Happy Sunday, Bangkok!
And welcome to September. How did that happen?!
Another busy old week in Thailand, what with police vowing to rid Phuket of sex toys and viagra (good luck with that), a huge furore over a fight in Koh Phangan in which a shopkeeper bottled a western woman, and the continuing rise of begpacking (more on that later…) in the Kingdom.
Let’s see what else has been entertaining and enraging Bangkok this week…
- 1 News
- 2 Blogs
- 3 Forum Threads
- 4 YouTube
- 5 Twitter
- 6 Instagram
51-year old Robert Lytle from Northern Ireland was found face down in the Kwai Noi river in Kanchanaburi this week after a fight with his Thai girlfriend.
Apparently Lytle and his partner, 35-year old Supapansa Pornkhunthod, had argued in the early hours of Tuesday on a houseboat they were renting on the river. She left him at 3am and then returned at 8am to find him missing.
After filing a missing person’s report, his body was found and dragged from the river by national park officials. The couple were on holiday from their home in Bangkok.
More tragic news this week after 9-year old Wathanpol Seesawat succumbed to injuries caused by beating and died in his hospital bed. The young boy, a novice monk, had apparently been severely beaten by 64-year old Supachai Boonlakkha, a senior monk.
The boy’s parents are committed to taking legal action against Supachai, who is being detained under charges of physical assault causing death.
Wathanpol had apparently shown evidence of bruises before this last, awful altercation and had complained to his parents about being beaten. His mother had refrained from reporting it as Supachai had given her food before, and his father believed that the beatings only amounted to the senior monk trying to correct the young boy’s behaviour.
11 Americans on a student exchange programme were rescued from Doi Suthep late on Wednesday night after getting lost in a dangerous spot in the national park.
They had apparently ended up in the Tak Mork Falls, near the Nok Kok Cliff, which boasts a 100-metre drop and access to which is normally prohibited during rainy season.
The students, who attend Chiang Mai University, apparently cried with gratitude after being reached by rescuers.
An interesting blog post here that actually looks at the facts when it answers the question, ‘is Thailand a third world country?’
Of course, Thailand isn’t a third world country. Sure, it’s developing, but it’s not the backwater that some bitter expats online make out that it is — which is exactly what this blog argues.
But the fact remains that while, yes, Thailand is more developed than most of its neighbours, like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, it really should be light years ahead in development. After all, Thailand hasn’t been subjected to the same level of warfare and conflict as its neighbours in the past 100 years. Cambodia, to take one, has seen one of the worst human-perpetrated genocides ever, within the past 50 years, yet many Southeast Asian experts pinpoint it as a country on the rise, and a worthy alternative to Thailand — for western expats, at least. In contrast, Thailand has had plenty advantages over the years — so why is it sitting on its laurels now?
Another interesting blog post on the Ajarn website on the major principles to adopt if you want to be able to eventually speak and read Thai fluently. He covers aspects like having the correct and true motivation for learning the language in the first place, consistently exposing yourself to listening to the Thai language as much as possible, and ‘active’ speaking of Thai.
A must-read for any would-be Thai language learners.
‘Begpackers’ — usually young westerners who beg on the street in order to fund their onward travel — are cropping up all over Bangkok right now. And, as you can imagine, there’s a big online backlash about them.
This is well documented in this Reddit thread, which is a photo of a couple of Europeans panhandling in On Nut (at least most begpackers are selling something…), and is subject to a slew of mostly negative comments about their behaviour.
While the backlash may seem extreme at first glance, it is understandable. As already discussed, Thailand is a developing country with plenty of people living under the breadline simply to survive. Why should people from ostensibly wealthy countries feel entitled to come here and beg for money on the streets in order to fund their travels.
As other commentators have noted, travel is a privilege and not a right.
Their children have just been taken into state care, and these Montagnard asylum-seekers are waiting to be taken to jail to await trial for illegal entry to Thailand. pic.twitter.com/DO6lAFaq0N
— Jonathan Head (@pakhead) August 30, 2018
Must be close to rush hour. pic.twitter.com/7frELY8Qn6
— Greg (@BkkGreg) August 28, 2018
Just saw a tourist give the last dregs of his cold coffee (literally a watered down 2 sips) to an old beggar woman. She took it from him and threw it in the bin next to her! Bravo! 😂😂😂👏🏼👏🏼 #Bangkok
— Nianne Hendricks (@niannelynn) August 28, 2018
I’m always impressed by the determination of expats in #Thailand to live like Europeans. 🙂
— Thos Major (@ThosMajor) August 28, 2018
Bangkok Weather Update: Assume the position and brace for tweetstorm. pic.twitter.com/DSvcSPORde
— 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘮𝘢𝘯 (@NeilShelley) August 28, 2018
— Tim Bewer (@TimBewer) August 29, 2018
ATW: Don’t let the wife catch you… or else… pic.twitter.com/fN1pv1mCHV
— Stickboy Bangkok (@StickboyBangkok) August 28, 2018
I’m going to make a travel documentary about me travelling Thailand and just looking disappointed at the menu and asking if they sell french fries.
— Somchai the Dog (@bkksomchai) August 28, 2018
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And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!