When You’ve Got…

…fruits and spices, make a face:

And when you have breakfast overlooking a big city as it wakes up, find tranquility anyway – just out of sheer spite.

And that’s it. I am mentally writing an entry on the outcome of the American election.
Until then, stay sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/

Diversion To Pass Time Until The Results Are In

Alright, the election is under way annd the world is gawking – yes, not looking but the world is gawking…in disbelief. So we need to pass time, because else one would just watch CNN and listen to their political fanatasy league commentators.

Inhale – hold it – exhale……aaaaaand here’s your first moment of a little bit of Zen. A little girl, waiting for a parent while said parent is either working or running an errant.

Tye second moment – not necessarily of Zen – I caught at the train station, Hua Lompong in Bangkok on Sunday. Domyou feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Thailand is a country of the Buddhist faith, but because of the ubiquity of the cross, one could argue, there are Christian relics everywhere.

That is amazing, isn’t it? And I am out of ideas, I think I will have to watch a few episodes of The Office.

Stay sharp and don’t lose hope.

cheer Markus \m/

Barbara Bought Chillis

Since last week we have a tray with mean looking red chillis to dry sitting on the window sill in our kitchen. They look pretty – a very nice red tone. A red tone that is clearly meant as a warning. Anyway, the expected hotness of the chillis, my simple concept of hell and my impression of Barbara’s legs gave me ideas.

img_0493Get it? Hot legs. Rod Stewart, anybody?

Moving on – Hot As Hell.

img_0492And that concludes the Sunday Entry.

Stay sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/

In The Final Minutes

Dear America,

we have known each other for more than 40 years. I remember when I met you first on the bus, while hanging onto my mother’s hand as we were going to a shopping center on the edge of our village in Germany. You looked so good and you talked, to the ears of a 5- or 6-year-old, so funny. I did not understand a word, but you smiled at me. You were black and white a wearing green fatigues. You went to the same shopping center me and my mom went. On the bus was also a neighbor girl – she was older than me. She said she wanted to marry you, because you were so nice. Now I know, she did not really want to marry all of you, just one guy from you – because you were so nice. While I put in a lot of effort learning life’s lessons and trying to grow up without killing myself on my bicycle and skateboard, you checked in occasionally. You taught me songs and we sang together. We sang about situations in life where one might as well “Jump” and explained that school could be so much more and that it was OK to feel “Hot For The Teacher”, we also sang together longingly about a “Paradise City” where the grass is always green and the girls are always pretty. I wonder whether you were really serious when you mentioned ever so casually that “Smoking In The Boys-Room” was more or less OK. Look the tune was catchy, but it was out of character for you. Because sometimes you have that stick of uptight, conservative correctness up your butt – just think about your drinking age laws and labeling albums with stickers for foul content (you now they make T-shirts with the sticker logo on it – I’d say that backfired). You could loosen up there a bit. But, you recognized that you were too lose and immediately you followed up by impressing on me to honor my “Home Sweet Home” – which I do to this day. In fact that is one of the motivations why I write to you today.

When the time was right you sent me a few great English teachers, like Mrs Lämmle, Mr Schummer and Mr Foshag just to name a few. And then you sent over Mr Rose, he had a voice like a table saw, especially when he was upset. He did not teach me too much, except how to masterfully swear and curse in your language – because you can only transcend a language and a culture if you can swear in the native tongue properly.

Knowing that I had learned my lessons and had paid attention – heck even did extracurricular activities in my studies of you – you gave me the opportunity to study with you. You made me come out the long way – all the way to your left coast. It was awesome. We got along so great. You taught me so much formal knowledge and informal life skills. We kind of fell in love a bit because we were such a good fit – a good team.  And one day you asked if I wanted to stay a while longer, maybe move in. You had a lot of work to do and you could use my help. Boy, you even let me choose where I wanted to work and which room I wanted to move in. You hooked me up with a bunch of your nicest an smartest people who took me under their wings and made me an engineer. But not just a drone with a limited purpose. No, you told me:”Look around and learn and then do what you like best – success and happiness will come.” And you also said to me:”Be a decent human being (actually my home country and my family said that, too) look out for your fellow-man and pursue your dreams.” You also took care of my wife. Well not so much actively – that’s not how you roll – but passively, providing opportunities which she seized. And so we enjoyed a long great relationship. Barbara and I still remember the good and fun times we have had over the years. We remember the times we have laughed, we stood in awe together and the times we mourned and cried together.

Anyway, six years ago you sent me into the world – to Thailand of all places, to spread what you taught me – thanks, no pressure here. And thank you for the vote of confidence that I will grow into the giant shoes you asked me to fill here. Now I look at you and I should have seen it earlier. we have both aged – then again you are 240 and have seen a lot and i think you have a few ails. You appear as if you are in wrestling with yourself – like that guy in Fight Club, you beat yourself up. More recently you started mumbling about feeling threatened by your neighbors, that they are coming over uninvited. Then again you put people into outer space. You invite foreigners in with who you come up with these great ambitious ideas that amaze the world. Like these electric cars from California. And that, where everyone knows how much you love big roaring engines! But look at you, you astonished the world. But then again, that paranoid frightened side of you speaks out where you want to build walls to protect you from the foreigners. You know, deep down, that the foreigners and the cultural diversity that resulted is what made you so successful in the past. Your voice gets shrill when you are besides yourself and you demand to throw the visitors out who do the work, that you are not too keen on doing anymore. You still say you value good education and knowledge, but then you laugh when people you educated, gain knowledge and share it. You make fun of them, ridicule them, call them names. You even invent new words like “high fallutin'”.  Why? What are you afraid of? Of course, I know sometimes people can be mean – like they are only valuing the highest academic accolades. Just call the bullshit – like you used to in the past – and don’t get upset over it. We all know that today’s high-tech wiz-kids stand on the shoulders of your self-sufficient farmers who needed to be resourceful and inventive on their remote and isolated farms in your great expanses in harsh winters in order to survive and be successful.

Your paranoia and divisiveness frighten me, I hate to see you like this. Now, I am no doctor, but recently you come across like a schizophrenic – split personality. People want to see you stand tall, so you can welcome the tired, the poor and the huddled masses who yearn to breathe free. They all want to make you stronger. But in your current condition you are not that welcoming and you are not your old self anymore – you are torn. And you need to pull yourself together, again.

Look, I am concerned about you. I speak to you as a friend. You are in a tough spot. A really-no-shit-tough-spot! And now you also have to elect an administrator and assistants to teh administrator who are then charged with looking after you and your affairs and who are to represent you and your values to the world – the values that made you great and desirable. That is a tall order.

But I have confidence and trust in you, even in your current weakened state. Remember what made you great. If you need a little help remembering them look at the bottom of the Status of liberty, you wrote them down there. By the way, you got that statue from the French – yes the French. They would never admit it, but they are concerned about you, too and they are rooting for you.

You have never shied away from a fair fight, from competition. You sometimes went into the ring with too much confidence, shot your big lovable mouth off and then got you ass handed to you. You got up, dusted off and went back to work – perhaps sulking for a while, but who wouldn’t…who wouldn’t? But you never went into the ring and built a wall around it before the other guys could enter. Giving up is not you way. Instead remember that you once were already great – boy, were you great, no kidding – when you were just a little bit inclusive. Imagine what you can be, when you expand on inclusiveness and life up to the note to your self on the bottom of the statue of liberty. I knw you don’t have your reading glasses on right now, so I will read it to you – it’s beautiful and it was written by a woman, too: Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Come one America, this is you. This is what made you great. You can do better than agreeing to let you and your reputation be abused by a Loud-mouth on one hand and a Sneak on the other.

Love you, I hope you will get better and stay sharp. Let me know if you think I can help.

Yours Markus \m/


Where Does Education Start?

I had lunch the other day at a university cafeteria near my work. Oh, yes, I work here. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mai-Tais and exotic people all day for us here. I work here….which can be a hand full – but this is not what this entry is about.

What this entry is about is what a kid should expect from its parents regarding an upbringing.  Last year Thailand has experienced “issues” with visitors from other countries. These issues were not so much related to obvious cultural differences, but to the use of publicly provided appliances. There among many other things are two things parents should encourage in their kids.

  1. Inquisitiveness / Curiosity: That the child learns to feel comfortable asking questions if it does not understand the world around it. This is also the first step to learning to think critically.
  2. Openness / Tolerance: Expose the kid to that fact that there are many ways to reach the same goal. Some ways are slow, others are fast, some or cheap, some are expensive, some are tough, some are beautiful, some are complicated, some are simple. You see there is a wide range that different paths cover to reach the same goal. But then there is also a right and a wrong way. This is clearly something parents should be able to teach – right from wrong.

Back to my university lunch, to tie these two loose end together. Nature called me and I followed and I found this sign.

toiletadviceNow read on, if you are curious how I tie the lose ends of what kids should expect from their parents education-wise and my lunch at the university.

Well, if parents would emphasize on the above two points I have made, we would not have a need to hang images like this in public restrooms. Evidently people did not feel comfortable asking questions (Inquisitiveness / Curiosity) and they lacked the knowledge (Openness / Tolerance) of how to use a western-style toilet bowl. Thus, the public toilets in Bangkok experienced a lot of broken toilet bowls and vandalized toilets after the “unknowledgeable ones” vented their frustration over their own ignorance last year and this year.

This is a very sad state of affairs. Even though the sign makes me chuckle and I feel very bad for the poor cleaning staff, having to clean up the vandalized restrooms.


People we can “Do Better”, god dammit. I know that you, my dear readership, are a smart, tolerant and patient people. How do I know? How can I be so certain? Best proof is, you read this blog, you keep reading this blog, heck some of you have even subscribed to it. So please help others to be as awesome as you are and to reach the level of sharpness you have already attained.

Stay sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/


Crazy For Racing

Thailand…..one might say many things about Thailand. Many, many things. But today, I will hone in on one specific thing. The craziness of Thai males for any thing racing. It does not actually have  to be fast or have great acceleration. But it better be loud. And if it is neither fast nor loud, the at least, it’s got to look fast as it sits there immobile and quietly.

This is a truly amazing passion of the locals here. The guys are so madly in love with showing off, it even shows up in buildings, albeit probably inadvertently. There is a building in my neighborhood with muscle-car-like sidepipes – double sidepipes and they are connected, yet, obviously street-legal.

fullsizerender-3That is pretty neat, isn’t it. Now, I realize, that the black stuff that has collected over time so nicely on the white washed wall is the same shit, us poor inhabitants of Bangkok inhale, lest we wear a breathing mask – but then who really does? And i alo realize thath this is not good and it is in my book one fo rteh main factors why I view quality of life a pretty low here. However, this and the next two images are proof, that everything has two sides and that there is – if no beauty – at least aesthetic to be found in every thing.

fullsizerenderI would not be surprised if these exhaust come straight up from hell.

fullsizerender-2Then, there are also the wide open drag race stacks attached to another part of the building. And when you examine the soot pattern, clearly, you see the distinct cone shape. This shape reveals to the trained eye that the exhaust gases are getting spewed out a lot faster than on the street-legal racing version in the previous images – thus, we can conclude that this must be a drag race exhaust – likely with the building equivalent of a hot camshaft. Can you believe that?

Alright, stay sharp and look out for hot rodded buildings in your life.

Cheers Markus \m/