AOB – 2019

29 December 2019

Guardian OBO on watching England play test cricket in South Africa:

“If you want to feel truly alive, and experience the kind of extreme emotions usually reserved for teens and twentysomethings, just support this team. Ecstasy, anxiety, mirth, bewilderment, rage: you get them all with England – often in the same match, sometimes in the same day.”

28 December 2019


26 December 2019

Test cricket is alive and well – 80,473 at the MCG today for the Australia v NZ test.

25 December 2019

It was inevitable but it is a farce – especially if you have booked flights to get in and out of Chiang Mai on NYE – “54 flights canceled and 37 reschedule due to the risk of fireworks and lanterns interfering with aircraft. The airport will be closed from 7 p.m Dec. 31 through to 1 a.m. Jan. 1.”

Merry Christmas dear reader!

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark will retire in June 2020 after more than three decades at the world’s biggest long-haul carrier.

Having removed all (well both of!) the possible successors that were brought into the airline I suspect the replacement may be the current and unpopular Emirates COO.

Mr Clark, who turned 70 in November, will continue as a consultant to the airline – presumably to run the airline from behind the scenes!

23 December 2019

BREAKING CEO Dennis Muilenburg resigns, as the company struggles with 737MAX crisis – I hate to see anyone losing their job – but Boeing could only move forward with a new CEO in place, who is not as tarnished by the 737Max.

Muilenburg should have resigned months ago – but maybe now Boeing can regroup and move forward.

Very good from Jonathan Liew in The Guardian:
Jaw-dropping sport moments of 2019: England win the Cricket World Cup

Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the country’s public prosecutor has said.

Just not the people that instructed the murder to take place.

The Saudi prosecutor said Saud al-Qahtani, a former high-profile Saudi royal adviser, was investigated but not charged and was released. Nonsense. His hands were as red as Lady MacBeth’s.

The murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, triggered Saudi Arabia’s biggest diplomatic crisis since the 9/11 attacks as world leaders and business executives sought to distance themselves from Riyadh.

Just worth remembering that Khashoggi’s chopped up and mutilated body has never been found.

The CIA concluded that the country’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. The crown prince denies involvement, but told US TV in September that he took “full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia”.

The prosecutor said three more people in the case had been sentenced to jail terms totalling 24 years. All can appeal the verdicts.

The court also ruled that the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul at the time, Mohammed al-Otaibi, was not guilty.

All those sentenced have a right to appeal. Of course the risk is that the death sentence will forever silence people and conceal the truth.

The death penalty is not a solution and does not bring justice. A full accounting of the death of Jamal Khashoggi is still required including the retrieval of his remains.

More from the Guardian:

‘Mockery of justice’ after Saudis convict eight over Khashoggi killing

Khashoggi’s ‘killers’ have been sentenced to death. That won’t detoxify Saudi Arabia

F**k off Huawei and its pathetic western apologists.

Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada a year ago. Her house arrest is in her $16m mansion. With an ankle bracelet she can wander around most of Vancouver. She has access to the best lawyers. An independent Canadian judicial system will determine whether there is sufficient evidence for her extradition to the USA.

Did Huawei break international sanctions in trading with Iran. Probably.

Meng served on the board of Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech, which has business in Iran, according to corporate filings seen by Reuters.

In 2013, Reuters found that the company, which attempted to sell embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran’s largest mobile phone operator, had closer ties to Huawei than was previously known.

Meanwhile these are the conditions endured by Westerners detained in Canada.

This is Peter Humphrey’s first written account of 23 harrowing months in a Chinese jail.

‘I was locked inside a steel cage’: Peter Humphrey on his life inside a Chinese prison

Qingpu prison is in the news after a message was found in a Tesco Christmas card confirming that inmates were forced to pack Tesco charity cards in the freezing, overcrowded jail.

More on Huawei and the domestic backlash that it faces as it seeks the intervention of government officials to detain its own staff. From The Guardian.

This is not rule of law’: detention of Huawei workers sparks backlash

This company is basically protected by, and acts as an extension of, Chinese government power. It should be avoided.

19 December 2019

There are some morons out there in the spam email universe:

“Your unsubscribe request has been received. * When we are updating your subscription status, you may still receive email from this mailing list shortly.”

Duh. I never subscribed – and you are still going to spam me after I have unsubscribed from something that I never subscribed to. Where is the f**k off button?

18 December 2019

More than half of those aged 15 to 24 in South Africa are out of work – The Economist

Which tells you far too much about the state of the nation and the desperation of many.

16 December 2019

Bye bye Twitter – I am done with you until at least 2020.

And when I come back I may engage with you in a completely different way.

Twitter has become a toxic cesspool of hate. Some of the abuse directed at media and other people before and after the UK election was vile. Much of it was also anonymous.

13 December 2019

Meanwhile in Perth: this:

Awful day for the Labour Party and the meaningless Liberal Democrats. With the Tories now having a large working majority in Parliament.

This may have been the TV moment of the General Election coverage:

The Momentum founder, Jon Lansman, was on the receiving end of an extraordinary broadside from the Labour grandee Alan Johnson as they appeared together during ITV’s election coverage. Accusing Momentum of peddling “student politics”, Johnson said: “I want them out of the party. I want Momentum gone. Go back to your student politics and your little left wing.” Corbyn “couldn’t lead the working class out of a paper bag”, the former home secretary added.

Momentum really is poorly named – it is the one thing that the Labour Party did not have.

12 December 2019

Election Day in the UK. #AnyonebutJohnson

10 December 2019

There are things starting to happen at Chiang Mai FC but not necessarily for the best.

You have probably read elsewhere about various departures – our manager who will not be missed and some of the players:

Eliandro to Suphan Buri
Decha (who was on loan from Chiang Rai) to Rayong
Gionata back to Chiang Rai after his loan.
Nont to Chiang Mai United
Surawich to Chiang Mai United

Now: Chiang Mai FC have appointed BGFC legend Amnart Kaewkheaw as their new head coach; the new coaching team includes Tanongsak Prajakata and Kittisak Ranwangpa.

CMFC is back under the control of its real owner Bangkok Glass as it last was in 2017.

How closely will the clubs be run – our first signing is defender Chalermsak Aukkee from Bangkok Glass…others will apparently follow.

A new President of Chiang Mai FC has been appointed: he is already Managing director of Chiang Mai Beverage Company Ltd – Mr. Prapote “Big-one” Keodchareon.

9 December 2019

This off PPRUNE – suggests it is life as normal at Emirates. Rosters may be legal but the build up of fatigue is very real.

“Stay away, stay away, stay away..I left EK early this year and it was the best thing I ever did. My wife tells me I look and act like a completely different person. I didn’t realise how sick I was until I was out of Dubai for about 6 months. That place is poison. Not just the weather, the culture too….Dubai and EK are the worst of everything all in one place.”

1 December 2019

So Watford just fired their second manager of the season – and there is well over half of the season to go!

I wish that I cared – but the fan abuse I got after criticising the Sportsbetio deal simply means that the club really is in the mess that it deserves to be.

Money before values is never the right way to proceed.

A little more background here:

Quique Sanchez Flores: Where did it go wrong for ex-Watford boss?

30 November 2019

Bye bye Thai Honda and Army United – two more Thai football teams to withdraw from the League.

Army commander Apirat Kongsompong last Friday suspended the army’s football team due to its chronically poor performance and financial losses.

Pity this does not apply beyond just the army football team?

27 November 2019

Tai is in Bangkok and in a message to her today I said that I am getting to a point where I do not enjoy anything that I do…

This was after an especially grumpy round of golf where I gave up after ten holes confronted by a six ball in front of me – life really is too short for six hour golf.

She says there are good days – so I asked when was the last time I could say I had a really good day – to which she replied maybe when you were watching football….

The football season ended two months ago – and hardly in a blaze of glory.

So my good days are either a long time ago, very rare or very hard to identify.

I am in a snotty mood – and with a weekend in Bangkok coming up I hope it clears – I fear it will not.

Poor old Gary Rhodes – the English chef – died today in Dubai – he was only 59.

Vanessa (my sister – followers of my blog may remember her!) and I were talking about death the other day – and where and how we will be cremated or buried…..

How quickly we may also be forgotten….

18 November 2019

Emirates has now reported their performance for the first half of the 2019-2020 financial year (April 1 through September 30, 2019).

Emirates Reports $235 Million Profit – These are the airline results only rather than results from Emirates Group, which includes dnata:

Emirates profits were up 282%, to $235 million
Revenue was down 3%, to $12.9 billion
The profit margin was 1.8%
Emirates A380
Load factor was up 2.3%, to 81.1%
29.6 million passengers were carried
Overall capacity decreased by 5%, measured by available seat kilometers
Passenger yield increased by 1%
Emirates operating costs shrunk by 8% (compared to overall capacity decrease by 7%), with fuel costs being 13% lower due to a decrease in oil prices and reduced capacity
Fuel accounted for 32% of operating costs for the airline.

Interestingly Emirates is also highlighting that they carried 7.9% more passengers to Dubai, rather than just having them connect. Obviously one of the goals of the Gulf carriers is to get people to actually visit their hubs.

Emirates notes that revenue was down slightly due to:
The 45-day southern runway closure at Dubai Airport
Unfavorable currency movements in Europe, Australia, South Africa, India, and Pakistan.

Overall not bad – and against the background of continuing large losses at Etihad and Qatar Emirates is showing the advantages of having such a large scale operation.

17 November 2019

The UK election in a short video on twitter:

UK election

12 November 2019

The Land of Footbon – English Thai Football Page reports that: Sukhothai FC Names ‘Coach Aun’ Surapong Kongthep As The New Head Coach Ahead Of The 2020 Season!!

The former Official Chiangmai Football Club head coach took over the helm of the Lanna Tigers, early this year, halfway through the season.

And he did absolutely nothing for Chiang Mai  – though he clearly helped Chiang Rai to their title and celebrated accordingly.

8 November 2019

Figures for the flight cancellations and flight changes for CNX for Yi Peng – 151 flights. Notably some of the cancellations start Nov. 10 be it that the official lantern release dates are Nov. 11 and 12 – probably as a precaution.

96 flights have been canceled while the remaining 55 have been rescheduled to land/ depart outside lantern release hours.

28 October 2019

Cat crap wars – please stop your cats from crapping on our lawn….or I will feel the need to come and personally crap on yours.

November 7th: come back from a few days away – to a pile of steaming cat crap.

The Thai football league season is over. Chiang Mai finished 16th of 16 teams and will go straight back to League 2.

Yet for some reason our players and management celebrated a draw at home to Buriram as though we had won a major trophy. Bizarre scenes.

19 October 2019

Hong Kong
Catalan independence

Just a short list of divisive, entrenched, bitter disputes happening around the world today. And there is little middle ground – you are either on one side or the other. It is making the world a dangerous and unpleasant place.

Totally different issue – I do not much like Rayong.

15 October 2019

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>AIN&#39;s new video explains the Gulfstream G600 Symmetry flight deck and how it not only makes pilots&#39; jobs easier but keeps them well in the loop: <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Matt Thurber (@mtain) <a href=””>October 16, 2019</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

13 October 2019

Thoroughly depressed.

12 October 2019

The two hour Marathon has now been run – at the Vienna marathon – though this was a planned attempt with a team of 45 pacers to keep
Eliud Kipchoge on target.

I cannot even walk 26 miles – let alone run 26 miles!

6 October 2019

Thoughts about the note below – there are well to do folks in HKG who will enjoy the benefits of living there but will not make sacrifices that could benefit future generations in Hong Kong – that is easier to do when you have a passport that allows you to leave.

Should anyone really accept the premise that Hong Kong is fully absorbed into China with heavily controlled curricula, limits on personal and media freedoms, with a heavily censored and controlled internet, with a points based social structure (assessed by who) and with no ability to choose their own leadership.

At a minimum is is helpful to show some empathy for the people that are making sacrifices for the future – the suggestion that somehow the protesters are paid and brain-washed must hugely offend many who simply think this is the time to take a stand.

4 October 2019

So here is a view on events in HKG from a source that can remain nameless – while I disagree it is a point of view that is widely held among those who run or think they run Hong Kong. A few quotes:

“Life actually goes on in many ways as normal. That is the problem with the media. It shows an officer pointing a gun at a schoolboy. Except it did not show the 300 fire bombs these kids threw at the police. The parts of HKG of little strategic protest value are life as usual.

Someone is funding this and provoking those in power to act in a way that will invite condemnation.

Any sane government would have called in support by the PLA by now.

Radical protesters are recruited and paid. Naive kids are being manipulated to blindly follow.

You know how we spend our weekends when the fire burn in protest areas? We retreat to the American Club in Tai Tam and sip cold drinks by the pool…”

This ended with a CGTN video clip being sent to me so that I could “see a piece from the Chinese perspective”

Given that I have already been personally attacked in a Global Times article the video clip was rather unnecessary.

24 September 2019

Boris Johnson has been rogered by the UK’s supreme court in a majority verdict today.

Johnson gave the Queen an illegal order to proroque Parliament, and he had no legal right to suspend Parliament.

Meanwhile at the UN General Assembly Trump’s speech is a full-throated embrace of nationalism and sovereignty.

Which must be music to the ears of nationalist dictators everywhere.

Trump also went all guns blazing against China’s ‘theft of intellectual property and trade secrets on a grand scale.’ He doesn’t do subtle.

4 September 2019

Sir Nicholas Soames – grandson of Winston Churshill and removed by PM Johnson from the Conservative party yesterday for voting with 21 other Tories to allow a debate in the House of Commons to block a no-deal Brexit.

“I want to support this bill. But before I do so, I want to make clear that I have always believed that the referendum result must be honoured. And indeed I voted for the withdrawal agreement on every occasion it has been presented to the house, which is more than can be said for the prime minister, the leader of the house and other members of the cabinet whose serial disloyalty has been such an inspiration to so many of us.

I think history will in due course favour the view articulated so clearly last night by [Sir Oliver Letwin] that a threat to commit an act of self harm if your counterparts in a negotiation do not do exactly as you wish is not exactly likely to be an effective or successful negotiating strategy …

I am not standing at the next election. And I am thus approaching the end of 37 years’ service to this house which I have been proud and honoured beyond words to be a member of. I’m truly very sad that it should end in this way and it is my most fervent hope that this house will rediscover the spirit of compromise, humility and understanding that will enable us finally to push ahead with the vital work in the interests of the whole country that has inevitably had to be so sadly neglected whilst we have devoted so much time to wrestling with Brexit.”


Just for the record – Boris Johnson is a liar, a charlatan; he has no understanding of right or wrong and the truth is an inconvenient nuisance to him.

He can talk – but his actions mean that everything that comes out of his mouth should be doubted, questioned, verified.

His only saving grace – he likes cricket. There are unfortunately rather bigger issues facing Britain.

3 September 2019

My third round of golf in the last couple of weeks after a 7 month lay off….it is good to be back playing but it was so very hot today.

For the most part my ball striking is better – my putting is still very average – a birdie on 12 was the highlight.

31 August 2019 (still)

Nichcolas Kristof of the New York Times comments on a photo by Chris McGrath of a Hong Kong protester using a tennis racket to lob back tear gas grenades at the riot police…noting that “it reflects the ingenuity, courage and determination that I’ve seen in the protests–plus a pretty good tennis game. Much of the coverage understandably focuses on the violence, but remember that of the 2 million or so protesters, the vast, vast share are peaceful. They want what you and I want–freedom and the right to choose our leaders. And at a time when American and British democracy are a bit of a mess and so many people don’t even try to vote, it’s inspiring to see people take such risks and work so hard to try to achieve rights that we take for granted. I’m deeply worried about how these Hong Kong protests will end, because I don’t see either side backing down, but I think the US, Britain and other countries can speak up in ways that reduce the risk of a catastrophe here.”

31 August 2019

Sorry – a couple of weeks without an update.

So I have been to Phayao and caught the game with Pualand in the Thai Amateur League (League 5.) Then onto Chiang Rai to see Chiang Mai thumped 1-3 at home to Trat.

Done my 90 day report.

Flown down to BKK – and then onto Phuket to drive up to Khao Lak for a weekend. Tai and I stayed at the very classy The Sarojin. Very comfortable and relaxed place to stay – and you have to like anywhere that serves breakfast until 6pm.

But 15 years on the scars of the Tsuanami are still deeply felt in Khao Lak. Many Thais will not go there – ghosts.

And the whole area – despite an attractive coastline and the inland hills looks and feels rundown.

In December 2004 over 5,000 people died when the tsunami hit southern Thailand….including some 2,000 foreign tourists.

Many of the deceased were never formally identified.

We passed by the Tsunami Victims Cemetery in Takua Pa near Khao Lak. There are nearly 400 graves here. The bodies, from multiple countries, identified by numbers not names.

The cemetery is abandoned and overgrown. The flagpoles are flagless. The fountains derelict.

Worse against a wall inside the cemetary is a pile of rotting garbage.

Numbers or names. Who cares? 15 years ago all of these people were alive with friends and families. They deserve a memorial that respects the lives that they led and the sadness of their passing.

Back from Bangkok and a long drive onto Chiang Rai – where on Thursday night (29th) Chiang Mai played their postponed game against league strugglers Suphan Buri – and somehow managed to lose 0-1 – after winning 5-1 at home to Nakhon Ratchasima the previous weekend while we were in Khao Lak.

Drove back through Phrao – not a great idea – the road from Phrao to the 118 is poor.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong protests escalate – it has been 13 successive weekends. Yet every action of the Hong Kong government, every utterance from Beijing, and every action from the Hong Kong police force is provocative rather than reconciliatory.

I have no idea how this ends.

And I have started to play some golf again.

16 August 2019

All 233 people have survived after a Ural Airlines Airbus A321 was forced to make an emergency landing in a corn field when both engines failed shortly after takeoff.

Flight U6 178, operated by A321 VQ-BOZ, had just taken off from Moscow’s Zhukovsky airport bound for Simferopol in the Ukraine on Thursday (local time) when the aircraft flew through a flock of birds at about 750ft and ingested birds in both engines.

The flight crew told Russian media the problem began right after takeoff when a bird hit the left hand engine causing it to fail completely, shortly followed by another bird strike into the right hand engine which subsequently provided insufficient thrust to remain airborne. The captain took control and landed the aircraft in an open field.

As simple as that! Offically.

Unofficially. Great flying. Great instincts. Change of trousers.

6 August 2019

This from Jerome Taylor of AFP in Hong Kong is spot on:

“China has to blame “external forces” for Hong Kong’s protests because not doing so would recognise Hong Kongers can think for themselves and might actually have some legitimate grievances they’ve been trying to tell you about for quite some time.”

The Hong Kong pro-democracy – anti-extradition bill protests are into their third month. Neither side looks likely to back down. Hong Kong’s government has all but disappeared – the police have lost the support and goodwill of the majority of the people through excess use of tear and pepper gas and an unprecedented level of concerted violence.

In a rare press conference today, Beijing sounded its strongest warning yet to protesters not to underestimate the power of the Chinese government.

Calling the demonstrators “brazen, violent and criminal actors”, Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the Chinese government, said: “Don’t misjudge the situation or take restraint as a sign of weakness … don’t underestimate the firm resolve and tremendous power by the central government.”

Yang responded to questions about whether Beijing would deploy its military in Hong Kong by reiterating the Chinese government’s support of Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam. Yang said that with the backing of the Chinese government and the people of China, the Hong Kong government and police were “fully capable of punishing those criminal activities and restoring order”.

Yet, across the border in the city of Shenzhen, police took part in riot training in footage released by the state-run Global Times. Officers faced people dressed in black and wearing colourful hard hats – outfits that evoked those worn by Hong Kong protesters – throwing petrol bombs, pushing a trolley on fire towards police, and hitting officers with wooden sticks.

Earlier on Tuesday, masked protesters staged their first “civilian press conference”, in response to government and police press briefings.

Yesterday saw some of the worst confrontations between protesters and police, who clashed in at least seven districts of the city. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protesters who occupied roads and vandalised police stations and arrested 148 people aged between 13 and 63 on suspicion of assault and possession of offensive weapons.


Other bits and pieces:

The Thai League messed up our visit to Chainat by moving their match against Chiang Mai from last Saturday to Sunday with just three days’ notice. Pathetic. How were people supposed to get back to Chiang Mai for work on Monday.

Apparently Chainat wanted more rest after a midweek match and the League said ok.

Trips to Ratchaburi and Chiang Mai for away games were fun visits – two defeats though. I liked Chiang Rai – cooler and not as humid as Chiang Mai.

17 July 2019

The world cup 2022 asian qualifying draw was completed today….some gems in this:

Iran v Iraq
Saudi Arabia v Yemen
North Korea v South Korea

And all of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam drawn in the same group with the UAE. That could actually be a really tough group.

Here are the groups:

Emirates will launch daily flights from Dubai to Mexico City via Barcelona as of December 9, 2019.

Emirates will operate the route using 2 class B777-200LR. This includes 38 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, as well as 264 Economy seats.

EK255 DXB0330 – 0800BCN0955 – 1615MEX 77L D
EK256 MEX1940 – 1325+1BCN1510+1 – 0045+2DXB 77L D

This has been under discussion and on again and off again for a few years. As a route it makes a lot of sense. But the fifth freedom rights will upset AeroMexico and Air Europa who currently fly this 11+ hour route.

Tai is back at Cordon Bleu. And because this is the main assessment term she is focused.

15 July 2019

So England win the cricket world cup and it was wild….

A recap of the most dramatic match in cricket history
New Zealand made 241 for eight
England were all out for 241
The match was tied, which meant it went to a super over
England scored 15 in the super over
New Zealand scored 15 in their super over, which meant the super over was also tied
England won the World Cup on a technicality
That technicality, specifically, was that they hit more boundaries than New Zealand
England have won the World Cup

1 July 2019

22 years since the return of Hong Kong to China. That year has always been such a big part of my life.

26 June 2019

In the silly Chiang Mai news department:

“The Chiang Mai Walking Club has effectively been told to cease operations. It is – or rather, was – a social group who like to walk, a mix of Thais & foreigners. It’s a social thing. There’s no money, no charge to join a walk and always free. Apparently some officious jobsworth has said that any farang leading a walk is operating as a tour guide, which is not just work, but a prohibited occupation that can only be performed by a Thai. As such, the group has to disband.”

This is via Stickman Bangkok and Chiang Mai English News on facebook – so third hand news!

Back from Bangkok and Buriram.

One all grown up; the other a small agricultural town made famous by its football club.

17 June 2019

Take that People’s Daily:

People’s Daily, China @PDChina

Surprise is the greatest gift 🎁

Robert Scott@rascottdotcom
Replying to @PDChina

No – freedom is.

14 June 2019

Am thoroughly depressed this week.

Disheartened by events in Hong Kong.

Restless. Aimless. Direction-less.




Unmotivated. Demotivated.

The sort of things that have been running through my head this week are not healthy….

And I am not entirely sure how to turn this around.

Not a cry for help – as I suspect no one ever reads this anyway.

12 June 2019

Massive protests in HKG against the proposed China extradition law….proud of the people.

Water cannon man became a symbol of Hong Kong’s new resistance.

6 June 2019

Anyone see a trend here:

There is a big royal wedding in the UAE today and which royals are celebrating their weddings? The Gulf News effuses:

The UAE is rejoicing over the Al Maktoum weddings this Eid Al Fitr, that are bringing double joy to the festive season.

Three sons of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, have married three women from the Al Maktoum family.

Sheikh Hamdan is married to Sheikha Sheikha bint Saeed bin Thani Al Maktoum

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, is married to Sheikha Maryam bint Butti Al Maktoum

Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, is married to Sheikha Midya bint Dalmouj Al Maktoum.

Keep all that power and wealth within the family.

5 June 2019

The Economist today : “Thais will discover the identity of their next prime minister today. It will hardly come as a surprise. The junta has all but ensured it will be the existing one: Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army-chief-turned-politician, who ousted an elected government in 2014. Mr Prayuth needs 376 votes, which equates to a majority in parliament. The body is composed of a 250-member appointed upper house, stuffed with regime loyalists, and a lower house, filled with elected politicians after Thais went to the polls in March.

Votes from pro-army parties in the lower house, with likely support from the royalist Democrat Party and the pragmatic Bhumjaithai Party, will put Mr Prayuth over the line. (ed A 19 party coalition with 254 of the 500 lower house seats). The endorsement of the former coup-maker as the first prime minister under the new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, signifies that the military-royalist regime is determined to stay in power. Opponents of such a plan already face harassment and worse.”

30 May 2019

The Economist in a short note this week on the Thai economy:

Trade headwinds: Thailand:

South-East Asia’s second-biggest economy will report manufacturing data for April. The figures are likely to disappoint. The poor performance is a reminder that Thailand is among the world’s most trade-dependent countries. Trade amounts to 123% of GDP, and industrial goods count for 80% of total exports. But the US-China trade war, muddled domestic politics and a strong baht are hurting export-led growth, according to the Bank of Thailand. First-quarter GDP rose by just 2.8%, the slowest pace in more than four years. Public spending and millions of tourists keep things going (Thai consumers are highly indebted and most private investment is tied to trade). The forthcoming military-royalist government is hoping to move the country beyond its traditional strengths—such as agriculture, light manufacturing and heavy industry—to a new stage of economic development, which it calls “Thailand 4.0”. But unless it boosts the skills of the workforce, the upgrade will fail to install.


27 May 2019

F**k me. 62. Old.

Now a few notes from the last few weeks:

A tip of the hat to Japan Airlines for 2-4-2 on their Boeing 787s. and 34 inches of legroom in their long haul version.

The regional version is still 2-4-2 in Y bit with less legroom.

Main meals are served on full size trays. Rare these days. Two let downs – one the IFE – which is just adequate – and two, which JAL has no say in the dreadful tinted windows….which were dark all flight despite being a daytime flight.

So that is Olin done – Alex has been there for four years – and it has been good to get to know the college and the surrounding area a little.

But he has inherited the family restlessness and he knows that it is time to move on.

22 May 2019

Another cabinet resignation in the UK: From a distance I rather enjoy watching the Tory party tear itself apart – the trouble is none of the alternatives in or out of Parliament offer anything more than a power grab; not one has either the policy or the support to make the UK look like anything other than the fractious mess that it has become.

5 May 2019

Coronation weekend in Thailand as Rama X officially becomes the nation’s new monarch.

Though you would hardly notice in Chiang Mai where celebrations appear very muted and few people are wearing yellow as officially requested.

The main coronation ceremony was yesterday. There is the award of new family titles on Sunday morning followed by a parade around the old city.

And on Monday the new King meets with the foreign diplomatic community. No overseas dignitaries or royals were invited to the coronation.

Two days before the coronation there was the official announcement of the royal wedding to now Queen Suthida; who has been his companion for the last few years, but who is now officially recognised as Queen and becomes protected by the nation’s lese majeste laws.

Local breaking news in Chiang Mai this morning: a tram carrying visitors at the Chiang Mai Night Safari flipped on its side while going downhill. There were 40 passengers on the tram and they were all injured. Busy night for the rescue foundations, police and hospitals sorting through the injuries and communication barriers.

Apparently the tram was going downhill when the brake failed. There are no seat belts in the trams.

2 May 2019

A new month. An hopefully a busy one. I need something that keeps me busy. Too many quiet days at the moment.

Have been watching some football – trouble is that ever team I go to see is losing at the moment. Lamphun lost at home to Phrae and the amateurs from Chiang Mai Dream lost 0-7 to Bangkok United.

Otherwise it is simply too hot to do anything or go anywhere.

The house at The Clifford is finished and being rented out from 1 May. So no more visits to check on progress. I wonder what it will look like in 9 and 1/2 years time when the lease arrangements end.

And then there are mother issues at home in England – and Vanessa is over there helping sort issues out alongside Tim.

30 April 2019

I have to confess that not working is bad. I have little to do. Especially in this heat. This is not go out and explore weather – this is hibernate weather. 42C or 43C at its hottest with high humidity.

I did go down to Lamphun on Sunday for their League 3 North top of the table game with Phrae United. Phrea won a surprisingly good game 3-2. It was hot!

23 April 2019

Oops. Distracted.

Quit my job – actually that was back on 29 March. Almost a month has passed. Six months work for three tee shirts is not much of a return.

I will probably write more about this at a future date. I hope the company does well. There are some genuinely clever people there.

But here is the problem. Being the guy who cleans everything up is ok – putting in place contracts where there are none – documenting deals that have been done but that have not been disclosed.

But when you lose respect for the leadership it is time to go.

Meanwhile Watford did beat Wolves in a wonderfully dramatic semi final and will now play Manchester City in the FA Cup final on 18 May.

Tai had a near four week break between her first and second terms at Cordon Bleu. I thought I would be working. Silly me. So Tai went on her own to see my sister in Turkey – and they appear to have enjoyed a great time in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Izmir.

And we are just back from a weekend in Chonburi and Naklua – which included Chiang Mai’s 5-7 defeat to Chonburi FC. Great entertainment.

The Pullman G in Naklua is a bit of a dump and poor in comparison to its sister hotel in Bangkok.

5 April 2019

The Guardian is getting ready for the weekend FA Cup semi finals:

Here’s Watford top dog Javi Gracia on the FA Cup semi-final, and again, not to sound like a tedious old bore, it is rather nice to hear someone talking so enthusiastically about this. Not just the FA Cup and tradition and all that whiffle, but about tangible achievement. Trophies and whatnot.

(Top man Gracia – modest and clearly highly capable. The players play for him.)

“I have never coached in a final. I have reached semi-finals in Russia (as Rubin Kazan boss) but a final I never played and it would be the best achievement in my career for sure.”

“It is something special this season because we worked really hard in pre-season and in all competitions and now we have the opportunity to enjoy with the supporters at Wembley one special game.

“It is very good for all the squad. We have 26 players who have all done well in different moments. It is a good reward for all of them, not just the 11 players who play the next game.

“It is something different for our supporters and I am happy they have the chance to enjoy going to Wembley.”

4 April 2019

Second away game of the season for me – Chiang Mai’s fifth game of the season and my third. Away at Suphan Buri – somewhere I would never have gone to if not for the football.

And we won 2-1 with goals from Eliandro and Azadzoy.

2 April 2019

Sorry there was no 1 April post! No April Fool here.

31 March 2019

It has been an interesting last few days

I quit my as yet unpaid job as acting CFO with a company in Chiang Mai. It is not appropriate to get into the details.

When asked I have only ever said for personal reasons.

Though one of the more astute of our advisors simply looked at me and said – inter-personal reasons.

Actually it is a shame on a number of levels. There are some really interesting people there either working in or connected to the company.

It is a start – up that may go far.

I was about to start being paid – and the extra cash would have been nice to have.

The job kept me busy and challenged. And there are few such jobs in Chiang Mai.

But what had started as 2 or 3 days a week had quickly become full time and more.

The trouble is at my age the work is good; the challenge is good; I just don’t need any nonsense that comes with it.

So we move on. Disappointed.

21 March 2019

Two crashes of the Boeing 737Max jets have now led to the worldwide grounding of the airplane and to investigations into the certification process and into Boeing and the FAA’s response to the original crash at Lion Air.

There were 300 737Max in service and some 5,000 on order. The impact on Boeing will be long term and significant.

LionAir 601 crashed on take off from Jakarta in October last year. Last week Ethiopian 302 crashed on take off from Addis Ababa.

While this was not a 737Max incident 19th March was the third anniversary of the crash of FlyDubai FZ981 at Rostov on Don.

FZ981, operated with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, had originated from Dubai International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates. The weather at Rostov was poor at the time. Flight 981 aborted its first landing attempt and went into a holding pattern for nearly two hours before making a second landing attempt. After aborting the second attempt, the aircraft climbed sharply then descended rapidly and crashed onto the runway. No final report has yet been issued.

Here is a thoughtful post from pprune after the Ethiopian crash:

What is described is actually classic ‘Automation Surprise’ (What’s it doing now?) that is followed by attentional (cognitive) tunneling as the human’s mind grasps at straws to try to understand what is going on.
The suggestion that the machine tells the pilot what is happening is good- except that if there is not sufficient thought a small subsystem like AoA used by a LOT of systems can result in alert messages scrolling on displays all sorts of sounds and alerts and haptics like stick shakers and pushers — all for just an AoA disagree. I think that there is a major human factors failure in modern aircraft where not sufficient thought has been given to the multiplicity of warnings that can come from a small event – and the warnings themselves create problems rather than assistance. There needs to be something like an Failure Modes Effects Analysis that flags up that at this point there are multiple separate warnings being displayed in various ways that will consume the entire cognitive resource of the pilot and not allow his primary AVIATE task any resource. This effect is often seen where something VERY obvious is disregarded as the pilot’s cognitive resources are completely saturated.
Another aspect of the automation surprise is that the workload can literally explode from routine to overload in a second. This takes a lot of training to cope with and an MPL with less than 100 hours live flying is not going to be of any use in one of these incidents and indeed may panic and make extra work for the experienced pilot – effectively the aircraft is being flown by one pilot,

There will be a raft of lessons to be learned from these incidents. Let’s hope that the beancounters learn them too.”

Makes a lot of sense.

20 March 2019

Apparently today is the International Day of Happiness, as proclaimed by the UN in 2012.

Tell that to the victims of Cyclone Idai, Ethiopian 302, the Christchurch killings.

Even anyone about to endure two more years of Brexit.

How about we are happy when we can be rather than when we are told to be.

I am sorry that I have been ignoring this page. Work seems to have taken over. i get home and I am too tired to type anything.

But I will try a quick recap of the month:

A dinner on 3 March for eleven of the folks from and connected to Nordic Lights. We took over the roof – and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Some of these people are just so smart – nice to see everyone relax and be very casual.

We did another dinner on Friday 15th – but had to stay inside as the quality was so bad at the end of last week.

Tai was back from BKK for the weekend and cooked for eight people – chicken from her Cordon Bleu recipe book. Very successful. Had not seen James and Su for a while so it was good to catch up.

19 February 2019

Emirates announced today it will launch a four times weekly service between Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, and Dubai, from 2 July 2019.

18 February 2019

From the Economist:

And nearly five years into army rule, the concentration of power and wealth in the capital has worsened, to the resentment of the provinces. Credit Suisse, a bank, reckons that just 500,000 Thais control two-thirds of the kingdom’s assets. According to the World Bank, over 70% of the budget is spent on Greater Bangkok—the most extreme split between capital and periphery seen anywhere.

15 February 2019

Emirates Airline chief digital and transformation officer Christoph Mueller has apparently resigned from the airline and plans to return to Europe. Did he resign or was he pushed.

Mueller joined Emirates in September 2016; at that time he was both the great hope for change in the airline and also the presumed successor to Sir Tim Clark.

Yet Clark is still in charge and Mueller is out of the door. In little over two years it is doubtful if he has changed anything except the size of his bank balance.

The 57-year-old Mueller has held numerous senior executive positions in the airline industry. Among others he was CEO of Aer Lingus from 2009 until 2015 and joined Malaysia Airlines as CEO before moving to Emirates.

At Emirates, he was eventually tasked with a relaunch of the airline’s digital activities (not much evidence of that) and kept very much in the background, away from the daily running of the business.

I guess banging your head against a wall for over two years must take its toll. Hopefully wherever Mr Mueller goes to next he will have a greater impact and profile.

12 February 2019

Back from a couple of nights in BKK with Tai. Our little Bangkok apartment is a little cramped for two! But no regrets. It is a good development in a good location. And ideal for Tai while she studies there.

But traffic – even on Saturday night was horrible.

Went to the new Icon Siam mall on Sunday. Was surprised to find that I liked it more than I had expected to. There are some nice open public spaces overlooking the river. The souk thailand is well done – and there are new stores there making their debut in the country. Sadly no book store.

2 February 2019

The European Tour are playing golf in Saudi Arabia this week. They should not be. My comments can be read on twitter.

But his as reinforcement is Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee highlighting the Tour’s woefully bad call.

“I cannot imagine what economic incentive it would take to get me to go to a place that is so egregiously on the wrong side of human rights,” he said. “I don’t think they fully understand what they are doing.

“I don’t understand it from an economic point of view, I don’t understand it from a business point of view and I don’t understand it from a moral point of view. They are legitimising and enriching the rulers of this regime. I won’t even watch it on the TV. They should not be there. By participating, they are ventriloquists for this abhorrent, reprehensible regime.”


Qatar won the AFC Asian Cup beating Japan 3-1 in the final in something of a big surprise.

The tournament was of course held in the UAE who continue to choke on the success of the neighbours they have blockaded.

27 January 2019

A current entry on PPRUNE:

“As a recent leaver at EK I can categorically state that apart from most of your colleagues on the flightdeck the place is the most toxic, vindictive, uncaring excuse of an employer you will ever have the misfortune to be indebted too.
On the one hand you have expat management minions of all sorts spending the majority of their day ar$e covering their own incompetence whilst engaging in a b@stardised version of a sociopaths wet dream e.g. inventing new and idiotic edicts that rely on threats, punishment and financial consequences for the mildest infraction, inadvertent or otherwise.
All of this is directed by those from high above who view all staff as nothing more than replaceable and expendable and whom are their possessions to use and abuse as needed.
The palpable reality of no longer being under the heel of a despotic organisation is measurable, in my case my health and happiness. Anyone at EK who says they are even remotely happy and rested are either deluded, deceitful or have come from such beacons of freedom and joy like sub Saharan Africa, Central and South America or have been on the property for less than 5 minutes.”

Says it all really. Of course this applies to most companies operating in the UAE – not just Emirates.

The airline is papering over the pilot shortage cracks with local cadets who should still be flying Cessna 172s and not a Boeing.

A 21 year old local cadet first officer who asks her captain three times where they are on a flight to Europe is both a liability and unfortunately a protected species.

16 January 2019

The shambles that is Brexit:

The vote against the UK’s PM’s Brexit plan: 432-202.

Yet the UK government will win the no-confidence vote tonight.

The so-called meaningful vote was meaningless. Nothing changed.


Parliament does not want No-Deal

But Parliament has not said what it does want – only that it does not want Mrs May’s deal.

And there are 70 days to go until 29 March – when there may by default be a no deal exit.

Alex left yesterday after five nights in Chiang. Great to spend some time with him….he has a huge year ahead of him – life changing!

We did not stay away this year – just hung out on coffee shops – a visit to my office – drives to The Clifford and Lamphun etc. Relaxed.

Very enjoyable.

3 January 2019

Welcome to a New Year. Though it does not feel so different from the old year.

We came back to Chiang Mai on the morning of 30th December. The flights from London via Doha were on Qatar Airways – on time and decent flights. Just 5hrs 20 minutes from Doha. Quick!

New Year’s Eve was spent on our roof-top. Just two of us. Nice, sensible, quiet way to see in the new year.