Aug 4th, 2008

Fishing for criminals at the checkpoint – How the Pisces programme keeps our borders secure

Fishing for criminals at the checkpoint – How the Pisces programme keeps our borders secure Bangkok Post, August 4, 2008
… A small camera standing at each immigration counter is a component of the system.
While a passenger waits in front of the immigration desk and is asked to look at the camera, the process begins. The traveller’s picture is taken and the information on the passport is ”grilled,” the term used by immigration officers for scanning.
This information is linked with the two main servers at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
These servers then link their data with that from the Immigration Bureau head office at Suan Phlu, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the Foreign Ministry and other government agencies.
The immigration official will then know how many times the traveller has entered and left Thailand,whether the person’s appearance has changed and, most importantly, whether they are wanted for any reason…

PAD “alert day” – August 1, 2008
Today (Friday, August 1) the PAD is trying reinvigorate its protest against the government. They have announced a special “alert day” to indicate they will not accept the government amending the constitution.
Many groups of protesters from around the country are reportedly joining the crowd including large groups from the south and Pitsonalok.
Meanwhile, newspapers are full of news from a fortuneteller who says the country will either have a coup or dissolution of parliament on August 9. Fortunetellers typically come out of the woodwork to make opportunistic predictions during times of turmoil and these are duly reported on the front pages of newspapers.

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Keep Up – Modern Thai Architecture 1967-1987

Keep Up – Modern Thai
Architecture 1967-1987
– August 4, 2008
This is an incredibly odd, but interesting trend to document–the
proliferation of modernist, 60’s-era concrete structures in Thailand.
This elaborate and detailed exhibit shows the history of buildings such
as the Indra Hotel, Suan Amporn Pavilion, and the Science Museum.
Ironically, one of the most interesting structures–the pavilion over
the Samsen train station–was torn down to make way for the Hopewell
line which was never built.
“Keeping Up –
Modern Thai Architecture 1967-1987″
is at the TCDC on the 6th floor
of the Emporium (on the movie theater level). Closed Mondays.

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Conviction for Thaksin could mean FA sanctions

Conviction for Thaksin could mean FA sanctions Crain’s Manchester Business, August 4, 2008
The FA Premier League would reassess Thaksin Shinawatra’s suitability to own Manchester City Football Club if he is convicted of a criminal offence in Thailand…

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Microsoft expands software accessibility for Thailand

Microsoft expands software accessibility for Thai consumers Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 now available at 3,250 baht for students and home users in Thailand Thaipr, August 4, 2008
[Hard to see how this is a realistic price considering the typical Thai salary and when pirated full versions are available everywhere for 100 baht.]
Microsoft (Thailand) Limited is encouraging more Thai consumers – specifically home users and students – to enjoy the genuine Microsoft user experience, by making the Home and Student edition of the Microsoft Office 2007 package available in Thailand at a reduced price of 3,250 baht – approximately 40% lower than that of the original price…
Following this success, Microsoft is now offering the product at a permanently discounted rate to home users and students in Thailand who are seeking basic computer functionality from core Microsoft Office programs such as Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel Microsoft Office PowerPoint, and Microsoft Office OneNote…

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GTA killing

Teenager imitates online game, kills taxi driverBangkok Post, August 4, 2008
A Mathayom 6 student stabbed a taxi driver to death yesterday, acting out a robbery he copied from the online game Grand Theft Auto…

Scores of violence online games available in Thailand TNA, August 4, 2008
A senior police officer said Monday at least
10-20 violence online games can be found in the Thai market and
instructed parents to be on alert in preventing their children from
playing such games…

Controversial video game pulled from shopsBangkok Post, August 4, 2008
Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the Thai Culture Ministry’s Cultural Surveillance Centresaid the murder was a wake-up call for authorities to tackle the issue of violent video games, adding ominously: “Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner.”

Police ban computer game that is not on sale Bangkok Post, August 5, 2008
…the Thailand distributor of GTA, New Era Interactive, removed the game from all shops on Mondayh and stopped selling it.
That was not enough for police, who officially banned it because of "obscene" content.
The AFP news agency quoted police spokesman Ruangsak Jaritake as saying, "The police are empowered to immediately arrest shopkeepers if they find any GTA (Grand Theft Auto) games on sale."

2Bangkok main page

Above: Daily News, August 5, 2008 –
Mad about game: The police brought Mr. Nueng, a Mathayom 6 student, to re-enact his crime after he killed Mr. Kuan Pokeng (small photo: left), a taxi driver. He confessed that he imitated the crime in the GTA game (small photo: right). He saw that to kill people in the game was such an easy action.

Game inspires youngster to crime – Distributor hands back licenses, GTA banned Bangkok Post, August 6, 2008

…An eight-year-old boy admits he wants to be a thief, emulating an online game in which money can be easily made through assault and murder. In the game, the more crime a character commits, the more money he makes, according to the Pathom 2 student at a well-known school in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima.

This, he said, is why he wants to become a professional thief.

…”A thief can eat whatever he likes, whenever he wants, just by killing a restaurant operator. It’s cool,” said the Nakhon Ratchasima student…

Left: Daily News, August 4, 2008 – Despaired: The police brought Mr. Nueng (small photo: right), a Mathayom 6 student, to re-enact his crime story. The man killed Mr. Kuan Pokeng (small photo: left), a taxi driver, and seized his properties. He stabbed the victim until he died and dragged the dead body up on the car. He then tried to drive away from the police. However, he failed and was arrested. He claimed that he imitated an action he saw in the GTA game (left photo), which trains people how to commit crimes. He said he thought that it would be as easy as crimes in the game.

Komchadluek, August 5, 2008 – Planned re-enactment: A police office took Mr. Polawat Shinno, a 19-year-old suspected killer of Mr. Kuan Pokeng (small picture), a 50-year-old taxi driver, to re-enact the crime on Soi Charansanitwong 77, Yak 1, Khet Bang Plad, on August 3.

2Bangkok main page

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Rare deer to be released back into the wild

Rare deer to be released back into the wild Bangkok Post, August 3, 2008
After disappearing from the forest in Uthai Thani more than three decades ago, the Eld’s Deer will return to the Thungyai-Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuaries in the central province next week. The National Resources and Environment Ministry has scheduled the release of 77 of the deer, called Lamang in Thai, into the World Heritage site in Uthai Thani province on Friday in a ceremony to be presided over by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej…

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Matichon reporter shot dead at home

Matichon reporter shot dead at home Bangkok Post, August 3, 2008
…”He became extra careful recently due to a conflict with some local politicians over his reports. He told me to always change my routes when heading home,” Mrs Pornpimol said.
She said her husband had told Region 8 Police Bureau chief Thani Tawitsri of his concerns.
Pol Lt-Gen Thani said police suspected the murder was related to news reports written by the victim, which caused conflicts with a high-ranking government officer in the district…

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29 condemned Nigerians in Thailand, Afghanistan get reprieve

29 condemned Nigerians in Thailand, Afghanistan get reprieveThis Day, August 3, 2008
Reprieve has come for twenty-nine Nigerians, condemned to death in Thailand and Afghanistan for drug-related offences, as they have had their sentences commuted to prison terms…

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Students from Thailand clinch title of “World Cham…

Students from Thailand clinch title of “World Champs” in official Microsoft Office competitionINO News, August 3, 2008
Certiport today announced Chawanat Nakasan, 16, from from Thailand and Penporn Koanantakool, 20, also from Thailand as this year’s World Champions for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel(R), respectively, at the 2008 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft(R) Office…

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Thailand: Weinsteins recreate old Shanghai in Bangkok

Thailand: Weinsteins recreate old Shanghai in BangkokSin Chew Jit Poh, August 2, 2008
A large neon red sign in cursive script and a painting of a buxom woman wearing a blue bra advertise “The Great World Casino.” Nearby, a rice shop displays wooden buckets of grain under a canvas awning…

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US twist to Thaksin court case

US twist to Thaksin court case Asia Times, August 2, 2008
…Thailand’s new Thaksin-aligned government, led by prime minister Samak Sundaravej, announced earlier this year that the remaining portion of the 2004 Thai Ex-Im Bank loan would be handed over to Myanmar’s generals, despite the political controversy surrounding the loan.
The bottom line however is that Thaksin and his family are not the only ones feeling the legal heat. While the US State Department looked on, the US Ex-Im Bank wrote checks that effectively extended badly needed satellite services into Myanmar – and in apparent violation of the sanctions Washington has long imposed against the military regime.
Now Myanmar’s junta is likely using US-funded wireless broadband technology to perpetuate its repressive policies and harassment of pro-democracy groups. Not only does the oversight represent a shameful stain on US government accountability, it also sets back the broader cause of promoting human rights and democracy in military-run Myanmar.

Posted in High Tension in Thailand 2004-2008 | Leave a comment

Family of Calgary man killed in Thailand says Ottawa stalling them

Family of Calgary man killed in Thailand says Ottawa stalling themCanadian Press, August,
…There were nearly 300 pages, but almost
all of them were blacked out, with entire pages omitted and emails
The few lines that escaped the black marker suggested that someone –
likely an embassy official – expressed concern that they were getting
more information from the media than their own sources on the case…

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Murder in Bangkok

Murder in BangkokBangkok Post, August 1, 2008
On July 24 at about 5.30pm, I witnessed an event in Bangkok that has left me shaken. It has changed the way I view Thailand…

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Thailand to host world’s first symposium on fireflies

Thailand to host world’s first symposium on fireflies Bangkok Post, August 1, 2008

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Thailand sends first cyclist to Olympics in more than 40 years

Thailand sends first cyclist to Olympics in more than 40 years Channel NewsAsia, August 1, 2008
…24-year-old Chanpeng Nonthasin has been chosen to go to the Games after the International Cycling Union gave Thailand one berth for a female cyclist…

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Thailand Special: sex transplants, elephants, and the Grand Palace

Thailand Special: sex transplants, elephants, and the Grand PalaceGMA, July 31, 2008
…Mhel is just one of the thousand homosexuals lured by the promise of a “normal” life in the “Sex Change Capital of the World”– Bangkok, Thailand!…

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Thai Media Project – July 2008

More: Unlocking
the Thai world: Thai-language newspaper headlines

Do do do, look what they did… Thai Rath, July 20, 2008

Top, left to right:  They hire some cad people to throw water bottles and bags of urine to protest Yongyuth’s case [Refers to a small protest at the court decided former house speaker Yongyuth’s disqualifications.]

Because of their corruption, now Thailand is in the top ten list of countries that has the most fat people in the world.

They did it against the constitution, but still insisted that the constitution is wrong. [Refers to recent government actions thought to be in violation of the constitution and the government’s desire to change to constitution.]

Bottom, left to right: He hides 125 million baht bribe in the water tunnel. [Refers to a scandal where a Japanese company reportedly paid 3.7 million dollars in bribes to obtain a contract to build an underground tunnel in Bangkok.]

They did it until UNESCO had to send 7 nations to invade our country. [Refers to Thai indignation about Cambodia referring the border dispute to the UN Security Council.]

They’ve tried to shut the brave soldier’s mouth who come out to protect the nation’s sovereignty and the royal institution. [Referring to the general who spoke on the PAD stage in full uniform. He was criticized and investigated for showing partiality in politics.]

Don’t understand Matichon, July 20, 2008

Top, left to right: Don’t understand why this animal can come in and walk around here. [Refers to the hacking of the government website when an image of a lizard was put on the site. To be called or compared to a lizard is an insult.]

Don’t understand why talkative person can be very quiet about the Bangkok Water tunnel project. [Refers to a scandal where a Japanese company reportedly paid 3.7 million dollars in bribes to obtain a contract to build an underground tunnels in Bangkok. PM Samak, Bangkok Governor at the time, has been implicated in the scandal, but has refused to comment.]

Don’t understand why Iran firecracker scared people over the world. [Referring to Iran’s missile launches.]

Bottom, left to right: Don’t understand why someone can transform from Godfather to Ninja. [Refers to Vatana Asavahame’s escape after the Klongdan case.]

Don’t understand why political parties in this country can be very easily disbanded.

Don’t understand why the horse has to be skittish on the People’s Alliance for Democracy‘s stage

Week of children’s words Kaolaoruammitr by Tin, Matichon, July, 2008

Top, left to right: Kids were bullied both in the teacher’s room and the restroom in the department store. [Reference to recent molestation reports.]

The imagination of the shepherd boy. [This is a saying that means someone is lying.]
On the sign Samak is holding: The fox will hold the shepherd boy. [This means Samak is telling a lie.]

Middle center: Young soldiers get encouragement to make a revolution because it is insisted that the revolutionary group is the winner. [Meaning that young soldiers are being made to believe if they create a revolution they can call the shots afterwards.]

Bottom, left to right: Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) says that prosecutors are the kids lawyers so the place is a nursery. [Not sure what this refers to. Does anyone know?]

Being taught to be national chauvinist [a nationalist] from a very young age.

Without style, so fighting with children. [Meaning the PAD fights with many people and finally with children–over the issue of PAD rallies disturbing local schools.]
On the sign: Save the ruins.
[A meaning something like "save the mess" as a contrast to the PAD’s normal slogan of "save the nation." ]

Accidentally accidentally – by Chai Ratchawat, Thairath, July, 2008
[Or "By accident, by accident"]

Top, left to right: Accidentally, the one entitled "Tu" who normally do the noodle buying service is the same one with the well-to-do "Suthichart." [Reference to Khun Suthichart or "Tu" a Phuket businessman with close ties to Interior Minister Chalerm.]

Accidentally, the bag containing 2 million baht and the snack bag look like the same. [Referring to the "pastrygate" case where Thaksin’s lawyers were jailed after giving a box with 2 million baht inside to judges.]

Accidentally, someone whose name is Prompat took the test for someone whose name is "Santi Prompan." [In a previous Democrat-led government, the transport minister Santi Prompan was disqualified from office after it was found a person with a similar name actually took a qualifying exam for him in university.]

Bottom, left to right:
Accidentally, someone who says that the prime minister has a mental problem appears to be a doctor. [During the parliamentary debate on the government, a Democrat MP, Malinee Sukvejworakij, noted PM Samak’s oddly distracted behavior belied mental illness. Samak demanded the medical ethics board investigate her for the comment.]

Accidentally, Rangsan was a chancellor at the time when many politicians got their degrees. [Former Ramkamhaeng chancellor Rangsan was in power when many politicians suspiciously received degrees that enables them to remain politicians. The insinuation being that the degrees were awarded without proper study.]

Accidentally, the big boss got involved with the concession in Cambodia so, that is why Noppadon behaves suspiciously. [It is widely believed the government made the Preah Vihear deal with Cambodia in return for concessions the Cambodia government made to Thaksin for his private investments in the country.]

I am Thaksin nomineePhutjadkuan, July, 2008
It reads: Top left: I am Thaksin nominee
Top right: The whole group contains only one member who is a brave milksop (This is a compliment)

Insecure Internal SecurityMatichon; Author: Wasit Detkunchon; July 1, 2008
I was once a police officer working for the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) of the Royal Thai Police in Southern Thailand. I have also been a member of the police department given the honor of providing protection for the Royal Family.
I wish to comment on the June 20 attack in which 4 ‘State Railways of Thailand’ officials were killed on board a Sungai Golok to Nakorn Sri Thammarat train. I believe the militant attackers were aiming to discredit the Region 4 Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) unit responsible for overseeing transport security, since I note that they had disguised themselves as military officers. I would like to ask the Prime Minister – who is also the chairman of a committee that oversees ISOC – whether he believes ISOC policy is being sufficiently well-executed to provide adequate security for the locals and state officials who live and work in the restive South.

School collapses into canal – ThaiBlogs, July 8, 2008

Third-generation ruler – translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author: Reporter Number 10, July 7, 2008
People are now keeping a close eye on the current legal cases against members of the present coalition government led by the People Power Party (PPP) and its ‘de facto’ boss & lady boss. [deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khun Ying Potjaman Shinawatra.]
The judgments on these various legal cases could eventually bring some sort of finale to the numerous political conflicts that have wracked this country since the 2006 Coup. That said, the judgments could also increase the political temperature still further.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is currently engaged in protests in an attempt to oust Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and his PPP-led administration from power. The PAD should now also be spending some time to consider how best to deal with Thaksin’s supporters at work in the PTV (People’s Television) Channel and the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) political movement.
The various impending judicial verdicts against Thaksin and his allies could bring an end to this protracted political conflict. This finale has been long-awaited by Thais, who have found themselves broadly split into two opposing (pro- and anti-) camps over this issue in the past few years.
We will have to wait and see if the impending court verdicts will be sufficient to stop the political projects of Samak, the PPP and its ‘de facto’ boss and lady boss. There is now a big question arising as to who will become the third-generation political ruler of our country for the current political regime.

A deep issue – but not any great secret – translated and summarized from Matichon; Author: Charan Phongchine; July 11, 2008
Regarding the recent phenomenon of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Noppadon Pattama and his handling of a joint Thai-Cambodian communiqué indicating that Thailand would allow Cambodia to proceed with the registration of Prasart Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site.  The Constitutional Court later made a judgment to the effect that the joint communiqué was a legally-binding agreement that should have been approved by Parliament before its release into the public domain. There was also the later Constitutional Court judgment to the effect that former House Speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat had broken electoral law. The court decided that Yongyuth should thus forfeit his rights to stand for election as a political representative. Both judgments have caused a considerable stir within both the Samak government and the People Power Party (PPP) that constitutes the majority of its MPs.
The recent Constitutional Court judgments have become a hot political issue. The court judged that the cabinet decision on Prasart Preah Vihear was unconstitutional. This has led some to suggest that the entire administrative team of this government must therefore resign.
The 5-year ban on Yongyuth Tiyapairat (the PPP Deputy Head), from engaging in politics, could eventually lead to the disbandment of his party.
Politicians will soon be ‘slaughtered’ yet again. Previously, 111 members of the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party were ‘slaughtered’ for their political misconduct – and now another 37 members of the PPP are going to receive the same punishment.
The disbandment process of the PPP is likely to be a lot easier than was the case with TRT. The entire process is expected to take only six months.

‘New Politics’ based on more natural processes – translated and summarized from Phujatkan, July 7, 2008

Below I provide some observations on the ‘new’ direction in which I perceive Thai politics to be currently heading. [The column (below) ‘Old Politics’ represents the predominant status quo of the past, which is currently in flux. The column ‘New Politics’ indicates the apparent present- day direction of that flux, and how it might eventually turn out.]:

Old Politics

New Politics

Political parties are the only organizations who currently enjoy the right to field candidates for positions of political representation.

Any possible combination of people will enjoy the future right to field candidates for positions of political representation.

Elections are the only means currently available to select political representation.

Elections will be just one of the future ways that will be available to select political representation.

The government and parliament are the only two entities that can realistically engage in political activities at the national level.

The general public will play an increasingly important role in political activities at the national level.

Political representatives, for pre-specified constituencies, can be selected only by an electoral process.

Political representatives will increasingly also arise from organizations that concern themselves with economic and social matters.

‘Big Money’ is an all-important ingredient of the political scene.

‘Big Money’ will have a reduced future role.

Publicly-initiated social movements are widely separated from political parties.

Publicly-initiated social movements will play an increasingly important role in politics. They will also have a greater degree of linkage to political parties.

Publicly-initiated social movements, that seek to directly represent their members’ interests, are not accepted by political parties.

Publicly-initiated social movements, that directly represent their members’ interests, will be in the forefront of an increasing number of political campaigns.

Political parties are heavily involved with capitalist interest groups and small pressure-groups of elite individuals.

Political parties will be more open to the participation of a wider cross-section of the general public.

‘New Politics’ will be a great deal more organic and less formal than ‘Old Politics’. It will promote greater sharing & pooling of useful political ideas – in contrast to the more traditional high-degree of aggressive competitiveness between politicians of the ‘old school’. ‘New Politics’ has the ability to rid Thailand of the absolutist political power tendency that has been so apparent in the form of a single all-powerful political party in recent years.

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