Archive for March, 2021

Thailand Gets No Respect

March 31, 2021

There was a comedian named Rodney Dangerfield in American in the 1980s. In his act, he talked endlessly about how he would not get respect. His movies did not get much respect, either. Thailand, like Dangerfield, does not get respect from the rest of the world. I am here to tell you that Thailand should get more respect.
Before the pandemic, Thailand was considered to be the second-largest economy in this part of Southeast Asia.
Thailand is one of the countries that has handled the pandemic the best. Out of a population of 70 million people, only 94 people have died.
The reason for this is that the Thai government had no hesitation about dealing with this crisis. In March 2020, the government locked down the country quickly. It closed all the border checkpoints. The school term was delayed for two months and they practiced social distancing when they opened. Except for emergencies, there was no international flight. Domestic flights were very limited. Long-distance buses were also limited. Thais had to wear masks and clean their hands before going into any store or mall or restaurant. The Thais did these things without questioning or protests. The Thais have been protesting the pandemic recently because they are getting tired of doing the restrictions like most countries.
Thailand has a really good public transportation system. In Bangkok, you can use taxis, motorcycle taxis, buses, Songtaews (trucks with two rows to sit), tuk-tuks, vans, and subway systems. Except for taxis, they are usually cheap to use. You don’t need a car because there are plenty of ways to get around. The long-distance buses and trains get you to all corners of Thailand and are cheap to use. Domestic flights are cheap. If you have the money, you can get to all parts of Thailand fast and cheaply.
Thailand has one of the best wireless/Internet systems in the world. Thailand’s Internet is one of the fastest in the world. At most hotels, even the small ones, the Internet usually comes free. At most apartments, the Internet is free. Internet cafes, especially outside of Bangkok, are cheap. For one hour, you could get it for 10 baht (25 US cents). Some of them are even 24/7. The Internet is one of the best things about Thailand.
The Thai people are polite and friendly. Even if they speak little English, they do try to understand what you are saying.
In Chaiyaphum, Thailand, I almost would always get a free rise. One night, I had trouble finding a hotel. A Thai couple stopped and they helped me find a hotel. Would Americans do the same?
Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. Some of them are only about 2 or 3 hours from Bangkok.
In towns and cities, there is always a 7-11. It has good, cheap microwaveable food. You can get things that you need like shaving cream, deodorant, and razors. The sales clerks always say hello to you. When I leave Thailand, I miss 7-11.
Movie theaters in Thailand are better than in the States. You get to choose your seat at a Thai movie theater. I have heard this is changing in the States. I have not been in the States for 10 years. The Thai movie theaters are clean and new. The movie ticket is about 4 to 5 US dollars. It is one of the best movie experiences that I have ever had.
I think that I have made the point that Thailand should get more respect and that you should definitely come to this country.

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Thai Government Gets New Contracts To Get the Thai-Sino Rail Project Done

March 31, 2021

Recently, three cotracts have been signed by the Thai government with the Thai-Sino (Chinese) high-speed rail project from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat.
These contracts are attached to the construction of a maintenance depot in Chiang Rak Moi, the rail engineering works along the Phra Kaew-Saraburi line, and the civil engineering works on the Nava Nakhon-Ban Pho line.
A letter to start the work will be issued by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) after these three contracts are signed.
Following the preparation of the documents, three more contracts will be prepared, including the works between Don Muang and Nava Nakhon, the civil engineering works along the Bang Sue-Don Muang section, and the Ban Pho-Phra Kaew section.
The project has already begun. It will be a 235 km rail link between Bangkok and Korat. It is estimated to cost about $5 billion (about 200 billion Thai baht).
Thailand’s military took over the government in 2014. Since then, they have concentrated heavily on infrastructure projects. In 2021, the area around the Northern Bus Terminal will be unrecognizable.
There was an election two years ago in which the party that won the election was led by the leader of the coup in 2014.
Upon completion of the project, this train route will connect Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Don Muang, Saraburi, Pak Chong (in the province of Korat), and Korat, the capital of Korat.
This project will certainly not be completed this year because the winning firms for these six contracts will be announced at the end of this year.
Through a partnership with China, Thailand has agreed to be responsible for the investments and civil works.

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An Interview With A New Author

March 31, 2021

Her name is Gabriella Balcom and she was nice enough to give me the text for an interview: Here it is:

1. What’s your background? What compelled you to start writing? Did you always want to be a writer? Were you an avid reader while growing up? My father was in his late forties when he immigrated to New York from Slovenia, moving to Texas a few years later. He met my mother there and they married, having one child, me. He was a teacher and linguist. She’d taught before my birth, but didn’t work for a few years after. She taught me to read and write when I was very young, and I can’t remember a time I wasn’t surrounded by books and writing materials. They were a normal, everyday part of my life. I quite literally loved reading and writing, and they went hand-in-hand for me. My first “creations” included lists of things that started with the letters of the alphabet, but I moved on to stories. When I was six, I won a writing contest hosted by a local library; my tale was about animals who became friends and moved in together. I added poetry and journaling to my repertoire within a few years. However, I stopped writing altogether after leaving home for college, staying super busy with classes and jobs. I later married, continued working, and had children, but grew even busier after divorcing and becoming a single parent. To say I met myself going and coming would be an understatement, and even though I often felt the urge to write, I didn’t. In 2012, I couldn’t hold back the words anymore, and they poured out of me. It was like a floodgate had opened, and it’s been that way ever since. Writing was cathartic at first, but at the end of 2017 I had the idea to develop it into a career. I realized this would take practice, improved skills, and hard work, and joined my first Facebook writing group. When I came across a submission call for an anthology, I wrote two stories and submitted them after hiring my first editor. One was accepted, and I was ecstatic. I joined more writing groups, sent creations in for other themed calls, and more were published. As the saying goes, the rest is history. I can’t not write, love when ideas pop into my mind and my characters “speak” to me, per se, and every acceptance thrills me.

2. What does literary success look like to you? To me, success is when people enjoy my stories, want to read more of them, and buy copies of books that include my creations. I love when readers tell me how I’ve touched, inspired, astounded, or horrified them. My dream is to have several books published, put more out routinely, and be able to make a decent amount of money from my writing.

3. If you didn’t write, what would you do? Or, if writing is not a full-time job, what do you do? I’d love to write full-time and be able to support myself that way, but I’m not at that point yet. My background is in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and I work full-time in the mental health field. I’ve dealt with families that epitomize the word “troubled,” abusive parents, abused children, substance users, and people in all types of situations. The majority of individuals I encounter are in crisis, with a fair number of them wanting to commit suicide, kill others, or experiencing psychosis. I arrange hospitalization at times, counsel now and then, and/or give referrals, depending on the situation.

4. What inspires you? Nature inspires me, along with smells, music, pictures, people I’ve met, places I’ve gone, and my own experiences—pretty much anything and everything.

5. What is a little-known fact about you? I’ll mention two. I was an only child, and grew up in a very abusive home.

6. What sparked the idea for this book? I saw a submission call over a year ago for stories featuring bonds, and an idea came to me as I drove to work one day. Scenes played through my mind, with my story developing rapidly. Originally, I wrote around 7,500 words, but the call was for shorter stories, so I ended up doing two versions—one shorter, the other longer. I submitted my story and it was declined, but that didn’t bother me, because I felt “The Return” was one of my best works and knew I’d do something with it later. Black Hare Press eventually announced a call for 20,000-to-40,000-word stories for their Deep Underground series, and I was intrigued immediately. I reread my story, and new ideas and scenes began flooding my mind. In no time at all, my story was the correct length.

7. How many half-finished and unpublished books do you have right now? Several. In 2020, I wrote a novella of short stories for JayZoMon’s Open Contract Challenge, which awards authors publishing contracts, and my book.

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2 Protests Were Dispersed On A March Sunday By Bangkok Police

March 30, 2021

According to the Bangkok Post, the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) (Bangkok police) cleared a protest site as well as 99 demonstrators from the Government House.
The Government House is where the Thai parliament meets.
The MPG dispatched four companies of police officers at 6 in the morning Bangkok time (6 pm Eastern Standard Time) to deal with two groups of protesters. Most demonstrators returned near the Government House later in the day after being kicked out of the grounds of the building in the morning.
Demonstrators are demanding the release of the members who were arrested in the morning. They want a new Constitution to be enacted and for Section 112 of the criminal code to be abolished. There is a section in Thai law that deals with lese majeste, which means that you cannot say bad things about the King of Thailand.
The deputy commissioner of the MPB, Major General Piya Tawichai, announced that 99 protesters were arrested overall after the two protests.
They were taken to Border Patrol Police Region 1 headquarters in Pathum Thani on Rangsit Road. This would be near Future Park Rangsit, one of the largest malls in Thailand.
Piya believes that they would, at first, would be charged with violating the Communicable Disease Control Act and the emergency (two laws that have to with COVID-19)
after they were arrested, two monks were apprehended at Wat Benjamaborphit near site of the protest. It can only be assumed that this means that they had to take off their monk clothes and wear normal clothes before going to jail.
Piya believes that the protest was illegal as they had trespassed on government property. It did not they vandalized fixtures in the area.
Police Major General Chiraphat Bhumichtir, the deputy MPB commissioner, said that the police had received complaints of traffic congestion and loud noises that were caused by the protest. It should be noted that loud noise and traffic congestion are regular occurrences in Bangkok.

Two one-liter bottles of kratom leaf juice and half a kilogram of marijuana were confiscated inside the tent behind the protest stage. Condoms and sex toys were also some of the things found near a protest site. This does sound more like a party than a protest.
There were two groups of protesters or partiers, depending on your point of view.
The first group was ethnic Karen people from the Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi, a province only about 2 hours east of Bangkok. They had been there from earlier this month. They were demanding justice for all ethnic minorities in Thailand. The government has been accused of burning down a village in Kaeng Krachan National Park in 2011.
A second group is from Nakhon Ratchasima, also called Korat, one of the largest provinces in Thailand. They were there in order to obtain government reforms. On March 14th, 2021, this group had come and merged with the first group, leaving them as one group protesting against the government establishment.
On a Sunday morning in March 2021 at 6 am in morning, four companies from the Protection and Crowd Control Division police arrived. They used loudspeakers to tell all the protesters to pack their stuff and leave the vicinity in three minutes.
The protesters really wanted more than three minutes to leave, but they were arrested in three minutes anyway.
The ordnance disposal and forensic police arrived after the protesters were arrested.
There were many protesters from the morning at Chamai Maruchet Bridge near Government House at 3 pm. They then had a live music performance where they complained about how they dispersed them earlier.
The protesters had gone onto the streets holding banners with anti-government messages about two and a half hours later, about 5:30 pm, the crowd control police moved in and closed the traffic at the intersection of Hang Loeng and Miskawan.
The police re-issued an ultimatum to these protesters at 6 pm. The protesters must leave the area or they will face legal action.
After the ultimatum was ignored, cops swung in from Wat Benchamabophit and Phitsanulok and

arrested 32. Most of these protesters had photos of their leaders, who are in jail without bail.
This probably will not be the last protest at or near the Government House.

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First Woman From Gaming Industry To Win BAFTA Award

March 30, 2021

Siobhan Reddy, a studio director at Media Molecule, recently received the BAFTA Fellowship Award. She is the first woman from the gaming industry to receive such an award.
Other gaming legends that have won this award Tim Schefer, Hideo Kojima, and Shigaru Miyamoto.
Reddy won this award because she was a pioneer that advocated for collaborative working culture, inclusion, and diversity.
Reddy said that she was very grateful and honored to receive this award. She believes that it is a step forward for inclusivity that speaks to BAFTA wanting to have a more diverse group that wins the award.
The other efforts that BAFTA is making for diversity are the BAFTA Guru Initiative, Breakthrough Brits, and Young Game Designer awards. Reddy thinks these efforts show that BAFTA is really making an effort to have more diversity in the gaming, TV, and film industries. She has loved the efforts.
She does believe that these efforts can be seen in the gaming business.
When Reddy joined the gaming industry many years ago, it was really a different industry. There has been much progress.
Reddy does think that the issues have not really gone away. Everybody in the gaming industry is making some sort of effort to have studios where people can thrive inside them. It is very important.
Reddy believes that we live in a flawed where ableism, sexism, and racism exist. They are real and they must be dealt with. She is hopeful that a large number of people are trying to tackle these large subjects. It will be a lot of work.
Reddy has goals to make the gaming industry more diverse. The gaming industry should re-evaluate how they hire people and how they promote people. She thinks that everybody in the studio should have the opportunity to contribute to the project.
Reddy feels that it is very important to have a gaming industry where identity should not make a worker’s life hard.

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The Man-Made Whale Is Still Stuck In The Suez Canal

March 29, 2021

The quarter-mile-long freighter that has been a Suez Canal blockage for about a week has partially re-floated, raising hopes that many waiting ships could soon enter the Artery of the World.
It is expected that the high tide will return at 6 am Eastern US Standard Time (6 pm Bangkok time) this morning.
The optimism may not be warranted. The bow of this man-made whale is stuck really hard and re-floating the stern of this boat is considered to be the easy part. This is according to the CEO of the salvage company this doing the work to unstuck this whale.
The CEO has seen many congratulatory messages this past week, but he wants to stick to the facts. The ship has been rotated, but the bow is stuck in the clay.
Before this ship got stuck, supply chains were at their weakest. This made it expensive to get goods from one place to the other and causing many shortages including exercise bikes and cheese.
The total number of vessels that cannot go into the Suez Canal at last count was 367. This includes 96 container ships and 35 crude oil tankers. Once the ship is free, it will take many days to get these ships through the canal, causing, even more of a delay for the customers.
IKEA told CNN that it has placed constraints on its supply chains. It is depended on how long it takes to get rid of the whale.
IKEA has confirmed that some of their products are on vessels that are waiting to get into the Suez Canal.
An IKEA spokesperson says his or her company will try all supply options to get their products available.
Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, has three canals that are in the canal itself and has another 28 that waiting outside the canal. More are coming.
Maersk has already redirected some of its ships to go around the African Cape of Good Hope at the southern African tip. It will add more days and costs to their progress.
Even if the whale was freed soon, it would take Maersk ships six or more days to get rid of the Suez Canal backlog.
Maersk thinks that it will take weeks, maybe even months to unravel the backlog.

Update: According to CNN at around Midnight Bangkok time, the ship has been dislodged and is floating.

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A Massacre Is Going On In Myanmar (Burma)

March 29, 2021

About 90 people were killed by the Myanmar government’s security services. This is considered to be the worst atrocity since the military took over the government in February 2021.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), this massacre included children.
Tha Ya Zaw, a Myanmar resident, says they are killing her people like birds or chickens. They have no problem killing them in their homes.
The people of Myanmar will not stop protesting.
Despite the government warning the protester several times, the massacre occurred on Armed Forces Day.
The United States, The United Kingdom, and the European Union have denounced the massacre. The foreign secretary of the UK sees it as a new low.
According to the AAPP, more people will die in this massacre.
Since February 1st of 2021, more than 4,000 people have been killed.
The opposition-led Aung San Suu Kyi party won the last election by a wide margin. However, the military rejected the election results and took control of the government in February.
About 1 or 2 days prior to the massacre, protesters had been gathering across Myanmar.
On the evening of the first day of protest, State TV warned that people could be shot in the head and back if they continued to protest.
Security forces were deployed in force to quell protests.
After the massacre, pictures on social media showed families mourning and people with gunshot wounds.
One Myanmar citizen believes that it is a massacre now, not a crackdown.
About 40 locations were subjected to live ammunition crackdowns.
As reported on Myanmar Now, a local news website for the country formerly called Burma, 114 people have died in the most recent crackdown in the country. The UN has made reports of hundreds of injured and scores of deaths.
Among the many fatalities, a teenage girl was shot and killed in her own home.
According to the US embassy in Myanmar, there was an incident where the US cultural center was shot at. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
The military also had time to attack the ethnic group Karen National Union, which had seized an Army post near Thailand in the eastern part of Myanmar.

Thai Civil Servant Banned From Thai Civil Service Due To Attack on Karen Village

March 29, 2021

Former Kaeng Krachan National Park head Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn has been barred from the civil service for his role in the burning of a Karen village ten years ago.
The Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Jatuporn Buruspat, recently informed Chaiwat that he will have to resign from his position as Director of Protected Areas Regional Office 9 in Ubon Ratchathani.
The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission decided that Chaiwat was responsible for burning down Karen villages while they evicted them from the park in 2011.
His career as a civil servant is officially over. Chaiwat can still appeal to the Administration Court or Protection Board.
Since Chaiwat was not officially dismissed, he will be able to collect a pension.
Chaiwat had been implicated in the attack on the Karen village since it occurred. Human rights organizations have condemned the attack since it occurred.
Among the Thai hill tribes, the Karen have their own distinct culture and traditions. They are indigenous to Thailand..

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Lack of PS5 Stock Leads To Scams

March 28, 2021

BBC News reports that a PS4 scam group has hacked an NHS Horizons executive’s Twitter account.
The scammers targeted accounts that belonged to Helen Bevan, the chief transformation officer for NHS Horizons. Her details were changed and all her personal accounts were hijacked. Their purpose was to make it appear as if they were PS5 stockists by changing her Twitter handle to @SupplierPS5.
An NHS Horizons officer was scammed the second time after he promised to restore the accounts to their original Twitter handle. In an interview with BBC, Bevan revealed how she was scammed. She said the scammers took advantage of her bad situation by charging her 110 US Dollars for fixing her Twitter account.
She thinks the scammer that she paid did absolutely nothing to help her. He sent her film clips on computer files to prove he was helping her. He claimed to have got the money back, but Twitter had changed the way they verified the account. In order to fix the verification, he wanted more money. She thinks that they prey on people’s desperate situations.
One NHS Horizons employee told BBC about how scammers were able to use her account to entice people to buy a PS5 from them.
These scammers would follow what was happening at Target, PC World, Dixons, and Walmart on Twitter. Then they would tweet back to them. They would tweet that they have a PS5 in stock and you should DM them.
Then, Bevan contacted people who had been conned by the group. In an interview with BBC, the NHS Horizons executive hoped her story would serve as a warning to others about online security threats.
Due to the lack of Playstation 5 in stock, there are more scammers. Once the stock levels increase, there should be less scamming.

My First Movie Theatrical Experience in A Year: Godzilla Vs. Kong Vs. COVID-19

March 27, 2021

On the weekend, I live in Ubon Ratchathani, one of the largest cities in the Northeastern part of Thailand, and the rest of the week, I work in a Yasothon province town that my Thai colleagues think is a village.
On Saturday, March 27th, 2021, my friend was inspired to go eat at the Sunee Tower, a mall with a movie theater.
while I was walking to the restaurant, I noticed a movie poster for Godzilla Vs. Kong..
I am kind of a Godzilla freak. When I was a kid in Boston in the late 70s and early 80s, one of the local stations had the Creature Double Feature. They showed two movies for 4 hours with all kinds of nasty creatures. They must have shown every Japanese monster movie in badly dubbed English from the 1950s to the 1980s. I think my kid self liked them the most because they were fun and they were nice compared to the other creature movies on this special show. The other creature gave me nightmares, Godzilla did not.
I saw Godzilla (1998) and was repulsed by how badly it was made. The acting and the writing were really bad. It did look good, but that is the best that you can say about it. IF you wanted to torture somebody, this is probably one of the films that you would pick.
In the 2000s, I played a video or PC game that featured all the monsters in the Godzilla universe. You could say that I am familiar with the Godzilla mythology, at least the Japanese version of it.
Back in 2021, We made it to the restaurant. I told my friend that I wanted to see the movie. He looked at his movie app and found that it was starting at the mall movie theater at 6:30 pm. What time we were eating? 6:30 pm. We knew that movie trailers at Thai movie theaters usually run for 20 to 25 minutes. We thought that we might still be able to get to the movie on time.
We ate very quickly.
We took the nearest elevator and we thought we were going to the right floor. We ended up on the wrong floor. We had to run to get to the movie theater.
At the movie theater, three people seemed to be having a debate with the ticket sellers. They finally resolved their debate and we got to finally buy tickets.
Again, we had to run to the theater, up two flights of escalators.
We finally arrived at the movie theater for the film at 6:55 pm.
After all this effort, was the film worth it to see? I am afraid that it was not. The monster fights were awesome and I was glad to see a new 21st-century version of MechaGodzilla (a robotic version of Godzilla).
This is the fourth film in this movie franchise. I have only seen Godzilla: King of All Monsters, but the biggest hole in these seems to be the human beings. They don’t get the best dialogue or the best stories. The more that they focus on them, the worse the film gets. Please, just focus on the monsters and everything is fine.
Like The Fast and Furious, physics is a big casualty in this film. The viewer is supposed to believe that King Kong’s home is in a secret underground paradise that somehow manages to have oxygen and fully built buildings. Where does the oxygen come from? Who built the buildings? Why do they go some portal to get to this underground paradise? Why wasn’t this paradise crushed by gravity? If you are a physicist, please, please, don’t see this film. Your mind will explode.
After the film, we went to get some food and then we went home.
What is it like to see a film during a pandemic? In Thailand, everybody wears masks. Not many Thais see English films anyway so social distancing is not an issue. They had sanitizers everywhere.
I certainly wish the film was better after having not seen a movie in a theater for a year. I hope next time is better.
Be good. Be safe. Have a good life. See you later.

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