This week has naturally been taken over and flattened by the start of the Thai New Year – happy Songkran and may you have a wonderful 2560, everyone!
But while the majority of us have been making the most of our time off and indulging in the spirit of the water fighting festivities, as always there’s another side to the jollities; specifically the high numbers of road fatalities during the holiday, and the terrible drought suffered by much of the rest of Thailand.
Remember: have fun, be safe and be responsible.
In other news, the Thai national football team have found themselves placed in the ‘group of death’ for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers (alongside Asian giants Australia and Japan), while an earthquake rocked through our neighbours in Myanmar.
Here’s the best of this week’s news, views, videos and social media updates.
A foreign man was charged with public obscenity after partaking in a Chiang Mai Songkran water fight without a top on. He was fined ฿100 and paraded in front of the media. Whatever your feelings on this, er, modesty crackdown, at least we can take some heart in the fact that it’s not just women being pulled up on ‘public indecency’.
Road fatalities are known to ramp up during Thailand’s Songkran festivities every year, and this time has sadly been no different. By the second day of the festival, 116 people had died on the road – almost double the fatality rate of last year’s Songkran.
A Jakarta to Bangkok flight with Thai Airways suffered such bad turbulence this week that 6 flight attendants and 1 passenger were injured – the latter suffered a head injury after not strapping their seatbelt on despite the sign being lit. All were treated by an onboard medic before being taken to hospital once the plane arrived in Bangkok, and they were discharged a short while later.
This blog examines the huge amount of plastic that the 7-Eleven convenience store behemoth hands out everyday in its bags and straws. Illustrated with some interesting infographics, it’s a good call to action for the environmentally conscious, and attracted so much attention on its publication that 7-Eleven headquarters got in touch with the author to clarify their position.
Did you know that the number of straws dispensed every day in Thailand is enough to circle Koh Phangan ten times? Crikey.
Here we follow the life of Rose, a male-to-female transgender Muay Thai fighter in Khorat. Despite appearing feminine, she exclusively fights males and we learn about the struggles and opportunities she faces as a kathoey in her chosen profession, including enduring unwanted sexualised comments and even kisses from her opponents, as well as the consequences of hormone use.
This amusing BK listicle neatly sums up the thoughts that all Songkran survivors – except for perhaps the most die-hard of participants – have had once during the water fighting festivities. Our favourite:
This Thaivisa thread examines the other side to the laid back and carefree phrase “mai pen rai”; for instance, the frustration when the “It’s OK” attitude is applied to situations like dangerous driving and putting other people’s lives at risk. This is an interesting discussion on the role of the state, parenting, Thai culture and Buddhist fatalism.
A tad kooky, but an impressive production well worth a look!
The Chang Gang take Soi 4
If I ever buy a condo in Asia on spec, I’ll complain to the developer that it is not as advertised, since my neighbors are not in black tie.
— Macadam (@Bangkokorama) April 13, 2016
— Stickboy Bangkok (@StickboyBangkok) April 12, 2016
— Justin Dunne (@justindunne) April 13, 2016
A photo posted by Bank (@banki3bank) on
A photo posted by ???? 3 Minus Zero Production ???? (@3minuszero) on
And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit – see you next time!
Featured image is a stock photo of Muay Thai fighters by Thaifighter911