The Bomb in My Apartment

 

I’m sitting in my Bangkok apartment, and I could die any minute.

Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but not much of one. I’m convinced that the electric kettle provided by my apartment building is a ticking time bomb, though instead of plastic explosives, colorful wires and a digital clock face, it has a shockingly thin plastic exterior, water-exposed wiring and an off-switch that only works some of the time.

When you go to a new country (or even travel to a different part of your own) you realize pretty quickly that you’re not in Kansas any more and the rules have changed. The most evident of changes comes to light when it’s clear that there are in fact no laws where you are accustomed to seeing them.

For example, when there’s no Federal Trade Commission to make sure that bombs are not sold as electric kettles, you tend to take note.

These voids are not all bad, however, because they open up new possibilities that didn’t exist in your mind before. Maybe trade with a certain country is banned back home, but while on the road, you’re able to enjoy their fine cigars and potentially change your perception of said country as a result.

Maybe prostitution is legal, making you question your personal ethics on the subject. Maybe women have equal rights to men and are able to work, not just tend to the family and home. Maybe there’s a tightly controlled Internet where communication is limited, and other means must be used to spread uncensored news.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself with a potentially-dangerous, bomb-like device that heats water much faster than any other kettle you’ve ever used, forcing you to decide whether safety or speedy-tea is more important (mmm, speedy-tea).

Preconceived notions are not always wrong, but the willingness to revise your opinion when they are is vital to your personal development and self-exploration.

34 comments

  1. Your water kettle and the dangers thereof reminded me of the electric space heater we had in a hotel room in Armenia. It was arctic cold, there was no central heating and the room was frigid. We crawled into bed with long johns and sweat suits and wooly hats. We still needed the heater, which dated from Marco Polo’s time.

    It was made of wood, I kid you not, scary as hell, but only half the coils were working. We left it on all night and survived.

    • And just think: Marco Polo took that kind of risk every day!

      It is funny what you can get used to. I think back to my lifestyle in LA and what I considered acceptable an unacceptable as far as living conditions, and I can’t believe I was so restrictive.

      Sure, things are a bit different in the States, but c’mon…I think most people are a bit more pretentious than they need to be when it comes to certain things, and as a result the focus is moved from important things (like speedy frickin’ tea) to silly things (like a product that may or may not be dangerous…there are some that are legitimately a concern, sure, but do we need all those warning labels? I wish everyone would just stop suing each other).

  2. Haven’t chimed in for quite some time, but this post made me laugh out loud. You’re effin’ hilarious. Keep at it.

    Headed to Bangkok for work in mid-November! Will send you an email soon to see if you’ll be around.

    • Haha, thanks Alan.

      Awesome! I’ll still be around, though I’ll have a few visitors throughout the month. Shoot me the details when you have them and I’ll be happy to show you around!

  3. We tend to live a fairly sheltered life here in the U.S. due to all the safety regulations on products. It’s definitely an adjustment, but I’m guessing the electric kettle will serve you well. I had a similar experience with a WWI-era space heater while living in Prague a while back, and I’ve lived to tell the tale.

    • Yeah, it’s been grand so far, but when I first moved in, there was definitely a sense of impending doom.

      Now I’m just happy to have any pseudo-cooking device. Incredibly difficult to find even a kitchenette in Bangkok.

  4. Haha, crazy adventures dude! I can’t wait to go to Thailand sometime, I think I’ll be heading there in Feb or March next year!

    Take Care!

  5. Whenever I had a preconcieved notion that I found was limiting something I was trying to do, I pretended I had never seen/done what I was doing before. It tricked my mind enough that I was able to break-thru whatever I was trying to move past.

    • Good idea!

      Then again, if there actually WERE danger that could be a not-so-great thing. We tend to have preconceived notions for a reason (biologically, at least): it keeps us safe.

      That being said, in this instance I’m glad I fought against those notions. A life without tea is a sad life indeed.

    • Good idea!

      Then again, if there actually WERE danger that could be a not-so-great thing. We tend to have preconceived notions for a reason (biologically, at least): it keeps us safe.

      That being said, in this instance I’m glad I fought against those notions. A life without tea is a sad life indeed.

  6. I’m right about a lot, but boy, sometimes my own preconceived notions have really bit me in the ass.

    More times than I can count, when I’ve prejudged something incorrectly, after a bit of challenging and convincing by the people I respect most, I flip-flop – often permanently. Challenging our views makes us realize that life’s not a vacuum and that there are other viable ideas out there – other ideas that may, in fact, describe reality better than our current ideas do.

    Here’s hoping that your kettle doesn’t turn itself in a bomb any time soon!

    • It’s good to be able to flip-flop. I remember a certain election where being a Flip-Flopper became a bit of an insult, but really if you never change your opinion, it means you’re not learning anything, or if you are, you aren’t applying what you’ve learned (which is really, really sad).

    • It’s good to be able to flip-flop. I remember a certain election where being a Flip-Flopper became a bit of an insult, but really if you never change your opinion, it means you’re not learning anything, or if you are, you aren’t applying what you’ve learned (which is really, really sad).

  7. When I was a kid, I made hot dog cookers which consisted of two nails driven through a board, each attached to the wires of an electrical cord. You could touch the hot dog and, while it would completely cook, you wouldn’t get shocked. I gave them out as Christmas gifts to my aunts and uncles. Somehow, no one died.
    My point of view was that snowmen, made out of three cotton balls, just didn’t cut it.

  8. I have to say, this was a great post. You got me laughing while I was supposed to be doing implicit differentiation so this post is even better than most in that regard too. Although, I’d rather be disarming bombs while making Tea than stuck in University…

  9. You know, I had a kettle exactly like this back in safe old Canada. :) I don’t remember where I bought it from though – maybe it came from a dodgy grey market Chinatown import shop. (Amazing Chinatown(s) in Toronto… if you’re ever there on Christmas, check out Pacific Mall)

    If anything, Canada is a bit more safety conscious than the US, although probably less litigious. (How’s that for a broad generalization?) So I’m amused by the contrast.

    It was insanely fast though, gotta say that. :)

    • Ah, what’s a purchase without the opportunity to sue the manufacturers? Kind of takes the adventure out of it for everyone involved!

      THAT’S the American way.

    • Ah, what’s a purchase without the opportunity to sue the manufacturers? Kind of takes the adventure out of it for everyone involved!

      THAT’S the American way.

    • Ah, what’s a purchase without the opportunity to sue the manufacturers? Kind of takes the adventure out of it for everyone involved!

      THAT’S the American way.

  10. I moved to Budapest a month ago and my local friend refuses to use the elevator in my building. She says they are not safe here! The convenience factor outweighs the risk of death for me. I find it best not to worry about it.

    p.s I must recommend Sunrise Taco’s in Bangkok. They have a create your own type thing. Best buritos ever!!!

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