Living Like a Thai Days 19 & 20: Ringing the Bell

Living Like a Thai Day 19

During the day of the 19th I pretty much stayed in and ate what I had on hand although I knew I was going out tonight to return my friend Nut’s camera and as luck would have it she owns my local haunt and Sunday night is free food night :)

I headed to the bar at 10pm and ran into nut sitting out front, so, I pulled up a stool and sat down…no sooner had I done so I hear the distinct chime of a bell coming from inside. For those of you that don’t know: there is a bell in every bar in Pattaya no matter how large or how small and when a customer rings said bell they have effectively bought everyone in the bar a drink. Some bars have 2 bells where one is just to buy all the ladies working at said bar a drink.

I’ve never understood the bell ringer mentality. Some bars have huge mirrored walls where the bell ringer gets his name added to the bell ringing hall of fame but most places just put a large receipt in your checkbin for you to look at in the future and cry. It’s not that I’m a tightwad or anything as I have always bought my fair share of rounds for friends…but I’ll be damned if I’m buying drinks for a bunch of people I don’t even know. The only thing a bell ringer succeeds in is letting the bar know they have a good wallet and possibly short on brains.

I wonder how it would go over if the next time a bell was rung in my vicinity I asked for the monetary value of the drink instead of the drink itself.  :P

Note: For those of you who are uninitiated,  you have probably noticed that at the end of the bells rope is a phallic symbol, or as Catherine would say “A Cock” Even though Pattaya is known as Sin City the phallic symbol is actually related to Buddhism and not sex. The phallic symbol or Pallad Khik as it is known in Thailand is actually descended from Hinduism and represents the business owner inviting in good business and prosperity. Although, it does make a great conversation piece and another reason I will never ring the bell.

Back to the day at hand. Seeing as I had a free drink coming my way from someone I didn’t know and would never meet I ordered a Jack Coke and settled in. I also availed myself of some free food made available to all at happy hour which consisted of both Western and Thai fare. I couldn’t resist a little Hawaiian pizza and Tom Yung Goong ( spicy shrimp soup ). After I ate and sipped my drink down I did the unthinkable…I said my goodnight’s and headed back to the condo.

In another stroke of good fortune or bad luck as it were,  my aircon in the bedroom died…while it will suck for a day or two it will save me some money or electric this month and I need to save some budget money.

Living Like a Thai Day 19 Expenditures

ZERO ZIP ZILCH NADA

Living Like a Thai Day 20

I wish I had great news to report today or at least less boring news but today was another day spent around the condo not spending money because as you can see my laundry bill came today and at 210 baht ( $7.15 ) it’s a good thing I spent a few days living frugally although I still managed a little time out to cure my boredom.

The next few days should test my frugalness as a good friend is having a party Tuesday Night which means free food and plans are under way for a July 1st election day cruise and Party to celebrate the end of the Living Like a Thai experiment :)

Living Like a Thai Day 20 Expenditures

Purchase Amount Cost Total
Laundry 1 week 210 baht 210 baht
Today’s Total 210 baht ( $7.15 )
June Total 2564 2774 Baht ( $94.45 )
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    11 thoughts on “Thailand in the News Week Ending 3/20/10

    1. Talen A fair summary I think. Certainly in the eyes of the world(if that matters) the blood letting was viewed as evidence of Thailand’s lack of progress-politically.

      Quite what happens next is anyones guess but as proved throughout the world dialogue is the only true way forward to get some sort of resolution.

      Thais should also ask themselves if a Red government would be any less corrupt than parties of other colours. In my opinion you can change the colour but not the culture.

      .-= Mike´s last blog ..National Symbols of Thailand-Ratchaphruek(????????) Photo/Image =-.

    2. Talen, a well written story and I have to say that I heartly agreee with you on all points, numbers are good for a attention getter and necessary for a good protest ,BUT did they have to hold hands and jump off the cliff? Thats my take on the matter , as Forest would say “stupid is as stupid does” and “thats all I have to say about that”. Malcolm

      .-= malcolm´s last blog ..ANOTHER DAY OLDER AND STILL KICKING HIGH =-.

    3. Talen,

      ‘What respect they had earned form Bangkok residents quickly dissolved.’

      I don’t know where you are getting this (or maybe I’m misunderstanding your point). The blood issue and not coming to the table did turn some people off, but it didn’t markedly change opinions about the Red Shirts needing to be heard – and that was the overall success of the march: Getting people to talk about equality in Thailand. From what I saw, the last march through BKK was a marked success, with increased support from Bangkokians.

      I agree that the Red Shirts lost their way when they didn’t open dialogue with the present government. And I believe that the best thing Thaksin can do for his country is to leave Thailand alone so it can heal itself (without him). And I believe that the Red Shirts had no hope in hades of bringing down the government.

      The Reds I talked to thought they had a chance to change take over the government. That if they marched, then Abhisit had no choice but to step down. And that way of reasoning, is a total mystery to me. I don’t know much about Thai politics so if someone can explain it, I’m listening. Overall Abhisit did the smart thing – he sat tight, and he made sure there was no violence from the government side.

      But while the Red Shirts may come off yokel to western eyes, this is Thailand and they were aiming for a Thai audience. Going further still, in order to swell numbers they were hoping to gain support from rural Thais.

      And rural Thais have a different mindset than Bangkok Thais even. That much, is a given.

      The BKK Thais I talked to were upset about the bloodletting (the poo was mostly a non issue). But it was mostly because they feared how Thailand will be perceived on the international stage.

      The country Thais I talked to were not fussed. They saw it as a means to an end; a powerful tool to gain attention. And it was.

      But when blood was brought into it, I was done. I can’t go there. At the time I focused on the waste, but when someone on twitter asked if those complaining donated their blood on a regular basis, I had to do a rethink. I have the ‘I’m anemic’ excuse, but truthfully, would I take the time if not? Or would I make other excuses not to donate? Dunno… so perhaps it comes down to my being squeamish instead.

      On the danger of blood (taking and releasing)… There was a photographer on the scene who stayed in the tents where they took the blood. He mentioned that the care during the blood gathering was top-notch (I believe he said ‘better than what some got upcountry’). And as for the fear of someone catching something from the spilt blood, both sides have access to health officials so cleaning it up safely should not have taxed their abilities.

      And even though I’m squeamish…. I have to think of it this way… the symbolism of blood is a part of most cultures around the world, so who am I to object?

      Christianity comes to mind – drinking the blood of Christ. I mean, when you really think about it, how gross is that?

      As a kid, didn’t you become ‘blood brothers’ by mingling your blood with a friend? And what about ‘signing your name in blood?’

      When my Filipino maid’s son got his first haircut, they held a ceremony that involved cutting off a chicken’s head and anointing baby John’s forehead with the blood.

      And while I might have been turned off by the Red’s use of blood, do you remember the blood ceremony staged by the Yellow shirts?

      To me, what the Yellow Shirts did was much worse than what the Reds managed (even though the Reds beat them by gallons – and used their poo too).

      What the Yellow Shirts did was totally gross.

      Disclaimer: I am neither Red nor Yellow. But I did get a thrill out of the march…

      .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Red Shirts in Bangkok: Signs of the Time =-.

    4. Talen an excellent write up on the red shirt rally, but I must disagree on one point and partially on another.

      Partially first…Blood….. Bar causing violence and obstruction there was very little in the form of a protest the red shirts could do to get their point across to the Thai people and the world. They haven’t attempted to storm an airport or wreak violence against the police or army and so I think the blood splattering incident was just a way of telling the Thai government that they have the blood of the poor Thai people on their hands. Dissolve government and wash away that blood.

      Thaksin, I think if you unhitch him from the UDD wagon then a lot of the support will fade away. Support in voice and money. Mr Abhisit would like nothing better than to negotiate with a UDD free of Thaksin Shinawatra because their support would be more than halved. I’m probably wrong but I believe the Isaan people place Thaksin a lot higher than the UDD.

      .-= Martyn´s last blog ..Thailand – A Brit of What You Like =-.

    5. Talen there is no need to respectfully disagree with me, when it comes to Thai politics I bow to your far greater knowledge. Thai politics…I don’t know my ass from my elbow.

      On the point about Thaksin I base a lot of my views on the young one and the red shirts TV channel.

      The Peoples Channel is basically a propaganda machine that runs on a constant loop churning out messages that wouldn’t stand up in a red shirt kangaroo court. Wilai is still convinced that over one million red shirt protesters turned up in Bangkok, because that’s what the TV has told her.

      I also agree with you about Thaksin taking Thailand to the cleaners but the red shirt TV loop spouts otherwise. I reckon the Isaan folk wouldn’t believe hard evidence about Thaksin if it was presented to them on rice paper with a papaya salad as a side dish. Brainwashing is a clever art and Thaksin a clever man. Take away the main honcho and I think you play into the Mr Abhisit’s hands.

      Your post proves that a good well written story attracts a lot of comments and good debate.

      .-= Martyn´s last blog ..Thailand – A Brit of What You Like =-.

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