Ancient Thai scripts sink into oblivion

Ancient Thai scripts sink into oblivion - Vietnam Net, November 19, 2007

…In the culture of Thai ethnic minority people, ancient Thai script is considered the spiritual heritage and the crystallized intelligence of Thai people. This kind of ancient script is now maintained on ancient books about culture, customs and habits, laws, history of Thai people or in family annals…

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Thai students: Eatery’s name is offensive

Thai students: Eatery’s name is offensive - Michigan Daily, November 19, 2007

Rackham student Sirarat Sarntivijai said she was confused and offended when a restaurant called No Thai! opened on South University Avenue in September 2005. She thought the name suggested that Thai people were not welcome in the restaurant. Members of the Thai Student Association, including Sarntivijai, its president, said they find the name deeply offensive…

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Thaksin’s cronies perfecting the art of gutter politics

Thaksin’s cronies perfecting the art of gutter politics - The Nation, November 18, 2007
[It has been awhile since super-tough editorials have been flowing out of The Nation. Here's one to kick off the campaigning season...]
[Update 2012: To add some context, this editorial came out when it was clear Thaksin would be contesting the December elections with a political party he controlled. The party had a party symbol that emulated the Thai Rak Thai one. This flew in the face of the unwritten convention that a deposed politician should politely bow out of politics.]
…The peak of this occurred under Thaksin Shinawatra when everything, except that which was good and truly beneficial for people, was provided through populist schemes from which vast sums of taxpayers’ money was siphoned off by politicians and their cronies.
This was supposed to be a perfect plan of corruption in which no hard evidence would be left for later criminal prosecution. Big-time crooks in the Cabinet wasted no time and effort in plundering national assets.
They had yet to legalise their corrupt acts and whitewash all traces of them when mass demonstrations became intense and a successful military coup ousted the graft-ridden team.
Down from power, but not completely out of politics, Thaksin continues his sinister plan to regain power through nominees and cronies with large funds, while retaining publicity through his purchase of Manchester City Football Club…

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Thailand steals a march as India dithers on rice policy

Thailand steals a march as India dithers on rice policy - Economic Times, November 18, 2007

Guess who laughed all the way to the bank while India dithered and tripped for lack of a long-term policy on rice? Thailand, that’s who…

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About the Gay Pride parade

About
the Gay Pride parade

– On November 17 at 5pm,
Silom Road will witness
the annual Gay Pride Parade.
This parade always results
in lots of coverage around
the world. 2B has been
told by several journalists
that much of the coverage
of the parade is done
by reporters who do not
even attend the event.
This is because generic
descriptions of the parade
are a perfect lead-in
to breezy ruminations
on Thais’ easy-going attitudes
to sex. These types of
articles are a staple
of Weird News columns
and bring lots of hits
to newspaper websites.

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No vending in the street

No vending in the street - November 17, 2007
It reads: Buyer – seller -
Illegal –
If buy or sell on the street

These signs were put up to combat the rampant vending around Nakhon Sawan Road.

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CultureEast vs West


(Artist: Liu Young)

Left: Anger (Blue = West, Red = East)

Culture – East vs West - funenclave, November 17, 2007
Thanks to Graham for pointing this out.

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Sapan Han

Sapan Han - November 17, 2007
Last week we asked: Do any readers know where this was located? And when was it demolished?

Wisarut notes: That’s good old Saphan Han Bridge … across city Moat near Wang Boorapha.

Paul notes: Hi, Just started reading your site this week, never knew of it’s existence before. Very impressed.
The bridge is a Paharut but called Saphan Hun not Hung, the old postcard got it wrong.
Here’s a few sites that mention it. Here, here, and here.

hdamm mentioned on the forum: "Saphan Han was on Sampheng Lane where it crossed Khlong Ong Ang east of Pahurat Rd. The name (Saphan means bridge and Han a pivotal point) referred to a small boardwalk that could be turned to let boats pass… In the 1950s the shops were removed and it became the quite unimpressive bridge that you can see today."

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Bhikku Sandan Ka


(Anupong Chanthorn’s Bhikku Sandan Ka)
Bhikku Sandan Ka – November 16, 2007

Left: Anupong Chanthorn’s award-winning and controversial Bhikku Sandan Ka (Monks With Traits of a Crow)

On the forum

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Opening ceremony for Outer Ring Road Bridge


(Photo: Jerry)

Opening ceremony for Outer Ring Road Bridge - November 15, 2007
Jerry writes: This is a far-away shot at 10:20 this morning–1 minute after opening.

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Thailand ‘loosing investor appeal’

Thailand ‘loosing investor appeal’ - Asia Property Report, November 15, 2007

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Bangkok airport: Who can identify this security officer?

Bangkok airport: Who can identify this security officer? - Mathaba, November 15, 2007
Thanks to Anthony for pointing this out.

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From Pattaya City News

From Pattaya City News - November 15, 2007

We investigate the Elephant Tree in Sattahip

A unique way to stop stray dogs using the front of your house as a toilet

[This must be an urban legends... Does anyone know?]

…It appears this works because the animals approach the bottles and sees a reflection of, what they think is another dog, which causes them to leave the area. However, the villagers have another problem, because street workers who collect these plastic recyclable items are stealing the bottles on a daily basis and villagers are running out of the empty containers. So, if you are having a similar problem and don’t care about surrounding your house with plastic containers, try this proven method for yourself.

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Unity Billboard


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Unity - November 15, 2007
It reads: Unity has never made Thai people in discord.
Time changes, the society changes. Yet, Thais’ love for the Kingdom remains.
Let’s unite for the King.

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World Bank urges next Thai government to rebuild, clarify policies

World Bank urges next Thai government to rebuild, clarify policies - TNA, November 15, 2007
The World Bank has called on the new Thai government to be formed after the December elections — probably in February — to take assertive steps to clarify state policies to quickly restore the country’s waning investor confidence and to move ahead quickly with already planned mega-investment projects to stimulate the sagging economy…

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Yellow shirts

Yellow shirts – November 14, 2007
THe entry page on the AsiaSoft website shows video game characters in yellow attire to honor the King.

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Thai politicians swear to Buddha: no vote-buying

Thai politicians swear to Buddha: no vote-buyingTODAYonline, November 14, 2007

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Bad weather mars Thai king’s Everest gift

Bad weather mars Thai king’s Everest gift - IANS, November 13, 2007

Inclement weather marred Thailand’s ambitious plan to give a remarkable gift to its king on his 80th birthday – the first Thai Everest Expedition has been forced to abandon the attempt to climb Mt Everest…

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It’s time for the government to initiate a welfare strategy to defeat populism

It’s time for the government to initiate a welfare strategy to defeat populism - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit, November 13, 2007
This year’s discussion at the annual conference of the Thailand Development Research Institute, held November 10-11, tended to indicate that it is time for the Thai government to initiate a definite strategy to improve the welfare of its general public.
Such a strategy would help improve the lives of ordinary Thai people, and allow them to live sustainable lives – with fewer living in poverty. This strategy would also help to rid the country of the strong populist strain that has wracked it in recent years. Greater government welfare provision would involve improving the lot of ordinary citizens, helping the underprivileged and easing poverty. The government would thus be required to exercise much greater responsibility for the care of its citizens, from cradle to grave. Any government – that undertook to create such a welfare system – would also find it necessary to systematically guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens. Such a government would also be duty bound to help ordinary Thai people face their various social problems.
The golden years of Thai ‘populism’ were during the Thaksin regime. The Thaksin government used a populist strategy for its own political ends, rather than to actually help the poor in any real sense. It provided poor people with loans that vastly increased their indebtedness. Populist policies could only solve the problems of poverty in the short term, and these policies have since also created a great deal of trouble for the country’s financial system.

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The maturity of the candidates for the prime ministerial position

The maturity of the candidates for the prime ministerial position - translated and summarized from Thai Rath, November 12, 2007
At present, many parliamentary candidates are fighting hard to get a healthy share of the votes in the December 23 General Election. There are – however – some candidates who wish to garner as many votes as possible from people, but who conduct themselves in an improper manner. An infamous example of such behavior is Samak Sundaravej, the leader of Palang Prachachon Party (PPP). Khun Samak has taken to talking to journalists in an impolite manner, and it is often said that he is a complete anathema to the media corps. Indeed, his actions and his words seem to reflect negatively on both his level of maturity and the integrity of his political views. He has also scolded – with rude words – those TV stations that have reported his conduct to the general public.

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Thailand’s ‘human zoos’

Thailand’s ‘human zoos’ - Times Online, November, 2007

…Yet conditions in the villages are “worse than prison”, the women say. “Our men are forbidden to seek work, we cannot grow our own food and if we try to leave, we are beaten,” says Mun Mun, who lives in the village of Nai Soi. “We have no privacy. We are like animals in a zoo.”
Officials who run the villages deny that the women are exploited and say they are free to leave. But six who recently tried to flee were allegedly kidnapped and returned to work in the tourist village…

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Authorities apprehend two men attempting to set fire to the Democracy Monument

Authorities apprehend two men attempting to set fire to the Democracy Monument – PRD News, November 12, 2007

…Police Station authorities apprehended the two men along with 6 gallons of thinner fluid, 2 gallons of gasoline, 50 square slices of tire rubber and 20 candles as well as pamphlets opposing the election and the constitution…

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The Hard Hat Show – Riding Line 5: Beijing’s New Subway

The Hard Hat Show – Riding Line 5: Beijing’s New Subway - YouTube, November 12, 2007
[Thanks to Lance for pointing this out...]

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An alien from Thailand

An alien from Thailand - Funtasticus, November 12, 2007

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Thai Social Etiquette


(Source: Illustration by Ohm Rachawej, Thai Social Etiquette)


(Source: Thai Social Etiquette)
Book: Thai Social Etiquette
By Mrs. Pensri Kiengsiri, Mrs. Sudchit Bhinyoying and
Assoc. Prof. Malithat Promathatavedi,
Editor: Prof. Khunying Maenmas Chavalit,
Cartoonist: Ohm Rachawej

This Ministry of Culture publication is actually quite charming…

It is odd to read in English, because the information is clearly meant as advice for an etiquette-challenged Thai person. Overall the advice is not about the way things are, but an exhortation to be mindful of how things should be.

Most of the points made are commonsense, some are odd or downright weird, and many are opposite to common Thai behavior, such as:

* We should have a serving spoon in every common dish from which everyone may take another portion after the first serving.

* Unless it is necessary, avoid the use of a toothpick.

Chang Noi’s witheringly critical article, Cultural bureaucracy means bureaucratic culture (The Nation, November 12, 2007) seems to interpret the book as pernicious meddling by the Culture Ministry instead of what it probably is–idealized nostalgia inexplicably packaged as "advice for farangs."
…In the shopping mall, bus, or Skytrain, the visitor would be forced to conclude that almost none of the people were Thai since they did not seem to walk, talk, sit, or dress in the prescribed manner…


(Source: Illustration by Ohm Rachawej, Thai Social Etiquette)

(Source: Illustration by Ohm Rachawej, Thai Social Etiquette)

 

Left: Ohm Rachawej’s illustration of "How to stand" – We should stand in a straight position. However, when speaking to an older or a respected person, we should bend forward a little to show respect.


(Source: Illustration by Ohm Rachawej, Thai Social Etiquette)

Left: The following is not acceptable especially if done in the presence of people older than you or your superiors at work, or in society.
Standing with legs apart, with hands in pockets, with arms folded across the chest, with hands on hips, with hands together at the back, in a leaning position, blocking someone from something he needs to see, blocking a passageway and towering over an older person who is sitting.

Right: Refrain from holding hands in public as it may have undesirable implication.


(Source: Illustration by Ohm Rachawej, Thai Social Etiquette)


(Source: Illustration by Ohm Rachawej, Thai Social Etiquette)

Above: A seminar or meeting is not a lecture class where you attend only to be informed. There must be an exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences, questions and answers to clarify the issues concerned, in order to make the whole session worthwhile. Keep your shyness to yourself and try to contribute and demonstrate your ability as much as possible.

More interesting tidbits

* You should not speak about something dirty or draw up a vision that is not pretty, such as talk about worms in a garbage, someone being sick and throwing up, the condition of someone down with diarrhea or constipation. You should also train yourself and your children not to have to visit the rest room directly before or after eating.

* Do not wrestle with a tough piece of food trying to cut it into two smaller pieces till it shoots across the room or the table.

* For a night banquet, candles on the table can look romantic and festive.

* Do not spoil the atmosphere by chiding your inferiors in front of your guests.

* Walk in a natural, relaxed manner, taking steps that are neither too long nor too short.

* He does not show that he is well acquainted with someone by calling that person by his father’s name. This is greatly impolite and yet some people do it.

* He does not ask personal questions such as: How is your ex-wife/husband now? How much do you weigh? How old are you? How much is your salary?

* Do not scratch here and scratch there.

*
Always introduce a man to a woman, a younger person to an older person, a lesser-in-rank to a superior-in-rank, etc. The lesser one will do the wai first and the superior one will give him a wai in return.

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Police arrest man over 10 murders – Security guards sleeping on the job led to killing spree

Police arrest man over 10 murders – Security guards sleeping on the job led to killing spree - Bangkok Post, November 11, 2007
…The 30-year-old, who had worked as a security guard for slightly more than one year, decided to punish other security guards after his attempts to wake them failed.
”I used to wake them up, but they scolded me. So I’ve remained enraged since then,” said Mr Witaya.
…If Mr Witaya is found to have a mental illness, his punishment will be reduced…

This kind of story is perfect for "Weird News" filler in the foreign press–along with a humorous headline: Workplace etiquette: Don’t kill your sleeping coworkers with chunks of wood

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Thailand opens first walkway for disabled

Thailand opens first walkway for disabled
TNA, November 11, 2007

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NESDB, ADB cooperate to develop industry in south

NESDB, ADB cooperate to develop industry in south - TNA, November 11, 2007

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Sperm bank in Thailand hands out free samples

Sperm bank in Thailand hands out free samples - The Onion, November, 2007

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Singha plunges into cheap-beer market

Singha plunges into cheap-beer marketThe Nation, November 10, 2007
[The reader who pointed this out quipped "Issan to get even drunker" as an alternate headline.]
…It goes on sale tomorrow and will cost Bt100 for three bottles. This is still more than its main competitor, Archa, from Thai Beverage. Archa has been selling for three years and costs Bt100 for five bottles. It is heavily promoted…

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