Samak praises Myanmar as peaceful and orderly

Samak praises Myanmar as peaceful and orderly - DPA, March 16, 2008
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej yesterday praised Myanmar – deemed a pariah state by most western democracies – as a peaceful and orderly country with a military leader who is a good Buddhist who prays every morning…

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The Plain of Jars: bombs and mystery in Laos

The Plain of Jars: bombs and mystery in Laos – darkroastedblend.com, March, 2008

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Signs from the north


(Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Signs from the north – March, 2008
It reads: Umlohtai Village, Moo 5, Mae Suad Sub-District, Sobmei District, Mae Hong Son Province. Everybody is welcome. Rules of the Village
1. Improper use of electricity for fishing is prohibited
2. Improper use of explosives for fishing is prohibited
3. Improper use of poison for fishing is prohibited
Those who violate the rules will face a maximum fine of 10,000 baht.

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The people who really destroy the country’s image

The people who really destroy the country’s image-
translated and summarized from Thai Rath, March 15, 2008
According to a survey conducted by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, the Philippines is the most corrupt Asian economy while Thailand has been ranked second for two consecutive years. Meanwhile, Singapore retained its ranking as the cleanest economy in Asia. The survey covers 13 economies in Asia and was conducted among 1,400 expatriate businessmen. The columnist believes the ranking also reflects the degrees of democracy as the administrations of countries which strictly follow democratic practices will run the countries transparently. On Thailand, a certain minister recently stated that political movements by a people’s organization [the People’s Alliance for Democracy] have negatively affected the country’s image and driven foreign investors away. The question is: what really does affect the kingdom’s image between such political movements and the survey by a foreign institution?

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Foreign backpackers deny they’re bed bug spreaders

Foreign backpackers deny they’re bed bug spreaders - Bangkok Post, March 15, 2008
…Sawittee Malaipan, an entomologist at Kasetsart University, said some foreigners, including refugees and tourists, did not like to take baths and so they attracted the insects.

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Chiang Mai on MapJack

Chiang Mai on MapJack - March 15, 2008
Select "Chiang Mai" from the drop down on the left. [Thanks to Marc for pointing this out.]

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Thailand’s telegram service will close in May

Thailand’s telegram service will close in May - Bangkok Post, March 15, 2008

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Rock throwing

Rock throwing - Arun, Krungtepturakit, March 14, 2008
At the bottom it reads: New danger
At the far right, the car driver is saying: Wear a helmet also
[This is a reference to the present dangerous craze of young people throwing stone into the windshields of passing cars.]

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Thailand #2 in corruption

Thailand #2 in corruption - Krungtepturakit, March 14, 2008
At the bottom left it reads: Wonder that we can’t get the first level!!
Samak says: Who is PERC? They just read the Thai newspapers [which has many stories about corruption] and then assertively say that Thailand is number two in the corruption problem. How can it be?

This is a reference to a report last week ranking Thailand as behind the Philippines as the most corrupt country in Asia.

RP, Thailand among most corrupt Asian economies — survey – AFP, March 10, 2008
…As in the 2007 survey, Thailand remained the second most corrupt economy after the Philippines with a score of 8.0 after the military, which seized power in a coup in 2006, was seen to have failed to tackle the problem.
“The kingdom’s economy has been marking time for two years while it sorts out political problems in which allegations of corruption figure prominently,” said PERC…

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UN expert slams India, Cambodia, Thailand over sex tourism

UN expert slams India, Cambodia, Thailand over sex tourism -
AFP, March 14, 2008

India, Cambodia and Thailand are not doing enough to protect children against the risks associated with sex tourism for fear of damaging their economies, a UN human rights expert charged on Friday…

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Thai young people are Asia’s biggest gamers

Thai young people are Asia’s biggest gamers - Bangkok Post, March 14, 2008

Thai youths are the third most avid, spending three hours and 30 minutes a day on IM, according to the rankings in The Business Times…

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14 years in Thai jail, then whipped in Singapore

14 years in Thai jail, then whipped in Singapore -
Bangkok Post, March 14, 2008

A man who spent 14 years in a Thai prison on a murder conviction was sentenced by a Singapore court to another 30 months in jail and six…

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Noppadon rejects sanctions, Burmese to ‘vote no’

Noppadon rejects sanctions, Burmese to ‘vote no’Bangkok Post, March 14, 2008
Thailand opposes the western sanctions on neighbouring Burma and will help to prop the Burmese military junta’s planned constitutional referendum in May, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said on Friday.
"Thailand disagrees with sanctions," said Mr Noppadon before he took off with Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej for a quick, official visit to Burma.
Mr Noppadon’s statement put the Thai government firmly against Burmese activists who announced a "Vote No" campaign for the referendum…

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The world’s dirtiest cities

The world’s dirtiest citiesForbes, March 14, 2008
To see which cities in the world were dirtiest, we turned to Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s 2007 Health and Sanitation Rankings. As part of their 2007 Quality of Life Report, they ranked 215 cities worldwide based on levels of air pollution, waste management, water potability, hospital services, medical supplies and the presence of infectious disease…
[Bangkok is not mentioned in the publicly accessible cities.]

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Signs from the north


(Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Signs from the north – March, 2008
It reads: Application for candidacy in local election of Mae Hong Son Provincial Administration Organization between March 17 and 21, 2008 from 8.30am to 4.30pm at Mae Hong Son Public Hall. For more information, please contact 0-5361-4508

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People’s rights and liberty

People’s rights and liberty -
translated and summarized from Thai Rath, March 13, 2008
Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said the movement of the People’s Alliance for Democracy has negatively affected the nation’s image among other countries. The columnist is surprised to hear such a comment from the lawyer-minister, which is against the principle of democracy and certain constitutional provisions regarding people’s rights to express their views and gather in a public place. The columnist wonders which countries the foreign minister mentioned as democratic countries around the globe consider such a political movement an ordinary activity. On the contrary, countries worldwide have negative attitudes towards a state prohibiting its people to protest, gather, or view their opinions.

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Petite Thai action star plans to take on the world

Petite Thai action star plans to take on the world -
AFP, March 13, 2008

She may be small and weigh not much more than a drink of water, but tiny Thai martial arts star Yanin “Jeeja” Vismitananda is proving that petite packages can still pack a punch…

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Thailand’s head of disaster alert center quits, citing lack of government support

Thailand’s head of disaster alert center quits, citing lack of government support - Bangkok Post, March 13, 2008
…Smith Thammasaroj, chairman of the National Disaster Warning Center, said he stepped down because the government failed to make his ad-hoc agency more effective by granting it legal status as an independent body.
“We have no power to hire people, to give our employees any security, buy necessary equipment or make any decision at all,” he said. “Disaster prevention work requires flexibility and efficiency…”

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Thai jasmine rice free of GMOS, says foreign trade chief

Thai jasmine rice free of GMOS, says foreign trade chief - Asia Pulse, March 13, 2008

Foreign Trade Department Director-General Apiradee Tantraporn on Thursday denied a report that some of the country’s trademark Thai jasmine rice is produced based on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), saying the report is totally groundless…

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Samyan revived

Samyan revived - Bangkok Post, March 13, 2008
…University’s property redevelopment excises one of the last relics of the 1997 financial crash, writes Anchalee Kongrut
For almost a decade, an unfinished concrete structure at Samyan intersection has served as a bleak reminder of the economic malady of 1997 – the so-called "tom yam kung disease".
The structure, belonging to Chulalongkorn University, was one of the 508 incomplete buildings abandoned by over-extended developers as overwhelming bad debt in the real estate sector sparked an economic crisis which spread throughout the region…

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Judicial authority

Judicial authority -
translated and summarized from Thai Rath, March 12, 2008
Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary Charan Pakdeethanakul has recently opined that the government should concentrate on the administration of the country, and not interfere with the powers of the law courts and other judicial organizations. I wish to comment that the current People Power Party (PPP) majority government and cabinet – as headed by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej – should reconsider the manner in which they are running the country. This PPP-led government has already conducted a whole series of transfers of government officials since it was sworn into power. These included the transfers of the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) Chief, the National Police Chief and 30 others. It should be noted that the DSI is directly involved in the investigation of legal proceedings against deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and I believe that this government is likely to get itself into a great deal of trouble if these transfers compromise the judicial process.

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Muslim anti-Denmark demonstration In Bangkok Wednesday

Muslim anti-Denmark demonstration In Bangkok WednesdayScandAsia, March 12, 2008

A group of Muslims, who call themselves Muslims for Peace, are preparing a demonstration in Bangkok on Wednesday the 12th of March…

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Man’s death in Thailand probed

Man’s death in Thailand probed - The Northern Echo, March 12, 2008
Detectives in Thailand have launched a murder investigation after a man from the North-East was found dead.
Retired ICI worker Ivor Chandler, who is from the Skelton area of east Cleveland, died in the Phetchabun region of Thailand last Thursday.
It is believed Mr Chandler, who was in his 50s, was in the country on one of his regular trips to visit his girlfriend…

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Threats to Resume Thaksin’s War on Drugs

Thailand’s ‘war on drugs’ – International Harm Reduction Association and Human Rights Watch briefing paper - HRW, March, 2008
…In recent weeks, the government of Thailand has publicly threatened the resumption of killings. On 20 February, Interior Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, told parliament that “For drug dealers if they do not want to die, they had better quit staying on that road… drugs suppression in my time as Interior Minister will follow the approach of [former Prime Minister] Thaksin. If that will lead to 3,000-4,000 deaths of those who break the law, then so be it. That has to be done … For those of you from the opposition party, I will say you care more about human rights than drug problems in Thailand.”
Since this statement by the Interior Minister, Human Rights Watch is aware of at least four killings of alleged drug traffickers across Thailand — two in Chiang Mai, one in Kalasin, and one in Krabi…

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Trying to honor Asians who died building Burma-Thailand rail in WWII

Trying to honor Asians who died building Burma-Thailand rail in WWIIIHT, March 12, 2008
[Thanks to Danny for pointing this out.]
…In 1990, a Thai charitable organization, hearing from a Kanchanaburi resident about the possibility of a mass grave,  partly dug up the area where the lime and banana trees stand today. Using a backhoe, a piece of equipment usually reserved for construction, not a historical excavation, the crew found more than 500 skeletons. After an inspection crew arrived from the Australian Embassy to ascertain that they were not former Allied soldiers, the charitable group brought the bones to a crematorium in Bangkok and incinerated them.

This angered Worawut, who persuaded the governor of Kanchanaburi to allow him to examine the excavated site. He unsuccessfully pleaded with officials that the mass grave be made into a museum and memorial to the Asian laborers.

“They never answered me,” Worawut said.

With no funding available he removed 33 skeletons he had unearthed and filled in the hole.

“I believe there are still more bodies there – a lot,” he said. “But nobody wants do anything about it.”

He handed over the skeletons to the historical department of Kanchanaburi Province for safekeeping. In February, Worawut, accompanied by a reporter, returned to the department to inquire about what had happened to the laborers’ skeletons.

He was greeted by Pichit Rongrithikrai, one of the managers of the department, who said the bones had been discarded three or four years before because workers and visitors complained of an odor.

“There was a stale smell,” Pichit said.

The bones, he said, were buried not far from the compost heap by a maintenance worker.

The anonymity of those discarded bones is in stark contrast to the neat rows of graves in the Allied war cemeteries in Kanchanaburi, described in a stone carving as the “perpetual resting place of the sailors, soldiers and airmen who are honoured here.”

Or as the mother of F. Buckland, a British soldier who died in June 1945, only two months before the end of the war, had inscribed on his headstone: “Sleep on, my beloved son, your memory will always remain.”

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The singer Lidea

News weeklies - March 11, 2008

Left: Nation Weekend – He’s not my boyfriend. I cannot do this on his behalf.

[Both news weeklies have cover stories featuring the singer Lidea, widely rumored by the Thai press to be romantically involved with Thaksin. The Nation also featured Lidea on the inaugural of its Xpress.]

Right: Matichon Weekly – One second too late [the title of a her latest song]

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

Mae Hong Son forest fire signs


(Photo: Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Forest fire danger levels –
Low – Medium – High – Very High –
Mae Sariang’s forest fire control unit

Mae Hong Son forest fire signs -
March 11, 2008
Sadortu reports: Forest fire during the dry season is from late January to early May.
Mae Hong Son is in a dry season. Leaves are falling off trees. Gardeners and farmers were cutting and trimming their plants. Some even burned their plantations, believing that is the way to grow new plants. This is why there is fog in the province.


(Photo: Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Forest devastated, the land turns sere, rivers run dry.
To report a forest fire, call 081-9524183, 089-2669247.


(Photo: Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Report a roadside fire, call 053-682193, 053-618110 –
Arson is a crime with jail punishment.
Mae Sariang highway unit in Mae Hong Son.


(Photo: Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: To report illegal logging, hunting, wild animal trading, a forest fire, a stray elephant, a bird flu outbreak, or a natural disaster, call 1362 at any time.
Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation


(Photo: Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Thai people, let’s help prevent forest fires.
To report a forest fire, please call 081-9524183, 089-2669247.
Forest Fire Control Unit, Mae Sariang 3.


(Photo: Sadortu for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Forest fires affects the community.
Please help prevent forest fires to save the forest.
Forest Fire Control Unit, Mae Sariang 3.