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Percy Penguin

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About Percy Penguin

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  1. Thanks all, good info. Sounds like both Hanoi and Siem Reap are worth a look. Yeah, I hope that's right, but you don't really know and I prefer to play it safe and spread the love a bit. I don't like Jakarta much - dirty, congested and not especially cheap. Can't comment on what it's like once you get out of the capital. I had a friend who worked in KL for a good few years and I went out quite a bit in that time. The booze is on the expensive side and there's not that much choice, but otherwise I'd say it caters for all budgets. I didn't meet that many Muslims there - mainly expats and Chinese Malaysians - but I've definitely been told that they're a lot more conservative than in Indonesia. Cheers, that's exactly what I wanted to know. Yeah the food is shocking in CM. The only decent Indian I have found is on one of the Sois off Loi Kroh. If you're going towards the old town I think it's the one on the left before No. 1 Belgian beer bar. Run by two old Pakistani-Thai women. It was a bit of a shack and not the cleanest place I've ever been to, but the food was really good. I know of a couple of places I've never tried but I'm jaded at this point. I'll get all excited and then be served something that tastes like Gandhi's flip flops.
  2. I'm amazed the cost of living would be higher in Cambodia than Thailand (whereabouts in Thailand?)
  3. I'm changing my plans a bit in light of all the stories about visa problems. I need somewhere to bounce to to cut my time in CM. I'm torn between Siem Reap, Hanoi and Vientiane. I know Hanoi a bit but what about Vientiane and SR? Can anyone give me an idea of how they compare to CM, especially in terms of bars, food and massage? I like chilled out bars. If there are bar girls, all well and good, but the pushy ones are just annoying. When I go for a massage I like to chat. In Vientiane they will speak Thai - in SR will I get 'sorry me English little'?
  4. Sorry but I think that’s much too narrow. The script indicates where the boundaries are, which English doesn’t. ‘Figuring out’ may be what we do as learners, but if the comparison is going to be fair, it has to be between adept uses of both systems. If you consider a random string like ดาตแอง and transliterate it as you might for an English speaker, you get something like daataeng We can see from that that there are two syllables, but have no idea where the boundary is – in other words we can’t tell whether it is daa / taeng or daat / aeng. That makes a big difference to the way we read the string. As far as I know that string is meaningless, so a Thai speaker can’t tell where the boundaries are by recognising the words (whichishowwewouldextracttheboundariesinEnglish). Nevertheless, if you look back at the Thai you can see it has to be daat / aeng, because daa / taeng would be ดาแตง I think that is just as obvious to a native Thai speaker / reader as the tone of a word like พูด. In your terms the tone of that word is not marked but has to be ‘figured out’, whereas the tone of a word like ช่าง is marked, because the spelling rules require a diacritic. I don’t think there is a relevant distinction here. In both cases the script indicates the tone to an adept reader right away – it’s not something they have to puzzle over. The same goes for the syllable boundaries. I am happy with the term ‘marked’ – if you want to use a different word that’s fine with me, but it doesn’t affect the point.
  5. I don't think you have to assume that all change equals improvement to conclude that a change in a writing system that is voluntarily adopted and sticks for centuries is helpful to users of that system. I certainly don't think that history is inherently progressive. That may well be so, but there are a lot of factors that fed into literacy rates besides the efficiency of the writing system, so I'm not sure where it takes us. I know zip about Chinese and Japanese, so can't comment on how they relate to Thai. I didn't claim that. I said that the Thai script generally marks syllable boundaries but that westerners tend to be oblivious to this. I was suggesting that this system might be just as good as our system of marking word boundaries, but only if you actually use it... As I said in a previous post, we tend to complain that the tool we are used to is not available, but don't look at what else is in the box.
  6. Hmm, another way of saying that is that the Elite may double in cost after you're committed. I'll pass and try and stay under the (nebulous) tourist visa threshold.
  7. Well, that second bit seems to imply that spacing was an improvement, and if that's the case for Latin and Greek, you have to ask why it wouldn't be the case for Thai as well. My answer is that Thai already shows syllable boundaries, and the real problem is that westerners don't really cotton on to this because they are so used to the system of showing word boundaries using spaces. I had the same thought as you about tests. The nearest thing would be syllables per minute, I think, but that still doesn't control for everything. I did have a look for something along those lines and there were studies comparing European languages but nothing on English vs Thai. I don't believe that an adept reader of Thai is any slower than an adept reader of English.
  8. With that history there was always a high risk they wouldn't let you in this time, especially coming in at BKK. There's obviously something pretty wrong with a system that takes money off you for a visa and then doesn't let you in. Did Hull give you any kind of warning that this might happen?
  9. Way beyond a joke at this point... Do you know how long he's spent in Thailand within the last 12 months? I'm starting to wonder if an SETV is actually safer because it doesn't signal 'if you let me in now I'll be back again pretty soon'.
  10. +1 I've sat in a few classes now but the way I see it they just enable you to go out and learn. The actual learning mostly happens out of class.
  11. Cheers. I reckon you have a pretty good chance with that, and if it goes tits up, you only have to sit one year out. I've decided against the elite, because I only want to do 6 months a year anyway, and I can't see them restricting people to less than 3 months on ordinary tourist visas. That means the elite would only be giving me an extra 5 x 3 months at the absolute most, so about USD 1k per month, just to be in Thailand and not Vietnam or the Philippines. Not worth it. Yeah, I thought the same when I saw the thread suggesting getting the elite to save on insurance...
  12. I do 5 - 6 mths a year in Thailand, and until recently I felt there was a good chance of being able go to on that way until I get to 50 and become eligible for a retirement visa. Plan B has been to stump up for an elite visa. The 5-year elite visa effectively lasts for 6 years and at 43 I am only 7 years away from 50. Recently there have been a few posters in a situation pretty similar to mine saying they have been refused entry, or had a very near miss. The situation is only getting more difficult, so I'm thinking there's a high chance of having to pay the 500k for the elite at some point in the next 7 years. Imagine it happened when I was 48. That would be fairly irritating because I'd be paying for 6 years, but maybe only getting the benefit for 2. I would have been able to get a retirement visa for the other 4 anyway. That is making me wonder if there are any advantages in having an elite visa once you're over 50. If not it might be better to go for it now. BTS I am not mad about Bangkok so probably wouldn't get the 90 day reporting service, and I think the airport transfer service only applies to Bangkok as well. Other than those things, does the elite have any benefits over and above an ordinary SETV / METV?
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