2Bangkok.com picks the top stories of 2003

2Bangkok.com had it first
* After spending millions of baht renovating the area, Thonburi Station was decommissioned. This still has not been mentioned in the local press (UPDATE: It finally was mentioned in Matichon on January 6, 2004).
* 2B posted the incorporation papers of the company charged to do the Kra Canal study.
* Weeks before local press dared to call Chuwit Kamolvisit anything other than 'managing director of Sukumwit Silver Star Co.', 2B alerted readers that the foreign press openly referred to him as the 'king of commercial sex.'
* Three months before it was written about elsewhere, 2B explained about the 'dangerous' airport golf course
* First to report the tremors felt in Bangkok.
* Long before it ever appeared in the papers, 2B noted that the reason for the crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade was because of the upcoming CITES convention

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
New features in 2003
Proposal for Bangkok's New Central Park
Take a walk through the Mahakan Fort community (photo left)

Bangkok's Crucible of Construction

Inside the Rama 9 Station

A trip on the Maeklong Commuter

Views from Vertigo Restaurant on top of Thai Wah II Tower

The Songkhla to Hat Yai railroad & station

2B visits the new airport construction site

Phi Phi Island
& Loy Krathong - You've seen the photos on tourist websites, now experience Thailand the 2Bangkok.com way...

Inside info
World's tallest building planned for Bangkok?

A controversial article from the vernacular press
Five dancers bear their breasts after their boss wins four million baht in the lottery (Thairath Daily)

2Bangkok.com explains
The Thaksin and Al-Fayed connection

News you won't find in the English-language papers (until months later)

HK New World plans to take over Thai mass transit (Thansetthakij)
Skytrain in bankruptcy court (Prachachart Thurakij, Vol 27 No 3509, August 28, 2003)

Favorites from 'A tale of two newspapers'
gangs controlling motorcycle taxis - Ratchadamnoen plans - expressway extensions approved

All the news about
The New City

Subway station symbols

Skytrain extension progress

Updated maps to the gem scam stores
2B's coverage of APEC 2003 (including the empty expressway photo that was stolen by many websites)

Burning of the Thai Embassy in Cambodia

A history of visa fee increase threats

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Subway car delivery
Subway cars arrive in Bangkok - Photos of the offloading of the subway cars from an Antonov 124 airplane

Bangkok subway car on display
- The first Bangkok subway car on display at the "Life and Living 2003" exhibition at the Impact Convention Center, Muangthong Thani.

Sex, traffic jams, elephants, or monkey news from Thailand

Thai breast news goes worldwide

Many were interested in

Who owns the Kempinski
A Skyline Ranking that ranks Bangkok 5th worldwide, only behind Hong Kong, New York, Chicago and Singapore.

Hat Yai monorail

End of independence
- Without mentioning it is talking about itself, The Nation laments the impending end of its independent voice.
Photos of the Thai casinos in Cambodia

King Bhumibol Adulyadej Square
in Boston

Central Phattana seeks to expand the Lat Prao branch into Hor Wang High School area
(Prachachart Thurakij, September 29-October 3, 2003)

Thai Labour Museum reopens (photo right)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Past and future
1979 Bangkok mass transit masterplan & 2020 Bangkok mass transit masterplan

Negative feedback

2B made fun of Bangkok Post's lax security and urban legends (let's just say they didn't like it). 2B received email warnings from police (as well as encouragement) about revealing gem scam store locations to tourists. Tuk-tuk drivers outside the shops are now on watch for people taking photos (and throw rocks!). Websites using material from this site struck back when asked to remove the material.
There was real pressure from several avenues concerning the content of 2Bangkok.com this year. As 2B has been told (or warned), "articles don't appear in the English-language press for a reason."


Thanks to Wisarut, Oran, Nils, Pas, Don, Paul, Conor, Stick, Ben, W., C.C., Jieng, Soran, CN, Patrick, Pascal, Charlie, Peter, Terry, Rapee, Dr. A., Andy, Gordon and the anonymous others (some not mentioned because you might now want to be mentioned) for contribution and support.
As this is a website, it does not make any money, but if you would like to do a little something to support 2Bangkok.com, please make hotel reservations though our hotel reservation service.
Discuss these stories on the 2Bangkok.com Forum

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

2003 Review: Thailand rises up - December 31, 2003
It was fascinating to see real change in Thailand in 2003. Bold initiatives were proposed and implemented, laws on the books actually enforced, and countless mafiosos were wiped out in the 'drug war.' Thai Airways' exalted role as the patriot's choice was dumped in favor of discount airlines and low telephone rates are finally arriving. Thailand openly supported a foreign country (the U.S.) in a contentious war and promised an end to reliance on foreign aid and the pressures that come with it. The old idea that new rules and polices will be forgotten after a few months has given way to a surprising new resolve. PM Thaksin is clearly a man not afraid to cause ruffled feathers to get his way.
At the end of the year came a proposal that eventually comes from every country that wants to rise up internationally--a 'national car.' Although just a 'plan,' it is another indication of Thailand's desire for economic leadership:

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Above: The Thai flag is now displayed everywhere in an unusual new show of patriotism and national identity.

Thailand is planning to develop "eco-cars" as part of a master plan to quadruple annual revenues from the auto industry to 800 billion baht by 2010, according to Vachara Panchet, vice-minister for industry. ..The car would run on gasohol, a blend of ethanol and gasoline... According to the proposal, by 2010, Thailand's goal will be to produce about 1.8 million vehicles per year, four times the current output, making it the world's ninth-largest automobile producer and fourth biggest in Asia. (Thailand to develop 'eco-cars' in 3 years - Bangkok Post, December 30, 2003)
On the other hand there has been a creeping consolidation of the media at the expense of free political speech and a continuing intolerance of Thaksin to critical comments. Business interests close to the ruling class find themselves more 'lucky' than others in their business ventures and the system of checks and balances promised in the constitution remains moribund.
It should not be forgotten that a powerful government was the intention of the 1997 People's Constitution. The Constitution was intended to eliminate the minor, regional political parties and create a majority government with the power to implement change--and that is what has happened. The public, always eager to gravitate toward their 'big men,' have so far approved of the Thaksin regime and its initiatives.
Traditional political parties have been seemingly unable to respond to Thaksin's modern political movement that plays to opinion polls and makes bold promises to the voters. The old political bosses bristle at any hint of public disapproval or pressure once elected. Their response to Thaksin's promises and excesses, in traditional Thai style, has been to express generalized disapproval and presumably indicate that all should slump back to the status quo.
Political personalities with too much power have a history of going too far and provoking public discontent. Whether Thaksin has the wisdom to temper his historic influence and take advantage of this chance to reshape Thailand as a regional leader will become clear in coming years.

The best of 2Bangkok in 2009
The best of 2Bangkok in 2008
The best of 2Bangkok in 2007
The best of 2Bangkok in 2006
The best of 2Bangkok in 2005
The best of 2Bangkok in 2004
The best of 2Bangkok in 2003

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