Thailand's month of mourning

This is when Thai culture can really catch us unaware

Thailand has entered a month of mourning following the death of His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch. So what does that mean for us foreigners? How will this period of mourning affect us?

A day in Ayutthaya

Temple-spotting is a fine way to spend a Buddhist holiday

Apparently, Monday was (loosely translated) Buddha Day. It is therefore fitting that I should visit temples for the day, and thanks to an invitation from a lovely fellow teacher at school, that's exactly what I did! Ayutthaya is a mere hour and some change train ride from Bangkok.

My songkran escape

What better place to escape the madness than Singapore!

This year, the missus and I decided to go on a 10-day trip to Singapore and Malaysia, partly to avoid the songkran madness. I had been to the southern part of Malaysia (Langkawi and Penang) before but never to Singapore. She hadn’t been to either.

Bah humbug

spending Christmas in Thailand

I think teachers are divided into two camps at this time of year. Those who say 'bah humbug' and continue working as usual, and those who make a token effort to recreate the festive spirit in the comfort of their apartments - as difficult as that may be. Some might even be lucky enough to find the time and the money to escape to the beach for a few days. After years of treating December 25th as 'just another day' I now find myself with a house and a wife and I do everything possible to recreate some of the memories from those childhood Christmasses.

Songkhran getaways

Escaping the heat and the madness

Songkran officially lasts for three days, from April 13 (Friday) to April 15 (Sunday), although many people start celebrating early and finish late. If throwing water and being doused several times a day is not your cup of tea, it might be a good idea to flee Thailand for a week or so. Here are some ideas on where to go.

Teachers and textbooks

A love-hate relationship

There are a lot of excellent books on the market; most of them are produced by major publishers such as Oxford, Cambridge, Longman and Macmillan. The problem a teacher can encounter during an English lesson in Asia is that these books are not always culturally suitable for the learners.

Rebirth of the old city

How Ayutthaya survived

Historians really love dates. They need dates to give life value and context. The Ayutthaya period is often listed as 1350-1767. Some detail-oriented historians argue that the Ayutthaya period actually began in 1351, and perhaps this has led to a few fistfights around the campus coffee machine.

Wan Khru

Today is teachers' day

The only country in Southeast Asia never to be colonized by the West, the Thai people take great pride in the preservation of their way of life, and the customs and traditions that make their country unique.

Graduation day 2

It's time to buy flowers again

Comparing a regular college graduation to the posh uni graduation I wrote about last year. As with all sequels it's the same but different.

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