Is Northeast Thailand ready for an avotoast cafe? I’m sure not gonna find out! Our town must have the highest turnover for coffee-related businesses in the world.
Triumph is alive and thriving in Thailand (300 units/week):
OK, but why did they ever go to Thailand in the first place?
“It was primarily for us to be able to do certain processes that we wouldn’t be able to do in the UK… So, every company has had to make a choice, in terms of where it’s going to source its components from globally. And some companies are comfortable with saying, “OK, I’m going to go and work with a supplier in China, or – I’m going to buy my complete engines (in some cases) from a different company”. That’s never been Triumph’s way of doing business. John Bloor has always taken a viewpoint that we want to be in control of the things that we believe are important, in order to get the quality of the product right, and to be in charge of the supply chain.
I’ve never been to a motorcycle factory here, but I’ve been to automotive component factories on industrial estates in Chonburi and the production lines managed by major Japanese companies are almost on the same level as ones in Japan.
Thai workers can be trained to do work every bit as well as their Japanese counterparts, this I have seen. I’ve spoken with factory managers, floor supervisors, and line leaders as well, and the consensus is that clear instructions and objectives are what determines good product build specifically here in Thailand. Whereas Japanese workers might take it upon themselves to point out problems or suggestions as part of their constant improvement process, a Thai worker is more likely to express pride in their work by doing exactly what they’re told.
Unsurprisingly, this probably mirrors the evolution of the Japanese line worker as well. Not all Japanese production lines or systems are created equal, and I’ve seen employees discouraged from adding any input during production meetings, and simply told to shut up when being vocal about bad parts or processes. The thing is, this used to be the norm… Now, it’s probably the mark of a company that isn’t going to make it. Every takeover I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a few) has involved a shakeup of production systems, because everyone wants to force their own culture on the new fish in the pond. The thing is, going through every one of those instances in my mind now, I’ve never seen the production line workers being told to communicate line problems less, only more.
The other thing is, I’ve often been told by Japanese supervisors sent overseas (overwhelmingly in Asia) that the local workers act like Japanese workers used to act decades ago – with no voice and just doing what they’re told (which inept supervisors liked and smart supervisors realized was not sustainable).
Tracing a sample from Thai funk –> modern hip hop:
I saw this particular song filter through Soundcloud and various Thai funk compendiums over the past five years; what a great riff!
Original (Onuma Singsiri – Mae Kha Somtam):
July 2017 Usage (Action Bronson – The Chairman’s Intent):
On a related note, it’s great to see the resurgence of Ajarn Chawiwan in Thailand again – I’ve seen her a lot on TV recently. I have footage from when she performed at our wedding oh so long ago. I want to show it to her sometime soon.
This is an interesting video I found on FB, purportedly from this article in the Nation, although I can’t find it there. It’s interesting mainly because the nonlethal weapon sasumata (known as a “man-catcher” in English) was adapted from an an ancient and very deadly samurai weapon of the same name (in Japanese, the English translation of which is “spear-fork”).
Text from the Nation article:
Muang Maha Sarakham police demonstrate how to use sticks to subdue a suspect on Tuesday.
A video of Maha Sarakham police using Y-shaped and hooked sticks to subdue a frantic drunken man, which went viral on Monday, was part of a wider strategy, it was revealed.
It is part of Provincial Police Region 4 training to reduce injuries to suspects and arresting police when attempting to subdue knife-wielding or agitated people, said Muang Maha Sarakham precinct superintendent Colonel Chairoj Nakharaj. He said that once a week since last year, each precinct under Provincial Police Region 4 has had a team of four officers trained in how to use three Y-shaped and one hook-shaped stick to subdue suspects. The hook stick is used to pull a suspect off their feet and the Y-shaped sticks are used to hold them down.
Chairoj said the method is used only when deemed appropriate. The incident in the video, which went viral after its was posted on the precinct’s Facebook page, took place on Saturday after police were alerted to a drunken man wielding an object that looked like a long knife wrapped in a cloth at the Maha Sarakham Bus Station.
He was arrested for creating a public disturbance.
Sasumata demonstration video at Japanese school (YouTube)
Teachers pin down knife-wielding man with two-pronged ‘man catcher’ (JapanToday article)
I only started commonly seeing these berry-like fruits this year. They seem to be growing in popularity up here in Issan, but I suspect they were brought here from another part of Thailand, where they are apparently have shorter names: Nam daeng and nam phrong.
They are apparently used in India for pickles.
I had started calling these Lao Cherries, but there are a couple other fruits already called that (plus they don’t seem to be from this area), so I finally just looked it up.
So the important thing: Do they taste good?
They taste like vitamin C punched you in the throat. Like the sourest mango and unripe lemon (hence the name? Mamuang = mango; Manao = lemon/lime) in the world are frolicking on your tongue. So naturally, Thais eat them dipped in chili sugar and stupid farang stuff three in their mouth at a time to see if it can be done in a sort of personal stupidity challenge.
So wikicheatia has a long paragraph on names for this fruit which, in the spirit of university plagiarism, I will only only slighty modify before pasting here:
maha karamba (Sinhala)
kerenda (in Malaya)
Bengal currant (South India)
Christ’s thorn (South India)
nam phrom (Thailand)
Karja tenga (Assam)
This is probably the best Matsushita knockoff name, ever (combined with a retailer’s misspelling) – and that’s saying a lot since Matsushita and National brands were folded into Panasonic years ago. These trusted brand names live on in developing countries, even if new product lines do not.
I’ve seen quite a few Matsushita, National, and Panasonic knockoff names (and that’s just a few from this electronics group), but the most often honored here and elsewhere is probably Mitsubishi, including the following permutations:
Mitsubashi: “Three bridges”
Mizubashi: “Water bridge”
Matsuboshi: “Pine hat”
“Mitsubishi” literally means “three water chestnuts,” but “-hishi” is what we call a diamond mark so it’s just descriptive of the logo.
Google review of Panom Rung Restaurant by Justin Yoshida
Staring locals. Scary truckers in the dark, broken parking lot… Raw chili and garlic in a dirty center bowl. Unapologetically fatty pork. Best of all, it’s sandwiched between a second rank gas station restroom and minimart. Need I say more?
It’s an epic hole in the wall.