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Tomorrow is Thai Woman's Day

Posted by hasekamp on 31 July 2003 at 11:38 AM
The Cabinet has approved a Ministry of Interior proposal to establish August 1 (tomorrow) as the Thai Women’s Day.
A Government spokesperson said the date has also been accepted by the National Council of Women under the Royal Patronage and women’s groups nationwide. The day will be observed for the first time this year with activities to honour Her Majesty the Queen who is regarded as Mother of the Nation.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will represent Her Majesty at an event to be held on August 1, at 5 p.m.
Our source does not mention what the exact meaning is that is to be given to Thai Woman's Day. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Cock raisers want to fight

Posted by hasekamp on 30 July 2003 at 8:26 AM
One of the worst things in Thailand is cock fighting. They let two roosters fight against each other to death and bet who will win. This is a totally unnatural behavior for roosters.
Now rooster raisers want a change in the law so that cock fighting, once a national pastime, can be promoted as a sport. Who had ever thought of that!
A veterinarian and chairman of a Sukhothai-based network for developing and preserving indigenous roosters, said cock fighting was regarded as gambling under the existing Interior Ministry regulation. This was counter-productive and the regulation should be changed. Rooster raisers are frustrated and are uniting to press for amendments to the existing regulation. We hope they will not succeed and cock fighting will finally disappear from Thailand. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thousands to be transferred

Posted by hasekamp on 30 July 2003 at 7:59 AM
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is prepared to transfer unscrupulous policemen by thousands to reserve positions, following the massage parlor bribery scandal. Provincial officers will be investigated for bribery as soon as the axe has fallen on their metropolitan colleagues. Mr Thaksin said the reserve positions were part of punitive action against crooked, incompetent officials. His principle was to reward do-gooders and punish wrongdoers.
Mr. Thaksin warned that policemen promoted in October could still find themselves in reserve positions if they were later shown to be incompetent or crooks.
The prime minister also promised progressive adjustments to the police force to make it a leaner and more accountable organisation. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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No more alcohol ads on TV

Posted by hasekamp on 30 July 2003 at 7:52 AM
The Cabinet yesterday banned advertisements for alcoholic drinks on TV and radio between 5am and 10pm in an attempt to curb road accidents, a government spokesman said. The ban might also include coffee products in the future. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday instructed the Public Health Ministry to look into drinks containing caffeine, which are seen as harmful to consumer health.
The advertisement ban will begin on October 1, but ads where contracts on air time have already been signed will be given until January 1 next year before the ban is enforced, the spokesman said. Between 10pm and 5am, broadcasts of alcohol ads are allowed only when the content is considered beneficial to society and they are accompanied by subtitles and logos. After Jan 1, the ban will be applied to all broadcasts of local sports events. However, live broadcasts of professional sports like Thai boxing and league football, as well as overseas events where alcoholic drinks are featured, will be exempt, the spokesman said.
So this is a first step to decrease road accidents caused by alcohol. We wonder if it will be effective. Drinking seems to be a part of "Thai Culture", especially in holidays, but indeed, one has to start somewhere. (Source: The Nation)


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The SET wants you!

Posted by hasekamp on 28 July 2003 at 10:27 AM
The Securities Exchange of Thailand (SET) plans to launch a road show in Europe later this year, to attract more foreign investors and venture capital. As we reported recently the SET has performed (much) better lately than US and EU stocks, so why not invest in Thailand? A SET spokesman said that the SET intended to attract more western investment, especially from Europe. The focus will be shifted to medium-sized firms, which currently have a minimum of three billion baht in market capital each. Many of the medium - sized firms listed in the stock market ought to be appealing to investors abroad because of their lucrative nature. Unfortunately, these stocks, which are traded at low prices but represent some profitable firms, have received little publicity. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Chuwit knows 1,000 names (updated)

Posted by hasekamp on 27 July 2003 at 13:19 PM
The accusations of sex tycoon Chuwit Kamolwisit are continuing. It is starting to look like a soap, but with serious public consequences. Chuwit now plans to submit the names of 1,000 bribe-taking city police to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr. Chuwit said he would burn the list in front of the premier's residence if Mr. Thaksin refuses to come out. He also said he would stop his high-profile public campaign exposing bribe-taking by city police if Mr Thaksin personally received the list from him. But "Otherwise I will continue my expose. Only death or imprisonment can stop me then", he threatened. So far the campaign by Chuwit has cost six middle-ranking police their jobs. Six officers have been transferred for allegedly taking bribes from the businessman.
Meanwhile Mr. Thaksin has refused to see Mr. Chuwit. Chuwit only wanted to give the list to Thaksin personally, not even to his private secretary. Now Chuwit plans to hand over the list to "another public person", whose identity he did not disclose so far. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin wants to fight water problems

Posted by hasekamp on 25 July 2003 at 6:35 AM
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had said that he wants to attack water problems in upcountry Thailand. In his opinion -which we share with Mr. Thaksin- flooding and droughts, repeating in cycles every year, are a major cause for poverty for the local population. This problem appeals very much to us, being Dutch. Our countrymen are famous for tackling water problems and our Crown Prince has specialized in them.
Mr. Thaksin wants to fight these problems and, if possible, solve them by 2009, when he plans to retire from politics.
Before these problems can be solved, one has to realize how they have come upon Thailand in the first place.
Our answer is simple: Deforestation, in order to make more land available for agriculture or -worse- to get a one-time profit by felling and selling ages old trees, mainly created the problems. Due to deforestation after heavy rain the land is no longer kept in its place, but the rains cause landslides with heavy damage. So the first thing to do would be to start reforestation as soon as possible. There is no other permanent solution, in our opinion.
Now the interesting thing is that Mr. Thaksin too has realized too that he has to start reforestation as the primal way to solve the water problems, causing poverty. We do hope that the population upcountry will also understand that reforestation is essential for them. For them reforestation also means loss of land for agriculture.
It will be the task of the government to explain to locals that the damage done by landslides and heavy rainfalls, followed by heavy droughts are more serious and more hazardous to them than the loss of some ground for agriculture. (Loosely based on a news item in The Bangkok Post)


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Buffaloes die because of new bells

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2003 at 12:38 PM
Buffaloes have always been valuable to the Thai farmers. Traditionally they always have been wearing wooden bells around their necks.
This season an unexpected large number of buffaloes has died. To the Ministry of Agriculture it is clear that modern fashion is killing the valuable buffaloes: Many farmers have replaced the wooden bells by brass bells.
In allocating 1.1 million Baht for farmers in six provinces to replace dead buffaloes, an official said: "Replace those novel brass bells around their necks with wooden ones, as it has always been. Brass bells make the beasts sensitive to lightning, as has been shown by us."
A number of buffaloes have died after being struck by lightning bolts since the rainy season started in May. Conclusion: what's new is not always better! (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Is Chuwit right after all?

Posted by hasekamp on 23 July 2003 at 12:28 PM
The Chuwit case (see some former postings) has Thailand still firmly in its grip. It looks more and more as if the authorities (have to) admit that sex king Chuwit is right in his accusations.
City police chiefs have agreed to punish the superintendents of four precincts, alleged to have taken bribes from massage parlor king Chuwit Kamolwisit.
This sudden reversal came after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra questioned the "clean sheet" they were given by the original police inquiry. Mr Thaksin said he knew for a fact that bribe-taking was happening among city police. It was beyond his comprehension why the Metropolitan Police Bureau inquiry was so quick to clear the Huay Kwang, Makkasan, Wang Thong Lang and Suthisan police stations.
Mr Thaksin said the revelations by Mr. Chuwit had opened his eyes to the extent of the corrupt dealings of the city law enforcement officers. It was likely they would get either a permanent or temporary transfer, or be shifted to reserve positions. The recommendation was forwarded to the prime minister through national police chief Gen Sant Sarutanont, according to our source. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Apply for a patent!

Posted by hasekamp on 22 July 2003 at 7:51 AM
This is a problem all over the world. We, being a patent examiner, know it all too well. Now Thailand should awaken ASAP:
Thai scientists should be taught business skills to protect their biotechnological innovations, a biotechnology investment expert said yesterday. Local scientists should know how to set up a company, raise money and protect and value the technology they invent.
The biotechnology industry in Asia will grow by about 40 per cent in the next five years, according to an expert in the field. He said more biotechnological research patents would be registered and Thailand would make better use of its rich diversity in plant varieties and bio-resources.
The deputy permanent secretary of the Science Ministry, admitted that many Thai scientists were unaware of the importance of intellectual property rights and failed to protect their inventions. He said Thai scientists come up with 300 biotechnology innovations a year but only 50 or 60 seek patents.
Thailand, watch your patent position! (Source: The Nation)


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King wants more money for defense

Posted by hasekamp on 20 July 2003 at 16:02 PM
The government returned three billion Baht to the Defense Ministry because His Majesty the King wanted the armed forces to get more money, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told senior military commanders yesterday.
And in Thailand ?as we all know- what the King says, or even suggests, happens.
Speaking to the commanders-in-chief of the three armed forces and other senior military leaders during a military exercise, Mr. Thaksin said the King had asked him to give the armed forces more money when the government could afford it.
"I think we have passed the financial crisis and the government has enough money to build the armed forces' capability," Mr. Thaksin said, but he added, "I know the military commanders will spend the money well, as truly necessary, and buy weapons because they need them rather than because the arms companies propose a sale." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thaksin strikes back

Posted by hasekamp on 17 July 2003 at 16:35 PM
While sex king Chuwit Kamolvisit is producing more evidence against the police, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says crooked police must "shape up or ship out". The daily accusations of bribery by Chuwit Kamolvisit were the last straw. The police force to be associated with vice on such a scale is intolerable, Mr Thaksin said. His patience has run out. Police accepted bribes not only from massage parlors but also from motorcycle taxi queues, illegal lottery sellers and gambling houses, Mr. Thaksin said.
He would not wait for Mr. Chuwit to hand him the names of police who took his bribes but would start his own search for the men, and stop their careers advancing. "I will force them out of the public service. If the evidence is insufficient, I will put them into inactive posts so they can no longer cause the public any trouble," the prime minister said. So, at last the government is striking back.
Mr Thaksin said that police who accepted Mr. Chuwit's bribes would still face disciplinary action in the event they were acquitted in court for lack of evidence. Mr. Chuwit has given only the initials of police he said took bribes. He says he will give Mr Thaksin the full list if he is assured of protection. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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SET passes 500

Posted by hasekamp on 16 July 2003 at 15:45 PM
Sometimes we give an economical round up. Here we go: Shares in the SET (Stock Exchange of Thailand) index broke through the 500-point mark for the first time in four years yesterday, helped by speculative buying in bank stocks ahead of second quarter earnings reports. Shortly after the opening bell rang, the SET index passed through the psychological barrier and headed north further to the day?s peak and closing price of 503.19. The index moved in positive territory for the whole day.
The SET index had been around the 500-point mark for nearly two weeks, with trading action dominated by ?it seems- foreign investors. This seems likely, because where can one find a stock market nowadays that goes record-high! So far the SET went up 41% this year. (Source: The Nation)


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More revelations by Chuwit

Posted by hasekamp on 16 July 2003 at 15:43 PM
Commercial-sex tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit yesterday said he had evidence that four senior police officers had received free drinks and free sex from one of his lavish massage parlors.
Chuwit also claimed that he had recorded a phone conversation with a senior police officer asking for protection money, threatening to release the tape if the police officer did not stop intimidating him. Chuwit has made the headlines all over Thailand with his allegations that he had been paying 12 million Baht a month in bribes to police to keep his six massage parlors in business.
A receipt was shown by Chuwit, coming from one of his establishments, dated July 7. It stated that four police officers, with the rank of colonel and lieutenant colonel, had drunk two bottles of beer, a bottle of whisky and mixers to a total value of 1,778 Baht. This is not a very large amount, but the fact is quite serious.
Chuwit said that if the government did not allow him to hold a press conference to expose police corruption and harassment on its premises he would hold it at the Royal Plaza Hotel instead. He said he would not sleep at home last night out of fear for his safety and would use a safe house instead. And this really seems the beginning of a political crisis. As long as the government and the police force only give some vague denials, we expect that Mr. Chuwit will bring the government in serious trouble. He may not have a certificate of good behavior, but a reply should come soon now. The affair is the talk of the town in Thailand. (Source: The Nation)


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No more piracy?

Posted by hasekamp on 15 July 2003 at 17:04 PM
The Thai Deputy Commerce Minister today denied claims that Thailand was among the world?s top 10 CD copyright infringers. He promised to prove this within two weeks.
The deputy minister reacted to claims made in a report published recently by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) that Thailand was home to over 50 factories producing pirated CDs.
"You can see from the first day of inspections of six factories that were mentioned that no evidence of illegal activity was found. When we have completed the inspections we will invite the ambassadors of various countries to listen to the facts, and we will hold a press conference to ensure that the global community is aware that Thailand is not the 9th biggest CD counterfeiter in the world."
And he added: "US film producers MPA and CVD, and representatives of European Union music producers, have sent letters thanking the Thai government for its stringent crackdown on pirated CDs. These groups, together with Thai music producers and Thai film producers, have confirmed that the number of counterfeit CDs has greatly decreased." (Source: Thai News Agency)


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Reforestation in a natural way

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2003 at 17:31 PM
The Bangkok POst publishes today in its Outlook section an interesting article about reforestation. We give a short introduction here. If you set up bamboo poles in degraded forests, you get seedlings of different tree species growing around them. This is what researchers at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) found, and this technique can make reforestation cheaper.
First, you use the poles to make artificial perches and put them up in deforested areas. Then birds come, eat the perches and spread the seeds. Since birds eat severel fruits, their waste contains different kinds of seeds. Once the moisture in the soil and other conditions become right, the seeds germinate.
The KMUTT team set up 96 bamboo perches in eight plots at two separate sites in the northern province of Chiang Mai. The plots were located in disturbed forests undergoing various stages of regeneration. After more than three years of monitoring, the team found satisfying results. Read more by going to the Bangkok Post site, if this subject has your interst.


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Massage parlor king wants lie detector

Posted by hasekamp on 14 July 2003 at 17:20 PM
Massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit continued his verbal tirade against the national police force yesterday, claiming that the information he is set to reveal regarding the enormous bribes he allegedly paid was nothing short of a weapon of mass destruction. "When I open my mouth, a lot of people will die", said Chuwit, looking much better than when he emerged from an alleged abduction ordeal on Friday. He said he will mention names of people in the police force whom he had to pay millions of Baht for bribes.
He also dared police to submit him to a lie-detector test. The businessman was discharged from Bumrungrad Hospital on Saturday, a day after he claimed to have been rescued by a truck driver on the Bangkok-Chon Buri Highway early on Friday morning. A dazed and dishevelled Chuwit alleged he had escaped from a group of policemen who kidnapped, drugged and beat him.
We wonder if this case will end in a political scandal. We will keepour readers informed. (Sources: The Nation, The Bangkok Post)


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Massage parlour tycoon found

Posted by hasekamp on 12 July 2003 at 16:35 PM
The missing tycoon, Chuwit Kamol, who said he had to pay large amounts of money to the police for bribes (see an earlier news item), is back in the floodlights. Looking dazed, shabby and very weak, the commercial sex tycoon was found on the Bangkok-Chon Buri Motorway, saying he had escaped from a gang of police abductors. But police called his abduction claim paranoid and delusional.
After having been treated by doctors, Chuwit denied that he made up the abduction story after his wife reported that he had been missing since Wednesday.
Chuwit yesterday called two press conferences at Bumrungrad Hospital, where he is being treated. At the first press conference he said that a group of four men in a pickup cut off a taxi he was riding in. He said that the men told him they were police and their boss wanted to meet him. However, that contradicted what he said at the second press conference, when he said he did not know who they were.
National Police Chief Sant Sarutanond said yesterday that he did not believe Chuwit had been abducted. He said that Chuwit was under great stress after lying and wanted go somewhere for a while. He looked exhausted from lack of sleep or may have taken pills to relieve stress, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Man kills 48 dogs

Posted by hasekamp on 11 July 2003 at 16:13 PM
A man from Bangkok Noi was fined with just 1,000 Baht and released yesterday after turning himself in for the fatal poisoning of 48 dogs living at a Nonthaburi temple. The man, 47, was accompanied by Nonthaburi municipal chairman to the police station, where he confessed to the charge of cruelty to animals.
He told the police that he poisoned the dogs in revenge for attacking him two weeks ago when he went to Bua Kwan Temple to offer alms. A half dozen dogs snatched at the barbecued chicken he had bought for lunch and then bit him when he struggled with them. This is what he told anyway. He complained to a monk but he was told that the temple could not be held responsible because it was merely providing shelter for the dogs. He returned to the temple grounds and left poisoned barbecued chicken in five bowls at the scene. He also told the police that he felt guilty after learning later that so many dogs had died. We find his fine very low. Just a bit more than 20 Baht per dog killed! (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin promises to clean up police

Posted by hasekamp on 11 July 2003 at 16:03 PM
Premier Thaksin Shinawatra has promised to "clean up" the Thai police force within five years. "Bad eggs " will all be removed from the force. It appears that many Thai policemen are corrupt and often associated with the Thai mafia, according to Mr. Thaksin. This malpractice is so wide spread, that it is taken for granted.
The owner of a Thai massage emporium gave an example. He told the press that he has to pay 12 million Bath a month to policemen, for bribes!
This statement was published yesterday. Today the massage king disappeared, so far with complete unknown destination. His wife alarmed the police. We wonder if this is the right organization for this case, given the problem sketched above. Anyway, the police are skeptical if there is any connection to the alleged bribery.
The Thai police chief said that he needs time to attack the problem, but that he will be working at it right away. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Victim of computer gaming

Posted by hasekamp on 10 July 2003 at 4:05 AM
A Thai teenager (17) has fallen sick and cannot go to school for the next six months. He seems to be one of the first victims of "excessive gaming". He wants to stay anonymous. His mother says he is, and always was, a good boy. His doctor is less happy with the teenager. He says the symptoms look like stress, but the boy and his mother know better. He played games so often that his lips turned purple and his eyes turned white. He went to Internet cafes daily and returned home (very) late.
The ICT Ministry meanwhile wants to close (if it can!) the server where the new game "Thai Ragnarok" can be played. The game comes from Korea and now has flown over to Thailand. It is very addictive and also makes little gambling addicts of the Thai children. The game also gives other social problems.
A Thai psychologist has said that people should play more with their children. This should prevent addiction to computer games and other unwelcome things. It appears that Thai parents spend too little time with their children.
We are a bit surprised by this news item. Although we have seen with our own eyes how fanatically Thai youngsters play computer games, we have never know that this can lead to serious physical sickness. Mind you, the boy cannot go to school for six months!
As we have published before on these pages, Thai Internet cafes are mainly used by schoolchildren, for playing games. Thailand Quo Vadis? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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CD's should be cheaper

Posted by hasekamp on 8 July 2003 at 16:59 PM
The Commerce Ministry wants foreign recording companies to lower prices of CD's from 400 to 250 Baht, which is about the price for Thai CD's. Piracy of foreign CD's is extremely high, because Thais cannot, or simply do not want to, pay the current high prices for CD's.
As a matter of fact the Ministry also wants Thai recording companies to lower prices of CD's. This should also lower the high number of pirated Thai CD's in Thailand.
Meanwhile an official said that CD piracy is no longer within the power of the police. In the past the CD's were manufactured at illegal factories, which sometimes could be found and destroyed, but nowadays piracy of CD's takes place at home, at a normal computer with a CD writer. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Computer games for education

Posted by hasekamp on 7 July 2003 at 16:52 PM
Thai youngsters are completely crazy about computer games. It seems they are even more crazy about them than their colleagues elsewhere in the world. The Thailand Research Fund (TRF) -a governmental organization- now plans to finance the development of a series of computer and Internet-based games to educate young people about the environment and technology.
The first game, "City I Love to Live In", is intended to teach the young about the problems of air pollution and encourage them to participate in campaigns to make their city more liveable. The game is intended to promote creativity and environmental consciousness, officials at the government agency said.
The professor of King Mongkut Institute of Technology, who is working on the air-quality management game, said it involved basic knowledge, designs for a liveable city and drills on how pollution affects city living and every resident in a community. Players will have to learn about sources of pollution, pollution levels, and the impact on people and the environment. They can choose materials to be used for building houses and other residential units, offices, factories, roads, vehicles, and other structures like school buildings, temples and ponds. Players will do the town planning themselves to determine the number of houses, roads, vehicles and trees that are suitable for a city area. Graphs will show the players the levels of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and dust particles caused by different types of city development. Players can also choose the population size, amount of traffic and pollution level they are willing to allow. This is the first educational, government supported, use of computer games we hear about. (Source: The Nation)


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Many want to fly for free

Posted by hasekamp on 7 July 2003 at 16:42 PM
Thai Airways International (THAI) has announced a campaign to celebrate its 43rd anniversary by giving away 20,000 tickets as prizes in a lottery among passengers who fly on the airline between now and September 30. The lottery (sadly) is only for bnusiness class and first class passengers! This "Luck Is In The Air" campaign is hoped to attract tourists to make repeat visits to Thailand.
A total of 16,000 free tickets have been allocated to passengers on in-bound flights who choose to join the draws, while the remaining 4,000 will be drawn and awarded to passengers on domestic and out-bound flights.
A free ticket will be awarded to one person on each in-bound flight, with the winner being announced during the flight. Winners will receive non-transferrable free tickets for the same route and class as their original ticket. The free tickets are valid from April 1 to June 30 next year. If you want to take part, you can fill in an application form at the check-in counter and send it to THAI. If you win, you will be notified by mail. (Source: The Phuket Gazette, The Bangkok Post)


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Suriyothai in International version

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2003 at 17:24 PM
As we reported some time ago, the Thai movie epic "Suriyothai" was cut down last year by Francis Ford Coppola from three hours to 142 minutes. Today, after previews in San Francisco, the movie in its international version is premiered in a small number of U.S. theaters, for further try-outs.
Whether "Suriyothai" can get grip on a non-Thai audience, with the dozens of characters and its dense and very complicated plot with several story lines, remains to be seen. We at Hasekamp Net, had quite some problems in following the original version.
However, the huge battle scenes and the vast scope tempt us to compare "Suriyothai" to old Hollywood epics.
Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol, a relative of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the director of 40 Thai movies, was the director of tebn original version of "Suriyothai". He was present in San Francisco for the film's West Coast premiere. (Source:The San Francisco Chronicle)


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More smiles please

Posted by hasekamp on 3 July 2003 at 12:12 PM
This is one of the strangest news items we have ever come across. The Culture Ministry is not satisfied with Thailand's image as the Land of Smiles, and therefore it plans a campaign to encourage people to smile more often.
"Smiling is a good habit, as well as a welcome gesture to foreign tourists," a spokeswoman from the Ministry said. She added that the new campaign is not started because smiling has disappeared from Thai society. But it would be better if people smiled more. "People who smile three times a day should make it six."
The campaign will be run in conjunction with the Tourism Ministry and planning campaign activities will start next week.
As we said, this rally is an extreme message. we visit Thailand every year since 1987, and never, ever have we noticed less smiles than the year before. The Thais smile at every opportunity and this includes our visit late last year.
The nature of the Thai smile has never become completely clear to us and we hope it will probably never become clear. It is one of those mysteries and charms of Thailand.
We believe that the Ministry of Culture can spend its time better, for instance in seeing that tourists remain happy by not charging them the tenfold admission fees for cultural events and buildings as Thai citizens. But the Thai smile will -in our humble opinion- never disappear. The Thais have learned to give it since they were babies.
Where did the Culture Minister live the past years anyway? Is there less smiling within the Cabinet and within the government? Is that the problem maybe? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Rain wanted for Phuket

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2003 at 17:02 PM
We have recently reported that a dry rainy season is predicted for Phuket this year. Phuket now is near a water crisis. Therefore the Royal rainmaking team and its aircraft are in Phuket to try to lessen the crisis. Whenever conditions are right, the team's three aircraft are now seeding the clouds above the island in an emergency measure that is expected to cost 450,000 Baht. Total rainfall this May was 200 mm less than in May 2002.
The team of 26 pilots and 10 ground crew arrived on Sunday and will continue seeding for 20 days. If necessary they will be asked to continue operating until the end of September.
Water rationing has already been proposed for Phuket Town, and other parts of the island also have severe restrictions in water use, because the island's main store of water has reached a critically low point. Rainmaking operations last year were credited with boosting late-monsoon season falls. (Source: The Phuket Gazette)


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New lyrics for National Anthem?

Posted by hasekamp on 1 July 2003 at 14:09 PM
Army chief Gen. Somdhat Attanand has asked his staff to come up with new lyrics for the national anthem, including words of respect for the monarchy. Gen. Somdhat has formed a committee to write the new anthem. It is chaired by army chief-of-staff Gen. Veerachai Iamsa-ard and includes musicians and historians from the army.
Why write new lyrics to an ages old Anthem? Gen. Somdhat wants new lyrics because the current wording does not include a phrase praising Thai Kings. The new anthem should be based on the same music and still start with the words "Prathet Thai" (Thailand).
Earlier trials to rewrite the National Anthem failed. It has been tried in the past to arrange it for popular singer Thongchai McIntyre, but this ended into opposition over details. Other artists also have tried to do the job but failed as well.
Now the Army chief wants to give it a try. We wonder -if he succeeds at all- if the Thai people will accept the new lyrics to the national anthem. We expect not. And so be it. Why change an ages old text, everybody is familiar with and attached to? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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