(The following blog was published 16 December on the Opinion Page of ‘The Nation’ newspaper entitled, ‘New Asian Games Events – Thai-style’ Here below, however, is the originally submitted un-edited version)
Thailand may have put in a gallant effort at this year’s Asian Games, but sadly everyone noticed that they are still lagging well behind the North Asian heavy-weights.
The ever-wise sporting authorities have decided therefore, that what the country really needs is to promote ten new Thai-style sports to competitive levels. With Thailand already experts in such fields, they could really go on to conquer the world. Here below, received from completely unreliable sources, is the list of proposed new sports:
The Elephant Marathon
With troupes of mahouts and their burly elephants, Thailand will soon to be teaming up to take this sport to the world. Absolutely no problems with claiming international ‘golds’ at this event as Bangkok’s elephants are all too familiar with stomping up and down the streets, walking the equivalent of a marathon every single night. As for the mahouts, they will be busy trying to knock off plastic bags of cheap bananas to the spectators at 20 baht a shot. Typical obstacles to be avoided during the future marathons will be the usual feast of 5 foot-deep uncovered manholes and shoddy power lines.
The Crash & Dash (Fleeing the Scene)
Perhaps not the grooviest or safest of sports for the passenger extras involved, but the spectators will be flabbergasted at how fast the bus driving athletes will be fleeing the scene of a staged accident. With an energy drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other and the steering wheel under the chin – they will have to race along a main track at breathtaking speeds. On the impact of the crash, the gold medal will be awarded to the driver who frantically manages to jump over all the injured and dash away into nearby bushes as quickly as possible – perhaps never to be seen again. Competition judges will be dressed as bewildered police officers and possible lynchers.
The Animal Hunt
With a bow and arrow at the ready, the competitors will be tossed into the middle of a dense jungle (if one can be found that is) to hunt down and shoot as many rare endangered animals as possible. Should the hosting jungle authorities be unable to find enough wildlife to maim or kill, unofficially imported endangered animals from Burma will suffice. Better still, rangy-looking tattoo-ridden drug-fiends from local villages can be used as targets instead. Huge 10 million Baht bonus bounties will be offered to anyone who manages to shoot any of the land’s rarest animals such as the Indonesian Rhinoceros, so rare in fact, that not a single one has been spotted in the past 15 years.
This long-time much loved sport of the male youth, will literally have the spectators on the edge of their seats. It is already estimated that tens of thousands of school drop-outs will be legible to compete at national levels. The Evil-Kinivels, with their wheelie-skills will have to dash along a 10km highway at manic speeds, thankfully however, the road will be void of nuisances such as; other modes of transport; pedestrians, cops and stray dogs. Extra points will be handed out to riders for – extremely mad stunts; driving down the wrong way, and of course….riding without lights. Bonuses from local sponsors will be afforded to the most deafeningly noisy bike. So loud in fact, that it can be heard in the next town.
(Superb location found for the ‘Dynamite and Cyanide Fishing’ events)
The fishing tournaments will be held near a tropical virgin island, situated amongst the stunning natural beauty of the Andaman Sea. In the first event, the spectators will be given the chance to witness for themselves, the amazing ‘splash and blast’ of Dynamite Fishing. For years a popular pastime in the South – the fisherman will be able to demonstrate how to vigorously bomb as many darned fish out of the sea that is heavenly possible. As for the aftermath, hoards of dead rare fish and huge pieces of coral can be viewed floating to the top. Next, there will the Cyanide and Electric Fishing, strategic fishing tactics perfected over time by the locals. So effective in fact, that within the next 20 years the sea will be completely rid of endangered fish and millions of years’ worth of coral.
100m for the Blind
Not forgetting the disabled of course, the 100 metre walk for the blind is sure to evolve into one of the most difficult in the history of sports. With decades of experience of having to master the dreaded Bangkok footpath, Thailand’s blind are sure to win future gold medals. The location of this event is to be set on a track very much resembling a typically busy Sukhumvit sidewalk – absolutely full of everyday hazards such as clothes vendors; watch vendors, food vendors and DVD vendors. Even with most of the space already taken up, the athletes will also be forced to navigate their way around potholes, parked motorbikes and huge election billboards.
Chopping & Logging
A truly masculine sport, a real test of the strongest and the fittest. The bronze-brazen sportsmen will, like the animal hunters, be sent into a forest area situated somewhere along the Burmese border. Kitted out with mighty axes, it will be their goal to savagely saw down as many trees as humanely possible before the sun-sets. Once it gets dark, the loggers will have to diligently carry all their heavy timber back to a massive truck parked along the nearest road, which is in fact destined for a major port. Even though they might be hot favourites, with years of experience in such a sport, Thailand may still have to fight off fierce competition from fellow loggers and staunch rivals – Burma.
The Zebra Crossing Sprint
Within a time-limit of just 3 minutes, Bangkok’s finest calibre pedestrians cum athletes will have to get from one end of the zebra crossing to the other, while pitting their wits against hundreds of on-coming drivers shooting past – completely indifferent to the traffic laws. Seriously dangerous vehicles to be avoided at all costs in this event will include manic bus drivers and their conductors, the latter of which can be seen hanging out the door like deranged monkeys. Due to pitiful past newspaper reports, all foreigners in Thailand will be barred from entering this specific event.
(A prison warden gearing up for the ‘Great Jail Squeeze’)
Anyone who has spent any length of time on Thailand’s roads will have realized just how ferociously loud our local policemen can blow their whistles at passing vehicles. It has been decided therefore, that the dedicated Bobbies should soon have the opportunity to take their earlobe-shattering whistling skills on the international circuit. Extras dressed up as motorcyclists and 70 year-old pedestrians will be used in the staging of the events, thus truly giving the competitors the inspiration to blow as widely and as loudly as possible.
The Jail Squeeze
There are plenty of so-called sporting events such as ‘How many people can be fit into a telephone box or a car’ so it’s about time that Thailand can prove to the world just how many locals they can squeeze into a prison jail. Experts in the field, wardens from the Corrections Department will be on-hand, with huge batons, to show just how easy it really is to squeeze 500 people into a single room. Besides just a tight-squeeze in this ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ style event, the contestants will also be forced to bear 7 days with the inability to move.