Crowd Control 1

Controlling a class of 60 third graders who speak another language is very similar to controlling an angry mob. Thai teachers have an advantage. Commanding the students in Thai is infinitely easier than commanding them in English, for obvious reasons, and if that fails they will pull out the ruler or bamboo cane. I have one teacher who walks around the room singing, "bamboo rod is heeere, bamboo rod is heeere, wiiilll hit yooou, wiiilll hit yooou!" Usually a slap on the hand or a quick lash across the bum is sufficient, occasionally some open hand slaps on the back are administered. These physical attacks are more emotionally abusing than anything else, you can see in the students eyes that they are embarassed, not injured.

So what is the western teacher to do? I won't hit them and I cannot speak Thai. The Answer is CROWD CONTROL.

The first few moments in class are the most important. When the class sees that the white guy is in control, they will act absolutely crazy. Students will crowd around you asking for high fives, petting your foreign arm hair, and trying to show you their latest drawings. In the back there are boys dancing on desks and fighting and yelling. If you stand there yelling in English, it will have no effect. This is how you control the mob.

1. Tell the boys to sit down one or two times. Some will sit. Bring one boy (preferably the class leader) and tell him to write the number of each boy who is behaving poorly on the board for everyone to see under the title "BAD". Stand there at the front, silently, unsmiling, and point at boys whose number you want on the board. The key to crowd control is exposure. If you talk, everyone in the room will see your number next to the word "BAD" and that is embarrassing, regardless if there will be any tangible punishment.

2. If simple exposure doesn't keep the boys in check, I quantify their embarrassment. Next to boys that continue to talk or misbehave I write how many points they will lose that day. These are fictional points, never recorded, like a placebo. Responsible students will be silenced instantly, not wanting their grade to suffer and their parents to be disappointed. The bad seeds will become quieter with the rest of the mob. Still that might not be enough.

3. If there is still a student misbehaving (there may be 5 still talking in a class of sixty). You call their numbers and make them stand on their chairs. This is further exposure, standing above the rest of the students. A standing student who misbehaves will be scolded. I will ask questions about the reading assignments to the students who are standing, they won't be able to answer them and they will be further humiliated. Notice; I still have not raised my voice, spoke Thai, or hit the children.

4. If a boy still misbehaves, and they often do, I silence the whole class by isolating one student and humiliating them publicly. Never choose the worst boy, he is A.D.D., he won't understand the punishment and the other students don't care if he is the center of attention, that isn't unusual. Instead select the boy who is next to the worst boy. We are going to punish him for supporting the child who is the biggest problem. Call his number and bring him to the front of the room. The class sits silently waiting to see what you will do. Write his number on the board bigger than the other numbers. Then you scold him. Ask why is he talking during class. Ask if he wants to stay in the room or go home. Ask if he understands. He will be scared and will not talk again during class. Sit him on the floor in the corner of the room where everyone can see him.

5. After the mayhem has settled, explain the rules. Talking results in points off, then standing on your chair, then sitting in the hall. They will behave, if there is any further insubordination, stop class and put out the fire immediately. In crowd control, you have to run a tight ship.


Felt (Slug & Murs) - Felt 3 (A Tribute to Rosie Perez)

Try it here!



 This is some indescribable art that I made after class one day. Its the Bangkok skyline from Lumpini Park, a couple phrases that define Bangkok in one way or another, and some other elements that create a somewhat chaotic cityscape. Basically, it is what it is.


BKK Fuzz

 These are some photos of the local happenings in Bangkok, taking place on Khao San, The Chanel Store in Siam Paragon, In Love on the Chao Praya, The Grand Palace, and the Museum by MBK. In that order.

Some photos courtesy of Katie, I just edited them.

Nico Vega - Cocaine Cooked The Brain (Guns n Bombs Remix)


Underground Bangkok

Bangkok nightlife doesn't mess around. People from all over the world come here to prowl the streets in search of the craziest party, the best music, or some other less wholesome entertainment. Needless to say clubs and DJs here know how to throw a party. Last night we went to a warehouse party on the Chao Praya river sponsored by Smirnoff. There was a giant structure made of scaffolding and white paper, DJs and dancers in costumes protruding from every level. Party goers were given 3D glasses for the light show that was going on during the party, and your bucket (of vodka, red bull and sprite) was sold by the gaudiest lady boy money can buy. Spontaneous dance competitions would develop, only to be won moments later by a man dressed as the grim reaper on stilts that somehow did not impede his dance moves (which can only be described as "dirty"). A friend back home requested that I share some of this eastern intensity with the west, so here it is. The Bangkok DJs broadcast their music on Underground Bangkok. Enjoy!


Laos, Wow!


Panda Story

Below is a story one of my students wrote about a panda. He is 8 years old and it is completely unedited. It is also completely AWESOME.

Panda Story

by Khunatch AKA Porche

One day ago, My Panda is in the Forest

But now I caught the panda in the forest

It is pretty, It female, Later I have caught 

male panda and the two pandaeach 

other and the last baby Panda was born!

The end

Panda Story

Below is a story one of my students wrote about a panda. He is 8 years old and it is completely unedited. It is also completely AWESOME.

Panda Story
by Ratchapoom Thongsin

Once upon a time has one panda name ko. ko like to play sword, spear knight, fight monster. His dream is he whould like to be hero of the panda village. One day has Panda Pirate his name is Jack Jolo. He came to destroyed the village and kill everyone but has one panda came to fight his name is ko. ko came by his love sword that his father made for him. he kill the pirate and destroy the pirate ship. Since that day he was the hero that can protect our village form other pirate and since that day Jake Jolo not came to this Village forever. THE END.

Hip Hop downloads for everyone

Lil Wayne - The Rebirth
On The Rebirth Lil Wayne explores the rock god inside us all and I have to be honest, I think its crap. The few things that I still enjoyed about his music (catchy beats and over production) have been smothered by the guitar on this album. Not a fan.

DJ Premier - On Tha Road Again (mixtape)
For the recreational hip hop user, DJ premier has a new mixtape, On Tha Road Again. He has produced some of the best songs of all time (for Nas, Jay-Z, MOP, the list goes on) and this mixtape features the likes of Rakewon, Royce da 5'9" and Clipse. That being said... usually mixtapes fall short of greatness. You be the judge.

DOOM Presents Unexpected Guests
For the hip hop connoisseur. This is a collection of some of the best tracks that have featured DOOM from artists all over the board; Wu Tang, Talib Kweli, Vast Aire, etc. I'm into it, check it out.


Un Prophete (Trailer)

This is the preview for Un Prophete, which won Cannes this year. Looks pretty incredible.


Danger Mouse and Jemini - Ghetto Pop Life (hip hop)

This is one of my favorite hip hop albums. Produced by Danger Mouse, Jemini tells it like it is over a rich, soulful soundscape. Best enjoyed in a pair of quality headphones or over the best speakers in the house. You can try it here!

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp (Video)

The new video from Yeasayer is a little different from your run of the mill. I think Dali would be proud. Check it out.

Top 100 Tracks of 2009 (Pitchfork)

It is officially that time of year. One of my favorite countdowns every year is the Pitchfork 100. This is the perfect opportunity to look at all the music that has come out over the last year and listen to some of those great songs that may have slipped through the cracks. I will leave a link to this list at the top of the page so you can check back until the New Year. Enjoy!


The Grouch & Eligh - Say G&E! (hip hop)

This is a recent CD by Grouch and Eligh of the Living Legends. It's called Say G&E! and you can try it here!

Yeasayer - Odd Blood (experimental, psychedelic, indie, folk)

 The new Yeasayer CD is out and I really enjoy it. You can download it here!


Travelers are Black and White


Evolution of a Dance Party

 I was at the Sasquatch Music festival this summer watching Santigold (which was delightful) just minding my own business really, and then I turned around and saw this... this is incredible.

Thai Nicknames

Just like any good organized crime ring, my third grade students all have nicknames to accompany their traditional Thai names. Below is a list of the students and their nicknames from my last class of the day. Just imagine how difficult it is to scold a kid named Yea.


Laos is Raw - The Lost Tapes

Laos is intense. It is a communist country with a strict curfew at midnight that is enforced by military police armed with AK-47s. We saw more than a few westerners get arrested for violating curfew (on the way back for violating it ourselves). In contrast, evidently it is acceptable to party your face off on the river all day before curfew. This means you tube down the river from bar to bar, enjoying free shots of whiskey, pumping dance music, and a variety of apparatuses that launch you into the water. There is even a slide that you cannot go down unless you have purchased a beer. Anyway, here are a few pictures of the mayhem. Enjoy!