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Smoko in Samui

      Have you ever felt like getting sometimes away from your regular bed, the same walls and ceiling you have been watching when you are about to turn off your eyes at night and firstly turn on them when the light goes up. Occasionally, yes I have. Life is ways more fun than usual when it gets charged. Ummm…does it sound like a robot? Wandering sometimes somewhere freshens life like showering cold water in the mid-summer day, but it is even better when happiness spontaneously shares. Many said money can’t buy happiness since it truly comes from your heart, but I think it does not mean I have to stop spending altogether. Yeh right…there are tips for the trip my friends and I like to buy happiness.

      Sleepy head could be my term for the first day we planned to visit the Samui Island because my head did not touch my pillow at all, and I am not gonna admit there were butterflies in my tummy, but, in fact, intentionally packed all stuff in the luggage until a green cab waiting in front of the gate of my house to lift me up to the airport. I was the last one after racing against the clock to be in a group of four exploring the island where I once visited when I was about 10. My first step practically touched the ground just around 6.15 in the morning, and we totally did not appreciate with the inhalation from the air surround. Actually the atmosphere was so intriguing but all we needed most was to rest the eyes for one or two hours. The fifth friend who recently stayed before us for a week came to pick up us with a rental car. The good old days back in my head just about almost two decades while I was sitting in the car touring around the island, my picture about Samui has been interestingly changed from the island full with coconut trees and various sizes and kinds of monkeys climbing from one coconut three to others to the new, bright and contemporary island where transportation, buildings, people, seven-eleven stores and other things have replaced all those monkeys. Plus, it took quite a little longer time than I expected to the hotel since we disorderly lost the directions, but optimistically not loosing our heart and nerve for the beginning.

      It was a seriously hot day in the island and instead of having a small talk with friends and lying on the bed tossing and turning while the air con is on below 22, we wanted to spend every second to visit as many spots as we can. We drove to the place where huge stones amazingly are shaped like “Human organs” A.K.A “Grandma and Grandpa stones” which I positively believed I have been there before. Friends of mine made fun with the rocks all around the clock from one side to another. The two huge stones are not very far perhaps just a block or two in your neighbor. Between the two sides from the parking area along the way to that hot spot, small shops with T-shirt mostly printed all about Samui, Hats, Sarongs, Samui-inspired decor and Girl Accessories, but one thing my eyes were struck was “Kalamae” which it has been said that visitors should try when visit the island. Anyway, I did and enjoyed them whether the taste was good or just my stomach was crying out for.

      In search of coconut curry for the Samui’s signature meals, the first thing I asked the waiters before sitting on the wooden chair with the rough texture of the trunk of coconut tree about Wai Kooa which is a traditional dish which I found in the travel magazine. The photo of it I saw was a spicy and sour coconut-based curry with octopus and the color is red blended with yellowish hue. When it was delivered, I pulled myself determinately together and asked the sender if it was the right one I ordered. The color of the curry was between mauve and lilac also together with the tone of coconut milk. A little debate was started between me and the waiters to make sure they got it correctly. It turned out to be me who lost! My friends said we could experiment again in the next restaurant though. The road in this island was not too zigzag like that in Bali, but somewhat reminded me they are chiefly alike such as the roadsides, shops, building structures and even the touch of hotel furnished. It was my turn to substitute a friend who was totally exhausted. Back to the hotel, we got changed and were ready to spree to the white sand beach. Running on the smooth silky surface with no rubbish made me feel like nothing to be scared of, unlike other beaches which the color of sand were gnarled, and people with a carrying pole selling papaya salad, grilled chicken, and even mobile fortune tellers. Can you believe that? Have you ever wondered and imagined if our life is smooth like flawless sand in the Samui island, it would be splendidly, beautifully, happily ever after like a fairy tales. Hello! Back to the real world, weakness, depression, depravation, pain and other sufferings represent as the garbage and fragments of glass, and if we know how to stay avoid from then we would bravely try hard to continue walking for our life. We enjoyed merging a friend into the hole we made and covered him with the sand and provoked if he could be survive to play crash the bubbly waves in the sea before the sun light touchdown the boundary between sea water and sky.

       Koh Samui is a living, working island with distinctive local habits and customs which I am impressively proud of and I think Samui city is not different from Bangkok especially in Silom; foreigners. That night we dined at a hotel which it was said an exotic smart resort in Koh Samui. For me, comparing it to a lady, this hotel was like a young smart and very fashionable, but I prefer the one in which I stayed decorated in Thai style and the touch of combination between north and south I could say "a perfect match" like a classy sophisticated woman.

      The next day we took a ferry to Nangyuan Island to do snorkeling in the morning. While driving to the dock, my memory went backward like 10 years ago when I did skin diving in the island of Langawee. That was a good moment for me since it was so beautiful, but  the only one thing I always was anxious because of a spiny shell. Fortunately, I could not see any sign of that scary creature… Phew! A friend asked all of us to jump from the ferry instead of queuing to climb down the ladder. I felt that I could practically taste some salt from my mom’s kitchen when I jumped down into the sea, and my life jacket flew away like it really hated me. After everything was fixed, we delightfully had a good time and spent like an hour taking photos up and down there. The next 30 minutes we reached Nangyuan Island for buffet which we finished all and left nothing on those plates, not very sure if the food was good or just we were very tired. I was looking for my close friend who is the most talkative and it is hard to find the moment he stopped moving his mouth. Just wondering where he was…. and there he was, feeding fish…. Literally, not the food, but vomiting, it probably was the seasickness. You now might get this was the moment he stop talking temporarily.

      Feeling on the top of the world could be possible and just in our hand which we all are not supposed to conquer the Everest. We hiked to the top of the mountain and looked down to the island. Like it said “the harder you concentrate on something, the better or even the best outcome you will get” we all were so released from all obstacles we faced. After we were back to Koh Samui, we ended the day by jumping to the sea next to the hotel and played it like we left our lag behind in both sea and a pool. As it was the last night in this city, we dined out with local meals again and the most important thing was that I really need to fix my anxiety with Wai Kooa color. The foods here were so spicy more than those in Bangkok, which I liked them very much and of course Wai Kooa was not in red. Probably I have to find that magazine and try to see if the photo color was misprinted!

      The last day in Koh Samui when I was 10, I collected cocktail stirrers when my mom and cousins finished all drinks. I loved them very much because the shape of it imitated like a coconut tree with its stem consisted of green segments. However, my last day this time, I collected nothing I could visibly touch, but advantageously, profitably, usefully learnt and kept them in my memory instead. The white sand is like the pathway without difficulty, but when it comes with dirty and glasses then I know how to find ways to protect myself. As I said earlier, Happiness can really be bought…right? In the nutshell, do I sound like still having a good time with the island and never forget to use its shell? J I think I still cannot imagine how beautiful wonderful colorful the places in Thailand are until I feel and touch by myself. Our country is amazing!  Don’t you think so?

  

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Mall People

    

      Perhaps just leaving home or having fun outside is the most startling theory to some people when holiday/s arriving on the scene. But for some, occupying their times with members in front of HBO, entertaining kids with the PlayStation3 and, chitchatting over the dining table are schemes they’ve been waiting for. My mom and I were pleasurably satisfied with few and far between “cars”, as a result of most Bangkokians have departed from their cribs, on the streets 2 weeks ago before she kidnapped me away from town. It has been said to be true the happiness won’t last in which the smiles went down and the eye browns rose up. Those hidden cars just were in sight and almost cling together gradually moving like snails glued at the bottom. No wonder the streets were desolated but the entries and the parking of malls. I can’t tell where people enjoy in town for holidays, but obviously shopping malls answered this. Do we hinge on “Shopping Malls” when we are free? Are we mall people? And how old is too old to be mall people?

     Having fun for some people involves with getting out of home, having something nice to look at, seeing other people, enjoying a choice of activities even filling in your stomach or catching the latest movies. Shopping malls have theoretically supported all generations from A-Z. This has become a mainstay of most people who want to kill a little (or a lot) of time updating and enjoying lives. My eyes have been struck with teenagers, couples on dates and the nuclear families, which the three packs can be frequently seen everyday at malls most of the time I visit. I couldn’t remember my first time at mall, but I do remember my papa allowed me to choose a music box I loved to play most (Robots too). I picked the red one which its shape like a tent of circus  together with a clown in white dress dancing with its arms and legs that could freely swing rhythmically ,and this was my favorite one among other music boxes he gave me. Also the way my mom and maids shop was totally different from how we buy things now. “Fresh market” had never been in a big hall with air-con on, but now we could do just one stop service in malls which now become an effective way of lives, guess what? If there were no malls, our lives would have been just a little bit difficult…wouldn’t they?

     Some sources said the age range of “Mall People” is between13-19. Personally I think, there is no fixed age because the higher number are around the clock in every corner…ummm even in my age, my friends and I like hanging out at malls either eating or window shopping, and are still “friending” with venders. Yehh right!…just free coupons or little advantages for free gifts with reasonable prices. I admit that I mostly buy things from malls because it is convenient and no worried sick about stuff I pay for. However, my mom and I still like the weekend market in the neighborhood (cheap, good and scrumptious). Speaking back to the empty streets, Western keep the fireplace on and stay, astonishingly Eastern keep the door closed and get out for fun. No matter how you slice it, should the term of “Mall People” ;elderly, teen, married, single or whomever, be listed in the dictionary since malls take part as the seventh requisite ( this is just what I think following car and cell phone) as well as the Urban Dictionary does. Still now when I see the escalator, it brings the good old days back picturing I ran up toward the moving down staircase I really loved to do when I was a kid! Have you?

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Flying to the Moon, Mid-Autumn Festival 08

     Dark, New, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter, Waning Crescent are the phases of the Moon which I think they are amazing phenomena, but in the night of “Mid-Autumn Festival” or “The Chinese Moon Festival”, the Moon will be extremely round, big and bright! Instead of looking at it, would you ever doubt how the moon has a powerful allure? It is full of beauty, legend, myth and romance. Oops! Sorry this is not supposed to be an academic journal. The lunar festival is knocking on the door and the moment I am waiting for is at hand. The choice of its theme—celebrating the glories when Chinese overruled the Mongolians by Mooncakes and mysteries of the moon—was a natural. When I was a little kid, I was delighted by standing in front of the outdoor table with those sugarcane sticks bended like a bridge over the altar in the moonlight, and looking and following the blinkers at the frame of the moon lady’s picture. Fruits, flowers, new skincare products, cosmetics and of course Mooncakes were arranged between two red candles. As soon as we lighted incenses, my mom told me to pray kindhearted the Moon Goddess for good fortune and peace. The tales of moon lady had been told many times and many versions, yet no one is certain of all the details of the Chang Er Legend; was around 2170 B.C., but the story I like and believe the most goes something like this:

     There was a young beautiful girl named Chang Er working in the Jade Emperor’s palace in heaven where immortals and fairies lived. One day she accidently broke a precious porcelain jar. Angered, the Jade Emperor banished her to live on earth where ordinary people lived and transformed her into a member of a poor farming family. One time, a strange phenomenon occurred—10 suns arose in the sky instead of one, blazing the earth. Hou Yi an expert archer shot them down but one, becoming an instant hero and eventually became king and married Chang Er. Out of respect for the good deeds he has done, the Queen Mother of the West rewarded him an elixir and said if he and his wife share it, you will both enjoy eternity life. One of Hou Yi’s trainees tried to steal it by killing him, but another legend says smashing. Change Er ran into the wood with tears and swallowed the elixir instead of giving it to a wicked and merciless man. Due to the overdose, she went floating up into the sky toward the Moon. Soon reaching the moon, she coughed out the pill which later turned into a Jade Rabbit who manufactured elixirs accompanying with a woodcutter Wu Gang which is another fun tale. The queen mother granted the moon lady’s wish by making Hou Yi immortal too. Chang Er now rules over the lunar kingdom “Palace of Great Cold”, while Hou Yi rules over the solar realm. They are only allowed to meet once a year on the mid-autumn day, the full moon night of the 8th lunar month.

     The enduring legend of the Moon Goddess reflects the feminine principle of Yin, as opposed to the masculine principle of Yang, which is symbolized by the sun. Some tale has told that Hou Yi was a cruel King so she decided to stop his immortal life by taking the pill her own, but another said about her curiosity, like Pandora box in Greek mythology since the man already warned the woman not to open the elixir box. She paid absolutely no heed to his caution and could not resist the fragrance so she irreluctantly swallowed it. The story ends with Chang Er ‘s imprisoned on the Moon in the form of a three-legged toad as a punishment by the Western Queen Mother. Sometimes the tale becomes a critique of the haughtiness and selfishness of the beauty. Anyway, I just happen to love the version I mentioned first. My mom said there is nothing to speak of for some, and nothing upstairs in this belief for several since Apollo11 had landed on the Moon and searched no sign of a lovely girl with a big rabbit. This is how the tradition of worshiping the charming girl who has been living there for 4000 years has been dropped off. How could she never get so old? Is the elixirs for the rabbit perhaps? The controversy of “some” Chinese elderly has ironically claimed that those crews had no fate to marvelously see these superstitions. Ouchhh! This was getting heated up. On the contrary, the Chinese in San Francisco’s China town hold a Moon Festival as the way to bring back visitors and attract new ones. Anyway, no one really knows if the Moon lady is really breathing, and for whatever reason brought this fairy belief to us, but this has been told and retold by countless parents to their children over the course of hundreds of years, the story changing minutely each time. Yet, the outcome of the story shows the tragedy of separation and longing; spending an eternity in isolation separated from her man and the world.

     There is one thing I can positively guarantee that Chang Er beautifully stepped on the moon. Oh yeh… you heard it. In 2007, China launched its first lunar probe, named Chang Er 1 in the Goddess’s honour, which will take 3-D images of the moon surface for yearlong, on Oct 24. See? This is the groundwork for the next Chang Er 2 project in 2012 and Chang Er 3 in 2017 for Chinese astronaut on moon project. So if you have a chance to drop by at a Chinese grocery or a bakery, try to spot her image on the mooncake’s box accompanying with the big hare. Now, I guess my mom has already prepared all those offerings and a set of Estee Lauder for this coming Mid-Autumn Festival. If you get ready to open your heart to this Chinese Moon night, the legend would be at least inherited pass down to another generation. And remember; do not confuse the image of Chang Er in the palace of great cold with a bunny girl from Hefner’s mansion.

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Heads or Tails

      It has been awhile I have not fed myself a piece or two of KFC and without anything in my empty stomach in the late afternoon. I quickly decided to cut other choices and walked directly to the finger licking restaurant after I had my trunk filled up with all grocery and other things from a supermarket. Just a few minutes of picking a set from various menu items to go, I gave a KFC guy with a 500 baht bill with some extra coins in order to get three of a hundred baht bill back. He returned me different bill from what I expected, common I am not a fussy customer, then I requested him nicely. Instead of giving me what I wanted, he handed me an extra hundred bill and continually served next customers. I was waiting like 5 mins perhaps to tell him about the mistake he has made. This makes me smile for a day even though it was a small good thing helping him not to loose his earnings and me not to create bad karma. How is a life jeopardized by doer’s action or happened by the retribution?

    Earlier that afternoon, a guy easily noticeable with a dress code of Ruamkatanyu Foundation or something or other came to me twice back and forth in the parking at the bank. He showed me how much those death bodies with no kith and kin have been longing for clothes, coffins and more. Only I could afford a small option he offered. Have u ever wondered if this donation really is going whole hog or gone with the wind? I have…alright, I know it is not so optimistic, but just my devil’s own time whispering me around. Thinking as in virtue of dharma, the good will come when you act and think nice. These were not going to be milestones in my life, but they were absolutely being pleasure in that day.

     Whether being in the responsibility you are willing to or it is an irresistible must, you may like it, love it somewhat or even be hooked on it. Conversely, you might get bored often and thinking “Cast Away” is truly happening in your life with no questions asked or questioning no one around. Some people think it is a bad karma you need to repay, but some believe it is just wrong place… wrong time. Happiness is what we long for and the question is where we could catch one. We greet with happiness occasionally and face sadness sometimes, still each wont last. Instead of being in a bottle waiting for happiness or someone rubbing and setting you free, rescuing ourselves by trying to be happy is a choice, recommended. You don’t need to seek out and struggle to own happiness; the real ones are inside us. The answer is only you and I could feel those if we know exactly how to manage smiling and wash away these tears. Either the face of a coin, you don’t know what side appears and another is invalid. No matter what circumstance shows, you are the one who tosses and follows whether the coin tells or not. At last, happiness will certainly be right next to your heart.

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Ting mama de huo

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Miss U X’Mas.

    

       Would it be nice to share a good time with your loved ones in the special moment of year which of course makes you feel so special and warm? Yes, it would for myself and hopefully for everybody as well. Hey! Christmas Eve is around the corner. Santa is approaching real soon and passing by just a quick snap. It is just one time moment I should appreciatively seize it and make it bring out all the joy even though there are so many things keep bugging in my head. Anyway, smiling replaces blue…It works! The good thing about X’mas are gifts and home made apple pie baked fresh and other sweet treats from your friends coming for a party. Excuse me..! Do I sound so greedy? Comon… they are irresistible options.

 

     The sound of rocking sleigh bells in smooth rhythm but not too rapid either on around the necks of those reindeers or in Santa’s hand makes not only my heart beat enjoyably, but all five senses gradually, joyfully and impressively work and collocate. Cold wind blows at night underneath the stars which brighten up the sky as it is thoroughly colored by the hand of angles. Every year, the sign of the beginning in this season appears with snow flakes before the ray of sun comes up. I do remember the feeling when touching the window in my bedroom which was full of dew and frost that were condensed from the outside that was so cold like touching the pack of ice cube with those bare hands. People were smiling everywhere I went; school, little shops along the way to my home and even those total strangers driving pass by happily calling out “Merry Christmas” to me.

 

      Here comes a pine tree, it is a thing I would never forget to own one since it including all those blinkers moving and changing color around its branches brightens up my home and my mind much more lively and energetic. Years ago a friend took me to a place where so many X’mas trees sold. It was a very small field next to the main street and was fenced with barbed wire which the owner tried to protect all those trees from being stolen with no charged. We looked for a good shape one with a reasonable price. Unfortunately, we got there late and that all nice ones were already occupied. But, oh I like this “but”, a tricky Mexican salesman would get us a nice tree with just $70 dealing with one serious condition, do not tell the owner. The tree was tied up with a convertible and with both of my hands wrapped around. The great thing of doing a Christmas tree is that you and closed friends are helping and arguing with how all the ornaments should be located.

 

     Let’s cut to the party, you may not know what surprise is going to surprise you until your friends arrive. Each ornament from each guest is hung on the tree. That is the first surprise! Next the joy of giving is getting started with various gifts wrapped by colorful wrapping attached with a card written a specific name on its envelope underneath the glittery tree. Imagine that everyone s here for happiness and share a good time with a warm hug with cheeks to cheeks, and unstoppable smile to one and another while talking and serving meals.

 

     “If everyday could be Christmas, What a wonderful world it would be. We could carry this feeling within us all through the year. If everyday could be Christmas”. If this happens as the way the lyric is written, what would it feel like to you? It would be a very long holiday with no bad mood allowed, but love and joy. For this year Christmas, it might not be as happily, enjoyably, vividly fun as the previous years. Many friends have been replaced by loneliness which I am accustomed to it and now it becomes my good friend anyhow. Church, X’tina, Carrey, Kenny G, N’Sync, and many more are playing Christmas songs through nights of December filling gaps of my lonely moment. Hellooo!  I am not that so blue, but just don’t see a candy cane sticked inside the big red sock on the wall L.

 

     From the mistletoe to silver bells, I believe everyone would remember a special occasion or occasions that come once a year. They just have come and gone by another year through another year. Of course the moments are passing by but we will make memories which would last forever. In reality, we all live with hopes and so do I who wait for the season this year and the next and the next. Cant wait to see the red nose Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, Blixem and my favorite Prancer really know how to fly.

 

     Merry X’ mas and Happy New Year

     Feliz Navidad

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