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Long absence, apologies

Apologies to all who have written comments and only just had them approved. After quite an absence from this blog I’m hoping to be back and running shortly.

Thanks to Costin for this:

“We paid 750 baht for Bangkook – Koh Phangan through an agent on Khao San Road…. It was as ok, included sleeper and catamaran. One bit of advice.. do not take seats down below, on the lower deck of the coach as you get the smell from wc….”

Always happy to get feedback, info and/or photos.

The Bangkok Post reported results of a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) survey which showed the sad truth about Thailand’s propensity not to give.

Out of 34 countries surveyed Thailand came in last in terms of charitable donations, community activities and environmental/ethical changes made. This from a country that claims to be so charitable and be run according to Buddhist teachings. Caring for one another and caring for the environment is truly an alien concept in Thailand, the “Land of Smiles”.

From the Bangkok Post

“Only 11% of Thai companies donate to charities, well under the global average of 65%

Just 4% of Thai firms .. participated in community activities, compared with a global average of 55%.

Thailand ranked the lowest among 34 countries in terms of socially responsible behaviour toward the workforce, such as promoting flexible working hours and locations, as well as actively promoting workforce health, diversity and equality in the workplace.

Only one-quarter of Thai business leaders said they would change products and services to reduce their negative environmental or social impacts, well below the Asian regional average of 49%.

Although 47% of Thai firms said they had taken some action to improve energy efficiency, only 20% said the same for waste management, compared with the global and regional averages of 58%.

Notably, Thai firms said tax relief was the top driver of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities for 94% of companies, followed by cost management at 78% and government pressure at 63%.

Top CSR activities undertaken by Thai companies last year included programmes to improve energy efficiency and sourcing local, ethical trade or organic products and services.”

Yes, this is true, there is a dentist in Bangkok’s new airport. Not quite sure how to take this. I mean, I’ve travelled quite a lot and often found myself wondering why an airport hasn’t got this or that but never have I thought, “hey, I wish I could go get a few fillings and an extraction done between these two long flights”.

I don’t don’t know much about this place but what reports I have heard are favourable. The company is called Denta-Joy and it can be found on concourse G on the 4th floor of Suvarnabhumi airport. The website is here. So, next time you find yourself in Suvarnabhumi airport with a few hours to spare and in need of some dental work check it out. They do extractions for US$25 and a scale and polish for under US$40.

Surely this is unique to Thailand!

In a recent interview on CNN, Thailand’s new PM Samak Sundaravej, seemed to dismiss questions about the well publicised massacre of students on October 6th, 1976 as being something trivial that didn’t result in more than one death. Officially nearly 50 people were killed, the reality is quite probably a great deal higher.

Samak was Deputy Interior Minister at the time and is well known for having a hand in the massacre and attempts to gag the press. For anyone who doesn’t know what this is all about in a nut shell: the dictator Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn was in temporary exile in Singapore for his years of plundering from Thailand and for slaughtering hundreds of innocent pro-democracy demonstrators in 1973. Samak was sent to Singapore to persuade Kittikachorn to return to Thailand, as was the wish of the king, and he was guaranteed it would be safe to come back and that all was forgiven. Protests against his return were put down with force, leading to many deaths.

All politicians involved went on to further their careers, including Samak who also had a hand in General Suchinda’s bloody slaughter of pro-democracy students.
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Wat Suthat is said to be one of the most important Buddhism centres in Thailand and is located amongst the highest concentration of Buddhist shops and suppliers in Bangkok. Wat Suthat was begun under the reign of Rama I in the early nineteenth century and completed over a period of thirty years. It contains some excellent examples of bronze sculptures and Thai/Chinese art and one of the largest surviving bronze statues from the Sukhothai period. It is also home to the ashes of King Anand Mahidol, deceased brother of the current king of Thailand.

With Brahmanism predating Buddhism in Thailand many old Brahmin traditions and customs were integrated into Thai Buddhism and the local culture. One of these is the Ploughing Ceremony which kicks off in May from Wat Suthat, headquarters of Thailand’s Brahmin priests.

Outside the temple is the Giant Swing or Sao Ching-Cha. This relic of Brahminism was the site of a ceremony of respect for Shiva which involved brave men swinging higher and higher on the swing and trying to snatch a bag of gold in their teeth from a 15m pole. The practice was banned in the early twentieth century as too dangerous; many participants died trying to reach the bag of gold.

The swing is located at point F on the map.
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Full Moon Party Schedule

Full moon party schedule for 2008:

These are the dates as they stand now but it might be worth checking closer to the date as they can change.

February 22nd
March 21st
April 20th
May 20th
June 18th
July 19th
August 16th
September 14th
October 14th
November 12th
December 12th
Christmas party 25th
New Year party 31st

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