Mediocrity – Mittelmass

Hey there – I know I have started like this a few times before over the last few months. It’s been a long time since my last entry….blablabla.

I am struggling with what to write. Not that I am lacking topics, but I really need to write an entry that explains why Thailand is a booming country, but also why it’s a country that can drive a non-Thai literally crazy – as in close to the verge on insanity.

Thus far, I have ben able to keep my sanity (most of the time) by doing Yoga, training for my triathlon – my running is finally getting better, since my body is slowly learning how to deal with heat and humidity. This blog also helps me to share some of the stuff that’s going on here, but obviously, I don’t want this to become a bitchfest or just complain – because that wouldn’t be right or justified, either.

Since, I am typing I mitt as well share a bit. The realization I have come to in the last 2 months is that as a Westerner you ned to lower your expectation for what success is an looks like by 50%. Yes, if you expect mediocrity in daily life, you will find yourself much happier and far fewer times disappointed. A few weeks ago, one of our AC access panels dropped down (for the umpteenth time), but this time a steel L-bracket detached and dropped down from the ceiling, may be a foot from where I stood. No one go hurt, but easily could have. Instead we got a piece of furniture damaged. This of course happened at 22:30 (10:30PM). I went down to the building rep and told him what happened. Five minutes later he shows up to take images. Then he calls the troops in – five more dudes show up all wearing a nice Jones Long LaSalle uniform, all with the same clueless expression. They start chatting away amongst each other, look up to the ceiling, look at the panel that is still dangling from the ceiling. Well, what are we going to do, gentlemen?

To make a long story short (because this is a long story) the did nothing – diddly-squat, nada, Null comma Null. There was one funny incident, when one of the guys in his infinite wisdom and optimism pushed the panel shut and it fell down on him – slapstick.

Next day two guys with a power drill and determination showed up. They produce two four inch screws. They use said screws to screw the panel shut – sheet metal to sheet metal – actual screw length needed: half inch and I m being generous. Then they paint the screw heads white. Next day, we are being told that someone will show up to repair the ceiling. Later that day another dude shows up from the company where we bought the furniture to take it in for repair – a week later they bring it back and met expectations. By doing actually good work. Meanwhile the ceiling panel get screwed in and out by numerous multi-worker teams like a train station whore. The difference being between the panel and said train station freelancer. That the panel guys have a hierarchy and only one or two guys do the screwing, the rest is doing supervision and commenting as well as customer distraction.

Another example, ask a cab driver to take you places. There is pretty much a 50/50 chance that he refuses to drive you. WTF, you are a taxi driver, you drive people from A to B for a living, that’s what you do. No – apparently not, it happens and I cannot explain why.

There are a few really good people, but it’s really a lot of work and a matter of chance to find them. At work I have had graduates from some of Thailand’s most prestigious engineering schools for interviews and they fail to answer the most basic engineering questions – frankly, questions that I initially found insulting to ask – so simple. The country has an obsessive desire for harmony and an obsessive fear of conflict or confrontation. In order to make improvement, to grown you need to correct people sometimes. Students fail classes or at least exams. And, yes having these conversations is sometimes uncomfortable, but you move on from there and grow and improve. The educational system is not doing its students any favors by passing everyone – absolutely not.

But, before I start to foam at my mind’s mouth a few images from what else has gone on here.

It’ till raining season and we have had rain now everyday. And the rain is sort of sneaky or at least appears very sophisticated in how it approaches. Oe moment the sun is setting, everything is cool. Everyone goes about their business, then as dusk creeps in quickly a thundercloud materializes, silently transported by strong winds across the firmament to unleash a “Blitzkrieg” of a downpour – I mean like feeling like drowning, barely being able to see you hands.

This images I took as the rain had slowed down a bit, because it would have rained upside down into our bedroom windows – it was raining that hard.

Alright, I will see that I can sort my thought out and get them in a blog entry format, that is both insightful and entertaining. Until then. stay cool – ice-cold.

yours Markus \m/