The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #14 – 30th November 2019

Music from Effigies, Cardiacs, mr sterile Assembly, Charlottefield, Goblin, Charming Hostess, Palberta, Lungfish, Yugen, Subway Sect, Helta Skelta, Hatfield and the North, Churn Milk Joan, Radio Delhi, Midori, Positively 13 O’Clock, Boy Wonder, Blood Brothers and Human Expression.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to the staff at the hospital this morning who took care of Amy after she fell over and hit her head. Nothing serious thankfully.

We got that attitude! – 29th November 2019

What book have you given most as a gift?

I haven’t given many as gifts but I think I gave a couple of copies of Xinran’s Sky Burial to friends. I loved reading that book and actually should read it again. Not sure if I have a copy anymore.

I think I also gifted The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet a couple of times including to Hayden. I think that may be worth a read again too actually, and again not sure I own a copy now. Will check my bookshelves tonight.

24th Sep 2022 – I didn’t have copies of either but I did buy another copy of Sky Burial and promptly gave it away again to a student I thought might appreciate it.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to receive feedback from my students this week saying, ‘Teacher Shaun is my hero, he loves students’. This made me realise that despite the struggles of our language barriers that I can have a positive influence on their lives, no matter how small. I went back to my old school today and was overwhelmed by the reaction of the kids. I hope the impression I made on them is a positive experience they will always remember and try to pass on to others in their lives. I feel very happy today because of these things. Now, to continue.

We got that attitude! – 28th November 2019

When do you feel most yourself?

Hmmm… this is a tough question! Is it when I am happy and overjoyed with life? Is it when I am grumpy and down (which is how I have most often felt in my life)?

At times I felt most myself during a successful show I had put together, enjoying the music and feeling, the pleasure of everyone around me.

I often feel myself when I’m mostly occupied with something, though even when I’m lazing around I’m usually reading or watching something meaningful.

Gratitude Journal

I am still so happy and grateful for sports day yesterday. It was so much fun and the kids had a great time. I think they will be unsettled today but never mind. I also got sunburned and sweated a lot but today I feel pretty good. I need to integrate some exercise into my habits so I feel this way more.

Who the fuck are you to tell me who my friends are? – 27th November 2019

Who are you comparing yourself to?

I think I compare myself with most people in my life. Friends, family, relations. Is it productive? I’m not often jealous of things other people do or things that they have, except their happiness or serenity. They often seem more capable to deal with things, though perhaps they’re not? It’s just what it looks like to me.

I noticed recently some people saying things bad about others and took it to be more about themselves – so and so is a miserable bastard, he’s a moron…etc… I have to make sure to catch myself if I ever do that.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that it is sports day today and that I don’t have to teach. Many of the foreign teachers are hiding away inside maybe preparing lesson plans etc but I think I’ll hang around with the kids because this is the best time to be with them. They feel free and happy and will try to talk more than in the classes. The kids are why I’m here.

If there was some sense to make I’d try and understand – 26th November 2019

What makes you most excited?

When I first looked at this question I found within myself a general lack of excitement. Not in a bad way. I enjoy many many things that I do or can do but there’s nothing in particular that makes me excited. Everything at the moment is giving me great satisfaction.

The one main thing I have planned is to organise a tour for Kevin from Trumans Water and we’ve been talking about it for a while and yesterday I started contacting the first promoters and the first show kinda fell together so quickly and easily that it has given me confidence in being able to make it work and to do a good job.

I’m looking forward to visiting a couple of new places such as Kota Kinabalu and Yogyakarta. I’m also looking forward to hanging out with Kevin as Trumans Water has been a favourite band of mine for a long time. I still feel a sense of adventure stronger than a sense of excitement though.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to Kru Tam to help me fix some things at school so that I can teach the lessons I want to teach. Some of the rooms don’t have video set up properly and a technician needs to come and fix the TV screens. Thankfully Kru Tam is there to help me sort it out.

18 Apr 2021 – None of the things that would have helped me got fixed in the end and I had to come up with other ideas. But at least the Thai teachers looked as if they were helping me!

Every time I ever cried for fear was just a mistake that I made – 25th November 2019

What are you afraid of?

I’m afraid of not having time to do all the things I would like to do – reading, writing, playing, travelling, talking, learning, growing. I should fill my time with these things as much as I can.

I’m afraid of letting people down. I don’t do it very often because I have learned how to not do it.

I’m afraid I’ll never talk to TLJ again and discuss just what happened between us when I was a stupid arrogant man and she was a naive young girl. I still dream about reconciling with her sometimes, imagining that we are still the same age but I have the wisdom gained over time to do the right thing. That was a time I let someone down badly.

I’m afraid of not being a good enough teacher. I don’t feel this often but sometimes others have made comments to give me doubts. I know I’m a good enough teacher (and of course, can always get better) so I don’t need to pay too much attention to what others might say.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that Amy takes care of my lunch and dinner even when she’s not staying at our house. Today she brought me my lunch at school. I’m so happy to have her in my life.

We got that attitude! – 24th November 2019

I have approximately 10,000 days more to live. What are two or three principles you want to live by over these days?

3 principles I would like to live by for the rest of my days? What principles do I live by now?

One principle I have always tried to maintain is to try and be open-minded and understanding of other points of view. At the same time, I would like to be confident enough in my ability to be able to clearly express any point of view I may have.

I have often been contentious before, sometimes just to play devil’s advocate. I should be more understanding of other people’s beliefs and ideas, maybe learning where they come from, rather than rejecting them.

I find I have a fascination with Islam due to not understanding it enough or having the familiarity with it. An exotic religion if you like. Having grown up in a Christian country I can see how dull and rigid its dogma is. I have no doubt about Islam’s dogma but still find it fascinating.

So, #1 – the principle of an open mind.

#2 – Related to #1 is to never stop learning and growing. Doing the opposite leads to a closed mind. Thankfully I’ve grown to enjoy learning more about how the world works as it helps me learn about myself.

#3 – This one is a tough one. To not take offence and get and get angry when someone makes a personal attack on me of my work. Let it do. Don’t let it bother you. This means they have won.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful today for the clouds! Taking the edge off the insane heat. I’ve been standing in the sun a lot this past week as the kids had sports every afternoon. It was such a lot of fun to play with them that I accepted getting burned as part of the deal. Maybe time to invest in skin whitening cream!

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #13 – 23rd November 2019

Music from DMBQ, Sebadoh, Belly Button, Units, Amateur Drunks, Round Eye, Blame Game, Minutemen, Ilaiyaraaja, Ween, Motorhead, Széki Kurva, The St Thomas Pepper Smelter, Hebosagil, Tall Dwarfs, DNA, The Milkshakes, Samla Mammas Manna and Pryapisme.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be working in schools and with a not so serious expectation of my teaching skills. Of course, I always try to improve but the fact it is a little more relaxed has meant that I can enjoy interacting with the kids more. I don’t see many of they other teachers getting involved in the same way so much especially not the Thai teachers. All the kids want to talk to me all the time. I feel like I am a great asset to the school. I hope the school feels the same.*

17th Apr 2021 – * – It didn’t.

No, I’m not too late, it’s just these stupid kids – 22nd November 2019

Sitting in my class annoyed at the boys who have almost all forgotten to do or give me the work they were supposed to do. Reading an interview about stoicism I’m reminded about things I can and can’t control.

How to motivate this class of lazy kids to remember that they have many things to do, and to manage my own emotional reaction when they don’t do it? Hmmm.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be able to experience things in this world that I never expected. I’m not a great fan of some of these animals but it’s very interesting compared to the simple critters I grew up with in England. Amazing to think about where I am in the world now. 15 or 25-year-old me would never have imagined this.

You outcun the most cunning – 21st November 2019

Last night I was sitting at home, alone in my house (Amy was at her parents) and I had a sudden feeling of blissful contentment. I felt that I could do anything in that moment.

Of course, many of the things that I want to do take a long time and it was too close to bedtime so I ended up going to bed and doing the usual reading. But the feeling was great. It really struck despite its brevity.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to myself because I have slowly learned how to improve myself, to feel contented most of the time and to enjoy the little things in life. I’m grateful I have continued to grow and learn. I have had to change the way I think and behave over the years so that I have been able to find some peace. I can’t imagine being alive if I hadn’t made those changes.