From Being A Black Teacher In Thailand To Thai Girls On Motorbike Taxis

Welcome to Sunday, Bangkok!

And how is everyone faring on this fine, alcohol-free weekend? We can guess what the inside of your fridge looked like on Friday night…

It’s been a stormy week in old Thailand, what with both the weather and a litigious-looking uproar surrounding Koh Tao. In lighter news, we’ve had the annual incredible costume showing that is the Miss Grand Thailand pageant, which memorably saw Miss Chanthaburi all dolled up like a durian.

Let’s see what else has been entertaining and enraging Bangkok this week…

News

Teaching candidates demand lower English requirements

There’s been a bit of a furore online this week as Thai teaching candidates debate the need for such high English language requirements.

Currently, teachers are required to score 440 out of 900 on the TOEIC exam, 3.5 out of 9 on the IELTS or 40 out of 120 on the TOEFL iBT. Some candidates were calling for the score to be lowered to 250.

While they may be right that it’s not directly relevant for a, say, Physics teacher in Thailand to be fluent in English, having lower English requirements will likely narrow Thailand’s already insular education system even further.

Twice as many elephants abused in Thailand than in the rest of Asia

This is the sad, but entirely unsurprising, news that Thailand’s treatment of elephants in its tourism industry is a long way from up to scratch.

A new report from World Animal Protection has found that only 8 elephant tourist venues were rated as good, with 114 rated as poor. Thailand only scored an average of 4.6 out of 10 in terms of conditions. There are 2,198 elephants documented as working in Thailand’s tourism industry, compared to 1,025 in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Laos and Cambodia combined.

The impetus lies with tourists to change this. One expert advised, “As a general rule, if you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, it’s cruel and you just shouldn’t do it.”

Over 100 arrested at Pattaya pool party

Last weekend saw the arrests of over 100 people after a pool party at the Cliff Pool Club was raided, mostly for underage drinking and illegal drug taking. 150 of the people held at the venue failed drug tests with 80 ecstasy tablets, 83 grams of ketamine and a variety other drugs seized.

Blogs

What it’s like teaching in Thailand as a black women

An interesting and insightful blog post here from a young African American woman writing about various race-related issues she’s experienced teaching in Thailand. It’s very well written with a grace that many of us wouldn’t have been able to muster in the face of such prejudice.

This country’s obsession with white skin is well documented at this point, but it’s important to read first person stories like this to see the realities of how black people — teachers, in this case — are treated at some schools.

Aside from English language ability having nothing to do with the colour of your skin, this person’s story again shows the narrowness of the education system here. It seems baffling that headteachers and parents would want to cut off their students and kids from learning from people with different life experiences and perspectives. After all, that’s how we grow.

The 50 most important people on the Bangkok culinary scene

If you’re a foodie that loves lists, you may be able to read the whole of this article about the most prominent players in Bangkok’s food and drink industries right now.

Forum Threads

Do Thais hold classist views towards people from Isaan?

An interesting Reddit thread generating lots of discussion in the last few days on Thais — presumably from the Central area, if not Bangkokian — view people from Isaan. Redditors discuss the classism at play, how it compares to regional relationships in the USA, job/college discrimination and even physical differences.

Do the laws of physics not apply to girls on motorbike taxis?

Thaivisa are discussing the big issue this week: how do Thai women survive riding side saddle on motorbike taxis?

Surely a #ThailandOnly phenomenon, girls — regardless of how they’re dressed — perched daintily sans helmet side saddle on the back of a motorbike are a ubiquitous sight in Bangkok. How do they do it? What’s the accident rate like?

And have you noticed their tag..?

thaivisa forum

YouTube



Twitter

Instagram

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And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!

 

Featured image is by d26b73 and used under a CC BY 2.0 licence

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