Free The Animal

Radical Life: The Story From Deep In Rural Thailand

I Built a House in 2 1/2 Months

I’m now officially a permanent resident of Thailand, visa and all

Why? Here’s a recent comment on another post that provides an overview of my thinking. Essentially, one thing led to another.

Hey Bret,

Your last part reminded me of myself. I was all gung ho on this digital nomad thing, travelling the world in perpetuity in a 60L backpack. Well, Covid squashed that, so I end up here in rural Thailand, just finishing up building a house…well, taking it from about 400 sf (2 bedrooms and a bathroom) to about 1,400 sf, 4 BR, 2 bath, sitting room, huge kitchen. For the GF, her mom, 2 daughters 11 and 10; her sis, hubby, and 5 yo boy.

And I’m having the time of my life playing dad / uncle.

See the photo in m reply to Resurgent, above. That’s our bedroom and my workspace.

So this is my backup plan.

The snake is a white-lipped pit viper, photo taken right across the road. The other one was a baby (10″ or so) monocled cobra, right outside the back door from the kitchen.

I haven’t posted on this blog about Thailand life since here only 8 weeks, now 6 1/2 months: MY 8 WEEKS IN THAILAND #2 — THE MORALIZING OUTRAGE, March 15, and a day before my visa expired, just as the Covid scamdemic pandecon was gaining speed. What follows are the main events of a quite remarkable lemons-to-lemonade story, shotgun-bullet style:

Yui has a fully automatic Filano by Yamaha. So I ask: “can you drive a clutch & gears?” “RICHARD, I country girl; we drive anything.” And sure enough…
Never show teeth, don’t smile, never fucking tilt your head like a chick
Reunited. The house-addition is just about a week in.
Western folk tend to have Deer-Crossing signs. So sorry. You have to move to Thailand for Elephant-Crossing signs.

It was to be a few weeks trial. Once I had met the kids, ‘maaa’, villagers, the feral dogs, etc., I was hooked and I decided to finish their pathetic house her Brazilian 40-something BF of three years “built.” Yep, not only is she an “old man” aficionado, but she knows farang. She spent 9 months in Brazil over three trips. Hated it, but probably still loves philandering-Daniel, though. There’s even a dog named after him, here.

A text about the dogs, out to my ex-wife, steward of our dogs.

Let me tell you about dogs here. Some are kinda like people’s dogs, but not really. In this part of the village, there are about 6 or so roaming dogs. 2 females: American and Dum (‘dum’ is Thai for black, ’cause she’s a bit black color). The rest are males. No dogs are fixed, no dog has ever seen a vet. No dog has shots, anything.

After I got here, I asked Yui, “does anyone feed the dogs, or just what they can find?” “Just what they can find.” They eat a lot of pork and chicken bones, they scrounge the trash piles. Yet, they all look lean, muscular, in pristine health. I have never seen a dog formally fed. Not once.

Dum is in heat, all swollen. Obvious. The Thais either don’t care or are oblivious. The four males fight many times per day, narrowing it down. Now, only two out of 4 remain in pursuit. “Daniel” got into it big time. This morning, he had a lame back leg. Then, later, blood all over his head from multiple puncture wounds and an ear a bit mangled. He was laying around, lethargic.

I had half an idea to offer to take him to a vet and I’d pay for it. I didn’t, for fear of being laughed at. “What’s a veterinarian?”

Low and behold, an hour larter, he’s skipping around on all four, oblivious, and following Dum everywhere, along with another male. They are relentless.

I doubt a Thai person in any rural area like this has ever spent a single baht on a dog, yet they seem so healthy and natural. Free roaming, but they stick around, I guess because they figure it’s the best deal they can get.

None are the slightest bit aggressive to people, even the young children.

So, conclusion is that i like it better. Dogs as dogs.

I’ll add: there are a few dozen free-roaming annoying-as-fuck chickens here (partly why we built a perimeter wall), even newly hatched chicklets. These starving dogs do not touch them, ever. Shoo, growl, or snap them away, is all. Neither are the chickens afraid of the dogs, though they keep a ‘social distance,’ being every bit as smart as CovidSentinals.

Oh how the ignorant and unwashed live, eh? I’ll tell you another thing: I have never seen a pile of dogshit, ever not in 3 months: No. Where. I got curious enough to ask. “Oh, they go across the street in the forest.” There are no leashes here.

Neither are leashes or helicopters so, for the dozens of village children who are just as free-roaming. In times where there’s no school, they’re off and about with the other village children, doing kid stuff. They amuse themselves with piles of rock and sand, substrates for the concrete the house is made of. Oh, speaking of school.

First day back in school since the CovidParanoia. Fom the left, 11yo Chili, 10yo Wasabi, and 5yo Ninja—all in proper uniform.

And just like that, I love this country if for nothing else, children (and women) are kept in their place, helping to prevent them becoming petulant child assholes with their social games via clothing, devices, status, and all that; teach them at school….which, btw, is a 500-meter walk down the village lane, same place maaa Yui and her sister, Noon (pictured, maaa of Ninja), walked to school.

Dear sweet Wasabi. It costs poor Thai villagers a good portion of a month’s wages to outfit their children with all the required uniforms and yes, the teachers are in uniform as well.

Please do tell me again how the Wage Slaves of the West are so much better off, with most of their children being those they would otherwise want to murder, except for that single fact….

And, you incel MGTOWs, please tell me again what a sucker I am, while you hide behind a facade of faux masculinity where when stripped away, you’re really nothing but a humanoid with male genitals who shirks any vestige of responsibility. A man creates responsibility in such a way that a man cannot escape it…he seals his own fate. Children are the root of that; employees, another. Men do not abandon children or employees once responsibility is taken up. Man up, or “stop the Yak Yak,” as 27yo Yui says.

Beyond the financial support that makes things stable for the kids, it has been my solemn duty to teach them what I know. Preeminent in that is not only English, but proper and well-pronounced English. Generally, you have to catch a child before 7yo to get perfect pronunciation, So, this plays out interestingly.

Initially, I loaded the three usual suspects with Hooked on Phonics. No interest. So, I simply talk my head off with them. I don’t let them go get a translation from Maaa Yui.

“No, we’re going to figure this out.”

11yo Chili pops in, asking, “Richard, I need [something that sounded like “cream”] but she was twisting her hand as though turning a screw. “Let’s figure this out.” So I start quizzing her, she gets flustered, and calls out, “maaa Yui!?” “No, let’s figure this out.” I open a clothing cabinet door, point to a screw, do the same twisting motion. No joy.

But I sense she needs a tool, so I introduce the general concept, an invaluable and essential one. “You need a TOOL!” Then I keep saying tool, tool, tool and I make her pronounce it correctly. “No, not ‘too,’ “TO-WELL; now fast: tewel.” Now that’s established, I point to my tool box and she lights up. I take it down, and she picks the NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS and I make her say it over and over, then go into the sitting room where family is visiting to tell them what she got.

5yo Ninja is quite a different study. He hasn’t spoken but for one single word of English; but magically, he seems to understand everything I say by his actions. I tell Chili and Wasabi that he’s is going to leapfrog them both. Just the other day, everyone is at the afternoon market for food to cook for dinner (how it rolls, here, every day, 365). Only Ninja is here, it’s dusk and he’s out on the patio fiddling with something. I ask, just as I would to any American: “want me to turn on the light?” “YES!” he replies enthusiastically. Within months, he’ll be teaching his older cousins English.

…You’re curious about the house build and what it cost, I can tell. I’ll cover it.

How it turned out. Lower left bath, BR, and BR is what I started with. Not to scale.
I tried like hell to get Yui to go with something different. To the left is my original idea but to the right, I was trying to introduce the concept of Great Room with living and kitchen all in one. No joy. Not even close. Even though I was paying the bill, her way. Her dream. Now, you can be sore about that or, understand something.

Why did I do this? As I’ve told Yui: I didn’t do it so much for you; I did it for your mom and your daughters. It’s for real and it’s permanent. Folks seem to want to warn me: BEWARE THE THAI GIRL, YOU’RE JUST AN ATM.

And I laugh: Oh, you mean they’re honest about it?

I spent about $30,000 in the space of 10 weeks: about 20 of that on materials, 5 on labor, 5 on furnishings and amenities like audio-visual. Yes, I was my own contractor here in rural Thailand where the ubiquitous building skills (principally: masonry, concrete, roofing, and plumbing) fucking wowed me to such an extent my goal is to start a construction company here, because I can manage it, account for costs, and make a profit—impossible where I was born in the euphemistic Land of the Free. I went and bought materials directly and ferried them back or paid for delivery to site. I paid 3-4 highly skilled workers 150 baht per day above village scale of 350 baht ($11). I paid them 500 baht ($16) per day, seven days per week, solid 10 hours or more.

It’s cash daily. No taxes, no paperwork; and no, no facade of public safety with its veiled payoffs we call permits and inspections. Here, if you need to pay off, you do it directly, cash too. No euphemisms. Zero granting me permission to start this on day one and finish in 10 week’s time. But do tell me about your high American wages where you still can’t even keep up, as everything is being priced out of your markets all the time.

But what do I know about any of this, even though I was born in the biggest euphemistic joke in all world history: Land of the Free.

And metaphor is all you have left. And that’s a sad thing.

The build complete, the “house warming party” ensued. They call it something more akin to a blessing ceremony and the lucky number 9 prevails. For example, 9 monks from the local temple, close enough I can hear their morning prayer-chants in the distance from 4am onward, as ubiquitous and sure as your confidence that the sun will rise. I refer to it as a meaningful privilege but that doesn’t capture the feeling and why it motivates me to be up and about by 5am every morning, often earlier.

The day prior to the “party,” I asked Yui, “when does it start?” “They start cooking at 3.” Ha, little did I know. 5am next morning, lights come on, “it’s starting!” She means it’s going to start. Sort of like when my motorcycle arrived at the post office in Khukhan from Chiang Mail, 1,000 km away (yes, you can “mail” a motorcycle in Thailand, costs about $120), she gets a phone call: “motorcycle is coming.” They’re not big on tense.

“But you said 3?”

“Yes, they start cooking at 3,” meaning they started two hours ago, at 3am. Turns out the monks eat at 6:30 and 12:30, then they’re done with caloric intake for the day. Is that why they’re all lean, fit, and long lived?

All that being finished left a hole. Now what? I’ve got an air-conditioned house (4 separate units), smokin’ internet, TVs, Netflix that doesn’t buffer even it’s streaming to 3 TVs at once, free on-air satellite, a nice work space—and to my deep despair, a karaoke machine. Oh, God-Buddha, what mischief have I wrought?

I’d just completed my visa. I decided I need to “work.” You’re generally prohibited from working in Thailand, but there are things you can do, like own a business that employs Thai people, loan money, etc.

I financed all the start-up costs for a small restaurant in Lalom, now owned by Yui’s younger sister Nun (“Noon”).

Nun quit her job working in a cosmetics shop in Surin, her and husband moved here to occupy one of the four bedrooms, and within days of opening, is at a monthly run-rate of 30,000 baht net profit per month (after COGS and overhead). How much in dollars or Euros? Who cares? That’s arbitrary. The average wage for a Thai is 10,000 – 15,000 baht per month, she was making 15, now making double that, in her own business. I did not take equity. It’s a loan (a very high-priced loan).

Now we’re working on a business for Yui, a woman’s fashion shop. Same deal. No equity. A start-up loan (expensive).

The aim here was clear and simple.

  1. Take them from the squalor the Brazilian built to the nicest house in the village, thereby changing mindset from poor to middle-class with head held high. Consequently, you pick up after yourself, dispose of trash off the property, stay on top of laundry, wash the dishes before you have to because there’s no clean ones, and wash surfaces such as to reduce the ubiquity of ants and flying insects.
  2. Start micro businesses so as to become self-sufficient and not dependent on me should something happen or I decide to move on.
  3. Above all, this was never about creating or fostering dependency, or, pay for play. This would all be an embarrassing failure if they cannot be self-sufficient. That is the true, overencompasing value I’m providing. Money is fleeting. The ability to generate it is lasting and permanent. No exceptions.

That is all quickly coming to fruition, along with a gradual ability to operate in the English language, invaluable for the children and their future job or business prospects and opportunities.

As for me.

  1. I have another business in Thailand I’ve invested $5,000 capital in, so far. This is a capital investment, not a loan. Details are private, for the time being but it’s paying off very nicely and I’m looking to greatly expand that investment over time, should its initial success prove consistent.
  2. I’m energetically ramping up my online activities. This blog, producing videos, and building a pledge presence on Patreon, mirrored on SubscribeStar.
  3. I’m producing short videos for both the subscribe site and open-access on the blog almost daily.
  4. I’m up by 5:30am at the latest, every day, 7 times per week. I’m generally working until 8-9pm on projects to be rolled out on the subscribe site and open-access on the blog.
  5. I eat food from 10am until 2pm, then hard stop until the next day. Consequently, I’ve dropped 9 kilo (20 pounds) and counting.
  6. I eliminated alcohol from my life in favor of better things to do. I’ve tried life with alcohol and now, without, for the first time in 40 years. I prefer the later. Incidentally: this was, surprisingly, the easiest thing I did of all all of the foregoing. I guess I’d had enough. 40 years of boozing, and I came out the other end still healthy, still looking younger than my 59 1/2 years.

So, this constitutes The Big Overview. There are a million sub-stories to tell, in-depth, over time, while I make other stories, especially with the kids.

Oh, what a fountain of youth I’ve discovered. No excuses responsibility for children. Highly recommended, especially for an “old man” (as Yui calls me).

I gotta run or, more accurately, walk the kids to the village school—maybe 400-500 meters down the road. Because of the CovidHysteria that infected Thailand, too, they’re doing school on Saturday to catch up. I offer a juxtaposition.

The kids and moms here in Ban Laem Thong for the mother’s day honoring a couple of weeks ago, contrasted with the caged-animal fashions in Bangkok schools

I guess these rural country kids and their mothers just aren’t as informed, smart, and sophisticated as are all the urban-center “Karen” and “Ken” lemmings, regurgitating and mimicking all the narratives, slogans, bromides, and memes in the service of the general media, corporate, and state propaganda machine.

Later, bye, over, and out.

Update, I did an accompanying video:

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