society as norm

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The other day I watched a long due controversial (?!) bangla short film. Well, I guess I wasn’t ready for it when it first came out in the cinema. But since I tried to write down my thoughts about Transgenderism I decided to watch it and from there some thoughts came into place. I wanted to check my stance and if I could be considered progressive, conservative, obstructionist, or conventional in respect to recent fuddy-duddy gender issues. Oh yes also I definitely want to write rather than ignore or hide on this topic.  

The film I watched is called, ‘Ghetu Putro Komola’  aka Pleasure boy Komola. The plot is described in Wikipedia as follows:

 

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“The story takes place 150 years ago during colonial era in a village Jalshuka, Habibganj. During that time a musical group was created called Ghetugaan where young boys dance in female clothing’s and those dancers were called “Ghetu”. Soon they became famous among people but the landlords wanted them for sexual desires and the theory of gay marriage was recognized in the society. The Ghetus were used to get hired for the flood season. The story is about a teenage boy who is hired by a colonial era landlord to entertain his sexual desires until the annual flood is over.”

After watching the film some abstruse thoughts bothered me, which I will explain below:

  • The plot might sound common enough but there’s more to it.
  • It certainly makes you feel disturbed towards secular society.
  • Being poor is hard but you can’t blame everything on that.
  • How can those kids grow up after severe abuse  ?
  • What were those parents thinking as they sold their kid for child sex?
  • How the the hell does society tolerate those pedophile like that landlord in the film?
  • Curious to know that impact of the film on my natives.

Anyhow, I don’t know what else to say about the film. I thank the writer and producer for bringing out the severe truth from the past. I believe public reaction was eloquent and took them a while to digest!

333Consequently, here is the unfinished talk about transsexuals as I mentioned in my previous blog. I spoke with two trans aka ladyboy in Pattaya. One is my neighbor-shop owner, Tai.  Koy is another one whom I randomly talked to while grocery shopping. I was curious to know their growing ups and their current lifestyle. Surprising as it may be it turns out they didn’t have much insights to add. In another ward they kind of surprised me.

I will share the findings of my conversations in the listed overview you find below:

  • Tai was born as trans and Koy first discovered her real self at the age of seven.
  • Their family was fine with their new discovery.
  • They didn’t find much difficulty growing up.
  • Their social surroundings didn’t bother much about them and did accept them.
  • They didn’t go to college for higher education.
  • Tai spend lots of money on eye, nose job as well as an operation on her body.
  • Tai is happy in life and doesn’t have a steady relationship.
  • Tai looks after her little sister and mother from the money she earns from the shop.
  • Koy is from the Philippines and is currently living in Bangkok. She also spent a large amount of cash to become herself properly.
  • Koy works in a travel agency and Bangkok’s LGBT night club area is her favorite spot. She is looking for a long term relationship.
  • Koy doesn’t have much of a future plan as she spends all her wage over the weekends. She’s happy that way.   
  • Both of them get annoyed by the tourists’ eye rolls and sometimes face questions about their gender.
  • They are happy as they are.
  • Both of them were shocked to hear about other trans lifestyle in some part of Asia.
  • They agreed to talk with their community to raise awareness and funds for other less fortunate transexuals in various countries.
  • In both cases their gender is marked as female in their passports . So they don’t use heavy makeups or usual dress when they use airport.     

To be honest with you, growing up trans certainly sounds like it must be difficult for many people. But over here in Thailand is certainly different. As I spoke with a local senior citizen regarding this topic he told me he fears that in a few years there won’t be any girls left, only ladyboys!? I really don’t know what to make out of this remark.

The matter of the fact is, that ladyboys are the highest paid entertainers here. And even though I do have the utmost respect for this society, there is too much of it here. It’s way too commercialized and polluted. I get fiercely annoyed by the ladyboys over here as they like to pester passersby. But since I started to greet them regularly their teasing has no longer been directed at me, thankfully.

The point I am making is not about whether it is right or wrong to feel what they feel and express it the way they do. The society here has largely been shaped by them and must be what they sought after. The thing I am trying to emphasize here is that it is a rough world for Transgender people in many parts of Asia. There is a lot of hatred for them and quite often they are deprived of the most common rights. My thoughts always go out to those who need the support most! These people don’t need any special care or support, in my opinion! Just the most basic thing: equality! Is it too much to ask from the society..?

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A traveller’s setback

 

I have had this blog idea about hostels since I first arrived in Thailand. Despite my previous travel history I had never stayed in a hostel before I arrived to Thailand. And since I’m back in the same hostel now, it feels fairly appropriate to finish the unfinished writing I started on during a previous stay.

The hostel is called 1Sabai which means ‘Comfortable Stay’ in Thai. It is run by a friendly couple named ‘Nuch’ & ‘Aa’. We became good friends and they helped me a lot during my stay. Nuch has experience in MBA and industrial garments. Aa is a part time supply chain lecturer. They both reside in the hostel and sometime left me in charge.

Anyhow; after checking in, I found myself in a twelve bunk bed room with an international crowd. My dorm mates are mostly backpackers with different accents all around me. Blending in was easy enough as I’m a fellow traveler myself.

During my first stay (This would be my third stay now), I met some really cool people and became friends with few. My second stay was a short one during which I didn’t meet many people. It was a quiet time in Bangkok due to bombing! Regardless of a talkative Italian named Antonio, who kept me company with his fiction like stories. My third stay now is OK so far despite the work paper issues I am dealing with.

I was excited at first to meet all the types of backpackers and to exchange views on world issues with them. Alas, not all brought the insights I hoped for. Some are here just for cheap drinks and nasty neon attractions. I guess they are looking for a fun holiday and world issues might be a deal breaker!

Some people made me prudent. Meeting people who have left their homes for uncertain periods and have no root to go back to. They have some tragic background stories and may be staying on the road is their only cure!
Coming from strong currency economies and being privileged with a convenient passport also makes their travelling more easygoing. None the less some are really good people.

Once I had to say no to a drinking session by my fellow roommates. They had shared their agitated thoughts with me earlier that day, about when they had visited the Cambodian killing fields. They expressed grief and shock about what they had seen and felt there. It was strange to me to see them getting so wasted shortly after our conversation. Maybe they needed it to calm down after their tragic moments. I also noticed some of them played drinking game every evening.

They will most likely go back home with great experiences (!) and share their travel photos on Facebook. Yah right, must be so exciting to do this globetrotting..eh!

Another interesting evening I had was with a group of Japanese backpackers the other day. They want to travel to India next month and asked me for guideline. They thought I must be Indian (At least they didn’t think I was Taiwanese)! Thankfully I have traveled through India and did manage to put together a tour itinerary and shared some of my own travel experiences with them, which was fun despite my headache.

They bought me a huge breakfast the next morning, and even left me a box of Japanese chocolate before they left! Arigatō indeed …

Another bizarre experience I had was with a South Korean young lad here. I met him at late hours while he was talking very nervously with Sam (Indonesian backpacker). First he told us that he got lost and his phone died. But after a while he told us the real story.

Apparently he ran away from a massage parlor without paying any bill.
He had a encountered a Thai masseuse who played her trick on him; offered him her lovemaking service and he couldn’t help but man up (Really ?!..). She also offered him an opened beer bottle and he thought it had been spiked. Any way, he ran away at some stage. And as it turned out, his hostel was next door to that very massage place. So he was too scared to go back, even though his his passport and luggage was still there. So I offered to go back with him and pay the bills he owed with clear explanation. He refused my suggestion due to possible police involvement and was afraid of any other harassment.

Despite his kooky story; we decided to help him out. We inspected the area, waited until every shop had closed and then went in to collect his stuff from his hostel. I even lent him, my t-shirt and cap for disguise. Thankfully everything went OK and we got back in one piece. He checked into our hostel for the day but left later on without saying goodbye! I didn’t mind, he’s probably still a basket case. I was glad to help the young lad despite his misdeed.

But I heard from Sam that he kept visiting other massage parlors, even after that! Some people never learn the lesson, do they?! Nutcase…

As a guest in a hostel you automatically become a member of an unknown family (family you never had?!) for a short time (or may be for good). Sharing the same roof and its facilities makes you unite with your fellow guests, especially in a third country. I found it quite interesting the way my fellow roommates (not everyone of course) opened up with me (I‘m not magus either). Is that because I greeted them first or my monk smile or am I that good a listener?! Good to have some company for sure, especially when you’ve been living real solo, like me.

Staying in a hostel is like a hideout.Staying with twelve other completely unknown people in a same room is thought provoking. Although boarding school life had always introduced me to the lifestyle back in the days. It did make me nostalgic I have to admit.

You meet people, get to know them and suddenly we all go off on our separate tracks.It’s like being on a train junction, waiting for the scheduled train to arrive or hopping on to a train to never land..
We all are in transit points to somewhere, aren’t we?.. .

 

Looking back to see forward

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”I love it when a plan comes together”, a dialog by Col. Hannibal Smith from the ‘A’ Team! I’m walking back home by the sea and suddenly this knock out quote came to me.

May be the constant sounds of firecrackers had to do with this. Perhaps my thoughts on 2015 provoked this. What’s more, I experienced the opposite on several occasions this past year when my plans (especially a plane I had to go to Switzerland) did not come together. But then again, somehow I carried on with the outcomes and found a way forward...

Oh yes today is New Year’s eve and so much preparations are being made here in sin city, Pattaya.

So the year is ending hah! What did we have all year around?!

Now that I am out of the native country, let’s see what has been happening back there..

I’m sure there is more positive news, which didn’t reach the mainstream media.

We have been shocked and horrified by some tragic incidents throughout the year. We also witnessed some powerful movements which restored our faith in humanity!  

I tried to write on the refugee crisis and will bring more input on this in my upcoming writings.

Furthermore this particular news moved me a lot

There is a speculation growing inside me about world refugee issue, which is hard to elaborate.

I want to feel confident that, this crisis will become the new world strength! Let’s look ahead with positive thoughts and hope it will reunite the nations over borders! Let’s put an end to extremist sabotage.

Please, please human of every society, stand tall and say yes, Together!

Since the gulf war, I started to understand that oil prices play a big role in wars! So as I look into the oil prices for 2016, my conclusions are relatively frustrating! But there is always Hope!

Anyhow, let’s not find the answer through my writing here! Or did you get an idea already?

Probably mother earth already has some plan in store for us which will come together nicely. Who knows.

 So now I’m typing my revolution here, though outside of my building there is an entire different atmosphere! People celebrating New Year eve with firecrackers, booze, loud music, drunken brawls, harlotry and what not! No, I’m not annoyed by them; rather I try to understand where they’re coming from.

To be honest with you, I’m annoyed with this Tweak very much. I don’t have TV so thankfully I don’t have to put up with his nonsense, like many of you do (unfortunately). But even without the burden of seeing him on TV, I feel the damn annoyance of him through social media too. Which irritates me to investigate his where abouts.

I understand he is a billionaire businessman, running for presidential candidacy. He’s grasping for more power and probably has some master plan to accomplish this, eh?! He wants to spend only $2m on TV election campaign! How about spending money on real cause!!

Yet again, he’s a politician and playing a high stake poker. He knows well about the outcome of his speech and indications. On the contrary, he kept trying to roll the dice!. Who’s behind him? Who’s in his election campaign team? Who are the major sponsors for him? Who are the supporters? What are the reasons behind his support? What’s the supporters’ background? What makes them support him? I don’t know yet but curious as it is. All I see him as Theo Galavan even the worst version.

It’s comforting in a way that we are still working up to the primary elections, which will be held in three weeks time. General election will be in ten months time, in November. My american friends think it will be either will be Hillary or Sanders. Anyway enough of political bla bla.

 I can’t stop thinking of the fate of the less advantaged of the world. There are people going to bed on empty stomachs, shivering in the cold, in fear of bombing, fear of the last breath…

There are places in the world where it is completely dark, no matter how bright my sky is with fireworks!!

Ohh I feel like, ‘I’m in the crypt of Winterfell and trying to find some solidarity there…

The amount of money being spent on booze to celebrate here, is basically shocking. As a consequence, they’re crawling into the New Year with debts. Is it really worth it?!

At the end of the day, all the new year is is just another digit, right?! But people spend it like tonight is the last day on earth. If that’s the logic then my fellow earth people; you really need to figure out a very different way to celebrate.

Moreover, speaking of myself; I’m being me, inside out. Speaking of plans to come together; I don’t have an alpha striking team standing by. My failures mean I‘m trying and I keep going on even though that’s the only option sometimes. But that’s quite Ok. I’m me with hummingbird. That’s enough for any revolution and to make the planet a better place.    

At the end, I like to finish with the quote from the Col. Smith again. “Give me a minute, I’m good. Give me an hour, I’m great. Give me six months, I’m unbeatable”

I would like to see this type of attitude in the eyes and words or world leaders on the issues the world is dealing with…

Happy 2016!  

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Me, myself and I, in a shoestring

It was such a beautiful early morning here in Pattaya; even in this middle of nowhere! I can’t believe that the bus driver just dropped me here, after explaining my destination to him in English and broken Thai!

All he kept saying was “bypass road, no,no,no city center, bla bla bla”, which gave me the understanding that for some reason the bus couldn’t go to the city (there wasn’t any notice at the starting point though) and all Pattaya passengers (happened to be only me, myself & I) had to get out here!!!

Looking around and considering the circumstances I had to laugh it out, which scared some beautiful doves nearby. I got the first early bus from Bangkok to get here. I’m not here for tourism but for possible job hunts.

My mobile map app is telling me I’m at least half an hour away from the city center. So I sat under an old tree; ate my dry breakfast pack, laughed again and decided to keep on smiling no matter what happens next.

The best thing would be to flag down a taxi to the city center. But something else was in my mind today: hitchhiking. After having held up my thumb up sign for a while, I had no results to show for it and I was still in the same place.

So I did something different, to attract attention:

  • Acting like show performer
  • Smiling/ waving  as if I know know them
  • Singing
  • Laughing loudly
  • Making tribal sound
  • Chase the upcoming vehicle.
  • Riding my imaginary horse     

Well, all these performances actually drove them away even harder and destroyed every little chance I had. Ahh well, it was savage fun! After several attempts, a biker- fishermen gave me a lift to the city and had a cup of tea with me. A big thanks to him for his curiosity towards me… hahah

Now, next act was to shower and change my clothes without having to check in at a hotel; got to be presentable when you’re a job seeker. That’s easy enough for me, as an old time hotelier.

I walked confidently to the next fancy hotel and went to the swimming pool area, pretending as resident. All I had to do is:  jolly good smile to the staffs and small inquiry about buffet breakfast. Next thing I knew, I was showering by the poolside, changed clothes and a complimentary cappuccino by the staff, Ola!     

Pattaya is full of hotels, spa resorts and situated mostly by the sea side. So mapping out for job inquiries and spreading C Vs was easy enough apart of walking around in scorching heat!It will amaze you how luxurious some hotels can be. Some hotels only hire locals though, pretty depressing, eh.

The city is buzzing with tourists, locals, expats, businessman despite its notorious sex industry and go go bars. I was surprised to see so many Russians around, like a CCCP colony.

And why there is so many mixed cuisine restaurant, grill-kebab shops around the city? Especially when you’re on tight budget and hungry? God almighty, I had to read few menus to kill the cravings & hunger… 🙂

The day was long- tiring and at the end all I wanted was a cheap, clean, noise free bed to crash for the night. Finding a place of my liking wasn’t easy but I did find one with a pool table as a bonus.

So I had a few games of pool with myself at the hostel, to wind down, and then slept like a log.

Next day, I covered the surrounding areas which had even more hotels and resorts. I met a few expats who were long time residents in this city and exchanged my views with them. Oh yes, hitchhiked again and saved the money on bus/taxi. Rule of thumbs doesn’t seem to work much in this area, so had to talk to whoever was on my way with a motorbike.

I’m pretty satisfied about my visit, as far as the job hunt goes, so let’s wait for the prospective phone call for possible job offer. Although I didn’t visit any tourist spots or participated any cultural events, it has been quite an interesting venture for me. I observed the local daily life, cultural differences, luxury living and myself on a shoestring.   

It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about~Dale Carnegie.