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Scottish Country Dancing

Scottish Country Dancing has been one of my hobbies since 2001. I first came to Scotland on a scholarship in 1997 when I was reading MSc in Finance at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. While taking a pre-term course, students were invited to go to a Scottish dance (Ceilidh) at the Renfrew Ferry. I decided to go along and enjoyed it so much I came back and joined the Kilt Society of Strathclyde University. The society organised a Ceilidh night once in a while and I was one of the regulars. After I graduated, I returned to Bangkok, thinking I probably would not have much chance to do the Ceilidh dance again.

In 2001, I came back for MSc in Information Technology at The University of Glasgow. I was determined to continue doing Scottish dance and therefore started looking for the society that I could join at Glasgow University. I then found the Glasgow University Scottish Country Dance Club website and went along to one of the classes. Packed with some experience, I was not worried as I was thinking to myself I had done all these before. Unfortunately, that was not at all the case. I was bamboozled with all the new jargons e.g. Cast off, Cross, Set, Figure of eight, Reel of three, Allemande, Petronella and lots of different formations. Soon I realised it was not the Ceilidh dance I knew. Scottish Country Dance is far more formal and complicated. I was struggling at the beginning but soon got used to the steps and I was hooked completely.

I find Scottish Country Dance highly satisfying. You need a lot of energy and good memory to do it! It is also a great way to meet new friends. Over the years I have made so many good friends from all over the world. Many Scottish universities run a Scottish Country Dance club and organise one or two balls every year. In addition, they also take turn to host the SUSCDF (Scottish Universities Scottish Country Dance Festival) each year. You can see some photos taken from some of the balls i have attended here.

If you would like to learn more about Scottish Country Dance, you can find further readings here.

Fish Keeping

I have been keeping tropical freshwater aquariums since 2001. I started out with a 5-gallon coldwater fish bowl with two fantail goldfish and then moved on to tropical freshwater aquariums. In January 2004, I went back to Bangkok for holiday and came back to find that my Siamese fighting fish had died while I was away. So I decided to convert the 10-gallon betta tank into a nano-reef setup. Current inhabitants (31/08/04) in the reef tank include two colonies of Star polyps, one colony of Button polyps, one peppermint shrimp, one cleaner shrimp, seven hermit crabs, one sand-sifting sea star, two featherdusters, one Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish and numerous unidentified small snails that came with the rock. At present, I am running four aquariums with the size ranging from 2 gallons to 20 gallons.