Documents. Various documents. Stories. Poems. Prose. How-To's.
How-Not-To's. Technical. Reference. Hacking. Phreaking. Home-Made-Whatever's.
You-Name-It. Men In Black Suits. Silent Helicopters. Satellite Surveillance.
Fear and Loathing.
The documents in here were written by Kim (http://www.carsena-tech.net).
Couple years back, Kim used to write a monthly article for a US West
Coast based E-Zine called "Generator 21" (http://www.g21.net)
Please note that these documents are subject to international
copyright agreements and laws. The copyright is with the author.
Please obtain permission from author before reproducing any of these
FOR YOUR AMAZING READING PLEASURE
The Mornings Are Fine.
The view is one of a smoky city skyline in the morning light. Our apartment on the
ninth floor overlooks the back of Huay Kwang, a couple of kilometers north of the Bulk of
the city of Bangkok. Not an unspectacular view - in the not-too-distant distance is the
long line of glass towers along New Petchaburi Road and beyond that the even larger jagged
skyline of Sukhumvit Road. The day starts with the requisite cup of coffee on the balcony
and quiet observation of the beginning of the day in Bangkok as the orange and yellow
light starts its journey up the sides of the glass towers in the rising sun. Well,
in as much as it is the morning of a new day - the city itself never, ever sleeps and one
day merges into another without any clearly defined separation from one to the next.
Looking down I can see the tiled roofs of the shop-houses changing color as the sun
comes up in the soi (back street) running down and out to the larger Soi Sutthiporn, a 12
foot wide strip of concrete running from Rachadapisek Road to Din Daeng Road. Just after
sunrise you can see the orange robes of several monks who make their way from their
lodgings near our place to the market to receive alms each morning. Sometimes Phen and I
wander down at six AM to give food to the monks. This brings good luck, good will, safety
from danger - have it as you will, I usually go for the "safety from danger
package" when I feed monks. Right behind the monks each morning I see the children,
the school kids, the early risers who go to some school out of Huay Kwang. The traffic is
such that to travel 10 kilometers in the morning, best you be getting moving at six AM if
you want to touch base by nine.
Its six-thirty, the morning markets have been pumping produce since 3. The
ever-present smell of food cooking drifts in the air. And the air, ah, at this time of day
we actually have some air in Bangkok. Later in the day that changes, bring your oxygen
bottle over here please. But the morning air is crisp and clear and full of good smells.
The line of monks has slowly moved out onto the main Soi now and they head toward the
market on Din Daeng. Immediately below a couple of old ladies wearing Chinese style
"coolie" hats, their goods for sale at the market hanging from baskets each end
of a pole across their broad shoulders. These are upcountry people - real
salt-of-the-earth, living in the city for the moneys sake. I know they should not be
here, there should be plenty of money up-country. Hell, there should be an end to war too,
I like the upcountry people who populate most areas of Huay Kwang, my
little area of the Greater Metropolis of Bangkok.
The traffic is light on the sois and many people on foot move about, beginning their
days works. The motorcycle taxi riders on the corner fire sit playing a board game
made up of a sheet of cardboard and a collection of bottle tops; they are waiting for a
job to walk along. The traffic on the overpasses in the distance has started to pick up -
itll hit gridlock around 8:45 AM and come to a grinding halt, where it will sit for
an hour or so. Then the motorcycle taxis represent the only way to get across or around
town in any reasonable time. They sit playing games - theyll get a job soon enough.
The boys in the older apartment buildings opposite us have set up a small playing-field
and net where they play volleyball or the more traditional Thai ball game of "Taa
Kaaw" every morning. This morning its Taa Kaaw and the boys are jumping in the
air and kicking and head-butting the ball to each other across the net. In this game only
the feet and head may be used to hit the ball and these guys jump and kick like you
wouldnt believe. Watching them makes me sweat. Its already 34 degrees
The smell of my espresso coffee coming to the boil makes a strange mix with the smell
of "balaa" (putrefied and fermented fish) coming from the next apartment.
Sometimes I wish they wouldnt eat that shit in the mornings. If you get up with a
hangover here, that smell of rotten fish can knock you rotten unless you have Thai blood
in you. If you have Thai blood, why you could get up and eat a damned live buffalo, guts
and all, without flicking an eyelid. I must tell you about upcountry, the old men who
drink Lao Cow (wild whisky) and eat raw, twitching buffalo for breakfast each day.
Thats another story.
But this morning the odor of balaa just adds to the mix in a suitable manner, it feels
right. Seems appropriate as I watch the last of the school kids skipping down around the
corner, heading out to the Din Daeng Road and their school buses, the smell of cigarette
smoke, espresso coffee and dead fish somehow having some obscure relevance to the whole
scene. Its morning, that is what it is, that is what the relevance is, I knew it was
something - these are simply morning smells in Bangkok.
It clocks-up to seven and down on the soi at the front of our apartments, one of the
cleaning ladies (more like a cleaning-Mafia, they exert control over more than mere brooms
and buckets) places flowers, fruit and glasses of whisky on the small temple or "Saan
Paapoon". This temple protects our apartments from evil spirits, monsters, ghosts,
stuff like that. "Pii" you call them in the local lingo. You can see these
mini-temples near the front of almost every building in Bangkok. More of an animistic
thing than a Buddhist thing - but it all sort of gets mixed up anyway. The worship of
apparently inanimate objects is still close-to-the-bone of Thai people, very close.
Our Saan paapoon is just to keep away monsters and ghosts really. So there is the
cleaning lady putting food for the spirits. Stuff to get the good guys to help us - other
stuff to keep the bad guys happy. Spirit stuff - Bangkok is full of it - especially in the
morning. You can feel it, see it if you want to. That Saan paapoon is kept just so
spic-n-span, it sparkles with its tiny glass tiles and enameled facing. Shaped like
a real temple complete with a little spire, or "jhede" as Thais say. A
couple of little Ganesh the Elephant God statues at the front corners and one neat little
Hanuman the Monkey God sitting at the top of the miniature stairs, smiling broadly to top
off the anti-evil effect.
So, the food and drink in place on the Saan Papoon and I feel safe for the day. You
need to feel safe here. This city is very big, its an easy place to die in.
Alls up now, the coffee is finished. I check my bit of string on my wrist. This thin
bit of thread was put there by Ms Phens mother, way up-country in Khon Khaen. It
lets me keep a little bit of her power and protection with me - the symbol of motherhood,
of source-power, as long as it does not break. But being a neat little Thai sort of
arrangement - she gave me a lot of spares, at least enough for another year for Phen and
I. When one breaks, its just good luck if you see that right away and replace it
immediately - so I carry the spares in my wallet. Habitually, I tug at my thread a few
times to see if it still holds its strength. It holds again this day as it has for 6
I take it slowly and move on out to the hallway, down to the elevator, flicking the
left-overs of last nights flying-ant raid out of my face as I pass under the
still-lit fluorescent lights. Its time to get moving. Get the black and chrome beast
of steel that is known as the Eliminator fired up and "hit that traffic dudes"
as the DJ on the FM was saying as I left. The ride through all the sois is always an
event, wakes you right up, right away. Never a dull moment if you open your eyes to it -
and if you dont, why youll wind up being that funny gray sticky stuff stuck
between the treads of the tires on that 10-wheeler over there.
The hallway and the elevator always smell moldy in the morning. A strange smell,
closest I can say here is "moldy" - but I like it very, very much. It is the
smell of this place. Bangkok smells - in my mind - of decay and growth. It is hot, sweaty
and moldy here. You know how it is out in the rain forest? You can sort of
"feel things growing? Like the life-death-life cycle is so damned fast, things
die and rot and things grow in the rot and grow and die and grow and it just goes on
relentlessly. You can smell that. It smells kind of like mildew, a little sickly sweet.
Smells like fungus growing inside your airconditioner. Smells like the forest, like the
cycle. Smells like bloody Bangkok in the morning. By noon the fierce rays of the sun have
ripped these overnight scents of the life-death cycle out of the air and replaced them
with the smell of diesel fuel, exhaust smoke, fish, noodles, chili peppers cooking. The
smell of the midday heat. Sure, heats got a smell too.
The Eliminator lets out a happy, cool-engine-in-the-morning note as it comes to life.
The soi is empty just now and I cruise slowly to the end, trying not to drop the cigarette
balanced on my lip down the front of my shirt. Did that the other day, damn near ran into
the back of a truck. The fine note of the Eliminator slowly changes, sputters a little as
the engines heat picks up. Another twenty minutes and I will be well on my way down
Rama Nine Road and very, very hot. But for now, another few moments of the back streets to
enjoy before hitting the onslaught of the morning traffic.
Every corner there is food. Food is such a big part of life for Thais. Thai people
never appear to stop eating and yet, on the whole, are not an overweight bunch of people.
Ms Phen consumes at least 50% more weight of food than I, and at half my body-weight, well
I ask you? But now in the morning, all day long, all night long, every corner has food
stalls, noodle stands, soup tables, bar-b-que chicken, sock coffee (Ill explain sock
coffee one day, Yoda makes it)
. The smells float past, I look at the faces of the
people passing on other motorcycles, walking and in cars. There are literally millions of
motorcycles in Bangkok. They provide a main means of transport in the dense traffic.
I always take it slow out to Din Daeng, down the sois with their narrow-fronted 5 story
shop-houses, the architecture a strange mix of Western "practical" and Eastern
"decorative". The concrete mottled with water and age, the yellow paint-work
even more yellow with the passage of time. A dull yellow like stale cheese. Down to the
markets and the main roads, past the odd Chinese Temple tucked away in a corner, slow
enough to catch the smells, to see into the fronts of peoples houses quickly, catch a
glimpse of the children getting ready to go to school, people getting ready to go to work.
Just to catch a peek of a mother kissing her kids goodbye, the old grandfather getting
ready for market, the old lady sitting with an abacus on one knee and a baby on the other
as the rest of the household does a typically Thai morning-madness session. You have no
idea of the noise and total chaos, and often the simple fun, of a Thai household in the
There ahead, I see I am about to catch up with the monks. They are almost to their
destination, the market. Their orange robes bobbing up and down against the predominately
drab yellow-gray background of the shop-houses fronting all the sois look surreal. A
slight humidity-mist rises from a puddle of "water", the youngest monk stares
appreciatively at the Eliminator as I slowly ride past. Hes probably a motorcycle
taxi rider in real life. Most Thai males join the monkhood for at least a few months of
their life, often much longer. The monkhood, both sister and brotherhood provides a type
of self-funded built-in social security system. If you are poor, if you have no food or no
home, you can be in the monkhood and receive both food, shelter and education. Nobody here
goes hungry if they dont want to.
I guessed the young guy was doing his traditional three-months-in as his obvious
indications of coveting my bike gave the game away - a "lifer" wouldnt
give a shit to look at a motorcycle like that. Taking on the vows of chastity, poverty and
wisdom need only be a temporary thing. As long as the heart is in it - as it is in most
cases with Thai people.
Wearing your religion on your sleeve is the order of the day - as opposed to my fellow
country-mens paltry effort of attending some church on a Sunday, throwing your sins
at god and then going right back to being an arsehole the rest of the week. Here in
Thailand, Buddhists carry their church in their heart. Hypocrisy, political games,
violence and cruelty - all these evils and more still exist here, but the whole thing is
woven together in a strange, weird, complex socio-religious-political system that, to put
it simply, has worked for generations. It works, simple. Ever hear about when Thailand was
colonised? No? Yeah well, it didnt happen did it? Not ever. Say no more.
As I stop on the corner of Din Daeng to observe the level of disaster that is this days
traffic, I look back over my shoulder and see the monks, with people lined up to kneel in
front of them and offer bowls of food, buckets of food (yup, nice yellow plastic buckets,
buy them already full of food in any Thai supermarket - especially to feed the monks),
garlands of flowers, bags of rice and packages of incense. The food they receive here is,
in theory, the only food they take this day. As I turn back, right in front of me is a gap
in the never-ending flow of traffic and I make a dash for it. The black, 450 pound monster
lurches forward and very, very quickly fills the gap between a 10-wheel truck and a bus.
The traffic moves, I maneuver between the huge wheels of the truck and the side of another
bus and make a dash for it ,between the rows of cars to the front of the traffic lights.
The cop on the corner makes like he is about to come over and get some "tea
money" from me - as he does some days, but just then a small bike zaps straight out
across the intersection, between the opposing traffic, against the lights and the cop is
over running for his bike, looking back at me and no doubt mentally calculating whether
hell be able to pull 500 baht tea money from this other bike when he catches it.
Oh yes, tea money? Well, Thai cops are very underpaid, do a difficult job usually in a
hot uniform standing in the sun. They have to buy their own guns, bullets and uniforms and
a new cop only pulls about USD-200 a month. And the bad guys shoot at them. On the whole I
find them to be just pretty normal "Joes" coping with quite adverse
circumstances. I dont have a problem with these cops. The odd "donation"
to the "police provident fund" helps to pay for their "tea". It puts
shoes on their kids bloody feet and maybe puts some food on the table is what it does.
They just walk over and say "hi, you bike back light no work. Is 2,000 baht fine. You
like we fix here now? Hah sip baht, chai mai?" I dont mind the odd output of
tea money and the local boys know me well enough and do not overdo it - to date.
Today, I need an adrenaline buzz to start the day off. In a flash I have decided to
play. The lights turn green, I open the throttle and hit about 140 k.p.h. before I get to
the other side of the lights. The cop is only a hundred meters or so in front of me, going
after the other bike. I twist the throttle a little further, bring the engine quickly up
to 12,000 RPM and let the clutch out again. Ive hit 160 k.p.h. I blow away the cop
first then 30 seconds later the bike he is chasing. "Yeeeehaaaaaa"
always scream that out when I open the beast up. I am gone, there is clear road and I am
past the next set of lights and hitting over 180 k.p.h. before the cop even has time to
think about what just happened. I am gone. He will probably - no, definitely - pick me up
again before the end of this week, in the traffic, stuck where I cant give him a run
or do "the bolt" on him. Thatll cost me 500 baht, about 20 bucks USA.
A few more corners, a few more streets and I am pulling up in the parking area of the
building where I do the best I can to maintain an illusion of being an indispensable part
of a large consulting engineering firms IT Department. Well, in fact, I AM the IT
department. Another day of fixing antiquated PCs, trying to make LANs run with 8 year-old
cards and fixing wetware on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Hey, why does everybody come
to me to tell me their problems? Is it just because I listen? Doesnt anybody else
here listen? Maybe not. Off to the coffee machine, get a triple doser, go upstairs and
check out the Web while I am downloading in the background an important AutoCAD file from
the Indonesian office. Ahhh, another day another dollar, or is that baht? And those
network wires still hanging out of the ceiling all over the place, must get around to
fixing that some day. You have to work hard to make a normal day a "real good"
day. Being in Thailand sure makes it easy, but no matter, you must work on enjoying the
day all the same, yes? It may well be your last one here.
A story of the cannibal island
A story of what few blessings life has to offer us. Count 'em
Buffalo fighting on Koh Samui in Thailand
to hear something really scary?
Cannibals? Sure, in Fiji there are, maybe.Shit, it tasted
just like pickled pork anyway!
Chopper runs in Bangkok
Elephants in Bangkok (no they were not pink and yes I was sober.
More or less sober that is.)
"Hey nice T-Shirt dude!". Full moon parties on Koh Phangaan
The Hash House Harriers strike again! This time it's "champagne
Mate of mine got his head smashed in by some soccer hooligans on
Mornings in Bangkok. On the way to work
PCs in the tropics
Advice for the owners of PCs in tropical regions
Search About Thomas
SEX1 Ah. The "sex"
topic. By request, I wrote about Thailand's reputed "sex industry".
And you think the traffic is bad in Bangkok? Try Samui!
How to survive in the tropics. This IS funny.
Times change. Sure they do, but it pissed Joey right off this time!
Finally, the chopper run!
in Thailand are a serious trip dudes!
troppo mate! Totally!
Like it says, up-country in Thailand on a small-ish motorcycle
of one's own desires
END OF LIST