Tag Archives: work

How do you feel today? (if you’re feeling happy then clap your hands)

Last night, instead of having a restful, peaceful sleep my brain decided to do a very thorough evaluation of project I’m working on, in interpretive dream sequences. This could have been helpful for the report I’m writing at the moment, but it was nonsense and I’ve forgotten most of it. So today, how do I feel?

Dear couch, please allow me to melt into you.

Dear couch, please allow me to melt into you. I'm so, so very sleepy.

Just in time, the royal family is coming to the rescue! It’s Coronation Day today, and while we’re not taking the day off like the rest of the country, we have been granted early release! 3pm = home time!

My plans for the afternoon, which I’ve decided to take off (i.e. not work from home or a cafe), include:

  • Sushi
  • Haircut
  • Manicure
  • Run

I wonder how many of these I will actually achieve! The anticipation is overwhelming! Tune into the non-stop action-packed world of Where Is Sarah? tomorrow to find out…

Office Opression

Wow! The strangest thing just happened to me.

I’ve got a report to write. It’s the final report for our big project. But now that it’s time to knuckle down and write I’m getting everything else done but the report. That website I’ve been chipping away on for too long? Done! That review of someone else’s report? Done! Organising my files? DONE!

It’s been great for ‘to do’ list, but not excellent for the report.

I could tell I was turning my office into a zone of procrastinator hell where the vibe is a constant reminder of what you’re NOT doing — which is pretty much the most effective way to make sure you keep NOT doing it — but I didn’t know how to make it stop!

I’ve been looking out the window for a couple of days. Not just gazing, but specifically looking at the courtyard in my building and thinking that I needed to go there. But I pushed on and kept staring at the screen, staying the course, willing, begging words to be typed. This afternoon I decided to go down for just as long as my laptop battery would last. Maybe 30 mins? (It’s a crappy battery)

You won’t believe it…

Within a minute of sitting down words came spilling out of my brain! One of those words was obfuscation! No kidding!

What’s even weirder is that it’s 40 degrees outside! I can work better in 40 degree heat than my stupid bad vibe office! And my apartment is just as bad. I don’t think it’s my office or my apartment specifically, I think it’s indoors!

Can I realistically cultivate a working life that allows me to spend it outdoors? I can’t even begin to figure out the problems I’ll face with power cables.

And what about the weather? I seem to have developed a super human resistance to heat (I was wearing jeans and a scarf in the courtyard) but at the expense of my resistance to cold. When I was in Melbourne last September it was pretty cool for Spring, but I actually cried one day as I walked down the street. The cold was so hurty! It stings! Does that mean I will need to live in hot climates forever just because I want to work outdoors? I find that unacceptably limiting.

For now I will just find a nice outdoor place to work over the weekend and see if I can figure out the trajectory of my life later.

In the media

A couple of articles from last week about some of the work my organisation* is doing:

COMMENT: The challenge of pluralism – Farish A Noor, Daily Times

Conference urges revision of Islamic Jurisprudence, Jakarta Post

*organisation is conveniently not mentioned

No really…where is Sarah?

Work is a bit nuts lately so I’ve had no time to post. I just got back from a few days in Jakarta where I had very little internet access (why is it so hard to use internet at business hotels?). The craziness continues for the next few weeks, but here are a few photos from the last little while demonstrating that life is not all work and no play.

Jess and I played in this booth recreating the snowy landscape. It was even temperature controlled inside! It was advertising a new toothpaste and the whole booth smelled minty fresh!

Jess playing Eskimo. This booth was advertising a new toothpaste. It was temperature controlled and smelled minty fresh!

Yupa at 6.30am on a Sunday waiting for the train to Kanchanaburi...that never came.

Yupa at 6.30am on a Sunday. Waiting for the train to Kanchanaburi...that never came. We all went back to bed.

Walking home from work

On the way home from work


Performers from Nias at CFAN in Jakarta

Look at this guy's cheek!

Look at this guy's cheek!

I love you khlong time

I love boats. I don’t much like being in water but I love being on it. And I love that Bangkok provides ample boating opportunities. I take a boat down the klong (canal) each day to get to work. Not because it’s the most efficient way to get to work. It’s not the most convenient either. It might be the cheapest, but considering that the most expensive way to get to work (taxi) costs only a couple of dollars I can’t use that excuse either. When people ask me why I bother with the boat I tell them it’s reliable, which is kinda true, but a bit of a stretch.

View from a bridge over the khlong

View from a bridge over the khlong

It takes me 45 minutes to get from my house to office if I take this three-legged journey: the skytrain, then the boat down the klong and then walk another 10 minutes from the pier. I do like the reliability of this journey because traffic can’t interfere. In a taxi it might only take 20 minutes, but it might also take 1 hour. But in the last couple of days some of the worst protest-related road blocks have been cleared (linked to the funeral of the Princess, but I’m not sure why the blocks are cleared and if they will return on Monday) so people have been getting from my suburb to the office in 15 minutes. And yet I still take 45 minutes.

Khlong boat leaving the pier

Khlong boat leaving the pier

I just love riding in the boat. We burn down the skinny canal, swerving around other boats, occasionally lifting into the air when we hit a wave. On the sides of the boat there are tarpaulins you can raise with a pully and push down when its time to get out. They exist so the water splashing up the sides doesn’t drench the passengers dressed for work in suits, heals, pressed school uniforms. One morning a big wave took three of us on my bench seat by surprise and we copped faces full of dirty khlong water. The speed with which the guy next to me frantically dried himself off suggested that the water was even more putrid than I imagine. But as someone in my office said today “I’ve seen kids swimming in that water, so if doesn’t kill them then a commuter can probably handle a splash in the face”….But I’m not sure it wouldn’t kill a child with a weak constitution so I make sure to keep my mouth shut so the worst that happens is my hair gets wet and frizzy.

Passengers getting on and off the boat

Passengers getting on and off the boat

There’s another reason why I like my daily khlong ride. This afternoon we were released early from work because more traffic chaos was predicted as the funeral got underway. I reached the pier as I chatted to my friend on the phone about my surprise afternoon off. Dressed from head to toe in black (in recognition of the three day mourning period for the Princess), laptop in one hand, phone to ear, I jumped into the boat, grabbed the right amount of coins for the fare (8 baht) kept chatting to my friend. If anyone would have noticed, which no doubt they didn’t, I would have given the impression of having figured out this environment, a regular in Bangkok. This brings such joy! Because at all other times than this 10 minutes on the boat I am still completely lost in this city. I speak woefully little Thai for someone who’s been in the country for a month, and I still get lost every time I leave my suburb. It is pretty cool to have that little piece of regularity that I have all figured out.

Afterthought: The idea to write this post came into my head while I was on the boat this afternoon, and I was giggling about the title, which just kept getting funnier the more I thought about it. Because I was busy giggling and patting myself on the back for being a comic genius, I almost missed my stop and had to jump up and out of the boat as it pulled away from the pier. So I went back to looking like a silly lost farang (foreigner) again!