Thursday, 30 December 2010

The history of digitized fonts and digitizing

Seen in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.
In case you thought graphical digitizing of characters en symbols started after the introduction of computers, you're wrong.
Cross stitch embroidery showing the digitized characters or fonts of the Latin alphabet and often the digits 0 till 9, along with other decorations and was once a popular pastime for teenage girls.
This custom probably started in the 18th century. Usually the initials of the creator are to be found somewhere on the cloth.
Below are two examples which my mother's got from her ancestors, along with the character set of one of the first commercial available computer.
It's interesting to see how the way of digitizing alphabetic characters and numbers has changed during the centuries:

An example from 1800 with initials D.F.

An example from 1845

An example of the Commodore Pet C64 character set called Petscii from 1976

As the twig is bent..

Seen on 26-12-2010 at Phuket Airport:
The boy on the photo was concentratedly busy on his laptop for at least half an hour, will he become an IT-expert in his later life?

Friday, 24 December 2010

Husband day care center

Seen at Patong 23 Dec 2010, for women: a sign to leave your husband in this bar, he will be taken care of and you can relax on your own or go shopping, you just pay for his drinks only..

Christian demonstration

Seen at 22 Dec 2010 at Patong, Thai Christians and one Farang are singing psalms in front of a massage parlour, I asked some of the massage ladies who obviously got no customers during the time they were singing, if they felt they were okay with that, but they told me they had no problem with it at all.
If I was the owner of the shop I would sent them away within the minute or call the police, but Thai people are so tolerant that they allowed the group to sing on their private property accepting a loss of one hour business for about eight people.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Soy sauce spray

Seen at a restaurant in Otop, Patong.
No need to turn the bottle, just spray your food all over.
What's next?
Pepper spray?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

How to beat a Thai bar-lady at Jackpot

Another popular and silly bar-game in Thailand is Jackpot.
For those who don't know the rules, throw your two dices and you may select one of the results or take the sum of the two. You flip the selected number and continue until you're able to turn all nine numbers, whereby the word .JACKPOT. appears. If the numbers you throw have been flipped already, you lost.
You can keep winning-scores when playing with others.
On the photo on the left you could choose between 3, 6 or the sum 9.
I'm very shy to admit but in my previous post I made a calculation mistake, playing the game over and over again, I noticed that the chance of throwing a 1 or 2 was far more higher than my predictions would allow, so I recalculated the whole thing, counting every combination from the 6 x 6 possible outcomes with two dice, with what some call a truth table. I now came to the following new graph, which shows that 9, 8 and 7 have the lowest chance, so it's best to fill them up first, and if you can, after that, fill it up from the left. Which would mean in the above specific case always choose 9 first, not 3 and definitely not 6 which has a likelyhood of showing up four times in a winning game.
The ideal sequence keeping the highest probability for consecutive numbers to be thrown is: 9, 8, 7, then 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and finally 6.

* Divide the vertical axis by 100 to get the likelyhood of the numbers 1 to 9 showing up in a winning game.

See also How to beat a Thai bar-lady at Connect 4

Kneesy, Earsy, Nosey

Maybe some of you have seen the 1933 Laurel and Hardy movie The Devil's Brother or Fra Diavolo.
In one scene Laurel is doing the trick Kneesy, Earsy, Nosey, it seems very easy but it's actually quite difficult to learn to do it well, so Hardy finds out in the movie. Being a bit bored here in Patong, I attempted to introduce the trick amongst bar-ladies. So far I have only one successful student, the rest is somehow not able to mimic it. Maybe some of them exercise in secret now, because usually people here don't like to loose face.
It would be fun if this would become a new bar gimmick coming from Phuket to Pattaya and spread across the nation.
See the video below:

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Makkah TV

A TV channel which is almost as boring as Panda TV is Makkah TV, 24 hours of Muslims walking seven times around a black box called Kabaa, where the bones of Mohammed are supposed to be kept, and nobody seems to wave like "Hey mum I did it". Mecca is about the only city in the world which is not allowed to be visited by people of other religions.
I think I like the Panda channel more, since once in a while there's some action and the place is open for everyone to visit.
I had a schoolfriend from Turkey and his aunt had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, she was highly respected since she was one of the few of his family who had undertaken the journey. When I went with him to Istanbul, I visited her house and noticed a special alarm clock which she bought during her pilgrimage as a souvenir. I asked what it was and my friend said that it accurately gave the exact times of prayer, five times a day, which change every day, depending on the moon and sun.
Being made from plastic, I didn't suppose it was manufactured in Saudi Arabia, so I took a look at the bottom where a label noted: "Made in China".

Big truck

Yesterday a big truck had to deliver things at the hotel being built next door. The truck was too big to turn around. As a precaution the power in my hotel and the whole block was turned off from 8:00 am till 5:00 pm making you sweat out of bed, Nobody was informed in advance, three people stayed on the roof of the truck to prevent too many cables and signs from being damaged, When the truck left backwards at around 5:00pm A lot of people had no satellite TV by cable anymore, and in my hotel internet was once again not working, it was still out of order today, fortunately I still have an aircard.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Thailand: An inventory after one year

Staying over one year in Thailand now, I felt it was time to make an inventory..

Positive things:

1. Social people - Thailand forms a highly social society where in general everybody takes care of other people also if they're into problems or without money, especially if they come from the same area and provided the problems are not too big to be helped, like severe alcoholists, beggars, thiefs and so on.

2. High tolerance - Probably also thanks to Buddhism, Thai people are open towards other cultures and easily adapt towards positive features of foreign cultures.

3. Happiness - The Thai smile is famous and I saw so many people working in the heath or under miserable conditions and still looked happy, how different from the West, were those peope look and act very grumpy. It now gives me a reverse culture shock when coming back in other countries, like my own.

4. Food - Thai food is delicious and healthy, there's little starvation or illnesses due to food, since everybody has enough healthy food to eat. I have to shyly admit though, that I like Japanese, Chinese and Korean food better, since they have an older and more developed kitchen, but really I have nothing to complain here. E.g. I like French, Italian and Turkish food too, just I like the three mentioned better.

5. Weather - Very pleasant and it makes people live outdoors, enabling an open society, but without rain or a fresh breeze in the South it is actually a bit too hot for me at noon, therefore I actually prefer the North.

6. Price - Many things are still very cheap in Thailand, despite the low value of Western currencies.

Negative things:
Seen through Western eyes: Don't get me wrong here, I try to view the nation with a 'helicopter view' living here one year, comparing society to other countries I know.

1. Little freedom of speech - This year Thailand dropped to an international all time low. Of course the Lèse majesté, where it is a severe crime to insult the King and all of his family has a great influence on this judgement. In the mean time I learned here it would also be hard to imagine a Thailand where everybody was allowed to openly insult everybody, up to the highest institution. Like in my country.

2. Intransparency - Maybe similar to the USA with lobbyists having big money can influence the government; you never know who really makes the decisions..

3. Corruption - Obvious everywhere and the last two years it hit an all time low.

4. Big difference between rich and poor - Not an ethnical item as in the USA, but a geographical one.
Unfortunately Isan, where 1/3rd of the population lives, remains to be poor, the only person to recently attempt to improve things for them, despite his megalomania, was Thaksin, but logically enough reason for the elder to still adore him.

5. Superstition - A major domain of the poor; if you're not lucky in your live about money, where you have to turn to? Hoping to win the lottery, blaming bad ghosts, praying to be lucky, etc.

6. TV - For me Thai TV looks like a mixture between Italian TV, which is one of the worst in the world and where the commercials are usually better than the actual content, mixed with sitcoms seeming only fit for children, where they make artificial sounds to enhance things with "Boings and "Bangs" etc., unfortunately it's very popular amongst adults, but who needs to watch TV?
Now and then for relaxation I watch good movies on own my laptop.

So now I gathered six positive things and six negative things what I feel about Thailand, so is it still worthwhile to stay? I would say yes, since the negative things do not affect my daily life, were as the positive things do play a more important role making me feel happy every day living here..
Touching some sensitive items about the glorious nation of Thailand, people living in Thailand, who are not cowardice, please respond below..

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Dangerous Job

Celebrating the 83rd anniversary of the King, may he have a long life, not everybody had off today:
Work at a new hotel nearby just continued, but not with the full crew. And plastering the ceiling standing on a bench at 15m height didn't seem very sensible to me and the man on the photo still had to finish two floors higher up.
Only the pubs were closed, meaning they shut their doors, but in a lot of places inside, drinking was still going on as usual. I even saw an open air bar where everybody drank their favourite (alcoholic) beverages out of coffee mugs. This morning and this afternoon I saw Thai people buying bottles of beer at a convenience store which despite the regulations against buying or consuming alcohol in public, effective today didn't seem to cause any problems.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Formula for successful Farang/Thai relation

Relation formula:
Prettiness*Money*(100-Age)*Social level
Handsomeness*Money*(100-Age)*Social level

So if you're an old and ugly farang and want a relation with a pretty and young woman, you will need a lot of money. Actually I believe this formula is not only applicable in Thailand, but in a lot of countries.
Photo thanks to Stickman

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Exchange dog

Seen today at an exchange office in Patong, a dog handling currency exchanges

Europe for fun, Thailand for free?

An advertisment seen today in the Bangkok Post by the national United Arab Emirates airlines Etihad.
Perhaps for people of the UAE Thailand seems almost for free, but so far the tourist-industry in Phuket had a bad high season this year. Phuket usually receives a lot of European visitors. But besides non-Euro countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Zwitserland and the UK, many Euro country tourists seem go elsewhere this time and if they come they spend less money than usual, so I was told by several shop and restaurant owners, which see their income drop in comparison to last years.
This year besides Europeans from the non-Euro countries, I saw a lot of Arabs, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and even tourists from countries like Argentina and Mongolia.
Of course faithful visitors are the Australians and New Zealanders who spend less money for an average holiday here than they do in their own country.
Since September last year the Euro has dropped with 20% from almost 50 Baht for the Euro to 39.4 now.
After Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy negatively influenced the Euro, the recent Irish crisis does no good for the Euro-zone economy as well, so the Euro will need a long time to climb up again, I guess.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Josef Fritzl still free in Phuket?

Second photo taken today in Phuket:
Austrian Josef Fritzl, who locked up his daughter in his cellar and raped her for 24 years receiving 7 babies from him, one of which died, seems to be free or has a very close lookalike, he just shaved off his mustache, see the pictures below:
Photo from 2004
Photo taken today

Below is a video to show that Fritzl had at least one holiday in Pattaya, Thailand back in 1998 seemingly without worrying too much about his hidden family members locked in the cellar back home:


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