Coffee and Tea for Maths

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Aside from the English language being my favourite subject at school, I also had an interest in maths, although I wouldn’t say I was an ‘Einstein’ at it. I would say I was a moderate student when it came to maths. Even with the many after-school tuition, my level of maths remained the same. No teachers could make me better in the subject. It wasn’t until I met *Mr Ackerman, my maths teacher in Year 9 (8th Grade in the American system) at Patana.

At first, Mr Ackerman looked like any other teachers. He seemed friendly, energetic and strict all at the same time. It was our first lesson and we were taught algebra. There were around twelve of us in the class. Halfway through the lesson, Mr Ackerman suddenly stopped teaching, and out of the blue, he asked us, “Would you guys like some coffee or tea?” The entire class remained quiet and still. Everyone glanced at one another, confused. Just like me, we all thought Mr Ackerman was joking. Then he said, “Come on, guys. I’m serious. I don’t have all day. Coffee or tea anyone?” Everyone continued to remain quiet and still. Then after a short while, someone said with much hesitant, “I’ll have a cup of tea please.” Mr Ackerman said, “Tea, right. Anyone else?” And then one by one, including me, we all started to tell Mr Ackerman what we wanted. It was then that we all knew he wasn’t joking. A few of us went to the staff room to help Mr Ackerman carry the hot beverages back to the classroom. He even brought some biscuits for us. Someone even asked if he could get into trouble for what he was doing. Mr Ackerman’s fearless response was, “Trouble? Why would I be?” Meanwhile, I could see pupils in the other classrooms watching us with curiosity through the wide glass window as we carried mugs and cups of all kinds and sizes back to our classroom. Once we had all settled down with our hot beverages, the lesson continued as Mr Ackerman picked up from where we had left off. Since then, we would regularly have coffee and tea in maths along with biscuits or slices of bread with butter and jam. And Mr Ackerman never got into trouble for what he did for us.

We soon realised Mr Ackerman was one kind of a teacher. Even though he spoiled us, you would think that we didn’t take him seriously. Well, wrong! In fact, we respected the way he went about teaching us differently that we listened and obeyed him. He told us that he wanted us to relax and see maths in a more enjoyable light, which would explain the coffee and tea. He always had our attention. He taught the class with such positive energy. As for me, he made maths easy for me to understand rather than speaking and teaching me in mathematical terms. He had turned maths into a storytelling so that we could understand and enjoy his story. My grades in maths soon improved rapidly and I could understand and work in a fast-paced manner, especially when it came to the challenging topics. I felt like a star pupil. We also found out from Mr Ackerman himself that he did not give his ‘special treatment’ to all of his classes, only to those who he thought deserved it. We felt privileged. Of course, those who knew about his ‘special treatment’ but did not get any were extremely jealous.

Unfortunately, we only had Mr Ackerman until the end of Year 9. And it wasn’t long after I started Year 10 that my grades in maths went back downhill, back to where they had been before Mr Ackerman came along. Maths was never the same again.

Here’s a cuppa to you, Mr Ackerman.

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*Please note Mr Ackerman’s real name is strictly protected. 

Made in Thailand – An Excerpt

thaiThere was once a beautiful young woman named Mae Nak whose love for her husband, Tid Mak, was undying. One day, while her husband was away at war, she died giving birth to their baby who did not survive either. Due to her undying love for her husband, Mae Nak and the baby returned to the living world as spirits. Everyone in the village has learned of their deaths, but when Mae Nak’s husband returns home from the battlefield he is greeted by his loving wife and their newborn child, unaware that they are spirits. The villagers try to warn him but he doesn’t want to believe them. One night the ghost of Mae Nak is preparing dinner for her husband when she suddenly drops a lime and it falls through a gap in the wooden floorboards. Back in those days, the houses were built a short distance off the ground. Tid Mak watches Mae Nak from the outside of the house as she stretches an elongated, ghostly arm through the long gap to the ground and reaches for the lime. He was aware that no human could reach that far and it was then that he realised the villagers were telling the truth. He runs from the house in terror to a nearby temple to seek refuge where the ghost of Mae Nak is unable to enter. Mae Nak becomes angry and takes out her frustration by terrorising the villagers. There are a few versions of how the story ends. In one, Mae Nak and her baby’s spirit are believed to be confined in a piece of bone from her exhumed forehead and bound into a wristband worn by a monk. In another version, a monk convinces Mae Nak that she will be reunited with her husband in another life at which point Mae Nak, along with the baby, is believed to have voluntarily moved on.

Thank you for the reviews for ‘Made in Thailand’ so far.

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“Enjoyed every page. Fantastic. Would read it again and honestly I couldn’t put it down !!!” – Kamonchanok, Bangkok, Thailand

“Brilliant. Well worth reading. What an absolute, magnificent read !” – Toni, London, UK

“I enjoyed this book so much I bought it for my friend who loves Thailand. She loved it and enjoyed reading it just as much.” – Neil, London, UK

“This reminded me of my childhood. Loved every page. I felt like wanting to be that person who sat next to you on the first day when you just moved to Patana.” – Rose, London, UK

Made in Thailand – An Excerpt

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I believe Bangkok traffic is something everyone should experience at least once in their life and an item to be added to the bucket list. Bangkok traffic defines the real definition of ‘traffic jam’. You could get stuck in it and not move for many long hours. The worst time was when it rained, especially during the rainy season when there is flooding. Flooding and traffic put together, especially in Bangkok, is a very bad combination. Bangkok traffic is so bad I can only compare it with joining every single vehicle into one single unit until it is bigger than the size of the city itself. It does make you wonder where all the vehicles come from. It is like a traffic apocalypse. 

11. THE POSITIVITY PROJECT – TAKE THE 21-DAY GRATITUDE CHALLENGE (DAY 4)

Record one thing you’re grateful for (flatmates with the same shoe size, a FaceTime chat with your mum, that free coffee in Pret – it’s all relative) each day for three weeks. Research says it can improve your mood, sleep and energy.

DAY 4 – Made in Thailand Sequel

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Once again, I would like to thank those who have purchased and supported Made in Thailand, and because of how well it is doing, I have decided to bring out a sequel, where the autobiography will have a broader focus on my life in 90’s Bangkok and much more. It is already in the works alongside the sequel to Who We Were. The sequel to Made in Thailand would not have come to plan if it wasn’t for the supportive bloggers, readers and fans. I thank you all, and hope that we can make the sequel an even better success.  

Inspirational Excerpt from ‘Made in Thailand’

My father, the most inspirational figure in my life.

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“…my father might be strict, but at the end of the day he wanted me to have the best quality education and be the very best that I could be. He wanted me to have the opportunity to further my studies in the international field and have broader choices when it came to my career. He wanted to prove that an Asian could be just as successful as anyone else in the international field.”

Made in Thailand

pythaicoverMade in Thailand is the autobiographical story of my adolescent years so that you might get to know me as an author a little better.

Raised in the country and used to my circle of close friends at school, my father drops a bombshell and tells my mother and I that we are about to pack our bags and move to Bangkok. Bangkok and the bright lights of the city were totally alien to me and even the knowledge that I had been enrolled into a prestigious, international school named Patana did nothing to alleviate my initial fears. However, after rather a shaky start, Patana proved to be my making and gave me choices I would most probably never have taken.