Archive for November, 2009

Thailand Overexposed 2009

November 30, 2009

These are things are that have overexposed in the year of the Lord 2009. Here are they in no particular order:
1. Lin Ping the baby panda. Lin Ping was the first panda born in the history of Thailand and the Thai just can’t seem to get enough of him. He has appeared in numerous promotions and commercials. You cannot go anywhere now without running into the image of a panda. As a result, pandas have seemed to have overpassed elephants at the most popular animal.
2. Super Junior. Super Junior is a Korean boy band that is composed of 13 members. They had a concert in November of 2009. Like the panda, they have appeared in many promotions and commercials. The Thai media cannot seem to get enough of them They have seemed cast a spell on the media as well as the young girls who have crushed on them. They are popular despite the fact that they do not speak the same language as their fans.
Korean bands and popular culture have become more popular in Thailand. It helps that when you get local cable channels, you usually two or three Korean channels. Thais can even change their appearance to look more Korean by wearing contact lenses that make their eyes look bigger. It should be said that you should be careful when you wear these lenses as the changes could end up being permanent instead of cosmetic. As they used to say on an American cop show, ”Be careful out there.”
3. British football. British football is going to be on any overexposed list in Thailand for a long time time. Thais just can’t seem to get tired of the game, especially if it is European. If you are lucky enough to have True Vision, you can watch this game 24 hours a day. It is true that you could live here for years and you would not even know that there is a local professional soccer league. Thais seem to barely pay attention to it. They do try to promote it by having it on Thai TV. It does not seem to work. The only team that they seem to pay attention to is the Thai national team.
Next year is the World Cup. There will be promotions in connection with the World Cup in South Africa. There will probably be sleepless nights for Thais as they try to follow the tournament that is taking place in such a different time zone.
4. Mum the comedian. He is a Thai comedian who seemed to appear almost every other movie this year, especially if it was a comedy. He has his own TV show called the Mum show which he does use to promote his movies. He appears in at least 3 or 4 other TV shows. This would mean that almost every day, Mum is appearing somewhere in Thailand. He seems to be one of the hardest working people in Thailand. He must be very exhausted from going to studio to set to stage appearance and back again. How he manages to do all these movies and TV shows without dying of exhaustion is unknown.
5. Thai comedians like Mum. There seems to be only 5 to 10 comedians in the country and they appearing right now in at least TV show or movie near you. They seem to be running constantly from one set to studio to another. As a foreigner, you will probably recognize their faces, but you would not know their names unless a Thai tells you what their name is. The Thai government should start a program to get more Thai comedians in the country or the current ones are going to die of exhaustion.
6. Thaksin Shinawatra. Despite his exile, he just can’t seem to go away. Love or hate him, he just can’t seem to stay away and the Thai media seems to be willing to be used as a tool to promote him. Whether you seem as a bad penny that keeps on turning up or a saviour that could improve the country upon his return, he is here to stay

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Panda Pandering II

November 30, 2009

To add just a few details that I forgot in the last article that I wrote about the baby panda, I have decided to write a little more about the panda. You should know the following:
1. His name is Lin Ping if you really want to know.
2. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is using him (I belived that it is a him) in commercials on Thai TV. The commercial shows the webiste for TAT and it is http://www.tourismthailand.com.
3. You can watch the activities of Lin Ping 24 hours a day on a channel on True Vision or UBC or whatever you choose to call this Thai national cable service. If that won’t get you tired of the little guy, I don’t know what will.
I also want to make clear that I like pandas. They are beautiful creatures that deserve predservation. I just believe that the Thais have gone overboard in their media coverage of the this particular little guy. This little guy has become overexposed and somebody should stop it before I or somebody else throws up.

The 2000s: Death of a Big Man

November 27, 2009

On November 24th, 2009, a man named Samak died at the age of 74. He had been suffering from liver cancer for a long time and his death did not come as a surprise.
He had been the 25th prime minister of Thailand. He had been the governor of Bangkok from 2000 to 2004. He had been a member of the Thai parliament for many years. Many obituaries will say that he served his country. Did he serve his country well? Historians and other people will be the determination of that.
What can definitely be said that one word that would be used to describe was big. He had a big nose, big eyes, big nose and a big belly. It was if he had been a giant once and had been shrunk down to the size of z human, keeping the big features of his giant race.
He was not exactly a shy person and was not afraid to use his big mouth to express his views. It is his mouth that some people will remember him for.
In 1976, it was probably when he used his mouth the most destructively. He went on the radio and said that students were gathering at a local university. He said that the students were communists. Some extreme right-wing people took him seriously and went to the university, They lynched some of the students. Other students were able to get safely away. Some people think he is responsible for the massacre. When he was prime minister, he insisted to a CNN reporter that there was no massacre, even though there are many pictures of dead bodies at the university. This reopened old wounds and upset many people. His mouth had insulted the people who had been there or the ones who had lost their loved ones in the massacre.
As governor of Bangkok, his mouth was most active, but it did not seem interested in making Bangkok a better city. His mouth mostly talked about the cooking show that he hosted on a weekly basis and the celebrities that he met being the governor of Bangkok. He had a website devoted not to his main job of being the governor of one of the biggest cities on the planet, but to his cooking show. His main job just seemed a means to promote his cooking show and the city did not improve because of his stewardship.
One inspired idea that he had was to remove all the trash bins during a major summit of world leaders that was being held in Bangkok. He felt that the trash bins made the city look ugly. He put no thought in what would happen to the trash that would have to dumped on the street by people because there was no trash bins to put them in. A city would be truly be ugly with trash everywhere. Thankfully, his idea was never put into reality.
As governor, he said that mother nature was responsible for the flooding in the city of Bangkok. This would only be true if you consider mother nature to include buildings, streets and pipes. His mouth got him into trouble again.
As prime minister, his mouth seemed most obsessed with he called the Invisible Hand. The protesters that had partly driven Thaksin out of power had plagued him as well for most people had seen him as Thaksin’s nominee. Some viewed him as being chosen by Thaksin to be prime minister to protect Thaksin and to make sure that Thaksin was not punished for the misdeeds that he had done during his time as prime minister. Samak felt that the protesters were being controlled by an Invisible Hand that was keeping him from ruling the country properly.
Ironically, in the end, his downfall came from the cooking show that he was so concerned about when he was governor. As a prime minister of Thailand, you are not allowed to have any other job than being prime minister. He claimed that doing the cooking show was not really a job. A Thai court ruled that it was indeed a job and he had to step down as being prime minister. Some would see it as justice for ignoring his responsibilities of being a governor.
A few weeks after his downfall, he was found guilty of libel. He had repeatedly insulted another important person during a political show that he used to have. He was sentenced to two years of jail because libel in Thailand is a criminal as well as a civil offence. The cancer that killed him helped him not serve a day in jail for he used the illness as an excuse not to serve time in jail.
His mouth was silenced on a day in November. Some people might be happy that it was silenced. Some people think that his unique voice will be missed. Again, people in the future will have to make that judgement. On November 24th, 2009, a man named Samak died at the age of 74. He had been suffering from liver cancer for a long time and his death did not come as a surprise.
He had been the 25th prime minister of Thailand. He had been the governor of Bangkok from 2000 to 2004. He had been a member of the Thai parliament for many years. Many obituaries will say that he served his country. Did he serve his country well? Historians and other people will be the determination of that.
What can definitely be said that one word that would be used to describe was big. He had a big nose, big eyes, big nose and a big belly. It was if he had been a giant once and had been shrunk down to the size of z human, keeping the big features of his giant race.
He was not exactly a shy person and was not afraid to use his big mouth to express his views. It is his mouth that some people will remember him for.
In 1976, it was probably when he used his mouth the most destructively. He went on the radio and said that students were gathering at a local university. He said that the students were communists. Some extreme right-wing people took him seriously and went to the university, They lynched some of the students. Other students were able to get safely away. Some people think he is responsible for the massacre. When he was prime minister, he insisted to a CNN reporter that there was no massacre, even though there are many pictures of dead bodies at the university. This reopened old wounds and upset many people. His mouth had insulted the people who had been there or the ones who had lost their loved ones in the massacre.
As governor of Bangkok, his mouth was most active, but it did not seem interested in making Bangkok a better city. His mouth mostly talked about the cooking show that he hosted on a weekly and the celebrities that he met being the governor of Bangkok. He had a website devoted not to his main job of being the governor of one of the biggest cities on the planet, but to his cooking show. His main job just seemed a means to promote his cooking show and the city did not improve because of his stewardship.
One inspired idea that he had was to remove all the trash bins during a major summit of world leaders that was being held in Bangkok. He felt that the trash bins made the city look ugly. He put no thought in what would happen to the trash that would have to dumped on the street by people because there was no trash bins to put them in. A city would be truly be ugly with trash everywhere. Thankfully, his idea was never put into reality.
As governor, he said that mother nature was responsible for the flooding in the city of Bangkok. This would only be true if you consider mother nature to include buildings, streets and pipes. His mouth got him into trouble again.
As prime minister, his mouth seemed most obsessed with he called the Invisible Hand. The protesters that had partly driven Thaksin out of power had plagued him as well for most people had seen him as Thaksin’s nominee. Some viewed him as being chosen by Thaksin to be prime minister to protect Thaksin and to make sure that Thaksin was not punished for the misdeeds that he had done during his time as prime minister. Samak felt that the protesters were being controlled by an Invisible Hand that was keeping him from ruling the country properly.
Ironically, in the end, his downfall came from the cooking show that he was so concerned about when he was governor. As a prime minister of Thailand, you are not allowed to have any other job than being prime minister. He claimed that doing the cooking show was not really a job. A Thai court ruled that it was indeed a job and he had to step down as being prime minister. Some would see it as justice for ignoring his responsibilities of being a governor.
A few weeks after his downfall, he was found guilty of libel. He had repeatedly insulted another important person during a political show that he used to have. He was sentenced to two years of jail because libel in Thailand is a criminal as well as a civil offence. The cancer that killed him helped him not serve a day in jail for he used the illness as an excuse not to serve time in jail.
His mouth was silenced on a day in November. Some people might be happy that it was silenced. Some people think that his unique voice will be missed. Again, people in the future will have to make that judgment.

Panda Pandering

November 24, 2009

Other than celebrities and the Royal Family of Thailand, the most photographed person or animal this year has to be the the first baby panda born in Thailand. Earlier this year, the first baby panda was born in Thailand and the media just went crazy over the little guy. On the nationmultimedia.com website (the website for the Nation newspaper), they have had a picture of the little guy on the website almost every day. Channel 3 still shows videos of the baby panda at least once a week. No creature, event, or person has been so overexposed as this baby panda has been in Thailand.
Corporations have ,of course, have latched themselves to the baby panda bandwagon. They have done contests based on this animal. They have put his image on their packaging and their T-shirts. If this was the United States, he would have been on every news network and all sorts of memorabilia would be dedicated to this little panda such as key chains, T-shirts, lunch boxes, cereal boxes, etc. There would be a reality show showing the daily lives of the baby panda and his family. In the States, there would be no limits as to how they would exploit this little guy.
Why Thais have gone so crazy over this little creature is not known. It just might be that in a country that has been so full of bad news lately; it is just good to have some good news. Thais can say that they accomplished one thing and that is to have a panda born in captivity, a rare feat that even Americans have had trouble doing.

The Democrat’s Populist Program

November 24, 2009

On November 21st, 2009, the prime minister of Thailand is visiting various provinces near Chang Mai. He is visiting those provinces for the opening of a program that will help country people pay off their loan sharks. This program will hopefully work as past programs have not been successful.
Under the Thaksin administration, they gave a million baht to every village as a way to deal with the loan shark problem. If did not work. They did pay off the loan sharks. Obviously, they would eventually run out of the money and have to ask for new loans from the loan sharks as the program did not continue beyond the million baht. This program done by the current administration will hopefully be a more permanent solution to this loan shark problem.
This program is also a way hopefully for the Democrat Party to get voters from the North and the Northeast. Their traditional power base has been in Bangkok and the South. Thaksin and his people were able to win over these people with programs like the million baht program and the health insurance program where you only had to pay 30 baht for anything that you did medically. They also gave the people free cows. Thaksin would also literally give money to people on the streets. The Democrats are attempting to win the people of the North and the Northeast by attempting to do a populist program like the Thaksin people.

A Thai Conquering Hero

November 24, 2009

In 2008, a crowd composed of regular people and the press were standing in front of doors of the Suvarnabhumi airport. They had both waiting for hours for a particular man to emerge from those doors. The people were there to see a glimpse of their hero and the press were there to get pictures of their hero and to get hopefully some comments for their respective news outlets.
Finally, the man they had been waiting for emerged from the doors, wearing a black suit, and he waied to the people and to the press. He then wait down on his knees and bowed his head until his lips touched the ground. He briefly kissed the ground and then stood up. The regular people cheered him as he kissed the ground. He went back into the airport. He had accomplished what he had to do.
Who was this person that could such a stir at the airport? It was Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, returning from a exile after his government had been overthrown by the military in September of 2006, and everything would change because of his return at that time.

A Thailand Compromise

November 24, 2009

To me, the simple solution to the Thai political turmoil would have both sides simply learn how to compromise.
At this point, they don’t seem to be able to compromise about anything. It is either my way or no way. I can’t believe that there is no middle ground between their beliefs. As long as they continue not to compromise, the turmoil will continue and Thailand will stagnant. It will become worse and worse and end up as a failed state. Compromise is the only thing that they can save this country from becoming a failure as a country.
For their uncompromised positions, I blame Thaksin for this state of affairs. When he was in power, he was unable to accept anybody else’s point of view. If somebody has the temerity to actually criticize him, he would always react in anger. He would call them lazy, crazy or worse. He would also sue them since libel in Thailand is criminal as well as a civil offence. If you lose a libel suit, you not only have to go to pay the winner of the suit; you could go to jail as well. Thaksin could use his tongue as well as the legal system to silence his critics.
Thaksin could not accept criticism because he was a businessman before he was a politician. As a businessman, you don’t have to worry about people criticizing you. If an employee tried to criticize you as the boss, you could always have them fired. Thaksin was so used to having people worship him as president of a company that he was not used to having people criticize him that he could not deal with it as prime minister of the country. He did not have to take another way as a businessman and he brought his uncompromising way to politics. He could not change as a businessman nor could he as a politician. His uncompromising way was built into his personality because he has ooperated like that for years as a businessman.
The red shirts or the yellow shirts or the current prime minister don’t have the excuse that Thaksin had. They can change the way they do politics and compromise. They can find a third way to do things because they should not have forces that shaped Thaksin as a person. They can remove this burden of always be right and learn that you don’t always have to be to uncompromisin to run a country well. You can learn a different way and find a better way to run a country. Thailand will become a failed country if everybody continues to think their way is the only way to make this country a good country.