September 28, 2005

中秋 @ Grand Hyatt Erawan - 01

reason for this trip to Bangkok:


e 'a' & 'o' in 2nd kor's name are not actually written. their presence is 'implied' by e consonants that flank them. last line has 'kren bawnruum' (grand ballroom) in it.

written Thai gets e cat's whiskers & tail all tangled up. 44 consonants, 35+ vowels, plus hundreds(?) of rules. e cat's Thai CFM lecturer (a native Thai linguist) has to recite some poem to recall which are e 20+ words that use one of e 2 characters for 'ai' (ไ). e cat can only recall one of them, which is e word 'Thai' itself =P

e cat still can't remember e entire alphabet, & probably never will. but e cat can remember that one of e first few words added to its Thai vocabulary as a kindergarten kid was ตด dtoht3 aka. fart(n,v), after Ae & An drew a picture that had a fish with bubbles rising from it, but not from its gills. e first word learnt was probably khwaai1 (buffalo), which was what we used to insult 2nd kor.


here guests flip through e wedding album while queueing for their turn for 'official' photos with e bride+groom+parents, after signing e guestbook & surrendering their ang pao.

groom's sis-in-law, bride's friends & some of e longest-serving staff from e groom's family business helped to man e guest reception. for e staff, it was an honour to be involved in 大少爷的喜事. was so happy to have e longest-serving employee with us at e Soi Langsuan dinner e previous night. his hair has turned all white, & he can remember e cat as a kitten sorting buttons into 12 piles of 12 to pack them into packets of 144 & sitting atop bales of textiles trying to find colour matches for customers' samples.

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photos taken 20 years apart: 2005 [L] & 1985 [R]


e groom's grandma is already 90+ & showing signs of senility. most of e time it's minor stuff e.g. she will happily talk to you, hold your hand, then start asking others who you are (jik4 si3 di3 diang1 lai1 eh3?) as if meeting a new relation for e first time (this process loops several times through e day), or forget if she has already eaten, or after getting ready to go out for dinner, ask worriedly why is everyone leaving e house.

interesting how everyone handles it with a big fat dose of good humour, laughing at all e strange things she says, even trying to test her memory & getting her all puzzled. maybe e stress is divided up into tiny bits between e huge no. of relatives & shop staff, so her caregivers don't feel overloaded? she's delighted when people come to visit, & eager to go out for dinner (she usually refuses to step out of e house) whenever e cat's family comes to Bangkok. & she loves all e pecks on e cheek that her granddaughters give her (hua2 hii2 sii4!) =)

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Mem & Mee = M&Ms as door gifts =P they walked together like this so that e bride wouldn't trip on her gown. she is super PL, so perhaps e whale & e duck might want to consider Thai PLMMs ;)


3 brothers - videocameraman, groom & emcee =)

e guest of honour & his wife came on stage to place phuang malai garlands around e bride & groom's necks. e 3 VIPs then each gave a speech. each speech ended with all those on stage wai4-ing (e tradition Thai greeting) with heads bowed & eyes closed while all guests stood up, as e speaker said something about asking for e couple to be blessed by e Buddhist equivalent of e 'holy spirit', e Royal Family & all guests (as translated by Phii Jim). after which everyone raised their glasses & shouted 'chai1yo2!' thrice, e Thai equivalent of yam seng toasts....just that e same 'chaiyo' appears in e King's anthem but yam seng isn't part of Majulah Singapura =P

afte cutting e wedding cake, e bride & groom had to kneel down to serve cake to e guest of honour, VIPs, their parents & e groom's grandma. they also included e cat's parents in this, which was a big fat surprise =)


emcee's jacket to e rescue - grandma feeling cold. he & e groom were brought up by her in Thailand & then by e cat's mum in Singapore.

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kors + luuk4 muu2

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as a kid, 2nd kor could eat up to 3 plates of rice for dinner. e cat's family had to use 2 rice cookers every night. sometimes e cat would reach home after school only to find its dinner inside his stomach. any food left unattended in e house would never be seen again.

but tonight, for e first time ever, 2nd kor couldn't finish his we jumped at e chance to help him =)


300 baht catsuit from Phahurat

[to be cont'd - waiting for lots more photos from Thailand]

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + bangkok_2005 + thai1 + 9_lives_2005 ]

September 25, 2005



90 บาท/ผืน, JJ section 25, 072-2/3. blue cloth pattern: less well-known part of Songkran celebrations - building 'sandcastles' on temple grounds & sticking colourful flags in them


JJ section 20, 083-5/6 (shoulder bags); section 11, 032-12/1 (heliconia)


JJ section 25, 280-3/5. mobiles made by e Thai Phuan (according to e stall owner) who live in Laos & parts of Thailand. this shop has Phamee Akha headdresses & Hmong skirts among other hilltribe handicrafts too, wonder how some of them were sourced....?


JJ section 25, 108-2/4. sold in Singapore for ridiculous prices =P lazy cat has some ironing to do....


JJ section 11, 032-12/1. wrapping paper from Grace Greetings Co Ltd's JJ outlet.

in this kind of paintings used for temple murals, everything is e 'same size' regardless of whether it is in e foreground or background. which makes you feel as if you could step into any part of e picture & enter e houses & walk through e doorways & pop your head out of e windows & run across e fields & jump into e rivers & climb onto e boats & pull up e fishing nets & pluck ripe fruits from e trees & lift up e baskets & catch hold of a kid skipping past. & such is e wealth of detail that cats can spend a long time gazing at them.

7 บาท greeting cards from e same stall:


royal ploughing ceremony, where e oxen are offered a choice of different foods, & e ones that they choose to eat will foretell how good/poor e year ahead will be. e guy in white walking ahead of e oxen should be a Brahmin priest blowing a conch shell, & e people in e background are flying 'star-shaped' kites. there are 'male' kites called 'chula' & 'female' kites called something starting with 'p' (forgot). buildings in e background should be that of e royal palace in Rattanakosin.


preparing for planting (I think?), with trees full of ripe mangos & papayas, & cattails by e water's edge


splashing of water & building of sandcastles during Songkran


is this is khao4 phan1saa2 (lit. enter rainy season aka. rains retreat) or something else, since people are presenting offerings to e monk? what e cat likes about this picture are e musical instruments


harvest time - farmers with sickles, plucking fruit from e trees, ox cart laden with bags full of grain, & harvesting lotus leaves & buds


not from JJ, but e bookstore on e 3rd floor of Siam Centre (which is undergoing extensive renovation - to prepare for e opening of Siam Paragon next door?). great thing about buying books in Bangkok is that e service staff will automatically wrap e book in a clear plastic cover, carefully trim e plastic cover down to size & tape down e free ends with scotchtape, no matter how long e queue behind you grows =) even if it isn't some expensive purchase, like this Unseen Paradise book that cost 199 บาท (SGD 8+)

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + bangkok_2005 + thai1 ]

September 23, 2005

National Stadium to Mo Chit by BTS

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BTS skytrain


Khlong Saen Seb + Baan Jim Thompson (brown-roofed traditional Thai house on left bank). Khlong Saen Seb boat service (traffic jam-less way get into Phra Nakhon district) was suspended - water levels too high for boats to pass under bridges along e canal after heavy rain for e whole of Wednesday. directly below e train tracks is another Phaya Thai landmark, Saphaan Hua Chang (elephant head bridge).

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Victory monument - interesting how e skytrain tracks & overhead bridge (longest in Bangkok?) curve around it, a reflection of e non-confrontational manner of Thais? =)

this station seems to have e longest name, anusawarii chai-something (think 4 more syllables), & e sathanii (station) tor pai (next) announcements in both Thai & English seem long enough to last e distance between this station & e preceding one =P somewhere in e background (photo on right) are around 5 hospitals & e Faculty of Medicine (Ramathibodi Hospital campus) buildings of Mahidol University


Suda Palace Hotel - Pahon Yonthin landmark that indicates e location of one of 2nd & 3rd kor's house+shops, where e cat used to help with selling buttons, cloth, wool, thread, lace & other garment accessories.

most people live in 4- or 5-storey shophouses like e ones in e right foreground, with open rooftops (perfect for drying laundry in e super power Bangkok sunshine) usually 'caged' on all sides by grilles to deter burglars. no one bothers with repainting e exterior, which is probably why most of Bangkok looks so grey.


BTS Saphaan Khwaay station - Saphaan Khwaay aka. buffalo bridge/gu3 kio1 is a familiar part of 2nd & 3rd kor's home address =)


BTS Mo Chit station bus stop

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Chatuchak aka. J.J. weekend market - if what you're looking for isn't found here, you probably can't find it anywhere else in Thailand =) it's so humongously big fat, e cat has yet to visit every section.

bargaining here in Thai is a good revision for noun 'classifiers' (量词) e.g. ใบ bai3 (shoulder bags, bowls, plates), เล่ม lem4 (books, candles), ผืน phirn2 (cloth, towels), โหล lo2 (dozen), คู่ khuu4 (pair - shoes, chopsticks). silly forgetful cat grew up using อัน an1 (piece) as a default for everything including footwear (as if it only wants to buy either e left or e right shoe but not both sides *lol*), & here e bemused market vendors will keep correcting it =P


soi 59 entrance - e nearest & super crammed access to BTS Mo Chit station

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inside Chatuchak - e cat's favourite sections so far are 25, 26 & parts of 16. now that e underground MRT has opened, e cat can disappear down into e depths of e MRTA Kamphaeng Phet station near e south end of e market (Bangkok's SoMa? =P) for respite from e midday sun =)

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + bangkok_2005 + thai1 ]

September 22, 2005

a little bit of pathumwan district


morning inside Mah Boon Khrong: jasmine + chrysanthemum + rose phuang malai (garland). think e shopkeepers pay e neighbourhood phuang malai seller to tie a fresh garland in a plastic bag to e shutters every morning, so that they can place it on e shop altar once they arrive to open e shop for business.


Mah Boon Khrong: mecca for Singaporean devotees who make regular shopping pilgrimages to Bangkok (& have driven up e prices here). quite impossible to walk through without hearing any Singlish. probably e most efficient way to evacuate as many Singaporeans ASAP from Bangkok in a crisis would be to use MBK as a reporting centre & e Pathumwan Princess Hotel rooftop as a helipad? ;)


Thanon Rama I & Thanon Phaya Thai intersection outside MBK. there are at least 3 tuk-tuks & 15 taxis in this photo. green & yellow taxis are privately owned by e drivers, & e rest by companies, including e UGLY pink ones. motorcycle taxis are still around despite e (half-hearted?) crackdowns on motorcycle taxi ranks mafia, but 'taxi minivans' & songthaews seem to have disappeared almost entirely from central Bangkok?


hawkers at e BTS National Stadium station near e linkbridge to MBK Tokyu


hawkers + soi dog, two 'icons' of Bangkok. hardly any stray cats around, but plenty of soi (lane) dogs - e ubiquitous stray dogs found on almost every street.


most soi dogs are nice & friendly. this is one of e (at least) two that have made e Rama I-Phaya Thai overhead bridge their home =) together with e hawkers & e beggars, they lend some sort of character & life to e overhead bridge that links Siam Discovery Centre, Siam Square, BTS National Stadium station & MBK.


in another part of Pathumwan: dinner @ some restaurant along Soi Langsuan, while tropical storm Vicente dumped inches of rain on Bangkok outside. 3rd kor has done some serious work while checking out all e gyms in Bangkok, & is starting to look a little out of proportion, with forearms twice e size of most guys' =P

detoured by Sarasin & Witthayu (e 'Wireless Road' in novels & articles written by ang mohs) to get here after eldest kor overshot this place on a one-way road. Thanon Sarasin runs along e north end of Lumphini Park, which made e cat realise e meaning of Soi Langsuan's name - lit. lang2 (behind) suan2 (garden) =P Thanon Witthayu is e embassy/consulate area of Pathumwan, & we passed by e American Embassy & e big fat 'Residence of e American Ambassador' with an overflowing flooded moat.

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + bangkok_2005 + thai1 ]

September 21, 2005

thaa4 aa1 kaat3 yaan1 Don Muang

arriving here gives e cat a sense of homecoming that it does't get when touching down at Changi. arriving at Changi feels like arriving at a workplace. & now even more so for luuk4 muu2 (piglet), with e 'eat don't burp' showcase of 'Made in Singapore' products in e transit area & Global Entrepolis banners hanging in e immigration hall *lol*


Don Muang holds plenty of memories =)

announcements over e airport PA system in a languid rather than business-like tone beginning with กรุณา karunaa or a long drawn-out โปรดทราบ prod3 saab4 (attention please....)

transit area & inclined walkway connecting it to e aerobridge, where e 6 of us kids once dashed through when we were super late for our TG flight....doors were shut & e plane started to move off once we tumbled in, & we were still hunting for our seats & stowing our hand luggage as e plane began take-off =P


escalators leading from e immigration down to e baggage carousels, that e cat used to be scared of stepping onto alone when it was just about a metre tall & had problems holding onto e handrails with small paws full of its share of carry-on hand luggage (usually Cadbury & Hawaiian Host macadamia nut chocolate for Phii4 Jim's mum)

red & green customs channels with fat customs officers hanging around, where having a B100 note between e pages of your passport used to be e surefire way of clearing customs without any hassle in e 80s & early 90s, & where e cat's mum once raised plenty of eyebrows bringing a giant TV set (for Phii4 Jim's family) from e oversized cargo entrance through e red channel with e help of 6 kids pushing e special giant trolley

arrival hall with one single bottleneck exit for all (at least 14) baggage claim belts, where relatives would be waving & yelling at us trying to catch our attention in e chaos

Bangkok's Stonehenge outside e terminal building - pairs of concrete pillars that have been standing along e main N-S highway since e mid-90s, that have given up all hope of ever supporting e BTS skytrain tracks that were supposed to connect Bangkok to Don Muang =P

everyone heading for e loo before entering Bangkok's longest carpark - e standstill traffic on e Viphavadi-Rangsit highway leading from e airport into central Bangkok - for e 2h, 20+km journey into central Bangkok (up to 3h to Phii4 Jim's house & factory in Phra Khanong), in e days before e Don Muang Tollway was built

e highway signboards with familiar names - Asoke, Din Daeng, Chaeng Wattana, Dao Khanong, Lat Phrao, On Nut, Port, Klong Toey, etc

in daytime, glittering temple roofs punctuating e concrete sprawl flanking e highway

& e 88-storey Baiyoke Sky Hotel coming into view as we neared central Bangkok


e last time e cat was here was early afternoon on e day of e tsunami that 3rd kor escaped, in transit on e way to Singapore from Chieng Rai. at that time there had been no indication of e disaster save for plenty of grounded Bangkok Airways & Phuket Air planes & buses parked at e domestic terminal & a long list of cancelled flights to Phuket on e departure information screens.


this time, there were plenty of soldiers hanging around (eye candy for luuk4 muu2 =P), e one waving to us in e arrival hall was one of e 6 kids, now grown-up (eldest kor), & we sped along e Don Muang Tollway at 130kph through a darkened Bangkok with building & billboard lights all turned off - e result of Thaksin's energy-saving campaign in e face of escalating oil prices. suddenly Bangkok seemed to have plenty of hospitals around - e only buildings that still had their signboards (& green crosses) lit up.

e cat wonders how many times more it will pass through Don Muang before e airport shifts to Suvarnabhumi, which will be a damn long way out of central Bangkok. & how long AFTER e opening of e new airport will e rail link to central Bangkok be ready? ;)


Mercedes Benz shop @ Changi T2 transit area: reminds me of 2nd kor, even looks like him (esp e eyes) - big friendly giant, a little clumsy & good at breaking things =P

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + bangkok_2005 + thai1 ]

September 16, 2005

rabbit popiah

[150905] colleague decided to buy popiah for her lunch, & e mention of popiah sparked this off in e (very bored while waiting) cat's imagination:

01. popiah....

02. mang3 gwang1 (turnip) filling....

03. turnip....

04. rabbit trying to pull giant turnip out of e ground....

05. rabbit meat popiah....

can't get e turnip out of e ground? use e rabbit instead *evil grin*

disclaimer: cats do not eat rabbits!

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + catfood ]