Two + Three funny things about Infosys : Part III

4) Infosys Buildings : If you are not Infoscion, please click on this google search result link : Infosys building images before proceeding. Oh, BTW the image of dual snake like Infosys building in Dubai, that is just an internet rumour. At least, I hope so.

When the Al Qaueda pilots said, "But How will we find the buildings?" Osama said, I am sorry about the mistake, Osama (late) said "Get your ass up there and aim for the tallest buildings. And you! Can you draw Pentagon? You can't miss these from up in the sky."
Thus the course syllabus of postmodern architecture became just two chapters : rectangular Buildings, More rectangular buildings that cannot be spotted from sky.

So the world was shocked when NRN assembled a conference of international reporters and told them (after gesturing the orchestra to play the dramatic music score of Beethovan fifth symphony) "Wait! I need to take a deep breath here." He took a  deep breath and gestured again to the orchestra and then said, "I want buildings that can be spotted from sky. Pyramids, Rhomboids, and, and ..."(the music was in a crescendo indicating rising tension), he looked around and saw a crushed paper which he held high in his raised hand, "and not one but three buildings like this!"

The cymbals crashed and the cofounders clapped like crazy. The world gasped because they had just heard in CNN that Bush had fainted after choking on a pretzel and John Major had announced his support if Bush wanted to make a retaliatory strike against Sadam.

But the CIOs of the fortune five million companies read about the pyramid buildings and said, "All right! All right! We will give you another maintenance contract. We will come and tour the campus. But I swear to GOD, I am not going to plant one more tree!" And it worked fine too with Infosys because they were cutting tress to build tree shaped buildings.

The following lines are taken from the revised coursed syllabus of postmodern architecture after the revival led by Infosys buildings.

The spot-it-easy-from-sky architectural style reached its zenith in Mysore campus of Infosys where if you are on the road within the campus you are just lost. You have got to be on sky to find out how to go to the destination that you want to go. Hence this kind of architecture got its name Big Picture Architecture or You-are-walking-the-wrong-way architecture.

This style is exemplified by the following rules
a) All roads should be curved so people should never know which direction they are heading
b)Buildings should be built on slopes so if you enter in the ground floor on one side you exit on the second floor in the other side.
c)Have rooms but no doors.
d)If there is a door to a room, then conceal it.
e)Have loooooong corridors that will connect even loooooonger corridors
f)If you have found the shortest way to connect two buildings then try harder.
g)If you have designed a square room or building then design again.

Suggested Exercises
1. Who decides when the modern architecure style and post modern architecture starts? How exactly do they decide?
2. Have you seen the two snake like buildings on Internet? What do they look like?
3. How can you make the clients pay for this BEEP?

5) People involved in even more meaningless tasks than the ones cleaning the pebbles: When I see the folks at Quali..(My lawyer says that if I write one more letter after 'i' I might never get employed in Infosys again. Worse, I might even get sued. So...)

5 again)Appraisal and Balanced score card : Some people with unbalanced mind at H..(My lawyer is whispering again)

5 once again) 360 degree feedback : Well, To those who wanted 360 degree feedback, I always say let's start with 180 degree. Just turn aro...(My lawyer is wildly gesticulating now.)

All right, I am out of ideas now. See you in the next post.

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Two + Three funny things about Infosys : Part II

AKA 'The part before the concluding part because we like to have more posts'

In the interest of saving Internet bandwidth, I direct you to read the disclaimers posted in previous part. (My lawyer has convinced me of the legal binding of this redirection)

3)Presidential visits and petty politics : When a president of a powerful African country lands in Delhi after a long flight and drives to the Indian Prime Minister's office and meets him, do you know what the president asks? No, not where the toilet is. He asks, "Can I plant a tree in Infosys Campus?" The Prime Minister says,"Whatever."

So the president hops on the next flight to Bangalore, drives to Infosys campus and plants a tree right next to the one planted by the previous president who was beheaded in a coup ordered by him. The New York times of the visiting President's country (why not?) puts the photo of the ceremony in the first page next day.

The CIO of a fortune 5 million company in that country (a regular reader of the news paper) sees this and says, "Oh, the Infosys guys!! Let's give them another maintenance contract." The army general (also a regular reader of the news paper) sees the photo and swears, "That's it. I've got to plant a tree too. It's coup time, Baby!"

So, everything goes fine and Infosys gets more contracts and Africa gets more coups. Then the chinese president wants to get in as well and that's fine too because that means more contracts and no coups. But when the underpreviliged minister (No, it is not a typo) of krygshitistan (yes, it is the same country which I covered earlier here) asks for a chance to plant a tree and Infosys obliges, everybody knows the situation has gone too far.

Nothing can come out of  such an exercise but for some petty class struggle among the gardeners.

"nodi saar, naanu Li Pengku neeru aaktha idhe. Ondina rajaa thogonde. baaki neevu blog alli Englishla bharidubidi saar." (Look at this saar, I was watering Li Peng. I took a day holiday and the supervisor has transferred me to krygshitistan. I was a pillar gardener saar. NRN himself has given me forty ESOPS. I am going to take a chappal and ...)

The fourth and fifth funny things about Infosys will be posted tomorrow to conclude this series.

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From Funny Side Of Life

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Continued ...

Six weeks into my new running routine and it is anything but routine.  I’m all over the place with good days and bad.  Two days on and one day off, two days and two days, one day and one day, even tried three days on but it did more harm than good.  Moved up from three kilometers to five in the first four weeks but for now seem stuck at five kilometers and still have to walk up the steep hill about half way out.

When I run varies with the cloud cover and the setting of the sun.  The temperature has been inconsistent at best.  Some days are incredibly hot and still, while sometimes there is a refreshing breeze.  I have even run in the rain a few times.  You would expect to be stronger after a day off but some of my ugliest and most painful runs were after a rest day.

Of course there are other things going on like visitors from Hawaii, my birthday, our anniversary, parties, shopping, driving here and there, vehicle registrations, 90 day notification of residence, and more visitors coming next month from Bangkok.

The other day as we were heading out in a light rain to visit some friends, I noticed our neighbors field being planted.  Cool and overcast it was a perfect day for working in the fields and everyone was starting to break for lunch.  As I snapped pictures they asked if we had any spare papaya.  “Sure, and help yourself to some chillies while you are at it” was my reply.   By the time we returned they had finished for the day.  That wonderful planting day was followed by two days of rain which submerged the rice plants, however.  Fortunately today the water has gone down enough that the rice should survive.

Also noticed that with this post #28, I have matched what I did for the whole of last year.  That is not my reason for not posting recently, though.  I have written several pages of late, which I have not posted for various reasons.  As one might expect, inspiration often comes from local sources.  I try to keep things hypothetical but I have found that some individuals are a bit sensitive and read in more than is intended, so I find myself censoring my work before it gets to you.

No doubt my need to write will soon supersede my specious attempts to be nice and I will be back to my old tricks regardless of what others may read into my words.  With little to say today, I thought I might add a few pictures.  Another of my novel ideas ;-)
Mae Suai Dam

Mae Suai Reservoir

Mae Suai from the dam
Planting Rice

Lunch Time

Planting Rice in our Front Yard
Birthday Brunch at Favola

Meridien Pool and Grounds

Visitors from Hawaii
Running past the fields

Running Home

Running Pond Side and into the Sunset

Two + Three funny things about Infosys

Infosys was the leading IT services provider of India before they decided to leverage their core competencies of Global delivery model and move up the value chain in the space warp of friedmanoian flat world and leapfrog by strategy innovation, operational excellence, thought leadership.. guess what, it is not worth it even though there is a teeny tiny chance that I may seek employment in Infosys again.

Disclaimer 1: The author reserves the right to claim on a future date that he did not write this article in free will but was held in duress and was forced at gun point by an employee of a rival company.

Disclaimer 2: This is not indended for consumption of any one other than the intended audience. The intended audience (who shall be henceforth referred to as intended audience) include but is not limited to denizens and non-denizens of internet and who who are not employed in the HR department of Infosys.

Enough of preamble.

1)Infy+ and O+ : Infy+ was an internal change program to transform Infosys from yada yada to yada yada yada. But for a more accurate definition we need to borrow words from less known and lesser respected seventh grade Tamil teacher of my school. In her words

Infy+ is O+* (* hopeless)

It took eighty densely packed powerpoint slides to outline the concept and workings of Infy+. In comparison the advanced unix course conducted by Infosys training department was a relatively sparesely populated thirty slider presentation. And half the trainees flunked in this advanced course. The key takeaway of the Infy+ (for the majority of the employees) was in slide seventy eight and was titled 'New Dress Code'. To explain the new dress code under Infy+ succinctly I need to borrow idea from another fellow Tamilian: Thiruvalluvar of seven word couplets fame

Infosys Monday tie. Infy+
Monday,Tuesday tie.

2)Cleaning ladies and the Zen Gurus : There was a time when Infosys had thirty thousand software engineers and forty thousand cleaning ladies. (No they were not there to clean the BEEP the programmers coded. There was maintenance contract for that.) The cleaning ladies were there to scrub and scrub every square millimeter of every square inch of the floor till it shone like floor. In addition they were also supposed to

a)wipe the underside of the keyboard/mouse/mousepad while programmers are typing their BEEP
b)scrub gently the power button of the computer when it is on
c)wash the toilet while the programmers were ...
Point C was of paramount importance and every toilet of Infosys was cleaned every hour, throughout the hour.

But the noblest of the cleaning task was reserved for the Zen gurus handpicked by NRN himself. They washed the dirt off every individual pebble in a , well what else, huge pebble bed by the old canteen so that the pebbles are in pristine white till the next rain comes. (which, if they are lucky will be when they are half way through. But there were good days and then there were bad days. On bad days, the rain would start when they had just finished their task and got up and before going inside the building paused for a moment to take a look at their achievement.)

I don't know why but I always thought they were not really cleaning the pebbles but teaching some zen philosophy of life (under NRN's order, of course) to the software folks who constantly complained about their meaningless life in between their bites at onion dosa in the adjacent canteen. But for all the intelligent programs I have written I have not been able to fathom what lesson NRN wanted to impart.

That brings us to the third thing which I will write in tomorrow's post (hence the title). Please take a look at the comic and feel free to forward this post (or like or tweet) to your Infosys friends (but not to the ones in HR) and come back tomorrow.

From Funny Side Of Life

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Deli Steak Restaurant

Update August 2013 - This place has Closed Down. Shame!

We recently found a restaurant that suits us very well - close to home, close to school, I drive past it on the way home every evening, it's a good price, location is pretty quiet, food is tasty. And much as I dislike the phrase.. Deli Steak "ticks all the boxes". It should be clear from this blog that we don't go for fancy restaurants very often, and normally when we eat out, it's for Thai food. If you want a steak, you normally have to pay "farang price" / "tourist price". And I know there are some very good steaks in Phuket, for example at La Boucherie in Patong, or at Norbus in Rawai, or at the Pacific Club in Karon. And some people like to eat such food when on holiday, though for me, part of travel is to experience the local food - though that does not mean you have to try oddities like fried grasshoppers or soup made with congealed blood - up to you. I am still trying new foods even now - there seems to be an endless variety of Thai food. BUT for sure I like non-Thai food, and an opportunity like Deli Steak has to be taken!

We noticed signs up saying "Steak 59 Baht" close to the Prince of Songkhla University in Kathu.. and normally I'd ignore it. A 59 Baht steak? yeh, it's going to be poor quality buffalo or something... But then my wife and a friend tried it with the kids, and told me it was good. We've been several times in the last couple of months - had a delicious honey pork chop there a few days ago (99 Baht). The steak dishes (chicken, pork, beef) start at 59 Baht, most are 79 - 99 Baht, some of the beef a bit more, up to about 149 Baht.

Deli Steak Restaurant

Location - hard to find even if you know Phuket, since the road is not used by so many people. It's called "Muang Chao Fa" road and is a shortcut from Kathu, past the Prince of Songhkla University campus, winds through the greenery and ends up next to a new Honda dealer on "Chao Fa West" road which runs from Phuket Town (Central Festival Mall junction) past Chalong temple. Yeh, needs a map. The photo above shows the front entrance by the road. Not much space to park. Room for a few cars to squeeze in by the side of the road.

View Deli Steak Restaurant in a larger map

It's a relation of the Deli supermarket in Patong where many foreigners go to buy essential non-Thai foods! Same owners as this restaurant, which is clearly aimed more at locals than tourists. With the right price, good food and a bit of word-of-mouth advertising, they are doing well. Always other people eating there when we have been, mostly Thai people. It is next to a road, but this shortcut road is not that busy, you don't notice any noise really and the restaurant has lots of greenery and a water feature (a pond with a little fountain) which helps to make it seem quiet. There are tables inside and outside, only about 10 tables in all.

Deli Steak Restaurant

Deli Steak Restaurant

And the staff are very friendly. They have mixed my order slightly twice already, probably due to my bad Thai. Mind you, when I got a beef tenderloin instead of a pork steak I didn't mind... The meat is all good quality from their supermarket. Lots of variety with different sauces. There are also loads of side dishes you can get - mashed potato, chips, onion rings, salads. Here's a couple of typical plates:

Deli Steak Restaurant

Honey Pork Chop

That's a chicken with pepper sauce and a honey pork chop. All steaks come with fries, salad and some mixed veg. I've not had a bad one yet! And here's a side dish of mashed potato with gravy - a fair size portion and only 19 Baht...

Deli Steak Restaurant

Add in a cold beer (45 Baht for a Chang) and it's a deal. We went along with some friends a couple of weeks ago. John, who is a hotel manager and tends to eat quite often in nice hotel restaurants, reckoned the food at Deli was better than at many (much more expensive) hotels. For sure the same food in Patong would be double the price. Glad to have found this place. Maybe not so easy to find for visitors, hope the map helps... but for us, very convenient as we use this backroad pretty much every day!

So you've got iPhone, Guess what I've got

I've got a 64 MB pen drive! And a 5K mobile from (I don't want to name names so I am just going to link) this people. By the way, 5K is not a model number.

The best things about my phone are
1)It's cheap.
2)It's cheap.
3)It's cheap.

The bad things (there are quiet a few) about my phone are
1)It's got a trackball (that doesn't track very well) to select menus.
2)It's got "Delete this SMS" and "Delete All SMS" as adjacent menus.
3)(This is the killer) For some reason it asks me 5 times before "Delete this SMS" but not even once before "Delete All SMS".

I can visualize our conversation going like this.

YOU: "Man! Did you wipe off your inbox because the trackball screwed up?"
I : "Ah, a perceptive reader! We see so few of you in this part of internet. Please make your self comfortable and spread some internet love by clicking on like button."
YOU: "Did you or Did you not wipe off your inbox?"
I : "The messages are not that important anyway. Something about me winning 1 million pounds and a girl named Shipa who is new in town and wanting to talk to me."
YOU : "You won a million pounds and a girl new in town wants to talk to you?"
I : "Well, I win it every week. And the girl who is in town, she gives me what looks like a Russia number for some strange reason."

So I come to the question that this post is concerned about:
Do my gadgets reflect my personality?

The answer is: I don't know.
It is short form for: I don't want to know.
But the real answer is: It does. But shall we talk about something else?

So there you have it. Your gadgets, the little things that you buy like mobiles, ipods and laptops, they all tell what you are.
So if you ask,"Are you going to buy iPhone then?" then I have to say, "I thought you are a perceptive reader."

The truth is your gadgets reflect your personality. They don't create your personality.

Just like Arunthati Roy's gadget is a jhola bag (that has a sheaf of papers with the title "Trigonometry of finite little things" and a booker prize) and Siddarth Mallya's gadget is Deepika padukone, my gadget is M****X mobile phone. The gadgets select us as much as we select the gadget.

What about the Dell Inspiron with its changeable covers and the tag line - Change is Easy?

You are right. You can switch the interchangeable lids of Dell Inspiron and go from the hard working IT guy in weekdays to the cool photographer in the weekend. That is, if you are an IT guy with an eye for photography.

Remember this: What is inside the lid is still the same.
It is real.
It is you.
It is Dell.

With the switch of a lid Dell can change because in its true essence, it can work and play harder, faster.
What about you?

In summary, I will buy an Android, maybe. But not an iPhone. Because that's not me.
BTW, I use a Dell. (No, I am not kidding.) I use it to crank out my code as well as my post. It has stood by me. And I love it.

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It's not the style that motivates me, as much as an attitude of openness that I have when I go into a project.

- Herbie Hancock
I grew up in the Midwest where you smile and say “hello” to every person you pass on the street. You bake cookies for a new neighbor, and when someone comes to town to visit, you drive out to the airport to pick them up.

I took all of this thinking with me when I moved to Paris, France for a short study abroad program during my college years. To say that I was excited to study at L’Universite de Paris-Sorbonne (!!!) was an understatement. I don’t think I was able to sleep for at least a month leading up to my departure. I had studied French in my little town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for four years and I couldn’t wait for the experience to speak French with real French people.

My first day of school, I walked into Le Metro with my perfect French-looking scarf, purchased at a street market the weekend before, and wrapped around my neck just like all the regulars in France and greeted all of the Metro passengers with a big smile, head nod and hand wave accompanied with a very loud and musical, BONJOOOOOUR!!!!

I was so happy to have arrived.

It didn’t take me more than a week to learn that if I wanted to fit into France, I needed to speak more softly, avoid eye contact and wear a frown while walking down the street. It was hard to turn off my curiosity and passion for life so that I wouldn’t stick out, but I was happy that my zest for life returned when I returned home.

Years later, I would learn that my curiosity and passion for life would get me further than any frown and perfectly tied stylish scarf.


Throughout my life, I’d always had a silent dream to write a book. Not fiction or poetry, but some type of book that would be interesting and connected to the things I was interested in. I never had any idea how this would all come together and in fact I did nothing to make it happen. I never took a class on writing and I never pursued seminars, workshops or conferences on book writing. I wasn’t even a very good writer. I just knew, in my heart, that some day, some how, I wanted to write a book.

At some point later, I had volunteered on a committee to support a regional conference. I was a last minute addition to the committee and in charge of lining up the keynote speakers-- the guy who had been in charge, had disappeared. There was no time to waste when I took on this new role—the promotions needed to go out the following week. The fact that I was naïve worked to my advantage and I had no doubt that we could line up the speakers within the week.

“Who would you like as our keynote speaker?” I asked the committee, pen and paper in hand, ready to take serious notes about their ideas.

They told me the person they’d really love to have and then laughed saying, there was no chance we’d be able to get him to speak at our event given the timeframe and small budget we had available.

“What’s his telephone number?” I asked.

“You’ll never reach him” is what I was told when they gave hime his number. "He's in demand. He's published nearly 50 books and travels all over the world. Good luck setting getting him on the phone. You better have a back-up plan. You'll never reach him--bonne chance!" were their parting words as I left the meeting.

The next day, I nervously practiced the voice message I’d leave while I dialed his number, confident only that I wouldn’t reach him.

He answered on the second ring.

Not really thinking he’d actually answer his phone, I nearly shouted BONJOUR! but said hello instead. After talking through our request, the dates, topic of presentation and his fees, by the end of the phone call, we had our keynote speaker.

When the conference was here and our keynote speaker was to arrive, I drove to the airport to pick him up. For the next three days, I followed our keynote speaker everywhere. I made sure he had water, got him a snack, checked that he was happy with his accommodations, ensured that his meeting room and set-up was working properly and chatted with him to make sure he felt comfortable. If he had an easy way to accommodate it, I would have made a nice plate of fresh-baked cookies. Of course, I drove him to the airport at the end of the conference—an alternative plan never even crossed my mind.

Today, and now being a traveling speaker myself, I know that usually, this hospitality rarely happens. Instead, I end up on a flight that is inconvenient and usually delayed. Many times, my bag gets lost, no one greets me at the airport and I know I need to show up the morning of my event, ready to deliver with a smile and lots of energy, in spite of the fact that I’m jet-lagged, hungry, everyone speaks a different language, the technology isn’t working and I feel a little bit lonely.

But, I never knew about this the day I picked up our keynote speaker, Jack, from the airport. I was just focused on making sure he felt comfortable and welcomed. It’s just what you do, when you are from the Midwest and I wanted him to experience my style of: BONJOOOOOUR!!!!

Three days later, as I dropped Jack off at the airport, he gave me a giant stack of his books and said in his polite way that we ought to write a book together, someday. In retrospect, I believe he was just being kind, but my zest and passion for life being what it is, I was on the phone to his office the following week to discuss the plans for our book.

Though it took a few years, we did write that book--- and, I was reminded again that genuine enthusiasm, openness, a little bit of naivete, along with a sincere desire to accept someone, may never help me fit in to what's expected, but it is guaranteed to welcome greater opportunities than simply blending in.

© 2011 Lisa Ann Edwards

Building a Hut

I was surprised last week when a friend stopped by and said that Ott our neighbor who owned the land we bought and still owns the 12 Rai  clear to the foot of the mountain , told him he could build a small hut at the end of the road that ends at the foot of the mountain. I was interested in knowing why he wanted to build a hut on someone else's land , he said he liked our area and there was lots of small trees and lots of bamboo to help with the material he will need and he said that also he liked the neighbors.
I ask him what he was going to use the hut for and when was he going to start building , the rainy season has already started here in Whang Pho, so I figured he would start in Oct. or Nov.  , to my surprise he said , "I'm starting today an before I knew what was going on Mac the fellow that works in my yard and on my house was here and said he was going to take a few days off and help to build the hut. He told me that the reason for the little hut was that he needed a place to get away on the week-in's after a long hard week at his job at the resort , and also he wanted a place he could bring his dog s so that they could run free and play in the woods and get some exercise (he lives in the city and they are in a pen all week while he is at work). He loves his dogs as much as we love ours .
Well off they went with a saw and a ax and a few hours later they were back carrying logs they had cut , then a day later, after they had the foundation and post up they put in the floor of bamboo and he had a load of log slabs that he got at a saw mill for the walls and a friend  wove the roof covering out of palm limbs and leaves and bamboo , and to my amazement it does not leak they worked steady on it and would you believe , in one week they had it done and have even planted some plants and flowers and hung flower baskets from the eves and he has spent a week-in already and his dogs love it there and to my surprise and our dogs get along well with his and they stay at their little hut and don't run up and down the road . I still have to say , that Sabu is still the alpha Male of this road and he made sure that they knew it right away I love this little hut and I have talked to B-bie and he is going to find me a place at a friend of his that has a piece of land on the River Kwai and Mac said he would go and build me a small hut just like this one , I think that maybe Ciejay would like it and we could spend a few week-in's on the river once in a while and also it would be available for friends that want to get away and back to nature so to speak for a few days .  What do you think?

Where else but in the LOS could you find a person to let you build a hut and not have to bother with building permits and best of all , get most all of the building materials right there from the land . I love it and  I guess this kind of freedom and these kind of folks, is just a couple of more reasons that make me say I'm Retired In Thailand and Loving It

Take flight with color

Folks at HP have asked me to write a post on what black and white things I would like to see in colour! Yipieee!! Well, not just me exactly. All the bloggers of Indiblogger. As we don't take ourselves seriously and just joke around here I decided to write assuming that I am not going to win anything (which is what happens all the time anyway) and try to wage an all out war on black and white.

So here is my list of things I would like to see in color.

1)Black hole : Black hole has made the most number of people look foolish after kaun banega crorepathi. Imagine yourself in the coffee break trying to fit in with those people who can talk about Aishwarya rai and Einstein at the same sip of coffee and one of them who never liked you goes, "Hey! Have you ever seen a black hole?" and you try to play it safe as you really don't know what is black hole and say, "Well, kinda but..." and the whole group laughs at you. Well, I have looked up black hole on Internet and is just amazed that half of the Nobel prizes for physics in the last decade have gone to people who are trying to fathom more about black hole. Well, I tell you what, if ever that black hole turns color and emits some light, Boy! quiet a few Nobel prizes have to be returned back. And few smiles will be wiped off the faces of those stupid guys who think they are smarter than me just because they bought "Brief History Of time" and kept it in the attic. So my first nomination is Black Hole.

2)Black and white Unix terminals : This happened like fifteen years ago but I still remember it vividly. I guess the scar runs pretty deep. I finished my college, secured a job in a top tier IT company. So I go to the office with stars in my eyes and what do they do? They take me to this room and bring out the sorting hat a la Harry Potter style! I put it on and the hat breaks into a lament, "He is a geek! He
is a workhorse. He can master the logic but he is not creative." A life of black and white will suit him just fine." So a very bored person takes me to this terminal where I see unappealing white letters in black background and he says, "This is a Unix terminal and I am going to be your mentor." I felt a bit better when the sombre person taught me Unix which is nothing but a series of diatribe against windows like "windows can't do true multitasking (This is windows 3.1 days) and Unix can." But when I pointed out this fact and gloated at the college friends who were serving the evil Bill Gates they would go, "Dude, whatever. Can you see colors in your screen?" I would get depressed again because , let's face it, for all the forking and spawning Unix does the black and white screen really sucks. So that's my second nomination.

(SPOILER ALERT: I am going to get philosophical and serious now.)
3)Skin Color : Forget the black hole and the Unix terminals. If there is one place where I would have liked to see more candidates than black and white it is in skin color. I hear many of you shouting about wheatish complexion, fair wheat complexion. You are parents of marriageable girls, I presume? Let me not spoil your party. But the wheatish complexion that you crow about, it is just black (or white)
gone awry. Anyway, the human race is a bloody struggle for supremacy between black and white. Imagine what would have happened if there had been blue coloured people, green coloured people and red coloured people. People would have seen too many different colored skins to believe in the supremacy of any one colored skin and the world would have been a better place. And the bonus would be that the whole beauty industry which thrives on selling fairness cream in five rupees tube would have gone down the drain benefiting one half of the population, namely men who get to see more money. (I know, they will just spend it on beer and fries. But it
is not total waste of money like spending on fairness cream, right?)

So, In summary I must go with, "Can we have some different color skins here? Please, God!"

After thought 1: If God is indeed going to put some different colors on the skin, I would like him to take a look at the whitening hair issue as well. If the black hair doesn't turn white but becomes green, blue or red then ageing will be lot cooler. At least till the eventuality strikes.)

After thought 2: I had a long list of black and white things that could be livened up with color like, the orthodontist in white coat, black board and white chalk, white office walls, strict nuns in all white uniform. But the above three won hands down. For the records, strict nuns in white uniforms lost by a narrow margin.

Submitted for contest sponsored by the colorful HP laserjet .
If you like this post, go here and vote for me. I need it very much. Thank you.

How you see yourself and how the world sees you

Panel 1: (person 1:) We are the 3rd most popular website..
(person 2:) about baseball.
Panel 2: (person 3:) In south India!!
(Reporter:) Wow! Now if you can rearrange for a photo, we can wrap this.
Panel 3: (Reporter:) That looks just perfect!

If  you like this, then you may like my other comic strips (with or without articles)

The Phuket Heroines Monument

Time for a bit of Phuket history. Yes, history.. Phuket has a rich cultural heritage, although it's not so apparent if you're staying in a hotel by the sea. Until tourism arrived on the scene around 30 years ago, hardly anyone lived at the beaches except some fishermen and farmers. The main towns of Phuket were at Phuket Town and Thalang. Phuket Town only became the main town in Phuket in the late 19th century. Before that Thalang had been the biggest population center. Almost every visitor to Phuket will pass through Thalang on the way South from the airport, and about 6km south of Thalang you can see the Phuket Heroines Monument - in the middle of the main road on a traffic circle - you know, it's that statue of 2 ladies holding swords...

Phuket Heroines Monument

Having driven past the Heroines maybe 1,000 times I decided last weekend to actually stop and have a closer look at the monument. Stopping and getting to a statue in the middle of the busiest road in Phuket is not easy! I was coming from town, heading North.. there's not a lot of parking since this is the main road. I passed the monument, u-turned and found a parking spot outside the Tesco mini-store about 100m North of the circle. It then took 5 minutes to cross over the road to the Heroines! Phuket has been called "Bangkok by the Sea" and on the main roads you can see why! But eventually a gap came in the traffic and narrowly avoiding a large truck I got across to the Heroines monument.

Heroines of Phuket

Chan and Mook are facing North. Still fighting the Burmese! Of course these days there are maybe thousands of Burmese in Phuket working on building sites and fishing boats.. we know a Burmese guy who we call up for odd jobs around our house - he built our garden shed for us! Burmese now come looking for work and relative freedom - I won't say they are treated like equals by the authorities here, but many Burmese come here to escape from the military government in their home country. I'm not going to discuss the rights and wrongs, just want to mention the irony that Phuket celebrates defeating the Burmese - indeed the provincial symbol is the 2 Heroines - and now there are Burmese everywhere!

Chan and Mook led the people of Phuket against the Burmese invasion in 1785. Well, actually the start of the Burmese-Siam war was 1785 and the invasion of Phuket in early 1786. Phuket held out against a much larger Burmese force and "saving" Phuket, the ladies were given the honorary titles of Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Sri Sunthorn by King Rama I. The main road from Phuket Town to the airport is called Thepkasattri road. There are temples in the Thalang area named after the heroines too.

Prayers at the Heroines Monument

Well, a closer look reveals much more than a drive-by on the main highway. This is not just a statue of the Heroines of Phuket, but also a shrine. People come here to pray and give thanks to the ladies who "saved" Phuket over 200 years ago. The shrine is obviously very well looked after by somebody - everything was very clean and neat. I was happy to finally get up close to the statue that I had seen so many times out of the car window!

Phuket Heroines Silhouette

Heroines mini-statue

The smaller version of the Heroines statue forms part of the shrine. People rub this mini statue with gold leaf. The shrine shows just how much the local people respect their history and just how important the Heroines are. And this history is not forgotten. The Heroines monument was built in 1966. And in 1985, some 200 years after the battle of Thalang, the Thalang National Museum opened. We've been a couple of times. It has plenty of information about the history of Phuket and in particular about the 2 Heroines. Worth a visit for anyone who wants more than just beaches and massages on their holiday to Phuket!

And if you happen to be in Phuket in mid-March ... the annual Phuket Heroines Festival takes place near Thalang Town around March 13th - the date of the battle of Thalang in 1785. We went along to the festival for the first time in 2010 - it was bigger and more impressive than we expected. There is a dramatic performance with hundreds of performers based on the events of 1785. We missed it this year, but would like to go again.

Phuket Heroines Festival

(above) - Photo from the Phuket Heroines Festival.

The map below shows the location of the Heroines Monument, Thalang town and the site of the annual festival. That's enough history for now! I just wanted to say something to show that Phuket has more depth than beaches, hotels and tuk tuks!

View Phuket Heroines Monument in a larger map

Life in a laptop : Microsoft search Dog

I thinking of making a series on the idea "Life in a laptop". Got a lot of ideas. Besides, I don't need to draw as much :).

Panel1 : (Microsoft search dog) I don't know whether I am a dog looking for a bone..
Panel2 : (Microsoft search dog) or a philosopher searching the mysteries of files..
Panel3 : (Microsoft search dog) it is like I have multiple personalities.
(Password box) You are telling me!

Splash Jungle Phuket Water Park

I hope that this blog makes it clear that Phuket is not just a tourist island filled with tourist "attractions". Phuket and the surrounding area is what you make of it... you can spend days by the pool, take some tours, visit things like Phuket Fantasea or the Simon Cabaret, I am not going to judge people on what they do on holiday, only hope to open some eyes... many people (even people who live here) are surprised what they find on this blog. Is that in Phuket? I do like to blog about the less touristy side of Phuket, but sometimes we certainly do enjoy some of the things that have been made for tourists.

Splash Jungle Waterslides

The Splash Jungle Phuket Water Park opened in early 2010. I think everyone agreed that Phuket needed a waterpark. Ideal for tourists, for family fun in the sun. I mean, OK so we have an ocean and lots of beaches, but waterparks are fun! However, not everyone was so enthusiastic when it opened. Most of the tourists in Phuket stay at the main beaches - Patong, Karon and Kata. Splash Jungle opened as part of the West Sands Resort at Mai Khao Beach, just north of Phuket Airport, and that's 40 - 45km from the main beaches. Location.

And then the price.. full rate is 1,495 Baht for adults and 750 Baht for kids. In other words for our family of 4... we'd pay 4,490 Baht. It's not cheap, although they had a "local price" for a while, and currently have some promotions... and also have a membership package which works well for people like us who are likely to be back. You can book days or member packages through my friends at Easy Day Thailand travel service.

So we drove up on a Saturday, the car park was packed with about 4 minibuses and 10 cars. To be clear - it was not very busy. Now that's my kind of place - a custom built tourist attraction without the tourists! OK, it's low season and the weather was not perfect (though I ended the day with my usual mild sunburn), but I thought there would be more people here. I know it's not "Thailand" - this place is pure watery fun, and due to the combination of price and location, I had not been. My wife and kids had been once on Thai national childrens day - there was a special promotion for the day with kids getting in for free. This time we paid up for membership, so now we are sure to go again!

Splash Jungle waterpark entrance

How Much!?

Above - entrance to Splash Jungle... we're negotiating the best possible deal for a group of 3 adults and 6 kids.

Splash Jungle Wristband

When you check in, you get a wristband with a locker key attached. We all went to get changed. I kept a camera with me, then went back to put it in the locker so I could play a while, went back to get it later when I found some good angles for photos, and put it back again when the rain came! In short... if you want to concentrate on the fun, don't carry a camera unless you have a waterproof one! Also - although I generally trust my fellow man, I would not leave a nice camera lying around while I was in the water.

Splash Jungle kids area

Inside, you have changing rooms with hundreds of lockers, then cross a bridge over the "lazy river" which runs around the whole complex - you can drift around with or without an inflatable ring (the "river" is shallow enough for even our 6 year old to stand up in). We drifted around it a few times passing under bridges and waterfalls. The river would be the least adrenaline-fuelled attraction! We found a chair to dump our stuff - the open areas are filled with beach chairs all shaded with umbrellas. Like I said, I would not leave valuables on the chair unattended, but towels and clothes and sandals are not likely to go astray. So the idea is to bagsy a chair, then go and have fun! The kids all started at the kids play area (above), but that area really is for little tiny kids. So we progressed to this:

Splash Jungle Waterpark Phuket

Splash Jungle Waterslide

Wasn't so long ago that my boy was scared of deep water and would cling to his Dad in the pool. Now he's fearless. There are many different waterslides - 3 of them head down to the same splash pool - this green slide was pretty scary! My son went down countless times, I went twice. The first time I went down I shocked the lifeguard at the bottom by shooting off the end at full speed, 110 kilos of speeding fat panda coming down! I'm generally not into adrenaline rushes, I prefer nice and easy scuba diving or a gentle bike ride. The waterslide called "Boomerango" seemed to be beyond me.


Boomerango looks like this from the outside. You shoot off the highest point of the slide tower down a steep ramp, shoot up the other side and then off to the splashdown pool. I was worried that someone my size might go too fast and shoot right off the top of the ramp! I found a video on Youtube here, scary enough! My kids both went on it - they kind of wandered off without Mum and Dad for a while, they had found some school friends and did the rides with them on tandem rings like the one in the photo below.

Splash Jungle Waterpark Phuket

Next to the Boomerango is the Super Bowl - again you launch from the top of the tower down a tube and then into this huge bowl which you spin around several times and then out and down another tube in the center. Not too scary!

Super Bowl at Splash Jungle

We were impressed by the safety at Splash Jungle. There are loads of staff, there are people to help to onto the rides and people in the splashdown pools to catch you. There are lifeguards all over the place, along the lazy river, in the wave pool, in every splashdown pool, so we weren't too concerned about the kids doing their own thing. They are at that age now, maybe don't want Daddy with them all the time!

Splash Jungle View

West Sands Resort and the Splash Jungle Phuket Waterpark are at Mai Khao Beach which is still quite undeveloped. The picture above is the view from the top of the slide tower, looking west. And the airport is only half a kilometer to the south, which means that you'll probably see a view like this:

Splash Jungle and Plane Taking Off

After a few hours and a few brief showers of rain, a bigger squall came in from the ocean, the wind blew and we called a halt to the fun. And we were getting hungry. With the price of entry, we decided not to eat at the park restaurants - there are 3 of them, since it's not that cheap for us. And you're not allowed to take your own food and drink in. Restaurant meals were 200 - 300 Baht, a small beer 150 Baht, and a glass of coke 60 Baht. Yeh, that's probably OK if you're on holiday.

I am glad to say I enjoyed the day. Fun for me, and a LOT of fun for the kids. Do note there is a restriction on little kids going on the big slides. My 6 year old boy was just about big enough. I do hope the place stays open! It does not seem to get a huge amount of business. As I mentioned, maybe partly due to the cost, and certainly due to the location being so far from the main tourist beaches in Phuket. But the lack of a crowd suits me! It might be busier in high season, someone told me they went and had to queue for the big slides. No queues for us. Another good reason to come to Phuket in the low season along with the low hotel prices. It might rain a bit, but it's very rare that rain stops us from having a fun day!

More Fun Things for Kids in Phuket

Phuket Wake Boarding
Siam Niramit Show
Phuket Aquarium
Day Trip to Koh Yao Noi Island

Splash Jungle Waterpark - Location Map

View Splash Jungle Water Park in a larger map