Category Archives: A Life Upcountry

International Car Free Day 2011 in Thailand

22nd September has been designated as International Car Free Day. All around the world, people have been making the effort to not use their cars today, but instead use public transport or even get on their bicycle. Thailand has been taking part in World Car Free Day now for the last five years. To begin with, only major cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai organized bike rallies in order to promote alternative modes of transport. However, as word has spread, many more provinces have organized their own events.

Last Sunday, Samut Prakan organized their first Car Free Day Event. Nearly 800 local cyclists came together at the City Hall and then took part in a cycle rally around the city. Never before have so many bicycles been seen on our streets. It was really a great feeling to be a part of this. As you know, I have recently bought my own bike and have been using it a lot around town instead of taking my car. It has given me a lot more freedom as I don’t need to worry about where I can park my car. Nor do I get stuck in traffic jams any more.

In the past, if you rode a bicycle people felt sorry for you as if you didn’t have enough money to buy a motorcycle. But, attitudes are changing. You see more people cycling these days. You also see a lot more cycle clubs where people go out on trips in groups. For myself I am not that serious about it. It is more about convenience for me. I have a bag on the back of my bicycle so I can go out and buy some supplies at the local mini mart. The last few weeks I have even started to cycle to school instead of walking.

So far I haven’t been very far on my bicycle. The longest distance that I have cycled was about 25 kms. I am not exactly that fit so I am not sure if I can keep going all day. But, I am playing with the idea of cycling to Samut Sakhon for the day and then maybe come back by train. Another thing that I have been doing more often is putting my bicycle into the back of the car. I have to take off the front wheel but it is very quick. This is making some of my Bangkok day trips a bit more interesting. I have even been going into Bangkok with my bike on the sky train. I am beginning to enjoy that too.

According to the Energy Minister, quoted in The Nation, “If only 10 per cent of 4 million vehicles in Bangkok is parked at home and the owners use public services once a week, this could save fuel by 1.6 million litres a day or about Bt64 million.” It is doubtful that they will manage to get 10% of cars off the roads any time soon. For that to happen we need an extensive public transport system. It also doesn’t really help much that the government are offering tax rebates for first time car buyers.  The billions in lost revenue could have been spent elsewhere. Maybe even subsidising bicycles and more building bike lanes!

Making an Ubon Ratchatani Candle

Imprinted Candles at Candle Parade

In remote Ubon, Thailand’s eastern most province, tourists are usually rarer than a vote for the Democrat Party and the laid back locals seems to like it this way. The wilderness province even boasts Thailand’s most spectacular natural site yet is happy not to tell anyone about it. However once a year this changes as the rains comes down.

Ubon’s main claim to fame is its traditional Candle Festival. Called Ubon Ratchatani Candle Festival the Tourist Authority of Thailand seems to be trying to rename it the Thai Candle Festival, as at first other cities in Isaan, Korat, Roi Et so on started to have one, and now they can be found from Supanburi to Chiang Mai. A Thai language forum has a post entitled, The Origin of the Thai Candle Festival, to which commenter’s quickly identify as “tourist money”.

Ubon’s tradition then may have been raped and pillaged for filthy luger, but at the moment the Ubon festival still is by far an utterly unmatched month long spectacle compared to the paltry one day phoney traditions in other cities.

The origin of the festival comes from the Buddhist Retreat, held for 90 days during the Wet Season. Traditionally rice planting was done in the wet season and the flooded paddy fields seeded. The crops were highly vulnerable and villagers asked Buddhist monks not to leave their temples each morning collecting alms, walking through the fields destroying the young crops. The monks duly agreed to stay in their temples for the period studying and meditating and in appreciation of this local farmers presented the monks with a sufficient supply of candles to light their monasteries for the 3 months.

Manufacture
Last year I covered the festival in Roi Et and it left me wondering how the amazing candles were made, so this year I ventured to Ubon, not just to see the festival but investigated the whole manufacture process.

The candles are made at workshops in several temples, which have been selected to be candle manifacturing centres, these are located all over Ubon province. There are two methods of making candles, by imprinting or by carving, each temple specialises in one method or the other. I visited one temple workshop specialising in each

Candle being Carved

Carving a candle
Candles usually represent a scene from Buddhist mythology, often with fanciful monsters and demons, and usually telling a story. The theme of a candle for the year is agreed upon by the village/temple/association ect and an initial plan drawn up. The manufacture process usually begins about a month before the main parade.

Initially the plan of the candle is sawn into shape out of plywood, onto this coconut husks are used to fill out the 2 dimensional shapes to 3 dimensions and this is covered in plaster of paris forming the rough shape. The secret ingredient is then added, a thin coating of a zinc based mixture, to make the wax grip the plaster of paris. Next the wax is added, it is formed into plates up to 6cm thick plates of varying size, the still warm and pliable wax plates are folded and shaped around the plaster. It is then ready for carving.

The carving is is done by a mixture of artisans and apprentices, it takes a decade or more to become a master candle carver. In lei of this some temples field two candles not one at the festival, the second smaller candle being an apprentice’s candle.

Carved candles at the festival

The Imprint Method.
One of the drawbacks of carving a candle is it’s an expert job, some villages, or organisations such as universities that participate either lack the money or expertise to commission a carved candle or wish people to participate in the manufacture itself, so it feels a local group effort.

The imprint method mirrors the carving method up to the point where the wax is added to the candle then it becomes a very different method. Tens or even hundreds of thousands of thin paper like pieces of about 5mm thick wax are made and each is imprinted with a patterned shape with a hot stamp. The pattern is carefully cut out and using drops of wax it is stuck to the zinc surface. These thin patterned leaves are built up in layers of scales to create the shape. This job requires dozens of people to work for weeks, making the wax sheeting, imprinting, cutting out and sticking the individual leaves

The finished candles methods then compete in separate categories in the festival. Competition is hot between the rival makers to outdo each other each year and novelties are common, such as fielding a uniquely coloured candles or spectacular monsters. The candles are paraded in Ubon several times over the 2 parade days, both day and light show night parades, and then left in the streets around Tong See Muang Park for week for public viewing. For the last few years the National Wax Sculpture Exibition has been held there too by top modern scultures from around the world, so the best of the ancient art and the modern art it spawned can be viewed side by side.

Imprint candle being made
top left: sheets of wax added to candle, top right: wax stuck to zinc exterior, mid left: imprinted wax cut out, mid right: plywood, coconut shell and plaster stages, bottom left: imprinted leaves ready to attach, bottom right: anyone can help

Incorrect Place Names and SE Asia

Bombay recently changed its name to Mumbai, so did Bangalore to Bengaluru, and cricket commentators fell over themselves to use the new names as quickly as possible. On the news these days they say Beijing not Peking, Canton is vanishing as a name for Guangzhou though admittedly drunken Dutch still call New York ‘New Amsterdam’.

So here’s my question, why doesn’t this world recognition of correct naming apply to South East Asia. Most people still seem to refer to Myanmar as Burma. Ho Chi Minh city is universally called Saigon, the country of Laos still has the ‘s’ added to its name by everyone in the world, despite the fact there’s not even a final ‘s’ in the Lao language and few in the country could even pronounce the word ‘Laos’. Bangkok of course is not only not called Bangkok it’s never been called Bangkok, though we can somewhat blame the Thais themselves for this one, not promoting the real name and even using the word Bangkok themselves, when speaking English.

Getting real names wrong also has its perils, I had an experience myself, I hesitate to tell as you will probably think me think me a really awful person, but here goes anyway……….

I forget the year, it was either 2001 or 2002, the company I was working for had flown me up to Khon Kaen for a month and that day I was flying back. Hubris was rife in the air, I was the kind of person who was flown not bussed around the country by his company. However the day before my bubble was burst as the company asked me to come into work the evening when I arrived in Bangkok. As my flight was early afternoon and I was arriving at Don Muang around 3:30pm I could start work at 6pm.

To get to Chit Lom where I worked from Don Muang would take minutes on the Sky Train, I didn’t really want to arrive at work at 4pm and hang around 2 hours. Going home first wasn’t an option as by the time I got to Nontaburi I’d have to turn straight around and go back, so I decided I’d go down to the bus stop outside the airport and take the first aircon bus directly there with vacant seats and have a relaxing journey looking out the window for an hour or so killing plenty of time.

The scene was pretty typical I sat in the bus shelter, there was a woman next to me, a couple of guys standing either end, taxis waited beside the road in a line for us to get bored, buses sporadically stopped and an old women tried to sell us green mango. I had a backpack with me with a month of supplies for my time in Khon Kaen but as I was going into work I was wearing my work clothes so looked pretty smart and clearly wasn’t a tourist.

After about 5 mins at the bus stop an American guy late twenties/early 30’s appeared dressed in an expensive business suit. He walked up the line of taxis one by one speaking to the drivers who shook their heads a lot. After trying all the taxis he tried a bus driver who just happened to have stopped, also to no avail. My curiosity was sparked. He appeared to have a piece of paper in his hand and then showed it to the two guys standing at the bus stop who also shook their heads. Finally he headed in my direction and spoke to the woman sitting next to me, she spoke good English and I eaves dropped the problem.

The man who was red faced by now and looking really panicked handed her the paper and asked if she knew this address, repeating the words “Wireless Road”, she promptly told him there was definitely no Wireless Road in Bangkok. The now almost crying businessman explained to her that he had flown all the way from the US for an important business meeting, had tried everywhere but no-one knew where Wireless Road was and now was down here out of desperation, the meeting started in 20 minutes.

Sitting listening to this I knew immediately what the trouble was. US companies and even the US Embassy stubbornly still insisted on calling the road in question Wireless Road, addressing all correspondence to Wireless Road and telling all Americans who enquire for business information it’s called Wireless Road, without even deeming to mention like Bombay to Mumbai the Thais for decades had returned it to the original name Wittayu.

Sitting there I thought this is your lucky day mate, not only do I know where you’re going, I know how to get you there in 20 mins, I’m going to Chit Lom, Ok you pay, we’ll jump in a taxi, I’ll tell the driver where you’re going, to take the tollway, at 4pm it’s unlikely to be jammed and you’ll most probably make your meeting bang on time. I’ll be at work early, which is what I wanted to avoid, but hell I’m a nice guy and if it helps you…….

So as I mooted over my good Samaritan act, the businessman got up from sitting next to the woman next to me walked straight past me not even turning to acknowledge me and returned to the two standing guys and asked them a second time. He then over the next 10 mins hailed a few cabs, asked a few passers by and stopped the odd bus, not even once coming over to me.

I sat there thinking, now I don’t exactly look like a tourist, anyone with half a brain could see I lived and worked here. Also he was a businessman, expensive suit and this company had rather than video conferenced or phoned chosen to fly him halfway around the world for a face to face. Obviously a very important meeting, so you would think the company would send a top guy. Business I thought was about initiative, it’s a sink or swim world, a Darwinist scramble where those with initiative prosper and those without are evolved into extinction. Being a top guy, this guy should have had the initiative to ask me, he didn’t, the only person who could have helped him, he asked everyone else, even the green mango seller. It’s not really my responsibility to go up to him and sort his life out. I mean he works for a company; the company presumably makes a product. Imagine I desperately needed this product but had no money, would his company give it to me free? Of course not. so am I really obliged to help this company out, free of charge? Give my product away, a reasonably comprehensive knowledge of Bangkok.

Later, I got on my bus and that was the last I ever saw of the guy, 20 minutes had passed, his meeting had started, his panic and desperation had subsided, he now had a sort of resigned look, I guess he had come to Thailand and found a sort of inner peace in his own way………. I still remember the chided puppy dog expression fading out of sight as the bus drove away, sometimes I wonder what happened to him, did he lose his job and stay in Thailand. Perhaps he’s here now and is now a fire dancer on Ko Pen Ngan or preaching Darma in Lumpini Park on a Sunday afternoon after finding Nivana at the bottle of a bottle of 7/11 Lao Khao, saved from an empty life of corperate futility. Me I found inner peace too, I had the one chance in my life to sabotage global corporate capitalism and took it. I slept well that night.

Anyway back to my point, I wonder what it is specifically about SE Asia that it’s ok to be so wrong about place names compared to the rest of the world? Should we even try to use correct names. With Lao for instance it’s not difficult as the word Laos is completely unheard of in the region and within days of setting foot in the country even the most ill-informed tourist clutching their copy of Lonely Planet with Laos written boldly across the cover will have abandoned the ‘s’ realising its total non-existence in speech or writing in the country. With Bangkok it is more difficult, over the 15 years or so when talking to Thais I have endeavoured to say Groong Tep all the time, but find nine times out of ten they still say Bangkok back to me. I recently bought a bus ticket to Groong Tep from Isan, walked up to the Chaiyaphum Air ticket counter and asked when the next bus to Groong Tep was, the lady behind the counter replied the next bus to Bangkok was at 11.am. The real absurdity of the situation was apart from the word Groong Tep I asked in English and apart from the word Bangkok she replied in Thai.

US Emabssy Website Contact Address.
http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/contact.html

The “Litter Scam” in Bangkok

A few week’s ago, the excellent Spectrum supplement of the Bangkok Post did a big feature on the so-called Bangkok’s ‘cigarette police’. If you haven’t read it already then I suggest you take a look now. For a while there has been a law in Bangkok against littering which has been enforced with a heavy fine. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. Like the next person, I don’t like seeing litter around. So, I am happy they are cracking down on people who dump their rubbish on the roadside. But, that is not exactly what is happening. Instead of targeting local people the BMA officials, called “thetsakij”, are going after a softer target – foreign tourists.

After the Bangkok Post article came out there were a lot of comments about it in their letter’s page and also on Internet forums. Many people came out to say that they were fined 2,000 baht by these officials and were never given a receipt. They were hassled and told that if they didn’t pay the fine on the spot then they would have to go to the local police station where they would have to pay more. Interestingly, Manit Techa-apichoke, the deputy director of the City Law Enforcement Department, told the the Bangkok Post a few days later “foreigners who feel they have been unfairly targeted by the thetsakij should refuse to pay the fines”. Really? How many tourists know the difference between a police uniform and the one of the “thetsakij”. Most are too scared and just pay the fine.

The BMA promised a crackdown on officials that were found guilty of extortion. At the weekend I decided to go and take a look for myself. I went to the sky walk in front of the MBK shopping mall where the “thetsakij” have a table. Three of them were at work and as I was approaching them I could see they had just finished fining a female foreign tourists. Two of the officials then went off to the top of the steps to catch another tourist. At the bottom of these steps there is a small sign that says “no smoking”. There are no rubbish bins here so what the tourists are doing is throwing their cigarettes onto the ground. The BMA official then grabs them when they get to the top of the steps. The only sign about the 2,000 baht fine is this one next to the table where the officials are stationed.

I was hanging around here for about 30 minutes before I was well and truly spotted. But, by that time I had witnessed FOUR foreign tourists being fined for littering. So, that is 8,000 baht for 30 minutes work. Not a bad earner for someone. When I came back five minutes later the BMA officials had all gone. I’m not sure why. It was mid-afternoon. Maybe they had gone for tea or just didn’t like me hanging around taking pictures. I’m not saying that people who litter shouldn’t be fined. But, 2,000 baht does seem to be a bit high for dropping a cigarette butt when elsewhere people are dumping bucket fulls of rubbish in the streets with no consequence. In addition, targeting foreign tourists isn’t fair. If a Thai person is caught they just get a warning or told to do push-ups if they are a teenager.

COMMENTS ON TWITTER:

While I was taking pictures I was also posting them live on Twitter on my account @RichardBarrow. I wasn’t able to reply to everyone but here are some of the comments that I got within that 30 minutes I was tweeting:

@gskphoto: Hilarious. did you tell him he can just walk away and not pay?
@gskphoto: I’m going to pay for a billboard in front, saying “you don’t have to pay, just walk away!”
@forestmat: are these guys also stopping and fining Thais?
@dany_k: how did u get that photo!
@freakingcat: I am sure the President of TAT would be happy to hear what a great memory of Thailand tourists get from the cigarette Mafia!
@GlobalMouthful: the questions being whther they really littered, and whom do the fines go to…?
@thaicam:“2,000 baht fines every 5-10 minutes” // wow, i’m in the wrong business…shoulda been a cigarrette monitor cop
@freakingcat: Guess Ratchprasong is for Tourists now more dangerous than it was in April/May 2010
@two10eleven: That’s ridiculous. Illegal as it “may” be (given each circumstance) the law should be a blanket law not just a white skin law
@oldskooldi: And that’s how tourists will want to come to Thailand… a great place to get ripped off!
@oldskooldi: 80% ( a random figure!) of ppl here think foreigners are rich 🙂
@KristoferA: And while is documenting how the police are fleecing tourists in front of MBK, the woman that stabbed an expat to death…
@WomenLearnThai: Follow @RichardBarrow as he documents the Thai Gestapo ripping off tourists at MBK.
@forestmat: they don’t look best pleased with you!
@freakingcat: Police! Your friend when you are in need! Guess they hv special Tourist Cigarette Police. #Amazing Thailand, never come back!
@forestmat: what authority do they have to enforce the law? Do you know if they are legitimately allowed to issue fines?
@gskphoto: are they real police or just security guards in fancy uniform?
@GlobalMouthful: Amazing Thailand: a great place to part ways with your cash.
@Saksith: Don’t they notice you taking pictures of them of the same table in the last 20 minutes? Not that you get a fine as well! 😀
@freakingcat: Do Tourists get “proper” receipts 4 fines or is the money as usually just pocketed by Police? What if they refuse to pay?
@gskphoto: No bins or ashtrays, is there actually a clear and obvious sign in English?
@RobinThailand: I used to put my butts in a pocket of my shorts just for these reasons. And, because it’s rude to ash out on the walk.
@Matt_Jasper: maybe we could organise a camera tweetup at that spot and get a whole bunch of ppl to take their pics all at once.
@freakingcat: Why don’t u light a cigarette,refuse to pay and tweet what’s happening. Happy to pitch in for the fine u hv to pay eventually
@RobinThailand: In SG, first time offense is $150, second time I think $300 or more and after that public service.
@Ithinkimlost: are they a victim if they have committed an offence? There must be a bin somewhere.
@AndersInNon: The three members of the Thai Gestapo in front MBK have fled > A citizen win moment 2 treasure, thanks a lot 🙂
@ahyangyang: When they had enough ,they go drinking and celebrate..
@freakingcat: There should be big signs warning Tourists of the Cigarette Criminals trying to extort money.
@thomaswanhoff: First: using gestapo is just bad. second: would you smoke in Singapore as well? Dont smoke, dont get fined. easy.
@KainerWeissmann: at the main entries have been signs “no smoking” all around mbk.. 4 month ago.
@thomasjojo: that fine is deserved of they throw garbage around. but its a shame no thais around here (around bkk) gets fines too.
@thomasjojo: i have seen signs in Bkk about littering, fines. every intelligent person know that they should not trash around. Smokers too
@Orientix: Friend from Thailand visiting here informs Thailand no fun anymore. Fines fines fines for whatever

This Week in Thailand: 20th-26th August 2010

This is a review of what happened in Thailand during the last week based on topics that I tweeted. You can follow me live for latest news about Thailand @RichardBarrow.

Friday 20th August 2010:

  • US Presses Thailand on Extradition Case for Merchant of Death (VOA) http://is.gd/epjSa #
  • Red Shirt v Yellow Shirt: Thailand’s political struggle (The Independent) http://is.gd/epkiv #
  • WikiLeaks still available in Thailand & now at dedicated website http://www.thaileaks.info (Straits Times) http://is.gd/epk8l #
  • Ayutthaya, Chon Buri & Petchburi are shortlisted as host city for World Expo 2020 (The Nation) http://is.gd/epkOG #
  • Interior Minister Chavarat suffers food poisoning after going to Banharn’s birthday bash /BkkPost #
  • Obituary for Allen Quicke, Editor-in-Chief of Asia Times Online, who died in Hua Hin on Tuesday night http://bit.ly/dAcZ2s #
  • Appeals Court rules to extradite alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout to US to face terrorism charges /BkkPost #
  • Thailand: 2.3 million pay tax. 60,000 earn more than 4 million/year & 2,400 earn more than 10 million/year (BkkPost) #
  • Newsweek: Thailand rated 58th for World’s Best Countries. Rated for quality of life, political environment, education… #
  • AirAsia now flies Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai (already flies to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi & Phuket) http://bit.ly/c88SWY #
  • Puea Thai get permission from their fortune tellers to move Party HQ. New place has better feng shui http://bit.ly/9aBpOX #
  • Aussie Conor David Purcell, held over Thai protests can now go home http://bit.ly/bAckOj #
  • Red Shirt Conor Purcell was sentenced to 45 days but is released as he has already spent 89 days waiting in a Thai jail! #
  • Remote-control aircraft crashes into Phuket temple – http://is.gd/eqUzo #

Saturday 21st August 2010:

Sunday 22nd August 2010:

Monday 23rd August 2010:

Tuesday 24th August 2010:

  • Thailand to resume diplomatic ties with Cambodia after the resignation of Thaksin (BBC) http://is.gd/ezDpa #
  • Piranha 3D Sequel Announced, Might Be Set in Thailand at Full Moon http://is.gd/ezE1B #
  • King’s rainmakers take to skies to ease Thai drought – http://is.gd/ezEQv #
  • ‘Merchant of Death’ in Thailand transferred to isolation cell http://bit.ly/bZIIEp #
  • Today is the Hungry Ghost Festival (Sart Chin Day) in Thailand for people with Chinese ancestors. http://bit.ly/1JoUDb #
  • Miss Thailand Fonthip Watcharatrakul wins Miss Photogenic & national costume awards at Miss Universe 2010 /MCOT #
  • Thailand’s Largest Buddhist Temple Goes Wireless http://bit.ly/9OtP1Y #
  • Canadian tourist dies in fall from train in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand http://bit.ly/9jP7tC #
  • Victor Bout to be extradited on Wednesday to US. Heavy security will escort him from Bang Kwang to the airport /Nation #
  • @Saksith Also, I think someone wants to get rid of a hot potato quickly. They had 3 months to deport Victor Bout in reply to Saksith #
  • This fad may kill you: Korean trends tagged with deadly warnings in Thailand by @bkkapologist http://bit.ly/bnUgqa #
  • Top 10 favourite iPhone apps for @ladykarla45 http://bit.ly/9Z1VKE #
  • @ladykarla45 I am new to iPhone (smartphones) too so any suggestions are good! In fact I haven’t been doing twitter long! in reply to ladykarla45 #
  • Video of NGV car on fire on Theparak Rd, Samut Prakan today (media there before fire trucks) http://bit.ly/c7Kznq #
  • Chelsea to play in Thailand for the first time in 14 years during its off-season tour ahead of the 2011-12 season (AP) #
  • What happens if you eat nothing but Thai street food for a month? Save money and put on weight or the other way round? #
  • Soon I will try an experiment to see if I will save money by eating out every day. Follow my quest at @EnjoyThaiFood #
  • RT @thethaireport: If you buy food from a local market & cook it yourself, it’s cheaper than eating out => I disagree! #
  • I usually cook most of my meals and I do a mixture of Western and Thai dishes. Ingredients can be expensive. So can electricity bill. #
  • I reckon if I eat out every day I will ultimately save money on my supermarket and electricity bills. #
  • My experiment will start on 1 Sep and last one month. You can follow the Thai food adventures incl. pics @EnjoyThaiFood #

Wednesday 25th August 2010:

  • After Years of Upheaval, Not All Is Well With Thailand?s Youth – NYTimes.com – http://is.gd/eBDUt #
  • News crews have been staking out Bang Kwang Prison all night waiting for Victor Bout to be extradited /via @thaicam #
  • Chelsea promise top squad for friendly in Thailand in July 2011 (Bangkok Post) – http://is.gd/eBENT #
  • Some sources say there are still charges against Viktor Bout so legally he cannot leave until they’re dropped. #
  • Statement from Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Viktor Bout’s case http://bit.ly/dnWjVV #
  • Armed guards outside prison but no sign of convoy taking Victor Bout to military airbase /via @Coalporter #
  • Viktor Bout’s wife on edge, throws water bottle at cameraman in front of Bang Kwang Prison /via @Coalporter #
  • Map showing Bang Kwang Prison, where Viktor Bout is held, in relation to the airport http://bit.ly/cqfBO6 #
  • Viktor Bout won’t be extradited to the US this morning as not all cases have been cleared. No indication of when yet. #
  • Sirichoke Sopha, a Dem MP denies having asked Viktor Bout to implicate Thaksin in arms trade during his visit /BkkPost #
  • Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has written a book “The Truth” about the Sept 19, 2006 coup. Published soon! /BkkPost #
  • Yellow Shirt protest along Cambodian border foiled by Thai troops (Phnom Penh Post) http://bit.ly/cKhDLc #

Thursday 26th August 2010:

  • Sondhi led 79 PADs to report themselves to [police] to acknowledge charges on two airport seizures in 2008 /TANN #
  • Viktor Bout’s lawyer stayed overnight at Bang Kwan prison, citing he doesn’t trust the Thai gov’t /via @Juarawee #
  • Live broadcast with multi-cameras on CH.3 showing a 300 kilo Thai woman being forklifted out of her apartment. #
  • They are trying to fit the 300 kilo woman into an ambulance now. Live broadcast continues on CH.3 #
  • Pics of “forklift” & the 300 kilo Thai woman http://twitpic.com/2i82kz http://twitpic.com/2i8ehg /via @bangkokgovernor #
  • Pic of @bangkokgovernor holding umbrella as 300 kilo Thai woman is extracted from her apartment http://twitpic.com/2i8e8o #
  • Leicester ‘takeover’ yet to be ratified by Football League as “fit & proper” check has not been done http://bit.ly/bwynV5 #
  • Another foreigner has been arrested for alleged involvement in the anti-government red shirt protests http://bit.ly/arqDaK #
  • Keith Bush was arrested when he flew into Suvarnabhumi Airport. An arrest warrant said he tried to burn down a town hall. #
  • A 130 meter long skywalk between Makkasan Station and MRT subway on Phetchaburi Rd will be complete next year /BkkPost #
  • 300-kilogram Thai woman takes crane to hospital http://bit.ly/b38dFP #
  • BMA ready to cancel BRT in 4 months if BKK residence not satisfied, admits 60% of car owners not happy /via @Tulip_Oum #
  • Vegetarian Festival starts 7th October 2010. I will “gin jay” for 10 days. Follow my vegetarian adventure @EnjoyThaiFood #
  • This afternoon, HRH Princess Srirasmi, the Princess Consort to the Crown Prince, flew to Laos http://bit.ly/b01gRe
  • 274-kilogramme Thai woman has a tumor in her right leg. Leaves home for first time in 3 years http://bit.ly/aKrLYg #
  • If they decide to cancel the BRT bus service, they should consider China’s straddling bus http://youtu.be/Hv8_W2PA0rQ #
  • “Bangkok blames the international media” by the BBC’s Alastair Leithead (@aleithead) http://bbc.in/cbvI3F #
  • Alastair Leithead: Social media, especially Twitter, saw a frenzy of anti-media sentiment which verged on a witch hunt #
  • RT @somtow: BACC turned off the air con during our concert!!! RT: @Trisdee: So much for Bangkok’s support for the arts #
  • This evening, Princess Chulabhorn flew to the Republic of Korea. She will return on 1 Sep. http://bit.ly/aiaGcl #