Nothing much of note while I spend a frustrating week working at site, so perhaps a pastiche of things I noticed over the last few weeks.

They love stamping things here. Everyone has a stamp pad and at least 2 stamps they use. While my passport was off with immigration for my resident status, I was given a letter and a copy of my passport to carry around and use for airport check-ins etc. Every person I showed it to, started to read it and reflexively reached for their stamp pad. As if there must be some requirement for them to stamp it in some way. Eventually they would find there really wasn't anywhere to stamp so they just had their hand hovering expectantly. Like the letter had left their stamping hand hanging. Boarding passes get stamped and then stamped again 5 metres away by another person in a uniform? Why? What checkpoint did I pass in moving from over there to over here? In the office we have a crazy process where an electronic document is printed, stamped, scanned and saved with the stamp on it. WTF!! I was 3 once and can understand the joy of leaving marks on pieces of paper with inked blocks, but they are obsessed with it here.

Regulation of advertising has not happened here. The idea that you need to back up any claim you make in advertising - well caveat emptor. I was watching Lao TV as they had live coverage of the morning boat races and there were 2 scam based informercials on.  One was for a plug in line conditioner that will save your power bills by.... some thing to do with wave functions or something... that wasn't clear. The device is banned from sale anywhere that requires certification for electrical devices so I was disappointed to see it being touted here trying to rip off people who don't know better and probably don't have people who do know better to help look after them. The other was homeopathy and we haven't gotten rid of that at home yet either so I can't complain too much about that scam.

When you are hot you usually reduce the amount of clothing you are wearing. It also makes sense to expose as much surface area as you can to the cooling breezes. Which is why just hitching your shirt up when you are hot makes a lot of sense. In fact it makes more sense to do this if you have a large gut as this means you will have even more surface area to expose to the winds and thus cool down more. All totally logical. DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT, THOUGH!!

And finally; In my all too frequent situation as the only falang in the room, if I'm with a group it seems that I am in charge. This may partly be just me being me (it happens at home on the odd occasion) but it seems nearly universal here. A question comes up and all the heads swivel towards me. Luckily I'm really good at pretending to be decisive.

AuthorBruce Hardie