29 October 2005

the bow: final blog from bangkok

i'm suddenly becoming nostalgic ... after all, today is my next to last day in bangkok, and after a year, i'm suddenly facing up to the fact that i'm moving on. and i've finally downloaded a song i first heard in college that i've had in my download list on emule the last 4 months ... but it's worth every bit of it ...

while this is not the first time i've spent so much time away from kl ... i did spend 1.5 years in brisbane at university, then 9 months in taipei in my first job, bangkok is probably the first city where i actually develop a strong attachment to ... like a place i can call home away from my dear malaysia.

my first impression of bangkok when i first came around in 1999 was a hectic place with very fast pace of life, strange speaking people and deceiving tuktuk drivers.

those impressions held up in this trip. i did a very hectic job - achieving quite a bit in a pretty short time, but i do realise that the people here can have a very nice lifestyle, with plenty of parties, little tea (or coffee) sessions. the language does sound strange, but i've learnt enough thai since to carry at least the very basic conversation. i sometimes sound like a broken dvd, since my thai vocabulary is still very limited, but i understand enough to not get fooled by tuktuk drivers who are trying to tell me the grand palace is closed and they will take me to another place instead to visit some impressive temples.

i love bangkok for the mix of things that seem unlikely ... the traditional thai values, like the friendly wai, surviving in the megapolis amongst the sky-scrapers. the humbling traffic jams that cap the pace of life. the great food you can get in a small family restaurant next to a klong, at a price you thought was impossible.

in my little more than a year's stay in bangkok, i've grown so fond of this place i'm telling people bangkok is my second home. i know i will return time and again, if not to bangkok, then to some other part of thailand. i know the place by heart. i am more familiar with some places in bangkok and the surrounding areas bettter than some locals do.

i'm so glad i got this assignment, i'm so glad i came, i'm so glad God had in this plans to have me here to see the things i saw, do the things i did and know the people i call friends.


you can always tell my mood by the songs i keep repeating on my ipod mini. i've always had this thing where if i find i song i like, i'll repeat it incessantly, like no other songs existed. through my life there had been some number of songs that had this effect on me ...

during my younger days, when all the family had was a battery operated radio and pirated music means cassette tapes from pasar malam, michael jackson's beat it kept looping. i was, of course, in primary school.

and then i graduated to more mature stuff, new kids on the block. i still cringe those days when i kept playing step by step over and over. how was that possible in me ? this was in my secondary school days. i didn't have much interest in music and looping songs over and over since i still subxisted on the battery operated radio.

then college came, and i discovered the walkman. i had an aiwa walkman ... it was the pride of my possessions in tar college. and of course, then, i discovered canto pop. can't avoid cantopop when you're surrounded by chinese schooled people. it was such a culture shock to me.

the song was already a classic by then, but i discovered jacky cheung very late ... and kept repeating the wait till my heart is broken. and other jacky cheung classics. today, he is still my preferred chinese artist, but i think cantopop is in decline, and now is the time for taiwanese pop star.

the next big star to capture my imagination was david tao, in this breakout album, also called david tao. this was long before anyone else in malaysia even knew he existed, when i worked in taiwan. his song, i love you was recorded onto a cassette over and over and played in my car while i drive. my ex girlfriend actually once told me to burn that cassette, that she was sick of it.

i also had such craze with songs like enter sandman, metallica's claim to fame; michael and victor's zhang xing; jay zhou's ke ai nu ren (cute girl); leo ku's oi yu chen;

lately, i've fell in love with 2 thai songs. doobadoo's mai chai poo chai (not a man), a charleston big band, swing style song with a very upbeat tune to it. it appears to be a very humorous song, but i don't know enough thai to fully comprehend it ... sounds like a song about how a girl can't make the first move because she's a woman, not a man ...

and bird thongchai mcintyre's oh la nor .. my love, the latest craze in thailand. it's a very upbeat song with a great dance track and a music video featuring 5 top thai models/actresses. what's not to like about that?


i'm suffering from thai food withdrawal symptom. any real good thai restaurants in the puchong / cheras / damansara area ? i mean thai restaurant serving real thai food. not the watered down, localised thai stuff? appreaciate any suggestions.

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