Baby, Baby, Come Home

Sometimes your inner voice tells you not to do something, but you do it anyway.  Then later you end up thinking to yourself “Damn, why didn’t I listen to my inner voice?”  This happened to me exactly this past Monday. Here’s a funny story.

This past weekend, Alex and I have been discussing when best it would be to bring my Baby back home.  Yes, my little White Baby Jazz (if you are wondering, it’s my car :))  has been in safekeeping for roughly a month now away from the flood, away from the water that could cause it to choke, suffocate and eventually die.  It has only just reached it’s second birthday.  Too young to die.

Monitoring water levels, canal drainage, potential flooding estimates, we decided that by this week, I should be able to take my Baby out for a spin. It should be safe enough as the chance of her drowning in water seems quite minimal.  She’s restless and needs to get out of her little rectangle high up on the 7th floor.  I’m restless and need a spin around town.  We decide, Wednesday is a good day.

Yes, we will take Baby Jazz out on Wednesday. A few more days and the situation should be clearer

Comes Monday, all seems well and we have a change of heart.  Monday, Monday, will be the day Baby Jazz comes out for a spin!  I’m happy.  Things are becoming more normal and I can go for spins around town!

I was happy, yet deep inside of me I wondered if it was too soon.  Some things were still not too clear.  Was I rushing things too fast?  I pushed those thoughts aside.  What was there to worry about? It will not flood.  I was being overly cautious.  I was overreacting.

I decide to take her out of safekeeping and bring her safely down to flat land.  Once home, she sat happily under the clear cloudless sky enjoying the fresh air and the space around her. Birds flying overhead chirping her welcome.  It was a lovely evening the day Baby came back home.

Things seemed normal until I reached the end of the news.   The presented asked Professor Seri why certain zones were being declared evacuation zones.   What? What zones? They sounded familiar and close by?  The professor said we had to check facts on what was happening at the canal. Bangsue canal.  Yes, the one by my house.

I got on Twitter, FB and checked the news. Only three hours after Baby arrived home, the roads less than a kilometer away from me were being declared evacuation zones.  I wondered what happened to the protocol of having to be declared a “monitoring zone” before evacuation status?  Nevermind, the canal must have overflown.  The pumps must have broken down.  Maybe the water was flowing faster than expected.

My Baby had to go back to safety fast!  I got out of bed once more, dressed and in the midst of the night took Baby back to somewhere I’d know she’d be safe.

I knew this would happen! I knew it was too fast too soon to bring out baby.  My inner voice tells me again.  Why didn’t I listen to it? I didn’t want to.

Upon having completed the task of taking her back to safekeeping and arriving home.  I discover the Evacuation notice has been cancelled.   What??  Data Error.    No Comment.

No matter what, I decide to listen to the original listen voice and wait for Wednesday. Good middle Wednesday.

On  Wednesday I let myself listen to my inner voice.  Yes, it’s okay now to bring out Baby on Wednesday as initially planned. So tonight I brought Baby home.  Let’s hope it’s for keeps this time. 🙂

So listen to your inner voice.  Listen to your hunch.  It may be just what you need to save you some trouble. Or if you want some excitement in your life, just ignore it. 🙂 Who knows what excitement it will bring?  So I had fun driving around.  Better safe than sorry!

Help Help and Help Flood Victims

Parts of Bangkok has been flooded for over three weeks. If you’re lucky, and in the minority then you are still dry.  This, however, depends largely on the power of the pumps.  Yes, inner Bangkok is dry for the moment because the water pumps are working full time to keep the water level at bay.  Lets hope the pumps do not break down.  Anyways, I’ve been asked by some readers as to where they can volunteer their help and their time to doing something for the flood victims?  A lot of you may already be helping, but here is a short compilation for those who have just arrived in town or just want to help.

1. Thai Red Cross:  Here you can donate your money, goods, time and even your blood to help flood victims.  You can even donate online.  It’s located on Henri Dunant Road not too far from Siam and I think the nearest MRT (underground station) is Lumpini. (Please check)  They are open from early morning until late at night.  You can even help with field work if you want to witness the flood first hand.
2. Central Retail:  In front of Central World (CTW) on the Rajdamri side you can volunteer to help pack food for flood victims.  I read that it is open every Monday, from noon to 18.00hours, but I have also seen them packing on weekends so you could go and see if you are passing by the area.

3. Wat Pathum: Located between Siam Paragon and Central World, I saw the temple also has a small relief area helping prepare and distribute food to flood victims. Just stop by and help
4.  Chulalongkorn University:  Help at the main Sala is always needed to help pack relief packages for flood victims.  Other departments are also helping, so you could just stop by anyone that suits your taste.

5. Adhoc Kitchen!/adhockitchen  This one is great, because it was started by a group of friends who really want to have an impact on helping the flood victims.  Everything is done with the heart and you can be assured the money and food go directly to flood victims. In operation everyday, except Fridays at Bandara Suites.  Check on their FB page for more details.

6.   UniDog Thailand  Help dogs that have been left behind at home by their home owners. This non-profit organization helps provide dogs with food and even find homes for them.  If you are an animal lover then this join this community.  You can email them at  for more details.

7. You can go front line.  I am haven’t yet been to the front line, but I am quite sure that if you went to where there is water, there are bound to be people helping.  So just bring along your boots, your energy, along with your heart.   A helping hand is always much appreciated.

8. Evacuation Centres:  There are several evacuation centers now in Bangkok and they all need help distributing goods, taking care of people or even providing support for families with children.

You can also follow news and flood reports in English at this FB page:  They will occasionally post where help is needed. You can also ask them for more details.
If you want to listen to news coverage:  Professor Seri gives a synopsis every evening on TV channelThai BPS.  They post the clips online so you can follow the updates:

Have a good weekend everyone!  Take care and stay safe! Oh, if you know of other places where one can go help, please share. Thank you.

The 5 Stages of Emotions

In life, in dealing with problems and losses psychologists generally say we go through five stages of emotions:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Most commonly we experience this from heartbreak, losing a loved one, going through a crisis, business problems, etc..  The list is endless.. We humans have a lot of problems and we deal with them through our emotions.

Sometimes we do not acknowledge that these are our emotions.  Yes, we feel hurt, feel sad, feel angry, feel serious, feel resentment.  We try to act “civilized” and push these emotions aside.  We ignore them. After all, we are all grown ups and grown ups do not succumb to their emotions.

It’s dangerous.  Psychologists mention that it is not good to ignore these emotions for it can cause “emotional indigestion.” It can cause us to be tense, stressed and ready for a fight. Our heart beats faster and our natural instinct sets in.  We want to survive. We are ready for battle.

It’s dangerous to ignore our emotions, because if we are not aware of our emotions, it can cause a wide
variety of problems in our lives.  If you are stressed and tired, you may end up shouting or relieving your stress on those around you.  People who had nothing to do with your stress and were instead trying to help you.  We lose our sense of judgement.  We decide things differently, than we otherwise would have if we had a healthy mental state.  As a result, bad feelings arise and things can go down hill.  Relationships, work and things can easily go bad.

This historical flood in Bangkok too is causing those in Bangkok to experience the stages of emotions : denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.   I’ve witnessed this around me and have to admit I too am going through this five stage emotional process.

Denial: At first when talking about the flood with friends I said, “No way, Bangkok will not flood. The government is protecting us, and even if we did flood, it will be minimal. Nothing to worry about. Don’t
worry about it.”  I am denying the fact we will flood.

Anger: If you follow the online social network, Twitter, Facebook, etc.. you see this many places.  At one stage when the “water” first entered Bangkok, many were angry.  I was angry.  How could the situation be handled so badly?  How could the authorities not have seen this coming? How could they not have prevented this?  Anger, anger, anger. Anger at the authorites, anger at the news, anger at everything. Anger at having to empty the first floor of furniture, wrap up everything in plastic, use sandbags and plastic to turn the house into a bunker, take out the curtans and evacuate.  Yes, I was angry.  One should not have to go through this.  Life is too short to be spent worrying about floods.

Bargaining: Even after over a month of flooding, some people still believe that “inner Bangkok” will not flood.  Everyday, some good news give hope. I hate to break the good news.  From the data, I think it will definitely flood.

Before, authorties said the domestic airport would be saved, it succumbed to dear water.  Water now
fills the runway up to airplane bellies.  It has turned into a beautiful lake.  Then they said 7 industrial estates would survive.  They all flooded.  We are bargaining that perhaps it isn’t true. It’s not true that an entire capital city will flood.  Something must be wrong here.  Maybe things will be different.

Depression:  After awhile, we get depressed.  We get sad. We realize that we are indeed in a crisis. We indeed have broken up, lost a job or seen our business gone bankrupt.  I was depressed for a while about this flood and ate more chocolate cookies than I should have.  I went through an entire bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.  (Yummmm) Yes, these are my favorite cookies!

Acceptance:  In the end, we have to admit it.  The sad and hurtful truth is that Bangkok will be flooded.  We will be flooded for a month.  Now I think I’m in this stage (but I could be wrong).  I know my house is going to be flooded.  I’m less than a kilometer away from the canal that is fighting a losing battle.  I know it’s just a matter of time.  I cannot do anything about it, so I just do the best I can and live life each day as best I can.

Yes, Bangkok citizens are going through these stages of emotions.  If you feel yourself going through this, please allow it to run it’s course and be aware of it.  Don’t let it ruin or run your life.

Rest, take time for yourself and recooperate.  Heal and relax.  Reach out to those around you.

Then take a deep breath and accept the fact.  The house will be flooded.  The business will be flooded.  The factory will be filled with water.  I shall have to evacuate. I shall be uncomfortable.  I shall have to spend tons of money on renovation and rebuildng. I shall have a year ahead of dealing with contractors. I shall be tired. This flood may happen again next year.

Do not fear these emotions for they are normal and they are a part of who we are.

Stay healthy my dear readers. Both emotionally and physically.  Take care!

Bangkok flooding: Bunker City

I’ve been back for a few days now from my evacuation. I missed home too much and needed to get some things done at work.  Now that I’m back, I once again feel the psychological stress and intensity with which this flooding is affecting Bangkok citizens.  It’s like a race against time.  A race against the
impending flood.  A race against water that seeps in through every crack and nook.

Humans race to be the winner in this losing battle.  Everyone is applying new ways of protection against the flood.  The shops on my road and businesses were busy reinforcing their protection.  As time goes by, the form of flood protection changes and evolves with experience.  Everyone is building a bunker or living in one (like I am).

I’ve been observing the flood protection over the past month and it seems to evolve over time.  Here
is a list of how bunkers have evolved over the past month in Bangkok.

First, sandbags. Lined any old way, we thought they would help. Then proper ways were taught as to how they should be aligned.  In the beginning maybe only a row or two, then weeks later, walls sometimes grew higher.  A bank just by my house increased it’s wall protection from half a meter to two meters.  Imagine a two meter high wall of sandbags.  Tomorrow I will take a picture as I walk past.

Second, wide plastic sheets to cover the sandbags that might deteriorate with long exposure to water.  Silicone was used to seal doors and cracks.  Wall cracks, plugs, everything was sealed with silicone. I had fun with the gun.

Sandbags lost some appeal as if they are improperly aligned they might leak.  Also they are heavy, so if you line it up too long against glass or a wall coupled with the pressure from the water, the wall might just collapse on you.  Such has been the cause of many injuries.  They are also extremely heavy, so if you are a house without much manpower, it is a tough job.

Third, brick cement walls came as the scarcity of sandbags caused everyone to seek alternative forms of protection.  A neighbour at first built a small wall roughly 3 blocks high and has since been adding a block per week the past two weeks.

Fourth, wall boards (not sure what you call those walls made of compressed wood that in construction is sometimes used between rooms) then sealed to fronts.  No cement walls, but instead these synthetic walls were carefully placed and sealed to doors and walls.  Sometimes they were given a large plastic cover to give added protection.

Fifth, metal walls.  Yes, I passed a business building today which had protected itself with
large metal sheets.  I think it was aluminium, but I am not sure.  Lined up beautifully and sealed against the entire base of the business, I think it will work well.

Are there other types of bunkers? If you know of any or have pictures, please share.

In the meanwhile, stay dry!  This may or may not be one of the last few posts from my home before I
have to evacuate for who knows how long.

Bangkok Flooding: Live life

I’m ready to go home.  I miss my home.  I miss my life and yes, I have to admit, I do miss going to work as well.  I miss the certainty of it all.  I like adventures, but this flooding is not an adventure I like nor enjoy.   I suppose this is what people feel like in wars where they are forced to evacuate their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

Almost four hundred people have already died.

Some die from tripping and drowning, others from electrocution, or some from health problems.  I suspect too that all this stress from watching flood related news in order to find out if our house will be flooded or not is causing significant psychological distress.

Now all I want is to get flooded and get it over with. Dear water, just flood and begone.

This flood has also reinforced something I’ve thought about before and that is to just live your life before it’s too late.  You never know when you are going to get flooded and die.  In fact, you never know what is going to happen.  A few weeks ago, I was still happily going through life not expecting this national crisis we are currently in. I think ten million other people were too.

Now all that has changed.  So if you want to do something, do it.  If you want to say something, say it. If you want to dream something, dream it.  Do it all before it’s too late dear friends.  Who knows. Maybe there will be no tomorrow. Live each day like it were your last.

Bangkok flooding: Reasons for evacuation

It’s strangely calm here away from the craziness and hydrophobia that plagues Bangkok. All I can hear are the sounds of the waves splashing upon the shore outside my window.

I’m glad we decided to bring everyone out. Some may wonder why leave now? Why not wait for the house to be actually flooded? Are you overreacting?

Here are my reasons why and ones I think we should all consider. It’s especially important to get elders out though they are often the hardest to convince.

1. If you wait until it floods you may be unable to get out because the water level rose higher and faster than expected. You end up trapped.
2. You will have to wait for others to help you evacuate and since there are people needing help than authorities can help out, you might be stuck in a flooded home for days on end.
3. Without electricity you cannot charge your phone. Once your phone is dead, it will be difficult to contact the outside world for help. You are isolated from the outside world.
4. Wading through water, you might get electrocuted or trip over something and drown in the meter high water. No one will see you.
5. You might cause other people to die trying to help you. Wading through water to help you get out, these good people might themselves get electrocuted or drown.
6. Water that has been stagnant for long will start to stink bringing with it disease. You might fall ill with no one to help you.
7. You run out of supplies but don’t want to leave because you worry about your belongings. You have others risk their lives to bring you food.
8. If you leave when it’s flooded, everyone else is leaving too. Traffic jams and accidents are more likely to happen. People in panic driving mode are not safe drivers.
9. You can only bring with you bare necessities. Leaving first allows you to pack more and bring more of your things out.
10. Why live life without electricity and water confined to an island home when you can be outside walking and with friends and loved ones?

These were the reasons we thought about when we decided to evacuate. What do you think? Do you have any more reasons?

Have you evacuated? If not, please seriously consider it for everyone’s safety and peace of mind.

Stay safe everyone!

Be Prepared: 7 Flood Tips

It’s official, Bangkok will flood.  Bangkok Post this morning tells us to “Brace” ourselves for it.   This evening some of my relatives have evacuated and others are looking after their houses.  Colleagues rush home to safeguard their homes against water while others wait in anticipation of the coming flood.  We get real time updatest through facebook and twitter.  I feel like I’m in a war where I know not about the enemy.  I feel blind.  The enemy is large and furious, yet we are like mice running around looking for a way to survive.

Experts say that the flood will last over a month.

Everyone is worried we will run out of clean water and food.  The supermarket by my house has run out of local water, eggs and bread.  It’s been like this for over a week now.  The only water on the shelves are imported Evians and Perrier that cost more than double our average drinking water. Even then, they are finally being snatched up.

It’s a gloomy picture.  This weekend water will come in and we will be here waiting.  I hope the water does not rise higher than one meter but I could be over optimistic.  Other areas have flooded as high as two meters.  It’s unthinkable.  How could we have let this happen?

Whatever happens, it’s better to be prepared and so tonight I give you a checklist of some things you can prepare for in advance. I’m not going to into detail about how to make sandbag walls and close up pipes, but rather simple things one can all prepare.  A lot of this comes from Alex who literally thinks about everything. Thank you.

1.  Pack a small emergency bag with precious documents, jewelries and things that are essential for
everyday life.  Those who take daily medicines, please pack and have your medicines ready. Include clothes and essentials enough for a few days.

You need this, because often during floods fires break out or the gush of water is so strong you need to evacuate.  Do not think that you can just stay upstairs and all will be fine.

2. Know where the electricity cut-outs are.  Make sure everyone knows so we can all help each other.

3. Have your phone batteries charged and ready.  Charge up old spare ones too.

4. Have a plan about what your family needs to do and meet up in case things happen faster than expected and you are stuck outside. Where will you meet up?  Think about a scenario where phone lines no longer work.
5. Look at those around you. Does everyone know how to swim? What happens if water rises up very high. Do you have lifevests to help those who do not know how to swim?

6. If flooded, you might run out of clean water.  If you have bathtubs, fill those up with clean water.  They can at least be a small reservoir for you.

7. Most importantly, DO NOT PANIC. Yes, do not lose your head during the flood no matter what happens. A panicky person will do no good.  Think sensibly about what needs to be done and how your family and you can be safe.   Do not forget those around you.  They too are important and deserve to be taken care of.

Stay dry my dear friends this weekend.  Take care.

Flood we will, Rebuild we must

For once I do not want to hear the sound of raindrops on my window pane.  Rather than relax and remind me of childhood days, it now makes me restless, fearing the flood situation will worsen.  The flood situation in Thailand is not getting any better and in fact seems to be worsening day by day.  Over three hundred lives have been lost, industrial parks inundated, and hundreds of thousands of people misplaced.  Homes are rendered inhabitable and roads unusable.  The outskirts of Bangkok are flooding and each morning, Bangkokians awaken to hear more news of ever closer floods.

Nature is strong and powerful.  It will be hard to withstand her.  I personally believe Bangkok will
inundated.  It’s just a matter of time.  We have a massive body of water towards the north of Bangkok heading out to sea and only a miracle can part the water into two to save Bangkok.  We need Moses to do that. Sandbags and man made barriers are not going to do the trick.

Worst of all is that the sentiment in Bangkok is now one of panic and anxiety.  There are no formal guidelines on how one should prepare for the flood, and Bangkokians are now reverting to their own ingenuity and creativity to save themselves.  We learn how to build walls of sandbags and how to save our cars from facebook posts and other articles.  Yes, it’s an online information sharing network.  We learn about our friends’ flooded factories and houses and how their lives have been affected.  Twitter fills our hunger for updates of news and information.

It’s one of constant concern and worry.  Now when Bangkokians greet each other, the first phrase is always to ask if their house is flooded or not.  It’s not “How are you?” or “Have you eaten?” Everyone sits on edge wondering what will happen with their houses and their livelihoods.  Few have the heart to do anything else other than follow news and listen to more news.  Some houses on the edge of the water barriers have night shifts to make sure water does not creep in in the dead of the night.

To live each day in anticipation of the upcoming flood is somewhat like having cancer.  You know you are going to get ill and die, you just don’t know when.   It’s a silent killer.

Each morning, I grab my iPhone and check the FB and Twitter updates to see what needs to be done.  This is not the life one should have to live, but then I remind myself that I am lucky now to be living dry and sleeping well. For the moment.  Millions now are sleeping in shelters without food nor water.

It’s a stressful situation now in Bangkok, but what really brightens up my day is seeing everyone helping each other.  Volunteers donate food, clothing, medicine and other essentials.  Others cook and take care of those in shelters.  Hospitals training people to help with medicine. It’s a wonderful thing to
see.   Pain has united us.

When all is over, I just pray that we continue to help each other rebuild and put in place a proper water management plan.  It is essential that one be put in place and implemented.  Without a proper water management system, Thailand’s investors will lose faith and so will its people.  Let’s not go that way. A flood this devastating to factories and industries must not happen again.

Let us move forward and let Thailand grow.  It belongs to all of us.  Let us forget ourselves, our own selfish needs and help our country. Peace.

Baked Beans Flood Food

Tonight many Bangkokians are afraid of the flood.  Every night it has been raining. Panic is somewhat in the air and in the supermarkets many shelves of water and instand noodles are empty.  (I think it’s also because the warehouses are flooded and food cannot be brought in to restock.)  Outside my main road, the banks and other businesses have walls of sand.  Some smaller mom and pop stores have had cement barriers created.  This is the sentiment now in Bangkok.

I, myself, am skeptical that it will flood to such an extent that I will be camped out, but still I could not help myself stocking buying a little water and canned food just in case.  ( Hey, it’s better safe than never!) My choice of canned food?  Baked Beans.

Yes, after looking at the shelves, I decided that it would be perhaps the most practical and simplest food to have in times of safety. It’s also what I eat regularly so I don’t have to worry about it expiring before I get a chance to eat it (if indeed the floods never come.)

I contemplated instant noodles, but the shelves were empty and plus I wonder how they will be cooked.  You need clean water and electricity, or a little coal/gas stove.  You could eat it dry, but then it’s not very filling.

Canned tuna was another choice.  Then I imagined myself eating tuna for days and days. The smell of tuna hit me and I said to myself, “ will get too fishy.”  Don’t get me wrong, tuna is an amazingly
healthy food with omega-3 and hardly any fat.  It’s healthy.

The other cans were green peas and corn.  I do not think I can survive on those for too long.  Of course, if there were nothing to eat, I’d have to eat them.

Since I had the luxury of standing in a supermarket and choosing.  I decided on “Baked Beans.”  It’s not a very asian can food at all, but it’s healthy, filling and gives you lots of energy.  One spoon can fill you up for half a day.  Plus, it requires no cooking. It has sauce and texture.   If you bought canned sausages, they go together very well.

After all this talk of canned food, I have to say that I pray I never have to eat it because of the flood.  I pray that no one will have to really use their supplies and that we won’t all be flooded up to our necks.  I pray there will be no more victims.

And if it did flood?  We will cope with it, clean up, move on and rebuild.  Perhaps it will allow us to plan a bit better for future disasters, put in place better prevention mechanisms, build more in tune with nature, prevent deforestation,  have better business continuity plans,  or maybe just maybe, one day we will really be living on the moon where there isn’t any flood. 🙂

We survived the tsunami.  We can survive this flood.  Take care my dear friends!!   What are you stocking up on?  What is your choice of emergency food?