AOB – 2006

31 December 2006

My thoughts are with those people and families who have been killed or hurt in tonight’s bombings in Bangkok. No cause justifies killing and maiming innocent people.


A very quiet new year. Tai is in Colombo. I am in Dubai ! I wish we could have had new year together but we have a whole year a head of us and hopefully we will always have plenty of reasons to celebrate.

30 December 2006

Time flies by and it has been a busy few days. I do sometimes make things more difficult and complicated than they should be !

Dubai is nice at this time of year. The weather is kind; mainly sunshine. Maybe 21C – 22C in the day and cooler at night.

We have been out to Global Village; basically a large market full of things that you never needed masquerading as an international fair.

Last night was a nice dinner at Pisces restaurant at the fabulous Souk Madinat Jumeirah hotel. This is a lovely collection of buildings finished with traditional wind towers on the west side of the Burj al Arab.

Tai will be spending her New Year’s Eve in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Little known fact – I used to play cricket for the London Sri Lankans. Lovely people. Opposition scorers loved me as I was the only player on our team whose name they could spell…..

It will be a quiet new year. I will miss her.

26 December 2006

Christmas Day was spent in Dubai. Emirates were kind to us and Tai was not called up for a flight. So we had our first Christmas Day together…..a nice lunch, a little shopping and a few friends for snacks and drinks in the evening.

There really is no where else I want to be and no one else that I would rather spend my Christmas with.

And we ski-ed this morning at the Dubai ski dome; the first time that Tai had ever seen snow; and the first time that she had ever been that cold. As always her enthusiasm is joyful and engaging.

She liked it enough to want more lessons! It was fun – best advice – get there early – it was getting crowded later in the morning.

All I want for Christmas: but where was the white beard??

Or maybe two is better than one:

24 December 2006

Better now; emotional but better! I have never known one person be able to make me feel so good and so certain or turn me into an emotional, unsure, sleepless wreck. I like the former; the latter is life-sucking.


No news from Dubai – and it is past 9am there. I need someone to tell me that everything is OK. Smoke signals, sms, mind meld, msn, a phone call. Anything that would make me feel better than I do right now.

23 December 2006

Scared tonight – really scared. Not for discussion here. Just crossing all my fingers.


Scary !!! Before and after.

Worse than going to hospital for major surgery !!!  

Not really that bad !

20 December 2006

Could someone please make this week go a bit faster. Every day I am away from Dubai seems like a day wasted. The rest of my life is waiting for me there. I am already packing.


Played golf with my pro golf teacher at Subrapruek today – and shot a better gross score than him. Ok he was not felling great and had a bad day ! But I played the back 9 in 39 (6 pars and 3 bogies) and shot 83. Yes the front nine was very untidy at times, mainly because I kept 3 putting! But it was good enough to win by one shot. And it was a windy day so conditions were not easy. The course is in lovely condition.

It is a very nice golf course. Shame about the management.


Tai meanwhile had a 4am turnaround flight to Bombay. This meant getting up at midnight and leaving for work at 1.30am. Anyone who thinks this job is glamorous should consider the hours. They can be most unfriendly. I played golf while she worked! I almost feel bad. I should enjoy it while I can!

17 December 2006

Golf today at Bangsai – the weather was great – cool early on and a nice breeze (or was that a two club wind) all morning !

The weather was better than my golf. I am still very distracted. My mind and heart are in Dubai. People are being really nice. They are happy for me and are sure that I am doing the right thing.

Someone said they have never seen me happier – I think that is true.


A real thai food blog! Thanks to Dennis for the link!


What is it about the letter B….as AOB’s favorite jet-setter visits Bolton, Beirut and Bombay in the course of a week, and Bahrain last week…..what next, Birmingham, Beijing. Better still, Bangkok. And a few friends downunder would say come to Brisbane!

14 December 2006

Strange problems with the AIS mobile network for the last 24 hours – I can send messages but cannot receive any – AIS say this is due to technical upgrades – that is a very strange upgrade.

Rather like phoning their help desk.

For English Press 2. So I press 2.

If you would like to talk to an operator please press 0.

To hear this menu again please press 1.

This is not much of a menu – I imagine its a bit like dinner in the gulags. There was only one choice. Playing the menu again seems rather unnecessary!

13 December 2006

At least Bolton begins with a B – maybe there were secret thoughts about heading to BKK.

It has not been an easy day – I feel a like a kid who went to the sweet shop, was given some candy and then had it taken away immediately.

Still – only 11 days to go ! And then back to Dubai.

Have had some very supportive messages from friends and family. It is great that everyone feels so positive about Tai and I. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I hope I make her as happy as she makes me.

And I promise not to leave soap suds on the cleaned dishes !


There is a nice page of pictures from Istanbul now on the site.


Meanwhile as I head for bed someone is still 80 minutes out of DXB. Happy landings !

12 December 2006

Even I am a little surprised at how personal this blog has become in a short time.

This is a really odd day. There is a large part of me that is incredibly at ease and happy. I am certain about moving to Dubai; I am certain about being with Tai. For once in my life I have a dream to pursue.

But today she is heading west to Manchester and I am heading East to Bangkok. She was leaving from gate 15 at 7.55am and we were next door at gate 17. So strange. We were due to leave at 8.10am but pushed back at 9.23am.

Mentally I have already moved. And I really do not want to be heading back to BKK.

11 December 2006

Saying goodbye to Bunny !

Forgot to mention that I also did the ironing, unblocked the sink…..

The TV is now working – no thanks to me – but to a very puzzled looking electrician who kindly gave up two hours of his day to help !

Yesterday I made the bed, vacuumed the apartment, did the washing up, tried (badly) to get the tv working, repaired the garbage bin……it must be love !!! Time to find a real job – cant be a housekeeper for too long !

Must remember to put 3 in 1 Nescafe in a cup – not a mug – apparently this is very important !

But should Earl Grey tea come in a large camel mug!?

10 December 2006

One minute it is 3.30pm – next thing I know it is 5pm. Must have been tired.


A red letter day for Tai – as she makes her first regular flight as EK crew. The last two flights were as an extra crew member for observation and training; though as far as I can tell the supernumerary flights are hard work…..other than sitting in the flight deck for a landing and take off! I am proud of her; she has worked very hard.

9 December 2006

The A380 recently added BKK’s new airport to its recent tour of Asia – flying non stop to BKK from Toulouse. Maybe that will save the Thai Air purchase order. Mind you – Thai needs the planes so are unlikely to pull out of the deal. That would hurt them competitively – and some of their old 747s are creaking at the seams.


5 December 2006

We have internet access – hang out the flags !

Reasons to fly Emirates:

I do like this picture.

Personal stuff is fairly rare on this website; but a great deal has been changing in my life over the last few months. All for the good.

Tai’s move to Dubai has asked a lot of questions about what is best for her and for me. She has a new life and career in a new city. It is a great opportunity. But it is an opportunity that hopefully we can share. I have a best friend, someone that I am completely at ease with. Someone I want to be with rather than away from. I had forgotten how good it is to be in love with someone; to be with someone who makes your heart beat faster every time you are together and who I know I love. I hope I make her happy; not just tomorrow and next week but for the rest of our lives. She is a very special woman.

3 December 2006

Am in Dubai – very limited internet access right now – Sorry !

Dubai International Capital are reported to be bidding for Liverpool FC.

And in the most important news of the day Emirates newest, happiest and prettiest flight attendant makes her maiden flight today. The skies will never be the same again.

30 November 2006

It is graduation day for Tai and her friends at the Emirates Training College.

And everyone is relieved that the 5 weeks of training is finished and excited that their new career is beginning for real, The excitement is infectious.

Graduation is a big event attend by senior management of the airline; presentations are made in the theater at the college. Family and friends are allowed so I will report form there later.

29 November 2006

The Guardian reports today that : European internet usage is booming with surfers across the region spending over 11 hours a week – an hour more than last year – sending emails, visiting websites, holding online chats and downloading music, according to new research released today.

Am I the only one surprised that it is only 11 hours a week. Or am I addicted?


So at long last I find a fast internet connection to update the videos on the web site – and as I am uploading youtube goes offline for scheduled maintenance and upgrades. Growl !!!


Good flight from Istanbul. A bit chaotic in Dubai but that is another story for another day. People can be very frustrating!

Big meal on the plane – a chicken tikka appetiser, greek salad, spiced, fried cod fish, cream cheese, chocolate dessert, wine from full bottles. All accompanied by a cd of Monty Python’s greatest hits. Michael Palin has come a long way !

28 November 2006

The only problem with Istanbul Airport is how dark the departure areas are. There are plenty of places to shop, or sit or have a coffee. But there is no where that you can read because the light is so bad.


There are shoe cleaners all over Istanbul. And for the first time in my life I sat down and had a professional shoe clean. He insisted that I needed to change the shoe laces to a colour that he thought was a better match…but he did a great job on my shoes. They look and smell new !


We should be away from Istanbul on time. Good news as the flight does not land until 1.15am.


Why am I always sat at the front of economy – seem to get an aisle seat at the front of EY without even needing to ask for it. Is it from being a Skywards member; or just being a white guy??? I wonder.


Glad I have seen Istanbul. But it is time to go somewhere with blue sky and sunshine.


It had taken over 90 minutes to upload 92% of video 8 of my travels and then I lost the wireless connection! Arrghhhhhh

27 November 2006

The local laundry is a strange establishment. You walk into the basement of a local home. There are two women who appear to supervise and one guy who appears to do all the work, It was not cheap. But that might have been the foreigner rate! I have never thought it necessary to haggle over the laundry cost?

But as I left they gave me a small English book – Belief and Man; basically an English translation of chapters of a Turkish book explaining the relevance on the Qur’an in the modern world. 

That’s the first time that my laundry has hinted the need for salvation !


The number of men fishing on Galata bridge is staggering. Even in the cold they look like they spend the day there. And they don’t catch much other than a few small sardine like fish.

But the hotel owner where I am staying says that they are not there by choice. They have been thrown out of the home by their wives. And the choice is fishing or the coffee shop. The Sunday Yeni Safak newspaper reported on the use of coffee houses as a male refuge.

Here in the “kahvehane” or “kahve” they drink tea and play cards. There are about 40,000 such coffee houses in Istanbul and 450,000 across Turkey. They are there because their wives do not want them at home while they clean the house, watch soap operas and gather with other women. One owner told the newspaper that “this is not our place for fun, bit rather an exile.”


My travel videos seem reasonably popular: to date there have been  Video Views: 162 and Channel Views: 33.

More updates to come but the wireless connection is slow – sorry.


Anyone see Ronaldinho’s goal this weekend against Villareal? Amazing.


Meanwhile in Dubai yesterday winter finally arrived as rain and wind swept into town and temperatures plummeted. City-goers reached for their knitwear as temperatures plunged from 28.6 degrees to a refreshing 18.5 degrees within the space of four hours. I guess there are different definitions of winter !

26 November 2006

It is a worry: A 23-year-old James Bond fan, David Fearn, of Walsall, has changed his name to James Dr No From Russia with Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live and Let Die The Man with the Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View to a Kill The Living Daylights Licence to Kill Golden Eye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale Bond.

Bet that looks good in his passport!


Walked miles today exploring Istanbul. It is cold here and dark by 5pm. Spent most of the day in Sultanamet; in the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya. You can read all about these in a guide book or travel site so there is little that I can add.

Walked around the sea wall (Sea of Marmara) to Galata Bridge; crossed that – dodging the fishermen – and went to Taksim Square (looks like it was built by the East Germans – it is ugly).

25 November 2006

Yesterday was a good day. We had lunch at the art cafe in Bastakia; walked along the creek; then went out to the Mall of the Emirates – and searched Carrefour for something that resembles a white carrot ?

Dinner was at home with a some wine and a lot of chat. A good day.

Then today I caught the EK 77-300ER to Istanbul. It is a four hour flight from Dubai. The plane was not full so the service was fairly relaxed. The food not bad. The 300ERs are newer planes; the seats are more comfortable and they are equipped with EK’s ICE video and music on demand system. Some 600 channels of films, video and music and there is still nothing to watch!

I am staying in old Istanbul, Sultanament. A good walk around the neighbourhood and down to the Galata bridge. This is like nowhere else I have ever been. It is also quite cold !

24 November 2006

Christmas is coming even to Dubai. In The Mall of the Emirates the decorations are everywhere, stores have Xmas trees and gifts and it is all jolly festive. So strange !

23 November 2006

Had a nice dinner by the beach in Dubai last night; but it was a reminder of how expensive this city is!!

But I could not complain about the view!

22 November 2006

Good morning dear reader from Dubai! It takes just over six hours of Emirates Airlines purgatory to get from BKK to DXB on a packed, sardine like, 777-300.

With three late night flights to Dubai the check in at BKK was very busy and that took about one hour in an unruly queue.

The 777-300 is a dreadful plane when it is full. The 3-4-3 seating in simply one seat to many and a sense of claustrophobia takes over !

A rather overly English crew made it sound like a bad British Airways flight as announcements were delivered in a broad yorkshire accent.

Still, I am here in Dubai. The weather is stunning. The local cafe has free wireless internet. And someone was pleased to see me !

I am trying to keep a videoblog of this trip. It does take a long time to upload the videos. So please be patient if the updates are not too frequent !

The videos are on Youtube and this is the link!

18 November 2006

Portsmouth vs Watford today; David James, who was a junior and then first team ‘keeper at Watford before moving to Liverpool is in goal for Portsmouth. James probably should still be England’s goalkeeper. Meanwhile Ben Foster is in goal for Watford. OK, so he is on loan from Liverpool but he was in our promotion side last year so is Watford through and through; and Ben is now the youngest ‘keeper in the England squad.

And Watford lose to another last minute penalty for the second time this season. The rub of the green (for a mixed sporting pun) has not been in Watford’s favour this season.


Strangely we have a thunderstorm in Bangkok today. It has not rained here for a few weeks; blue skies and great weather recently. But the rains have returned.

16 November 2006

Why is George Bush in Singapore? I know he is going to Vietnam for APEC but he flew from the USA to Moscow and then onto Singapore. Singapore is hardly a stop on the way to Vietnam. Strange.

Was Singapore the only country that wanted to see him?


Very feverish last night – hardly slept. Every bone on my body was aching. Not good.

15 November 2006

More Christmas carols – deck the halls with lots of junk –


Across Thailand there is a national debate about Coyote Dancing and promotion girls – pretties as they are known here.

But what would a major event be without a few good looking girls dressed up as advertising hoardings….try this!

The one stop lubricant girls are certainly the best named.

14 November 2006

Heard my first Xmas carol today – in Siam Paragon.


Shopping in department stores in Thailand can be such hard work. I have never understood the need for the store attendants to swarm over me as soon as I stop to take the slightest interest in a product. Given the limitations of language the best they can usually so is tell me what the signs say – ‘discount yih sihp per cent’ for instance.

And then they stand there and hover.

Maybe it is cultural. Maybe a Thai shopper likes this very personal attention. Me – I find it claustrophobic and have to walk away. There goes another sale.

Thaksin watch: He is in Hong Kong; shopping with the Mrs.


Here is a little question for you. Is the act of tricking unsuspecting victims and sharing it with millions of people for your own significant profit acceptable behaviour. The Borat film is taking millions at the box office. But it is making money at the expense of Joe Blow US citizens who come over as multiphobic and ignorant. Or is the premise of the movie simply cruel and/or funny. Do the “victims” simply get what they deserve. I am sure they would all be happier with a share of the movies royalties.


Had a fun night out with one of my old HKG friends who was visiting BKK. Actually he was traveling (allegedly for business) with a friend so the three of us had a good dinner at Giusto; and found a lot to chat about. I miss the mental gymnastics of lively, intelligent conversation.

12 November 2006

Jay Leno in good form this week:

“It has not been a good week for the Republicans. This election was kind of like a bad divorce –- they got rejected, insulted, and lost the House.” –Jay Leno

“President Bush warned Democrats not to celebrate too early. This is from the guy who put up the ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign three years ago.” –Jay Leno

“You got to give (Rumsfeld) credit it though. It might have taken him six years, but he finally came up with an exit strategy.” –Jay Leno


Golf yesterday at Royal Lakeside – if I could put it would have been a terrific round of golf; ball to green was at times as good as I have ever hit the ball…..but my putting was woeful.


And talking of woeful, poor old Watford lost 0-4 away at Chelsea. It could have been many more. The gap in class was embarrassing and Chelsea won without breaking into even a mild perspiration.


From the Time Out city guide to Dubai….”The following are prohibited in the USE and import of these goods will carry a heavy penalty…..pornography, including sex toys, so be careful if you are trying to smuggle in your rampant rabbit”

So now you know.

9 November 2006

Looks like the Democrats will squeeze control of the Senate as well. It is good that Bush will be forced to change direction and work with the Democrats.

But the paralysis of the world’s only superpower is a probem.

The first casualty; Donald Rumsfeld.

8 November 2006

Help – I saw my first Christmas tree in Bangkok today. TOPS supermarket in Silom. In fact the store was full of decorations and Xmas hampers and gift items. Too early !


Worse – I wanted to buy a couple of bottles of wine from TOPS – it was 3pm. Sorry, I was told, you cannot buy alcohol until 5pm. Apparently that is the law. Bizarre. Here am I, with money to spend,  hundreds of years old, hardly an irresponsible teenage alcoholic.


The US government heads to gridlock. The Democrats will take the House of Representatives but the Republicans hold onto the Senate. Two years into GW Bush’s second term this is really the first day of the presidential election campaign.

7 November 2006

Pakistan’s two year doping ban for their fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar for two years and Mohammed Asif for one year may be re-opened. Asif has already appealed protesting that he had no idea what he was taking. Yet he was being administered injections containing banned substances (Promax 50).

It is a bit like being done for drunk driving and arguing that he did not know he was drinking alcohol.

Certainly the tribunal appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) acted quickly. It may not be a coincidence that Darryl Hair was dropped as an ICC umpire almost immediately after the Pakistan verdict was announced.

The sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) predictably lauded the Pakistan verdict.


The most alarming thing that I have read today – or even this week: “a recent study showed that American hotel bedspreads contain an average of 30 genetically different semen stains.” I guess this really should come (no pun intended) as no surprise.


Is this the future of flying? See the techwatch blog.

Experimental silent plane

6 November 2006

This is an interesting site – someone has put a lot of work into this: Uncyclopedia – the entry on Singapore has a couple of mildly amusing lines.


5 November 2006

That was the ugly side of Arsenal today. They dont have a divine right to win football games. They remain among the sorest losers in the league and that started with their manager today. Boorish behaviour for which a man of Wenger’s intelligence should apologise to West Ham and to the tv viewers. But he is way too arrogant for that.

This ridiculous rule that books a player for celebrating a 1-0 win from at 88th minute goal is a nonsense.


End of three days of golf. Maybe a bit too much sun over the last three days. Alpine is a lovely course and I always enjoy Lam Lukka. Played at Kiartti Thannee today. It is rather flat and dull be comparison.


It is Loy Krathong. Maybe the nicest Thai festival. But I am at home with nothing to do except tv and my web site, no one to see and no one to talk to. The people I care about seem a very, very long way away.


Emirates watch:

The airline will use the giant aircraft in three configurations: 489 seats in three classes on long routes, such as Dubai-Sydney, 540 in three classes on eight-hour routes, such as Dubai-London, and 644 seats on two classes for routes to the Indian subcontinent.

2 November 2006

Sometimes the world begins
To set you up on your feet again
It wipes the tears from your eyes
How will you ever know
The way that circumstances go
Always gonna hit you by surprise

(Blue Rodeo – 5 days in May)


It was a case of les misserables at the Emirates Stadium last night. Playing some sublime football Arsenal looked awesome until the hard part – scoring. Then they looked woeful.

Tomas “the Blank Engine” Rosinsky was imperious; he was also responsible for one of the worst misses ever seen!

For the impartial observer it made for some great TV !

1 November 2006

Another month gone. Time to get motivated.


A few friends and I made our annual appearance at the British Chamber of Commerce backed quiz night at the Londoners pub last night. And as before we finished around mid table. There are people there who take these quizzes very seriously indeed.


Meanwhile there was an interesting gathering over dinner in Dubai last night. Oh to be a fly on the wall !


Australian scientists yesterday unveiled three test tube koala joeys.  They also announced the intent to create the world’s first koala sperm bank.

Now I know how we create a human sperm bank. Send the guy into a little room with a test tube and a porn video on the tv. No I have never done it. But how do you start a koala sperm bank?


The riots in Oaxaca, Mexico come as no great surprise. It is the only place that I have felt in danger; and that was just in the local street market. Lovely city; crazy people.


Was watching the Watford vs Tottenham highlights from last weekend. Watford were robbed. When you propping up the table the luck does not work for you. Ashley Young’s goal was clearly onside. The linesman blew the call. And the result was a 0-0 draw. Another really bad decision and it is one point and not three.


I logged onto for the first time in months – this was the message waiting for me – “Robert has 0 friends.” That’s a bit blunt !

31 October 2006

Six years ago today Singapore Airlines flight SQ006, daily service from Singapore to Los Angeles via Taipei, crashed on takeoff from Taipei’s Chiang Kai Shek International Airport at 23:18 local time.

The weather in the area was poor, precipitated by a typhoon,with a temperature of 69°F/21°C, pressure 29.59in./1002 hPa, wind from 020° at 37 knots, gusting to 56 knots, and visibility of 400 meters in heavy rain. Subsequent investigation of the accident confirmed that the flight crew mistakenly attempted takeoff on Runway 05R (9029x150ft), instead of the planned Runway 05L (12008x200ft).

NOTAMs showed that, at the time of the accident, Runway 05R was closed for repairs, and that numerous pieces of construction equipment were parked on the runway. Approaching 140 knots, the 747 impacted the construction vehicles, breaking the fuselage into three parts and igniting a large post-crash fire.

83 out of 179 passengers and crew died. RIP.

The subsequent investigation led to much finger pointing; and there has certainly been an inprovement in airport warning signage. Like so many airliner accidents it was an accident that should never have happened and it served as something of a wake up call to Singapore Air.

30 October 2006

Time for a colour change. The red was a bit too striking.


Has been a quiet day today. Golf yesterday at Bangsai. It was a lovely sunny day – a little breeze. It is only when you head north of Bangkok that you realise how severe the flooding has been this year and how the floods have affected the lives of the rural people.

28 October 2006

Sorry – did not mean to be so quiet here. Its Saturday evening and it is another night at home. There are too many of these evenings in on my own. Actually I don’t mind being at home tonight as I have a huge headache. Maybe too much sun today on the golf course!

With the Londoners at Bangpakong today. A bit slow to start but the back 9 was an improvement. It was a lovely sunny day with just enough breeze to cool the air a little.

25 October 2006

I am troubled by three themes today that I need to deal with; purpose, isolation and companionship.

I need a purpose; something real and motivating. And I need to find this at a time when I feel more isolated than I have done for a long time. I am spending too much time alone.

25 October 2006

Airports of Thailand President Chotisak Asapaviriya has announced plans to add 200 toilets at BKK’s new airport; at present there are only 100 toilets for over 100,000 passengers a day.

He also, although this was almost an aside, said that he needed convincing about passenger numbers before committing to a plan to build a new terminal for the LCCs. This is a big step backwards after a previous commitment to rapidly construct a new low cost terminal.

So at the moment the LCCs are stuck with a high cost airport, long taxis, remote gates, departure delays and grouchy passengers. A return to Don Muang would make so much sense.

24 October 2006

So the FA seems to think that players biting eachother is OK ! No further action will be taken after Jermaine Defoe decided that he wanted some Argentinean beef on Sunday.

It really did not look good on TV. The referee, who was close by, booked both players – and presumably ordered rabies shots for the Argentine.

The poor old FA is a bit confused. They persecute players for celebrating with their fans. They gave Joey Barton a bum rap. But biting? Mind you, it has been going on in rugby union for years.


Back in Bangkok. Airport remains frustrating. AoT have taken over the baggage reclaim area with booths selling their monopoly on limousine services. You will be accosted by their staff before your clear customs.

And then when you get into the arrivals area you will be grabbed out by all sorts of people trying to get you to take their taxi service. The only taxi service is on the floor below arrivals. Ignore the touts.

These people are a plague and they make the arrivals area, which is already cramped, into a real battle. Something must be done.

21 October 2006

China Airlines to Hong Kong on their new A330. The flight was full and would have been unremarkable except for the music that they played as we pulled up to the gate.

Loudly the arrival music was Dusty Springfield “I only want to be with you” followed by KC and the Sunshine Band – “Celebration”. And the main screen and back seat videos were all showing a huge fireworks celebration. It was as though we had achieved something wonderful !

Which leads me to thinking about good songs for an airplane flight:

On boarding: I will survive. Come fly with me. One day I’ll fly away. Up, up and away. WInd beneath my wings.

On arrival: Bad Day. Take my breath away. Lately.  Flying without wings.


20 October 2006

The next few lines are probably among the reasons that I live alone !

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.
The wife said, “You should do it because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.” The husband said, “You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.”
Wife replies, “No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.”
Husband replies, “I can’t believe that, show me.”
So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says ……… “HEBREWS”


A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word.
An earlier discussion had led to an argument and
neither of them wanted to concede their position.
As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?”
“Yep,” the wife replied, “in-laws.”


Best question of the last few days was asked at dinner a couple of nights ago – what is the difference between French and Australian wine? Simple – French wine comes from France and Australian wine from Australia. Is there any other explanation?


Funny old game baseball. The National League pennant all came down to the final and seventh game of the series – with the New York Mets form favourites in their Shay Stadium fortress. When the St Loius Cardinals won 3-1 the look of total shock and disbelief around the stadium was remarkable. St Louis now play the Detroit Tigers in a most unlikely World Series.


Anyone else noticed the large number of blue taxis with the “Intelligent Taxi” logo emblazened on the side. Note that this applies to the taxi; not necessarily to the driver.

19 October 2006

Didier Drogba – great goal. And Hilario had the last laugh with a fine clean sheet. Chelsea beating Barcelona. A good result in a really hard week.

17 October 2006

Strange and quite vivid dreams the last two nights. Two nights ago was harmless – I was playing golf in a fourball; and one of the golfers was Michelle Wie….my short game was in better shape than hers!

But last night’s dream involved a kidnap and a violent shooting.

16 October 2006

Back in Bangkok. Avoid the motorway (Highway 7). Roadworks south and north.

15 October 2006

A weekend in Pattaya which should be fun if I did not feel quite so rotten – a flu bug. So no fun at all. Not sure how I am supposed to rest when they are blasting YMCA by the pool at midday.


Sad listening to the North Korean ambassador to the UN. North Korea wants to engage the USA and deal with the USA independently of dealing with its Asian neighbours. The USA rightly is saying that you have to talk to all of us and not just the USA. The North Koreans argue that additional sanctions will be considered as an act of war. And testing nuclear weapons…….


Sun is shining. Huge, huge storm yesterday.

Watford got a good thrashing at Arsenal. 0-3. Men against boys.

13 October 2006

The government has announced the 242 members of the National Assembly; this group is meant to act as the country’s parliament and to draft a new charter or constitution. But he cabinet has no power and no authority. They can question the government but cannot initiate or delay policy or vote on government matters. So frankly  it is little interest and lacks both legitimacy and transparency.


Dating advice – never bite the hand that feeds you unless you are certain where the next meal is coming from 🙂


Talking of the October Bangkok Tatler – did they miss the event of last month? Not even a passing acknowledgement of the September Coup or the Shinawatra clan’s disappearance from hiso parties…maybe a little coup chic or a celebratory party or two would have made the magazine seem a little less cut off from the real world !


I almost (repeat almost) feel sorry for Temasek; they bought into Shin Corp at Bht49.25 per share; despite strong Asian markets Shin Corp is now trading at Bht 28.35. Temasel already has a paper loss of some US$800 million. The Singapore tax payer and pension holder might have questions that should be answered.

12 October 2006

So bad it’s funny – I have watched the Robinson howler from every angle. Wonderful, unless you are Paul Robinson or his mother.

It will be a long winter before England’s next game away to Israel; never an easy trip.

The press are vitriolic: these quotes are from a variety of tabloids and proper newspapers:

If McClaren had asked them to sing Merry Christmas in Urdu, they could hardly have looked more baffled.

How much does England mean to the spoilt rich boys who were making up the numbers game last night? Not enough. Not on this evidence.

This was McClaren’s first big test and he failed miserably. Wrong team, wrong tactics, worng motivation – wrong manager.

In some respects, we should be glad that the charade is now over. All this talk about the so-called Golden Generation and how we could have won the last World Cup has been exposed for the bunkum it long was.


The October 2006 TatlerThailand has a list of the 300 expats you need to know in Thailand. I am not on the list. Nor are my friends. This is probably a good sign.


Some great stuff in the UK papers who are slowly realising that maybe Mr. Eriksson was not so bad after all.

“Its down to you misses Robinson” – The Sun
“England killed off by Robinson’s howler” – The Telegraph

Better still Robinson argued afterwards that it was the Croatian goalkeeper’s fault !!

From the Sun:

Robinson insisted: “It was an absolute freak, there was nothing I could do about it.

“It was a routine clearance, I went to kick it, there was bobble and suddenly the ball wasn’t there.

“There were huge holes in the pitch where the Croatian keeper had been taking his goal-kicks in the first half and the ball bounced over my foot.”

Hmmm – in golfing terms – head up ???

And – in case he forgot, Robinson was hopelessly in no mans land for the first goal, a slow looping header from a corner. On his line it would have been the easiest of catches. Robinson has a bad habit of making the simple saves look difficult with a couple of extra roles after each save….that should be his last international game.

11 October 2006

Streuth, England were bad. That’s 180 minutes against Macedonia and Croatia without a goal. Rooney and Lampard, two players who are international quality, are both out of sorts. Crouch, Carrick and Parker are simply not an international players. Cole is weighed down by bling and a massive self delusion of his own ability. Wright Phillips has yet to score for Chelsea let alone England.

McClaren’s only real decision to date as manager has been to ignore Beckham; the one player who could have made something of the Macedonia game and the one player who could create something for Crouch or Rooney. He might have wanted to change the culture of the team; he took away the one person willing to die in an England shirt.

Writers complained that Eriksson never showed passion; I have seen more life in a turnip than I see in McClaren.


Poor old England are 0-2 down to Croatia in Zagreb as I write this, with about 20 minutes to go. No more than Croatia deserve. England are very poor.

And the second goal was hilarious. A Neville backpass that bounced over goalkeeper Robinson’s swinging foot. If that was David James they would have pilloried him in the press. It was Robinson so they will blame the pitch or the groundsman.

England are woeful. This wont change under MacLaren.

8 October 2006

Golf yesterday was at Bangsai with the Wanderers. Played the first hole like I was the club pro. And then it was all downhill from there! And four hours just for the second 9 holes was testing everyone’s patience. Another acronym = LOFT – lack of f****** talent.


England looked horrible against Macedonia last noght. Macedonia were indeed a hard nut to crack – someone had to say it !!!

5 October 2006

Mood – restless. State of mind – frustrated; in need of a purpose! Weather – wet. Body – tired.

Too much thinking time.

3 October 2006

How little we sometimes know those we love. Yesterday the 21st century US gun culture met Pennsylvania’s 18th century Amish community. Charles Carl Robert was, said his wife, “loving, supportive, thoughtful.”

But he was a ticking time bomb, with a 20 year old grudge and with three guns and 600 rounds of ammunition. He executed at least five Amish schoolgirls, as young as six years old.

The Amish are some of the United States’ most peaceful people, devout Christians who shun violence, reject modern technology and live simple, quiet lives working in the fields.

Remember the intrusion of the modern world portrayed in the Harrison Ford/Kelly McGillis movie “Witness.”

Surely, surely, surely it is time to do something about the USA gun laws. One resident was quoted as saying “We believe this was an act of God and God will help us through this.” But this premeditated and horrendous act should never have been possible, or at least this easy.

29 September 2006

Back in Bangkok; but ask if the passenger experience has been improved by the move to the new Bangkok airport and the answer is, sadly, a resounding No.

The terminal is not big enough. Too many planes are parking remotely with passengers bused to the terminal.

The meet and greet area after the baggage claim and customs is simply too small. It was incredibly crowded and very hard to move around this evening.

And the taxi queue is as bad, if not worse the Don Muang.

Compare this to the serenity of arriving in Singapore. They had a great opportunity to create something special in Bangkok. Instead they worried more about how the airport looked than how the passenger would feel as he/she uses it. They went for building awards not passenger convenience.

The best solution would be for BKK to have two operational airports. But they were too short sited to see the obvious benefits.

In the meantime I think I will stop flying for a while.

28 September 2006

Back at the new BKK airport for a 7.05am Air Asia departure to Singapore. You can read all about it elsewhere on the web site.

There are clearly significant post coup cancellations and my international flights in the last week have been no more than half full. This is apparently typical of the last week.


The great irony of the day was that Thaksin was not there to see his airport finally open. It was his leadership that drove the airport to completion and that set an opening date. There have been endless allegations of corruption and in a US$4 billion project someone somewhere must have made a tidy windfall.

But the airport was needed. Thaksin saw it as a flagship for his administration; as another symbol of the new, modern, prosperous Thailand, under his leadership. He would have enjoyed a lavish celebration and TV promotion today.

Instead we had a very low key, Thaksin-free, opening.


Was this the first airport opening of the digital age. Everyone at the airport had a camera or a camera phone.

27 September 2006

My great plan for this trip was to fly in and out of the old Bangkok airport and then to fly out of the new Bangkok airport tomorrow morning at 7am on the first official day of operation.

Dear old Air Asia rather spoiled this plan by moving early. So that my Macau trip departed and returns to the new airport. The best I will be able to do is watch the close down of the old airport on Thai TV later tonight. Before a very early departure again in the morning to the new airport.


The biggest complaint from AA’s crew is how hard it is to get a taxi at the new airport.

Someone should tell our IFS that his gel-ed hair in its ridiculous spikes looks really silly.


From my Macau hotel – “Porker cards” !!

Probably not popular during Ramadan !


A lot of cancellations at Bangkok’s hotels. Directly as a result of the Coup. The military are saying business as normal; Bangkok’s residents seem to widely welcome the removal of Thaksin. But foreigners are taking a wait and see.

One up market serviced apartment had received 163 cancellations by last Sunday. I suspect that the backpackers will still come; it is the business types that will stay away. Investments will be delayed or cancelled.

25 September 2006

Golf at Lam Lukka yesterday. BIrdies on 1 and 7 made for a good front nine but I lost the plot a little as the game went on. My caddie must have been impressed. She gave her phone number to my driver and asked that I book her whenever I go back to Lam Lukka; which is not very often !


Bumpy, bumpy flight to Macau this morning. A little more height and he might get above this but he seems happier flying through it. It is hard to type !


We flew out of the new Bangkok Airport. The terminal building is still one very large building site. The official opening is on Thursday when all flights will arrive and depart from the new airport. Will it be ready in time. Don’t bet on it.

23 September 2006

An 80 today at Bangpakong Riverside Golf Club in wet and windy weather. If only I could have sunk a few puts it would have been a seriously good score. I was hitting the irons unusually well. Anyway the score was enough to win today’s Londoners’ event.


Paul Casey – holee in one from a mere 222 yards to close out his afternoon foursome in the Ryder Cup. Very cool.


The big question in Thailand is why the coup leader is still looking so fit and trim. His wife makes an exceedingly good and rich fruit cake. I tried it yesterday. Very good.


A thought from the Independent Newspaper: “The country that was the one oasis of stable democracy in south-east Asia, Washington’s main ally in the region, has been transformed into a military dictatorship overnight. And nobody seems to care.”

22 September 2006

The 36th Ryder Cup is underway at the K Club in Ireland. I actually don’t mind if the USA wins this event; they are the underdogs for once despite in Woods, Mickelson and Furyk having arguably the best three golfers in the world.

Some of the Irish press coverage has been disgraceful. Beware of an enraged Tiger. If he leads the USA to victory then all credit to him and the USA team.

21 September 2006

Bizarre quote of the day:

“This has been a clean, bloodless coup. I do not believe that there will be any impact on investment.”

M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula
Governor, Bank of Thailand

20 September 2006

Please remember gentle reader – there is no such thing as a good coup.


I wonder if Mrs. Thaksin got a 30 day visa on arrival in Singapore!!!

Papers suggest that she “escaped” to Singapore. It is hard o escape with an alleged 60 suitcases. Assume more accurately that she was allowed to go quietly!


I will not defend Thaksin. But I do find it alarming how many people seem to think that a military coup is a good idea. It takes a very long time for a country to establish credibility with the international community, and Thailand had made great strides over the past ten years in doing just that. Yes there are many problems, but to suggest that the a military take-over and that a bunch of promises from generals is the best way to resolve the issue is not right.

This has been a military coup. Simple as that. And it is effectively a two fingered salute to the ballot box and democracy.

19 September 2006

This is gossip and hearsay only so I will report it here: It is alleged that the coup is how the elite in Thailand has decided to solve the political crisis. There is a consensus about this coup among those who
really count. Therefore there will not be any unrest (the grass roots who voted for Thaksin don’t matter).

Why would Thaksin risk leaving the county for so long (Scandinavia, London, Cuba, New York) at this delicate time? Because he was told his time was over. This
was his opportunity to escape and save face.

Thaksin knew the coup would take place and left Thailand with his family.

The king will appoint a new civilian interim prime minister shortly. The new interim prime minister will continue reform of the
constitution. There will not be another election this year. An election will be held in a year or so.

Just about plausible…..lets just hope it is peaceful in the morning!

18 September 2006

“Dr Who” is on ATV in Hong Kong tonight. Now there is something that you wont see on TV in Bangkok. The Cybermen are back (last seen about 40 years ago); this time we see their creation on a parallel universe. Actually they are basically an early day Borg. And Dr. Who is about to be deleted – and I wont get to see the next episode!


Am feeling incredibly restless. And very uncertain now about what happens in my future. Should I see a fortune teller? It is actually all rather disturbing. I am in what is probably my favourite city. Yet the hotel feels safe and comfortable. And outside seems so much more stressful. But my hotel room is a cell. I feel like I should be in Prison Break.


16 September 2006

Time, sadly, for Ms. Wie to get more experience playing with the women’s golf tours. Her last place finishes in Europe and the USA on the men’s tour are close to getting embarrassing and for all her brave words her confidence must be badly dented.

15 September 2006

Dreadful night – I cannot remember ever being that sick in one night. No sleep. And the bathroom was a mess by morning. I will spare you the details.

Don’t know if it is a bug or food poisoning. But I am not going anywhere today.


Golf yesterday at Kantarat, the golf course at Bangkok’s international airport. It is such a fun thing to do.

14 September 2006

Back in Bangkok after a weekend of golf in Pattaya and the big shock this week is the proposed changes to the Thai immigration regulations. This will probably mean that I need to accelerate my future plans.


Wishful thinking department in the media – Condie Rice and Peter MacKay, the Canadian Foreign Minister. Endless talk of sharing cool breezes have made the media very hot!

11 September 2006

The fifth anniversary of 9/11. I have nothing wise or profound to say. Too many people have suffered as a result of the events of that day and the conflict that has been its outcome. The war on terror seems a war without end or without compromise or reconciliation. All I feel, as must so many is a profound sense of sadness.


Golf yesterday was an 82 at Phoenix GC. Played pretty well. It was a good day out and a bit cooler than on Saturday at Easter Star – which is also a nice course to play and a good test in the sea breeze.


Poor old Watford – lost 0-1 at Bolton to a penalty. But we hit the woodwork three times

From the Guardian:

“But there is a charm to Watford, stemming from an old-fashioned honesty that defies faint praise, and their remarkably impressive manager, whose conviction is such that, if he asked you to jump in the fire, you would wonder why you had not thought of it earlier. “If we carry on doing that in this league then we’ll do very well,” he said. “Performances take care of results, not the other way round.””


I think Monty has called this one exactly right: Ms Wie cannot play in most LPGA events; she is under age. But she has star quality. People pay to watch her and that makes her a sponsor’s dream. You get better by competing more and playing more golf.

“Colin Montgomerie has backed the European Tour’s decision to allow Michelle Wie to compete in last week’s European Masters tournament in Crans-sur-Sierre.

The 16-year-old Hawaiian exited the competition close to tears after missing the cut by 14 shots, but Montgomerie insists Wie deserved her chance on the big stage.

He told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek: “I think she is a star golfer and people want to see her. Call it novelty value or whatever you want but she is a great player.

“She is 16 and the reason she is playing is because she is too young to play on the LPGA Tour. She can play next year but she has to try to play in some events right now.

“It is just unfortunate for her that she is struggling with her game right now, never mind having to play against the men which is a daunting task at the best of times.””

9 September 2006

Am in Pattaya for there days of golf. We played at Crystal Bay yesterday and at Eastern Star today; the weather is hot and sunny, the company is good and in the main I am hitting the ball well. I even remembered how to chip and putt today.

Pattaya is enjoying something of a building boom. It is nice to see some more up market places, condos, restaurants and hotels opening in Pattaya.

7 September 2006

Bargain of the day. Sri Lankan Airways from BKK to Hong Kong return. Fare of Baht 1,800 and taxes of a whopping Baht 4,180 for a total of Baht 5,980. About half the price of Emirates. About one third the price of CX.

6 September 2006

A Wie bit more controversy ! Now she wants to play for the USA in the Ryder Cup; well at least that may give the USA a chance! The US has not won since that infamous victory at Brookline.


I have a cold ! Don’t feel like doing anything!


A groveling Dane – “Having had a day to reflect on my comments, I realise I have made a mistake and, as such, have unreservedly apologised to Ian for my comments, which were made in the heat of the moment following the disappointment of not making it on to the European team,” said Bjorn. The gbp10,000 fine must hurt a little as well!

Proof again – that some things are best thought but unspoken !


This headline in Pattaya City News is deliberately attention getting !!

Large Erections Planned for Pattaya.

But the story is bland other than the usual waste of money !

At a meeting held at Pattaya City Hall on Wednesday, the very busy Mayor Niran announced the allocation of 46 million baht of the annual budget to the construction of two large archways on the borders of the city. The giant erections will be similar to but much more grandiose than the archway currently spanning Walking Street and will be festooned with lights so that even in darkness people driving along Sukhumvit highway will know they are entering the outskirts of Pattaya.

5 September 2006

Vijay Singh – leads by 3 shots, shoots a 68 and still loses. Woods was spectacular. Five wins in his last five starts against competitors of that quality. Amazing. A man on a mission.


Boring, boring Bjorn. Grumpy Dane; watched him play in Hong Kong once – giving his Indian golfing partner a really hard time – Westwood has one at the K Club, he has done well in previous Ryder Cups. He is a natural partner for Darren Clark.

Bjorn did not qualify automatically; he was one of many hoping for one of two wild cards.

2 September 2006

Back to Bangsai golf course today and I played truly horribly ! I was hurting after stretching a rib muscle while practising last night. That and a very rushed start…and I was feeling very out of sorts. That was confirmed by a 10 (ten !!!) on the second…..

1 September 2006

Another month gone – it maybe time to start job hunting – that should give me plenty  to write about.


Was shopping earlier today – why do Thai department stores insist on playing very loud and bad American hip-hop. The trouble is that every other word was a swear word – with the f**k word being the most popular. Now many Thais would not be listening or would not understand the words; but it really is not what I want to listen to in a department store.

But Thais and loud noise are inseparable. I have no idea why that is but peace and quiet are unattainable.

28 August 2006

Golf yesterday at Thana City GC. In a month’s time there will be screaming 747s passing over the course on take-off from the new airport. The course is in good condition and is a far better course than I remembered.

26 August 2006

The scoop on the alleged Thaksin car bomb. Police at the scene said that they had found a 10 gallon can containing urea – and all they did was give it a good soaking with a water hose to neutralise it.

By afternoon this had turned into a bomb that could obliterate everything within a one kilometre radius.

Ho hum.

25 August 2006

Darrel Hair’s bottom line – give me US$500,000 and I will resign. Arrogant sod. Surely that is justification enough to fire him.

23 August 2006

A few more comments on Myanmar:

In Heho the Air Bagan flight offloaded a small amount of airmail. At a desk in the dingy terminal there were two staff carefully writing in a book the names and addresses of everyone who received an email from overseas. If the senders address was on the back they also wrote that down as well.


At every internal airport there is a desk where foreigners have to register and show their passport. Again the details are hand written. They know where you are….


People are genuinely pleased that you are there. Thank you for coming was almost as often said as where do you come from.


Air Bagan’s staff were very professional and very pleasant. English was well spoken by all the crew and was the first language for their annoucements; which says a lot about the ratio of international to domestic travelers.


There is a new palace being build in Old Bagan. It looks completely out of place and its pompous size and design do not fit into the historical surrounds. But it is a senior government official who is building it and as one local said to me “we are afraid.”


I sat at the River View restaurant in New Bagan high on the bank over the Irrawaddy River. Fish and Aubergine curries, a beer, some fruit and a bicycle in near darkness back to my hotel. That was the best meal of the trip.


Worth mentioning that at no time did I ever feel unsafe. Whether walking in Yangon city at day or night or in the countryside.

22 August 2006

I thought I was coming back to civilization. But then I tried to call a friend in their Thai mobile number. I got through at the sixth attempt. Which is better; to have no mobile phone access at all or to have a network that needs six tries every time you want to make a call?

20 August 2006

But then who wants TV when on offer from TV Myanmar today are these fabulous shows:

7.40am Nice and Sweet song
11.00am Martial Song (repeated at 4pm)
4.15pm Songs to Uphold National Spirit
5.15pm Dance of National Race
5.30pm Sing and Enjoy

The golf club yesterday seemed to prefer to watch Chinese programmes (they spoke no Chinese) off satellite. I wonder why !!!


No TV in the Lake Inle hotel. Instead the hotel staff put on a traditional dance show for the few of us at dinner.

There are many more staff here than guests. This seems to be a fact of life in all Myanmar’s hotels.

The mosquito coil is lit. The mosquito net is up. There is no aircon but it is quite cool outside.

Travelling alone can be interesting; but on the whole the experience is probably better shared with someone. I need a proper conversation.

And forget about internet and email access. I am more cut off here than I have been for a long time.


It is hard to imagine what Myanmar would do without tourist traffic. Here in Bagan most of the tourists are European; Italians and Spanish appear the most common. And a few French.

I have not seen, or more realistically heard, an American accent.

As we wait to board Air Bagan to Mandalay and Heho (for Lake Inle) there are no Burmese passengers. The airlines, hotels, horse and cart operators, taxi drivers and local vendors are being kept alive by tourism. There is little alternative work.

19 August 2006

The big news of the day: it is the opening day of the English football season. Here I am in Bagan, Myanmar, watching my beloved Watford playing away at Everton as they make their remarkable return to the Premiership. A 3pm kick off in Liverpool is 8.30pm here. Meanwhile Arsenal start their new season at the new Emirates Stadium. Two years in the building and a great new stadium. Good business for Arsenal and for Emirates! Now when will they finish Wembley!


I should sleep well tonight. 18 holes of golf at Bagan Golf Club in the midday heat.

And then a good long cycle around the temples and down to the river for a sunset dinner at the River View restaurant. Dinner was US$6 for a beer, fish curry, aubergine curry, some papaya and a bottle of water. And a view worth a million!

The golf course was an experience:

Very basic clubhouse. No changing room. A golf course that is fairway and jungle; there is no rough, except for the fairways that are very rough indeed. Unwatered cow grass fairways that are cut by hand pushed basic cutters. They then use an army of women to hand brush the cut grass into piles and collect all the grass by hand. Slow, tedious, hot and uncomfortable work.

There is only one set of tees. Mens’ tees. Golf is not a game for the women of Bagan. Maybe it is not a game for anyone in Bagan. There was one fourball playing the 9th as I started off. Otherwise there was no one else on the golf course.

It is long at over 7,000 yards; and it is very basic. But where can you play golf with 800 year old temples around you and even on the golf course itself.

This is the 3rd hole: aim at the temple.

First day of the English football season and we have already had too much of Andy Penders. Football analysis for people with an IQ of double digits or less.


Everton lead 1-0 at half time. Watford have played well. Five shots on target and Everton have only had one; trouble is it went in! Andy Johnson’s diving is worthy of the Olympic pool. Shocking!


Watford lost 2-1. Everton’s second goal was a disgrace. The ball hits Powell in the face. The linesman who is five yards away waves for a penalty and the referee gives it. Quote Steve McMahon on ESPN; “it is simply embarrassing.” At 2-0 down it was game over.

If ever there was a need for video review that was the time. Powell looked stunned.

Players and managers get fined and banned for bringing the game into disrepute for saying how poor the officials are; surely the same should apply to poor officials for shoddy decisions. That decision cost Watford the chance of getting back in the game.


Manchester United must own all the goalkeeper’s in the league – Everton’s Tim Howard and Watford’s Ben Foster are both on loan from Man U.

18 August 2006

I was on Air Asia’s inaugural Bangkok to Yangon (Rangoon to old fashioned Brits) on Wednesday 16th.

Strangely there was no fanfare at all. No celebration at the departure gate. No celebration on arrival. No tokens for the paying passengers.

Mind you there were not that many paying passengers. And those of us who had paid were told to wait to deplane until the press (parasites/hangers on/freebies) had been released first. The honest folk; the fare paying folk; well we were not important.


I had a room booked at the Kandawgyi Palace hotel; an older hotel on the lake.  Guess what; Air Asia were all gathered there as well. Management, hangers-on and press. They had a big evening party at the Lakeview restaurant. Local dignatories, more hangers on. And where was my invitation !? I must be one of their better customers and certainly one of their strongest advocates!


So I have a new favourite now. Air Bagan. Our 50 minute flight on a Fokker100 from Yangon to Bagan left on time at 6.30am and arrived early. Five cabin crew, lots of leg room, maybe a 34 inch seat pitch. Fresh pastries, some fruit and coffee for breakfast. Very attractive crew; although the pink uniforms and catering dishes were a bit bright for someone who woke up at 4.30am.

15 August 2006

Miami Vice is a very strange film. Almost incomprehensible in places; a Colin Farrell and Gong Li relationship? It simply does not work. Farrell looks terrible and far from Miami chic. And why is it that all crime is at night? This is a predictable yawn.

And don,t forget the soft core sex; the shower (twice), various beds and the back of a car. None of it is interesting; none of it is arousing; it is implausible and dull.


I am off to Myanmar (Burma as was) tomorrow morning. Updates to this website will be very rare (possibly impossible) while I am away.

14 August 2006

Anyone curious about what it is like to be flying at the pointed end of an Emirates 777 should read this report.


I go out for 20 minutes and leave the cleaners in my room. I come back and they have demolished the bathroom with a huge slab of tiling fallling off the sink.

I thought they were sending someone to fix it. Instead they sent a guy to photograph it!


Ask my little guy what was the best part of his holiday ! He will tell you it was the time spent in Devon with his grandmother and uncle. Unlimited Sky TV and 24 hour a day “Top Gear” probably helped! But it is great that he feels such a strong family connection.

13 August 2006

Golf today at Rajpreuk; a private members only club; so thank you to my generous host. There was a nice breeze and except for a disaster on the 9th I played well. So it was a fun day.


My little guy – at 9 yrs old – is a great fan of Discovery Channel and BBC World. It is cool that he is so well informed. The hard part is answering all his questions. The worrying part is the number of times that I have to say that I don’t know !

12 August 2006

The little guy has gone home already and I miss him !


The Myanmar embassy has to be one of the most depressing places in Bangkok. So slow and so uninterested and unmotivated to provide anything that would vaguely resemble a welcoming service.

They really ought to be a little more exited that people still want to visit their country.


Almost opposite the Myanmar Embassy is a travel agency (and coffee shop) that will convince you (if you had any doubt!) about why you want to see Myanmar and where to go and where to stay when you get there.

Ask for Paul Manuel, the Managing Director.

Orient Espresso
S & B Tower, 68-68/6, Unit 101, Pun Road, Silom, Bangrak,
TELEPHONE: (66/0) 2 – 6377314-5,
FACSIMILE: (66/0) 2 – 6377316

9 August 2006

It took 8 hours door-to-door from the Hoi An hotel to Saladaeng today. It would have been easier (and more expensive) on the 3 flights a week PB Air flight not stop to Bangkok.

But we were on Vietnam Air with an early morning A321 flight to Saigon; collect the bags; check in (long) for the international flight to Bangkok. The queues were painful.

The flights were rather strange; the flight from Hoi An was captained by an Australian and the flight to BKK was on a leased China Airlines A300 with a British Captain. The only thing Vietnamese were the cabin crew and the kids throwing up in the seats in front of us as we bounced into BKK.


We ate at The Brothers Cafe on a terrace by the river in Hoi An last night. It must be posh as the menu is priced in US dollars. But the food was high quality and it is in a lovely setting. Highly recommended.


Back to BKK. No peaceful walks along the beach; no quiet undisturbed nights. It is 10.30pm and somewhere nearby there are building works going on and a jackhammer/drill battering noisily.

It is a full moon; if I howl maybe they will go away.

5 August 2006

A really nice day on Hoi An yesterday as we celebrated the wedding (and about time too) of Edward and Sarawan. A beach wedding on a lovely sunny evening and dinner on the beach under the stars followed by dancing on the beach and occasionally in the ocean.

Truly nice people, articulate and heartfelt words from the family, a few glasses of wine, and a bit of a headache this morning. So it must have been a good evening!

Hoi An is an attractive and welcoming small town and the beach resorts are still unspoiled.

4 August 2006

This link is to one of the most depressing articles that I have read in the Guardian for some time; and the comments that follow are a mix between sensible reaction and ignorance.


I have added a few pictures from London, Stockholm and Copenhagen. I liked Stockholm a lot; but I suspect Winter is pretty bleak there.

3 August 2006

Oops- lost a day there – it was 26 hours from my mother’s home in Devon to the front door in Bangkok. A little weary after that !


How does Emirates get 10 across in EY in its 777s? Thai, Singapore, Etihad all have 9 across. The extra seat in every row makes for a very cosy cabin !


Dubai airport at 2am. The world’s crossover. Flights going East, West, North and South. Every race, every nationality. every size, shape, rich, poor. More than anywhere else in the World at the moment Dubai airport is the cultural melting pot. And guess what. It works. No jihad here. You can still by FM magazine. You can still have a drink. Sure, the bacon is made of turkey !


Bigbury Golf Club; Devon. A gbp 30 green fee is a bit excessive. The members are a grumpy bunch. It feels like a boys club. Ties and jackets and a stiff upper lip please.

You cant play off the white tees said a stuffy local as we banged away on the 11th tee. Miserable sod.

BUT; the view of the 15th holes over Bantham, Bigbury, and Burgh Island is worth the green fee on is own. Just breathtaking.

On a sunny, windy day there can be few nicer places to be.

The wind can change your golf game completely. I was hitting 230 yard 5 irons !

31 July 2006

We are now in England and the weather is more typical of an English summer – yes it did rain all day.

I did find this picture from last year’s local farm show in Devon which I should have posted before – dialling Bovey Blondes and hoping it is an escort agency could result in a significant disappointment:

29 July 2006

Went up to Helsingor today 45 kms north of Copenhagen and the site of Kronborg Castle, used by Shakespeare as his inspiration for Elsinore Castle in Hamlet.

It was good to be out of the big city and by the Baltic Sea.

Helsingor is also the departure point for ferries across the strait to the Swedish town of Helsingborg. And judging by the number of Swedish arriving by late afternoon it is a popular route for Swedish booze shoppers.

Wine, beer and spirits are significantly cheaper in Denmark; it is the only thing that is cheaper in Denmark. Drinking here appears to be a way of life; you can buy, and consume, alcohol anywhere and everywhere. You can buy from age 16. Actually it is a bit in your face on a weekend evening.

28 July 2006

Forgot to mention that I fell out of bed last night. This is a very very narrow single bed. A bit like trying to sleep on a gymnastics beam.

I woke as I was falling – bum first – onto the floor. And then remember lying there trapped between the bed and the outer wall of the room just laughing away.

It must have been about 3am – was still dark outside.


You can read about Stockholm on the “Today” page. Copenhagen suddenly turned grey and rainy today. The first cool day for a couple of weeks.

Copenhagen is interesting. People commute to work by bicycle; there and bicycles everywhere. More people bike to work than drive. The city (and country) is largely flat. There are cycle lanes everywhere.

People take cycling holidays; buses and trains have cycle storage.

Compare this to China where at breakneck speed people are moving from the cycle to the car. In Scandinavia they are moving back to the bike. Great for health; great for the environment.


Of course this works better in a compact city like Copenhagen; few people in London (or Beijing) would want a 15 mile bike ride commute every day.


The French hot dog is now wrapped in bacon !

24 July 2006

Still not sleeping very well. It is not easy when the thermostat in the hotel room is still showing 29C.

Had a good day out at Farnborough Airshow yesterday. The pictures are here.

22 July 2006

It is so hot in London – and the hotel has no air conditioning ! Few hotels in London do. There is a fan in the room simply to stir up the hot air. Not a good night’s sleep.

Flights to London on Emirates were full – and Dubai airport will continue to be a dump until the new terminal is opened.

17 July 2006

We went to see Superman Returns today at Bangkok’s new Imax theater. There are four scenes in 3D including our hero’s spectacular rescue of a Boeing 777. About 20 minutes of the film are in 3D and it is very effective. The big screen is fabulous. The only surprise is the lack of legroom in the steeply raked seating. But it is a terrific cinema. Baht 250 per ticket.

25 July 2006

First impressions of Stockholm are good. Waking up without being in a hot sweat is certainly a bonus.

Flew in on a packed British Airways flight to the main Stockholm airport, Arlanda. There is an express train from the airport to the city. Prices in Stockholm feel similar to Hong Kong.


One of the joys of Europe and something that we do take for granted – tap water that you can drink without catching a life threatening disease.


Walked around Westminster and Embankment yesterday. Past Downing Street; which now more resembles a fortress it is so well protected. The weather was wonderful; warm and sunny. Walked into St. James Park; it is hard to know that you are in one of the world’s great capitals; a very pretty and restful place.

15 July 2006

Back in Bkk after a couple of days in Chiang Rai. What a nice little town. Cooler than Bkk, nice weather, friendly people, pretty countryside, cheap (especially after Koh Samui), good breathable air. A nice hotel (The Dusit Island Resort) and a great golf course at Santiburi, about 20 minutes drive from Chiang Rai.

Spent Friday on a one day tour that took us into the hills to see the Kuomintang Yunnan Chinese Settlement at Doi Mae Salong before going to Mae Sai, the Golden Triangle and to Chiang Saen.

Mae Sai is the border point to Myanmar, Burma as was. A 30 minute time zone difference; but a 50 year gap in economic, political and social development.

Here are the little guy and I at the border crossing; US$5 for a one day pass.

11 July 2006

Samui is a bit short on things to see. The major tourist attraction appears to be this rather phallic shaped rock! Which with the joys of digital photography can be extended to a more international size….

8 July 2006

A day out in Hong Kong. It is hot and sticky here. Heavy rains in the morning; brighter in the afternoons.

And not a lot to tell you about from here. Happy to see my little boy – not so little now – 9 years old and getting smarter by the day! He is good company.

Flew here on Thursday afternoon on China Airlines. Their daily 747 service to BKK arrives into HGK at about 6.30pm. There is a good meal service; but these are older planes with no seat back video. Not that that matters much on a two hour flight.  At about Baht7,500 including taxes this is cheaper than Emirates and much cheaper than Thai or Cathay. You can book an e-ticket online.

Leaving tomorrow morning for BKK and going to Samui in the evening.


Jesse James on Jay Leno talking about the boys who keep the “war effort” going….that’s how their nation thinks.

5 July 2006

The North Koreans, disappointed to miss out on the world cup, as they have every world cup since 1966, have found other ways to get the world’s attention. 7 missile tests conveniently timed for US independence day and the same day that the US relaunched the space shuttle.

4 July 2006

Happy Independence Day. I am so bored ! A long weekend in Pattaya did nothing for my state of mind. It was very wet and very dreary. I did not golf. Not in the mood. The best I managed was to get to either the mall or to a bar to watch football.

Wish I had more to write about. The football world up blog has been updated.

I need to find some inspiration and motivation. I dont even want to play golf at the moment – the result of playing so badly last Tuesday – I have not even practiced all week. Some exercise would help. But then I have to get to the gym !! And that is as appealing as a trip to the dentist – who incidentally I should also go and see !

2 July 2006

Johnny Miller talking about Michelle Wie in the TV coverage of the US Women’s Open – “it is a joy to watch her swing the club.” – : a classic, phenomenal swing.” He is a fan!! I hope she comes to Thailand in October. Wonder if she needs a tour guide – or practice partner ! I know – she is only 16.

1 July 2006

Still raining in Pattaya. Wet, wet and wet.

30 June 2006

Nothing but rain in Pattaya. And a hotel room that leaks water. My efforts to tell them this morning fell on deaf ears ! I even showed the room maid the leak and the flooded floor – which was cleaned up and a towel left to soak up the lake on the floor !

Obviously the hotel assumed that it would never rain again !!! Sad !

28 June 2006

A contribution from my favourite 9 year old !

If I ran the World

If I ran the World
I’d cancel Homework,
and Vegetables

If I ran the World
There would be
and no School Rules

If I ran the World
You wouldn’t have
Music Class,
And unmanned aerial vehicles

If I ran the World
Dust would be money,
Books would be video games.

And a person who burps
And vomits uncontrollably
Would still be allowed to
Run the World.

26 June 2006

A golf and football weekend. The football you can read about on my world cup blog. The golf is not worth telling you about,

23 June 2006

From the super soaraway Sun newspaper “Hollywood hunk Matt Damon is set to become the new Captain Kirk in the latest blockbuster Star Trek movie.

The film is to be directed by Mission Impossible’s JJ Abrams who is desperate to get Matt, 35, for the part.

Abrams has even got the seal of approval from the first Kirk, played by William Shatner, 75.

A source said: “Shatner gave his blessing.”

The movie will centre on Kirk and Spock’s early days at a space academy.”

21 June 2006

It is the longest day in the northern hemisphere today ! Enjoy. And the shortest night. Half way through the year already.


Forty-two years after the Rolling Stones opened the first show with I Wanna Be Your Man, the BBC is finally calling time on Top of the Pops. The chart show, which made TV stars out of the likes of Noel Edmonds and Tony Blackburn, will run down its last-ever top 40 on July 30.

Long-running Saturday sports show Grandstand is also being axed.

I grew up watching both programmes. Strangely they both have such strong brand names. But in a world of 24hr pop/rock and sports channels viewing numbers had fallen dramatically.

19 June 2006

Poor old Monty. Colin Montgomerie sinks a bomb for a birdie on the 71st hole. He has 171 yards to the pin from the middle of the 72nd fairway and he blew it. Totally blew it. He had a wait; changed clubs; probably took a club less and swatted it short into unplayable rough. A par 4 would have won; a 5 would have been a play off and he double it for a 6. Ouch. Now 0 from 58 in major championships. He may never get a better chance.

18 June 2006

Golf looked ok today until I got to the 18th hole when I blew up completely with a quadruple bogey 8. No idea what I was thinking; just one bad shot and then a catalogue of mistakes


Do not go and see “The fast and the furious – tokyo drift” – what an astonishing waste of celluloid.

Best part was an ad at the start of the movie for he Mercedes A series – showing it as A=Adventurous; A=Attractive and as I added – A=Accident !

17 June 2006

Bangkok’s taxis all seem to have turned off their meters; at least when they see me. Everything is a negotiation again. Very frustrating.


Interesting comments from a US based newspaper: “Tiger Woods might not ever think it or say it or accept it, but he just paid his father the ultimate tribute. He failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open, his first 36-and-out experience as a Grand Slam pro. What better way for a son to show the world how much he misses his old man. Tiger wasn’t ready to play in this tournament, never mind win it. Earl Woods died May 3 after waging an endless war on cancer, and six weeks of mourning wasn’t nearly enough.”

16 June 2006

Well I am now vacationing !Did go into CP on Wednesday to clear out a few remaining items. The office will also be moving in the next week o the existing home of its new Thai owners. I wish them all well and hope things work out well.

I have been working with this small team for three years now. They are great people. Now all they need to do is learn how to say thank you for lunch !!!


My visit to Angkor Wat is well documented on the main news page of this web site.

There were fun moments in the gloom – the 14 year old twins who were trying to sell bangles and silk scarves and could make their sales pitch in half a dozen different languages – and could then recite most of the capital cities of the world ! They came unstuck at Uruquay.


Went to Wat Po today and had a one hour Thai massage. That felt good. The masseuse was built like an articulated truck. Jep maaih? She would keep asking. And I refused to tell her that it hurt. She would have smiled too much.

11 June 2006

The movie Wimbledon is on HBO again….and Peter Colt wins again – I like this movie – must be because Kirsten Dunst is in it !!

And now Jodie Foster in Contact – which I had not seen before. Interesting. The universe is a pretty big place and if there is no one else out there it is a pretty big waste of space!


So, so, so hot today. Did I tell you how hot is was. It was so hot. The temples need to be taken in two or three hour spells, with breaks for rest and recovery.

Lots of power failures here…not long; just frustrating.

10 June 2006

First impressions of Siem Reap are not good. The gulf between the cocooned tourist in the aircon bus and 5 star hotel and the beggars waving their stumpy arms or legs in your face is simply too great.

Then there are the endless parade of adults carrying babies asking for milk money and then the older kids selling anything; and who are probably the most aggressive. What starts as a polite no soon becomes get lost or worse.

The FCC Angkor is a 31 room zen like escape for which I am rather embarrassed to be so grateful.

There is no escape. I am sitting in the temple bar and restaurant. I have eaten good ginger chicken and am settling into a beer to watch England v Paraquay. And sure enough an ex colleague and his wife come and join me……fifteen minutes from the end of the game his wife asks which team is England….I guess it must be the team with players called Santacruz etc. Very funny.


11.10pm Cambodian TV. Cockfighting. ANd its a big crowd. The feathers are flying….guess bird flu is not a concern?

9 June 2006

Today is officially my last day at Chateau Potash; if that is the case why are my colleague (also leaving today) and I the only people here in the office at 7pm. Sad !!

We took the CP team out for lunch today – by popular request we went to Fuji. It was their choice. It is a Thai thing never to say thank you – the only three who did were the two senior staff and our administrator. It is something that I never get used to to in Thailand.

It seems an auspicious day to be leaving.

7 June 2006

Dinner last night at the Deck by the River, the restaurant at the Arun Residence, a small boutique hotel by the Chaophraya River and overlooking Wat Arun.

Last night was one of two final full dress rehearsals for the Royal Barge Procession that takes place on 12 June 2006.

You can see the pictures on the “Today” page. What the pictures do not tell you is just how wet it was last night.

The fifty barges take 40 minutes to pass any point on he procession. There are over 2,000 crew on the barges and honestly, these guys must have been soaked. It was a fearsomely heavy storm last night yet with serene precision the boats made their way down the river. As the boats pass by the baritone chanting song of the oarsmen can be heard clearly and this adds to atmosphere.

An hour or two after the procession the boats are then towed back up river with the crews still on board. By this time they must be wet through, cold and hungry; one boat was being gassed by exhaust fumes from their tug boat which made walking along RamaIV look breathable.

Hopefully the weather on the 12th June will be much friendlier. It is a wonderful and elegant show.

And dinner by the river was fun. Here I am – soaked and merry by this stage !


5 June 2006

Dating tips from AOBMAT (AOB’s man about town) – Starbucks Chitlom is a good spot for bumping into singles and pairs of young ladies who shop (ie a better class of girl than you usually meet!). Get a table and a tall latte, bring your laptop and update your web site there – I guarantee you’ll be able to make a new friend within the hour……..

Sadly this is not true of Starbuck’s Silom where you just meet a better class of thief!

To be continued………….


It is almost like a Thai version of Pretty Woman. The world can be a good place. I first met this girl along time ago on Soi 33 in Bangkok. She was a bit different. Animated; inquisitive; playful yet with a gentle heart. She was basically a family girl who would do all she could to support her parents.

She met am American guy. She is now married. Living in Washington, D.C. Her US government husband travels a lot. She has been to Bali, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Australia so far.

Wonderfully she wrote to me that “my eyes were closed seeing only Thai before. I am lucky girl.”

Lucky yes, but his is one girl that deserved to be happy and to live well.

4 June 2006

Three nights on my own at home at the weekend. How to get very depressed very quickly. Do I really know so few people in BKK after three years? Is this my choice? I


Golf handicap is now down to 11.4 (paying off 11). This is the lowest it has ever been. Can I get to single figures before my 50th birthday !?

3 June 2006

Would anyone like to know about today’s golf at Bangsai. 59 golfers and your truly was the overall winner. With a gross 78 less 12; net 66. And it could have been much better.

I was level par after 13 holes and dropped 6 shots in the last 5 holes as I got a little too cautious and started to make a few mistakes ! Still if someone had said take a net 66 at the beginning I would have said thank you.

But it really could have been a gross 74 or 75 !

The lessons must be working !

1 June 2006

At Chateau Potash there has been an informal footwear code; the love of fluffy, colourful slippers is hard to explain and when worn with a smart two piece suit or office skirt the slippers do make a certain fashion statement!


Today’s big question – who has more fun – the virtual Robert or the virtuous Robert?

31 May 2006

It is hard to imagine that Udon Thani was once a major centre of US military activity in South East Asia.  It is a sleepy and rather nice place now. Even in the middle of the day you can cross any road without fearing for your life. The air is cleaner; the temperature a little cooler. The people calm and friendly.


Air Asia back to BKK on Tuesday morning; Left 10 minutes early; arrived 15 minutes early. Only 34 pax. Easy flight.

One of the flight attendants was leaving AA the next day and heading to work for United via a five week training course in Chicago. Her first ever visit to the USA. She loves flying and I hope she has a great career at UA.

28 May 2006

35 points in the Londoners Stableford at Bangprakong Riverside yesterday. Starting on the 10th the round was spoiled by a poor start. Only 4 points on the first four holes.

Was a weird day.

Am going to Udon Thani for two nights. Wont be taking the laptop. So no updates until I get back on Tuesday morning. Have fun!

27 May 2006

26 May 2006

The Millennium Hilton has its formal grand opening in Bangkok tonight. This new five star hotel on the Thonburi side of the river is quickly becoming a must visit place for its f and b outlets. Where was my invitation?

Mind you the invitation says “if you are stylish. you’ll never miss it.”  Guess that explains everything!


Here is an area that I am not well qualified in. Past attempts have floundered miserably. So I can but offer these words of advice:

It’s  not difficult. To make a woman happy, a man only needs to be:

1. a  friend
2. a companion
3. a lover
4. a brother
5. a father
6. a master
7. a chef
8. an electrician
9. a carpenter
10. a plumber
11. a mechanic
12. a decorator
13. a stylist
14. a sexologist
15. a gynecologist
16. a psychologist
17.  a pest exterminator
18. a psychiatrist
19. a healer
20. a good  listener
21. an organizer
22. a good father
23. very clean
24. sympathetic
25. athletic
26. warm
27. attentive
28. gallant
29. intelligent
30. funny
31. creative
32.  tender
33. strong
34. understanding
35. tolerant
36.  prudent
37. ambitious
38. capable
39. courageous
40.  determined
41. true
42. dependable
43. passionate

44. give her compliments regularly
45. love shopping
46. be honest
47. be very rich
48. not  stress her out
49. not look at other girls

50. give her lots of attention, but expect little  yourself
51. give her lots of time, especially time for  herself
52. give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes


 53. to never forget:

* birthdays
* anniversaries
* arrangements she makes

24 May 2006

My nine year old in HKG does not have time to chat on the phone because he is in HKG watching the telecast of the American Idol final !!! He thinks Taylor Hicks will win. Who can argue !

23 May 2006

It is hard to focus on work right now for reasons that will become clear over the next week.


Had dinner with one of my favourite ex Reuters people last night. It was good fun to catch up on what we have both been doing and it was the liveliest and most entertaining conversation that I have had for a while.

There is not much that I miss about Reuters – but for a long time it was a very interesting place to work with some of the brightest minds that you could possibly meet. The constant word play was great fun. It would be hard to imagine a more articulate place to work.

But that was then; and now Reuters has changed and many of us have moved on.

21 May 2006

I was dreaming about my Dad last night. I never dreamed about him while he was alive – and now he has gone there he is popping up in my sleep !

He would have been delighted to see Watford move into the Premiership after a 3-0 win against Leeds today ! That was special.


Two days of golf at the weekend – Saturday at the badly over rated Thai Country Club and Sunday at Royal Golf Club.

Thai Country Club is nicely maintained and manicured but feels terribly artificial !

The club house as great showers – you could wash the whole family at the same time and it has great bath towels.

Maybe I just did not play the course very well so felt grumpy about it !

Sunday was at Royal with the Wanderers. After a very average start and a poor front 9 I shot 41 in the wind on the back 9 and played much better !

18 May 2006

It has been raining all day !

17 May 2006

The rainy season has started with a vengeance – big storm in BKK this evening just as I wanted to leave the Silom Complex. So I stayed and went to Coffee World and asked for a hot low fat cappuccino. We don’t have low fat said the guy at the counter. I suggest that I walk 10 yards to the TOPS supermarket and buy it for them. He checks with the manager. She says “we are starting a low fat promotion from tomorrow.”

“So if you have a promotion from tomorrow you must have low fat milk.” “Yes, but the promotions starts tomorrow. Many customers ask for low fat milk.” But if you have low fat milk then can I have a low fat cappuccino today?” “The promotion starts tomorrow.” “But I would like my coffee today.” “OK, you can have a low fat cappuccino today; but the promotion still starts tomorrow.”

16 May 2006

I have not mentioned Steven Gerrard’s superman impersonations in the FA Cup Final on Saturday. 3-3 after extra time, Liverpool won on penalties; Gerrard made the first for Cisse, rifled in the second with a great volley and scored the third from fully 30 yards in the last minute of normal time.

Form like that in the World Cup must give England every chance of doing very well. He was sensational.

15 May 2006

I do have to start thinking about what to do next with my life. The Chateau Potash assignment is coming to a natural conclusion; maybe by the fall.

A very wise friend wrote the following to me in an email:

I have been thinking of potential jobs for you, and for some reason, I keep thinking of fantasy jobs.  You could become a soap actor, roadie, journalist, librarian, musician, pilot, writer, the list is endless! LOL  You’ve been in serious jobs for a while – is there anything you’ve always wanted to do that you could do now?  I would love to see you doing something fun.  Maybe you could travel the world and write travel books – I would buy any book that you wrote!

Think I have been in a tv soap opera for the last few years so maybe that is not the best choice. But the note is a great kick start. I am flattered by the confidence in me.

Exploring my fantasies – what a great way to spend the next 10 to 15 years !!!


I know that the seas around Hong Kong can get a little bit rough – but I thought first ferries title for their sick bag was unnecessarily explicit !

14 May 2006

Am just back from a short weekend in Hong Kong. Really nice day there today. Clear blue skies, how often do we say that about Hong Kong? About 24C or 25C. Lunch at Stanley.

Bumped into an old Reuters Toronto colleague on the bus back from Stanley. Someone that I have not seen for at least 8 years. Curious. Small world.

More tomorrow – it is after 4am!

10 May 2006

Classy guy, Iain Dowie, the Crystal Palace manager:  “There was pushing and shoving but that’s all. If the FA ask, I will back Aidy. I don’t want this to overshadow a great night for Watford, who thoroughly deserved to go through.”


I have little to say about last weekend’s elections in Singapore which saw the ruling PAP gain 82 of 84 seats in Parliament. it is worth noting that the opposition parties did win a third of the votes in Saturday’s election, despite the Government’s customary law suits, offers of welfare bonuses and promises of extra spending for neighbourhoods that voted PAP.

Clearly PM Lee is not expecting a threat to the PAP’s authoritarian rule; days before the election he said “Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters’ votes.”

He later apologised, saying he had meant he would have to spend time countering the opposition rather than addressing issues of state.

“Fixing” the opposition – there is a leader who understands democracy !!!!

9 May 2006

Here is a Bangkok event that we can all look forward to: courtesy of the BTS web site:

The 14th Hosing & Condo Exhibition

Start date :  May 4 – 7, 2006
From : 10.00 – 20.00 hrs.

Location : Queen Sirikit National Convention Center


So Leeds are in the Championship play off after a brutal match at Preston that saw Leeds collect 10 bookings and 2 sendings off. They also broke the leg of Preston’s key forward player, Ormerod.

Watford play their second leg against Crystal Palace tonight. The final at the weekend is going to need a referee who understands what is at stake (about gbp20 million) and ensures that it is a game of football not a free for all.


All the fuss over why Bent and Defoe are not in England’s preliminary world cup squad. Sven did well for once. They are simply not good enough. 17 year old Theo Walcott is in the squad; he has still to play a first team game for Arsenal. But Arsene Venger says that he is good enough and that is good enough for me.

9 May 2006

Here is a Bangkok event that we can all look forward to: courtesy of the BTS web site:

The 14th Hosing & Condo Exhibition

Start date :  May 4 – 7, 2006
From : 10.00 – 20.00 hrs.

Location : Queen Sirikit National Convention Center


So Leeds are in the Championship play off after a brutal match at Preston that saw Leeds collect 10 bookings and 2 sendings off. They also broke the leg of Preston’s key forward player, Ormerod.

Watford play their second leg against Crystal Palace tonight. The final at the weekend is going to need a referee who understands what is at stake (about gbp20 million) and ensures that it is a game of football not a free for all.


All the fuss over why Bent and Defoe are not in England’s preliminary world cup squad. Sven did well for once. They are simply not good enough. 17 year old Theo Walcott is in the squad; he has still to play a first team game for Arsenal. But Arsene Venger says that he is good enough and that is good enough for me.

6 May 2006

My golf was truly horrible today ! I was at Bangsai for the regular gathering of the Wanderers. A dreadful start – a shanked short sand wedge on the first for a double bogey and a massive eight on the second.

It was an incredibly hot day. Yes it was nice to be outside in the sunshine. But now I am home I feel like have been in a toaster all day.

Not helped by a bout of flu that I cannot shake off and far too little sleep. I am not sleeping well at the moment – and it is not because there are any distractions…..

4 May 2006

Earl Woods, green beret and father or the mercurial Tiger Woods, died today. Must be a very hard day for a close family. Tiger’s mother, of course, is from Thailand.


Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has revealed the club is considering legal action against Sunderland defender Dan Smith after his foul on Abou Diaby which fractured the young player’s ankle and has ruled him out of action for nine months.

The 19-year-old will miss the Champions League final and is expected to be sidelined until February. It was a terrible two footed lunge, not just late but vicious. Arsenal are hardly footballing saints but the yellow card was insufficient punishment.

It was a badly (appallingly) refereed game where some dreadful tackles were tolerated.

There really is no place for this sort of attack in the modern game. It was potentially a career ending tackle. The FA (it really should be FU for f***ing useless) say they cannot upgrade the yellow card to a red card and a long punishment. Pathetic. Instead they will probably berate Wenger for telling them that they are incompetent.


Michelle Wie’s bid to become the first woman to make the cut in a major men’s tour event since 1945 got off to a solid start with a two-under-par 70 in the first round of the SK Telecom Open in Incheon on Thursday. She is 5 shots behind the Australian leader whose name frankly does not really matter !!! Sorry.

The girl has such talent; it is just a shame that she is limited by the the short sighted LPGA to just a handful of tournaments. In Korea she has added huge numbers to the press and public galleries.

3 May 2006

What is it about Thais and nose-picking? How many times have you been chatting to someone in Thailand and they quite happily go about major nostril excavation and examination during the conversation.


I walked home down Saladaeng last night. This street will be so busy when all the new condos are occupied.

Walking past Legend Saladaeng this guy steps into the pavement ten yards in from of me and spits onto the pavement. He then holds his nose and expels the contents onto the ground. Wipes his hands on his short and retreats back into the building.

I have fell unwell ever since. Going home to bed. I feel rather average.

2 May 2006

Is Rotiboy dead? I walked past there twice at the weekend and there were no queues. Will there be redundant rotiboys?

And talking of dead – what happened to Papa Alfredo in U Chu Liang building. This was a large new york style italian restaurant. Trouble is it never seemed to be that busy and it presumably ran into financial problems. It is well and truly closed now!


Dinner last night at the “Deck by the River.” Lovely small restaurant on the river looking directly across to the Temple of Dawn. The restaurant is part of a five bedroom hotel called the Arun Residence – you may need to ask them to change the music; bad versions of bad disco pop were in danger of ruining the evening until they were sent in search of some gentle jazz.

The food is good quality western (french influenced) and thai. A limited menu. Beware of an average tiramisu to finish.


Watford vs Crystal Palace in the Championship play-offs. Over two legs next Saturday and Tuesday. The winners play the winner of Leeds and Preston at the Millenium Stadium. Whatever the result Watford have had the most surprising of seasons.

1 May 2006

A good game of golf with the foreign correspondents club yesterday at my favourite course Subraphreuk, Two birdies, on 8 and 17 hlepd an Ok score.

My favourite caddy was still sad after the death of her grandmother. This was her first day back at work after almost a week away.


It is also starting to rain in the evenings. I have the beginnings of a cold today. Not good. Cough; itchy throat. It is another holiday here today; there are a lot of these at the moment !

6 April 2006

We are gathered in Vancouver for the CP AGM. The annual dinner was at Carderos once again. Big thanks to Anni – definitely a star. Go and see her….

And then to Jupiter Cafe. Honestly, we did not know it was karaoke night. Our guide, who shall remain nameless, for now at least, says this is the pace to go. On a Saturday maybe; or in a coma; but not after a good midweek dinner.

Truly, truly gruesome.


Vancouver weather has been great. BTW. This is a nice city. Although if Jupiter is the best night out in Vancouver then I have to go home!


Villareal are given a soft last minute penalty and Lehmann saves it ! That must get Arsenal through to the European Cup final. They have not played well; but they have kept the Spanish from scoring.

24 April 2006

You can always recognise the American traveler as you go through airport security. Even in Bangkok, as they reach the security scanners they are taking off their jackets, belts and shoes. This is not required in either BKK or HKG. Just empty out metallic objects from your pockets. There is no need for the great US strip.

23 April 2006

I was transiting through Hong Kong airport. In the queue at the transfer desk was a couple, white guy and chinese girl (maybe 50/50 girl). I had no idea what language they were speaking. I was guessing somewhere out of the former soviet union; it was not Russian but had hard tones. So I had to ask them. Dutch. I really should have known.

21 April 2006

Not everyone agrees with my world cup predictions; one wildly optimistic english friend wrote: “I disagree. I think it will be an England v Holland 1/4 final, England v Brazil semi and England v Argentina final – with England obviously winning with a goal in the 93 minute scored by Rooney with the palm of his hand!”

19 April 2006

Jamie Reeves is the man – on Football Focus last night he tipped Watford to win the Championship play off and to take the third promotion place to the Premiership. I always said that he understood football better than any of the other tv pundits!

17 April 2006

In Tibet, that bastion of great journalism, Xinhua, is heralding the erection of a huge statue of Chairman Mao Zedong. This 35-ton, 12 metre high  memorial is being built to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Mao’s death. It is located in Gonggar County, near the Tibetan capital Lhasa,

The statue will rise 7m from a 5m pedestal strengthened to withstand earthquakes.

Now just how insensitive is this. Mao Zedong ordered the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1950. Maybe the Japanese could offer a statue of Emperor Hirohito to Nanjing; a monument to bin-Laden in New York; a tribute to Adolf Hitler in Tel Aviv. Very bizarre.

14 April 2006

Strange Singapore. It is so easy to like and so easy to get frustrated.

Shopping in HMV yesterday. The store is quiet. The little guy is tired and wants to it down. There are no seats. He site on the floor.

The baby faced prissy security guy tells us that he cannot sit on the floor because that is the rule. I said show me the rule. He rather forcefully said he cannot sit there. I said he is tired; if you want my business then he can sit where he likes, especially as you have no chairs in the store.

Off he went to annoy someone else.


We are staying in family rooms in Singapore; two adjoining rooms. One is a kids room with kids bedding on both beds, kids towels, a little table and plastic cups and kids stuff in the washroom. BUT the kids room has a fully stocked standard booze filled minibar and a balcony if the kid decides he or she wants to go walkabout. The adult room has secured windows! Strange.

9 April 2006

I am sorry that I have not been able to update this site for a week.


I go away for one week – Thailand has an election; Thaksin wins by a mile and promptly resigns. Or does he. Does he just take a rest. Will he continue to lead TRT. Will he continue to set government policy. Is he still PM in all but name. This is going to take a lot of explaining.

A good article from the Australian on this very subject is here.


I do like updating my website from in flight. This is seriously clever.


On SQ317 heading back from London to Singapore. This will be easier than the outbound flight. The seat next to me is empty so there is a little more space to spread out.

Heathrow airport is such a disgrace. A long queue at check in. An even longer queue to show your boarding pass and be allowed to the departure area. And then an even longer queue for security. All of this restricts the BAA’s ability to make money as it reduces the time available to your their shopping mall. It really is hard to know that you are in an airport.


Interesting items in the Sunday Observer. United 93 – a film of the last flight to be hijacked on 9-11 is now opening in the USA. It cannot be easy for the families and friends of the passengers and crew of that flight to see their loved ones living out their final and fateful few hours boarding the flight, being hijacked, fighting for control of the plane and the subsequent crash of the plane with the death of all onboard.

The certain knowledge that had they not fought back that plane would have crashed into Washington must be some comfort.


Meanwhile in Dubai the hired slave labour out of South Asia and the Philippines is beginning to fight back and demand decent working conditions and pay. And not before time.

2 April 2006

There was an Indian Airlines A320 at Bangkok this morning in the new colour scheme. It is very nice indeed.


Wow – it is a long way from Singapore. A packed 747; a big guy next to me. No room to move and a mere 13 hrs and 50 minutes to London.

SQ service is beginning to look a little dated. The seat back video screens are old and many have lost their brightness and/or are badly scratched. Food is nothing better than OK.


On my way to London on Singapore Air. At Bangkok airport the Black Canyon Coffee shop opposite gate 51 needs to be renamed. The one thing they do not have is coffee – the machine is broken. Amazing Thailand. Welcome to Black Canyon Mai Mee Coffee.

Today is of course election day in the land of smiles. The choice being between Thaksin and “No Vote”. How bizarre. I have friends in Bangkok who are returning today to their home province where they are registered to vote and who are going all that way just to tick the “No Vote” box on their ballot.

31  March 2006

I missed most of this day. Take off was 2am from Vancouver; arrival was 7.00am in Hong Kong on Saturday 1st April

30 March 2006

Back on 21 March I wrote a little about my father’s losing fight with cancer. Sadly he died at around 11.00am in the UK today, 30th March. He was 73.

I miss knowing that he is there.

27 March 2006

As I scan the Nation newspaper for news from home (well from Bangkok) I came across the following little gem:

“Tomorrow, Paragon is scheduled to kick off its first summer sale since the mall opened its doors in December. “The 1st Midnight Phenomenon” will run from 6pm to 10pm.”

Err; isn’t midnight usually at 12am. Or is this another example of Thailand’s early closing or all forms of nightlife – including shopping !

26 March 2006

White Rock feels like a very long way from Bangkok ! It is a fairly prosperous Canadian seaside community close to the US border and about one hour south of Vancouver.

One of the great travel bargains. The bus brought me from Vancouver for $2.25; the standard Sunday fare.

There is a white rock. On the beach. There is a long boardwalk between the beach and the rail line and ocean front road.

There are litter bins painted by classes at the local school.

Stores sell cuban cigars; presumably to the US tourists who cannot but Castro’s best known products.

The air is great. It was cool today; and there were showers. But a long walk clears the cobwebs. They probably have great sunsets here.

The rail line is the single track line from Vancouver to Seattle. A silver Amtrak train just went in a stately way past the hotel.

25 March 2006

I am at 33,000 feet out of Hong Kong heading to Vancouver. After last week’s rather fraught trip in the back of the plane to London it is nice to be back on business class. And Cathay Pacific is comfortable. It is also full. They must make so much money on the Vancouver run.

I am heading for White Rock; down near the US border. And there is an alarming story on the front page of the West Coast News, section B of the Vancouver Sun. Headline – “White Rock woman nominated, twice, as worst driver”. Me, I am going to stay locally and walk to the office. Looking carefully first in each direction!

24 March 2006

Are you thinking of running a business in China; foreigners should read this first: and then think about investing somewhere else.

That said, a similar article could be written about Thailand!


Visitor watch:

The undersized briefs appear to be getting smaller. Made me choke on my breakfast cereal.

People still fall for the Thai gem scams. Despite all the warnings.

Finding the iron is impressive. Dropping it on the floor and breaking it is not so good. I know; accidents do happen!

22 March 2006

There should be a book of rules about what should and should not be done when staying with a friend: some suggestions:

Inviting yourself is OK. Adding the girlfriend  some weeks later as an afterthought is something of a deception.

Wandering around a friend’s apartment in nothing more than undersized briefs should be discouraged unless you have the body to go with it.

Locking your host out of the apartment is probably unwise.

Any additions?


England win the third test by 212 runs in Bombay ! Wonderful.

21 March 2006

Back in BKK; that was a long way to go for a weekend.

Qatar Airways are good from Doha to London and vv but quite awful from Doha to BKK and vv. It is like two different airlines. The flight from Doha had a very large contingent of partying Turkish males; think Midnight Express meets Airplane and you get the picture.

I watched “Elizabethtown” on the inflight movies; Not a great movie but it felt comfortable and a little familiar!


Watford won 3-1 at Southampton. Suddenly second place in the premiership appears to be a genuine possibility as Sheffield United blow up.

20 March 2006

No wonder the Brits are getting so large. The size of the chocolate bars sold at London Gatwick is just frightening ! Queues for everything at LGW on a Monday morning.


London was cold. Winter weather rather than spring weather. And I am tired – I have slept so badly the last few days.


A walk around London’s west end on Sunday evening. Borders inexplicably closes at 6pm on Sundays. This is not Vancouver or Singapore I guess.

17 March 2006

On my way to London – Qatar Airways via Doha. This will be a short trip; arriving on Friday evening and returning on Monday morning out of London.

But it is a necessary trip and I will write more about it after the weekend.

Bangkok Airport is just horrible first thing in the morning. The check in queue was sort; the immigration queue was horrendous. All the airlines are trying to get their planes out of BKK first thing in the morning. But the BKK authorities have not worked out that this is peak time.

16 March 2006

I am impressed – my little guy who is 8 years old has a web site!

When I was 8 years old I was making mud pies and reciting multiplication tables.

15 March 2006

Just back from an overnight trip to a cool and grey Hong Kong.

Hotels in Hong Kong are packed; room rates are going through the roof. The city is in boom time. But it is not clear why. I do think some companies are saving cost by keeping staff overseas and flying them into Hong Kong as needed.


Has anyone tried to walk from U Chu Liang to the Dusit Thani hotel recently? The pavement has been dug up and replaced by a sand pit.

The sandpit is slowly being covered by cobbled stones; to make walking even easier than normal in BKK?

And worse still the work is being done by the lowest possible tender. Considering how many people walk here and the location this is shockingly slow and poor work.


Rumours from Singapore that UA is rehiring its Singapore crew base some 3 and 1/2 years after they were let go shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Good news for UA and the crew.


Rumours also of Air Asia basing two planes in Chiang Mai to fly routes to India and Bangladesh. Interesting to see whether there is a big enough market in Chiang Mai to start a small local hub.

The model has worked for Air Asia in Johor Bahru. Can it work at CNX?

13 March 2006

Weekend golf report. I had a friend in town from Vancouver over the weekend. A perfect excuse for a weekend of golf and a night out in Pattaya.

We played St. Andrews 2000 on Saturday. It really is a magnificent course and it is wonderful condition. Long – par 74 – with two par 6 holes. Over 7,000 yards off the gold tees; the first par six is 836 yards with water everywhere.

Sunday was a less extravagant parkland layout at Treasure Hill near Chonburi. It is still quite long at 6,600 yards. And it was hot. All pars and birdies on Sunday with two blow out holes.

As for Pattaya – a good foot massage; a light Italian dinner, and a few drinks. A rather late night; but well paced and a good night’s sleep with no hangover!

10 March 2006

For a friend:

Oh, it’s carnival night
And they’re stringing the lights around you
Hanging paper angels
Painting little devils on the roof

Oh the furnace wind
Is a flickering of wings about your face
In a cloud of incense
Yea, it smells like Heaven in this place

I can’t eat, can’t sleep
Still I hunger for you when you look at me
That face, those eyes
All the sinful pleasures deep inside

Tell me how, you know now, the ways and means of getting in
Underneath my skin,
Oh you were always my original sin
And tell me why, I shudder inside, every time we begin
This dangerous game
Oh you were always my original sin

A dream will fly
The moment that you open up your eyes
A dream is just a riddle
Ghosts from every corner of your life

Up in the balcony
All the Romeo’s are bleeding for your hand
Blowing theater kisses
Reciting lines they don’t understand
9 March 2006

Sick this morning; food poisoning; was up at 5.30am in a dreadful sweat and sick. Not a great start to the morning.


But it is the opening day of the second test in Mohali where my India correspondent assures me that anything can happen!


2.00pm news. Bangkok Post

Amid rising political tensions in Bangkok, a bomb exploded Thursday outside the home of former Thai prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda, damaging a car and injuring a British tourist, police and hospital sources said.

The explosion occurred at 2 p.m. local time near a security box outside Prem’s house compound in Bang Lamphu district.

8 March 2006

More insanity from the USA ref the Dubai Ports deal. “We do not believe the U.S. should allow a government-owned company to operate American ports,” said a spokesman for Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert. The Washington Post adds that “House Republican aides and Senate Democrats” predict the Senate will soon follow suit. The bidding for PandO was between the ports authorities of Dubai and Singapore. And for those who live in dark rooms cut off from the real world the Singapore ports authority is also government owned. Oops


Bye Bye Chelsea – you will not be missed.

7 March 2006

That was a busy weekend – golf on Saturday morning (would have been OK except for two disaster holes !). Then caught the late Saturday afternoon Air Asia flight to Macau – and came back to BKK on Monday night. It is nice to have a passport again and to be able to travel.

The weather in Macau was very average – grey with drizzle or rain. And the SAR is a huge building site. But it is fun to do go somewhere different. Plenty of walking and a couple of good meals.

Macau is a Chinese Sodom and is bright neon next to old style parks with old folks practising tai chi. It is the click-clack of the mah jong tiles and the metallic flood of a slot machine payout.

2 March 2006

Our auditor just arrived from Vancouver – and certain female members of our office are swooning already – the poor boy has only been here a matter of hour – is a jetlagged wreck – and already details of his Vancouver love life are being shared around the office.


I was having this amazing dream last night – and then the phone rang – it was 3am – and it was a wrong number. The dream never came back…..but from what I remember it was more fun than I have fantasised about for a long time !


Just got my Centrepoint bill for February. Electricity and laundry charges have increased by some 20%. Now what was the rate of inflation in Thailand? Most depressing of all – there are 18 room service vouchers for dinners in what is already a short (28 day) month. Given that I was also away for two weekends I am spending too many nights stuck in my apartment. Not a healthy existance.

1 March 2006

England win the toss and bat in Nagpur on the  first day of the three match test series in India.


The Silom RotiBoy queue is still there; no matter that the temperature is in the mid 30s. Maybe the supposedly unique flavour is from the street pollution.


Have one new passport – and joined the throng at Bangkok’s immigration office today to get a new entry visa in my new passport to prove that I really am here.

Please get copies of each of these four documents I was told. I trudged over to the photocopy shop over the road; which must pay a commission to the immigration office as it is such a well trodden path.

Then of course they only need one of the four photocopied documents.

28 February 2006

New additions announced to the Qantas fleet:


Last man standing – England enter the first test in Nagpur without Vaughan, Trescothick and Jones. Freddie Flintoff as the last man standing takes over the captaincy and will probably love every minute of it.

What to look forward to in Nagpur: not a lot: England will be bowling to the finest batting line-up India can have mustered, in conditions that would test to the full anyone but spinners of the highest class. It will be hot, searingly so even by the standards of the subcontinent at this time of year as it cranks up into summer. Last Thursday the temperature reached 39.7C (103F), the hottest February day for 119 years, and it has not relented significantly since.

Win the toss; bat first and hope to build a large score. Anything esle could be calamitous.

27 February 2006

Went to see the movie “Walk the Line” yesterday – the Johnny Cash biopic. At its heart the movie is a love story – as June Carter gives Johnny Cash a second chance. Remarkable performances from Phoenix and Witherspoon in the lead roles. They are totally convincing. And (apparently to their great surprise) they can both belt out a song as well.


Nearly killed myself slipping over in the shower last night. No one would have found me until the cleaners came this morning. And then who would they contact ?


Siam Paragon, Bangkok’s new mega mall is getting over its teething problems. More stores are open. New additions include clothing retailer Zara, a better priced alternative to the high end designer labels. The Paragon cineplex with 11 cinemas and seats at Baht140-160 is great value and very comfortable.


My colleagues are excitedly reading a copy of Australian Classic Car magazine….possibly the magazine with the least content of any on the planet ! Right up there with “The wit and wisdom of Britney Spears” and David Beckham’s Guide to good penalty taking.”


Hillary Clinton was ranting on CNN about the Dubai acquisition of P&O and the impact of security of the USA. It was pathetic to listen to. Her husband had far sounder political judgement.

25 February 2006

Apologies – this page has been quiet for the week. It has been a busy time at work. And it is 9.30am on Saturday morning and I have been at work for a couple of hours instead of out on the golf course.

Indeed this is a no golf weekend. Other than a trip to the driving range. Have not yet shaken off my flu – it is hard in this climate.

19 February 2006

You can read about the theft of my briefcase last Thursday in the “today” page. Brownie points go to the British Embassy who made applying for a new passport very straightforward indeed.

The camera, phone and passports can all be replaced. The reading glasses can re replaced.

One strange item that was always with me cannot. For some reason, and I never knew why, but never saw reason to change it, my old wedding ring was in the pencil case that he took from my briefcase; it was there with a collection of pens; some better than others. The wedding ring was nice and simple; bands of white gold and gold. It has many memories associated with it. And now it has gone. Proof, if ever it was needed, of how important it is to move on in life.


The weekend’s golf report – 16 Irish against 16 English in a Ryder Cup format at Pattaya Golf and Country Club. Fourballs on Saturday morning; foursomes in the afternoon and singles on Sunday.

Won both games on Saturday but lost the singles today. Was playing really well on Saturday morning – at one stage ran off 8 pars in a row.

Sunday was so different – the timing was all wrong and I felt uncomfortable – just not able to settle down. Was three down after seven holes. Back to all square after 15 holes. Hit a gem of a 5 iron at the 16th but it was a fraction too long. And the chip downhill to the hole was almost impossible. Lost 16th and 17th and the match 2 and 1. Having got the game back to all square it was a very tame finish.

Good weekend though. And I like the team matchplay format. @ points out of 3 is not to bad. The Irish (my lot) were badly beaten.

15 February 2006

Hmm – feel truly awful today – every temperature under the sun and a head that is pounding. Not helped by a day of meeting and losing my temper after the last one.

Sometimes I get soooo frustrated.

14 February 2006

OK – its Valentines Day. I have received no flowers or cards – I have sent none either. The 14 year old boy of a friend of mine is sending 19 cards!! Not just sending; he is rumoured to be hand delivering them. See – romance is not dead – it is just confined to teenagers.

In Bangkok there will be a shortage of cuddly and furry toys by the end of today.


At least my weekend was safer than a quail hunting weekend with Dick Cheney. How embarrassing. The late night shows will have fun with this story!

Still have a lousy bout of flu.


Singapore does have its surprises – there are real living exhibits sitting among the waxworks in the Images of Singapore exhibit on Sentosa. Once you have gotten over the surprise of this chat jumping up to shake hands with you they are great fun; extremely friendly and very much into their roles!

13 February 2006

Nasty bout of flu – nothing to do with chickens.

Straits Times yesterday: 96% of Singaporeans support the death penalty. This remarkable font page headline is baed upon a poll of 425 poeple. And the population is 3.5 million.

11 February 2006

As I get in the taxi this morning the taxi driver slips a cd into the player. The next thing I hear is barking dogs woofing the melody of the Beatles “I want to hold your hand”. This is followed by the same all dog band seeing “She was Just 17” and “Its been a hard day’s night.”

Was he taking the piss? Or did he really enjoy such a bizarre sound? Or worse still did he think that I might enjoy listening to that? Or even that it was the real thing?

Woof. Very surreal. Amazing Thailand.


Thai Air Asia seems to have done away with the fasten seat belt sign. Any other airline would have lit up the sign for this flight. Its more fun than a Disney ride but walking the cabin would be very foolish. Captain must be an ex cargo man or military. Think he has forgotten that he has self-loading freight.


8 February 2006

Sports news day !

The ever popular Glazers are to sell off the Old Trafford name at Manchester United. In the same way that Arsenals’ new stadium will be known as the Emirates Stadium Old Trafford is now up for sale.

Suggestions welcomed – a sponsor with a suitable name.

The Teflon stadium as it is always someone else’s fault?

Ample Rich stadium ! That is for Thai investors!

Others ???


Chealsea’s Arjen Robben – hereafter to be known as the Dying Dutchman.

Poor Rafa Benitez was outraged. His goalkeeper, Reina, stroked Arjen’s face and the Dutchman collapsed in a wimpering heap. Pathetic.

Enough is enough. It’s bad enough when players try to con the ref into giving them a penalty. But when it’s to get one of your fellow professionals sent off, it’s a disgrace. 5 match suspension and community service with the local amateur dramatics club.

7 February 2006

Watford won 4-1 away at second place Sheffield United last night. Better still it was live on Sky Sports 1 across the UK and Europe. Watford moved to third in the Championship ! truly beyond anyone’s realistic expectations at the start of this season.

5 February 2006

Golf at Bangsai yesterday where a big slump between the 8th and 13th ruined the card.

Not feeling so good. A pinched nerve in my left shoulder still hurts and I had a huge headache by the end of yesterday’s game that did not go away.

So went home after golf and spent the rest of the day in bed feeling rather sorry for myself.


Hard to know what to make of last night’s anti-Thaksin rally. The number attending varies form some 40,000 to 100,000 depending on who you read or believe.

It was largely peaceful and for that we should all be thankful.

Where next? Another rally is planned for February 11th.

Thaksin may well resign – but not yet. He needs to ensure that his assets are free from subsequent prosecution or seizure and that his political legacy is largely intact.

But if he does go – then what? The TRT party is a lose affiliation of fiefdoms that Thaksin has held together through promises and patronage. He was the party. He gave them power and legitimacy. Without Thaksin there may well be no TRT.

2 February 2006

You are being watched !!











The Thai government has launched a Thai Cybercop programme on Radio Thailand to monitor the media; this links to the website where you may report websites that cause offense!! Please not this one !

This is all quite Orwellian !

1 February 2006

Another question – why is this list on your web site; what does it mean !?

Trouble is there is a right and wrong answer to most of the questions below. And the right answer is probably the least honest ! Try the following replies and see what reaction you get: Very; Don’t know why you bothered; Yes; Stunning; You really don’t want to know; no where else would have us; full of convicts; to wind you up; my gig/gik; at home; just didn’t want to talk to you; i guess so !


State of the Union address today:

BUSH: At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half — in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran — because the demands of justice and the peace of this world require their freedom as well.

Isn’t he missing the biggest tyranny of all !!! China !?


I was watching “The Battle of Britain” on vcd late  last night. The good news is that the good guys still win !

The film was made in 1969 – partly filmed in Hawkinge, where my grandmother lived. Hawkinge is just outside Folkestone in SE England and was at the front line of the Battle of Britain.

The aerial shots are well done. The planes were the only airworthy spitfires and hurricanes available. The me-109’s, were actually spanish airforce ha-113’s re-engined from d-b601’s to Rolls-Royce merlins. The bombers were also real german bombers that were re-engined.

The sub plots are a bit lame. But the last list is a who’s who of British actors and Susannah York adds the glamour!

Collectors Print

Print: Spitfire Mk. Is of No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron engaging enemy aircraft over Southern England during 1940, by Anthony Theobald

A history of the Hawkinge airfield can be found here:

The RAF’s official Battle of Britain history site is here:

31 January 2006

Some of the worst questions that a guy can be asked by his partner/wife/girlfriend (or for the Thais, their gik):

Do I look fat in this?
Do you like my haircut?
Are you bored with me?
Do you think she is pretty?
What are you thinking?
Why do we live in Bangkok?
Why aren’t we living in Australia?
Why did you write that on your web site?
Who would sms you at this time of night?
I tried to call you; where were you?
Do you still love me!?

Any suggestions???

30 January 2006

Was back at Subraphreuk on Sunday. Good company, shame about the golf. Three games in three days was too much for me. I felt truly worn out.  Still feel tired today !

29 January 2006

Golf with old friends from Reuters days on Friday at Subraphreuk; nice day out in lovely weather; but not my best golf.

And then an early start yesterday at Bangkapong Riverside where I was playing well until an 8,7 finish which truly ruined the card. Two birdies on the back nine helped.

No consistency !

23 January 2006

Question to one of my colleagues – What would you do with US$1.9 billion.

Answer – Buy the next election.

Thaksin has sold the family stake in Shin Corp (49.6%) of the company for US$1.9 billion to Temasek Holdings; the government investment arm of Singapore Inc.


Funniest email of last week was a message from the landlords of Chateau Potash telling us of the lengths they go to to ensure building security.

They advised us that: “all visitors have to trade their identification cards with the building pass cards. They also mentioned that they have undercover police persons in charge 24 hours a day.”

Well I have never been asked to show any id. I have never seen anyone show id. The security guard at the entrance was reading a comic at lunchtime.

Maybe the elevator ladyboy (see below) is an undercover security person. That’s taking the disguise a bit far!

23 January 2006

Elevator dilemma.

If a ladyboy gets into the elevator with you in your office building is it right to make a point of letting him/her off the elevator first?

Should a man hold the door open for a ladyboy as he would for a woman?

Confronted with the elevator dilemma is Chateau Potash today we chose to exit last.


22 January 2006

Happy birthday mother !

On a short delay here at Hong Kong airport waiting for the flight back to Bangkok. As always much to think about after a few days here.

We had a colleague working with us from Toronto. It was 15 years since he was last in Hong Kong. His most frequently hear words were “wow” and “incredible” and “this would never happen in Toronto.”

Living in Hong Kong or as a frequent visitor it is simply too easy to take this amazing city for granted. And it is amazing.

A couple of happy observations. It is a cleaner city than it used to be and overall the service in hotels, bars and restaurants is now very good. That was not always the case.


The Swede who coaches the English football team really has been the victim of something of a prank, coup and victimisation by the News of the World. Now the NOTW is a rag fit only for bathroom reading. But the naivity of Mr. Eriksson and his advisors is simply monumental.

There is little doubt that the FA (which incidentally means football association although the alternative meaning might be just as appropriate) would dump Eriksson or any other manager at a moment’s notice should it suit them.

But Eriksson has trumped them; attracted by Arab money, a yacht cruise around the Arabian gulf and way too much champagne he volubly spilled the beans on his future ambitions and on confidences given to him by the FA and his squad of over indulged players.

Eriksson is an overpaid, average coach with the spine of a jellyfish. This was a man who thought it OK to watch his players threaten a strike because the prima donna Rio (is that an English name) was to be dropped after failing to attend a drug test. A fine example all around.

Maybe he and the FA deserve eachother. At least the NOTW can say it served merely to show how greedy and gullible they are !


The flight has been delayed due to the aircraft rotation!! What sort of reason is that! Now delayed again !


It has been cold and grey in Hong Kong all week – and really quite cool this weekend. It was tough today for the domestic helpers who gather en masse in Central and Admiralty and sit on any available piece of concreted open space with their friends for the day.

They are not made welcome by the malls, stores or restaurants; they have little to spend as what they have is generally remitted to home.

Never forget that the Chinese can discriminate as well if not better than most other races or nations!


No plane at our gate yet – a 7pm departure looks unlikely !


I wonder if I will ever work and live in Hong Kong again. I guess it is as near as I have to somewhere I can call home.

17 January 2006

Had a good flight on CX up to Hong Kong yesterday afternoon. It as been a few month since I have been in business class and Cathay even on a short flight to provide a high level of service.

Despite a packed flight and KGB children running around the aisles the crew, who were a happy team, did a good job.

Hong Kong is grey and cool.

16 January 2006

Golf at The Rose Garden course yesterday. West of Bangkok this is not an easy course to find on a dark, misty morning ! And it was my first golf for four weeks. 9 pars in the round; but a little too much rubbish on the second nine. 33 points for the stableford; four off the winning total.

It was great fun just to be out on the course on a lovely, warm, sunny day!

14 January 2006

In Chateau Potash on a Saturday. This cannot be good !

13 January 2006

Some cake in the office for ED’s birthday – always nice that everyone remembers, attends and sings happy birthday. This was an Emporium chocolate cake. Very classy.

I know you would like to see it:

There were not enough candles !

10 January 2006

Great progress in Chateau Potash – E.D and I now have our own personal trash bins instead of a shared and overflowing (usually his lunch trash) bin. E.D says it is like getting a divorce!

9 January 2006

Burton Albion – 14th in the Conference came awfully close to humbling Manchester United last night – the 0-0 draw was a great result and fully deserved by a team who, despite a pudding of a pitch, played flowing, passing football. Indeed it was Man U who resorted to hiking the ball forward to the pace of Saha.

But what was Fergie thinking; why field a reserve team, incorporating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first start for 20 months, when the FA Cup is United’s best hope of salvaging his first season under Malcolm Glazer’s ownership?

So they head back to Old Trafford for a replay in front of 40,000 people instead of the 6,191 who packed the Pirelli Stadium. Burton manager, Nigel Clough, says they don’t have a prayer. But then he said that before last night’s match as well.

The FA Cup is alive and well again !

4 January 2006

I am going to have to find another way of getting to the new chateau potash – our office move means a longer walk – it is not the distance that is an issue – it is how polluted Rama iv road is. Truly unpleasant.

The cold season is over already. It was warm all weekend and is now hot in the mornings. That did not last long.


I did see “King Kong” last night. This is already  one of the best films of the year – simple raw entertainment. Total escapism. Surprisingly involving; stunning to look at; and moving.

The emotional bond between between beauty and the best is cast on a mountain; from then on Ann will be as safe as Kong can make her, and he will protect her even from her own species. It is entirely believable.

Great film – making.

3 January 2006

It is still a holiday in Bangkok. And I have a cold. So am feeling a little uninspired.

1 January 2006

Happy New Year!