If you're still sitting in a big, brash nightclub tapping at a 3G phone, you are so
IN: HEALTHY-MEAL DELIVERIES
OUT: JUNK FOOD
The blossoming health consciousness that's taught us to avoid junk food and graze on greens has flowered
into home deliveries of nutritious meals.
"Clean eating", as it's popularly known, has slowly but steadily picked up momentum in Bangkok and other
Thai urban centres, a boon to those who want to stay fit over the long term and meanwhile maybe lose a little
weight too. We're talking about low calorie content, healthier fats, added fibre, more vitamins and unrefined
Unlike the food trucks and "artisanal" burgers now found all around downtown Bangkok, these are still early
days for the clean-food phenomenon. It's not yet widely available in restaurants. Instead there are chefs offer-
ing weekly or monthly home and office deliveries of healthy meals. If you haven't tapped into them yet, search
online for EatClean BKK, A Taste, Clean Concept, Polpa or Foxbox.
IN: ANIMATED CHAT STICKERS
OUT: ANY OTHER CHAT STICKERS
In a never-ending series of efforts to "enrich" our online conversations with friends, we have been treated to
the combinations of symbols called emoji (: p) and "chat stickers" that express emotions at a click (cartoon
characters holding a cake to say "Happy birthday").
Now we seem to have reached the hi-tech pinnacle with stickers that move and make sounds, far more engag-
ing and expressive. These GIF-format characters wave their hands and squeal "Hi!" And you can even custom-
build stickers using your own pictures. How cool is that!
IN: SECRET ADDRESSES
Bangkok has seen the opening of several huge nightclubs. The scale is mind-boggling and the fanfare deafening.
Who could have expected all that to be trumped by tiny places with no signs?
That's what happened this year, though. We now have nightspots nestled in hard-to-find nooks and crannies - at "secret addresses" and often hidden in plain sight.
Usually the easiest way to locate an unfamiliar place is to ask the local motorcycle-taxi drivers. But even they're no
help when it comes to finding Q&A, a cocktail bar on Asoke Montri Road (Sukhumvit Soi 21), J Boroski Mixology
in a tiny lane off Soi Thong Lor and Havana Social on Sukhumvit Soi 11.
These are becoming the new playgrounds for discerning, adventurous partygoers in search of unique, more tailored experiences.
OUT: BIG EYES
Modern man, having learned to walk erect and then in high-heeled shoes, now requires sneakers to evolve further. Running shoes have been around for a century, of course, but now, for women in particular, they're more stylish
than ever - and more stylistically necessary.
The sporty brands currently in vogue include Adidas, Nike and New Balance. The casual look comes courtesy of
Onisuka Tiger, Keds, Vans and Converse.
Supermodel Cara Delevingne has been spotted in the most chic of sneakers. Singer Kathy Perry wears them onstage. Nikes have hit the runway and designers like Alexander Wang and Christian Louboutin have come out with lines. Thai interest surged when fashion idol Araya "Chompoo" A Hargett wore white Converse runners with a Dior gown for her after-wedding party.
The appeal is in the unexpected twist that sneakers give to any outfit while still making a fashion statement. Worn
with a skirt, your look is suddenly not so prissy or feminine, but instead energetic - and undeniably comfortable.
What dropped out of style this year was the "big eyes" look created by special contact lenses. It used to be that every girl's selfie featured eyes like Bambi, despite warnings from ophthalmologists everywhere. Thankfully, the same year-ning for realism that boosted the sneaker's popularity has applied to eye fashion.
Finally joining most of the rest of the world one further rung up the "smart" ladder, Thailand has moved from 3G
to 4G after an indecently long wait. The promise is more stable online connections and thus a more pleasurable experience browsing the Web and watching television.
This year's auctions of 4G broadcasting licences were troublesome but ultimately successful, and now all service providers are ready to deliver 4G content. What's already begun and is likely to surge in 2016 is a move to all manner
of smart devices, not just phones and tablets.
Smart wristwatches are likely to sell big, thanks to their ability to link information among other gadgets and to double as fitness trackers. And they're getting quite stylish these days.
Meanwhile the "idiot boxes" at home aren't so dumb anymore. If you already have a crystal-clear, full high-definition LED-screen TV set, maybe it's no longer good enough. You need a 4K curved-screen TV that's smart enough to draw you into the "Internet of things". If you still don't understand that concept, talk to your fridge. Of course you might have to interrupt its conference call to your smart washing machine, vacuum cleaner and air-conditioner.
These days you hardly ever hear anyone in Thailand saying, "Send me a message on WhatsApp." That was then. SnapChat is now.
Yes, the Japan-based Line application is still an important part of millions of lives, but it's likely to drop a few notches
in popularity now that youngsters have discovered SnapChat. It handles more than just text (and stickers). You can
also share short videos and paintings you create yourself and do so in more privacy. SnapChat's already picking up feeds from the major news outlets as well, including CNN, and the favourite football clubs are involved. Evidently
there's much more to come.
IN: USED CARS
OUT: NEW CARS
A new excise tax on cars just coming into effect means a wider price gap between new and used cars, so the hire-purchase trade is shifting its focus to the latter segment.
The tax will send the price of new SUVs, pickups and luxury cars soaring, and thus everyone will be buying used
models. Gone too are the days of the first-car subsidies from the government. Better check what Granddad has sitting
Welcome to This Is Americawith VOA Learning English. SteveEmberbringsyoumusic for the NewYear.
In the UnitedStates and othercountries, this old Scottishsong, "AuldLangSyne" is playedwhen a new yearbegins. The song is aboutrememberingold friends.
NewYear's is a holiday for memories and for hopes. The past and the futurecometogether at midnight. Not surprisingly, emotions are as much a part of NewYear's Eve as noise makers and fireworks. Afterall, a traditionalway to welcome the NewYear is to kiss the personyoulove.
"OldLangSyne" lends its name to a modernsong about a man and a womanwhooncewerelovers. Oneday, a weekbefore NewYear's, theymeetagain by chance. The singer is DanFogelberg and the song is called "SameOldLangSyne."
On December 16, 2007, fans of DanFogelberglost an oldfriend. The Americansinger and song writerdied of prostatecancer at the age of 56. He was known for the kind of softrockpopular in the 1970s and 80s. "SameOldLangSyne" was one of the hits from his 1981 album "The InnocentAge."
The idea of meeting an oldlover by chance is also at the heart of a Paul Simonsong. Here is the titlesong from PaulSimon's 1975 album "StillCrazy AfterAllTheseYears."
Chancemeetings are one of life's littlesurprises. Theycanhappenanywhere-- in a market, on the street, even in a taxicab. This song by HarryChapin iscalled "Taxi."
HarryChapin was a popularfolksinger and songwriter. In 1981, at the age of 38, he died in a carcrash on hisway to a performance.
Music and emotions go hand in hand. Songscanmake us feel the heartbreakof a lostlove, or the excitement of finding a newlove. Songscanalsocapturethe pain of a wish that a personknows will nevercometrue. Here is JamesBluntwith "You'reBeautiful."
The 1989 movie "WhenHarryMetSally" was about a relationship. BillyCrystalplaysHarry and MegRyan is Sally. Theymeet and becomefriends,though not at first. Later, theyfall in love, though not for verylong. Then, onNewYear's Eve, Harrycomes to hissenses and findsSally at a party.
HARRY: “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and the thing is, I loveyou.”
HARRY: “I loveyou.”
SALLY: “Howdoyouexpectme to respond to this?”
HARRY: “Howaboutyouloveme, too?”
SALLY: “Howabout I’m leaving?”
HARRY: “Doesn’t what I saidmeananything to you?”
SALLY: “I’m sorry, Harry. I know it’s NewYear’s Eve, I knowyou’refeelinglonely, but youjustcan’t showuphere, tellmeyouloveme, and expect that tomakeeverythingallright. It doesn’t work this way.”
HARRY: “Well, howdoes it work?”
SALLY: “I don’t know, but not this way.”
HARRY: “Howabout this way? I love that yougetcoldwhen it’s 71 degreesout. I love that it takesyou an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love thatyouget a littlecrinkleaboveyournosewhenyou’relooking at melike I’mnuts. I love that after I spend a daywithyou I canstillsmellyourperfume onmyclothes. And I love that you are the lastperson I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.
“And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s NewYear’s Eve. Icameheretonightbecausewhenyourealizeyouwant to spend the rest ofyourlifewithsomebody, youwant the rest of yourlife to start as soon aspossible.”
SALLY: “Yousee? That is justlikeyou, Harry! Yousaythingslike that, andyoumake it impossible for me to hateyou. And I hateyou, Harry. I reallyhateyou.”
What are theydoingnow? Well, youcanprobablyguess.
From NewYear's Day, we turn to "A NewDay." That was the name of CelineDion's music and danceshow at CaesarsPalace in LasVegas, Nevada. Itclosed on December 15, 2007, afteralmostfiveyears. It sold a reported 400milliondollars in tickets.
The show's runendedtwomonthsbefore the start of a worldwidetour for anewalbum by the Canadiansinger. But somefanscame to the showagainand again, soclosingnight was like an emotionalgoodbye to an oldfriend.
We leaveyouwithCelineDion and a song that some of you will probablysingalongwith. From the 1997 movie "Titanic," here is "MyHeart Will Go On."
AviArdittiwrote today’s program, and SteveEmber was yourreader. Wehopeyou will join us againnextweek for This Is America, on the radio oronline at learningenglish.voanews.com.
Wishingyou a happyNewYear from all of us at VOA LearningEnglish.