July 2008 Archives

Over this past weekend, we released a few new Thai Language Courses at ITS4Thai. I am especially excited about the new "Thai Script 1 Course". I think that the best way to learn Thai is by learning to read and write as soon as possible, so this course teaches many of the common letters and tone rules that show how a Thai word should be pronounced. The sooner students leave confusing Thai-English transliterations behind, the better!

(The companion Thai Script 2 course which covers the remaining letters and tone rules will be released very soon.)

We have taken a very different approach to teaching people how to read and write Thai with these courses. We do not use complicated linguistic terminology to teach, nor do we use the same confusing methods that are used to teach the Thai language to Thai children. Instead, we map the Thai Script to what an English speaker is already familiar with, and we reinforce the learning through exercises, making it a much easier and much more rewarding process.

So, if you have ever wanted to learn how to read and write the Thai language, now is a great time to learn how. Our new course will show you that it is not as hard as you might think. Come visit us at ITS4Thai today!

As luck would have it, as soon as I wrote that post last night about how Phnom Penh hasn't been as annoying as I expected, a walk down the tourist area next to the river last night proved me wrong. It wasn't completely terrible, but it was interesting how many more beggars were out on the streets at night, and how often I was asked if I wanted a tuk-tuk or moto ride or a watch or sunglasses or hat or book or flowers or...

But that's ok. I think the key for me in coming to a place like this I have to consciously work very hard at being jai yen yen (as the Thais say) or cool-hearted, smiling, calm, collected. And for some reason, I was able to stay cool and calm all night last night, even though I have been known to get quickly frustrated when multitudes of people are actively trying to separate me from my cash!

The night ended up ok after all. I ate at a fantastic Thai-Khmer restaurant where I had a very delicious sweet and sour pork with ginger, and a couple of Angkor beers. I also enjoyed walking the streets away from the tourist strip and just watching the local crowd enjoy their Saturday night eating "street food" and drinking and laughing as they sat on plastic stools and temporary tables on the sidewalk.

But when the trash started piling up and the rats started coming out, I knew it was time to head back to the hotel.

This morning I walked about 6 kilometers through town, visiting Wat Phnom (a old temple on the only hill in Phnom Penh) as well as walking through the very uniquely designed Central Market. I will try to upload some pictures when I return to Bangkok shortly.

On Thursday, one of my staff came into my office to talk to me. "Have you looked at your passport lately?" she asked me.

"No, should I?" I replied, as I dug out the thick book from my desk drawer.

And guess what I discovered? My visa expires on Monday! Opps. I had completely forgotten about my visa. That means I had to make a quick trip somewhere outside Thailand ASAP. So I consulted the Air Asia website, looking for the cheapest flight to somewhere I have never been, and now, on Saturday, I am typing from an Internet cafe in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Phnom Penh has never really been high on the list of places I wanted to go. I have heard that it is a bit unsafe, and that there was nothing to see and do here, and so my expectations were very low. I was expecting Siem Reap, without the amazing Angkor ruins. In other words, hot and dusty with tons of child beggars and being asked if I want to buy something or take a motorcycle ride ever two minutes. I find Siem Reap to be very depressing for the most part.

Well, I am happy to say that this city is much better than I expected. It is actually quite charming, I think, being one of the most colonial cities I have seen in Asia. Every now and then I see something that reminds me of Vientiene or Luang Prabang or Hanoi or other French-influenced cities in this part of the world. People have been very friendly, the parks are numerous and well landscaped, the roads and sidewalks are wide and smooth, and I am only asked if I want a moto ride every five minutes instead of every two.

Seriously though, I am very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I wish that I was not returning to Bangkok so quickly. I guess I will just have to come back some day.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

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