across Asia.  The CNN we have here originates from Hong Kong and serves the Asian community with their dose of western news.  The first news story to greet me this morning was of course more Hillary and Obama.  Something about someone being accused of plagiarism or something, and even though I was watching….I wasn’t paying close attention.  I was thinking about how that’s all I hear on the news.  It’s a constant loop of Hillary and Obama over and over and over.  It seems like once the primaries are over, that’s It…..we’re done.  The race seems to only be between the 2 Democratic candidates if one watches the news to get their information.  McCain and the rest of the little old men running for the Republican nomination don’t seem to be getting a fraction of the coverage from the media.  Where are the Republicans?  The only Republicans I know these days are like the mean sad little toadies you would see following around the bully at school with their head down laughing with the bully, all the while hoping not to get hit themselves.  Who do they have to look forward too?  McCain?  He is even older than Reagan when he took office at 69.  Do you really think he’s going to be in touch with the current needs and issues.  I know the last thing on earth I would want to do if I reach 70 is take the helm of control and take the responsibility of leadership for America.  Think about it?  Would you want to even take the CEO position at your place of employment at 70?  It just doesn’t sit well with me, though i will be the first to admit I’m a bit biased.

Following the endless stream of Clinton/Obama stories, I got to watch everyone’s favorite leader give an address from Africa.   “W” the train wreck is apparently “touring” Africa at the moment and was giving an address of support for Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia.   They were showing scenes of him hugging native villagers, while looking very casual in his ethnic colored shirt and it made me think.  Seems “W” is getting the most out of his last year as President and making sure to get those long extended exotic vacations out of the way before his term is up.  If your going to do a ‘tour’ of African nations, then might as well do it on the tab of taxpayers, right?  I mean its not like the U.S. is suffering under financial problems, right?  Anyways, I don’t want to ruin the rest of my day with these thoughts of failed administrations so I will close this entry here.  Much love as always and see you very soon!

Hangover and Cardio Thoughts…

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So, I wasn’t going to blog tonight but i’m feeling a bit bored what with World of Warcraft down for its usual Tuesday maintenance stuff (I know, I know….don’t cringe). This is going to be one of those random chain of thoughts sort of blog posts, so if your looking for a witty focused perspective on some random topic then stop reading and I’ll catch you next time.

I had a whirlwind weekend last Friday and Saturday as another one of my old friends from Brisbane,Australia was in town. Therefore, I naturally felt obligated to make sure I spent the weekend making sure his vacation was as fun as possible. Unfortunately, for my liver and lungs it consisted of two nights of smoking and drinking in bars as that’s the sort of entertainment this particular friend prefers. Not that i resisted a whole lot though! We had a really fun weekend though, but I’ve discovered that i’m just not able to keep up with the partying like I used too. I’ve learned from experience in recent times that anything more than a night of light drinks leads to a day of suffering on the sofa under a comforter.

Yet another thing i’m starting to learn about the unkindness of age is that it seems to be getting easier to pick up those extra pounds/kilos and harder to work them off again. I’m still doing the same sort of cardio at the gym that i’ve always done, but it just doesn’t seem to be working anymore. I don’t think I eat anymore than i used too, but the same level of cardio just doesn’t seem to do it anymore. Furthermore, It doesn’t help that here in Thailand anytime you add a kilo or two everyone lets you know verbally that they notice as well. I think if the secretary at work pats me on the stomach and calls me fat in Thai one more time this week I’m going to strangle her with the mouse cord from her little computer. I tell the Thai people in my life often that, in fact, I would be considered relatively in shape in the west but such comments are often met with laughter and stares of disbelief. I heard a podcaster refer to themselves as a little “juicy” on their last podcast of theirs I listened too and it reminded me of what my father always says at home. We like folks to be a little on the ‘”fluffy” side, as skin and bones aren’t attractive where i come from.

Anyway back to my train of thought. I don’t know but lately I’m just not feeling motivated. I’m under a lot of stress at the moment with work and my studies that I think it is starting to affect my sense of well being. I’m not sleeping well and i’ve been a little more irritable than i should be with the students thus far this week. I guess it is fortunate that we’ve got a mid-term break next week so i’m going to try and “recharge my batteries,” so to speak. Was that random enough for you? Oh, and Valentine’s Day is of course this week so I’ll probably be writing some of my thoughts about this holiday later, so make sure and check back. Hope you have a good one where ever you are and where ever this finds you!

Dazed and Confused in Bangkok…

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Is there anyone in the world that suffers from being scatterbrained? I went out to try and spend a productive afternoon here in Bangkok by going off to do a bit of shopping with a movie treat for myself to finish off my weekend. I used to do this a lot more often than I do these days, but I’m the kind of person that doesn’t mind heading off to the movies alone. I enjoy it just as much with or without company, but I know there are folks out there that might think it strange. Anyways…..see…..scatterbrained. Now back to my original story. I had a mental list of things i wanted to take care of while I was out and about this afternoon, but guess how many i accomplished? I’d intended to purchase a nice desk chair for a couple of weeks now, so i headed off to look at those first. However, i wandered around looking at different ones, and I just couldn’t bring myself to a decision. So I walked away undecided yet again, and headed off to see what movies were playing. There were 3 different movies on that i actually wanted to see, but i just couldn’t commit myself to it once i got there to the rotating time display board showing when movies were playing. So i wandered around the shopping center aimlessly for a good long while, accomplishing nothing productive and finally decided to come back home. Absolutely nothing accomplished, besides bumping into my Ex for a quick hello chat, a pinch, and off i went. I do this quite often and at the very least, i’ve another friend in Bangkok that says he suffers from the same thing when he goes out to the shopping centers here. It’s like you go out with a purpose in mind, or list of things to do but once you are there your mind just goes to mush. Is it old age? Maybe this is why older people make lists when they go shopping…maybe it’s time for Tom to start carrying “to do” lists when i go out in public.

I hope everyone enjoys what’s left of their Sunday where ever you are in the world, and hope the week ahead treats you kindly. Oh, and a big big thanks to Mr. Tigger over at the Tiggercast for saying such nice things about my new blog on his podcast. He produces and stars in his own podcast that i listen to regularly, so make sure you go check him out. Talk to you later in the week and thanks for stopping by!