Arab Nana vs. Nana Plaza

I wonder how it would be go grow up with the last name “Patpong” or “Nana”. Guess if you’re loaded .. who cares. Or ask Lek Nana.

Nana is actually split into two, and the South Nana of beers and bargirls is a world away from North Nana and its “Soi Arab,” with Middle Eastern restaurants and shops that make up a sort of separate country within Bangkok.
Much of the land on which North Nana and “Soi Arab” now rests belonged to one family: the Nana family, a prominent business clan with Middle Eastern roots.


BBC story on escape from Bangkok prision 13 years ago

Nice read about a prison escape from a Bangkok prison in 1996 by David McMillan:

I started at midnight with hacksaw blades that had been sent over in a care parcel, carefully hidden, so I took those out and began working on the bars.

In fact only one bar was cut, and only partially at that. So my Swedish friend, he was built like a Viking, he had to stretch the thing out, as I squeezed through, oiled up, wearing nothing but my underwear and a pair of trainers.

I just got outside, and then I used a plank to get out and across the yard. It was a bookcase, in fact everything in the room had been built to assist the escape. Furniture turned into step ladders and shower curtains disassembled into long bits of rope. Read more..

Monkey Girl – another great Pattaya Daily News find

If you ever forget you are in Thailand, a quick dose of the Pattaya Daily News should jerk you right back to the Thailand you know and love. Thais who believe in Karma, claim that Nong Pin is the result of bad karma:

Mrs. Mayuree explained that her father used to hunt animals when he was young and had killed many monkeys, langurs and gibbons and it is believed that Karma has made Nong Pin the way she is. The child’s grandparents are still alive and love Nong Pin very much, but they feel guilty and have sworn not to take any lives again.

Poor Nong Pin, the poster child of bad karma.

The full story has more great photos.

3G iPhone in Thailand for 24,500 baht (668 USD) from True

Great news. The best multimedia phone out there right now, is now officially for sale in Thailand. If you want to buy it outright, not using the True network, it’s 24,500 baht for 8GB and 28,500 for 16GB. There is no 3G yet in Thailand, but there are plenty of True WiFi hotspots around the Bangkok that should help to make up for the slower speeds of GPRS/Edge.

Here is the price chart:

Guy steals cop statue on a dare

The photo is priceless and I think should prove punishment enough:

Thaweewut, who saluted the effigy as a gesture of apology, told police that after drinking with friends until midnight Tuesday, he made a delivery of parts to Mor Chit Bus Terminal.

On the way back, he spotted the effigy, stole it to meet a challenge made by friends, and placed it outside the garage as proof of his feat.

Thaweewut is facing the charge of stealing at night-time which carries a punishment of up to five years in jail or a Bt2,000-Bt10,000 fine. More…

Thailand’s black list leaked

There is a recently released black list of sites being blocked in Thailand. From Wikileaks:

A total of 860 YouTube videos have been blocked, far in excess of the blocking conducted by The Official Censor of the Military Coup; a further 200 pages mirroring those videos are also blocked. Curiously, Hillary Clinton’s campaign videos, and 24 Charlie Chaplin videos are also on the censorship lists.

Although we have not yet found the opportunity to examine each website censored, an eclectic mix of censorship has been revealed resulting in overblocking of many benign webpages.

Police check point gold mine

So what happens when you get stopped at one the the police check points, and you don’t have the right bribe to offer or the right ‘friend’ to call? Police checkpoints are out in force in December. Why? This basic formula. For every drunk driver the police nab, they will get fined starting at 5,000 baht. Of that 5,000 baht, 2,500 goes to the police station making the stop. 250 Baht goes to the Federal government and 2,250 goes to the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA). So don’t be surprised if they don’t accept your bribe of 2,000 baht. They are going to to get minimum 2,500 out of you by following this simple procedure:

  1. Stop you, take your license or ID
  2. Make you take a breathalyzer – over 50 is a fail.
  3. Escort you to the police station where you will be asked your details.
  4. Escort you to a room with metal bars.
  5. Ignore you until someone posts bond of 20k on your behalf. (unless you got it in your pocket)
  6. Someone pays your 20k bail, and it is logged in triplicate, forms are filled, time passes.
  7. You are fingerprinted.
  8. You are released and allowed to drive back home.
  9. You return two days later to fill forms, wait in lines.
  10. You are sent to the court house. Forms filled, wait in lines.
  11. Seating before a judge with all other guilty parties.
  12. Payment of 5,000 baht and admittance of guilt.
  13. Receipt issued.
  14. Two days later go to the police station.
  15. Pick up check for 20k bond. Leave your license behind for 6 months.
  16. Cash check.
  17. Go back in 6 months to retrieve license.

All in all, a pretty darn reason to bribe a policeman whenever you can.

Great article on the Royal backing of the PAD protests

From W. Scott Thompson in his opinion piece in the IHT:

And the demonstrators know that the king is plainly on their side. This time, more than 1974 and 1992, it would be trivial to say that democracy is what is at issue. It’s whether or not those others, “unworthy to bear the dust under his shoes,” as the royal inflection goes, can finally be worn out. Just wait – the king will wave his magic wand and the crisis will be over. The army – or some other appropriate delegate – will take power, and the country will find the patience to wear out the endurance of an expiring Thaksin, who in exile loses wealth and legitimacy by the day.

Thailand is paying an enormous price for this crisis, but in the end the king’s determination to ensure a legacy where his type of people will rule, and Thailand will return to rapid economic growth and the iconic smiles by which it is known – with a bit of democracy thrown in. The king’s move in the next few days will be worth watching.

It’s time for action against the PAD

The PAD (People Against Democracy) have gone to far. By their actions, they have held this country hostage. The ability to move freely, to practice religious beliefs, to support your self and your family have all been taken away by the hostage situation playing out a the airport. Their reasons for doing so now need to trump the needs of a country.

Is having a Prime Minister step down more important than costing the country 134 billion baht? Is having a Prime Minister step down more important than the holding thousands hostage?

Do Something!

On a related note, looks like the color Yellow is on it’s way out. Don’t get caught wearing a yellow shirt in Thailand or else you might wonder why your face is getting kicked in.

More anger against PAD.

The PAD are starting to piss me off

The People Against Democracy (PAD) have really messed up this time. Messing with the lively hood of the country? Basically withdrawing the rights of hundreds of thousands of others to make a living or function freely?

This ill-conceived disruption of one of the main roads leading to the country’s most important international airport will get the PAD nowhere in its claimed agenda of toppling the government or any nominees of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, or making Thai politics less prone to manipulation by money barons.

In fact, this move will only further erode the rapidly dwindling public support, a hard-earned provision that the protesters badly need especially at this critical juncture of its campaign.

The damage to the PAD, however, cannot compare with that caused to the country. Suvarnabhumi airport is the main gateway to the Kingdom. More…

Kratongs go green

While there there were still mostly foam and banana tree bast kratongs, the bread kratongs made a strong showing and hopefully are here to stay. Lets hope birds and fish will find them edible, and they will dissapear nicely into the bellies of living things.

On another note, what’s with the kratong robbers? Young boys and girls who molest just floated kratongs looking for coins? Waiting till the kratong is out of site is one thing. But to have my kratong molested 10 feet from where I am standing… Hmm. Poor form.

Check out YouTube’s collection of this year’s Loy Kratong videos.

What Obama means to Bangkok

Good Article on what Obama means for Thailand…

It is precisely in places like Thailand that Obama will need to repair once strong, now strained bilateral alliances and reaffirm the US’s commitment to democracy and human rights in its foreign policy, both to restore America’s flagging credibility as a force for democratic good and to forestall China’s recent gains in the region, which have come by and large at the US’s expense.

The Great Firewall of Thailand

Yeah, like we really trust you to do this…

Communications Minister Mun Patanotai said his ministry is considering spending between 100 million and 500 million baht ($2.9 million and $14.6 million) to build a gateway to monitor and block such Web sites.

The ministry has received more than 1,000 complaints about Web sites that are deemed offensive to the royal family, Mun said, but he declined to give details about them, saying the issue is “sensitive.”


What happens to all those election signs?

We’ve all seen the signs, during the election… but where do they all go once the election is over? Bangkok has quite a healthy industry of recycling for money. Garbage is picked thru most everywhere for ANYTHING of potential value. The recyclers or “salang” in Thai, are famous for cruising Bangkok streets with their modified 3 wheel pushcart-motorcycles. So as the polls close on 4pm on election day, it’s gold rush time for the salang. They head out collecting the signs enmass. By nightfall, most signs have been scooped up. And monday morning, you’ll be lucky to see any evidence of an election.

What do they do with the sings? Likely all kinds of uses from reuse as signs to roofing and home siding.

Apirak stays mayor of Bangkok

Apirak Kosayodhin, the leader of Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party, won re-election Sunday as governor of Bangkok, defeating the ruling party candidate as well as a one-time sex tycoon, exit polls showed.

A Suan Dusit University exit poll showed Apirak with 52 percent of the vote, followed by Prapas with 23 percent and Chuwit with 12 percent. An Assumption University poll had similar figures. – AP