Monday, July 6, 2009

miserable farangland

Farangland is still the same. It's cold and cloudy and I have a 10am-8pm day at university, followed by some quiet moments in my dorm-room.

Over the weekend, I went to town. It was a Saturday afternoon, not that cold and not rainy - quite nice! The town where I stay is actually a really beautiful city, not very big, but not small either.

There is plenty to see in the town centre, yet there was no one there...I walked around, past the caf├ęs, the clothes boutiques, the souvenir shops, the book shops and it was all empty.

For a moment, I was wondering whether there is a public holiday, but those dont really exist in farangland here..

From my 3-years experience of living here, I remember countless shops who have come and gone in the main shopping street of the city, some are even empty - that can not be a good sign. And this is not due to the recession, because even when farangland's economy was doing well, some of these shops were empty.

Then, I realised something. Half of the people out in the street were Chinese. Another few Korean or other Asians. The white faranglanders were missing. Where were they?

Typical farangland butchery

I spotted a trailer in the middle of the main shopping street. The man sold donuts and coffee. He was a typical faranglander.

A rough man, a bit of a beard, rugged face, a jacket, some worn-out jeans and a big smile on his face. He asked me and my friend how our day was.

We told him: We are just having a day out. Then I asked him: Why is it so quiet. He said: If it would have been sunny for 30 more minutes, the people would have come out to town, now they went to the mall (it was overcast, but not rainy at all).

The f*cking mall. I hate them. Everyone goes to malls in farangland. It's that dirty American suburban culture mixed with the traditional "rite of passage" for every faranglander to own his little wee house with a tiny garden, the so-called "quarter-acre dream".

A Faranglander's dream, he/she will work for this life for decades.

How long does it take until people realise that this dream is fake and over. My town here is rather small but it has traffic jams, and rush-hours because EVERYONE takes the car to work.

The malls here are miserable! They teem with bored people. Families, old people, young people, teens, schoolkids. People are bored and cold - lets go to the mall. The mall numbs people's minds - they dont have the creativity to do anything else anymore.

When I used to live in farangtown with my boyfriend, we had a miserable life too. We both like to be among people. Faranglanders however commute between their TV, their car, the mall and work, that's it. So we used to go to the mall too just because we could not stand the quietness of the house or the neighbourhood.

My University on a sunny day

Farangtown is a tough city. It really tests your sturdiness. If you dont have friends, a boyfriend, a car and either creativity and energy, or indifference, you will become depressed.

Right now, I am fine. I have a boring and monotonous and immobile life. I do the same every day but it's ok, because I have a job to do. My happiness is measured in the numbers of words I write every day. If it's more than 500, my mood is good, if more than 1000, my mood is happy.

I want everyone who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, or elsewhere in Asia, and is not happy with their lives to think and reflect on their life.

Dont you like stepping out of your condo, and the next taxi comes right there?
Dont you love having a midnight snack with your friends on the roadside, BBQ chicken, somtam, etc?
Dont you love being able to walk down to 7eleven at 2am when you realise that you want some Orange Juice, MaMa Noodles, or a lollie?
Dont you love that you dont need to think about what combination of clothes you are going to wear because a shirt and pants will do? (ok that one does not hold up for kawadjan and me:))
Dont you love having people around you whenever you step out of your condo?

It's better here after all, isnt it?

Maybe you dont realise all these things, but when they are gone, you realise how you have gotten very used to all these niceties.

p.s. the farangland pictures were taken last year. this year there wasnt any light yet to take the pictures. someone turn the light on please?

a saying from farangland goes: may the last one to leave farangland please turn the light off.

I think they all left....?!?!?


zenk said...

Yeah. I also miss Bangkok. I was there last May. Planning to return next month if my budget would allow...

Anonymous said...

You forgot the most important one - don't you love walking down the street and seeing Asian faces everywhere you look? Particularly the male ones. - Ian

BB said...

ian, that is actually the least of my concerns. there are tons of chinese students here if it HAS to be a man from Asia:)

zenk...happy you enjoy it. but dont just go to silom and the temples. look around a bit!!;)

JR said...

I'm not sure where Farangland is for you, but I'm guessing Korea... However, I think your opinion on the "dirty American suburban culture" is a bit misplaced; everybody has their own dreams and ideas, and everybody in America, or the West, doesn't actually want that "dirty American suburban culture..." For those that do, what's the problem? For those that don't, what's the problem? It seems as if you have some major problems with people who want to own a home, a car, etc. Why bash them? Your life is your choice and mine is mine and everybody elses' if theirs. No use in slamming them for it.

As for living in Korea (I posted a comment about Antique a while back), I am leaving soon to go back to my home and go back to school. I am an English teacher but that is definitely not my calling in life. LOL

I still enjoying reading your blog. Keep up the good work.


BB said...

my friend. a Korean butchery doesnt mean that I am in Korea. I am quite far from Korea in fact. do the houses look like korea to you?

Prkmk said...

It's only been a week and you miss BKK already? BKK charms have lured you good! hehehe

kawadjan said...

Interesting post, BB.

And I thought Thailand is quite sparsely populated... well coming from Las Islas Filipinas where people are all over the place.

The pictures you post here make me feel claustrophobic really. I remember you showing me pics of your trip to another part of Farangland and constantly I was aksing: Where are the people?

Must be the cold weather, eh?

But the mall culture you noted seems to happen all over the world, I heard.

Pinoys for one have this MAJOR mall obsession. The Thais do not even come close.

But to hear about this in your own Farangland, where the outdoors are short of heavenly... Me wonders.

Hmmm... that's all.

Sepiroth said...

Maybe it is the difference between a big city and a small town that annoys you rather than Farangland vs Thailand.

The things you miss about BKK are available in many big farang cities as well. You are probably more a city person.

p.s. I guess you are Kiwi.

BB said...

yes, kawadjan. southeast asians need to know that they live in some of the most densely populated countries of the world. and since it's warm, people like to come out!

in europe and other farang countries, this is not the case. everyone likes to sit home and watch tv and play with their dog and little kid - or go to the mall.

sepiroth. you win the bb special price! which is.....I dont know:)

I am not kiwi no, but that's where I am:)

I disagree with your assessment though. life in SEAsia is very different from most huge mainstream farang cities...with the exception of mediterranean countries. why do I love rome? reminds me of bkk...very much!

NZ however...the people are in love with their tv's, little houses and the summer, it's a bit different of course, I know that.

Australia is much better though... cant wait to move there soon!

and about me being a city-person. I grew up in a village, population 3700. "baan nok maak maak" :) I am born in the Isan of my farangland, everyone makes fun of my region...that for being a city-person:)

John said...

Wow nice post. I just felt like you when I left Bangkok and Thailand after having spend a great time there. Now I am in the millioncity Berlin for studying and as you already said people here are not really outgoing, don't smile and like to sit at home and watching TV. That's why I miss Bangkok. The colorful Taxis, the hot chics at Siam, the skytrain, the food and of course the nightlife. haha

BB said...

Thanks John!

It all depends on the weather though...I suppose Thais wouldnt hang out on the street and buy somtam if it's 0C at night like here...

The smile is something that I get here too, because I smile at people in the first place. I know though that Europeans have all had some kind of anti-smile drug. NZ and Australia def. better...

Berlin in summer should be quite fun though, no?

And...oh your remind me how much I crave Thai food...luckily there are heaps of restaurants one who wants to come with me. They all prefer sitting at home watching tv:P

John said...

Yes, it can be quite fun here in summer, but you have to know that it rains a lot in Berlin and winter here is very long so there are not much of things you can do outdoors. But I have to admit that partying with friends in Berlin is one of the greatest things you can do here. People actually like to dance. Unfortunately only on saturdays though. I guess I am a party animal. haha

However, Bangkok is more of my taste. Everything is moving so fast, people look like me (lol) and you can explore new things everyday. That's what I miss. :)

I don't know about Australia and NZ. A friend of mine said it is boring there,, but If you like nature it is great destination for sure.