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  1. #1
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    Post Scampy exhumes his writing career with Swampy redux

    I dug this up from four years ago and I cringed, gagged and squirmed and was amazed the Phuket Gazzette even ran it, so I didn't have the guts to submit it to the editor of this expat rag in Tokyo as an example of my work, so I removed all the crap and the childish nonsense and was left with only half a paragraph, so in the end I re-wrote the whole thing which I shall share with you now.

    *ahem*

    The ice crystals surrounding the little hole at the bottom of the inner window pane would suggest we are at maximum altitude and the flight map says we're somewhere over Tehran, en route to Bangkok.

    Thus far it's been a pleasant flight, if not a little boring, but then drama is the last thing you want at 45,000 feet so I'm grateful that it's been dull just as I am grateful not to be sat in the middle row between the fat bloke and the young mother who's baby's screams have at last been plugged by her bosom. Me? I’m nestled in 36K with my shoes kicked off, adjacent to the right wing which is holding us majestically over an impressive mattress of seemingly endless cloud.

    I’ve been in the air about 4 hours, breathing the musty air and recycled farts following a satisfying lunch, which has left my tray looking like a landfill site. The passenger in front of me has fully reclined his seat, which means mine has to be fully reclined also to avoid being physically pinned to it by my tray, resulting in a domino effect that has rippled down the cabin, ending with the unfortunate passenger at the rear who's sat against the toilet wall. Movement is very limited and I can just about loosen my seatbelt to ease the digestion process. The two passengers to my left have fallen asleep, so should I need to use the bathroom anytime soon it's going to take the escapology skills of David Copperfield to get there.

    Waiting for the one of the stewardesses to remove this mountain of paper and plastic hovering above my lap is, for me, a huge exercise in patience and I won’t be able to relax until it's out of site. Have you ever noticed what a gross overuse of limited resources flying is? A tomato juice alone is presented with a packet of little biscuits plus a sachet of salt and a sachet of pepper, a little napkin and then a plastic cup and a plastic stirrer, and all topped off with a plastic smile from the stewardess. Then there's the packaging that everything from the socks to the headphones come in and those cups of water with the peel off lid which are never enough to quench your thirst because they contain less liquid than is needed to change a contact lens. The airline are simply not taking care of my environment.

    These are minor annoyances, I'm not here to lament the overuse of plastic like some tree hugger or moan about the fact there's no sound coming out of the left headphone speaker and that I have to keep moving the wire to get Futurama in stereo, my subject today is this new airport that everyone's been talking about.

    'Suwannapoom' (as it's pronounced) has been riddled with setbacks since it's conception in the early 1960's. It is spelled 'Suvarnabhumi', though you don't pronounce the 'i' at the end, or the second 'r', or the 'b' for that matter or even the 'h'. Three days ago it officially opened, taking over all international flights from Don Muang, and has so far has received less than favorable feedback - so I'm already skeptical. The project has been plagued with delays, corruption issues and shoddy construction. It's been reported that it doesn't have enough toilets, the clocks don't work, and the runway has cracks in it - the latter not being much of a surprise having read that the entire site was built on an enormous cobra swamp 25k from the city centre.

    Other issues have included huge budget overruns, window cleaning headaches, baggage carousel breakdown, departure boards displaying the wrong information, and opening delays due to sightings of ghosts by superstitious construction workers insisting that 99 Buddhist monks drop by and say prayers to scare the evil spirits away.

    Despite all this, Thailand can finally display it's maturity as a nation and boast it’s modernity and financial advancement on the world stage with an (almost) fully operational international airport that can stand proudly alongside it's majestic contemporary’s in Singapore and Hong Kong. Don Muang simply wasn't up to that task. It'd be like displaying a second hand Nokia 2110 next to an iPhone and a Blackberry, so to be fair Thailand had earned itself a new airport, however, it's hard for me not to be somewhat biased being that I was rather fond of Don Muang. The memories of my debut arrival and those that followed are as warm as the blast of air that would hit my face upon exiting the building. The carpet, the illuminated yellow signage, the beige paint, the retro atmosphere and the simplicity - but above all, the feeling of arriving in Thailand.

    Finally the litter laden tray is removed by a member of the cabin crew, and so safe in the knowledge that no one will be disturbing me or asking me to do anything for a while, I drift into a doze with my nostalgic recollections which makes the next few hours pass effortlessly.

    Several air miles later I’m semi lucid. Through my eyelashes I can see the flight crew asking everybody to put their seats up so I treat myself to a big stretch while I still have the chance, trying not to emit any sound as I do so.
    The pilot announces our descent, tells us the weather is nice and the wind is good. There’s that whoosh and clunk as the flaps extend and the landing gear activates and then, out of the window I catch my first glimpse of what looks like some kind of docking station from a recent Star Wars movie, a structure resembling a neatly arranged row of identical grey tents. It reminds me of a cross between some kind of alien plant nursery, or a double T-shaped multiplicity of the main stage at Glastonbury. We have landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

    Once inside the thing, it's not as impressive inside as it wants to be, not without a good SLR and a fisheye lens anyway. There's little in the way of decor to suggest I have arrived in the kingdom of Siam. The place is void of any character, spacially sterile and steeled without soul. Sure it's big, but it seems it's out to impress with size over substance and little else. Actually, it would make a better venue for an exhibition of colossal art nouveau sculptures being that it's ambiance is more aircraft hangar than airport.

    More soberingly, it’s blatant confirmation that Thailand has embraced capitalism and materialism with open legs, seemingly without hesitation and at any expense to traditional élan. Minimalism has become modern opulence, yet size still matters and the overall impression is that Suvarnaphumi is trying too hard to be fashionable, presenting itself to the world with the emotionlessness and indifference of a wannabe snob, yet with the grace and order of a whoopee cushion.

    It's sad that this is the uniform standard these days, and that the world coming closer together brings with it more of this stark conformity and less spirit. Vast areas of squared glass frontage held together with cables and X shaped stainless steel brackets is nothing we haven't seen before, and having areas of naked concrete ceiling with exposed air conditioning pipes looks as lazy as it does pretentious and crappy and characterless.

    Maybe I'm being a tad unfair here, prejudiced by my own sentimental walk down memory gate. So let’s have a look at the plus points, of which there are some. Getting through immigration and customs was a breeze and shortly afterwards I spotted my tangerine suitcase as I approached the carousel, getting there just in time to haul it off before it did another lap.

    The vastness of the floor area has been compensated by the installation of lengthy travelators, you know, those moving walkways that resemble a flattened escalator and give allow you the pleasant sensation of overtaking people who are walking faster than you are. It is also worth noting that German architect Helmut Jahn has made creative yet modest use of UV lighting in the roof panels, and that the in house FamilyMart has a nice teak and aluminium fascia rather than the usual cheap, uniform plastic frontage we’re used to here in the land of smiles.
    Yes the toilets are a bit lame, I've seen bigger and better bogs in Burger King, but these are all teething problems. Times are changing and Thailand, like the rest of the world, has to get with the times to stay ahead of the game, even if it does mean sacrificing some of it’s personal charm to make way for the bleak conformity of globalization.


    By The Gentleman Scamp 2006
    Updated and tweaked 2010

  2. #2
    RIP
    klongmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    It is spelled 'Suvarnabhumi', though you don't pronounce the second 'r',
    You're a laugh a minute Scamp...where the fok is the second 'r'?

  3. #3
    Party Animal!
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    I gave up after "The ice crystals surrounding the little hole at the bottom of the inner window pane would suggest we are at maximum altitude and the flight map says we're somewhere over Tehran, en route to Bangkok"
    Sorry Scamp, poorly written.

  4. #4
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    Thank you I enjoyed reading that. A minus for the tangerine suitcase but it was written a few years ago so you are excused!

  5. #5
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klongmaster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    It is spelled 'Suvarnabhumi', though you don't pronounce the second 'r',
    You're a laugh a minute Scamp...where the fok is the second 'r'?
    Too late, send it now. Should have omitted the second.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy Bob
    I gave up after "The ice crystals surrounding the little hole at the bottom of the inner window pane would suggest we are at maximum altitude and the flight map says we're somewhere over Tehran, en route to Bangkok"
    Sorry Scamp, poorly written.
    I stopped reading after "I gave..".

  6. #6
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    I was depending on you guys for a proof read, you don't hesitate when I write effortless twaddle and plop do you, that's right you don't, but when I have a stab at something print worthy I get boycotted.

    Well have it your way then, my next thread is going to be a pictorial account of every stool I pass in Laos over the next few days. Perhaps somebody could recommend a nice restaurant in Vientiene? I only know the French one by the fountain and the Indian place on the river.

  7. #7
    The cold, wet one
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    my next thread is going to be a pictorial account of every stool I pass
    You know what happened to Mr Pot when he did similar, don't you, Scampster?

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    12Call's Avatar
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    Thought you were away to Turkey Scamps.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
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    90% of what even the most talented among us produces whether it is writing, drawing or music is crap and should end up in the bin. Better to forget the past and focus on the present.

  10. #10
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    I'll focus on the present when I've got a paid writing gig, this is just a sample so the editor in chief can see my style of crap.

    It's all a bit formal though, are there any magazines in the UK I should approach?

  11. #11
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    Just a couple of workshop tips...

    Material like this

    "the bleak conformity of globalization"

    is going to get subbed out, because its too cliched.

    Secondly: similes and metaphors are good, but keep them focused in order to retain impact.

    "like some kind of docking station from a recent Star Wars movie, a structure resembling a neatly arranged row of identical grey tents. It reminds me of a cross between some kind of alien plant nursery, or a double T-shaped multiplicity of the main stage at Glastonbury."


    Too convoluted and vague as a simile.

    Hope this helps, and ....keep writing !
    Last edited by The Ghost Of The Moog; 22-07-2010 at 12:19 PM.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    Quote: Originally Posted by klongmaster Quote: Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp It is spelled 'Suvarnabhumi', though you don't pronounce the second 'r', You're a laugh a minute Scamp...where the fok is the second 'r'? Too late, send it now. Should have omitted the second.
    I would have thought it more important to mention that you don't pronounce the 'i'

    Also don't they cruise at 35,000 feet not 45,000?

  13. #13
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    Thanks Moog, I needed some constructive criticism. No reply from the rag yet, maybe I should stick to Aussie or British publications. From what I know of the culture maybe they are too polite to send me a rejection letter explaining that it contained humour and wasn't formal enough.

    Incidentally, my gf was asked to write a review on a noodle shop in Bangkok for a Japanese expat magazine here, and she was told she could write what she liked as long as she didn't say anything negative about the noodle shop which was an advertiser. The noodles were substandard and too salty but she had to say that they were very nice and that Thai food was amazing etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcock
    I would have thought it more important to mention that you don't pronounce the 'i'

    Also don't they cruise at 35,000 feet not 45,000?
    I Googled that, 45k ft is the max legal cruising height for a passenger carrying aircraft, and I did mention the silent 'i' didn't I?

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    it seems you did, I didn't read that far, I never finished the first paragraph, I just saw the discussion about a second 'r'.

    Do you know why it is on the end (same way Shinawatra has a silent a)?

  15. #15
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    No, why?

    I did always wonder why English newscasters pronounced his name 'Shinnawot.'

    Why don't they just say, 'The square headed megalomaniac that cares as much for the Thai people as he does for the Sri Lankan people', oh yeah can't say the truth can you.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Simplisticly..... the beginnings of written Thai come from two languages Sanskrit and Parsi (so the article I read said, but I've heard other theories). Thats why there are so many consenants with similar sounds. When transliterated the silent vowels which come from one of the languages (I think Parsi) need to be there because they show the reader which of the Thai consenants were used to make the word.

    The rules of properly transliterated Thai are actually written to benefit a Thai not the foreigner reading it, hence why there are some transliterations that people disagree with.
    Last edited by Bobcock; 22-07-2010 at 04:56 PM.

  17. #17
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ghost_Of_The_Moog View Post
    Just a couple of workshop tips...

    Material like this

    "the bleak conformity of globalization"

    is going to get subbed out, because its too cliched.

    Secondly: similes and metaphors are good, but keep them focused in order to retain impact.

    "like some kind of docking station from a recent Star Wars movie, a structure resembling a neatly arranged row of identical grey tents. It reminds me of a cross between some kind of alien plant nursery, or a double T-shaped multiplicity of the main stage at Glastonbury."

    Too convoluted and vague as a simile.

    Hope this helps, and ....keep writing !
    Yes, and for what its worth ( not much ) you might want to keep the adjectives on the leash a bit more:

    ....breathing the musty air and recycled farts following a satisfying lunch.

    Personal opinion but they work best when not overworked.

  18. #18
    Cenosillicaphobiac
    Plan B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    a flattened escalator and give allow you the pleasant sensation
    give allow don't work together Scumpty. But otherwise it's not worse than anything else I've read in travel articles and in-flight mags.

  19. #19
    たのむよ。
    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    ^ Jeez how did I miss that, no wonder they haven't replied.

    It's not a walk in the park this writing lark, have to leave it and check it and leave it and check it, it's like making fucking cheese or something.

  20. #20
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    Excluding the obvious solecisms and despite the flabbiness of the prose there is an article somewhere there struggling to get out.

    As an exercise why not try to cut it down to about a third of its length.

    Discipline and you are not necessarily found in the same sentence but give it a go nevertheless.

  21. #21
    Bubbly Sales Girl
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    First line is a bit exhausting to read, anything you could do about that?

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Maiden
    First line is a bit exhausting to read, anything you could do about that?
    Have a bit of a lie down in a darkened room?

    Might work.

    Words can be so exhausting can't they?

  23. #23
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    out of site
    are you referring to the little table ?

  24. #24
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post
    ^ Jeez how did I miss that, no wonder they haven't replied.

    It's not a walk in the park this writing lark, have to leave it and check it and leave it and check it, it's like making fucking cheese or something.
    Well if you'd posted it before you submitted it, us Engrish teachers and pretend prose writers wouldn've had time to check it.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B
    us Engrish teachers and pretend prose writers wouldn've had time to check it.
    And no doubt improved it considerably.

    Or are these just typos?

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