Engaging Thailand Newsletter: Spending Time Wisely

Newsletter: Lashings Of Green Tea With Bide And Friends ( Issue 1)

Welcome to the very first newsletter from Engaging Thailand called ”Lashings Of Green Tea With Bide And Friends”

A strange name for a newsletter you possibly think. All newsletter work and blog writing is carried out during the hours of 6.30am – 9.30am and during that period of time I get through lashings of green tea.The  newsletter will cover an even wider range of subjects than normally covered here on the blog and not only will we be engaging Thailand , but now and again engaging other Asian countries as well.

The newsletter will be a fortnightly event and will include various subjects built around our main Thailand subject plus include at times items from other Asian countries.Each newsletter will have a main theme running through it and today’s is all about ” spending time wisely”.

1) A Time Mastery Quotation

Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely ” Jim Rohn”

Recommended Book

The Treasury Of Quotes by Jim Rohn


2) Looking East And West

For me time mastery is a massively important skill and one I try to continually improve on. I find few things as important as spending my days in the way I wish to and with the people I wish to. I am always looking for improving upon ways to get more from each day whether business or pleasure. However care must be taken that the things we have created time for are the things that are truly important and not just activities or tasks that have been checked off of a list. It is essential that we review our goals often to make sure we are on track towards what we really want. As human beings we are constantly evolving and things change and like the great Jim Rohn said ” days are expensive”.

3) My Eastern / Western Time Challenges

Whenever  I am in Thailand my pace is slower and that is not only from the hotter climate. Thailand has a way of slowing me down to her pace literally making me take more time in carrying out duties, whether I want to or not.

During my initial and culturally clueless early visits more than 25 years ago I thought I could move things along at the brisk tempo I do in the UK only to find I hit a brick wall. The more I pushed the less I accomplished. I would arrive early smack bang on opening time for appointments having negotiated the Bangkok traffic to be the first in the queue only to find an out of the blue closed for the day notice up and that was if a notice had been put up at all. I would make appointments to  meet people at such and such a time and they would arrive about an hour or so  later. Sometimes I did not know whether they were late or just not coming at all, but I continued to wait.

The concept of time in Thailand is a totally different kettle of fish altogether than of that in the west as explained in one of the essays by Christopher. G. Moore in the excellent book ” The Cultural Detective”.  The particular essay I refer to is called The Language Barrier: The March Of Time where Christopher  explains using three Thai phrases just possibly why the outsider becomes frustrated by these time challenges. Part of the answer perhaps lies within the language  and in particular the phrases as they are left open-ended and don’t really specify any time that someone is likely to show up for an appointment or otherwise. Anyway this is only one brilliant essay in one of my favourite books on Thai culture and reflections on the writing life in Thailand of Christopher G Moore.

Recommended Book

The Cultural Detective by Christopher G. Moore


To be perfectly honest I have learnt to accept and deal with the different concept of time in Thailand and what’s more enjoy the moments longer, I even take longer for meal times and very rarely major on the minor things. In fact there are times and I am grateful for these when I don’t wear a watch at all. You could say I have the habit of implementing my own ” may pen rai” philosophy to many things myself when in Thailand.

Mai pen rai (ไม่เป็นไร) takes on many meanings, but in this case it means ” never mind don’t worry about it”. The cultural clashes begin when I return to the UK and continue for a while  in  my newly adopted never mind, don’t worry about it philosophy. It tends to stay for no more than a couple of weeks before I am back again in a more fretting and rushing about mode.

Whether in eastern or western mode and whatever your time management philosophy is, making sure we do the important stuff as opposed to the  urgent stuff (that gets forced upon us daily) is a day very well spent in my view.

4) Out And About In Thailand

If you get a chance to go and visit Chiang Mai make sure you have a good look around the old city. The old city is full of interesting places to explore and on my last visit I wandered the magnificent temples of which there are plenty and was particularly fascinated by the messages that had been tied to the trees all around the temple grounds. This was just one of many wise words..

5) Thai Conversation

์Nick (นิก) is a 30-year-old English lad  temporarily living in Thailand and has been studying Thai language and culture for about 6 months now. His studies have been quite successful, but he is not quite at the stage he hoped he would be and was introduced to a private language instructor by a friend. On meeting the private instructor it was advised that they work outside of the classroom and in different situations in order that he could be more creative, observant and to get him to express his newly found language ability more. Nick was happy to do this and they agreed an hourly rate. Timing was not something that was too much of a problem for Nick as he is part of the new location independent revolution that earns a living online.

Waan (หวาน) is a Bangkok girl, very educated with stunning natural beauty and about the same age as Nick. Western people were nothing new to her by any stretch of the imagination having been teaching Thai language and culture to corporate organisations and private clients both in Thailand and abroad for a long time now. Waan was now totally self-employed and like Nick,(but maybe to a lesser degree) chose her own hours to suit.

Waan decided that the first task would be to get Nick talking in Thai as much as possible. She decided if his shyness to express his Thai came from a face to face situation then she would get him talking on the phone first. Waan asked Nick to call her tomorrow to arrange a time when they could go and watch the movie together but the call must be made in Thai and Nick agreed.  Unfortunately for Nick there was no movie to be had at the end of this task really, but it certainly got him to the telephone and in Thai speaking mode fairly quickly. After several corrected attempts the finished call went like this…..

Time To Learn Thai

Using The Telephone

1) Nick: Hello Can I speak to Waan please

sa (l) wat (l) dee (m) khrap (h) khaaw (r) phuut (f) gap (l) khoon (m) Waan (r) naawy (h) dai (f) mai (r) khrap (h)

สวัสดีครับ ขอพูดกับคุณหวานหน่อยได้ไหมครับ

2) Waan: Hello … I am Waan speaking. Who am I speaking with

Han (m) loh (m) di (l) chan (r) waan (r) phuut (f) khrai (m) phuut (f) kha (f)

อัลโหล  ดิฉันหวานพูด ใครพูดค่ะ

3) Nick: I am Nick  How are you?

Phohm (r) Nick khrap (h) sa (l) baai (m) dee (m) mai (h) khrap (h)

ผมนิกครับ สบายดีไหมครับ

4) Waan:Hello Khun Nick. I am well thank you and you

Sa (l) wat (l) dee (m) kha khoon (m) nick di (l) chan sa(l) baai (m) dee  (m) laaeo (h) khoon (m) la (f)

สวัสดีค่ะคุณนิก ดิฉันสบายดี แล้วคุณล่ะ

5) Nick: I am well thank you, I am calling you to find out if you are free today because I want to ask you to go and see a movie

Phohm (r) sa(l) baai (m) dee (m) khrap (h) phohm (r) thoh (m) haa (r) khoon (m) wan (m) nee (h) khoon (m) waang (f) mai (r) khrap (h)

praw (h) waa (f) phohm (r) ja (l) chuaan (m) bpai (m) duu (m) nang (r)

ผมโทรหาคุณ วันนี้คุณว่างไหมครับ เพราะว่าผมจะชวนไปดูหนัง

6) Waan: Today I am not free as I have to work, but tomorrow I am free

wan (m) nee (h) mai (f) waang (f) kha (f) di (l) chan (r) dtawng (f) bpai (m) tham (m) ngaan (m) dtaae (l) phroong (r) nee (h) waang (f) kha (f)

วันนี้ไม่ว่างค่ะ ดิฉันต้องไปทำงาน แต่พรุ่งนี้ว่างค่ะ

7) Nick: That’s great, I will pick you up tomorrow afternoon at two o’clock, Is that ok

dtohk (l) lohng (m) khrap (h) phohm (r) bpai (m) rap (h) khoon (m) phroong (r) nee (h) dtaawn (m) baai (l) saawng (r) mohng (m)    dtohk (l) lohng (m) mai (h) khrap (h)

ตกลงครับ ผมไปรับคุณพรุ่งนี้ตอนบ่ายสองโมง ตกลงไหมครับ

8) Waan: Yes fine, see you tomorrow

Chai (f) kha (f) …… juuhr (m) gan (m )phroong (r) nee (h) kha (f)

ใช่ค่ะ เจอกันพรุ่งนี้ค่ะ

Thai Language Tip

Learning the basics at the start was the real key to a greater understanding of the Thai language for me.It was from learning the alphabet that I was then able to pronounce words properly. When you start a new subject it’s always wise to start at the beginning.and that I feel is no different with Thai. It is certainly true that being able to run before you can walk is the cause of mass confusion.


I am not going to lay out all the vocabulary for you here as the serious Thai learners among you will get greater satisfaction and rewards by translating and deciphering yourselves.You can check all vocabulary from this conversation by using the online dictionary that is in English and Thai at  http://www.thai-language.com/dict/search

The Thai Alphabet

Click here  and scroll a bit to find from Wikipedia The Thai Alphabet explained plus simple vowels, consonants and
lots of other information.

Click here   to see and hear the Thai Alphabet being pronounced

Click here  to see and hear Thai tones being explained

For more tips, information and conversation please visit http://www.engagingthailand.com/Languagelearningthemes.html

6) Thailand Travel Tips

With the topic being about spending the day wisely Khun Kasinee Silapee in a previous interview gave this tip for spending time wisely in Bangkok.

Tip 1: ”Get along to the National Museum (pictured below). For me, I have a belief if I want to study about that country, I need to visit its national museum as you can learn so many historical matters from this place.

Tip 2: Khun Kasinee also said don’t forget to visit Ayutthaya about a 2 hour drive from Bangkok. There is much to see and do here, but the  place you should not miss when visiting Ayutthaya is Bang Pa-in Summer Palace of King Rama the IV and the V.

7) Guest Interview: Khun Kasinee Silapee On Travel In Thailand

To see the rest of this interview from Khun Kasinee please click on the link below. This was the interview where Khun Kasinee gives her favourite travel spots in Thailand. An excellent interview and well worth reading before you finalise your travel plans to Thailand. There is lots more from Khun Kasinee on food and lifestyle that you will be able to access from this article.A massively good read.

8) Recommend article On spending days wisely

On The Shortness Of Life: An introduction to Seneca from the blog of experiments in Lifestyle Design by Tim Ferriss. The article is long, but brilliant and well worth the read.


Engaging Thailand Website

For more information, articles and stories about Thailand travel, food and all things Thai related, please visit the website




6 thoughts on “Engaging Thailand Newsletter: Spending Time Wisely

  1. i agree thailand does slow you down but it suits me fine im not looking forward to going back home and speeding back up again lol

  2. I can well understand that Martin and thanks. It is now my chosen lifestyle method of more haste and less speed as they say. Quiet, calm and simple are more my watch words when I am in Thailand these days.

  3. So with you on the lifestyle choice Trevor, one of the reasons we bought our ticket to thailand.

    Now we are here, we feel much much calmer.

    Thailand on so many levels is good for the soul.. as I say on my FB page, “we could have just stayed in uk and kept taking the tablets”…

    both literally and figuratively…

    Best Wishes


  4. Thanks Jackie. I am really pleased that things are working out for you both in Thailand. I enjoyed the bit where ” you could have just stayed in the UK and kept taking the tablets. Very good. I wish you both every success in Thailand and your newly found calmness.

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