Friday, January 26, 2007

Side Bar: Rubbing Shoulders with Expats

Hi from Thailand!

One of the great delights of living in Thailand is the expatriate or "expat" community. Every day I can practice my high school French with the French professors (we have five in our dept.--and I love watching them cringe at my efforts), in addition to chatting with Canadian, Austrian, Israeli, Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Japanese and Korean instructors. There are about 50 foreign teachers here, in all, which makes for a veritable cornucopia of cultural delights. Having traveled or worked in all their countries gives me a special bond with them.

Even more fun, a very active expat Internet site keeps me in close touch with Brits and Australians living here, as well. We interact often. I've come to really appreciate their "stiff upper lip," "buck-up mate!" and dry humor they are so famous for. I'm learning a lot of new (or old?) English words I never knew existed (all decent, of course).

Here is a great story currently circulating among my British friends in Thailand, great sports lovers of English Cricket and Soccer (which, of course, the latter they misguidedly call "football")...




A seven-year-old boy was at the centre of a Parramatta, New South Wales courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the English Cricket Team, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.