Saturday, October 31, 2009

Me growing up – part 3: definitely gay

After the summer break, the gossip made its rounds and everyone in class knew I had a crush on that guy, except that guy himself. This was odd. Then, a girl got closer and closer to me, we became great friends, had talks until late at night. Later I found out she just wanted to know more about him, and they finally became a couple themselves for a few years.

Most of the class hated her for her behaviour and didn't talk to her anymore. A few months ago, after not seeing her for 7 years or so, I met her in Luang Prabang, Laos, by chance….imagine that!!!

For my family, things must have started to clear up. Maybe things didn't get clear for them at all, and they got confused by the pictures of this guy next to my bed. Who knows, it’s a bit embarrassing to ask: “mum did you realise I was gay when I put up these pictures of my high school crush”?

Things never worked out, and understandably, the guy was a bit angry after he found out that I liked him months after the other classmates knew. Then, I had two quick crushes on guys from other classes. They were really cute, I remember exactly.

One guy, blond and the other guy with black hair and big brown eyes and a tiny goatee. Looking back, I think he is half-Asian, but I couldn't know. I started doing crazy stuff, like going to the blond guy’s basketball games. I somehow got the black-haired guy’s number and wrote him sms. This is the time when I got my first mobile too, at about 18.

I started getting sentimental about things. After volleyball training, I drove up to the hill and parked my car at a place with nice view. I just waited there and listened to music. Then I drove home past the black-haired guy’s home and thought of him…

Thanks to my friend and his gay friend, I also got to know gay people. He initiated a weekly meeting for young gays. We just hung out, drank some soft drinks and ate chips. That was the time when I was introduced to “gay-dom”.

I found it odd. The way people spoke, and especially the way they interacted. Everyone would just hug each other. It was really strange. The boys would just sit on the couch and cuddle.

I never took part in that. There was a couple, I remember their names. Marcel and Markus. For everyone, they were the model couple, but even they hugged everyone else.

I have no idea whether any of these people liked me, but I did like one of the guys. But I was way to shy to say anything, that guy was obviously beyond my reach, I decided.

We organised parties with this group, where the other regional groups from the whole country would meet. We were something like an early group of gay “activists” who took part in something, and that was nice.

The biggest change in my gay life came when at one of these parties, there was a little guy with a cute smile and big curly hair. He was 15 at the time and I remember my gay friend talking about “my 15-year old” all the time.

At the party, the curly boy kept being near me, even sitting on my lap. My straight friend, who came to the party with me told me: hey….he likes you, grab him. But I had no idea what he meant. Later, when I left, we exchanged numbers. I really missed him when I was home and felt deeply happy. He sent me a cute SMS and I think deep down I knew I found someone special.

Only a few weeks before that though, I went to Zurich to a gay club for the first time. I started online dating, and beside a 20+ year old model (whom I never met), this older guy fancied me. I thought, why not meeting him, since he wanted to bring me to this club.

I went to his home and he wanted to massage me. I thought, why not. Then, he asked me to remove my pants. I was not prepared to do that, and luckily some other young boy arrived to come with us. I didn't really like being out in the club. People kissed each other everywhere to greet and I found this odd. I went home early and made a mistake. The first time ever I kissed a guy was a goodbye kiss from that old guy on my mouth…ah well.

Me growing up - part 2: boys or girls?

I don't remember what started to get me sexually interested. In primary school though, I had many girlfriends. We made out in secret places, met after school and once I even dumped one for another girl, who in hindsight looks conspicuously boyish.

My primary school

I never thought of boys, because in an environment where boys date girls, why would a boy date a boy. I never questioned my actions.

I also played football from early age and in Europe, as usual, there are communal showers. In hindsight, this is where I got interested in boys. Oddly, I never found it strange that when I touched myself at home after the football trainings, I thought of my teammates. How could I not find this strange?

I did try to think of a female classmate once, just to try out thinking about girls, because I did wonder a bit, but it wasn't satisfying. I also had a picture of a Swedish tennis player next to my bed, Mikael Tillstrom. I must have found him cute…

My tennis crush - cant find another picture:(

I don't know if my parents had any idea of what was slowly happening with me at that time. Maybe I should ask them. I used to sleep over at my cousin’s during the holidays we would do stuff. And sometimes my football teammates would stay over and we would do stuff too.

Our clothing style during childhood and teenage years if often a bit of a giveaway, and I want to talk to my parents about this. I wonder what clothes I chose and what clothes they gave me, but I do remember that I had a bit of an eccentric taste.

During my teenage years, I wasn't a bad boy. I never smoked, I never got in trouble, I didn't have bad friends. In fact, I didn't have many friends at all. Up to now, I have no contact whatsoever with anyone from my home village.

The good friendships and the real changes started in my high school years. In the meantime, I changed from football to volleyball and hence fantasised about my volleyball friends…J

My high school

In my early high school years, I made a new best friend. We are still best friends now, even though we meet only every year or so, when I am back home. We always discussed girl issues, but suddenly, I did not have my stories to tell him anymore, but only listened to his.

My last girlfriend was during that time, I must have been about 16. I liked her and I still remember her hair smelled really nice. She broke up with me 1 day before my birthday, and for some time, my parents blamed this experience on the fact that I was more interested in boys. (I just found her on facebook and added her…lets see if she is married already…)

After that, I also had my last girl crush. This girl strangely had the same last name as my last girlfriend, but I was too shy to ever really talk to her. I used to go on bike rides to her village and just riding past her house made me feel good. Strangely, she did notice my approaches, but mistook them for my best friend’s. They nearly got together as a couple even!!!

Then, it was finished with girls and this started when a classmate talked to me about his gay friend. This was the first time I ever contemplated gay and from day 1, I somehow knew I belonged to this group.

We didn't have internet at that time, but when that came, the changes were huge. I was 18 at the time, and for the first time, I had a crush on a guy, a classmate. He still looks handsome today I think, but it’s amazing how quickly Western people age…

The first time I told anything of this to anyone was after a school party. At that time I just got my driver’s licence, and that changed my life. It was virtually impossible to go anywhere before, but now that I could drive, I could go anywhere. Of course, I couldn't drink, but I wasn't into drinking anyway.

I remember this night very well. It was just before the summer break. I drove another friend of mine home after the party, and I felt immense feelings that night. I cannot remember why but something got into me.

I told him, that I needed to tell him something and that I liked someone in our class. He started off with a few girl-names, and I saw no. Then, he said suddenly the guy’s name, and I said yes.

It was actually quite funny, because he later told me that he was so stoned, he didn't remember whether I really told him this story or whether he dreamt it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Me growing up – part 1: the childhood and my family

In our social environment, there’s three things that matter the most: family, friends and (potentially) a boyfriend. Of all these three, we have the most lasting and also deepest ties of all with our family.

This is of course because we have (ideally) grown up together and our parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers and perhaps even uncles and aunties have been with us for as long as we live.

Our ancestors also gave us their genes and because of that, we are bound to look similar, act similar, have similar talents etc…

Now, I am very well aware that families and our relationship to families or even just parents differ immensely. Some parents separate and we, as sons, form close bonds with mum, or dad, or both, or even none at all.

I know people that are brought up by their uncle and aunties, some that have even been kicked out of their home because they are gay, others don't even know their real parents and are adopted.

Because of this variety, I want you to know that this story is personal. You will probably recognise a lot of yourself and your relationship with your parents, but you might also not.

I am blessed with a great pair of parents. I think they couldn't have done a better job raising me and I am so thankful of the way they have treated me over the last 26 years.

When I was born, my mum was 22 and dad was 27. That’s really young I think. I was an accident and not meant to be born, I don't know if the condom ripped or who knows what, but I wasn't meant to be born. I am still here though:)

I look at old pictures, and mum was a girl, a pretty one too! Dad had a moustache and long wavy hair (I am growing mine too at the moment, and it is exactly the same).

My village

We lived in a big house, on the second floor. On the ground floor, dad’s sister, her husband and their four children, and a big furry dog complemented the house.

I cant remember much of the time we had there, because we moved when I turned 6. I remember though, that I used to like dressing up a bit. I think that’s quite a typical early sign of the gayness. But, I loved cars. Maybe because they feared that I was a bit prissy and girly, the parents got me many little cars. And I knew them all, played with them while mum was in her knitting shop serving customers.

We used to go on holidays to Tuscany every summer, drive down with our red Toyota Celica with our tent. Swiss people, when they go on holidays, have a craving to see the sea, because there is none at home. And so we drove to the beach.

grandad and mum

In winters, we used to go to Austria, with grandad (who is Austrian) and his sister. I was everyone’s darling and wore outrageous skiing clothes, which were in fashion in the late ‘80s I suppose.

Then, when I turned 7 and went to kindergarten, we moved to our own home. Just around the block from the old two-family house, we were now to have our own home.

I don't know if mum and dad planned to have a bigger family, or if they just wanted to have their own place. In the same year, my brother was born. He was the only one who wasn't an accident because three years later, I got another brother (who wasn't planned again).

Between my two brothers and me yawns a gap of 7 respectively 10 years. This is actually quite a lot, considering I left home when I was 19 (and my youngest brother was 9). It’s difficult to build up a relationship with your brothers like when the age difference is so big and you live thousands of kilometres away from each other. But with time, that will come for sure.

My middle brother is the odd one out. He is blonde, has blue eyes and is the quiet studious type. He’s very shy, and, sadly, we don't talk so much. I am trying to change this, but again, it’s hard when you live so far apart.

My younger brother and me are closer. When I am at home, he will ask me to do lots of things with him. We go and play football, we play videogames and we even cook together sometimes. He is very chatty and liked by everyone.

Interestingly, both have had girlfriends for nearly two years, and both girlfriends are quite butch country-girls. I am a bit different in that way I suppose...:)

by, the way, I will try to find pictures I can upload when I go home this should be fun to see me as a youngster:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bangkok Traffic Love Story - รถไฟฟ้ามาหานะเธอ

Another movie review....gosh am I becoming "rotten tomatoes" or what?

This time though, it's not a movie that you'll find there. It's a Thai movie and it's a huge hit right now. The English and the Thai title of the movie differ a bit. In English it's simply called "Bangkok Traffic Love Story". In Thai, the literal translation is "The Train is coming to see/get you" (Rot Fai Fa Ma Ha Na Ter). This is a punt on "Maha Nakorn" (Big City/Bangkok in Thai)...

Anyway. I have not been so big on Thai movies so far. They are either set in the country side and feature some sort of village ghost, or then they are scary movies in general (which I dont like, also with ghosts) or they are sappy rom-coms.

This movie IS a rom-com, but it's very cute, that needs to be said right now. I loved this movie. If you love Bangkok and have a soft spot for Thai people, go watch this movie right now!!!

Here is the trailer. It's only in Thai, but you get the the way, I framed it in pink because I think it suits the movie;)

This movie is quintessentially Thai. It's cheesy and the love-story has its ups and downs for the good part of the movie. BUT, it's actually not as cheesy as in the trailer, it's a really cute story.

Besides, there are three people in this movie I would happily make some space for in my king-size bed - and even in a single bed:) Two of them you get to see in the trailer.

The acting is really good. Especially the girl...I normally really cant empathise with people in love stories, but the girls is so cute and sweet - you gotta love her. The guy is charming and very handsome too...the way they were together was so sweet, it brought back my memories from nearly two years ago, when I really yearned for a Thai love experience.

Finally, this is a real Bangkok-movie. It is exactly what I expect from a movie that's shot in Bangkok. It's made by Bangkokians, with Bangkokians, for Bangkokians. Unlike the "Mammoth", which I reviewed in my last post. That was a movie partly about Bangkok made for farangs.

There is the Skytrain with several stations I all know very well, especially the exchange at Siam. There are the taxis. There is the boat on the Chao Phraya and also some fabulous views of Wat Arun. There's the commuter minivan. There's even the songtheaw.

If I can give you one last recommendation: go watch it with someone you can cuddle during the movie - and take some tissue with you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mammoth - a movie to forget with a soundtrack to fall in love with

Last night I watched Mammoth. It's a movie about a young and successful couple with Gael Garcia-Bernal in the main role as a New York parent with a 7-year old girl.

Because both parents are so successful and engaged in their respective jobs, they have a Filipino nanny. That's where the cliches start already.

The husband then goes to Bangkok for a business trip, but finds time to relax on a beach. Another cliche. There, he mets an elephant, pot-smoking backpackers and a prostitute, with whom he falls in love with. More cliches!!!

In the meantime, the Filipino nanny misses her two boys back home, the older of which adorably tries to make money by himself helping his mum to come home earlier. I think this was the most moving part of the film where I had to grab a little tissue for myself too...

While the husband is away playing with the Thai prozzie, (whose mock Thai-English accent was NOT good...I could have done better sounding like a Thai prostitute) the wife tries hard to mend things at home, bond more with the daughter and with the nanny (to whom the daughter has a very close relationship).

That's more or less it. At the end, the guilt-ridden dad comes home from tempting Thailand and unites with his young family. The nanny is back in the Philippines in the meantime because her son was badly injured while trying to make money for his mum (guess who injured him....a pedophile American with a Hawaii t-shirt....more cliches)

The point of this movie was, I guess, to criticise our relentless focus on money and consumerism, from which poorer people have to suffer. A noble goal for a movie of course, but Lukas Moodysson (director of Togther, Lilya 4-ever and Fucking Amal) tries so hard to make us realise the inequalities of life, that I became utterly bored with it.

Every single scene is contrived. We know what is going to happen and at the end of the scene, there's some morality waiting. Plus, the movie was patronising, reducing Thailand to a tourist spot with prostitute ladyboys and the Philippines to one big slum with overseas nannies. At least we can see some Bangkok, which should please some homesick people (like me soon).

I ironed 12 shirts and two pants while watching this movie, I was so bored. Sometimes I didnt even look at the screen (well otherwise I would have burnt my fingers...)

There's one thing that really carried this movie though - the music! Here are two samples, one by Ladytron and one by Cat Power. Both songs added either speed or melancholy to the respective scenes - impressive!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Taxi Bangkok and Absolutely Bangkok

Lately I have developed a bit of a broader interest in blogging. Gay blogs tend to be a bit focused on, well, gay things...

Sometimes I think the personal drama, the newest fuckbuddy-conquests, or gay life in (insert name of the city) can be a bit one-sided, no? Although an exclusively gay-issue blog can be a fascinating, a gripping and fun experience, gay is ultimately just our sexuality....the rest of our identity, behaviour and interests are acquired, and hence could be basically anything.

So, and this is where the circle closes again, we all have pretty broad interests. This also means that we can approach topics from different points of view. The main interest and topic of this blog is of home and love affair:)

Lately, I have come across two blogs, both heavily focused on Bangkok, which, despite blogging for 1.5 years and reading other blogs daily, I have not yet come across.

Absolutely Bangkok

One is rather general, and discusses Thai news. If you want to get news about Thailand, which is not written for political scientists, but rather for generally interested people, go to Absolutely Bangkok.

The real gem of this blog however are discussions about Thai society. I have not found such smart and unpretentious views from "normal" people living in Thailand yet. So, go and see.

Still life in.....ah this title is just too long....lets call it the "BKK taxi blog"

The other blog is something entirely different, and an enormously interesting concept. The blog is called Sill Life in Moving Vehicles. That's a long name, but essentially, the blogger takes pictures ONLY from within BKK taxis, and constructs a little article or story, or a little piece of information around what he sees.

Mostly, the blogger discusses some spiritual issues (since we know how many spiritual things there are in BKK taxis), sometimes it is food, and sometimes it is just a little personal message.

Cute, I think. And very groundbreaking. I was surprised at how much can be written about Bangkok from a taxi point of view....

So my next project would be "the BTS BLOG - BANGKOK viewed from the SKYtrain". Yeah....I wish....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quality of Life ?!?

This are supposedly the best cities in the world to live in.

According to Mercer, which publish an annual report called "Mercer Human Resource Consulting Quality of Living Survey", where cities are ranked according to their livability, ZURICH wins. (this is the 2007 survey...I was too lazy to copy newer ones, but the result is essentially the same).

Here are the rankings:

The mix we are presented with here is quite curious. Germanic and Scandinavian cities in Europe and any city in Oceania and Canada are apparently an awesome place to spend a few years of our lives.

Well, this really makes me wonder. I have been to all of these cities (except Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Luxembourg and Copenhagen).... and I could legally move to any of these places (except Canada) tomorrow and stay there basically forever.

So why dont I do it?

Honestly, I find these rankings a bit silly. But lets read first what their criteria are.

Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc)
Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc)
Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc)
Health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc)
Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc)
Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc)
Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

So that's actually quite a wide variety of factors that go into assessing a city's livability.

Lets assess Bangkok then, and see why it is not mentioned in the top 100 cities of the world...

Political and social environment: Ok, and we hit a bump already....we know that Thailand is not the most stable and safe country in the world, but I personally also think that the security threats are far overrated. There are a lot of killings and other dodgy things going on in Bangkok, right, but if you are not involved in murky dealings and treat people with some respect, you should be fine. I am not sure however about the political environment....the next few months/years should make us wiser.

Economic environment. Well, regarding economic growth, we are not going so well, but so is the rest of the world. Banking services and money exchange though is not a problem. Just dont forget that silly "bank book" (here, every account has a book, in which you need to print your transactions. I never do it though....but if you lose it, you must go to the police etc...)

Melbourne...always a darling of these rankings.

Socio-cultural environment. I am a blogger and pretty free in what I can say. But only pretty free. We all know the laws so I better shut up...
regarding personal freedom though, I would say Bangkok rates very highly. (especially for gays of course...I wouldnt want to live in Riyadh or Brazzaville trying to date gay men...) A little minus though for the gossip-factor. Goodness I would never invite a date to my home for the sole reason of having to pass our bitchy, nosey guard...

Health and sanitation. As long as you are not walking on the footpath 4 hours a day you should be fine....and if you drink Minere water and not tap water, you should be fine too....if you are not fine, go to Samitivej or any of the other "world class hospitals", where you shall be joined by rich Arabs.

Schools and education. Tick. Have.

Public services and transportation. I would rate BKK very highly here. Traffic and public transport is something that a lot of people complain here, BUTTTT I challenge you to find a motocy or a tuk tuk who will take you DIRECTLY home from shopping at the mall for the equivalent of CHF 1, EUR 0.60, CAD 1, AUD 1, NZD 1.20.

Please. I have lived in Switzerland and New Zealand before and especially in New Zealand you just have a problem if you dont have a car. When I was in NZ in July, I lived quite far away from a bus stop and often had heaps to carry (goodness I ate like a pig there). The bus came once every hour after 7pm and not anymore after 10pm.

Gosh....sometimes I just about an least it was not 35 C, but more like 5C...walking warms you up at least...

Summing up: Bangkok transport is really good. At any moment, you have at least 3 or so means of transport available right next to you. The only challenge is when to take which one:)

Recreation. Tick. Do I even need to explain this? Bangkok has the BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD and is a fun place, we all know that.

Zurich. Pretty...but can you see a person on this picture?

Consumer goods. Tick. Thai supermarkets are surprisingly good and have very cheap local produce. If you fancy Swiss chocolate, an Italian salami, German beer, Australian wine or New Zealand mussels, go to Paragon or Villa Market or Central World. Want Japanese food galore? Go to Emporium supermarket. It has its price, but every so often, an imported produce is actually cheaper in BKK than where it was imported from!

Cheese however is super-expensive....:(

Housing. Goodness, the availability of housing is stunning. You can have everything from a 1000 baht loom to a 90.000 baht condo (per month). And more of course...I dont know so much how Thais live to be honest, but there are not so many slums anymore as there used to be. I hear it's much better than in the Philippines for example.

If you are an expat though, your Euro or Dollar will get you faaaaaaaaaaaaar. I dont think I will ever live in such a nice place anymore until I retire:)

And...there are plenty of vacancies fact too many. Try finding a flat in Geneva....I hear it's hell!!!

Natural environment. Well, we have Lumpini Park...but I dont like it honestly. It's just not so nice...I must say though, where I live I can only hear frogs and birds, hardly any traffic (the odd motocy and tuk tuk)....all thanks to my hi-so neighbour.

The lack of greenery....we have to admit that, is one of the big minuses for Bangkok. In fact, the lack of ANY available space...everything is being built up, and plans to destroy my favourite place in the city, Suan Lum Night Bazaar and put up another mall are supposedly still waiting to be rolled out.

I say....follow the example of SEOUL. I am going there in two weeks and will try to write a lot about their efforts of improving the city, creating public spaces and greenery.

You want greenery? Here you go. This not just a village, it's actually the federal capital of Switzerland....must be the smallest capital of any "normal country".

So...where do we stand now? Obviously, according to the ranking, Bangkok can not compare itself with the teacher's pets from Switzerland...but I still dont understand 100% why Zurich must come on top, and Auckland is not far behind...


Public transport in Auckland is very bad, the city is basically dead (bar a few streets of excitement), importing food is very expensive and in many areas of the city, gang shootings and violence are a daily occurrence...and the weather....mehh...


As I said, I can see somehow why the cities that won, did actually win. But I really think the assessment is problematic. For some people, recreation is number one (probably for most of us in Bangkok), for others, they want their tram to arrive at 7.23am every day otherwise they'll complain (that's the Swiss people...). Even others need to have a beach within 15 minutes reach (the Aussies and Kiwis) or reach nearly every city in Germany within a few hours (that's Frankfurt)...

I love Bangkok, but my reason of moving to ahm.....hopefully Sydney is not because of the sanitation, the better air or the closer beaches. A city can not be encapsulated in such measurements. Cities have souls and they can not be measured.... are my soulmate number 1:)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vegetarian Week

The facebook fan page of this blog is going alright. The blog now has 20 fans and I think this might still grow a lot. I am very happy about the development. It's easier to keep in contact on facebook, and it's less one-way.

I do not want this to be a fan page for me as a person but I'd rather want to create something more interactive, where people can set topics, write things, upload pictures, post links and discuss issues.

This week is vegetarian week here in BKK. Actually, it's a Chinese tradition. I cant tell you much about the spiritual meaning and the historical origins of this week, but I can tell you about how it happens in reality in the streets of Bangkok.

Since this festival has Chinese origins (or so I am told), you can find vegetarian food mostly in the chinese areas of the city. Or lets put it another the richer parts of the city. In my area, in Ari, there's quite a Chinese Thai community, and near my university, Chula, there's a very big community.

Usually, you see shophouses with Chinese-style Thai script, and also many Chinese signs. Anyway, the vege festival is a bit something for the rich I think, with ordinary Thais not caring very much. If they would care, they would hardly find the food in their neighbourhood anyway...

The festival, I think, is meant to cleanse you. One week, no meat, no dairy products (and no egg, yippie....I hate eggs!!!) and strangely also no garlic and other strong spices. How's more like a VEGAN festival, with added restrictions.

I am actually following the festival! Except this morning I had croissants with butter and nutella, I guess that counts as dairy...:(

But what are the usual foods they serve in the carts and shops with the little yellow-red flags? It's a lot of vegetables, unsurprisingly, some tofu stews, a lot of fried spring rolls, dumplings, mushrooms etc. It's kinda like chinese food....duh!!!

None of the usual strong Thai spices...

So, my office mates are partly following the festival. One lady, she is quite big (very very big for a thai person) and loves food very, very much, has trouble following the rules. She complained that last night, she was so hungry and her family served lots of normal Thai food, so she had to eat.

So this week is meant to cleanse us....for me, it has no spiritual meaning. I want to see how my body reacts to eating no meat. I remember last year, when I was in Korea for a week, I came back with the best skin I have ever was so flawless I thought I had put on permanent lets see what the vege week will do to me.

The way Thais handle this week is interesting. Some will follow it and give it quite a substantial meaning, but when they feel hungry and some yummy basil chicken is around, they dont mind tucking in...

Thais have this wonderful mix of spirituality and pragmatism, I do really admire them for that. But sometimes I find the pragmatism a bit much, especially when it is too much impulse-driven. If you promise yourself something, you shouldnt just let it go after seeing the first yummy spicy Thai dish...:)

These pictures are taken in the Suan Luang area by the way, just behind Chulalongkorn University, towards Hua Lamphong train station. I think it's Chula soi 16...? I'll go there again sometime this week, but the good camera is with the BF in Seoul, therefore my pics are a bit sucky...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

bitchofbangkok on facebook

Me and the other Bangkok-based bloggers have been told to "up their game" by a user on Silom Farang's blog the other day. Well, I am trying to do this;)

I have created a bitchofbangkok page on facebook and added a fan-box on this blog to the right ---------------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I have done this mainly because I think facebook is a better tool to interact and share information with each other and to have debates, discussions, or just simply post interesting things for the public.

The page doesnt have so many features and content yet, but I will steadily update them.

With this page, I'd like the "fans" and me to share links that they and I find interesting, write anything on the wall they wish to say, discuss things on the discussion board or post pictures you find appealing.

The content should be mainly gay-oriented but doesnt necessarily need to be. It would be nice to have a lot of Bangkok- and Thailand-themed comments, discussions, links and pictures, but anything is fine with me.

I would like to encourage you to take part in this "venture". I think it could be interesting. Share your latest pictures of Bangkok or another place in Thailand, link to your favourite blogs, discuss tips for visiting Bangkok, etc.

Now you only have to click the link on the right, and click "become a fan" and get going with discussions and contributions - it's "up to you":)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Silom Farang is gone, BKKDREAMER on holidays...blogging quo vadis?

Bye bye silom....

The Bangkok gay bloggin community is diminished at the moment.

While Bkkdreamer is enjoying farangland with his family, and probably missing Bangkok, Silom Farang has decided to pull the plug.

I must say I have always been impressed with Silom Farang's ability to create and maintain such a high readership. Readership is king among bloggers. When Bkkdreamer, me and Kawadjan used to meet, the "so how's your readership going?" question would prop up every time.

I mean, what would we be without readers? I often try to put out thoughts about Thai society in general and gay issues via my blog. If no one reads them, I might as well speak to myself in my bed, no?

But, more readership also means more pressure to publish. Bloggers hate to see red arrows in their viewer statistics and bloggers hate to get demanding emails by readers. It's addictive when you know that xxx people read your words every day, you have some sort of influence, even if it's very small.

I have always seen my role as part entertainer, but also part social observer and maybe even critique. A blog can be many things, but for me personally, I would not blog if I couldnt voice my (sometimes controversial) opinions.

Silom Farang knew his readership very well, knew what they wanted and what they liked and knew how to keep them entertained. And that might have made him feel indebted to them.

Something that blog readers can not understand is that bloggers can get very obsessed with blogging, and tend to think about the blog more often than is healthy. Silom wrote that he thought about the blog in the shower etc. Blogging really grabs you, but it doesnt give back very much, at least financially.

That is exactly why reader comments and emails are so important. I actually made some good friends via this blog, and got inspiring, but also some negative comments.

I really respect Silom's effort for blogging, and really appreciate the exposure he gave me and keeps giving me. Thanks so much, Silom!

I have also read the praise that his readers heap on him and the sorrow they feel at the loss of the blog. There was one comment I want to react to, since it was, at least indirectly, directed at me.

Silicon Farang Says:

It was a great ride. Your blogging was definitely on a level not matched by the later bangkok bloggers who remain. Hopefully the remaining bangkok bloggers will raise their game now that they will no longer be in your shadow.

Best wishes with your mainstream writing efforts!

Excuse me? A level not matched by us "other" bloggers? Is there like a blogging scale from 1 to 10? Raise my game now? Do you want me to get a Thai boyfriend and write about my Soi boys? And do you want me to post teenie pictures?

Sorry, Silicon Farang, but you have not understood blogging. Every blog is different. You may be more inclined to read Silom Farang than reading my blog, but that does not mean that the blogs you dont like to read are worse. It just means you can relate to these blogs a bit better.

No one is going to fill Silom's void. He had his own market, his own style of writing, his own humour and his own following. In the meantime, his readers can either enjoy the other blogs around, each of which have their own interesting points and niches, or you go to a forum.

The best solution however is to start a blog on your own. I want to see the people with their quick fingers regularly write every day and see what their thoughts are. Start your blogs TODAY!

In the meantime, good luck Silom! I hope you find the energy to start something new!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bf nearly in Korea - meets generous Chinese people

After this brief little eruption of feeling queasy due to watching "Fish Tank", I'll still blog a little bit about the mundane things that happen in my every day life.

The boyfriend is now in Qingdao, North-Eastern China. He will take the ferry to Korea on Saturday. A reader asked why he didnt take the plane from Bangkok.

Well, isnt it great to experience four different means of travel (plane, bus, train and ferry) in one journey? I mean, of course if you want to arrive as quick as possible, hop on that plane and land in Seoul 6 hours later...(yes, that's how long it takes to fly there!!!)

If you have some spare time, why not experience a bit of China? For me personally, China is the most impressive country I have ever been to. I am dying to go back as soon as I can and I envy the bf that he is there now!

Just have a look at the pictures...(I am borrowing them now, I hope he doesnt mind:)


Germany? No, used to be a German colony, apparently...

Qingdao - gorgeous place

Actually, on the train, he met some young Chinese people, who were in the same carriage. They made friends, and when they heard his story with the stolen wallet, they just gave him 500RMB, that's about 80US I think....that is extremely generous, no?

The generous chinese travel companions

I want to add something to the post about my boyfriend leaving bangkok here. It was sweet that so many of you wrote messages of support, as well as their own experiences with long-distance relationships.

However, I think you misunderstood me a bit. A month without boyfriend is of course quite some time, especially if you are used to living together happily, but this is not the main reason why I was so sad.

I lost a little tear, because our time together IN BANGKOK has ended. That means, the time that we shared here, which in my opinion was awesome, came to an end.

Bangkok is a great city to explore, do things, eat, get around, watch movies and live in a nice place. I also have quite a deep sentimental feel for this city, which you probably know already.

This time has now come to an end, and it makes me think that my time in Bangkok will end soon too. I love this place, it is my home and I will be very sad to go. So yeah, a little part of me has gone with the boyfriend, and is now in Qingdao waiting for the ferry to Korea.

Movie: Fish Tank

I just watched a shocking movie. Actually I was going to write about something else, but this movie has changed my mood a bit.

The movie is called "Fish Tank" and is about a 15 year old girl living with her mum and sister in a shabby housing estate in England. This is a superb movie. Where other movies would have tried to make the unattractive surrounding gloomy and unwelcoming, this movie tinged nearly the whole set in a warm and cosy evening light.

Fish Tank shows the every day life of the girl, how her mum constantly swears at her, how her mum gets an annoyingly nice boyfriend, how the annoyingly nice boyfriend ends up fucking the girl and then rushes off to his family, how the girl kidnaps the guy's little daughter and how she wants to audition for a dance job, which turns out to be more like a brothel.

Look at the trailer and you might get the feel.

This movie was so shocking. I couldnt get over the tension between the girl's mum, the girl and the girl's sister. They NEVER spoke to each other without using either "whore, cunt, bitch, asshole or hate" in a sentence.

I was even more shocked to see her sister (roughly 10 years old) smoking and drinking beer with her little friend.

And finally I was even more shocked to see the girl's mum's boyfriend getting closer and closer to her, finally fucking her and then just simply walking off. I could literally feel her pain when he walked away, saying that he'd "talk" to her tomorrow. He then went back to his cute little semi-detached home with a yard, wife and little child.

How fucked up is that?

This might sound silly, but I am really thankful for having such a "normal" life and a caring family which gave me the opportunity to see the world.

Has anyone else seen the movie?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Becoming a good cook - bf without wallet

My boyfriend has arrived well in Macau. Apparently, it was quite hard to find budget accomodation, but he did finally find a place to rest. The places all seem to have Portuguese names...well it's quite logical, since it used to be a Portuguese colony.

I wonder how the bf pronounces Portuguese. He is now pretty good at German after taking the 4 week intensive course at Goethe Institute. There, he made two ladyboy- and a closet gay friend. It sounded like they had a great time. Lets see how much he will pick up in Switzerland around Christmas.

Anyhow, on the first proper day in Macau, his wallet got stolen:( About 300US$ or so gone....Sometimes he attracts bad luck. I told him to separate his money, which he at least did, so the Chinese money is still in his possession.

Instead of enjoying a few days in Hong Kong and Shanghai, he is now on his way from Guangzhou to the port city of Qingdao. The train takes 28 hours and he is apparently in Hard Sleeper Class. I told him that if I were there, it would be a bit more squishy:)

In the meantime, I am learning how to cook Thai food - very successfully. How? Well, after 1.5 years in Thailand, I know how the dishes SHOULD taste, so imitating is not that hard. Importantly, I always look at the food I eat and therefore know the ingredients a bit.

Basic Thai food is relatively simple. You always need to find a balance between sweet (sugar), salty (fish sauce), sour (lime juice) and spicy (chili). If the food doesnt quite taste right, you need to adjust either of these. Of course, not all food consists of these ingredients, but this are the basic four elements of Thai food.

I cooked ยำทะเล (Yum Talee, sour seafood salad) yesterday, and ตมยำกุ้ง (Tom Yum Gung) with ผักบุ้งไฟแด (Fried Morning Glory) today. It all tasted yummy. By the way, I am writing these in Thai because sometimes I really dont know how to translate the dishes into English.

One thing I cant stand about Thai restaurants either geared towards the tourist market, or situated abroad is that they will sometimes not have the name of the dishes in Thai. How the heck I am meant to know what something like "fried chicken with chili" (that's just a fictional example) is???

I couldnt take pictures of the dishes I made, since my camera is in China with my bf...but it's nothing spectacular anyway, at least not compared to the fancy creations of Bkkdreamer's boyfriend :)

Otherwise, I am busy writing my thesis. Not much time left, and as always, as I am nearing the finishing line, my speed picks up. I am writing between 500 and 1000 words a day, which is ok. Ironically, my thesis is about European students in Thailand, why they study in Thailand and what benefits this can bring for Thailand.

I could interview myself and write the thesis about myself:)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A tear for Bangkok...the bf is gone

Taking the bf to badminton was a good idea and it worked well. I always felt slightly bad about going off for the evening two nights a week with loads of faggots. The bf knew that there are some cute people among them too and that some of them liked me.

I decided it was time that the Thais knew that me having a boyfriend is not just some made-up story...It was also time that the bf saw the boys, and realised that none of them can match him:)

The bf enjoyed seeing me play (he didnt play himself) and the Thai boys found it cute that he came along. They were gossiping and were saying how they would like to eat Kimchi (eat in Thai can mean have sex)...

Last week was very stressful for the bf and me. He stayed at my place, and we both had the plan to enjoy our last week together in Bangkok, going to see places, eat yummy Thai food and relax at home, while watching some movies and going to the swimming pool.

The reality was different. He was extremely stressed due to his school, which still hadnt quite finished, and I was trying to write on my thesis as much as I could. We also had another gathering at my place, which involved blogger kawadjan and two of my former schoolmates.

Last night, we also went to a popular Isan-eatery on Rama 9 road, near RCA, with the bf's classmates, had some beer and extremely delicious Thai food. Later, we went to Soi Rangnam, near Victory Monument for more drinks and some pool.

This place on Soi Rangnam was totally gay. Gay owned, and gay frequented. There was a pack of about 12 very girly teenage boys playing pool next to us. The bf got jealous and was anxious I would be looking at them, but he was totally wrong. Screaming faggots are NOT my taste at all...even if they had cute faces. This again proved my point that the WHOLE of Bangkok is gay, not just Silom...

So, the week was not what we expected. We were both very stressed. In these situations, I tend to become a bit brash and unfriendly, sometimes even a bit rude. The bf on the other hand gets a bit more sensitive, so we also argued a lot. We usually really dont do that.

Last night, we couldnt even go to sleep together, because he was still packing at 2am. I fell asleep alone, but the bf told me that when he came to bed, I begged him to spoon me. He whispered in my ear that he will do that and protect me tonight. I dont remember any of this though...but it's cute.

We also both hardly felt horny, due to the stress and lack of sleep. I also tend to get very melancholic when something sad is about to happen, so I dont feel very horny either. Luckily, these feelings were all forgotten today, and after months, I finally got to be bottom again:)

Now, the bf is on the plane to Macau. He will stay there for a few days, take the ferry to Hong Kong, the train to Shanghai and Qingdao and finally the ferry to Incheon and Seoul. It should be an amazing road-trip for him, and I hope to post some pictures too.

So, I am alone in Bangkok now and Bangkok will not be the same anymore now. Of course, everything still looks the same, but sharing all these Bangkok experiences with him was special.

When you are alone, you still have your friends, who will, I suspect, see a bit more of me now. It will be great to catch up with some friends I havent seen for months, and with some I have never seen at all.

But it can not replace having spending time with your boyfriend. So today, a part of me left Bangkok too, and there were tears last night. I will see the bf again in a month, but I will not see Bangkok again in the same light anymore, never ever.

I love my life here in Bangkok and I love this city. But an important part of loving Bangkok was spending time here with my bf. We had a great life here together and I am very sad that this has come to an end.

The bf never managed to develop great affection for the city. He didnt like his school, and most of all, he never managed to deal with the heat. Every time the poor boy was outside for 5 minutes, his face would look like a waterfall...that's what growing up in Christchurch NZ does for you I suppose...

One thing I know though. As we were sitting in the taxi to the airport, the bf suddenly became sad. I told him that I will ask him what he thinks of Thailand again in a months time, and he said: " I will probably say that I hate Koreans, and miss the Thai people, the food, the weather and Bangkok."

I agree with this!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BF comes to badminton with me / a disastrous Indian food party

It's all very stressful here. The boyfriend lives with me now, but instead of having a few nice evenings together before he leaves, we spend hardly any time together.

On Saturday, we had a disastrous food party at my condo. The bf told me the evening before that about 12 people would come (I thought, it might be about 4 or 5). I didnt like that, but ok...

There were 14 people in the condo, not just two...

We were meant to meet two guys at 4pm, so that the food they will cook (Indian food, one of the guys being Indian) will be ready by 7pm. At 7pm we started cooking and the first people started trickling in.

I warned the condo management that a few people are coming to see me tonight. The manager said "no problem" but the guard in charge gave me snide remarks the whole night. I really hate him. I gave him some Red Bull once and he will not get any more now...

The Indian guy, with the help of some other people, finished cooking by midnight!!!! 5 hours for two curries and some Naan bread. I must say, the food was nice, but by that time, I was too tired (from cleaning the condo the whole day for the guests).

I went into my room to relax and left the bf to deal with the mess. That was not very nice of me, but I couldnt take the noise and the fact that some 12 people took over my kitchen and condo anymore....ayyyy

Now we have about 1.5 kgs of pre-made chicken in our fridge (I ate some yesterday and now I cant stand chicken anymore...)....what to do?

Today, I will take the bf to badminton. It should be interesting. How will the other faggots react? I suppose we'll see who likes me (the ones who will throw a fit and ignore me for the night) and those who dont mind (the ones who will gossip and come to say hi to the cute Korean)...

By the way, I have changed the comment function on my blog.

Now you will get a pop-out window where you can tell me your opinion about my posts, or write me your confessions of love. I would prefer if you fill in a name, so I know who writes me. You can also write "Bill Clinton", or "Thaksin Shinawatra" if you want.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Being called a "faggot" in Nana - tales of a fun night out!

Things are changing again in my life. I now live with my boyfriend. He moved on two nights ago, much to the astonishment of the guards. I explained them the situation, and they said it's not a problem.

Actually, I started "bribing" the guards last week. When I went to 7eleven, I bought some Red Bull and other energy drinks and little boxes of juice. They really loved that. I asked them which brand they like best, and they answered they prefer coffee, so coffee it should be the next time.

It's helpful to have good relations with people that are near your sphere of life in Thailand. This is called corruption in Western countries, here in Thailand it's a way of life. You help me, I help you, it's nothing bad. The guards protect my home, so I am nice to them too...chai mai?

Yesterday night, I went out with the boyfriend and his gang from school. They are: two Thais who have lived abroad for a long time (one can not even write or read Thai), one Malaysian with Filipino-Japanese girlfriend, a Sudanese with English girlfriend and a Chilean-Belgian guy.

With me (Swiss-Australian) and the bf (Korean-Kiwi), we racked up quite a few nationalities...this is what happens if you study in an international school, like the bf does. I on the other hand only met Thais in my class.

The Malaysian guy is leaving on Sunday, so we went out for a goodbye dinner - to Nana. Gays like me are usually very weary of such straight places, I on the other hand find it hilarious because the scene is usually quite comical.

The German beer place, I can recommend ERDINGER

We sat down at this "German" beer place, where you buy a pint of beer for at least 100 baht and then you get BBQ for free. It's a great deal.

I am normally very skeptical of such deals because I like good-quality food, but since the BBQ was only going for about 20 minutes (until they finished their meat), the food was good. I have also not had such a good coleslaw (the Aussie side) and a Kartoffelsalat (potato salad, my Swiss side) for quite some time.

The place was full with the straight expat crowd, all looking exactly the same. Jeans, a t-shirt/polo, more or less hiding a well-rounded tummy, a shaved head in various colours between bronzed and red.

There werent many prozzies on the prowl, these men were all there for the cheap feed. Some already had their girlfriends. And a good few of these actually flirted with me.

As I was standing in the line, the Filipino-Japanese girl arrived. Interestingly, she is a major fag-hag. So she didnt arrive alone, but brought about 4 Pinoy fags with her. One of them I knew from my early days here.

He's the typical "friend of a friend". A very nice guy, but we never managed to get to know each other, because a jealous queeny Thai guy was always between us. And I dont mean this in a sexual way.

Anyhow, the Pinay shrieked when she saw me in the line and said: NICE SHIRT, BB!!! I said: THANK YOUUUUUU. The guy next to me, an expat example I described above said: YES, NICE SHIRT, BUT YOU LOOK LIKE A FAGGOT!!!!!

That was an invitation for me to react and hit back, something I love to do. I told him: YES, I AM ONE (FAGGOT), IS THAT A PROBLEM FOR YOU?

oh my gawwwwwd this man blushed and his ego just shrank to a total minimum....he smiled awkwardly and walked off quietly, not to be seen again. HA, faggots rule!!!!

The place where I was rightly called a faggot

Later, the night turned from fun to awesomely fun. Turns out the Pinay girl and the bf share the same style in music and she and her love to bitch together. I dont know why I always make great friends with Filipinos, it must be their openness and "out-there" way of conversing, but I am thrilled to know her. (She has a blog too by the way, find it here: Bellestar)

Her boyfriend was telling us how when he slept at his classmate's place, his classmate was touching his cock in the morning and said: hey, it's so big... which the girlfriend responded: AND HE CALLS THAT BIG????

Hahahaha, that was so mean! You dont talk about a man's best parts in such a way. Women might not know, but insulting a man's penis is something that should be avoided...

We moved on to the Volkswagen Minibus makeshift bar placed on the sidewalk in front of the Nana shopping mall. The host there is gay and his workers are all tomboys (boyish lesbians). They played a lot of 90's music, and we sang, drank, kissed and took pictures of the mayhem.

My bf always gets so touchy and feely when he's drunk, it's very cute...he'll just lean over and give me french kisses, no matter where we are. I wonder how these pictures turned out actually...

As I am writing, the bf is in the bed with a headache. Today, 12 people (the same people as last night) are going to come to my condo to cook Indian food (one is Indian). My Swiss side tells me: "go and clean the condo before they come!" My Australian/Thai side tells me:"It's gona be fun!"