The weather’s starting to heat up in old Bangkok as we enter The Season Akin To A Burning Furnace, and the city looks forward to some particularly toasty 44°C heat.
Hand-in-hand with the burning heat is the imminent fear of crippling drought, and the news this week has been gripped with the will-they-won’t-they of whether the government will put any limits on the throwing of water during the upcoming Songkran celebrations.
In Bangkok, we saw traffic around Central Ladprao grind to a halt with an influx of K-Pop fans at the shopping mall to greet popular band, EXO, while an Elephant Polo event in the city attracted inevitable controversy and protest by animal activists.
Let’s have a look at the best of the week’s news, views, videos and social media updates…
Japanese tour group skinny dip en-masse in Hua Hin
A group of between 20 to 30 Japanese men were photographed and publicised taking a nude swim on Hua Hin beach last weekend, to the chagrin of regional media outlets. The men were initially misidentified as Chinese – gotta love a bit of racial bias – and Hua Hin police were keen to bring them in for investigation. Alas, the tour group left Thailand before any such investigation could get underway, thwarting any hopes of delivering some bare justice.
Solar eclipse across Southeast Asia
Wednesday morning saw a brilliant solar eclipse visible across Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia with Indonesia and other Pacific Ocean islands bearing witness to a total eclipse.
This Inquirer article rounds up some of the best photos of the astrological phenomenon.
Thailand mourns the death of its most handsome buffalo
Baiyok – winner of many a beauty pageant and the official spokesbuffalo for the Buffalo Conservation Community – has sadly died at age 7, and was given a Buddhist burial ritual this week. It’s thought that his death was due to exhaustion and digestive issues, come about due to his many travelling duties.
His skeleton will later be exhumed for study and his semen has been saved for breeding.
8 Thai adverts designed to pull on the heartstrings
Advertisers in Thailand are well known for being masters of emotive screenplay. 8 List pulls together the best 8 examples from Thailand’s ad-creative industry – if you don’t need a tissue after these, then you may just have a heart of stone.
A walking tour through Bangkok’s ‘Old Farang Quarter’
One Modern Couple spend a day walking through one of the oldest sections of Bangkok, in the part of the city that the first Europeans settled in. Impressive colonial-style architecture, churches and cathedrals, and cat-heavy diversions into the Thai-Muslim community are all at hand in this relatively unexplored, yet fascinating, part of Bangkok.
The abandoned aeroplanes providing shelter for Bangkok’s homeless
Somewhere out in Ramkhamheang district is an abandoned aeroplane graveyard with around 6 decommissioned passenger jets, totally stripped of their interiors, which provide shelter to the homeless families that live there. The photos are haunting, especially as they capture the last remnants of the jets, including oxygen masks and flight controls, but it’s also strangely reassuring to see people redefine what it means to ‘live off the land’.
Does Sin Sod make you feel differently about your partner?
This interesting Reddit thread explores the concept of the Thai tradition of Sin Sod, whereby the soon-to-be husband pays a sum of money – occasionally quite vast – to his bride’s parents before the wedding, inverting the traditional Western concept of dowry. It understandably can cause something of a culture clash in Thai-Western relationships.
Responses are reasonable, varying from those married men who respected the tradition and paid up, right down to the men who explained it was against their own belief system and refused. Any guys out there dating a Thai girl who are worried about the inevitable Sin Sod conversation, should just thank their lucky stars they’re not dating a Korean:
OMG! I can’t believe young, Thai women are attracted to me!
Another cracking Thaivisa thread on the eighth wonder of the world: fit Thai women supposedly being attracted to small, older Western men who boast the dubious quality of being “better looking than Woody Allen.”
Some responses are predictably both sexist and racist, along the lines of ‘all Thai women are gold diggers’, while others sensibly tell the poster to calm down and not get his knickers in a twist.
And then, you have the likes of this bizarre fairytale fabrication:
You might want to avoid Central Lad Prao in #Bangkok today due to an event this afternoon (Via @SMent_EXO) pic.twitter.com/U96eYpcn9n
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) March 8, 2016
#สุริยุปราคา #กรุงเทพ #Thailand #eclipse #2016 #9 #march #bangkok #sun #moon pic.twitter.com/5CXOu5bSY4
— Sooksan Kasiansin (@jack_sooksan) March 9, 2016
Daily life in #Bangkok #Thailand n°77 pic.twitter.com/AtMxyC5b5i
— Paul (@BkkPaulC) March 8, 2016
In a fairly upscale restaurant in Central Embassy and the appetizers arrive 10 minutes after the main courses. Still like 1985.
— Coco Nutts (@View_BKK) March 11, 2016
Tradition and modernity #sukhumvit#bangkok#streetseller#mathailande#
A photo posted by @madameinbangkok on
And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit; see you next time!
Featured image is of Baiyok and his owner Sombat, via Coconuts Bangkok