An air of morbidity has been circling the Thailand news desks this week with stories including a dismembered corpse washing up in the Chao Phraya river, an ex-soldier committing suicide in the Silom Complex shopping mall, and the death of a Scottish tourist who was gored by an elephant during a trek in Koh Samui.
It hasn’t all been dark, however: both Take That and Tom Jones have announced imminent tour dates in Bangkok, proving that the City of Angels has an unquenchable thirst for ropey old pop acts decades past their heyday (also see: Madonna). Tickets from Tom Jones start at an inclusive ฿2,500 so we can only assume that the intended audience is retired British expats.
Now that’s worth a tour date in Thailand.
Here’s the best of the week’s news, blogs, photos and tweets…
In what may be the best example of #ThailandOnly in 2016 thus far, police in Pattaya – the Thai city notorious for its rampant prostitution, drugs and crime scene – raided a British expat-led bridge club and arrested members initially for gambling (this was later dropped when it was learned bridge isn’t played for money) as well as the heinous crime of possessing over 120 playing cards. Pattaya One intimates that “considerably more than 120 playing cards were found by officers” in this, the crime of the century.
All 32 members were arrested and held for 12 hours in police custody, before paying ฿5,000 bail each (Ed: they’ll have to forfeit those Tom Jones tickets). This included an 84-year old Dutch lady.
One of the club’s members wrote a comprehensive run down of the events that transpired here.
The climate for foreign journalists in Thailand appears to be worsening as more correspondents are reporting that they are being denied media visas and advised to apply for harder-to-obtain business visas instead. Jonathan Head, BBC correspondent and president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand has said that some applicants applying for work permits for the first time are reporting hostile and unpleasant interviews.
VICE reports on the worsening violence problem afflicting Thailand’s student population, and how many of the brawls have ended in serious injuries and occasionally death. Problems usually start along public transport routes when opposing gangs from different schools chance upon each other, and weaponry – whether clubs, knives or guns – is commonly in play.
One of the bloggers at I Left Home talks us through his decision to seek out the worst hotel in Bangkok – and to spend a night there. His research lead him to the Overstay – a self-described ‘squat-hotel’ – on Soi Charan Sanitwong, across the river in Bang Yi Khan. The excellent photography of the hotel is very evocative, caputring the overarching themes of the establishment: cats, graffiti and, indeed, cat piss.
This Investopedia blog delves into the actuals of the pros and cons of retiring to Southeast Asia’s two most popular spots, covering such areas as cost of living, English language skills, ease of acquiring visas and quality of hospitals. A must read if you’re considering a move to either of these countries.
Reddit users pontificate over why many Thais appear either to simply live for the day, or to occupy their minds with ‘tacky’, material displays of wealth. Blame is variously laid at the door of the state of the Thai education system, child rearing, the global differences in socio-economic status and more. The most on-the-nose comment, however, goes to:
A little self-awareness goes a long way…
Thaivisa users discuss the age-old question of ‘how would you feel if your daughter was dating a much older man?’ – a reference perhaps to the fact that many of Bangkok’s older male expat population like to date local women often significantly younger than them. There’s the inevitable question dodging, the sweetly optimistic “it depends on the man in question,” and even a couple of honest answers.
There’s also the mental:
Behind the scenes of a Bangkok food tour
A gritty look at Bangkok’s graffiti scene (plus a bit of cockfighting)
Muay Thai training and fighting in Bangkok
— Pravit Rojanaphruk (@PravitR) February 5, 2016
Dog and rat. #dogs #dogsofinstagram #soidog #soidogs #bangkok #bangkokdogs #thailand #sukhumvit A photo posted by Raine Lanham (@raineygrrl) on
That’s been The Week On Sukhumvit. See you next Sunday!
Featured image is of the Overstay Hotel from I Left Home