Tuesday, 17 November 2015

R.I.P. Jonah 1975-2015

Jonah Lomu 1975-2015

Very sad to hear of the passing of this guy, one of my favourite players from the world of rugby. I had the privilege of watching him live in Edinburgh and accidentally (well planned) walked into the All Black's hotel with Jonah and the team after the game. Sadly, security were as alert as the New Zealand defence and I remember him smiling as we were bundled out.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Discover your personality type....

Ever wondered why you are the way you are? This is a free personalty test developed by Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers.
It takes you through a series of questions, which if you answer honestly, can give an extremely interesting profile of your personality. I turned out to be an ENFP, just one of the sixteen different personality types. I've copied my report below, and not surprisingly, a person who is an ENFP would do that.
If you have an inkling that you may be a bit 'odd' or just 'different' to other people, now's your chance to look at your profile and see who you really are. It's nice to know that we all 'fit in' somewhere, no matter how strange a family you have.

Just click on this link to get started....

This is my report, and if you know me, I think you'll find it fairly accurate....
ENFPs are both "idea"-people and "people"-people, who see everyone and everything as part of a cosmic whole. They want to both help and to be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. This is rarely a problem for the ENFP, as they are outgoing and warm, and genuinely like people. Some ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality. 
ENFPs often have strong, if sometimes surprising, values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently (though enthusiastically) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in the ENFP neglecting their nearest and dearest while caught up their efforts to change the world.
ENFPs can be the warmest, kindest, and most sympathetic of mates; affectionate, demonstrative, and spontaneous. Many in relationships with an ENFP literally say, "They light up my life." But there is usually a trade-off: the partner must be willing to deal with the practical and financial aspects of the relationship, and the ENFP must be allowed the freedom to follow their latest path, whatever that entails.
For some ENFPs, relationships can be seriously tested by their short attention spans and emotional needs. They are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting their older and more familiar emotional ties for long stretches at a time. And the less mature ENFP may need to feel they’re the constant center of attention, to confirm their image of themselves as a wonderful and fascinating person.
In the workplace, ENFPs are pleasant and friendly, and interact in a positive and creative manner with both their co-workers and the public. ENFPs are also a major asset in brainstorming sessions; follow-through on projects can be a problem, however. ENFPs do get distracted, especially if another interesting issue comes along. They also tend towards procrastination, and dislike performing small, uninteresting tasks. ENFPs are most productive when working in a group with a few Js to handle the details and the deadlines.
ENFPs are friendly folks. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.
ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.
One study has shown that ENFPs are significantly overrepresented in psychodrama. Most have a natural propensity for role-playing and acting.
ENFPs like to tell funny stories, especially about their friends. This penchant may be why many are attracted to journalism. I kid one of my ENFP friends that if I want the sixth fleet to know something, I'll just tell him.
ENFPs are global learners. Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more precise thinking types, especially with such things as piano practice ("three quarter notes or four ... what's the difference?") Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as mathematics.
Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, moreso even than the other NFs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis.
One ENFP colleague, a social worker, had such tremendous interpersonal skills that she put her interviewers at ease during her own job interview. She had the ability to make strangers feel like old friends.
ENFPs sometimes can be blindsided by their secondary Feeling function. Hasty decisions based on deeply felt values may boil over with unpredictable results. More than one ENFP has abruptly quit a job in such a moment.
(ENFP stands for Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving and represents individual's preferences in four dimensions characterising personality type, according to Jung's and Briggs Myers' theories of personality type.)

Functional Analysis Of The ENFP

Based on Jung’s framework of mental functions - by Joe Butt

Extraverted iNtuition

The physical world, both geos and kosmos, is the ENFP's primary source of information. Rather than sensing things as they are, dominant intuition is sensitive to things as they might be. These extraverted intuitives are most adept with patterns and connections. Their natural inclination is toward relationships, especially among people or living things.
Intuition leans heavily on feeling for meaning and focus. Its best patterns reflect the interesting points of people, giving rise to caricatures of manner, speech and expression.

Introverted Feeling

Auxiliary feeling is nonverbally implied more often than it is openly expressed. When expressed, this logic has an aura of romance and purity that may seem out of place in this flawed, imperfect world. In its own defense, feeling judgement frequently and fleetly gives way to humor. ENFPs who publicize their feelings too often may put off some of the crowd of friends they naturally attract.

Extraverted Thinking

Thinking, the process which runs to impersonal conclusions, holds the extraverted tertiary position. Used on an occasional basis, ENFPs may benefit greatly from this ability. Less mature and lacking the polish of higher order functions, Thinking is not well suited to be used as a prominent function. As with other FP types, the ENFP unwary of Thinking's limitations may find themselves most positively mistaken.

Introverted Sensing

Sensing, the least discernible ENFP function, resides in the inner world where reality is reduced to symbols and icons--ideas representing essences of external realities. Under the influence of the ever-present intuition, the ENFP's sensory perceptions are in danger of being replaced by hypothetical data consistent with pattern and paradigm. When it is protected and nourished, introverted sensing provides information about the fixed. From such firm anchoring ENFPs are best equipped to launch into thousands of plausibilities and curiosities yet to be imagined.
Perhaps the combination of introverted Feeling and childlike introverted Sensing is responsible for the silent pull of ENFPs to the wishes of parents, authority figures and friends. Or perhaps it's the predominance of indecisive intuition in combination with the ambiguity of secondary Fi and tertiary Te that induces these kind souls to capitulate even life-affecting decisions. Whatever the dynamic, ENFPs are strongly influenced by the opinions of their friends.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Some weeks nothing much happens...

You get those weeks, don't you? Sunday comes and you look back to last week and it's fairly blank. Did I live? Did I work all week? Was it same old, same old?

This week I went to so many places and did so many things, my head can't take it all in. I'm absolutely knackered. China Town, India Town, Sikh Temple, Buddhist Shrine, Lebanese and Thai Restaurants, it never seemed to end. 2 days on a Grammar refresher course with Soda from Cambodia, Michael and Jack from the States, Tanita from Australia and Dawn from England. I wished them well as they start their CELTA tomorrow. I start mine early January and hope to qualify as an English Teacher in early February, teaching adults of mixed nationalities. 

Great, no, AMAZING  news from the UK about my late Mother's estate. At last we are going to see some justice from a process that's dragged out for nearly 2 years. 

My PSA result returning another zero, though sad news for others not so lucky. I always think and wish the best for them all, feeling guilty and relieved at the same time.

Paris? What the hell went on there? Organised religion showing it's ugly face again. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families as they try and cope with this.

My guess is that I'll never have a week in Bangkok where 'nothing much happened'. 
It's crazy here in a lovable way, and yes, this week, I'm lucky, I lived. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Stockholm PSA trial...

Number of biopsies reduced by 27 per cent without compromising 
patients' safety find Swedish trials of a potentially game-changing 
screening programme for prostate cancer. We examine the results
and explain why we're funding further research into the trial before
getting too excited. 

A new prostate cancer screening programme could significantly 
reduce unnecessary biopsies and better detect potentially dangerous
cancer tumours compared to using the PSA blood test alone, 
according to the results of the STOCKHOLM-3 (S3M) trial published
Currently, the standard UK clinical practice is to refer any man with a Protein Specific Antigen (PSA) level of 3ng/ml or over to a urologist for further investigation.

Better blood tests mean fewer biopsies

But in the Swedish trial of 47,688 men aged between 50 and 69, anyone with a recording of 1ng/ml or more was put through a panel of genetic and protein biomarker blood tests that – when combined – would give a reliable indication of the presence of aggressive prostate cancer. Those that scored highly on these tests, together with those who recorded 3ng/ml or more on the original PSA test, would then be referred to a urologist for a Digital Rectal Examination and prostate volume check – only then having a biopsy if abnormalities were found.
In the end, only 4,947 of the men in the trial were biopsied – 27 per cent fewer than if the procedure had been based solely on a PSA level of 3ng/ml or more, with the instance of negative biopsies down by 38 per cent overall. Together, these results give compelling evidence that the S3M risk assessment model can dramatically reduce the number of men undergoing unnecessary biopsies, without compromising the safety of men who do have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Results need to be validated in UK

But while these results are extremely promising, the men studied in Stockholm were from quite a narrow background and further research is needed to prove the tests could work with a more diverse ethnic and socio-economic population like the UK's. There are also questions about whether the NHS could justify the costs and practicalities of administering such a rigorous screening programme.
Prostate Cancer UK has been working with the trial's Swedish research team since December to come up with a plan to address these issues, with a funding scheme for research to validate the trial's findings in the UK to be announced in the next couple of months.
In the mean time, we're funding an international team of scientists to develop a risk assessment tool for use in primary care in the UK as part of our mission for better diagnosis of prostate cancer in our ambitious new research strategy.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

No Ace today...

5 years since surgery and my PSA was checked in Bangkok today. After diagnosis in June 2010, I would have settled for being here 5 years later in this crazy city that we both love.

My odds of a bio-chemical recurrence at this stage are just over 8%. That's like putting 12 cards on a table every 6 months and drawing one. Ace of spades and you go down a different route, but you get 11 fresh cards every time, which I think are decent odds.

Today I picked from the pack for the twelfth time and hey, I missed that card again. PSA ZERO for the twelfth time since surgery.

In the UK it takes 3-5 days to get the result back, so I was impressed when they could do it next day in South Africa. However, in Thailand, I gave blood this afternoon and then enquired how long for the result. I was ready to put it on my phone diary, but the nurse said 1 hour! I had to check my understanding, after all, when I enquired at a supermarket a few months ago when they would be getting new stock in, the guy said 7 years, but he meant 7 days. No mistake, an hour later the lab report was in my hand. Relax until May now, or should I take a chance and leave it a year?

Friday, 30 October 2015

'Milestone' prostate cancer drug

By James Gallagher

  • 29 October 2015
  • From the section Health
Prostate cancer cellImage copyrightSPL
The first drug that targets precise genetic mutations in prostate cancer has been shown to be effective in a "milestone" trial by UK scientists. 
The study, at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, took place on 49 men with untreatable cancer. 
The drug, olaparib, had low overall success, but slowed tumour growth in 88% of patients with specific DNA mutations. 
Cancer Research UK said the trial was exciting.
The future of cancer medicine is treating cancers by their mutated DNA rather than what part of the body they are in. 
The breast cancer drug Herceptin is already used only in patients with specific mutations. Olaparib targets mutations that change the way DNA is repaired. 
DNAImage copyrightThinkstock
The trial results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the drug worked in 14 out of 16 men with such mutations. 
Levels of Prostate Specific Antigen, which is produced by tumours, was more than halved and there were also significant falls in the number of prostate cancer cells detected in the blood and in the size of secondary tumours.
Patients responded to the drug for between six months and nearly a year and a half.
One of the researchers, Dr Joaquin Mateo, told the BBC News website: "It is very promising.
"Those entering the trial had an expected survival of 10 to 12 months and we have many patients on the drug for longer than a year." 
Prostate cancerImage copyrightSPL
Image captionProstate cancer can spread to bone (in green)
Prostate cancer is the fifth most deadly type of cancer in men. 
However, a larger clinical trial is needed before doctors can say if the drug extends life expectancy.
Dr Mateo added: "This is the first drug that targets specific genetically defined populations and we are going to see more and more of these coming in the next few years." 
The advantage of targeted drugs is they can be given only to those patients who will respond, which both saves money and spares patients unnecessary side effects. 
Some of the patients in the study were born with mutated DNA repair genes while in others the mutation developed inside the tumour. 

'Significant step'

Professor Johann de Bono, the head of drug development at the Institute of Cancer Research said: "Our trial marks a significant step forward in the treatment of prostate cancer.
"I hope it won't be long before we are using olaparib in the clinic to treat prostate cancer."
However, the drugs watchdog in England - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - has already rejected olaparib for ovarian cancer on grounds - at £4,000 a month - of cost. 
Cancer Research UK's Dr Aine McCarthy added: "This trial is exciting because it could offer a new way to treat prostate cancer by targeting genetic mistakes in cancers that have spread. 
"The hope is that this approach could help save many more lives in the future."

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Try not to laugh at this...

The world of 'Prostate Cancer Blogs' can be a gloomy place sometimes. 
         So here's 12 minutes that will brighten up anyone's day.

 Play here  

Monday, 26 October 2015

A new way of monitoring biodiversity

I attended Cumbria University 2009/2013 where I gained a BAhons Degree in Wildlife and Media. On that course I met a young student, Matthew Leiper, an eccentric but really nice guy, who  many thought would have gone far on the stage. Well this is a short wildlife film that he, along with Maria Cristina Ramasco and Nicolo' Roccatagliata, have just released. It introduces us to a new way of monitoring biodiversity, with a particular focus on sharks. I think you'll agree, they've done an amazing job.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

World's largest ever clinical trial: Aspirin v Cancer Recurrence

The world’s largest ever clinical trial looking at whether taking aspirin every day stops some of the most common cancers coming back, launches across the UK today.
“This trial is especially exciting as cancers that recur are often harder to treat so finding a cheap and effective way to prevent this is potentially game-changing for patients.” - Dr Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK
The Add-Aspirin phase III trial*, the largest of its kind and funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research(link is external), aims to find out if taking aspirin every day for five years can stop or delay cancers that have been caught and treated at an early stage from returning. It will also study how the drug might do this.
The study will recruit 11,000 patients who have recently had, or are having, treatment for bowel, breast, oesophagus (food pipe), prostate or stomach cancer. It will be open at more than 100 centres across the UK and will run for up to 12 years.
The study will compare two groups of people taking different doses of aspirin** and a group taking placebo (dummy) tablets.
Aspirin is already proven to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in some people, and research has suggested that it could also prevent some types of cancer.
Professor Ruth Langley, chief investigator from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL(link is external), said: “There’s been some interesting research suggesting that aspirin could delay or stop early stage cancers coming back, but there’s been no randomised trial to give clear proof. This trial aims to answer this question once and for all. If we find that aspirin does stop these cancers returning, it could change future treatment – providing a cheap and simple way to help stop cancer coming back and helping more people survive.
“But, unless you are on the trial, it’s important not to start taking aspirin until we have the full results as aspirin isn’t suitable for everyone, and it can have serious side effects. Please speak to your oncologist or research nurse if you would like to join the Add-Aspirin trial.”
Mother of two Alex King, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2009. She said: “Having cancer was one of the toughest experiences of my life, but thankfully I was one of the lucky ones given the all-clear and I’ve been free of cancer for five years now. Any opportunity to reduce the chance of cancer coming back is incredibly important so patients can rest more easily, and it’s brilliant to see that Cancer Research UK is launching this new trial to see if aspirin can help do this.”
Professor Tom Walley, director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (link is external)(HTA) programme, said: “We have funded the Add-Aspirin trial because it offers the exciting possibility of improved outcomes for patients, with a simple well tolerated intervention. The NIHR HTA programme prides itself on funding pragmatic clinical trials like this that can lead to tangible benefits to patients and could help fill important knowledge gaps for the NHS.”
Dr Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK’s head of population research, said: “Aspirin’s possible effects on cancer are fascinating and we hope this trial will give us a clear answer on whether or not the drug helps stop some cancers coming back.
“This trial is especially exciting as cancers that recur are often harder to treat so finding a cheap and effective way to prevent this is potentially game-changing for patients.”
For more information about the trial call 0808 800 4040 to speak to Cancer Research UK’s information nurses or visit www.cancerhelp.org.uk(link is external)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The 'human' rat


We are right in the middle of a mass extinction. 

What can be done? How can we stop this?

Or is the earth just healing itself from the 'human' rat? 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

UFO's off the coast of Thailand?

From our balcony
Some very special friends have given us access to a beautiful apartment overlooking the Bay of Thailand, south of Hua Hin. It’s their winter here, so temperatures have dropped to the high 80’s at night, not a cloud in the sky, and you still melt during the day. It’s dark now, and the fishing boats are dotted around outside, their green fluorescent lights like some UFO invasion staring in on us. These little boats are fishing for squid that are attracted nearer the surface by the lights. The green glow from thousands of vessels around the coast of Thailand can be seen at night from the International Space Station.

I could easily live here, it’s much smaller than Bangkok, the town running off just one main road makes finding and remembering places far easier.

A strange phenomena that was apparent also in Bangkok, but is far more 'in your face' here, the vast amount of older men from Europe and the States, with very young Thai women. OK, I’ve been out with girls far younger than me, 10 or 20 years is cool, but this age gap is massive, as much as 50/60 years. It looks strange, but I guess it wouldn’t happen if there wasn’t something to be gained by both sides. When I go out alone in Bangkok I’m often approached by women asking if I’m looking for a wife. I make light of it, saying, “No, certainly not, one is all I can cope with”.

I’ve certainly fallen in love with this country and moving outside Bangkok for the first time has confirmed this. Why? That’s very difficult to quantify. Respect for older people has to be the 'big one', similar to South Africa in that way. I’ve said it before, but in the UK we treat older folk as an inconvenience, but here you are more of an icon, someone to be listened to. Am I old? I think of myself now as one of the younger ‘old people’, a more comfortable position than one of the older ‘middle aged’. 
What else? This is a respectful society here, it’s completely unacceptable to be anti-social, so people rarely are. We think we live in a freer society in England, because it’s ok to fall out of a bar, get sick in the street and your mates think you’re a hero. Family matters here and you wouldn't want to disgrace them, however, the family unit is very weak in the UK, and as such, society as a whole suffers. There was a time when children could be chastised by any adult if they were found misbehaving, but now we offer a ‘no rules’ package which leaves our kids floundering as they enter adulthood.
Then there’s the obvious, the price of almost everything is cheaper. We fill our car up with £18, food is generally half price, though a nice piece of cheese is double the UK price. Eating out is silly money, with lunch around £1.50 and dinner maybe £3 in most small Thai eateries. You can pay more at upmarket places but why bother when you can get authenticity by the bucket load.
NHS? Well everyone in Thailand has access to some sort of hospital, the main difference, if your poorer you wait a bit longer and your hospital isn’t as nice. Many hospitals here are like 5 star hotels and offer world-class treatment, but at a price. Taxis are ridiculously cheap, as are the busses and trains. A 3 mile taxi ride, maybe £0-80, a 3 mile train ride £0-20, a 3 mile boat ride £0-30 or a bus or motor bike taxi at £0-15.
Are there any downsides to living here? Yes, if you’re a twat, you could find life constantly ‘uncomfortable’ because society will view and treat you as such. 

I continue to enjoy life here and ever week gets better and better. I can imagine the day I leave Thailand will be the unhappiest day ever.

So now it's morning and I thought we'd try and find where these little UFO's park up during the day. The little fishing port was just around the headland, with dozens of boats tied up after the night at sea. Nothing fancy here, just hard working, rugged little ships that look like they'd been around for a very long time. Nobody minded as we strolled along the harbour, amazed at everything we saw. 'Sawadikap' (hello) was all it took for people to warm to us, and they were happy to show what they were working at. Squid in abundance, all sizes, but also a variety of crabs, fish, prawns and even things we'd never seen before. The processing was going on all round us, the whole family involved in gutting, cleaning or repairing nets.
I love fruit

What do monkeys eat? Bananas of course! Not around here! Crabs, and they love'em. Do monkeys dive and swim in the sea? Of course not! Oh yes, they do here and they're in and out of the water just for fun, dive bombing each other.
We had a mixed seafood lunch in a little place across from the boats, £3 fed us both, including the tip. This little port/fish market was the highlight of my time in Thailand to date, and we'll definitely visit again before we go back.

Crab lunch? Well, on the table next to us.

Squid, out to dry

Fresh today

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Vegetarian Festival, China Town, Bangkok...

I've taken this great article from 'Travel Fish', as we head down the river to China Town for this evenings celebrations at the Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok's China Town.
As Asian countries go, Thailand is not so easy for vegetarians or vegans. Yet for nine days each year during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar (typically late September/October), a large portion of the country’s population eat exclusively vegan foods in observation of the Chinese cleansing festival known as Tesakan Kin Jay (literally, ‘festival for eating vegan’), or the Vegetarian Festival. Elaborate festivities take place in Phuket, but Bangkok’s Chinatown is also a great place to sample vegan fare while soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Chinatown never has a shortage of energy, but it's taken to another level during the festival.
Chinatown’s energy is taken to another level during the festival.
An expression of the deeply rooted Chinese influence in Thailand, the Vegetarian Festival honours the nine Taoist emperor gods embodied by the nine stars of the big dipper constellation. Although its popularity has declined within China itself, the festival is also a big deal in SingaporeMalaysia and Burma.
The festival is most prominent among Thailand’s Chinese minority, but it’s also observed by millions of Thais with little or no Chinese background. Throughout the nine days, Chinese temples and shrines are abuzz with a carnival-like atmosphere that incorporates chanting by monks, noisy percussive routines (to awaken the spirits) and plenty of vegan feasting.
A very noisy display of percussion at a shrine in Chinatown.
A very loud display of percussion at a shrine in Chinatown.
Many in Thailand celebrate the festival in whatever way that suits them, but 10 rules are traditionally observed. These are: to keep the body clean; to prepare food only with utensils that have never touched meat; to wear all white or yellow; to keep the mind mentally calm and serene; to eat entirely vegan and to refrain from pungent foods like garlic and onion; to refrain from sex; to refrain from alcohol and drugs; to refrain from attending the festival while in mourning; and to refrain from attending while pregnant or menstruating.
Frying up sweet vegan rice cakes next to Yaowarat Road in Chinatown.
Frying up sweet vegan rice cakes next to Yaowarat Road in Chinatown.
In Phuket, the festival also incorporates acts of self-mutilation known as maa songMaa is the Thai word for horse, and those who carry out this custom are believed to become possessed by the emperor spirits as a horse is controlled by a rider. The most common act of maa song is to pierce the cheeks with large knives and swords, and those who participate are thought to be protected from pain by the spirits. This aspect of the festival never existed in China and is believed to have been adopted from the Hindu festival, Thaipusam, which is celebrated in SingaporeIndia and Malaysia.
For the casual traveller who’s not keen on sticking blades through their face, a day of sampling ahaan jay (vegan food) is a less dramatic way to enjoy the festival. Countless regular noodle shops, street stalls and restaurants discontinue serving meat during Tesakan Kin Jay, instead preparing totally vegan dishes that often incorporate tofu and a range of delicious handmade meat substitutes.
Thailand can produce some phenomenal vegan food when it wants to.
Thailand can produce some phenomenal vegan food.
Vendors taking part in the festival are marked by yellow flags and aprons with the word jay written in red Thai script. Vegan food sellers may be found in urban neighbourhoods and rural villages throughout the country across the Vegetarian Festival, but in Chinatown you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone selling meat. Strictly speaking, those who aren’t refraining from meat are not permitted to enter an area surrounded by yellow flags for fear that they'll attract unwholesome spirits.
Just look for the yellow flag.
Just look for the yellow flag.
A dizzying array of vegan dishes and finger foods are found during the festival in Chinatown. We sampled fried bean cakes, grilled lotus root and a range of vegetable dumplings before choosing from a healthy selection of kap khao style vegan curries and stir-fries and sauteed egg-wheat noodles tossed with meat substitutes and veggies.
Vegan noodles from a Chinatown vendor who typically sells meat.
Vegan noodles from a Chinatown vendor who typically sells meat.
The average Thai will eat vegan foods for three to 10 days while making a conscious effort to cleanse both the body and mind. Observing the festival each year is believed to contribute to a long and healthy life.
Healthy grilled lotus root -- now that is long life food.
Healthy grilled lotus root — now that is long-life food.
No matter where you are in Thailand, Tesakan Kin Jay offers a unique opportunity to enjoy some fantastic vegan food in an otherwise meat-obsessed country. If you happen to be in Phuket, an unexpected dose of self-mutilation might sneak its way into your beach holiday, but Bangkok’s Chinatown offers a worthy alternative. The festival culminates with a rip-roaring street procession on Yaowarat Road. Hope you like the sound of huge cymbals and drums being banged upon.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Cool, calm and delightful...

Quá hay luôn. Đúng là tuổi trẻ tài cao (y)Nguồn: Design Or Die
Posted by 2! Idol on Saturday, 5 September 2015

One of my all time favourite cartoons...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Thai nickname...

Just about every Thai person has a nickname by which they are known informally, given to them by their parents at birth. The pervasive use of nicknames in this way apparently comes from the old belief that evil spirits ( ปีศาจ ปีศาจ ) are constantly on the lookout for newborn children to snatch away and control, but using a nickname instead of a normal Thai name confuses the spirits and helps to keep the child safe. This is not a widespread belief nowadays of course, but nonetheless the use of nicknames remains so widespread in Thailand that it's not uncommon for friends to know each other for years and yet not know each other's real name and surname. 
The nicknames given may be a contraction of their real name, but most often Thai parents take inspiration for the nickname from a wide variety of other sources instead. Names based on someone's appearance at birth are common. I've come across a variety of others, such as 'Link' 'Stingray' 'Hulk' 'Tree' 'King' 'Gold' 'Moo' 'Cake' and 'Ping-Pong'.

So can I have a Thai name? Why not!

I have decided on 'Bacsi', pronounced 'Bartchi', similar to 'Bhaji' as in 'Onion Bahji'; don't you love them?

When I was visiting a marvellous little town in Romania a few years ago, called Ozsdola, the locals started calling me, 'Daniel Bahji'; well that's what it sounded like. When I enquired, it was a word of respect, usually given to older people. Not always though, you had to earn it, and it could be taken away if you didn't deserve it. So you couldn't give yourself that name, it was bestowed upon you.