Notes from Exile: Arabian Nights

My Last Early Morning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: In a one-man pre-dawn raid at our military-style fortified compound -- where all the Western infidels who dare step foot on the Holy Land must live --the S.S. (Sweaty Stubs, or, alternatively, Stubby Sweats) woke me up with a bang on the apartment door. I was barely awake, because it was 2 in the morning and because I had spent the last week “medicated”. I had no idea who was pounding on my door and probably should’ve been more apprehensive

CBD Isolate vs Oil: 9 Things You Need to Know

Cannabis products have evolved well beyond conventional uses of the plant. New medical research and innovation by companies entering the legalized marijuana sector provide a constant supply of evidence for the medical value of marijuana products like ”full-spectrum” CBD oil and its more concentrated cousin, CBD isolate. CBD oil can reduce inflammation, promote proper sleep, treat anxiety and depression, and more, which has been proven by medical researchers. Full-spectrum isolate, commonly

Notes from Exile: An Extraordinary Brief Tenure at Buranat Christian School

P’Jat had all the well-developed sense of humor befitting an Asian administrator at a private Christian school, which is to say none at all. She was not prepared to discuss humorously the savior Jesus Christ. She scowled and motioned for me to follow her. My employment had not begun well. I followed her awkwardly into the teacher’s office, and felt something like a misbehaving student being led outside to the whipping stable to pick my switch for the beating, which would not be the last time I f

An International-Oriented Medical Industry: How and Why it Benefits Healthcare in Thailand

An International-Oriented Medical Industry: How and Why it Benefits Healthcare in Thailand. Thailand as an HIV Treatment Hub: Setting the Stage for Global Leadership HIV Research and Treatment: A Case Study in International Cooperation and Beneficial Outcomes Thailand, Bangkok in particular, has emerged in recent decades as the worldwide leader in medical tourism, while simultaneously achieving interrelated healthcare milestones, with enormous tangential benefits to its own economy and popula

Bangkok’s Class Divisions: An Outsider’s Opinion

Inequality to some extent seems an inexorable law of civilization, present everywhere there is concrete. Some landscapes, though, paint a more graphic depiction of poverty than others. Such is the case in Bangkok. In 2019, Thailand floats in limbo between economically developed and developing. The World Bank cited Thailand’s distinctively brisk poverty reduction “from 67% in 1986 to 7.8% in 2017 (as measured by the upper-middle income class poverty line of $5.5/day)”. The positive upward tren

Patient-Centered Care Offers Solutions for Thai Medical System

Doctors In Thailand practicing primary care medicine in 2019 have likely met this familiar greeting from a patient: “I Googled my symptoms and I think the problem is [insert condition].” Obviously, this can be unsettling for many providers – doctors in the past were often the first point of reference for patients who otherwise had no way of researching their health concerns on their own. Considering the increasing web access of the Thai population and the proliferation of online medical informat

Notes from Exile: Broken English Teacher

Traveling by train in Southeast Asia is a giant clusterfuck. Or maybe my expectations were just too bourgeois. In any case, I waited in the lobby with my fellow travelers for a grand total of 3 1/2 hours after our train was scheduled to depart. The reason? Somewhere along the tracks in the countryside a farmer’s bull had gotten stuck on the track and the Thai public service infrastructure, as developed and professional as it is, was deeply strained trying to solve the problem. How a bull becomes

Stumbling blocks | Ben Bartee |

I recall an illustrative accompaniment to my 100-hour ESL training course, taken when I was a younger man in the waning months of 2010. The stick-figure teacher is at the head of the class with a pointer stick, giving instruction. The students are seated, faced forward, with good posture, paying full attention, receiving said instruction. It is a beautiful diagram of efficiency, wherein the teacher and learner commune in uninterrupted, flowing exchange of knowledge. I have long since graduated

Environmental Fundamentalism and the War on Poverty

“Fundamentalism /ˌfəndəˈmen(t)lˌizəm/, noun, ‘…adherence to the basic principles of any subject or discipline.’” One heady question, among many, perplexed me prior to joining Community Stewards as a DOI/VISTA Leader in November 2015. A satisfying answer likely eludes many who are introduced to our work: What could environmental conservation efforts possibly have in common with alleviating the burdens of poverty? Fighting poverty is, after all, the universal mission of every VISTA serving – and

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