It must be my journalism background but once a post is in the public domain, the only thing I focus on is the next one. I do not dwell on what’s past and find it hard to think of some posts that would meet the criteria of My 7 Links, a challenge to bloggers originated by travel blog Tripbase.
The goal is to “unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”
Well, maybe I can construct something that meets the challenge thrown down to me by my very good friend Talen at Thailand, Land of Smiles. What may help me to do this is to recall my underlying theme to this blog: remove the veils of my ignorance about Asian culture, Southeast Asian in particular, and more particularly, Thai culture.
For me, my time here on the blog is about educating myself. If someone else finds something useful when reading a post, that’s great too. You see, you can live in this culture and yet let a lot of things escape your notice. But if you write about something, you’d better look closer at your day to day life, which will lead you to a better understanding of your next topic. That’s exactly what this blog has helped me do, pay attention to my surroundings, whether cultural or historical or social.
It’s a great exercise in learning to really live here.
Coincidentally, this month, July 2011, is the third anniversary of Behind the Noodle Curtain. I will have more to say about my three years of self-education in a later post.
My most controversial post on Behind the Noodle Curtain
I was in a rant mood after an extended stay in Southeast Asia in the spring of 2009. But it was some months later that I wrote Female temptations in west bring predictable endings. While I tempered my remarks -- in fact, re-edited and re-published it after removing some incendiary stuff -- I still hold to every word I wrote about male-female relations in my home city of Toronto. In short, I’ve never seen so many unattached, unhappy 30-something people, both sexes. And if there are liaisons, they appear more like business relationships: he is a graphic artist, she an interior designer and both go into business together. Oh, that sounds like fun.
Most popular post
That’s easy, all you have to do is write about bar girls, eh? However, I did not write this one but wish I had. My Bangkok friend and film director Paul Spurrier wrote all the important bits in Wise advice on relationships with Thai bar girls l, a sensitive and balanced post that may have some surprises in it. That is my current No. 1 post by far.
Most beautiful post
I decided to go to farthest Isaan, Nakhon Phanom on the Mekong River after Stickman and Talen wrote positively of the place over a couple of years. And I took to it immediately and wrote Beauty comes in many forms in Nakhon Phanom. I think it has as much to do with the view into Laos across the river (see photo at top) than any one thing about the town on the Thai said. But the town has its attractions, too, being a cross-culture of Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese and Chinese. And maybe being as far away as possible in the northeast from Bangkok also played a role.
Most helpful post
When you’re over 50, as I am, it’s a good idea to get the “usual” blood tests such as PSA, blood sugar, cholesterol and vitamin B12. After a six-month stay in Thailand, I returned to Canada and followed my own advice. I was deficient in vitamin B12, which comes mostly from red meat, little of which I ate in Thailand. It happened again after a recent extended stay. The first post, Keep eye on your vitamin B levels if on Thai food diet, got linked on a Russian language web site and has been popular ever since. The second one, Vitamin B12 deficiency recurs after long Thailand stay, has been picked up by many.
Successful post that surprised me
My post on a cheap haircut -- The 100 baht haircut that will last a lifetime -- managed to draw out long-time friends and admired bloggers who have never commented on my blog. LOL. Must be something about the universality of getting old and hiding that fact as best as one can.
Post that didn’t get the attention it deserved
I got a lot of comments on my lengthy post, Canadian boys need to toughen up, but none from Canadian readers or (presumptuously on my part) authorities or other interested parties. Maybe no one outside of Thailand read it. I am surprised that this post didn’t get linked to here and there. Did not even get any objections to my slandering of Canadian men.
Post I’m most proud of
I suppose I’m most proud of this post, Make changes and the world changes with you, because I was changing for the better. I wrote it from my home city Toronto (although Bangkok is my home now). On my fourth trip to Thailand, I resolved to look under the hood of Thai culture and see what I could see and hope to take the best of it into my soul. On that 2007 trip, I think a made a few small breakthroughs that I’ve continued to feed off of. I was chilling out.
When I looked at the requirement for 7 example posts, I thought it would be real challenge and frankly, not very fruitful for readers. I looked through the headings of the 290 plus posts and realized, hey, this is an interesting list. Maybe I could find 7 if I stretched. Well, I had trouble narrowing the list down to 7.
I'm also supposed to nominate five bloggers for this Tripbase challenge. Some of my faves have already been nominated but I am very very happy to recommend the following:
Boonies Thailand Photos When I want to relax, be amused and just take a break from the seriousness of world, I love visiting Boonsong Somboon and his village where he and his wife tell stories through photography with often very amusing results. This Thai writer has sure hand for a English and Thai word play that will have you chuckling and laughing out loud. There's much to be learned about Thai culture here, too.
My Thai Village Life The Village Farang's blog, set in Chiang Rai province, is written by an American who moved to Thailand more than 30 years ago and has made a life here and achieved wedded bliss. But don't expect a view of the world through rose coloured glasses. He doesn't write often but this posts are very thoughtful about farang and Thai cultures, and sometimes provocative. Although recently he admits he has mellowed a bit. Always worth reading, especially if you're a motorcyclist!
LTO Cambodia There are not many blogs on Cambodia that I have found but LTO Cambodia author Casey Nelson collects news bits, photo stories, opinion pieces and amusing anecdotes on life in Phnom Penh and Cambodia.
Life in Rural Thailand - Ubon Ratchathani Author MeMock has a home in Ubon and Australia and business in Laos, as well as a young family. His blog mixes delightful and serious family stories with local issues, history and just life in general. You will also find much amusement as his two daughters and new son grow up.
The Thai Pirate Ben Shingleton writes a wry amusing and sometimes serious blog about Thai life in Suphanburi province, often using pictures and video