The Author

Previous entries

Returning Home - Again

The God Illusion

Going Home


A Change of Direction

Dogs and Pandemics

The Forgotten tenors

Nine Things I will Miss about Thailand


Just Do It

Ayr on a Shoestring

Oh Lonesome Me

Tipping Point

Movie Reviews

Putting Pen to Paper

A Year to Remember

A Year to Forget

10 Reasons I Cannot Go Home

China Girl

The State of Play


Mind Your Language

New Horizons



Taxes and Death



Grey is the Colour

Beating Myself Up

Nothing More to Say

Better Late than Never

Staying Put

Musical Chairs


A Dog's Life

A Sabbatical

A Welcome Diversion

A Guide to Business Ethics

Remembering the Austin Allegro

Our Lords and Masters

In Transit - Part 2

In Transit - Part 1

Nagging Doubts

While Bangkok Burns

An Evening to Remember

Thai Business Malpractice

The New and the Old

Christmas Lights

Groundhog Day



Adventure is Out There


Grabbing it While You Can

A Few Ups and Many Downs


Pack Up Your Old Kit Bag







Ate Two Caesar

Swine Pie

The Thai Rollercoaster

Stuck in the Middle

There's no Regrets

Profit and Loss

Running on Empty

Getting it out Your System

National Mistrust

Bring in the Old, Out with the New


I am Reviewing, My Situation...

Wat Phrabhat Nam Poo

Today I will Mostly be Eating...


The Thai Experience

Wat Khaowong

Reality Bites

Wat Simalais

Amazing Thailand

He Must have a Big Wand

Right Place, Wrong Time



And it does go on


Bring Him Home



Listening to my Reader.



Diary Archive 18.

Diary Archive 17.

Diary Archive 16.

Diary Archive 15.

Diary Archive 14.

Diary Archive 13.

Diary Archive 12.

Diary Archive 11.

Diary Archive 10.

Diary Archive 9.

Diary Archive 8.

Diary Archive 7.

Diary Archive 6.

Diary Archive 5.

Diary Archive 4.

Diary Archive 3.

Diary Archive 2.

Diary Archive 1.



The New and the Old

Another year has begun. Tina Turner kept us awake until 11p.m. last night, the latest I have stayed awake on New Year's Eve for a long time, but midnight passed without me noticing. It was quiet outside, a few fireworks early on and some faint music heard indistinctly, (which being Thailand means the party must have been at least 100km away), but that was about it. We were going to have a nice dinner at home but when we saw the queue just to get into the car park at Tescos we found a seat for lunch at a Japanese buffet which filled us for the rest of the day.

Yesterday I added up our invoices for 2012; $60,000 or about 1.8 million baht. Not bad as an income but most of that came in the last three months of the year, the first nine months were quite tough. But as we go into 2013 we have a little money in the bank and Ploy is starting to do well with her job now - it is enough for us to live on every month anyway so it is a nice safety net.

I looked back at last year's resolutions:

  • Self-publish that novel. Or maybe the fictional autobiography. Whichever comes first. Or both of them. While real books still exist.
  • Forget the analogue video book. Nobody cares about it any more, except me of course.
  • Update more pages, other than the diary. At least I have started doing this. I have only achieved 1,000,000 hits in a year once, in 2007. That would be a good target for 2012.
  • Move to Singapore. That is actually a personal as well as business aim. A casual e-mail seems to have opened a door that I want to enter as soon as possible. We will keep the house here and return often but SingMai Singapore should be up and trading by the end of 2012 and hopefully I will be on my way to achieving permanent residency there again. We will also keep SingMai here as it owns our house here but also because I hope we will have our first Thai customers in the first quarter of 2012.
  • Forget the Thai and take the pressure off myself. Put the book back on the shelf for now. If the above works out according to plan the requirement relaxes anyway. Maybe then I will pick it up better. The only formal Thai lessons I ever took were in Singapore, strangely enough.

They are almost a copy of the year before and the year before that. I can't believe that just a year ago we were seriously thinking of moving to Singapore. The big positive this year personally has been getting my business visa renewed here instead of the 3 month visits to Singapore. And now my work permit is for two years I have more of a feeling of permanency here. Singapore is too expensive now as my occasional visits have proven and now most of the bureaucratic hurdles have been negotiated the motivation to move is lost, especially as we have a nice house here.

That feeling was reinforced by my first ever hospital stay, albeit brief, which confirmed my Thai health insurance is functioning. But I should probably look to get some private insurance before I am too old for them to accept me, (assuming I am not too old already). But then, as far as I know, there is no compulsory age to stop work here so if I keep paying myself a salary it isn't necessary, (and also assuming Ploy doesn't sack me).

I think, looking back, that it was not just the bureaucracy but also the way of doing business here that was getting me down. Earlier this year we were hopeful of selling to some Thai companies but that never happened. We only have to look at the companies we buy from here to be continually puzzled as to how they remain in business. Our customers are abroad, we just happen to have our workshops here, and once we realized that selling became a whole lot easier.

Of course staying here also means that the language thing comes back on the agenda. Once again another month, or is it two, has passed without me doing anything. But I do feel I am so close. I just have to find that motivation to spend a few minutes every day on Thai.

Actually the Thai language thing relates also to finding better ways to organise my day. Since I arrived here I managed to excuse myself from doing any of my personal goals, (learning Thai, writing those books, exercising etc.), and justifying my late afternoon and evening lethargy on the fact I have been working on SingMai all day. And yes I was so it is a valid justification. Often, increasingly so with Ploy's new job, I then cook dinner for myself and sit down in front of the TV to watch a DVD. And then to bed.

This needs to change. A subtle change would be to listen to CDs instead of watching DVDs. That would then allow me to do something else, like read or write my novel or learn Thai. I have my nice new laptop and I have wireless Internet now, there is no excuse. Another subtle change would be to make lunch my main meal of the day, maybe a later lunch at mid afternoon. I read how late dinners just sit there and don't get digested properly adding weight instead of being burnt off, and if I am not going to exercise, (too many new things and everything will just go back to how it was), then that might well help lose a couple of kilos. And by breaking off work earlier I will have more time for those others things that pass from year to year as unfulfilled resolutions.

The three day break in Bangkok I had last month was a revelation. I enjoyed it. I have reasons to visit which I usually decline, but I should accept them more or just go for the sake of a change. Part of my depressed feelings last year may have been cabin fever from the same day to day routine. We have also found a list of hotels in Thailand that are dog friendly as we should take advantage of that too.

The old lady next door is dying - she has looked like a zombie for a year or more but now cannot walk and just lies on a recliner in the front garden while her dysfunctional family look busy and ignore her. I wonder what she thinks when she looks back on her life. Yes, she has managed to procreate (unfortunately) but as families go, they are not the models governments allude to when they are trying to fob off some new taxes or cutbacks on you. It is just an ordinary life. But when I am lying on that bed with Ploy fussing around me and Pinky bringing me her chew toy to throw, I want to have more to look back on. Yes, I will have had my time with Ploy and that by itself is probably my greatest 'achievement' - to have experienced true love. And yes, I have got to live in a country that is challenging and exotic and strange and wonderful. Those two things alone should be enough.

But I am greedy - you only have one go at this life after all. I want to finish those unread novels and get them published, I want the company to be a success, an arbitrary measure of that success being a US$1 million sales target. And I want to be able to talk to the postman in Thai such that he actually understands me or to finish reading a newspaper headline before the next day's paper arrives.

I want to be able to reach January 1st 2014 without just reiterating those same resolutions.




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