Sunday, again. And what a week it’s been, Bangkok…
Thailand has been making international headlines all week: firstly, for voting ‘Yes’ in the much-anticipated referendum on the draft constitution and, tragically, for the multiple bomb blasts that ripped through various resort towns in the southern region on Thursday night and Friday morning.
At the time of writing, 4 people were confirmed dead and 20 injured. RIP, and a speedy recovery to all those affected. Bangkok and the rest of the country has seen a more visible police presence ever since.
Bangkok Post front page photo: An army dog handler patrols Khao San Road as part of heightened security measures pic.twitter.com/YhR0oIqeU4
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) August 13, 2016
Let’s check out all the other news, views and social media updates from Thailand this week.
Earlier this week saw the emergence of a viral video, taken by a model who returned home to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman. The model kicked the naked Other Woman out of her condo, filmed it, and sent the clip to a friend before it somehow ended up all over the internet. She has since been charged with defamation and ‘compelling another person into action’, and it’s likely will also be charged with violating the Computer Crime Act.
This Telegraph article gives a summary of the explosions that hit various locations in Southern Thailand on Thursday and Friday, including photos, the police response, and a brief history of the violence that has plagued the deep south of Thailand.
An interesting analysis, in response to recent rumours that the Thai authorities want to ban Pokemon Go, of the typical Thai response to emerging Western technologies: banning them. This piece looks at the handling of Bitcoin and Uber, and how home-grown Thai technologies are often brandished as alternatives: SiamTube for YouTube, for instance, and Khonthai.com webmail instead of Hotmail.
The Opportunistic Travelers take us through their latest visa run: a minivan run up to Aranyaprathet and over the Cambodian border to Poipet. As well as providing a handy step-by-step guide for what you should do while you’re there, they advise on what you shouldn’t do too: namely, trying to bypass Cambodia immigration and a Visa-on-Arrival and going straight to Thai immigration instead. They tried, and it was a mistake. They made a couple of others too.
This is a fascinating write up of a Bangkok history field trip to find out more about Captain Bush from the Greg To Differ blog. John Bush was an Englishman in Thailand in the 19th century, who served under Rama IV and Rama V, and is now buried in the protestant cemetery. This is a fascinating glimpse of an important European character in Bangkok’s recent past. Must-read for Bangkok history nerds.
Phil from the Ajarn blog runs us through the nine gigs he’s attended during his 26 years in Bangkok and a few stories of the concerts and how he got there. Spanning from his first date with his now-wife at Erasure in 1994, to being dragged along kicking and screaming to Tom Jones a few years later.
There’s a certain calibre of expats who get tied up in knots over the presence of ‘low-class’ tourists in Thailand. Whether they’re feeding straight from the same trough as the government’s ‘Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out’ campaign, or just defending their own position as semi-permanent tourists in the Kingdom, they have a peculiar hang-up about so-called ‘Twatpackers’ and, in the case of this Thaivisa thread, ‘the shirtless brigade, mostly seen in Pattaya.’
I imagine most people would deem low-value tourists to be people coming to the country, breaking local laws and causing discontent among their hosts, rather than people opting not to wear a shirt in a seaside resort. This group doesn’t seem to realise that valuable tourists, in their essence, are the people that visit Thailand and inspire others to do the same — backpackers and even the shirtless brigade of Pattaya included.
Correct us if we’re wrong, but we’re yet to see hordes of people inspired to visit Thailand from the ramblings of a forum keyboard warrior.
The sass is strong with this one
— Customer 747 (@Customer747) August 12, 2016
— The Durian Nation (@DurianNation) August 10, 2016
The queuing system at The Ministry of Labor when you go down to ask about your work permit. pic.twitter.com/Ac7fN4qm3O
— Phil / Ajarn.com (@Ajarncom) August 11, 2016
And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!