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The Ripple Effect – becoming the hero of your own story

Darren Scherbain

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The Ripple Effect – becoming the hero of your own story | The Thaiger
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We all love a great story.

The story that captures our imagination with; a tale of a hero, adversity or our hero triumphing over adversity.

It sparks hope; that one day we can be courageous and heroic and become the hero of our own story. Hope is the spark for something better and a catalyst for a massive bleep on your EKG.

Without the hope of something better we would simply shrug our shoulders and proclaim “IT’S GOOD ENOUGH“

Stale and uninspired are synonymous with being a bystander in life. Watching the same old predictable movie again and again.

We are talking about the Hero’s Story and for that we need to resuscitate the belief that we all have the capacity to be passionate about life.

Never forget that Passion and Conviction is a FORCE MULTIPLIER.

Hero’s are compassionate and care.

Hero’s create a ripple effect with those they come in contact with; it flows through them.

Zap.

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles. I’m feeling very still. And I think my spaceship knows which way to go.
David Bowie

SO YOU WANNA BE A PILOT?
Jay – Sydney, Australia

After a successful 20-year career in the music industry as a Musician and a Sales & Marketing Manager, I found myself feeling stale, unfulfilled, lacking motivation and without the passion and for things which I previously had. So at the age of 38, I decided to make a change and create the future I really wanted.

As a boy growing up near Camden, on the outskirts of Sydney, I had watched light aircraft overhead for years and I always dreamt of becoming a pilot. However, as I came from a very underprivileged background, this was not possible due to the huge expense so I just naturally fell into music, which I always had a passion and talent for. So when considering my options for change I thought about following my childhood dream.

I sold my apartment and made a small profit of just over $100,000 which I put into a term deposit while I did my research about the aviation industry, the training process, the flying schools, the possible career options and made my plan. The total cost involved to get fully trained up as a pilot was significant and in the order of $120,000. I was looking at 2-3 years full-time to complete everything and be ready to apply for low-hours pilot jobs. The plan was to quit my job and study full-time to get through it as fast as possible as I was already a lot older than most new pilots applying to airlines.

A few weeks before I was to start basic pilot training, I was at a friends place for dinner. We saw the news on TV saying many companies had failed due to the global financial collapse in 2008 and one of them was the company which my money was with. All investors, except the banks of course, lost their money… including me. I was devastated. What could I do now?

It took me 3 days to deal with the emotional reaction to this news and then I pulled myself together and refocused my thoughts. I decided I would continue on regardless even though I didn’t know exactly how at this stage. I had $5000 in another account and still had my job so not all was lost. I altered the plan but not the goal and decided to start studying the theory side of things first while I saved up more money to commence the flying training.

So I started the long process. I kept working full-time then studying every night after work until I fell into bed. Slowly but surely I began moving towards my goal, chapter by chapter in the text books, and by passing each exam along the way. I set myself small daily goals knowing that these will form my path to reaching my larger goals and ultimately my dream of becoming an Airline pilot with Cathay Pacific Airways. The poster of the big Cathay jet was ever present above my study desk as was a hand written note of affirmation saying…

‘YOU WILL BE A CATHAY PILOT’

In order to supplement my income and pay for the flying training I knew I had to get a part-time job so I got back into playing gigs as a musician on the side. Originally I was a Jazz Piano player earlier in my career but there wasn’t much work around for piano players so I worked hard on my Guitar playing and formed an Acoustic Duo called SYNERGY with my best mate in Sydney. We targeted the higher paying gigs like corporate events, private functions, weddings and so on. We got in with a couple of key booking agents and a few months later we were doing 2-3 gigs per week earning good money.

So I started the flying training as well and was super busy. Working full-time, playing gigs part-time, studying every other night, going to Bankstown Aerodrome before sunrise to get 2 hours flying training done before work and also sitting the required exams to proceed to the next stage of training. Thank goodness I was earning well from the 2 jobs combined because I was spending upwards of $2000 per week sometimes on the flying training. I failed many exams along the way and doubted myself many times. Negative thoughts would come in but I just keep studying and training and would re-sit the failed exams in another month or so until I passed them then moved my focus onto the next subject.

I applied for the Cathay Pacific Cadet Pilot course once I had a Private Pilot Licence. Another friend of mine also applied. We both had almost identical flying credentials at that time. He got all the way through the selection process with Cathay which took months and was offered a training spot. I didn’t even get an initial interview. I was so happy for him but immensely disappointed for myself. He was 12 years younger than I so I assumed the reason was my age. This was a big blow to my confidence but I kept going and actually sent an email to Cathay recruitment on the 1st of each month updating them on my progress with my training and study and asking if I could reapply. In all I sent 21 emails over 21 months.

It took me just under 4 years to complete my training and all the study. I now had a Commercial Pilot Licence, a Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating, all the Australian ATPL exams completed and about 280 flying hours. I had spent just under AUD$130,000 to achieve this.

I managed to get a part-time job as a pilot for a skydiving operation near Sydney on the weekends so now I was working 3 jobs. This was good experience and a lot of fun but I wanted the airlines. With such low flying hours and experience this was a long shot, especially at 42 years of age.

I continued to update Cathay and finally I received an email from them inviting me to attend an initial stage 1 interview in Sydney in 6 weeks time. I was ecstatic! For the next 6 weeks I fully focused my entire energy on preparing for this interview. The day came around and I did well despite being extremely nervous and unsure of myself. I was invited to Hong Kong to attend stage 2 interviews and extensive testing. I passed stage 2 and also stage 3 and was then invited to attend stage 4 flight grading in Adelaide. I got through that as well and waited for the call after my final assessment.

While waiting I reflected on the entire process I had been through over the last 4 years. It was the hardest thing I had ever taken on and the first thing in my entire life I had given absolutely 100% of myself to. There were so many times when I felt it was just too hard, or too expensive or was not smart enough. I sacrificed so many other things to do this. There were actual tears at one point with my close friends who all gave me enormous moral support. I learned a lot about myself through this challenge and realised I am capable of so much more than I previously gave myself credit for. This alone was worth the money!

Finally my phone rang and it was Cathay recruitment. I was invited to join course AE13 starting in 3 weeks to commence the training to become a Second Officer with Cathay Pacific Airways. It was such an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I called my Mum and she arrived 20 minutes later with a bottle of French champagne to celebrate. It was a truly magic moment in my life. Surreal in fact.

I am now living in Hong Kong and about to upgrade to First Officer after 3 years with the company. What you focus your thoughts on and direct your behaviour towards really does manifest into reality over time. It’s incredible what you can achieve when you really focus and commit to something. Go for it!

Jay

Thank you Jay for your honesty and authenticity. A ripple that will definitely create some massive waves for people. We can all use a little more hope and inspiration.

START.

That parachute that you are looking for is staring at you in the mirror.

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Darren Scherbain believe that each of us possess the capacity to be the creator of a heroic and courageous life. Living a courageous and passionate life requires that we embrace the sheer physicality of these concepts, while not forgetting that Heroes are useful. "What would your life look like if you eliminated the word CAN'T just for one day?"

Protests

K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht

The Thaiger

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K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Fan-funded 'happy birthday' signs around Thailand's BTS and MRT station

Art meets politics again, this time with hundreds of thousands of K-Pop fans raising funds in support of the growing student protest movement in Thailand. So far they’ve raised more than 3 million baht (as of 10am this morning) but the amount is rising quickly as Thai and overseas K-Pop fans respond. The most popular band in Thailand at the moment is BTS, the South Korean septet which is currently the most popular band in the world (as of today BTS commands the Number 1 and Number 2 positions on the US Billboard singles chart).

BTS fans have so far been the largest contributors donating funds to the protest cause.

The BTS Thailand page, not to be confused with the BTS Skytrain, is urging K-pop fans to stop the practice of paying for billboards in support of their favourite idols and to celebrate the birthdays of the 7 members. RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook issued a statement on their fanpage asking fans to stop funding the BTS and MRT “inconvenienced protesters and normal citizens from getting home and putting them in danger”.

Bangkok’s two main rail systems were closed down over the weekend as police and protesters played a cat and mouse game. The protesters were withholding the announcement of protest locations to the last minute whilst police second-guessed their moves, ending up in mass inconvenience for the wider public in shutting down the entire network, including the Airport link.

“We’re calling Armys and other fans to stop buying ad projects with the BTS and MRT.” (“Army” is the name of BTS fans.

Fans of K-pop groups as well as other “idol” groups often pool their resources to purchase display ads in the MRT and BTS stations wishing their stars happy birthday or on other significant anniversaries.

It’s thought that many more millions of baht will be raised by the K-Pop fans in the next few days.

The young Thai protesters are tapping into a strong social media network, and have “weaponised” the social media and messaging platforms. The main App they are now using, to communicate their intentions, is “Telegram”, developed by a young Russian couple but now operating out of Germany. The App features encypted messages, impossible to track, and has 400 million monthly active users.

Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging, video telephony and voice over IP service with end-to-end encryption for secret chat only, whereas Cloud chat uses client-server/server-client encryption and its messages are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud – Wikipedia

Meanwhile, other K-Pop acts that have mobilised their fans win support include Girls’ Generation, GOT7, NCT, WannaOne, Nu’est, X1, Day 6, Red Velvet, MonstaC, Woodz, Shinee, Super Junior and R1se. We’re sure the fans of Black Pink are also contributing but didn’t have their figures available at the time of publishing. Fans of popular Thai actors and celebrities are also donating to the pool.

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Property

Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19 | The Thaiger

The Coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for Thailand’s property market as potential Chinese condominium buyers remain stranded in China. Meanwhile, some believe that the outbreak may bring opportunities for non-Chinese buyers and in the long-run, the Chinese may be looking for an overseas refuge in the event of these types of emergencies popping up again

Through all this, there will be a certain level of pent up demand for Thai real estate.

Of course, it’s not just the Chinese unable to come and inspect potential buys, the rest of the world is also mostly shut out of Thailand.

Market remains weak

The pandemic is hurting the condominium market as Chinese nationals were accounting for half of the international buyers in Thailand, or 57.6% of the total foreign condo owners in 2018.

Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Centre says that 50% of Chinese condo transfers are expected to disappear in the first 2 quarters of this year and the total transfer value by the Chinese will miss the mark of the usual 29 billion baht by about 25% (around 7 billion).

However, since Chinese property buyers only make up 6% of the total international and domestic housing transfers in Thailand, the proportion of total housing transfers in the country is likely to be similar to last year.

Developers looking to sell current stock whilst shelving new projects

CBRE reports that most Thai developers are postponing the launch of new condo projects to focus on clearing existing stock.

“Discounting completed projects to generate quick revenue as a financial lifeboat is the best solution for many of the country’s larger developers whilst the market is in limbo.”

Rathawat Kuvijitrsuwan, head of CBRE Research and Consulting in Thailand believes that, now business is gradually recovering, a few developers have started to launch new condominium projects.

“In the first half of 2020, the Bangkok condominium landscape was gloomy with fewer than 10,000 condominium units launched, which was much lower than the total number of new launches in the past three years of more than 60,000 condominium units per year.”

The Chinese are reluctant to complete transfers

The virus has continued to affect hospitality operators, including hotels and condominiums that service tourists, nationwide. Since China has suspended tours, put restrictions on movement, and locked down cities, home to over millions of people, it also poses a threat to real estate developers as their clients are unable or unwilling to fly.

“Currently multiple off-plan condominium developments are approaching completion, and Chinese clients are unable or unwilling to transfer. Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.

He believes every condominium that is in transfer status will see the percentage of non-transfer units rise in the coming months.

“These non-transfer units will cause a big financial hit to developers.”

If a client refuses to transfer, does not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the sales and purchase agreement, and decides to release the property, their deposits will be forfeited.

“However, there is some good news, these non-transferred units can be offered with a discount to new clients.”

Also, as China has been susceptible to a few disease outbreaks – from bird flu to the current coronavirus – it may prompt Chinese buyers to look for second homes outside of China.

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Tourism

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and how to recover

The Thaiger

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Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and how to recover | The Thaiger

NOTICE: The Thaiger are experienced travellers but we’re not doctors. This information is provided as a general guideline if you are confronted with food poisoning. In all cases consider seeking medical attention.

Travelling in foreign locations and trying out the local dishes will always risk a bout of the dreaded food poisoning – Bali belly, Thailand tummy. Thailand has some of the world’s tastiest food but also the potential to put you flat on your back for a few days.

Travelling around Thailand you face a double whammy of exotic new spices along with an equally exotic list of new microbes and bacteria working hard to make your day a bad one. One bit of bad luck and you’ll disrupt the delicate balance found within your digestive system.

Contaminated water? Spoiled meat? Food left out in the open for too long? Whilst the vast majority of Thai food, even the street food, is unlikely to upset your digestive system, the more adventurous your eating, the more likely you are to confront a bout of food poisoning along your journey.

It will start with stomach cramps, nausea and sweating. It will usually kick in in the first four hours after your meal, probably earlier. You’ll know it!

Projectile vomiting and diarrhea are usually the result and the next 10-12 hours of your life will be spent in close proximity to a toilet. You will feel like death-warmed-up… chills, cramps, maybe a fever and lots of sweating. But you WILL get over it.

Here is The Thaiger’s Top Ten ways to avoid, and recover from, a bout of food poisoning.

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and how to recover | News by The Thaiger

Don’t get food poisoning!

The best way to avoid food poisoning, or its lesser partner traveller’s diarrhea, is to not get it in the first place. But even the most cautious tourist can consume something they think is safe… but isn’t.

Avoiding food poisoning is everyone’s obvious aim, but if it does happens it’s not the end of the world. But it is going to put a dent in your plans for a few days. Be cautious, read up about potential problems and turn you brain on before you go ‘full commando’ on food you’ve never experienced.

No fresh leafy greens

Unless you are absolutely sure they have been copiously washed with filtered water it is best to avoid eating anything in this category. Cooked greens are usually ok, especially in boiled soups. Try to also avoid raw unpeeled fruit or vegetables as well.

Salads in a street restaurant, somewhere off the beaten track? Probably not.

Street food

Street food, literally food you can buy on the kerbside or footpaths anywhere in Thailand, often looks and smells amazing, and is usually safe to eat. But avoid anything that looks like it’s been sitting around in the sun and humidity. Stick with bubbling boiling soups, freshly fried Pad Thai, and meat that has been grilled right in front of you.

Ice ice baby

The vast majority of restaurants and bars in tourist areas use ice that comes from frozen purified water and have it delivered daily. Off the beaten track it’s best to ask first if the ice (nam kang) is made from tap water or is fresh that day. When in doubt, leave it out – better a warm beer than half a day leaning over the toilet 🙂

Drinking water

It’s best to observe the golden rule about drinking water in Thailand – never drink the tap water. The down-side is that most of the potable water is going to come to you in a single-use plastic water bottle which we’re all trying to avoid these days. Most hotels, and some restaurants, will have drinking stations where you can top up your water safely.

Drinking water is very cheap in Thailand and is available everywhere, like EVERYWHERE!

All that said, we suspect that in places like Phuket, Chiang Mai, most of inner Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin, the water out of the tap IS safe to drink these days. But don’t take our word for it! As a traveller, you need to err on the side of caution.

The Thaiger has lived in Thailand for a decade and brushes teeth and uses the local supply (in Phuket and Bangkok) and has never had any ‘tummy-rumbles’ from interacting with the local potable water supply. But that’s not a scientific study, just our own experience.

Leftovers

“Mmmm, that pizza was great last night. I’ll have the rest tomorrow.”

Maybe, but you need to refrigerate it before it gets cold and then eat it quickly the next day before it has time to ‘warm up’. If it’s more than a day old, throw it out or feed it to the dog or cat who have cast-iron stomachs compared to humans.

Ditto for any other leftover you think you’d like to save for the next day.

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and how to recover | News by The Thaiger

Rehydration

If you are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting you need to make sure you rehydrate properly. If you are not doing a great job holding water in, go to the nearest pharmacy and pick up Oral Rehydration packets.

If you are suffering from food poisoning in Thailand you will do well to grab some of these packets. They should cost you no more than 5 baht. Use up to 5 a day.

Seek Medical Treatment

If it’s a mild case you are probably going to be able to self-medicate your way back to perfect health. If it’s serious and you’re just flat on your back (between rushing to the toilet) for more than a day, then you’d be advised to seek medical attention. If you have blood in your vomit or stools, or high fever lasting more than an hour or so, seek medical attention quickly.

Thai doctors usually go down the medication route whereas some western doctors would now specify a more natural approach to recovery. If you have medical and travel insurance (you’re insane travelling without both!), and are in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Samui, Hua Hin or Khon Kaen, then head to a private international hospital, rather than a local hospital.

There’s nothing really wrong with the local hospitals – you will be charged less but you will be charged – but you’re going to have to battle language barriers and waits at a time when you’re not really focussed on anything except how sick you feel.

A better choice would be a local clinic – Google is your best friend here or ask you hotel or someone with some local knowledge.

CAUTION: A lot of people use to take Loperamide aka. ‘Imodium’ when they had diarrhea in the past. Generally medical advice these days is NOT to take these drugs unless you consult a doctor first. Read more HERE.

Rest and time

Your body will use a lot of energy trying to evacuate whatever is making you sick. Sometimes you will wonder where everything coming out of you, is coming from! It’s just a never-ending source of hell. At some stage though it will calm down and your poor body will be exhausted. So rest.

Don’t be afraid to miss out on a couple of days of activities as a result – put your body and recovery ahead of anything. For now you need lots of sleep and rest.

Be a BRAT

For a few days stay off the exotic foods that put you here in the first place. Go bland, go BRAT. The BRAT diet is tried and tested and, whilst not very exciting, will hep the flora of your stomach recover quickly while getting enough nutrients to keep you going.

BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Yeah, bland indeed.

You can add to this fairly palette with other gentle foods… plain biscuits, oatmeal, weak tea, apple juice or flat carbonated drinks (just open them and let them sit for a few hours to lose their ‘fizz’), bland ‘broth’ soups, boiled potatoes.

Here are foods to avoid during your recovery… milk and dairy, anything fried, greasy, fatty, or spicy, steak, pork, salmon, and sardines, raw veggies, including salad greens, carrot sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower, fruits, such as pineapple, orange, grapefruit, apple, and tomato, very hot or cold drinks, alcohol, coffee, or other drinks containing caffeine. Or Thai food generally!

After a few days on BRAT you can start trying things like soft-cooked eggs, cooked fruits and vegetables, and white meat, like chicken or turkey.

Importantly, until your body has finished getting rid of ‘whatever is ailing you’, don’t eat anything. It will just end up, along with everything else, making a quick journey from one end of your body to the other.

Start drinking flat soda (lemonade) or carbonated drinks, or ‘Gatorade’-style electrolyte drinks (you can powders from any Pharmacy) as soon as you can to keep the body hydrated, even fresh coconut water, (although make sure it is fresh, otherwise you’re going to end up in the toilet).

Dehydration is a big problem following a bout of vomiting and diarrhea so focus on getting some fluids back into your system as soon as you can tolerate it.

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and how to recover | News by The Thaiger

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