The Royal Wedding of Kate and William

I cannot go on without mentioning the Royal Wedding of the decade.  Since Diana’s wedding, there has not been one that has been followed with such enthusiasm.  It is a wonderful change to follow “good” news than hearing the usual stories of war, fighting, economic bailouts and deaths that appear whenever one turns on the television.  Nevertheless, I have to admit I hadn’t been following the news so much prior to the wedding but now that the wedding day had arrived, I was excited.

If you live in Bangkok it is hard to escape the hype that accompanies such a wedding. The morning radio news discussed the wedding and as Thais are very fond of such events, we had live coverage aired on Thai television.  Fortunately, we are only six hours ahead of London so the timing is just right. Late afternoon to early evening would be the time of the ceremony.

Though still at the office, all eyes were glued to the television sets.  The air lightened and everyone was relaxed.  Stress levels dropped and heart beats slowed.  Smiles appeared and for that brief hour or so we were all transported to Westminster Abbey to be with Kate and William.  We all had first class seats, watching the event from various angles.   It’s just a pity we could not be breathing in the same air nor smell the freshness of the trees that lined the aisles.

The vows were spoken and now Kate and William are man and wife.  Everyone was touched.  Touched at how sweet and loving they seemed.  The two kisses on the balcony put smiles on our faces. My heart melted.  William looked shy and Kate a bit giggly.

It was a fairytale wedding.  To have a real life fairy tale that’s not in storybooks is wonderful.  Even if its for a couple hours, it was a couple hours when peace and happiness reigned throughout the world. Not only were people watching in the UK, people all over the world in hundreds of countries were watching.  Millions tuned in.  Tuned in to watch and partake in this happy union.

If only the world could unite more often like this. Be happy and be joyful for other’s happiness instead of always fighting for one’s ego or for one’s own power.  Life would be so much more joyful.  No more fighting, no more killings.  It’s little moments like these that we remember and cherish.  The celebration of life rather than the distruction of life….  Wishing you all lots of happiness and peace!  Lets hope this worldwide positive energy remains for sometime yet and gives us all “world peace.”

Peaceful Running

This morning I went off to run before work as normal.  I push my lazy self off my comfy bed and whilst driving to the fitness, I wonder if there will ever come a day when the “lazy me” is gone and dead.  It’s been almost two years since I’ve started running and every morning it’s a battle to ward off the “lazy me.”  Some days, it’s quiet and weak and I can easily push it away, some days it has strength and wants to take over the “active me.”  Nevertheless, as long as I keep my head, the “active me” remains in top place.  This battle, however, stops the minute I am in the car and once I start running it is as if I am transported into a different dimension. Another world.

This morning’s world was one of peace and tranquility.  I ran without my headphones.

Usually I’d spend my runs catching up on the morning news, watching Haslinda Amin recap on Bloomberg or perhaps the BBC news, but today I wanted to try running without the headphones.  I wanted to see what it would be like without having to always worry about my arms swinging and pulling the headphones away from my ears as I run on the treadmill.

I loved the feeling.

I felt a certain “peace” to be running on the treadmill with nothing but my shoes (and my clothes).  No phones, no headphones, no TV.  All I had to keep me company were my neighbours and reflections in the mirror.  My mind was focused and a certain “clarity” prevailed.

I concentrated on my breathing (which I’ve been working on the past few runs) and it flowed more with each breath.  I am no longer heaving or puffing like the big bad wolf about to blow down the little pig’s house.  I breathe rhythmically.  It’s a wonderful feeling. I pray I can keep it up.

I start to look around and notice people around me, the reflected room in the mirror and the wavering trees outside the window.  The hot blazing sun and the sounds of feet thumping on the treadmill belt.  I listen to the sounds my own feet are making and feel my arms pushing back and forth.  It’s meditative and relaxing.

My brain seems to extend time.  One minute seems so much longer and in that one minute, I feel I can do so much.  I have time to look around, be with my thoughts and analyze my running.  All the stresses dissipate and my brain feels energized.

I find myself starting to have a certain fondness for running.  I start to enjoy its meditative nature and the sense of peace and tranquility that comes with it.  I am slowing getting addicted to how rested and happy I feel upon completing a run.  I know this feeling will come and go, and on some days I will probably be lazy, but every time after a run, I find myself at peace.

At peace with the world. 

All is calm, no anger, no madness, just pure contentment.  Perhaps we should all do a little more running.  Run for clarity, run for peace and run for tranquility.  Happy Running!

Celebrating Friendships: Another April Birthday

There are quite a few birthdays in April, those of colleagues, friends and very old friends.  One such birthday though was of another dear friend whom I’ve known since primary school. Fifth Grade to be exact.  Time flies by so fast, before you know it, its been over 20 years since we’ve known each other.  She lives in Canada now and so we don’t get to meet her as often as we’d like and in our little high school reunions her absence is indeed missed.  You know who you are! Beaver!

I remember it like it were yesterday.  Going to classes in our white and turquoisy navy bluish skirt.  I still don’t know what you call that shade of blue we had for our school uniform, it is such a unique colour.  Together we had our little ‘Anti-Kapi’ club that if you knew what it was, you’d probably shake your heads and wonder how we could have been so young.  It was fun though nevertheless and certain stories will forever remain to be told and told again, like the story behind a certain yearbook photo.

I remember you coming to send me off at the airport when I had to move to Belgium.  It was a sad evening for me to leave my friends and my buddies behind.  But there you were sending me off and encouraging me on.  Thank you 🙂

We kept in touch with letters.  That was back in the good old days when we still got real mail from friends in the post. Now most of what comes are bills and advertisements.

We each studied in different countries, Australia and the US.  Worlds apart but we never forgot one another on the otherside of the globe.  We reunited after graduation and spent many evenings out after work browsing through a shopping mall that has now changed names and renovated its facade until nothing of the old remains.

We fell in love with Lewre shoes when designs were still quite fashionable.  We bought some and even bought a similar pair in beige.  We have since moved onto different brands, but that was then our favorite working shoes.

Now worlds apart again we still  keep in touch though I wish we’d meet more often.  I know it’s great living and skiing in Canada but we do miss you here at our little luncheons. 🙂  Happy Birthday dear friend.  Stay sweet and loving as you always are and thank you for being who you are:)

The Forest Trees: A Poem

It’s summer in Bangkok but we’ve been getting crazy thunderstorms these last few days as a result of Global Warming.  I therefore thought I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote in 6th grade.  Wow..it’s been a long time, but even then I loved the environment and I loved the tall tall trees.  It’s always fun to read through old writings 😛  Take care and Save the Trees !

The Forest Trees
                            by Swisa Ariyapruchya


Tall, towering high above us,
The trees stood majestically.
In a forest, almost forgotten,
They whispiered to one another.
If one listened,
One could hear,
What was being said
Among the many trees.

When the wind blew,
They swayed back and forth,
Their leaves humming.
Humming a tune of nature,
A tune no longer heard.

Many summers now
Since I have stood,
Listening in a forest.
No more whispering
No more humming,
The trees are gone.
Gone forever.
Never to return.

One by One
Trunk by trunk
Men have silenced the trees.
No more leaves
No more branches
They have all been felled.
Felled by men, The enemy.
Survival of the fittest.

Nature’s creation
No longer seen.
Thousands of years
Gone in a second.
Witnesses of history,
Mankind’s evolution.
No longer alive to tell the tale.

Saws buzzing
Lorries running
The forest gone forever.
The end of nature
End of Mankind.

Different Realities

 Reading about Obama’s young mother in the New York Times, I am reminded about a discussion Alex and I had the other day on how we live in a world of different realities.  What sparked the conversation was his conversation with a random stranger at a government office while waiting for some documents.  It’s not at all related to Obama or his Mom, but it is about how we all have different lives growing up.  One cannot just assume everyone’s childhood was just as pleasant as ours even though we’d like to believe it.  His reality is not my reality and vice versa.

What really hit us was how this stranger, this pleasant happy chit chatting man, was talking about his family.  How he had a hard life growing up and how education for him ended at fourth grade primary.   He talked about his daughter and how he was so proud of her to have finished 9th grade.  It was like a dream had come true for his children to accomplish such a high level of education.  A high school diploma would be out of this world.

Now when we hear things like this, it brings us down hard about how different his and our lives are.  I know not everyone is as fortunate to have the life I have, but it’s not the same as when you hear it said.   In my family and in my circle of aquaintances and friends, we somehow never even thought about the possibility of not finishing college at the graduate level, let alone highschool.   A masters was now the new minimum.  Bachelors was not enough.  It would be difficult to imagine finding a job without a masters degree in this day and age.   The new trend seems to be even going for a second masters degree.

It’s like we live in different worlds, yet here we are at the same government office waiting in line.  A momentary crisscrossing of paths before we diverge and go on with our lives.  An event that though lasting only a few minutes can make an impression  that will last for years.  It teaches us not to take things for granted. 

Amongst many other things, we take education for granted.  We expect our cousins, nephews, neices to at least achieve a masters, but living on the same earth, the same country are those who would be more than happy with a 9th grade education.  That is their reality.  Food on the table must be worked for each day, whereas I assume I have food in the fridge and if I’m hungry, I’ll just go buy something.  I eat more than I should while out there are mothers skipping meals so that their children can eat. 

 It’s a world of different realities, but lets dream one day it’d be less of a contrast. Look around you and be grateful for what you have.  Be happy with what you have, waste little, donate lots.  It’s food for the soul.

Shop at the BIG (Gift) and BIH (Houseware) Fair

This morning was the first public day for Bangkok’s International Gift and Bangkok International Houseware Fair (BIG and BIH).  If you don’t know what it is, it is a trade fair organized by Thailand’s Department of Export Promotion.  It’s held twice a year, once in April and another in October.  At each event,  those wishing to see what products Thailand has to offer can attend the event and talk to vendors.  The last two days, usually a Saturday and Sunday, are days for the public to shop their heart out.    It becomes a mad shopping rush that makes you wonder if everything was being handed out free.

The event starts at 10.00am and knowing that there’d be a million people there, I decided to go early.  I get somewhat crowd dizzy.  I arrived at around 9.30am and to my surprise the parking lot was already filling up quite fast.  I was even more surprised when I went upstairs to the lobby and saw the amount of people getting ready for the event.  Some sat and waited at the coffee shops,  others waited to withdraw cash from the ATM machines, while keen shoppers rented out carts to fill their goods.  The doors, still closed, were being blocked by those waiting to get in.   You can feel the energy vibrate through the air.  It’s as if there was some quiet force propelling everyone to buzz around like bees.  Everyone was getting ready for the big BIG open. Bathrooms witnessed people going in and out.

Everyone was getting ready to go have some fun, spend some money. 

If you’re wondering if it’s just for Thais,  I have to say the crowd was quite international.  I heard French, Japanese, Korean, American English and some other languages I couldn’t recognize.  This was a change from a few years ago.  I remember the first few times I came, I did not see that many foreigners.  At the bag deposit area, I saw some people with their suitcases and carry ons. I wonder if they came straight from the airport to buy all these goods.

Whatever the nationality, everyone was ready with a large shopping bag or a large cart.  No highheels were spotted. Everyone was in comfortable flats.  This shopping spree would involve at least two hours of shopping. More if you want.  I spent quite a few more, but then I stopped to have lunch at the food court which was very convenient and put my things away in the car before going back in.

It’s something I go to almost annually even if it’s just to walk around and look at the products they have on display.  I like to look at the design of the products and marvel at how creative one can be.  I remember the first few times I went there,  my bags would bulge with little knick knacks that were simply irresistable.  At this fair were such beautiful objects ranging from meticulously designed jewelry, leather goods, furniture, lamps, stationary to children’s toys and plastic goods.  Thailand exports a lot and this fair is a heaven for ladies and men who love anything cute, colourful, and have a preference for quality products. 

Everything is on wholesale price so if you need to buy things to organize or decorate the house, this is the place to be.  If you like cooking utensils, ceramics, cake stands, you got it.  If you need plastic boxes in various colours and designs to organize your goods or your foods, they have it. If you want handbags, cushions, bed sheets, spa products, potpurri, or even handmade lamps and candles, they have it.  If you want notebooks, folders, photo frames, paintings then buy it here.  Crystals and glassware were also there.  Beautiful pieces.  Everything that is “excess” is here.  So many things to tempt you.  From the northern parts of Thailand down to the South, they all came to this fair.

This year, being tired from all my accumulated junk I was a bit more focused on my shopping. I bought things I know I’d use and my splurge this year was on a box and magazine stand handmade from bamboo.  The bamboo was lime yellow and handwoven and had a shocking pink interior.  I love contrasting colours and these two go together just perfectly, I love it.  Am tempted to buy a whole set, but thank goodness I manage to stop myself.  There’s always another event in October.

I grab my bamboo box and dash for the exit.  The longer I stay, the more I keep buying.  The crowds start getting bigger.  I can’t walk without bumping into people anymore and most of the booths are completely blocked by the mad shoppers. If you like something, hold on to it. If not, the person behind you might just grab and buy it.   It becomes a mad scene of shoppers.  People dizzy, I take on last look and say my farewell.  Well, at least until October.  🙂

 

Having “Down Time”

If you were wondering about the title, “No my blog isn’t having any “down time” anytime soon but please do have some “me” time 🙂  Everyone sooner or later needs to have “downtime” for themselves.  I was reading two lovely articles today shared by a good friend about how to be happy and how to have work-life balance.  I think what they say is definitely something we should take into account a bit more consciously.  Not just as a passing thought, but as an action.  Afterall, it’s the action that counts.

One of things they mentioned was “downtime.”  It mentioned that we should schedule “downtime” for ourselves every week to ensure that we get the rest we need.  A little relaxation can go a long way and instead give you more focus, energy and a clearer mind.

Sometimes when we are stuck in the everyday rut of “work, work, and more work” we can’t seem to even find time for ourselves to take time for the bathroom or do something we like such as read a good book before bed, or spend time with our family.  You have only a certain amount of hours and you have more than enough on your hands.  You can’t do everything.  There’s no time for “down time!” Are you crazy?

However, if you think it is something that is really important for you, then I say “make time.” 

You may say it’s easier said than done, but take a few minutes and just find a one hour spot on your calendar where you can schedule time for yourself.  Start with just one hour a week.  Do not move it for any reason. No excuses. ……I’m sure you can find one hour from 168 hours.

This hour belongs to “YOU.”  Do whatever you want in this hour.  Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or listen to your favorite music.  Take a hot bath.  Sing a song, or sing while bathing.  Play with the dogs or watch a good movie.  Have a quiet little “down” time.  Have a little “me” time.

You’ll discover how great it is.  You’ll feel rested, relaxed, and your mind will most likely be more focused and clear.  That work you were worried about not having enough time, might actually take less time to finish now that your mind has had some rest.  It’s no good to be living on a perpetual adrenaline high.  Brains get fuzzy and thoughts get fuzzled.  You forget what you are doing.  You go through the motions of “tasks” required but your mind isn’t fully registering everything.  You don’t know what you did. It’s a blur.

This summer, have a little “down” time, have a little “me” time.  I wish everyone a good “work-life” balance.  If you dare, schedule one hour a day for yourself.  You’ll see wonders.  🙂  Take care everyone!