No warnings against travel in Thailand - Canada.com, February 14, 2008
No warnings have been issued against travelling to Thailand, even though a fourth Canadian has been shot there so far this year…
A mirror for Thai national politics: The curious case of Pom Mahakan –
UCLA, February, 2008
The so-called “Rattanakosin Island Project” is an attempt to recreate the old dynastic city of Bangkok as a national monument and enhanced tourist attraction. It has become the site of protracted arguments about the role of the West in the formation of modern Thai culture and politics. Within this area, the tiny Pom Mahakan community — target for one of the first collective evictions of the project under a philosophy that prefers broad vistas and monumental spaces to the messiness of social life — has become a surprisingly important focus for some of the principal strains of current Thai politics. Its struggle to survive reveals many of the paradoxes, most notably the tension between egalitarianism and hierarchy and between a powerful assertion of community rights and the persistent emphasis on national unity, that infuse the present-day search for a collective Thai identity in the face of rapid global change…
Marine major dismissed from service - Stars and Stripes, February 14, 2008
…According to testimony Tuesday, Davis, a 26-year veteran who rose through the enlisted ranks, accepted a loan of 100,000 Thai baht (about $2,324) in May 2002 from a contractor who was also a family friend.
The money was to help pay for Davis’ wedding to a Thai woman in June 2002, and a deal was made to repay the loan by looking the other way when the contractor delivered less bottled water than ordered, according to court testimony…
Government must assign jobs to the right people – translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit, February 13, 2008
The Samak 1 administration has put together its policies, and is preparing to announce them to Parliament. The new government says that these policies will help the general public, stimulate the economy and ease the unrest in the three southernmost provinces. It also says it will proceed with a number of transportation and waterworks mega-projects, in the belief that such policies will help to expand the economy. A large budget will also be allocated to boost the country’s ‘grassroots’ economy.
These policies should be closely monitored, as their success is all-important to the country’s future. Some will agree with these policies, and some will not. The most interesting aspect of these policies is, however, their populist element – which some believe could spell trouble for the future of this country.
For the time being, however, we must let the government carry out these policies, in order to see whether they lead to good or bad results. Nonetheless, it will be essential that this government listens to the opinions of the opposition.
Covers of weekly news mags – February 13, 2008
Left: Nation Weekend – Overlook "Ugly" [a reference to the ugly cabinet, so-called because of the unqualified proxies in top posts]
Peddle to ask the favor of "God" [Not sure, but possibly a reference to the need of cabinet members to receive their instructions from Thaksin(?)]
Right: Matichon Weekly – Who R U? Santi Prompat
Santi Prompat, new head of one of the most "valuable" Thai ministries–Transport–apparently has no other qualification that he has managed a construction company. His real qualification is that he was an advisor to the transport minister in the last Thai Rak Thai government, Pongsak Raktapongpaisal. This likely indicates that Pongsak is really running the transport ministry policy. It is thought that the Santi appointment was one of the "ugly" nominations initially opposed by PM Samak who wanted one of his own allies in the post.
Force -Arun, Arun, Krungtepturakit, February 13, 2008
On the boat it reads: Economic team
The caption reads: Two forces of rowing [Surapong and Mingkhwan] and one force of wind [Thaksin’s face on the sail]
"Chalerm’s Angles" – Krungtepturakit, February 13, 2008
Chalerm’s Angles: Special Edition "The birth of Ongkuleemarn"
Left: We are back.
Middle: Returning bigger than the past.
Right: Do you know who my father is? [During confrontations, the Yoobamrung brothers where reported to threaten people by saying "Do you know who my father is?" Their father is powerful and outspoken politician Chalerm Yoobamrung.]
[In the Thai-language world, the attempt to appoint the rambunctious and sometimes violent Yoobamrung brothers to ministerial aide roles in the new government is being defended with a comparison to Ongkuleemarn. Ongkuleemarn is a bad man in Buddhist lore who was told he could again immortality by cutting off the fingers of 100 people and wearing them as a necklace (the finger necklaces can be seen in the cartoon). The last finger to be cut off was from the Buddha himself. When it came time to cut the Buddha’s finger, the Buddha prayed for the man and instructed him. This changed the man’s heart and he reformed. So the comparison is that Wan Yoobamrung should be considered a reformed man despite his checked past.
Not sure the significance of "Angles" instead of "Angels." Perhaps it is just a misspelling (?)]
Earlier: Putting pub brawls behind to become a ministerial aide – The Nation, February 9, 2008
Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsap Chaovarat Chanweerakul on Monday defended a decision to appoint a bully son of the Interior Minister as an aide in his ministry.
…”In the past, society saw this boy in a scary way but I see him as a well-mannered and polite boy,” Chaiya said…
Earlier: Cabinet puts on hold controversial candidates for ministerial job – The Nation, February 11, 2008
…"About half of candidates nominated by the People Power Party are deemed inappropriate for the job," he said, though evading to comment on the qualifications of Wan Yoobamrung, son of Interior Minister Chalerm…
No sex on Valentine’s, Thai police warn teens - Reuters, February 13, 2008
…Thailand’s moral guardians are taking action after an Assumption University poll showed 27 percent of 2,400 Bangkok teenagers surveyed said they might have sex on Wednesday.
Despite Bangkok’s reputation as one of the world’s sex industry centres, predominately Buddhist Thailand is generally a conservative country…
Populism – Krungtepturakit, February 12, 2008
Minister of Finance Surapong Suebwonglee holds a giant syringe and says: Must give one injection to stimulate the heart… and it will be look good.
On syringe and other items it reads: Populism
Bottom left reads: Beautiful by doctor [This is a way to say "cosmetic surgery."]
Government TV – Arun, Krungtepturakit, February 12, 2008
It reads: War of seizing a remote control. On the TV screen are letters symbolizing government media
A related editorial from The Nation: Govt-backed ‘independent’ TV: get real!
Faceless bank robber in Bangkok - Pink Tentacle, February, 2008
As a commenter wrote: "Daft Punk?"
13 mile long dragon -
Wired Blog, February, 2008
Thailand’s tallest tower gets go-ahead - EARTHtimes, February 12, 2008
…The beach-front residential condominium, is to be 91 storeys and 327 metres high, making it taller than Thailand’s current tallest building, Bangkok’s Baiyoke Tower II, which stands at 304 metres…
Colors of the new cabinet – translated and summarized from Thai Rath, February 11, 2008
When compared to the former ‘Old Ginger’ government, the new administration seems to be more highly-motivated – with its revival of populist policies such as the Ua Arthorn low-cost housing project
The new Minister of Foreign Affairs began his term with a speech that touched on his initial diplomatic engagements and the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He might well have forgotten that he is supposed to be a representative of all Thai people, rather than just a Thaksin spokesman. Meanwhile, the Public Health Minister commenced the first day of his term with the announcement that compulsory licensing [of pharmaceuticals] was to be reviewed.
The Finance Minister has already hinted that the 30% Reserve Policy will be scrapped, while the Education Minister has indicated that he will revive the Student Loan Program.
The Interior Minister has vowed he will eliminate the widespread availability of illegal drugs. He might wish to remind himself, however, that his position no longer possesses quite the same power it once had.
In conclusion: Many new ministers have shown their willingness to engage in productive work. To be successful in their endeavors, and to build public trust, they would be wise to mull over the thoughts contained in his HM the King’s recent speech – as spoken to them on the occasion of their being sworn in.
Doing business with Myanmar - The Nelson Mail, February, 2008
…Now, it is back in focus, in a very small way – at least in this country – after revelations that a state-owned business has enterprisingly landed a deal helping to build cellphone towers. Government broadcast and telecommunications business Kordia has almost completed an $80,000 deal with the pariah state’s military rulers.
National’s foreign affairs spokesman Murray McCully suggests inconsistencies, given the Government’s “tantrum” over Air New Zealand planes being chartered by Australia to carry Iraq-bound troops, and its imposing of some sanctions on Fiji after the latest military crackdown there…
More Thai goods on Carrefour shelves – Bangkok Post, February 11, 2008
…Thailand has lost its market share on food products sent to Carrefour’s global network in the past 2-3 years to the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, due mainly to higher prices…
Giveaways and discounts offered again – translated and summarized from Komchadluek, February 10, 2008
The new Cabinet has indicated that it intends to work for the benefit of the country as a whole, with all of its ministers having put together policies that aim to please both government officials and the general public.
The Public Health Minister has announced a raise in the basic salary of the government officials it employs, but has not expressed any intention to improve his ministry or to stem the spread of bird flu.
The Finance Ministry has also revived the populist policies of the past, by allocating thousands of billions of baht to projects that will increase its popularity with the poor – and help to revive their hopes.
The new government plans to boost the economy by spending money in a way that will increase consumer purchasing power; but such policies could have a negative impact, and waste the expenditure of a government that is already working on a tight budget.
This administration has no ministers who are particularly experienced in economic management, so it will be forced to heed the advice of outside economic experts and gurus.
Thai embassy responds - Jakarta Post, February 10, 2008
…The article’s attempt to juxtapose Thaksin with the King is not only simply ludicrous but more importantly, highly insensitive to Thai people’s feelings…
Disney bus - February 10, 2008
It reads: I’m younger, so I should go first.
Britain kow tows to China as athletes are forced to sign no criticism contracts - Daily Mail, February 10, 2008
…The BOA took the decision even though other countries – including the United States, Canada, Finland, and Australia – have pledged that their athletes would be free to speak about any issue concerning China.
To date, only New Zealand and Belgium have banned their athletes from giving political opinions while competing at the Games…
Police say ‘ponytail bandit,’ husband, have fled to Thailand – Austin American-Statesman, February, 2008
Police said that the woman known as the “ponytail bandit” and her husband have fled to Thailand after committing a series of bank robberies…
Law Society warns Chalerm not to use summary executions in war on drug – The Nation, February 9, 2008
New Interior Minister apologizes for tainted past, swears to work justly – The Nation, February 8, 2008
…Police Captain Chalerm said that his opportunity to assume the position of interior minister was a blessing that he would work to deserve…
Thailand junta admits failure, ends its role - Gulf Times, February 7, 2008
Thailand’s military junta that staged a 2006 coup officially
ended its role yesterday, admitting that it had failed in its political
objectives and promising to avoid further coups…
Thailand will not interfere in Myanmar - AP, February 7, 2008
Thailand’s newly elected government will maintain a policy of
noninterference in military-ruled Myanmar, the foreign minister said
Thursday, adding that democracy and human rights are “domestic issues…”
Overseas and Oversexed - Financial Post, February 9, 2008
[Thanks to the dozens who quickly pointed this out.]
…”Then there are the guys who are old, fat and bald, without any prospects of attracting the attention of a smart, young, attractive Western woman, but discover that they can be attractive because of their affluence or visa status to a whole range of [Asian] women, and strike up a relationship with one of them, not realizing that in the eyes of their friends and other Asians, they look at best [like] fools and at worst predators,” he adds…