The City of Witchcraft and Wizardry

After all these years, you might have been wondering if there is still a magical place on earth like in the movie Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings.

Look no further. Bangkok is the place.

Thai people have firm beliefs about supernatural powers. They never doubt ghosts exist, not to mention angels and demons. They live with Karma concepts and are looking forward to rebirths.

Bangkokians are no exception. They are just good at how adapting the entire conceptions to fit their urban lifestyles.

You might encounter a Bangkok tycoon who graduated from Harvard presenting his multi-million company’s real estate projects very professionally. The powerpoint slides looks neat. A lot of marketing research and statistical studies are being quoted to back up his points. His slides about financial analysis of the projects is academically correct.

But do not assume that he has a firm beliefs in his rationalizations. Chances are, at home, he is consulting fortune tellers for the project feasibility. The  real estate has probably been designed according to Feng Shui. The project was probably scheduled based on astrology.

There are quite a number of celebrities in Thailand who claim they used to work at NASA. They called themselves great scientist, but they still think that the Thai supernatural powers are far superior than science. Some of them believe in the power of the Pyramid. Another believes in psychic powers attained from meditation. Some even hold a strong belief that the most parts of the earth will be under water soon so he has moved to the mountain for good. Formal educations can never alter their faiths.

Since ancient times, the Thai society was the society of strong social stratification. People in lower class were assigned to the masters of higher class to serve as labor or slavery. There was no such thing as social mobility. They never have control over their lives. As such it’s not hard to understand why they tend to view major incidents in life as the impacts of external forces such as luck or Karma. Although Thailand is now a modernized country, these ways of thinking are still imprinted in Thai people’s DNAs. For every major event in their lives e.g. university admissions, job seeking, career promotions, starting up a business, marriage, having a child, etc., they put a lot of efforts on bribing the supernatural beings ghosts, angels or even the Buddha himself to help them succeed.

(photo from ibtimes.co.uk)

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17: a valet tray for men in the new economy

Men in the new economy bring three and only three things out every morning. So why not create a valet tray to house just these three items.

Trays are the type of storage that are totally visible making them the best way to storage daily items. The tray also comes with a small hole to wire the USB charging cord.

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16: a USB cable organizer

a quick DIY project to organize USB cable. We all have too many of them around our desk and it is so cumbersome to have to keep picking them up from the floor whenever we need them.

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Project 15: sushi plate

While waiting for the gluing to complete in one project, an idea what to do with lots of my scrap wood in the shop popped up.

And, here we are, a sushi plate. It only took me one hour to craft it.

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Mai Pen Rai

Bangkokians talk clever conversations. The kind of dialogs that cannot be interpret literally. In other words, they never mean what they say and vice versa.

When you ask your Bangkokian friends whether or not they want you to buy anything on your trip overseas. If they say no, it usually means a yes. If you fly back to Bangkok empty-handed, you might have already lost a friend.

Things get a bit trickier when they really don’t want you to buy anything. They will also say no. So, it is your job to guess if it’s a real no or an implicit yes. You may beg them to tell the truth, but they can never do that. This kind of guesswork had driven a lot of westerners crazy.

When you go out for lunch with Bangkokian colleagues, you might ask them what they would like to eat. Most of the time, they gonna reply “Anything.” Again, do not interpret literally. Do not take the liberty to pick the restaurant you want. Bangkokians have their favorites in mind, but they cannot speak up. In this case, I suggest you should keep suggesting restaurants. If it is not the same place they want to eat, they will keep quiet. Once you hit their place, they will say something like “Okay, if that’s what you want to eat.” Then, you can safely go to that place for lunch.

You can imagine two Bangkokians go for lunch together. Oftentimes, they would keep asking one another back and forth for a long time and never reach conclusion.

To Thai people, it is considered evil to have personal desires. But in reality, every human has personal desires. Therefore, Thai people get away with this by trying not to be the one who speaks about their own needs openly. This is very weird, but having or not having own desires does not matter anymore. It is not saying it that counts.

Tip: When you say sorry to a Bangkokian, you might get a rude response as “Never mind.” Don’t take it seriously, because he probably didn’t mean it. Many Thais confuse the phrase with “It’s alright.”, because in Thai they are the same words i.e. Mai Pen Rai.

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