A Selfie With Abhisit Vejjajiva And My Personal Observation Of A Thai Cremation Ceremony

I made a promise last week to Dr. Suwaree, wife of former MP for Phitsanulok Dr. Warong, that my family will attend the cremation ceremony of her mother. If you've been to a Thai funeral (I'm assuming in other countries as well), you will see people wearing either black or white or a combination of the two. You can also get away with muted colors like blue jeans but with a black or white polo shirt. Brights ones are a no-no as they mean disrespect especially to the family of the deceased.

There were so many people when we arrived, mostly politicians in their tailored coats and ties. I saw Democrat Party leader and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and some other prominent figures in their party; people that I saw several times on TV during the PDRC's march in Bangkok in summer this year. They went dark with each other for the time being as the monks recited their chants. Their silence helped me in taking the liberty to observe a typical Thai funeral. I am certain there were things I failed to see; things that transpired before our arrival. However, let me tell you what I observed.

We were positioned a little behind the crematorium so there was no clear view of what's going on. Added to the bummer was the pillar that literally blocked us to see whether people approaching the coffin were doing something, like paying respect or offering something. Meanwhile, a lady carrying a basket approached us and offered what appears to be flowers made from wood shavings. We didn't know what to do so we simply smiled back and let her pass so she could offer them to those behind us.

When the chants were done, the guests were on their feet moving toward the coffin. We immediately seized the opportunity and moved ourselves facing the crematorium to get a good view. The coffin was placed on a high table in front of the crematorium doors with a huge portrait of the deceased placed next to it. The crematorium was adorned with black and white cloth. There were also flowers on both sides of the stairs and on the walls leading to the coffin. Those flowers were the favorites of the deceased, at least that's what my nurse friend who was there told me.

As I was observing the surrounding, I didn't notice that people were already having pictures with Dr. Warong's family. I grabbed my phone from my pocket and took a photo of them (the first one on top). Then I saw Abhisit nearby. He was technically within reach. As much as I would like to have a picture with him though, there were just too many people surrounding him. I decided to take a selfie instead. I'll make it to a point to offer a handshake come the time I see him again. Meanwhile, other prominent politicians including the governor of Phitsanulok were also being asked by the locals for pictures. 

When things settled down for a bit, I approached Dr. Warong and Dr. Suwaree and offered them our condolences. They thanked us for coming and pinched my daughter's cheek lightly before leaving. 

ZTE Mobile Offered Apology To Disappointed Customers Of Their Mobile Sales Promo

ZTE Mobile was in hot water after failing to meet yesterday the demands of prospective buyers nationwide. The company released an official statement in response to disappointed and irate customers who took time to purchase the the ZTE Grand X2 L V969 offered at P 1,999 only.

Thank you so much for the overwhelming support for the ZTE Mobile Sales Promo.
We appreciate the efforts made by the thousands who went to our kiosks and concept store yesterday. We did not expect such an overflow of interested buyers, hence the shortage. We are very sorry for the inconvenience. Truly, we made a mistake in underestimating the response and we appeal for your understanding and compassion. As a responsible organization, we are finding ways to address the concerns of those who painstakingly queued to enjoy the offer yet went home disappointed.
As we are humbled by the reception the public has given our campaign, together with MSI-ECS, our distributor, we are committing ourselves to coming up with better initiatives, more aggressive promotions and up to date mobile devices that will benefit more Filipinos in the coming days.
Again, our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and disappointment we have caused.

ZTE Mobile recieved negative comments after not meeting the promised "sufficient stocks" to prospective buyers

I know Cherry Mobile. My brother used to have one when I visited the Philippines 4 years ago. It is a local brand in the Philippines sold at the market at an affordable price. But I honestly haven't heard of ZTE Mobile until today. I did a little digging and found that it is actually an international telecommunication company from China.

ZTE Mobile came to my attention when my former colleague at a contact center in Makati, posted screenshots of disappointed buyers airing their views about the company on Facebook. 

I tried to search for similar stories to fully understand what really transpired. It is believed that ZTE Mobile announced on their FB page yesterday that they were selling a unit originally worth P12,000 to just P1,999. And since it was like a give away in a sense, people scheduled a trip to malls and other ZTE outlets nationwide. One user lamented that she waited for six hours but got nothing even a single unit when she left.

Contrary to their advertisement, the sufficient stocks they promised weren't that sufficient. At SM Southmall where my colleague went, people were standing in long queues and patiently waited for hours. For the love of "phone," ZTE Mobile has only 15 units in their possession.

The company was met with negative comments from disappointed buyers - with the marketing strategists being singled out as unprofessional, incompetent and deceitful. One user even promised that once he confirmed those behind it, he will post their names on his social media account.

Note: My colleague informed me that comments on ZTE Philippines Facebook page has now been disabled. 

5.3 earthquake felt in Phuket

Thailand on Monday (today) is greeted with a 5.3 magnitude earthquake off the western Indonesian island of Sumatra. Report from Seismological Bureau provided no further details apart from the residents of Phuket being able to felt it. There was also no damage to establishments or any reported casualties. 

According the bureau's website, the earthquake occurred at 7:02 am - a little more than 2 hours at the time of writing. Its epicenter is 24km beneath the waters off northern Sumatra or about 250km southwest of Phuket. 
It can be recalled that on December 26, 2004, over 230,000 people from 14 countries lost their lives when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean. Indonesia was hit the hardest, followed by Sri LankaIndia, and Thailand.

Restaurant Added Roast Whole Crocodile To Its Delicacy

Roast chicken and roast pig (lechon) are both popular that introduction won't be welcomed with surprise. We've been roasting these animals for, I don't know exactly, forever? They are everywhere, scattered in all the corners of the world.

Then there are processed crocodile meat nicely packed in plastics at supermarkets. Some people prefer to fried them, add them in a bowl of soup, or simply include them in burgers. 

Crocodile meat is exceptionally tender juicy meat. It's rich in protein and good for people who don't want cholesterol nesting in their body. Yeah, I got that. It's not new either.

But things are rapidly changing as people continue to experiment and play with their creativity. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome on stage Mr. "roast whole crocodile."

I never heard this until today. Bangkok Post reported that a man in Lamphun that goes by the name Natthaphak who owns a restaurant, is also raising crocodiles in his own farm and decided to add the delicacy to his menu. He thought that serving roast whole crocodile would be interesting and tasty since the demand for their meat increased in years. Added to that is the cost effective way of raising them. He just simply needs to keep the left over parts of the already popular ones such as calves and hogs, and feed the long snout reptiles once a day. It's a win-win situation for him.

A roast whole crocodile goes for 1,800 baht, a discounted price which he is offering only during the launch of this new menu.

For the customers who want to taste the head of the roast crocodile as well, they have to pay 300 baht extra, he added. 

So, is Mr. Natthaphak expecting you soon?

(Update) Teaching Kindergartens in Thailand

In less than two weeks Dr. Warong's pilot project of teaching the kindergarten will kick off. The pressure is piling up. I am beginning to feel nervous and nauseated. Will this work out? Will it yield expected result? What if not?

Exactly on the first of November the class will start. Two groups of students will be the subject, one hour each. Two teachers including myself are also involved. 

A few days before the end of this month, I'll be getting a call. It will be from Dr. Warong and friends. He said he would like me and Ajarn Lloyd to be at the meeting with people involved in the project. If time permits, former Finance Minister Khun Korn will be present. Possibly, even Democrat Leader and former Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva will be there as well. If they cannot make it at the meeting, they will be present during the first few weeks of the project to observe.

Dr. Warong is really serious to build a strong foundation in Thailand when it comes to English. He doesn't have problems in other fields like engineering, medicine, etc. However, when it comes to language such as English, Thailand is trailing behind other ASEAN countries. He wants to move English from foreign language to second language in a few years. He wants to change the current trend. And with the advent of ASEAN and the stiff global competition for work, things including communication and language competitiveness gives someone an edge over the others.   

For years the government gives a rather more focus to university students. Since they are the ones who will be working in different fields when they graduate, they are being prioritized. If you noticed however, some graduates can't make a rather understandable sentence. They may be good in Thailand, but they won't make a difference if they work abroad, Dr. Warong said.

There is more to his plan than just the language. Ethics and protecting ones' rights are also on the list. He has quite a long list, actually. But I can't spill all the beans just yet. I'll let him do it when he's ready. Above all though, he believes everything should start at the early stage of education.

Thailand's first Miss Universe of 1965 shocks world with recent pic

When the photo of 67 year-old and former 1965 Miss Universe Apasra Hongsakula came out, everyone was doubtful. Could she be one and the same person? Did she really have a THB2.5 million anti-aging course. Many netizens asked. 

The former beauty queen who won the prestigious beauty pageant in 1965 still look amazing and, well, gorgeous. She could still pass a 20 something young lady according to some friends who saw the photo. It seems nothing has changed.

She just changed her hair from wavy to straight, said Apasara's manager. That made her look younger. 

Her manager also stressed out that Apasara didn't have an expensive rejuvenation therapies. 

Whatever the rumors are, Apasara is pretty. And that's a fact.

Cheers to 3 years

Just like everybody else we have our own share of ups and downs, shortcomings, and the like. We argue even without the slightest provocation, let the night greets the day without uttering a single word, and we literally make small things big. 

But we forgive, we talk, we understand, we respect, and we continue to love each other. I am proud to say we are surviving the days, months and years.

We are like kids. One minute we hate each other, the other we're so friends. 

Time flies so fast indeed as we are now in our 3rd year as a couple, as husband and wife, and as father and mother to our little bundle of joy.

There will be more problems along the way. Some of which will definitely test our hope and love for each other. Those could break or make us. I just hope the latter will overpower the former. Wink

On a serious note, we both made a vow before HIM that we will stay together, till death do us part. I am clinging on to that. I am holding to that promise. I hope you do the same.

Three years down, forever to go. I love you so much, Mommy!