Street Food Chiang Mai 2023

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Featured Image Cowboy Hat Lady

Featured Image: Cowboy Hat Lady, Chang Phuak Market

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  8 May 2023

Articles in the series on food and restaurants in Chiang Mai are: 1 Akha Tribal Food, 2 Pho Vieng Chane, 3 Khao Soy, 4 French & Italian Restaurants, 5 Airport Plaza, 6 Update 2017, 7 Update 2023, 8 Street Food. Another article is about What Travel Costs in Chiang Mai, part of another memorable series.

Food in Chiang Mai 8: Street Food

Main Points

  • Food Tours
  • A Short History of Thai and Northern Thai Food
  • Typical Chiang Mai Street Food
  • 13 Terrific Places to Go for Authentic Chiang Mai Street Food
  • Further Sources of Information

1 Preamble on Food Tours

This article the eighth on food in Chiang Mai is also a companion article to Street Food in Bangkok (my next article).

When we arrived in Bangkok in January 2023, we took a Chef’s Tour hosted by Nutth lasting four hours. This was a terrific and well-organised tour around Chinatown lasting around four hours.

I’d done some research on food tours in Bangkok before leaving Australia and there appeared to be quite a number. There were also plenty of blog articles recommending street food and cheap restaurants, indeed all types of restaurants some of which were excellent. This is a big change on only a few years ago.

We’d previously done a food tour in Bangkok on a visit for my nephew’s wedding in 2017 in the old European quarter of Bang Rak, which was also terrific.

However, although there seemed to be plenty of tours, closer investigation showed that the number of tours that focussed on better and more inventive food were actually limited. This may change as Thailand really comes out of Covid tourism. Our ad hoc estimate down south was that in January/ February 2023 numbers were around 40% of pre-covid levels.

Many popular tours that didn’t appeal to us seemed to be targeted at first time or relatively new visitors to Thailand. I’m not knocking these, as they are probably excellent, but we were looking at something more in-depth. A Chef’s Tour seemed to fill our bill and they made a clever marketing statement that they wouldn’t take us to a pad Thai venue. This isn’t to say there is anything wrong with pad Thai but a more discriminating palate wants something a bit more special.

Continue reading “Street Food Chiang Mai 2023”


Organisational Thermometer

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Jock Mcneish Elbow Room

Featured Image: Jock Macneish My Elbow Room

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  28 March 2023

Designing an Organisational Thermometer in Practice

The chance of a lifetime to launch an international career! Designing a generic organisational thermometer; aligning it with participative organisational change at the workplace level, enthusiastically supported by management. This could become a competitive game changer.

1 Main Points

  • ACTEW (ACT Electricity & Water) and satisfaction indices.
  • The design criteria for the ACTEW surveys.
  • The attributes of an organisational thermometer and the issues involved.
  • ACT Public Works & Services
  • Conclusion

2 Background

2.1 ACTEW as a Case Study

The satisfaction indices arose accidentally in our Q Research work for ACTEW (ACT Electricity and Water). They wanted to look at satisfaction indices for their customers and I managed to tack on staff as well. The situation was tenuous and we certainly didn’t have any remit to pursue organisational change.

Nevertheless the marketing manager and the CEO were keen to look at satisfaction indices and we conducted them twice a year in April and October for domestic customers (what they really wanted) and once a year for large customers and staff from late 1992 to late 1994. (We also conducted a staff satisfaction index for an ACT Government Department in December 1994 with a report in January 1995.)

The work with ACTEW wasn’t sufficient to establish a baseline for staff satisfaction, but it helped ACTEW towards corporatisation. (I always thought that surveying the domestic customers twice a year was excessive but the money was good.)

I don’t think ACTEW was interested in the approach after corporatisation. I’d made my own sunset clause decision to cease involvement with Q Research and take a year overseas in February 1995 (see Karakorum Highway for the purpose of the trip).

Although customer satisfaction is unique to each organisation, staff satisfaction is generic and can be applied to any reasonably sized organisation and hence so can an organisational thermometer. ACTEW had 1370 employees when we began our satisfaction surveys.

Between late 1992 and the end of 1994 I treated the staff satisfaction indices developed at ACTEW very seriously. I was thinking of developing the tool of staff satisfaction into an organisational thermometer to take to the world.

2.2 My Choice

In every life one comes to forks in the road or choice points. For example, I married person A, but should I have married person B instead (hypothetical only). One occasionally wonders about this and what life might have been on path B, not seriously because that is dangerous. Similarly, I entertained the idea briefly, almost a daydream, of devoting a career to organisational thermometers and workplace change. Instead, Denise and I headed off to the Karakorum Highway and a year of adventure — a wonderful trip.

The organisational thermometer approach was also a unique and a wonderful opportunity. I even had a potential collaborative pathway forward. I don’t regret not doing so. Nevertheless, the opportunity still exists. Maybe someone will take it up. Continue reading “Organisational Thermometer”

Food in Chiang Mai 7: 2023 Update

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Feature Flower Festival Parade Float

Featured Image: The 46th Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2023, Parade Float

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  8 March 2023

2023 Food in Chiang Mai Update

1 Introduction

Tourism, Marijuana and Food

Certainly, it is time for an update on Chiang Mai. I was last there in 2018 — other travel then Covid-19 got in the way. In 2023 we spent two weeks in Chiang Mai in January/February. Three highlights of this visit were:

  1. Birding. In many previous trips to Thailand we’d never involved ourselves in discovering Thailand’s amazing bird species;
  2. We’d met Ron Simpson and Panya (Toy) Suwan previously through our Akha friends Phennapha and Phing Phing but we’d never been in Chiang Mai for their annual antique textiles (mainly Chinese and tribal) exhibition. In 2023 we were actually present for their Dragon and Phoenix Exhibition near Wat Ket and bought some Hmong (Miao) cloth and two bracelets.
  3. We also attended the 46th annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2023 and parade from 3-5 February for the first time, which was fascinating. The parade begins at 8 am Saturday from the railway station, crosses Narawat bridge and proceeds up to and circuits the old city to the park. The floats, flower displays and stalls then remain at Nong Buak Haad Park until the festival ends on Sunday.

Times were tough for Chiang Mai and all Thailand because of Covid and because of the reliance of the Thai economy on tourism. Many shops, tourist venues and restaurants closed temporarily or permanently. Australian visas on arrival in Thailand are normally 30 days. From October 2022 to March 2023 a token by the government has extended them to 45 days. It gave us a few extra days on a month.

The Thais say that things began to improve from July 2022 and were good now. I doubt that as on the beaches of the west coast, Krabi and Ko Lanta, numbers were well down on normal. Similarly, in Chiang Mai. And, although parts of Bangkok appeared crowded — Chinatown after 6pm, Soi 4 Nana and a few other places at specific times, elsewhere wasn’t. The malls seemed relatively devoid of foreigners. Continue reading “Food in Chiang Mai 7: 2023 Update”

Klong Saen Saep Transport Bangkok

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Klong Saen Saep Express Boat Approaching the Pier Slowly Near Jim Thomson House

Featured Image: Klong Saen Saep Express Boat Approaching the Pier Slowly Near Jim Thompson House

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  7 January 2023

Klong Saen Saep

Klong Saen Saep Express Canal Boats, Transport Bangkok


A group of four of us first went to Thailand in 1991 for a month. We travelled extensively, using internal flights and just turned up at the airport when we were ready for the next leg of the journey. (It was the pre-Internet age. You used Lonely Planet to locate the area for cheap hotels and one person searched for a good one, while the other minded the bags.)

We went trekking north of Chiang Mai staying the night somewhere near Fang on the night Desert Storm began in the first Gulf War.

After the trek, we took an amazing long-tail boat from Fang down the rapids to Chiang Rai in the Golden Triangle. This was a great trip. But, not so long previously, Akha tribespeople would occasionally hijack the boat armed with AK-47s and steal everyone’s money and possessions. They shot any tourists who protested.

But, this is long ago and has disappeared along with the Golden Triangle as the wild frontier. In those days Chiang Rai was a small but pleasant market town or rural centre.

We’d arrived in Bangkok knowing little about Thailand. The Hotel we stayed in on recommendation was in the Street behind Khao San Road in Banglamphu. We found the whole area incredibly exotic. Thrillingly so!

It was my second experience of Asia, the first being my sojourn at Rukmini’s flat in Jangpura in New Delhi in 1981/82. I thought the district was unbelievably strange and third worldy, not really realising at all that it was a middle class enclave in the centre of Delhi.

We stayed at Ashima’s place in 1995 across the Jumna River near Mother Dairy. At dusk, Delhi’s pollution was like a thick fog, with orange sodium-lights and fires and smoke it was like a scene out of Dante’s Inferno.

Later in the holiday in Khao San Road Bangkok, we stayed in the New Nith Chareon (the Nith was one of the early backpacker guesthouses). I’m very conservative about good places I’ve stayed in and like to repeat the experience. I stayed at the New Nith Chareon for several years. Denise and I stayed there in 1995 on the way to Pakistan and the Karakorum Highway.

But, after that Khao San Road had become too feral and we moved our Bangkok base to Patumwan House near MBK, the National Stadium, Jim Thompson House and Siam Square in Pathumwan. Pathumwan was a good place to be during the day but tended to close down around 10 pm. Nevertheless, we still stay at Patumwan House regularly.

Transport in Bangkok

I remember the frustration, when one had to exit Khao San Road and Banglamphu in 1991 to go to the railway station Hua Lamphong or Chinatown, because it would usually take at least an hour by bus each way. The traffic in Bangkok was an intense gridlock and taxis or tuk tuks didn’t help. From later experience, motorcycle taxis are the best way to go at peak hour, but only for short distances (a couple of kilometres at most) without luggage.

The BTS Skytrain system was opened on 5 December 1999. It initially had a much lower ridership than predicted, locals thought the tickets were too expensive. This had consequences in funding and paying off debt.

But, by December 2005, 500,000 single trips were made in a single day for the first time. Nowadays, the in central areas of Bangkok the Skytrain is always crowded.

Continue reading “Klong Saen Saep Transport Bangkok”

Angkor Guide 2023

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Featured Image The Bayon, Angkor Thom

Featured Image: Entrance to The Bayon, Buddhist Temple, Angkor Thom

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  1 December 2022

Angkor Guide 2023


We are thinking of going to Siem Reap and Angkor in Cambodia again as part of a trip to Thailand in January 2023. We went there for the first time ten years ago in 2013.

Over the years, I’ve been to many historical sites representing vanished empires for example Borobudur (9th C) in Java, many Greek and Roman cities, Macchu Picchu (15th C) and Cuzco in Peru, Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan near Mexico city, many historical sites such as Khujaraho (885-1000 CE) and Hampi (6-14th C) in India, Taxila in Pakistan (1300 BCE to 540 CE) and others. And, these are only some of many around the world.

The Angkor Archeological Park listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site is the equivalent of any of them. It is huge and it is beautiful and certainly a must see, if possible.

Continue reading “Angkor Guide 2023”

Cathy McGowan Lessons in Activism

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ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  5 November 2022

Lessons in Activism by Cathy McGowan

Notes for Activists from Cathy McGowan, Cathy Goes To Canberra, 2020

Cathy Goes To Canberra is a gem of a book and I’d encourage you to buy it and read it, but for those who want to put doing politics differently into action, hopefully this summary will also prove a useful tool into the lessons Cathy and Indi have to teach us.


1 General

My purpose is to bring Cathy McGowan’s ideas to a wider audience and to highlight the profound lessons she has learned in a long and active career into community-based action.

I want to provide an adjunct or another resource to those already available. I‘d encourage you to visit Cathy McGowan’s website which has an array of other resources and also the Community Independents Project site, which also provides plenty of resources of its own.

At a recent webinar conference of the latter, one woman said: I no longer call it volunteering. What I do every day I call my democracy work!

2 Lessons in Activism

The following is my summary of Cathy’s book. It is probably biased and imperfect and perhaps Cathy would want to change some of it. The saving grace of blog articles is that they are infinitely malleable. I’m happy to accept advice from anyone.

Because of this, I am not as meticulous as my ex-supervisor Professor SA Barnett would want me to be, but I do still feel his presence looking over my shoulder and I try harder.

Despite, the success of the Voices campaigns inspired by Indi and the success of Independents at the last Federal Election we do need to try harder. Independents are still a long way from ensuring that Australia’s governments do politics differently.

3 My Own Interest

My involvement (a minor one) over the past eighteen months was with an organisation called proACT and its endorsed ACT candidate David Pocock for the Senate in Australia.

As with Cathy McGowan in Indi, his key opponent was unpopular, but the window for success was tiny and its achievement amazing — with a lot of hard work by many people in between.

Continue reading “Cathy McGowan Lessons in Activism”

McQuitty Causal Path Statistics

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McQuitty Feature


ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  2 September 2022

McQuitty Causal Path Analysis

This article is a necessary preliminary to the articles which follow and define organisational thermometers. An organisational thermometer is a tool to measure staff satisfaction in any largish enterprise in an ongoing way. The article is also related to all the Fred Emery associated articles, two of which precede it. These are 1 Causal Texture Paper and 2 the Search Conference

Main Points

  • My background with Fred Emery and in statistics
  • A general overview of statistical analysis
  • Fred Emery’s consulting work for TIHR on consumer products
  • McQuitty causal path analysis and how to do it explained
  • Examples of McQuitty causal paths or roadmaps

1 My Background

I mentioned in Causal Texture and in the Search Conference that I met Fred Emery when employed at the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) at the Australian National University (ANU) in 1979.

I was finishing up my PhD in Zoology at ANU at the time and was slightly dissatisfied with some aspects of inattentive reductionism in science at the time. When I discovered Fred’s ideas on systems thinking, it was as if I’d suddenly discovered what I was looking for and had to pursue it.

I got into Fred’s theoretical ideas and search conferencing quite quickly, which annoyed at least one person on the CCE staff. I became quite conversant with Fred’s theoretical ideas and reasonably competent at running search conferences in the next 18 months or so. Continue reading “McQuitty Causal Path Statistics”

The Search Conference Fred Emery

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Featured Image: Merrelyn Emery Ed. Searching: for new directions, in new ways for new times, Centre for Continuing Education, Australian National University 1976.

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  4 August 2022

The Search Conference Fred Emery

Fred Emery, was an amazingly perceptive and prescient systems scientist, who was, without a shadow of a doubt, the father of the systems movement down here in the antipodes, to which he returned in the 1970s after a very distinguished career at the Tavistock Research Institute in London. (Richard Bawden, 1999)


My previous article an annotated version of Emery & Trist’s famous Causal Texture paper may have been too academic for some. To make amends I will try to make this description of the Search Conference much simpler.

I covered Fred’s biography in overview in my previous article. Fredrick Edmund Emery (1925-1997) first went to the Tavistock Institute in London 1951-52 as a UNESCO Research Fellow. He returned to the Tavistock in 1957 where he remained until 1969. He collaborated with Eric Trist, Russell Ackoff, Charles West Churchman, Einar Thorsrud and others during this immensely fertile theoretical and practical period of action research.

In 1969 he returned to Australia and remained in residence in Canberra until his death in 1997, whilst still collaborating widely in Australia and travelling regularly overseas. Richard Bawden (pers. comm.) remembers Fred for his boundless energy and undeniably forthright manner, as do many others.

Whilst in the UK, Fred’s ideas though diverse were integrated into a strong framework or discipline that was internally consistent.

These areas of concentration were the discovery and analysis of industrial democracy underground in the Elsecar Collieries by Trist and Bamforth. The development of the theory of sociotechnical systems based on this and on insights from psychology and the social sciences. The Norwegian Industrial Democracy experiments. Ideas on open systems and their environments. A developing understanding of the necessary and sufficient criteria for semi-autonomous and self-managing groups. Preliminary ideas on participative design. Approaches to the study of organisations with West Churchman and purposeful systems with Russell Ackoff. And, work on values, ideals and planning options based on this, which barely scratches the surface.

As part of this process early on Fred Emery designed the search conference in 1959 and further developed it in the early 1960s at the Tavistock Institute.

According to Bawden (1999) via Merrelyn Emery, the Search Conference process was not formalised until the mid-1970s. I also think that Merrelyn’s role in this later development should be acknowledged fully (see M Emery Ed., 1976).

The Search Conference



Fred Emery was involved in industrial democracy, socio-technical systems and other participative methods with groups.

He designed the Search Conference in 1959 for values-based participative planning by groups wanting or requiring organisational change. The Search combines normative planning (values) with strategic planning and active participation.

In part this was because of defining ‘turbulent environments’ as a dynamic new type of environment that organisations faced in the post-war. Much of this is explained in the annotated paper cited above. The salient characteristic of a turbulent environment is complexity and uncertainty. New ways of planning were needed.

The design was based on innovative research in behavioural psychology, group behaviour, social science and organisational planning from the 1930s to 1950s, amalgamated into an integrated framework.

Richard Bawden says:

Weisbord and Janoff (1995) … emphasized [that] Emery was quick to acknowledge the importance of social psychological theories, as well as system theories in informing his understanding of the dynamics of the work groups that he studied. In particular, he and his colleagues explicitly drew upon the consensus research of Solomon Asch (1952) and the group dynamic theories developed by Wilfred Bion (1961). Continue reading “The Search Conference Fred Emery”

Annotated Emery and Trist Causal Texture Paper

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Featured Image: FE Emery Ed. Systems Thinking, Vol 1 Penguin, 1981.


Feature Fred Emery Systems Thinking Vol 1 1981


ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  12 July 2022

FE Emery & EL Trist The Causal Texture of Organizational Environments Annotated


I’ve been going back to Fred Emery’s ‘Search Conference’ methodology and my own ‘Search-based’ focus groups recently and thinking about my distant past.

This has brought me republish this classic paper online, as it is fundamental to participative planning. Participation and community engagement may be re-emerging, particularly at the moment in Australian politics.

Many people may not be aware of how participative planning emerged in the 1960s and 1970s and why open-systems thinking was the intellectual base to these activities.

I republished JBS Haldane’s 1929 paper on The Origin of Life in 2015, with some annotations and have been surprised at its reception and ongoing popularity.

Fred Emery & Eric Trist’s classic paper The Causal Texture of  Organizational Environments Human Relations 18:21-32, cited 6356 times (according to Google & others), is longer and slightly more difficult than Haldane’s but also very readable. The annotations should provide a context and perhaps an explanation of some ideas.

I worked alongside Fred & Merrelyn Emery whilst at the Centre for Continuing Education from 1979 and more peripherally in the late 1980s and 1990s. I also followed up on much of Fred’s research and visited Einar Thorsrud in Norway for nearly two months in 1981.

Biographical Notes

Fredrick Edmund Emery (1925-1997) was born in Narrogin in the wheatbelt of WA. He obtained his PhD in social psychology in 1953. During 1951-52 as a UNESCO Research Fellow to the Tavistock Institute in London. He worked with Eric Trist and became aware of the industrial democracy system that Eric Trist and Ken Bamforth had discovered in the Elsecar Collieries, using the Longwall method of coal mining.

In 1957 he returned to the Tavistock Institute where he had a close intellectual relationship with Eric Trist and others further refining the concept of sociotechnical systems, including Einar Thorsrud in Norway, with whom he conducted the large-scale Norwegian industrial democracy experiments. Later, he worked closely with Russell Ackoff at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He probably met Ackoff in the UK in 1961-1962, while Ackoff was based at the University of Birmingham. Continue reading “Annotated Emery and Trist Causal Texture Paper”