T.I.T. Episode 19: Crime and Punishment

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•    Welcome to episode 18
•    Christmas Break for Tom
•    Clowns and French maids
•    I’d rather be traveling
•    Gifts NOT to get a teacher
•    Emails and Comments from my lovely listener Andrea
•    More Christmas in Thailand
•    Tom and Thai food
•    The two Thai anthems
•    Voicemail from Craig of the Royal Pains
•    Nationalism in the extreme
•    Conditioned not to question authority
•    Voicemail from Nee Nee
•    Being homesick over the holidays
•    I’ve been avoiding something
•    Tom tells his dark story
•    Being the victim of crime
•    Looking death in the eyes
•    Post traumatic stress
•    Tom is now on and off the Xanax
•    Scars on the inside and out
•    Closing remarks and love
•    Make sure you go comment on the blog!

Email me at tomnthai@gmail.com, comment or call my voice line and leave me a message!

Also, you need to go check out my fellow podcasters at the Rainbowpodsquad and the Freak Network cause there is some quality entertainment on our shows over there to suit every taste.

Download Tom in Thailand: Right Click Here | The Freak Network | The RainbowPodSquad

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Moving is a Pain in the Ass…

I know that I said it in my last podcast, but I honestly don’t think there is anything else i can think of at the moment more stressful than moving.  However, I wanted to write a quick little entry for you guys while i’m sitting here at work, just so I don’t appear to have dropped out of sight for a couple of weeks…cause I just love you guys that much!

So, the partner and I have been moving carloads of stuff nightly for the past week and I’m amazed at the amount of stuff we still have yet to get moved.  We’re packing all the bits and pieces into plastic bins and carting them over to the new place on a nightly basis and I can’t tell you how exhausted we are.   I swear that it seems like we haven’t made a dent in the amount of stuff yet to move as the piles seem to be breeding when we leave the house.  Isn’t it interesting how the piles of “krap” we accumulate as time goes by only reveals itself when you actually have to get it all packed up and relocated to a new place.  However, I’ll quit bitching and tell you about the progress we’ve made thus far.

We, did get the air conditioners installed last Saturday but that wasn’t without a completely different set of problems that i’ll go into in my next podcast.  We also went out last night and purchased a water heater for the bathroom as Thai bathrooms don’t come equipped with hot running water…strange I know!  Tonight, I’ve got to go down to the Thai version of Ikea to look for some curtains for the new place cause I enjoy the prying eyes of nosy neighbors as much as the next guy.  Then we have a truck coming around over the weekend to move all the big stuff like the sofa, bed, wardrobe, and fridge.  Oy Vey!

Therefore, I promise to do my best to get a podcast out to you sweeties over the weekend, as I’ve got some really great audio comments from the listener feedback line I want to share with you guys.  I’ve got some super sweet fellow podcasters and I can’t wait for you guys to hear what they had to share!  Anyways, i suppose i better quit blogging at work and get back to it.  Much love from Bangkok as always and I swear you will be hearing from Tom soon!   Ciao!

VideoBlog number 2: A little catch up on my week…

Hey guys,

I know it has been about a week, so I should apologize first i guess. I thought i’d make it up to you by recording a video blog today, so go ahead and have a watch. I’d like to send out a special thanks to ZillaFag for suggesting blip.tv as it worked much better for uploading than youtube. Thanks so much, and you guys make sure and go over to check him out! Hope you like it!

The Miles and Miles of Red Tape for Thai Visas…

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I have written about common questions I get from friends and family about living in Thailand before, and so I thought I would share another one with you today.  A relatively new internet friend from my home state of Alabama and co-host of the The Royal Pains recently emailed to ask me about the difficulty in gaining permanent residency here in Thailand, and also wanted to know if the process was expensive.  So, I was trying to think of the best way to respond to his email and thus, I’m going to write about visas and residency for you here today.

Technically, you will need to have already possessed a on-immigrant Visa for 3 consecutive years before you are allowed to start the process to apply for residency status.  Immigration only accept applications for residency during a very small window of time in December( I think).  Furthermore, they only accept 100 applicants per passport nationality each year, so if say in my case, if enough Americans applied before me then I would be denied.  The cost just for the paper work, taking into account you do get the permit, is around 7 thousand dollars.  However, I will share with you that I’ve only met one person in my 5 years here that has a residency permit, and it took her 30 plus years of being married to a Thai husband and raising 3 grown children.

So, you might be thinking, what are my other options then?  If your heart is still set on residing in Thailand then there are several different types of visa you can consider.  I live and work here on a non-immigrant B visa and hold a work permit which allows me to be employed here in the kingdom and of course pay Thai income tax.  Educators can hold a renewable 1 year working visa, connected to your work permit from the ministry of labor, and a Thai teacher’s license from the ministry of Education.  There are mounds and mounds of paperwork that goes in to be submitted for each bit of paper needed and most schools employ a staff member who has the job of ‘only’ dealing with paperwork issues such as these.  I once tried to get a visa extension myself when i changed jobs, and the monstrously overweight lady cop in her tight brown uniform went out of her way to make me feel like a juvenile delinquent for not having my correct mound of documents.  I even cried that day sitting in the office in front of her.

There are other types of visas that can be obtained for living here long term, but It would be better to visit a website called ThaiVisa to read up on your options.  I always visit daily to interact with other foreigners in Thailand covering a wide range of expat issues like visa stuff, so if your interested please have a look.   The site has descriptions of the full range of visas, costs, trials and tribulations involved in living here on a permanent basis.  It is good to visit the message board on the site as well because the rules and regulations surrounding visas and residency can and do change regularly so it is good to keep abreast by checking the message board.  I say this because, as I’ve written before in my blog, Thailand has gone through between 17 and 20 coups to over throw a current sitting government, with the most recent having been last year.  So depending on who has their hand in the cookie jar at the time, rules and regulations governing the lives of Thailand’s foreign residents are always subject to change.  Some Thai leaders support and encourage the broadening of ideas through globalization, while others are distinctly nationalistic and borderline xenophobic.  However, it can be argued thus that this is the constantly changing face of government in any country around the world.  I sincerely hope that this helps to ease your curiosity, and please feel free to contact me for any information in this regards you might think of because if i don’t know the answer, then I’ll try my best to help you find it elsewhere.  Happy Tuesday to all my readers where ever this finds you!

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!

How’s Your Chinese???

lanternesque.jpgSo sorry that I haven’t had a chance to post in a while, but quite frankly haven’t been in the mood at all.  I’ve been through a pretty rough time at work, and I’ve been pretty down about it for the past week.  Soooooo….Wasn’t feeling creative at all and want to only give my readers my best.  I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but not going to go into work stuff here cause i want this to be a creative outlet as opposed to vent for my professional frustrations.  So??  How is your Chinese?  Unless you live under a rock, (and I know some places in the States qualify) you should know that today is Chinese New Year.  The Chinese calendar is based on lunar cycles as opposed to the solar calendar we follow in western countries.  Therefore, the date they celebrate can change year to year according to the lunar cycles of the given year.  Bangkok has been decked out in red for the past few weeks leading up to today, and I must admit i find the red lanterns beautiful.  Fireworks cracked and boomed across the city yesterday.  Thailand has a significant Chinese Thai population like other south east Asian countries and these people generally make up the ruling class.  The Chinese Thai are usually the business owners, government officials, movie/television personalities and high society types.   Yesterday morning I passed through what seemed like a constant aromatic haze of incense hovering over elaborate offerings of food to ancestors in front every other shop house on my way to work.  We even had a Chinese Dragon dance troop come to the school the other day to put on a performance for the kids.  More incense drifted through the air across the school accompanied by the rhythm of loud beating drums, performers, and a dragon dancing to give gifts of lucky oranges.  It made for quite an experience in honor of the ever increasing importance of this holiday.  But…How’s your Chinese?  Now i know some of you might be thinking, “Why do i care?”  Well, China is quickly becoming or is already an economic force to be reckoned with in this century.  They are working very hard to sheer up and strengthen their infrastructure to support their booming industry sector.  How does that affect you?  Next time your in Target or Wal-mart, turn over the piece of merchandise your looking at and see where it was made?  Getting the picture?  Furthermore, China is the 4th largest country in the world but more importantly is their population size.  Their are between 1.3 an 1.5 billion Chinese working hard to make their country strong and competitive, giving their country the highest population size on the planet.  Think about that and how that could affect the face of global politics in our lifetime.  Finally, I read an article in one of the Bangkok Newspapers recently about China.  Did you know that Chinese has already been made the official language of organizations such as the World Health Organization, World Bank, UNESCO, and there is a proposal just passed recently to do so with the World Tourism Organization.  My own uncle relatively recently traveled to China to tour factories for his company.  I remember talking to him about how just one visit changed his perspective on things and how so many Americans take the lives they now lead for granted.  So if you don’t think this doesn’t affect you then you might be in for a big surprise in the not so distant future.   So, have an orange for good luck and go out and try some Dim Sum.  In the spirit of prosperity and good fortune I want to wish all my friends and family a very very Happy Chinese New Year.  Until next time….take care!