Multiple www personality disorder

16 Dec

Folks, I’m not sure if bring spread over multiple sites is a good idea or not; but I can announce that I have another spot on the web where there is a growing set of photo “albums”.

The address: guyfreeman.multiply.com

Have a look. See what you think. Let me know.

The Multiply site seems to be pretty good.

guy

Photos galore

29 Jul

Please see our Flickr website for some photos.

the site address is:

www.flickr.com/photos/guy_n_sue

Hope you like what you see. And that you don’t mind the doube ups!

Guy & Sue

A peek at life on campus

19 Jul

Back in Thailand after four years (Sue and I were there in 2002 with a short-term outreach team),. our friend Paul Flack took me to “the office” … it was unchanged from 2002.

seven.jpg Yep, that’s about it. A table in a students’ recreation area.

eight.jpg Here are Paul with Noi (left), Jet (centre) and a student.

The Thais were crazy about the World Cup! I heard that Thailand was one of maybe two countries where every match could be seen on free-to-air television (that is unless it’s the Australia-Japan game you want to watch and a super-extended edition of the Royal news comes on all free-to-air stations; at least the important final 10 minutes was broadcast, phew!). So, with the Thais Cup crazy, it was fitting that they get to fly the appropriate flag:

five.jpg six.jpg four.jpg

Not surprisingly, the office attracts plenty of students. Here are a few (with Jet and Noi, who are on staff) who I think became part of the team last year.

three.jpg

During orientation (the first week or so of the academis year), the Campus Student Link group gets active encouraging the first-year students to join their conversational English classes. This is an excellent way to make contacts amont the students.

The office

Another great way to attract interest among the students is to put on a show. In 2002 the event was Adrian van Vactor’s magic (illusions/slight of hand) show. This time there was a “project” band from a campus ministry in Singapore. They’d been together for only a month and they were tops. We heard that their training/rehearsal schedule during that month was extremely rigorous.

So, welcome to the stage, Audio Exchange:

bandload.jpg Here they come (well, not really, this is, in fact, the band leaving a gig).

dotz.jpg This is Dotz; she’d been part of an earlier band visit and this time was the organiser of the project … the taskmaster, I suppose.

hansel.jpg Hansel was the male vocalist; his female counterpart was Jay. legs.jpg

jay2.jpg jay.jpg hansel2.jpg

noel.jpg Lead guitarist and singer, Noel.

marvin.jpg Marvin, he’s the, er, you’ll have to guess.

joel.jpg Joel on rhythm guitar

 On keyboards were Charlene and Annette:

charlene.jpg annita.jpg

 And the person the whole band follows, Juilienne, on bass (of course):

julienne.jpg

Controlling everything was Haiks up the back: haiks.jpg

All in all they were a great asset on campus.

The band played a set of familiar songs. Noel explained his life story (testimony, for those of you craving the jargon) and the troup did a bit of a skit and awarded prizes. In the following picture a couple of youngsters won the prizes. good to see they;re flying the flag!

bandprize.jpg

Here a group at a church farewells the band after a gig: bandgroup.jpg

American team visits a Burmese school at Ban Nam Kem

19 Jul

There’s a school for Burmese refugees (yes, from Myanmar … see earlier post) and the team of US youngsters took time out one morning to visit the school. They taught a few lessons and played a few games. For some it was love at first sight and they wanted to take the kids back home. Look at the faces and you’ll soon seen the attraction!

I had an opportunity to play the didj for them. I greeted them with the usual Thai “sawatdee krup” and the children responded with the usual sing-song response of a classroom full of kids … then I said “minga-la-ba” and the class erupted with joyous shouts; that’s Burmese for g’day.

So, look at the pictures and see how the American youngesters could have fallen in love!

kid17.jpg kid11.jpg kid15.jpg kid16.jpg kid8.jpg

This young woman below, Malory, is a preschool teacher in the US. She had a real knack with the kids.

kid14.jpg kid13.jpg

Parents put powder on the children’s faces to stop them going dark in the sun.

kid12.jpg kid10.jpg 

Ahoy there! kid9.jpg 

kid7.jpg The bigger of the boys in this picture is Dave. He’s from Footsteps (see earlier post for details of this organisation).

kid6.jpg kid5.jpg kid4.jpg 

kid3.jpg kid2.jpg kid1.jpg

Guy’s favourite builder’s labourer arrives

6 Jul

Woo-hoo! Sue is here, ending the “spouse fast”.

Friday was an unusual day for me; i went to work as usual and at lunch (after the builders suggested we’d take the afternoon off) I was informed that my cook’s mother told the locals that the farang’s wife will arrive tomorrow. Of course, I was quick to point out that Sue was to arrive on Sunday. Yes, said Moo (“my” cook), that’s tomorrow. Wow, one fewer sleep before she arrived … I can’t imagine feeling better about “losing a day” than this time.

So, on Sunday my friend Eit and I set off to meet Sue at Phuket airport. Sue, of course, managed to be almost last off the plane and then last through customs, having found the longest queue. I told Eit to expect to pay 7 million bhat for parking while we waited and waited and waited and waited … you get the picture.

Then Sue phoned to say she was really here and then we waited and waited and ….

Finally she emerged, minus her luggage and enjoying a conversation with a local with limited English. Last time she lost her bag was in PNG in the previous millennium, and that time the bag turned up the day before she left to go home. This time it was not so bad; the bag was dispatched to (um, we’re not quite sure … and it felt like the Thai Airways folk weren’t sure either); anyway, I went to meet the bag at the Baan Nam Kem wharf where it was supposed to arrive between 5.30 and 6pm; well about 7pm+ a couple of blokes arrived at the wharf. “You from Thai Airways?” Yes, they were and they’d already delivered the bag to Eit’s parents’ place at Nam Kem, which was nearby. So they went and got the bag back and half an hour later a much relieved Sue was reuinted with her chattles, which included gifts for others.

Since then Sue and I have been living at Koh Kho Khao Resort (so the sleeping arrangements hardly feel like being here on a ministry-type visit; oh, and since the builders didn’t turn up for the first two days, we did what little I knew we could do without it having to be subsequently undone, and then had the time off). I thought the resort would be a preferred option for Sue, rather than camping on the floor with me at Koong’s house, where there’s no hot water and the dunny is somewhat Thai-style, and there’s no furniture.

Well, yesterday we got into the action on the building site … and Sue got to meet “ron”! (See earlier post for details on ron.)

We poured cement: Sue doing the loading and lifting and Guy, high up on the scaffolding (and that’s another story in itself!) hauling up watering cans full of runny cement to pour in the holes in the blocks. We needed several “nam” (water) breaks at our immediate overseer’s (that’s Ming) insistance. We were not reluctant to take his advice.

At lunch we relished the cool conditions (32C in the shade) as each of us demolished 1.25L of Coke (yes, Sue drinks Coke now) with a couple of buckets of ice. Our usual cook, Moo, wasn’t there so she left us a note of explanation of what she’d told her mum to cook for us.

After lunch we started on laying the next five courses of blocks and framing up over the windows and doors. Hot! Steamy! Heavy! And we even did a bit of overtime! We must be keen or maybe just crazy! 

Today, Sue is looking forward to experiencing the other extremity of being a builder’s labourer in SW Thailand. We’re about to set off for work and right now it is not just raining, not just teeming but rather bucketing down. This is what you get when being here in the third of the three seasons (1, hot; 2, hotter; 3, hot’n’wet).

Today we’re back to having this whole resort to ourselves (almost no one is crazy enough to want to come here at this time of year) after a family of Norwegians left after being here for a couple of nights.

As we interact more with the locals, it seems that few families escaped the tragedy of losing someone in the tsunami about 18 months ago. Yesterday, for example, we were told that a little boy we were smiling at had lost all his family (mum, dad, siblings) that day. This resort we’re staying at had an early warning when a family member of one of the workers phoned, so the place was evacuated to a mountain about 5km away and no one was injured. We also learnt that my friend Koong was in his boat at the time of the tsunami and he was washed ashore at the resort, sucked back out to sea and washed ashore again; you have to wonder how anyone could survive that.

Evidence of the devastation is dotted here and there. The buckled and twisted remains of a wharf at Baan Nam Kem, the foundations of a house next to Koong’s place, a concrete slab where a house used to be, the boat (see picture bleow) in the backyard and nestled against a house, acres with no dwellings where once there were many flimsy homes. And then there are the many quickly-built shelters.

This place was abuzz with farangs (foreigners) this time last year, helping to rebuild after the tsunami, but this year is a different story; the Phuket newspaper reported that business, which was propped up by the relief workers last year, are suffering a cash flow drought this year. Now the hard work of attracting tourists again has begun … and, I suppose, encouraging the locals to return; this island’s population is much reduced because many former locals will not return, the resorts are slowly rebuilding and until then there is little work here on the island, so that means little to attract workers, or to support the refugees from Myanmar (note to Fairfax “stylebook” editors, the refugees tell me they have come from “Myanmar”, not from Burma). A sad but interesting side note: the tsunami toll is undoubtedly much higher than estimated by the Thai authorities because the Burmese refugees (yeah, you work that one out, they are still called Burmese) were not accounted for in the toll total.

Ooh, look! the gaps between the rain drops are getting bigger, better make a dash for it now!

Pop’s gang has a pruny knee!

Guy & Sue

Pop’s gang has a pruny knee

30 Jun

Phew! How did I ever learn to speak English? At the rate I’m going with Thai it would take several lifetimes for me to pick it up.

Maybe I just need to put a finger in one ear to stop the words going in and then out the other!

Wonder if there are TSL classes here (like ESL in Oz)?

And what’s that about the pruny knee?

Well, I’m trying to remember how to say see you tomorrow and it’s something like this: Phob gang prung knee, hence the title.

Not dead yet II

30 Jun

I’ve a new date of birth: 26/3/2498 — the Thais have a different starting point to their calendar, so to work out your dob, just add 543. With a dob like this it seems as if I am yet to be!

So, how did Iget this new dob? By attending the local hospital.

The surf dumping injury (irony: I’m here helping after a big wave and a tiddler injures me!) needed some treatment so I Went to the hopsital where I became #153435 in the Thai medical system. It seems that heavy lifting and building does not help this injury recover.

Sitting in a queue at the hospital it seems a little odd that we’re watching boxing on the TV.

ooh! Hope no vital operationis going on,we just had a blackout (postscript to this thought: there was another when I saw the doctor and his PC did not stop, so there must be an alternate power supply).

Looking at my registration card, all I can recognise are my name, dob and patient number, the rest is in Thai.

Especially for the medical readers: my BP was 130/80; the medical staff seemed OK with that.

Note to self about meds: better ckeck the vital dates before leaving home. I applied some stuff called “Band Aid” to an abrasioinand noted that it should have been chucked out 6months after opening … that would have been last millennium; then I’malso using some betadine and noticed it should have been chucked a while after first use … of dear, the stuff should have been given the heave-ho in 1992 any way!

New meds: I’d been taking Ibuprofin to relieve the pain of the surfing injury (the Dr at the hospital told me the correct dose and prescribed a muscle relaxant and a heat rub); anyway, I was running out of the drugs so I went to a shop- this morning and was given a big pink pill and told it was the same stuff. I had no idea, but wrapped the laughing gear around one anyway. They were 5 baht each … and sold by the each. Well, judging by the outcome I can tell you they were not sleeping pills because I didn’t get drowsy;andy they were not viagra because … never mind. (For the curious, the doctor confirmed they were Ibuprofen!).

The hospital visit (consultation and meds cost the princely sum of 104 baht … That’s less than $4.

Some pictures

30 Jun

The trip in the van had another interesting feature … a dunny stop, or hong nam stop as they say here.

So, it’s a case of Hello Msrs … I, er pee just there eh?: loo1.jpg

while you stand over there. loo2.jpg Hmmm, less than comforting. But then again, taken in context of the exciting van trip, it all seems to make perfect sense.

This is Cana, the daughter of our missionary friends Paul and Chaa Flack:

cana.jpg Isn’t she a sweetie?!

This is Tang. He’s been helping on the building site. He and I attempt to communicate using a poor example of a game of chirades: tang.jpg

A reminder of the tsunami. Apparently about 100 people who clung to this boat were saved (a similar number clinging to a similar boat elsewhere perished). It was dumped quite a way inland and because there’s no equipment suitable to remove it, here is where the boat remains. It stopped millimetres away from the wall of a house and it nas not moved since:

boat1.jpg boat2.jpg boat3.jpg

Ah puke! Sorry about the quality of the pictures; i’ve really mucked them up by trying to make them small enough to post on the blog. Seems like you’ll have to suffer a “slide show” after all if you want to see the pics in any sort of quality.

Well, that’s enough for me for this morning. Back to being a builder’s labourer; oh, and if I ever complain about journalism, please remind me of the alternative opportunities that exist, especially being a builder’s labourer in southern Thailand.

Sawadee

You really don’t want to meet Ron

29 Jun

Ron (I’m sure the spelling is wrong) is Thai for hot, or very hot, or extremely hot, or even #$%^&* hot!

Yesterday was ron. Extremely ron. It was one of those days that some crazy folk go to the Gold coast for in summer (but then retreat to air-conditioned comofort after a swim in the surf and a laze on the beach).

And so it was that I met “Ron” on the way to the building site; I was quite warm even before I got there. Mobile phones being almost anything these days, mine has a thermometer in it and it was about 35C when I started sifting sand (it flet like about half a ton) in the sun … somehow it seemed to be hotter shovelling in the sun.

Down the road for lunch, and there it had cooled significantly to 32C; aah! bliss; but when I was back at the work site it was back up to 36, and then the fun began.

Ron certainly was no help as I carried buckets of wet cement from the mixer to the house, poured it into a modified watering can, climbed up an ingenious sort of scaffording and poured this mess into holes in the blocks.

Up, down, back and forth and up and down again. Phew! I’m glad I drank a 1.25L bottle of Coke for lunch. I poured sweat. I was so wet it could have been raining.

The folk from California preferred to work in the rain … I was on their side yesterday.

I drank several bottles of water (one in almost one go!). At one point I had to stop and sit in the shade because I thought I was risking getting heat stroke.

I can’t recall working this hard in such extreme conditions ever before.

And, oh joy!, it is time to go; I’ve at least another two mixer loads to do today … that’s before I can start laying more bricks.

A van ride to remember (or perhaps forget)

29 Jun

The trip from Had Yai to the west coast was quite amazing. I wasn’t sure what to expexct, although the youngsters in the band from Singapore had made the trip the other way a couple of weeks earlier and said that it was horrific. Of course, knew they were exaggerating … or were they?

OK, so come with me on the trip via some notes taken in transit:

Given a choice between knitting and watching the road, knitting is definitely the preferred option. Let’s start with the concept of right of way: the bigger the vehicle the “righter” of way; so, pedestrians have no right of way (and don’t be fooled by pedestrian/zebra crossingsm they’re no safer than anywhere else, go on one and you’re just a traget, so good luck … maybe you’ve a better chance with “the little green man” at traffic lights); motorcycles have some right of way but, for an 11-seatre van like this onem it’s “honk-honkm watch out I’m coming through”. Overtaking when there is oncoming traffic is not necessarily a problem because if it’s a bike you’re passing, then “honk-honk” and just pass, if it’s a car you’re passing and there’s a bike comingm no worries, it’ll get out of the way. Passing a car with an oncoming car just depends on the width of the road; passing anything with an oncoming truck – don’t, trucks have righter of way all the time.

So, as you can imagine, it’s much more comefortable (less stressful) to watch the knitting.

Oh, overlooked this: and then it rains … it teems, and some of the bikes get off the road because the riders are getting drenched and this means — woo-hoo — the van can go faster!

Rain also affects the air-con; y’see the air-con on this van is broken so we’re using a version of the old failthful 4-40 (i.e. 4 windows down and 40mph); except is feels more like 4-60 or 4-70 (yep, even on bends it’s probably up to 4-60 … and that’s mph, not kmh). So how does the rain affect the air-con; well, the heavy rain comes in the windows and with the windows shut we get a nice warm ride!

Just to add interest: if we’re in the fast lane and someone faster (surprisingly, there have been a few) wants to pass they fly by in the slow lane … and without even honking.

Oh good … now he’s on the phone! Better start knitting again and pretend that the sensations I’m feeling are the result of a roller-coaster ride.

Eeeoo, accidentally looked up. No worries, just heavy braking on a wet corner.

Phew! This makes a trip in a 4wd through the bush on a rough track with my mate Phil (in a hurry) at the wheel feel like a stroll in the park.

Wow, let’s check if the tyre tread is working OK, wiggle, wiggle, swerve, wiggle … good-oh, they seem to be holding OK.

Relief! Out of the van now and sitting on the side of a busy road in the middle of who-knows-where. Behind me sits a well proportioned woman wearing what appears to be just a towel … she seems to have come out of a bridal shop — she catches my glance and  responds with a “come hither” smile and I begin to wonder if the van was the safer option.

Welcome to Phang Nga.