Skip to content

If you hit Twitter’s (stupid) follower ceiling, use lists to follow people

Originally posted on The Buttry Diary:

Some journalists who are strongly active on Twitter reach a ceiling on how many people you can follow.

The ceiling is a response to spammers, who used to follow people endlessly, but it’s ridiculous that Twitter hasn’t developed a way to waive the ceiling for valid users. More later on this frustration (including a weak response from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo last month).

But first, a #twutorial explanation of how the ceiling works and what you can do if you bump against it:

What the ceiling is

Any Twitter user can follow up to 2,000 other Twitter accounts without restriction. Once you hit 2,000, the number you can follow depends on how many people can follow you. The ceiling doesn’t limit me. Since I have 14K followers, I have been able to follow more than 3K without limit. Where you run into trouble is if you’re following more people…

View original 2,498 more words

Folklore of Thailand: Good Luck Tapestries

Featured Image -- 1928

Originally posted on The Life and Times of Christine:

In my last post about amulets and charms in Thailand, I ended with a short bit on the waan nang kwak, or a figure of a beckoning woman that is displayed in shops in Thailand as a way of encouraging business. That is a good segue into other things that are displayed in shops that are meant to bring the shop good luck and lots of business: nang kwak as well as crocodile and Suvannamaccha, a Hindu mermaid, pha yant or tapestry. The figures represented on the pha yant are rooted in myths and stories as well as the more mystic beliefs of local spirits.

View original 648 more words

Folklore of Thailand: Amulets and Charms

Featured Image -- 1926

Originally posted on The Life and Times of Christine:

A must-see list for any trip to Thailand inevitably includes a number of the gorgeous wats, or temples, that fill the country. From Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keaw to Chiang Mai’s Wat Chedi Luang, from Chiang Rai’s Wat Rong Khunto Petchabun’s Wat Paa Son Gaeow, from Si Saket’s Wat Lan Khuat to Bueng Kan’s Wat Phu Tok, wats are quite literally the center of village life in Thailand. Any trip to most any temple will show how folk beliefs and Buddhism have melded into the current practice of wearing and displaying khong khlang(ของลัง), or amulets and charms, which can be purchased at or near the temples. But what do these amulets and charms supposedly do and how do they get their powers?

View original 668 more words

The End of a Life

Originally posted on Matt.Owens.Rees; Thailand Writer:

 

Image

This is an extract from Thailand Take Two  

He even rather arrogantly wanted some petrol money to go to the hospital.

Dta Sompet had been bitten by a neighbour’s dog and needed a rabies injection as a safeguard. Whether the dog was provoked or not was difficult to tell. Anyway, the owner paid for the hospital fees and the petrol. But he thought his demand for having his petrol costs paid was a little over the top. The families smiled when they saw one another but it was not the smile of close friends. It was the automatic Thai smile. They certainly never intended speaking again.

Farangs may not notice the coldness of the snub but then the Thai smile is never easy to understand.

Dta Sompet had been unwell for a few weeks with regular visits to the hospital. Occasionally, I would see him reading his newspaper…

View original 467 more words

The End of a Life

 

Image

This is an extract from Thailand Take Two  

He even rather arrogantly wanted some petrol money to go to the hospital.

Dta Sompet had been bitten by a neighbour’s dog and needed a rabies injection as a safeguard. Whether the dog was provoked or not was difficult to tell. Anyway, the owner paid for the hospital fees and the petrol. But he thought his demand for having his petrol costs paid was a little over the top. The families smiled when they saw one another but it was not the smile of close friends. It was the automatic Thai smile. They certainly never intended speaking again.

Farangs may not notice the coldness of the snub but then the Thai smile is never easy to understand.

Dta Sompet had been unwell for a few weeks with regular visits to the hospital. Occasionally, I would see him reading his newspaper in the shade of his garden. We’d exchange a few words but he was not his usual self. Whenever I asked his family if he was getting better, I was told he was okay. A standard response from a Thai. They didn’t want people to be sorry for them. This attitude of caring for the feelings of others, greng jai, is the Thais’ routine response to not putting you to any trouble. But I was genuinely concerned for his health.

I buttonholed his granddaughter, Renu, a week or so later, as she was riding her motorbike to university. She told me he was dying and that the surgeons could not operate on his kidney problem because of his age.

He was eighty-three years old and was being sent home to die.

…………………

Then one morning around ten o’clock there seemed to be an almost continuous stream of friends and neighbours arriving either by foot or motor cycle, and then leaving after just a few minutes. A sign that he had died. The mattress on which he had been sleeping during his last few days had been removed. The doctor and undertaker were yet to arrive. Dta Sompet was now lying, covered completely in a white cloth, on the bare floor of the shrine room.

Condolences were offered to his wife, Khun Fon, and the family, but not in the same formal way as in the West. By just being there and showing that they cared no words were needed. Just a slight smile of compassion. No crying. No tears.

As I left, I heard the puyaibaan announce our neighbour’s death on the village loudspeaker system. It was half past ten. Dta Sompet had been dead for less than one hour. Yet around thirty people had already visited his house. In small villages in Thailand, word travels fast. Communities are closely knit. In some provinces, the family starts wailing as a way of announcing the death. That did not happen here.

Dta Sompet and Khun Fon had lived in this village for most of their lives. Both their families were well known and well liked. They were part of the community. They belonged.

The family concept is strong in this country. It is very important to a Thai to keep in touch within the family. To always be there for one another. Families often live in the same compound or at least very close by, as Thais like to live close together.

Thailand Take Two can be obtained from:

APPLE iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/thailand-take-two/id672957701?mt=11

AMAZON

KOBO

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=matt+owens+rees Links to all titles

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Thailand-Take-Two/book-bF6A-bTeoEu_yaHA-gckog/page1.html?s=oopJNESS9USaKWDMkb_oAw&r=2

BARNES & NOBLE

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/matt-owens-rees?keyword=matt+owens+rees&store=ebook Links to all titles

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thailand-take-two-matt-owens-rees/1117005962?ean=2940148123316

CREATESPACE

https://www.createspace.com/4377678

Also on AMAZON.com  and AMAZON.co.uk

 

Image

Matt Owens Rees can be reached on brigydon@gmail.com and his blog is athttps://www.mattowensrees.wordpress.com

Five very different aspects of Thailand

Originally posted on Matt.Owens.Rees; Thailand Writer:

Some short extracts from Thailand Take Two

They show both faces of The Land of Smiles – a Thailand that is neither a perfect paradise on earth nor a dangerous den of dishonesty and deviousness. Thais tend to avoid arguments and adopt a hassle-free lifestyle. Shouting and criticising is not in their nature. The Thais have a strong community spirit. You will see their eagerness to help others. I shall share with you some stories of the Thai family circle and demonstrate what really influences the Thais in their daily lives.

There is also a strong class structure and we will illustrate some of the “unwritten” rules of hierarchy that are second nature to a Thai. Every man, woman, and child knows his or her place in society. It is a stabilising factor. There are accepted and unchangeable conventions to establish the pecking order. The ideas of respect for elders…

View original 939 more words

Five very different aspects of Thailand

Some short extracts from Thailand Take Two

They show both faces of The Land of Smiles – a Thailand that is neither a perfect paradise on earth nor a dangerous den of dishonesty and deviousness. Thais tend to avoid arguments and adopt a hassle-free lifestyle. Shouting and criticising is not in their nature. The Thais have a strong community spirit. You will see their eagerness to help others. I shall share with you some stories of the Thai family circle and demonstrate what really influences the Thais in their daily lives.

There is also a strong class structure and we will illustrate some of the “unwritten” rules of hierarchy that are second nature to a Thai. Every man, woman, and child knows his or her place in society. It is a stabilising factor. There are accepted and unchangeable conventions to establish the pecking order. The ideas of respect for elders and betters, and the noblesse oblige concept are absolute in Thailand.

Here are five extracts from Thailand Take Two

 

A farang goes into a Ferrari dealership and looks at the top of the range model. He’s dressed in jeans and an open T-shirt. He’s virtually ignored by the salesman who is neither treating him seriously nor answering his questions about the car. He walks out of the showroom and jumps into his Porsche; the salesman is kicking himself because he has lost commission on a potential sale. It would have been better to have listened to the customer and established a rapport with him.

This well-known story may well be fictional but it illustrates how Thais can misjudge a farang (white foreigner) because they do not understand that a Westerner does not always parade his wealth for all to see. To many Thais, it seems logical that if you have money or position, you make sure other people know it.

 

You may notice class distinctions as you travel through Thailand. Northerners, those from the province of Isaan, and the hill-tribes are often looked down on by the richer city dwellers of Bangkok.

There are divisions based on hierarchy on the island of Phuket between the chao lay (sea gypsies, from chao person, talay sea) and local landowners. The sea gypsies regard themselves as Thai as they have lived in these coastal regions for over 300 years. They have their own language, etiquettes, and they subscribe to the animist religion. They do not readily join in with other Thais.

As they have no legal papers to the land they occupy, there are continuing problems with developers who want to build profitable tourist facilities. The government tries to find compromising solutions but can do little to solve the basic problem of there being such wide class differences between the chao lay and the property developers

On the Queen’s birthday, also Mothers’ day in Thailand, I was helping in a community project, planting trees as part of the village’s celebrations. Well over half the community got together; which is typical in this country. Everyone knew me and we joked and worked alongside one another. We lunched and drank together. We were all on first name terms. No khun, no farang.

Loudspeaker systems are used extensively to communicate in Thai villages, so I was not surprised later that evening to hear the puyaibaan, the village headman, thanking everyone for their efforts. Then I heard my name mentioned in dispatches. “Farang Matt” was being singled out as the only farang who had helped. It was not ill mannered. It was not impolite. It was the easiest way to tell the few people who had not been at the planting, the names of those who had attended. It was probably also his clever way of getting more people to be involved in future village projects. He was also following the Thai trait of putting a positive spin on events. He was emphasising those who came and not those who did not. Thais talk of half-full bottles and not half-empty bottles.

   Colonel Jaran: What are you doing, soldier?

Bancha: Breaking eggs so that I can make omelettes for the men, sir.

Colonel Jaran: I realise that, soldier. Even so, you are breaking them two at a time.

Bancha: That’s quicker, sir.

Colonel Jaran: What if one of them is bad?

Bancha: A bad egg, sir? In the Thai army, sir?

An amusing anecdote but an unusual one. As much as they love making jokes, Thais would not normally say anything like that to a superior. They are far too conscious of a person’s position and any possible loss of face or respect.

But, as we see when we meet Bancha later, after he leaves the army and returns to the building trade, he can be a rather untypical Thai.

 The wearing of the right school tie and dating the chairman’s daughter affects job prospects as much here as in western societies. At one promotion interview in Bangkok, which lasted just a few minutes, the only question asked was “Who is your boss?”

Suda: Good morning, (Sawatdee ka.)

Interviewer: Please sit down.

Suda: Thank you, (Kawpkhun ka.)

Interviewer: Who is your boss?

Suda: Khun Manat, ka.

Interviewer: Good. I know him.

She got the job. Other interviewees, some of whom had travelled overnight at their own expense, received more taxing and relevant questioning. Nevertheless, they faced an overnight return journey with no promotion offers in their pockets

 

Integrating and being more at ease with Thais can be achieved by understanding and accommodating some of the Thai ways that we may find unusual and frustrating. Going along with their formal and informal rules of hierarchy is crucial. The Thais will appreciate your fitting in to their culture and you will get more out of your stay in this country; however long, however short.

A Thai does not think in a western way and his sense of station in life is overriding in all he does. He accepts his lot with a cheerfulness and relaxed attitude that is the fundamental Thai quality of mai bpen rai, which we look at in the next chapter.

 Thailand Take Two can be obtained from:

 APPLE  iTunes

 https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/thailand-take-two/id672957701?mt=11  

 AMAZON

 http://www.amazon.com/Thailand-Take-Matt-Owens-Rees-ebook/dp/B00C608NGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398743175&sr=8-1&keywords=matt+owens+rees  

  KOBO

 http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=matt+owens+rees   Links to all titles

 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Thailand-Take-Two/book-bF6A-bTeoEu_yaHA-gckog/page1.html?s=oopJNESS9USaKWDMkb_oAw&r=2  

  BARNES & NOBLE

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/matt-owens-rees?keyword=matt+owens+rees&store=ebook   Links to all titles

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thailand-take-two-matt-owens-rees/1117005962?ean=2940148123316   

 CREATESPACE

 https://www.createspace.com/4377678   

Matt Owens Rees can be reached on brigydon@gmail.com and his blog is at https://www.mattowensrees.wordpress.com

 

 

Kendall Kessler Art

Original Art by Award Winning Artist Kendall Kessler

WordPress.com News

Travelogues, Thai culture, Anthropology and everyday Thai life

Matt.Owens.Rees; Thailand Writer

Travelogues, Thai culture, Anthropology and everyday Thai life

The Buttry Diary

Steve Buttry, a journalist in transition (is that redundant?)

JamesRadcliffe.com

James Radcliffe, Musician. Music, Blog, Pictures, Live, News...

BKKBase Random Grumblings

Just another WordPress.com site

Greta van der Rol

Greta van der Rol's author site

Thought Scratchings...

...The bit your brain can't itch, served in a packet of alternative pig shit.

2Summers

An American in Quirky Johannesburg

East of Málaga

Tales from the AUTHENTIC Costa del Sol .... and beyond

Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

An Artist's Eyes Never Rest

50 Year Project

My challenge to visit 192 countries, read 1,001 books, and watch the top 100 movies

CNX Art Connex

Chiang Mai, Thailand

umapornthongtree's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Espresso Shorts

Musings from the world's coffee shops

tvreviewsbyvictorlewissmith

Just another WordPress.com site

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,709 other followers