I am the downfall of judaism...who knew?

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Phangnga,
Thursday, May 5, 2011

One of the things that makes living in Thailand so great is that if you happen to find yourself in a bit of trouble, be it a speeding ticket or a triple homicide, you can always bribe your way out of it. I don't think that Thailand is the most corrupt country in the world but they are definitely in the running.  While this makes it easier to live here it is also a sad state of affairs because no progress is made as a society since the people with money create their own laws and justice.

 As an example I will tell you about my place of work.  I dive in the similan island "marine park" which is supposed to be a fishing free zone with something like a 3 mile buffer around the islands.  To fund this “marine park” the diving and snorkeling operations are charged about $18 per person to enter the park.  Of course this cost is passed directly down to the consumer so in reality the park is charging people this money to spend the day in aquatic paradise.  I was never able to put an exact amount on the fees that are paid yearly but I estimated it at somewhere around 3 million dollars.  You would expect a marine park that is being funded with 3 million dollars a year to be pretty state of the art and well equipped……but of course this is Thailand so there is only one broke ass speed boat to “patrol” the whole area and a few rubber dinghy’s to run around the main island and collect money from the dive boats.  You may ask yourself “this is what 3 million dollars a year can buy?” and the answer would be no.  The Bangkok post had an article recently saying that the yearly fees going into the marine park are over 30 million dollars, not 3 and that of this money almost all of it is being pocketed by officials and the “park police”.

The sad part of this story is that there is absolutely no enforcement in this marine park and when the dive boats leave for the off season, the fishing boats move in and rape the park without mercy while paying bribes to the same park police who are pocketing all of the entrance fees.  The first week of the dive season in October is spent cutting nets off of the dive sites and cutting open fishing cages that were left on the sea floor.  There is no such thing as sustainable fishing in Thailand.  This country (along with many others) believes in catch whatever you can today and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.  There is no forward thinking or energy put towards conservation and it will soon be too late.  In a sick sort of way I am looking forward to the day that the whole industry collapses and I can see the misery that these bastards will have brought on themselves.

I have been diving twice over in Malaysian Borneo in a place called Sipidan.  This area is famous amongst divers and is known as one of the best dive areas in the world.  The Malaysian military has somewhere around 30-40 heavily armed gunboats that patrol the area.  These boats are manned by serious looking gentlemen who are covered in bulletproof body armor as they stand behind their .50 caliber machine guns.  There are NO fishing boats seen anywhere near this area because Malaysia understands that they have one of the most amazing natural resources in the world.  Sure they could come through and fish out all the sharks and schools of barracuda etc. etc. but this would prove profitable for maybe 2 or 3 years and then would collapse upon itself like some horrible murderous balloon.  Instead of this asinine path, they have chosen to REALLY protect the area and nurture it for the future.  I would love to send the head of the similan park over to sipidan and let him see how his job is supposed to be conducted…..the incompetent prick.

People seem pretty amazed and shocked that I am going to get married sometime in the near future.  Some of the messages I have gotten on Facebook are pretty funny.  It’s a bit disturbing that many of my friends are salivating over the idea of a bachelor party in Bangkok and are not overly interested in the wedding, but putting myself in their shoes I would probably be the same.  A chance to go to a completely foreign land that is known for craziness and then have a party that lasts multiple days and destroys more than one liver……where do I sign up?  I am pretty sure that the insanity that we got ourselves into would be of epic proportions.  I’m just not sure everyone would survive.

I called my grandmother (on my mother’s side) to tell her the joyous news of my engagement and I ended up getting an earful on how I am singlehandedly ruining the Jewish religion by not marrying within my faith.  I should have expected as much since she is a woman from that side of the family.  I’m not sure what gene mutated into what configuration but the female members of that side of the family are in desperate need of therapy and medication.  Not sure if they are clinically insane but there is definitely something off kilter over there.

 But putting fucked up genes aside for a moment I would like to wax poetic about staying within your own religion. First of all, those of you who know me or have at least read a few of my blogs know that I am an evangelical atheist.  I find all religions insanely interesting but shudder at the thought of actually joining one.  For my grandmother to lay the whole “why can’t you marry a nice Jewish girl” trip on me was not only surreal but also a PRIME EXAMPLE of why I hate religion.  Of course god will be angry if you marry someone you love.  That is not what he intended when he formed us out of dust and clay.  You should be forced into a relationship based purely on religious background and then the big invisible man in the sky will smile upon you.  What a load of shit.  The people who actually believe this bit of nonsense are pitiable.

I don’t think that people need a book that was written by a bunch of chauvinistic goat herders 5000 years ago to tell them who they should marry.  In my humble opinion, a person should marry someone who makes their heart sing out with joy and elation.  Marry the person that you can’t live without, the person who looks into your eyes and sees into the depths of your being instead of someone who just so happens to have been born into the same small minded tribal belief system as you.  The fact that I even have to listen to this bullshit from my grandmother in this day and age is pitiful.  Why don’t we all just go back to the mouth of the caves and fling shit at each other by the light of a full moon?

So I THINK that I am going out on my last trip of the season starting tomorrow night (the 5th).  I’m not completely sure because this is not my usual assigned boat (we have 3 boats and 2 of them are finished for the season) and I am not “fixed” staff for this particular boat.  I certainly hope to get back out on the water for one last go around.  It’s nice to kinda say goodbye to the dive sites for a bit and also, my last dive the other day was ridiculously lame as it was in a very strong current which is ok but my customers were air hogs so the dive only lasted 21 minutes which is my shortest dive this season…….very lame.  I want to go diving and enjoy the dive sites one last time while hoping to god I have some cool customers who actually know what they are doing in the water.  My theory is that about 70% of all recreational divers are incompetent and quasi dangerous to themselves and to the dive staff trying to take care of them.  Of course my friends at the dive shop are saying that I am being waaaaaay too kind and the number is more like 90% but I think that is just the bitterness of a long season coming out.

I have a 12 hour layover in the airport in Korea.  Sweet jumped up Jesus on a chariot, what the hell am I going to do for 12 hours in a Korean airport?  I think if you are saddled with a 12 hour layover, the fucking airline should give you a free pass into their VIP lounge or at least a cheap hotel room or something.  12 hours in an airport is just cruel and unusual. In a sick twist, I am actually hoping that my flight gets delayed while in the air for a bit so I can watch more movies on the onboard entertainment system instead of sitting on a cold ass fake marble floor, watching hurried people run hither and yon with their little rolling bags in tow.   If I have any sort of luck at all, the airport will be providing free Wi-Fi to its inhabitants.  Does anyone know the odds of this happening? I don’t fly enough to know the ins and outs of airport protocol but free Wi-Fi would definitely be a life saver.

  All I know about airports is that I am going to get a serious hassle at the Seattle airport when I arrive.  I always get selected for the “special” line.  You know the one, where they tear through your bags and question you without end about what countries you have been to and what fruits you may or may not have in your bag at this particular time.  I haven’t been in the country for 2 years so they are sure to be pissed off that I have escaped American society for so long.  I am only half joking about this because it seems that whenever I tell homeland security that I LIVE in Thailand, they cop a serious attitude towards me.  I find it very strange that they somehow take offense towards the idea of someone choosing to leave America for the larger world which is quite literally just waiting to be explored.  Personally I think homeland security is comprised in many cases of people who take themselves way too seriously.

Here’s a funny little side note piece of information that made me laugh.  I have recently downloaded the new picasa photo editing software which is pretty handy and fun.  Well there is an application in there where it can read all the faces in your photos and categorize them for you, so say if you have a bunch of pictures of your thai girlfriend, the program sees her face and can put all the photos containing versions of her face into a separate folder for you.  The funny thing is that the software apparently reads my face and my fathers face as nearly the same because about half of my photos of him end up being categorized as me.  Weird and wacky and kinda funny.

So I went onto the internet the other day to check my email and do various other internet activities and I learn that lo and behold we had finally tracked down and shot bin laden in the head. I say “we” because I truly believe that most of the civilized world had a vested interest in this pursuit and killing.  The world is a better place without this piece of filth and I think most civilized people will rejoice in this unexpected event.  Before I begin my rant I would just like to say that there could be no better ending to this sack of shits life other than possibly the entire U.S. navy urinating on him before they dumped his rotting corpse into the ocean.

Now for the rant.  It’s been a while since I have let fly with a verbal volley that will alleviate the cranial pressure building from the unending stupidity of the people around me so I figured now would be as good a time as any.  Travelling throughout Asia and the world in general, I am surrounded by Europeans from all over the continent.  When it comes to attitudes towards America there is a clear delineation of thought between older and younger Europeans.  The older generations that I meet do not always agree with American ideals and diplomacy but for the most part, their opinion is that despite its faults, the U.S. is doing the best it can in the world with which it is presented.  I think this may be attributed to the older generation’s ability to remember the United States defending their continent against the soviets for the better part of half a century and the defeat of Nazism before that.

The younger generation and by far the more numerous of the travelers out here are of a completely different mindset.  The thought process goes something like this…. everything the United States does is inherently evil and is based on one of two things…..killing Muslims or getting more oil. It is truly amazing to hear this theory presented when put in the context of providing aid to earthquake victims or tsunami victims around the world but people actually try. The weird and wacky conspiracy theories that float amongst this group has made me seriously question if the entire idea of critical thinking has been left out of the European school system.  You do not look at the facts and evidence of a situation and then CONSTANTLY pick out the zaniest and least likely scenario as fact.  At least if you want to be taken seriously and not be considered an imbecile.

I’m not sure what the root cause of this is to be honest.  Is it a backlash of sorts to a feeling of jealousy that American culture is all encompassing?  That the life that is held up as the most ideal, that of the big house and two cars and 2.4 children is the American ideal and not the Spanish or the French?  Are they jealous of the relative stability that America has within its borders?  Oh sure we have our problems (read gun violence) but we are not nearly as fractured as countries within Europe.  Talk to the Spanish and you hear of ethnic splits that tear the country apart.  France is wracked with a huge population of unemployed Muslims that are not assimilating into their society…..the list goes on.  The youth of Europe must look into the relative calm of America with a certain feeling of longing.

Whatever causes this hatred for all things American has reached the point of insanity.  When the news of bin ladens death reached us here in Thailand, the first responses I heard was that the U.S. always knew where he was and was just waiting for a good time to kill him or that he is not dead because obviously the u.s. military can’t do anything correctly (might want to ask the Nazi’s about that one).  My favorite theory was that bin laden has never existed and that he was just a figment to scare people.  A good portion of my European friends are, for a lack of a better word, complete idiots when it comes to this topic.  All I wish for is a little honest evaluation of the evidence but that is probably too much to ask from these people.

The younger generation of Europeans constantly considers themselves above Americans.  In their eyes, they are better traveled and have health insurance for god’s sake so how could they possibly not be better than the average American.  But for all of their worldly travels they seem to have fallen victim to nothing more than the fad of hating America.  It is very chic and cool to sit in a bar in Bangkok and talk about the horrible things that America is doing throughout the world.  It’s a cute fad I suppose and lets oneself feel superior to another country even though that without that particular country your entire society would not exist…… but never mind that little tid bit.  Never mind that our country had to sacrifice its blood to keep you silly fuckers from butchering each other twice in one century (three times if you want to count Kosovo).  No let’s not pay attention to any of that but instead lets go onto the internet and find some whacked out conspiracy theory so I can be part of a fad.  I am tired of these people and their bullshit and their idiotic opinions that are based on nothing more than idle mental pissings on conspiracy websites.  Abraham Lincoln once said “it is better to appear a fool then to open ones mouth and remove all doubt”.  These jackasses have in my humble opinion, removed all doubt.  (You have to be impressed that I can quote Lincoln on the fly like that……I am).
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