Search This Blog

Sunday, July 26, 2009

river Kwai or Kwair ?


Kanchanaburi / River Kwai TrainImage by motg via Flickr

This is a province nestled by the Burmese border with tourist attractions such as the Erawan waterfall and a meandering river whose serenity is broken each night by floating disco restaurants, frequented by tourists who like to eat overpriced Thai food while dancing to Ring My Bell amid the jungles of Thailand.

CHONBURI, THAILAND - OCTOBER 24 : Thai buffalo...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The big attraction is the Bridge on the River Kwai. Thais love the fact we call it the River "Kwai", when in fact it is the River "Kwair". The way we say it sounds the same as the Thai word for "buffalo", which has a vernacular definition of someone who is lazy and stupid.

There are two cemeteries from World War Two for POWs who lost their lives building the Death Railway. They are well worth a visit, the JEATH Museum in town features pictures of the construction of the Death Railway.

The first time I visited the museum I was shocked by the plight of the POWs another m

Boo!Image by Esteban Cavrico via Flickr

usuem is at Hellfire Pass displaying depiction of the horrors of the time.

Tourists and travellers of all description flock to Thailand for sights adventure and the unknown, thais have a special word for backpackers and some Farang.... "farang khee nok" literally "bird sh*t westerners". The notion is that of a stingy traveler who doesn't wash, a definition unfair to any non-British tourist to Thailand. The traveller ends up all over the place, not dissimilar to a bird whose droppings do the same. And while Thais will tell you that the definition is affectionate, it's jus tthai style but in fact it's right on target.

kanchanaburi's number one siteImage by permanently scatterbrained via Flickr

I read a very funnystory by a local jurno in Thailand .....(and my sincere apologies to him... for absence of his name .. I can not find it only the notes of his article that follows......... "20 years ago I was a farang khee nok staying at cheap guest houses populated by eager young Americans, Europeans and Aussies taking gap years to see the world. Everybody was reading The Incredible Lightness of Being and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (except for me, of course - I was into Agatha Christie and Jackie Collins). Those same guest houses were home to ageing hippies who sat around smoking dope and strumming tuneless guitars. I swear by the end of my trip if I heard Neil Young's Comes a Time one more time I would have purchased a dagger on Khao San Road and beheaded these long-haired lunatics.

One night there was a group of hippies next to me enjoying their fruit shakes while a Thai guy was explaining to them: "While you're here, you must see the Floating Nun. She is truly amazing!"

I immediately lay down The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Sure enough, claimed the Thai guide, the Floating Nun was a phenomenon that couldn't be missed.
"She is a very old nun who has been doing this since anyone can remember," the man said, dragging on his Krong Thip as he spoke. "Every day at 11am and 3pm she goes down to the water. She prays and meditates. It's truly unique, and she reaches a deep state of meditation by doing it. And she floats! She doesn't sink! It's incredible!"
I have to admit I love such attractions. A floating nun! In my life I had only ever heard of the Flying Nun, my favourite TV show as a child in which Sally Field played a sister in Puerto Rico who whenever the wind blew, managed to tilt her headwear and was able to fly through the air. Was the creator of that show on drugs or what? I can't remember any of the storylines now, and why would you? Now, here I was in Thailand, listening to a story about a woman who sounded like a Siamese Sister Bertrille.

Mo & the Cover Man of Lonely PlanetImage by kudumomo via Flickr

That night I consulted the Lonely Planet and was happy to see the Floating Nun mentioned briefly. She performed her ethereal aquatics at a temple called Wat Tham Mangkorn Thong.
Back then the temple was a tourist attraction with its sparkling Buddha images, but I wasn't there for those. I'd seen so many temples in two weeks I surprisingly found myself yearning for an image of Jesus on the cross just to break the monotony. All I wanted was to see the miraculous Floating Nun and was thus happy to see a handwritten sign at the entrance: THIS WAY TO THE FLAOTING (sic) NUN, accompanied by an outrageous arrow. I followed the sign.
I was led by a temple boy to a stark concrete pool, probably about three or four metres across and about one metre deep. There were another two or three Thais standing around. I was the only representative of the Western world.

I should have known it was a scam by the fact the old and wizened Thai woman dressed in white arrived at 11am on the dot - no trustworthy Thai ever comes on time. She climbed into the pool and lay on her back. She clasped her hands together, then using her feet pushed herself off from one side and floated across, like a lackadaisical torpedo, to the other side. Then back again. Then out of the pool. Then she was gone.

I was extremely impressed by the sheer audacity of this temple in its ability to attract me there to see an old biddy do what any woman can do; namely, float in a pool on her back. And at what stage did she achieve nirvana? I must have blinked when that happened.
Somewhere in the very back of my photo cupboard I still have a picture or two of that "famous" Floating Nun. It was my first introduction to sham tourist attractions in this country, though certainly not in my life.

Queensland cities, towns, settlements and road...Image via Wikipedia

I grew up not so far from the Big Pineapple, a monstrosity along the Queensland coast where you can actually go up inside and see the amazing process of growing pineapples - if you can stay awake of course. In Brussels recently I admired the underwhelming statue of the urinating little boy - I had travelled halfway across the world to see that? And now I was in the jungles of South East Asia, having paid money to see an old lady use her mammary glands to stay afloat in a concrete play pool.

Not long after my initial trip to Kanchanaburi I read in The Nation newspaper that the Floating Nun may have been able to escape the rigors of a regular day job, but she wasn't able to escape her mortal coil. She died in 1990.

Story Bridge PanoramaImage via Wikipedia

But the ever-resourceful Wat Tham Mongkol Tong didn't miss a beat. A week later there was a new Floating Nun in the concrete pool unimpressing tourists. And, as I have just discovered on YouTube, there is one still there to this day. Only these days you are required to throw money into the concrete pool as she prays. Of course you are.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, July 24, 2009

FTA Summit Thailand October

The FTA has the potential to multiply manifold the India-ASEAN bilteral trade, which cu

FlagsImage by unjoshr via Flickr

rrently stands at around $38 billion. Krishna also held talks here with his counterparts from 16 countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Wednesday morning. Krishna, who arrived here Tuesday night on a three-day visit, underlined India’s desire for greater economic and strategic engagement with economically vibrant East Asian region that boasts an annual output of $1.1 trillion and represents more than half the world’s population. India is a dialogue partner at ASEAN, which comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Brunei.

Tri Trang Beach, PhuketImage by Eustaquio Santimano via Flickr

Phuket (Thailand), July 22 (IANS) India Wednesday made a strong pitch for a pan-A

sian response to global challenges like financial meltdown and terrorism as it gets ready to sign a free trade area (FTA) agreement in goods at its next summit with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Thailand in October.

“The steady diversification of our relationship with ASEAN countries is, therefore, a natural process and for us, a matter of deep satisfaction,” India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at his meeting with the foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN countries in this Thai island resort.
“We are committed to bringing India and ASEAN even closer to each other through exploring our synergies to realise full potential of our relationship,” he said while giving a fresh momentum to India’s Look East policy.

future ASEAN diplomatsImage by [2]rokbot[2]y via Flickr

Terrorism, collective ways of dealing with the global financial crisis and a pan-regional strategy for disaster mitigation were among the issues discussed at the meeting.
“Finalisation of the text of ASEAN-India Agreement on Trade-in-Goods is a major step forward in this direction,” Krishna said, setting the stage for India’s seventh summit with the ASEAN.
“We are hopeful of signing the FTA in goods at the next summit in Thailand,” N. Ravi, secretary (east) in India’s external affairs ministry, told reporters.

Besides the 10 nations of ASEAN, the 16-nation EAS also comprises India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and South Korea.
Krishna will participate in the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Thursday – Asia’s biggest annual security gathering that will be dominated by terrorism, the North Korean nuclear issue and the global financial crisis.
Foreign ministers from 27 countries, including those of the US, China and Pakistan will participate in the ARF.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Phuket 2009 - 16th Asean Regional Forum

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the official group photograph for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) summit on the resort island of Phuket, in southern Thailand on July 23, 2009 a along with (front row L-R) Foreign Ministers Australian Stephen Smith, Thailand's Kasit Piromya, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Timor Leste Foreign Minister Zacarias Albano de Costa, Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Singapore George Yeo, and (Back row L-R) Laos Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Malaysia Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win, New Zealand's Murray McCulley, Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Philippine Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo, South Korea Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan andew Guinea's Samuel Abal. (Getty Images)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd L), ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (2nd R), East Timor's Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres (L) and Thailand's Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya toast during their lunch at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meeting in Phuket July 23, 2009.
(REUTERS/Thai Foreign Ministry/Handout)
Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and his Thail counterpart Kasit Piromya present an agreement book to ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meeting in Phuket July 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thailand's Elite-card firm wants Cabinet to decide fate

Chairman Thongchai Sridama yesterday said the company would prepare four options for the Chairman Thongchai Sridamaourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to select from on July 29 for presentation to the Cabinet. They are closure; privatisation, with the private sector invited to own half; maintaining present operations; and transferring the company to the TAT.

Thongchai said if the company were shut down, the government would have to pay Bt2.3 billion in compensation to members and staff. The company's board members will likely disagree with this solution, because it could further damage the country's image.

"The government is waiting for the results of a study before determining the future of the company," said Thongchai.

He said the company had already lost Bt1.4 billion and thus needed some sort of a revision.
Acting president Udom Methathongrongsiri said the firm had cash flow of only Bt408 million but debt of Bt1.4 billion. However, the company is cutting 62 per cent of its operating costs.
"The company has had no revenue since the government ordered our operations frozen in February, but we still have huge costs," said Udom.

So far, the company is working with the Foreign Ministry and foreign offices of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to keep members informed about the company's situation.

The company is also joining with King Power International, operator of duty-free shops, to offer promotions encouraging member spending while in Thailand.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What we must do .. Thailand's Monarchy is a legacy of Leadership

Monument to King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) ...Image via Wikipedia

Thailand’s prime minister pauses briefly and swallows hard as he addresses the question few of his compatriots dare contemplate: life without King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch. “I am under no illusion—it will be a very difficult time for all of us,” says Abhisit Vejjajiva, who in December patched together a multiparty coalition government and became troubled Thailand’s fifth prime minister in four years.

American-born King Bhumibol, 81, whom many Thais regard as semi-divine, ascended the lotus throne in 1946, when Harry Truman was in the White House and Josef Stalin ruled the former Soviet Union. He has been the lone stabilizing presence in a land that has been rocked by 15 successful or attempted coups d’état, 16 different constitutions and 27 changes of prime minister during his reign. The stern-faced monarch with few official powers but much influence has at least twice intervened to halt bloodletting.

Thailand’s need for stability has grown more acute with the emergence of a seemingly unbridgeable, color-coded societal chasm between wealthier city dwellers and those that live in the countryside—warring factions that use symbolic hues to literally wear their allegiances on their sleeves.

Bangkok. September 2008Image by adaptorplug via Flickr

On one side: the urban elite, based largely in Bangkok, who have adopted the king’s traditional color of yellow. On the other: the majority rural poor, who pledge equal loyalty to the king yet sport red shirts to show their

PATTAYA, THAILAND - APRIL 11:  Hundreds of red...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

support for billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, the populist prime minister overthrown in a 2006 coup.

Street demonstrations organized by the rival factions led to the occupation of Bangkok’s two main airports in November and triggered the cancellation of an April meeting of Asian leaders—events that brought unwelcome publicity to the Land of Smiles. A more orderly mass protest was staged on June 27 and others are planned in the coming months.

Thai bells at the Golden Mount in Bangkok, Tha...Image via Wikipedia

Amid the chaos, some investors see opportunity in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy behind Indonesia. As of July 7, Thailand’s stock index had surged 30 percent this year compared with a 0.8-decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. During the same period, overseas investors increased their shareholdings by a net $621.4 million after being net sellers of $4.8 billion in stocks last year.

THE Bangkok Skytrain travels past commercial buildings in the central business district of Bangkok, Thailand, in this June 2009 file photo. RICHARD HUMPHRIES/BLOOMBERG NEWS
Publicly traded companies in Thailand are trading at just 11 times estimated 2009 earnings, making them the second-cheapest in Asia after Pakistan. They currently offer a dividend yield that averages 4.7 percent compared with 3 percent for US stocks and as little as 1 percent for Chinese equities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That makes Thailand a buy, says Marc Faber, who manages $300 million in Asian shares at Hong Kong-based Marc Faber Ltd.

Sukhumvit roadImage via Wikipedia

“I can get here relatively recession-resistant businesses that are well run with a dividend yield of 6 percent or 7 percent,” says Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, who has been buying shares in Thai banks and food producers this year. “If you buy good businesses, it would be most unusual if you did not make good money in five or 10 years. And with these dividends, in Thailand you are paid to wait.”
Investors with that kind of time horizon may need to consider what will happen when Thailand has a new sovereign. Already, concerns about the king’s advanced age and uncertainty over the succession have begun to blunt confidence that the royal prerogative will remain powerful.
That could trigger Thailand’s biggest crisis since 1932, when the military and civil servants overthrew the absolute monarchy, says Stephen Vickers, Hong Kong-based chief executive officer of FTI International Risk Ltd., which advises investors in Thailand.

Investor ABImage via Wikipedia

“In Thailand, the king is the God-bolt that holds the rotor blades to the helicopter,” Vickers says. “Investors have lived through many coups and it’s easy to become blasé, but when the king passes away, it will be significantly more serious than before.”
A smooth royal succession would be welcomed throughout Southeast Asia, a market of 575 million people. Fertile, tropical Thailand, with a population of 67 million, is the world’s biggest exporter of rubber and rice, two mainstays of the regional economy.

Even with an abundance of natural resources and a business-friendly environment, Thailand hasn’t been immune from the global recession. Unemployment will nearly double this year to 2.5 percent from 1.3 percent in 2008, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board. That jobless rate is still low by international standards. Global unemployment may reach 7.4 percent, according to a May 28 forecast by the Geneva-based International Labor Organization.

Thailand’s economy shrank 7.1 percent in the first quarter—the worst contraction since the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Exports plunged 26.5 percent and industrial production 10 percent in May—the seventh such monthly declines in both categories. In June, Standard & Poor’s said it may lower Thailand’s BBB+ credit rating. In April, Fitch Ratings lowered its rating for Thai foreign-currency debt for the first time in more than a decade, cutting it to BBB, the second-lowest investment grade.

Prime Minister Abhisit on May 29 introduced a stimulus package worth 1.4 trillion baht ($41 billion) to spur growth. If the program works, Thailand’s economy may shrink by only 3.5 percent this year, the Finance Ministry forecasts.
The king’s influence over the economy is personal. He’s the country’s leading investor. Through the monarchy’s asset manager, the Crown Property Bureau, Bhumibol controls property and shares worth about $33 billion, according to Porphant Ouyyanont, a Thai academic who has studied royal finances.

Monk praying at a temple.Image via Wikipedia

Bhumibol’s investment arm holds controlling stakes in the country’s No. 2 bank by market value, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl, and the largest publicly traded conglomerate, Siam Cement Pcl, and owns shares in hotel companies. The fate of that business empire—along with who controls it—is also tied to the royal succession because the king appoints the CPB director general.
Under the constitution, the king can also choose his own successor. The government has disclosed that the next monarch will be Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, 57, a career soldier. Unlike his popular unmarried sister Princess Sirindhorn, 54, a one-time candidate for the throne who does charitable work, the twice-divorced crown prince has fought off unwelcome publicity about his personal life.
Whatever the rules, the 227-year-old Chakri dynasty, which has provided Thailand’s last nine kings, has been the one constant in a land of frequent political chaos. Bhumibol’s great-grandfather Mongkut was immortalized in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. The filmed version of the work, starring Russian-born actor Yul Brynner, isn’t shown in Thailand for being disrespectful of the monarchy.
The Chakri dynasty has a history of murky successions. The seventh king, Prajadhipok, abdicated in 1935 three years after losing his absolute powers in a coup by military officers and top civil servants. The throne was then passed to a 10-year-old nephew, Ananda—Bhumibol’s older brother—who spent most of his reign at school and university in Switzerland and did not live long enough to have a coronation.
In June 1946, Ananda, then 20, was found dead in bed in the Grand Palace in Bangkok with a bullet in his forehead and a Colt pistol beside his body. Three men convicted of the murder were executed in 1955, although some historians describe the death as an unsolved mystery.
Next in line was Bhumibol, who was born in Boston while his father, Prince Mahidol, was studying medicine at Harvard University. Like his brother, Bhumibol was schooled in Switzerland and returned there after his 1950 coronation and didn’t officially resettle in Bangkok until the following year, by which time Thailand hadn’t had a resident monarch for 16 years.
Bhumibol rebuilt the royal family’s reputation by traveling throughout the countryside setting up model farms and irrigation projects. The king’s popularity also gave him the power to halt military strongmen in their tracks. In 1973, he threw open the gates of his home, Chitrlada Palace, to provide an escape route for students protesting the military dictatorship after troops had opened fire on them.

Children performing traditional musical instru...Image via Wikipedia

In 1992, Thais watched on live television as a military commander who had seized power in a coup and whose soldiers fired on unarmed middle-class protesters prostrated himself before the monarch alongside a rival former general who had led the street protests. After a royal dressing down, the coup leader relinquished power.
Thailand, the only Southeast Asian country not to be colonized by the West, supported the US during the Vietnam War. Bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, the Land of Smiles prospered economically even in the face of frequent political upheavals.
Financial incentives for new business along with a cheap and skilled labor force helped Thailand establish itself as a world-class manufacturer of products ranging from cars to disk drives, according to Michael Dunne, Shanghai-based Asia Pacific managing director at J.D. Power & Associates, a marketing information services company. “It’s Japan’s industrial backyard—the place they’re most comfortable,” he says.
In 1978, Thailand’s economic growth topped 10 percent for the first time. From 1987 to 1993, its average expansion of 10.1 percent outpaced even that of China.
Just as Thailand was in the vanguard of Asian economic growth, it also led the region off a cliff in the late 1990s. “Thailand had gone deeply into debt, had invested in many projects that were clearly inappropriate and had allowed speculative markets in stocks and property to run riot,” according to a 2007 United Nations Development Program report.
In July 1997, Thailand could no longer keep its currency, the baht, pegged at 25 to the US dollar. Within six months, the baht halved in value and half of the loans held by Thai banks defaulted. Hundreds of companies collapsed.
Within weeks, the currency contagion had spread through most of Asia. “Thailand was at the forefront of the East Asian miracle and was then pivotal in bringing things to an end,” says Uwe von Parpart, Hong Kong-based chief Asian economist at Cantor Fitzgerald Capital Markets Ltd. “It has been at the forefront of the good and the bad.”
Thailand, with its golden temples and ancient history, also ranks high as a tourist attraction. Its diversions, ranging from grand hotels near coral reefs to raunchy pole-dancing bars, attracted 14.6 million visitors and $27.4 billion in revenue last year, according to the government. As street violence blunts Thailand’s reputation as a vacation paradise, visitor arr

* (en) Thailand Location * (he) מיקום תאילנדImage via Wikipedia

ivals are expected to fall to 10 million people this year.
The country has expanded its manufacturing capacity, as carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp., Isuzu Motors Ltd., Honda Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. produced 1.4 million vehicles valued at $20 billion in Thailand last year and exported vehicles to 130 countries, according to J.D. Power.
Even amid the prosperity, the gap between rich and poor has continued to grow. While many Bangkok-based investors grew prosperous from the boom years, farmers missed out. Average household income in the capital was 35,000 baht a month in 2007, according to the National Statistic Office. In the northeast, monthly household income was the equivalent of about $340 and some 13 percent of the population lives on less than $1.35 a day—the official poverty line.
That divide has transformed the country’s political life into a color-coded conflict. The Yellow Shirts are largely based in Bangkok, a city of 9 million people whose streets are jammed with traffic as Mercedes-Benz sedans vie for space alongside emission-spewing tuk-tuk motorized rickshaws and the occasional elephant.

UDD Demonstration, Victory Monument, Bangkok. ...Image by adaptorplug via Flickr

Opposing them are the Red Shirts, largely rural poor hailing from the impoverished northeast. They back Thaksin, 59, a billionaire businessman who was ousted three years ago for what the military claimed was corruption. Red Shirt leaders play down the revolutionary significance of their chosen color, with one advocate, Veera Musikapong, telling reporters it simply looked better against dark skin.
In the past four elections from 2001 to 2007, voters have returned pro-Thaksin governments. On the past three occasions, the elected governments have been removed from office by a combination of street protests, military pressure and censure in the courts.
In 1998, Thaksin, a former police officer turned telecommunications tycoon, established his own political party, Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais). Three years later, the party swept to power by winning 248 of 500 parliamentary seats.
The first Thaksin government gave microcredit grants to villages to start businesses and introduced a low-cost health-care program—crucial support in a country where 1.4 percent of the population are HIV positive, according to 2008 UN estimates. At the same time, he sent police squads after drug traffickers. Some 2,500 people died in the enforcement effort, not all of them involved in drugs, an operation condemned by Amnesty International for its brutality.
In 2005, Thaksin was reelected with an even bigger parliamentary tally of 377 seats. That same year, Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul, a former Thaksin supporter, began a campaign of street protests against the prime minister, saying that Thaksin used his office to advance his business interests.

Phra_That_Chae_Haeng,__Province_de_Nan.Image via Wikipedia

In January 2006, Thaksin’s family sold its controlling stake in publicly listed Shin Corp. to Temasek Holdings Pte., an investment arm of the Singapore government, for the equivalent of $2.15 billion, in a deal structured so that the Shinawatras paid no tax. That arrangement inspired Yellow Shirt demonstrations in Bangkok led by television station owner Sondhi. Thaksin dismissed the protest, saying Sondhi’s real motivation was vengeance for being denied a broadcast license.
Thaksin responded by calling a snap general election, which the three main opposition parties boycotted. After Thaksin’s inevitable victory, the king made his most significant intervention in politics since the 1992 bloodbath. He gave a speech in April 2006 calling the election undemocratic because of the absence of serious opposition. Two weeks later, the courts annulled the election, and Thaksin remained as head of a caretaker administration pending a new poll.
Before voting could take place, the military staged its coup on September 19, 2006, while Thaksin was in New York attending a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
In December 2007, the military-backed government held new elections, which a pro-Thaksin party named People Power won. In February 2008, Thaksin returned to Thailand. He fled the country six months later to avoid corruption charges, saying he wouldn’t get a fair trial. In October 2008, he was sentenced to two years in jail in absentia for helping his wife buy government land while he was in office.
People Power’s first prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, 74, was removed from power after nine months by the courts for taking money—the equivalent of just $2,345—to host a television
cooking show. The party then chose Thaksin’s brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat, 61, as prime minister in a parliamentary vote.
In November 2008, rampaging Yellow Shirts, who claimed Thaksin bought the votes of ignorant farmers, invaded and succeeded in shutting down Bangkok’s two main airports, stranding 400,000 travelers for a week and costing the country $8 billion in lost tourism and airline revenues, according to the Bank of Thailand.
A week later, the courts dissolved the government for alleged vote buying in a suit brought at the recommendation of Thailand’s Election Commission after one of the government’s senior politicians was found guilty of committing election fraud. The airport protest then ended.
In July, charges were filed against leaders of the yellow shirt airport protests, which include breach of aviation law and illegal assembly, Thai newspapers reported. Among those facing charges is Thailand’s foreign minister, Kasit Piromya, who reported to police on July 6 to hear the charges, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi confirmed to Bloomberg News. Kasit earlier this year told reporters in Bangkok that he had done nothing wrong. The ministry spokesman said Kasit, who addressed the crowds from a stage at the airport during the protests, would keep his ministerial position.
“Thailand has a bonsai democracy,” says Jaran Ditapichai, a Red Shirt leader. “Whenever it grows up, someone cuts it back.”

Phra That Phanom, Nakhon Phanom ProvinceImage via Wikipedia

In April, the Red Shirts agitated for a new election by gate-crashing a summit meeting of Asian leaders in the Thai coastal resort of Pattaya. The siege forced some of the region’s most powerful figures, including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, to flee by helicopter.
Meanwhile, the exiled Thaksin was broadcasting speeches his opponents interpreted as calls for a republic. In messages played at mass rallies, he used the phrase “patiwat prachochoen,” which roughly translates to “people’s coup.” Nevertheless, Thaksin—whose exact whereabouts are often unknown—has been careful to pledge loyalty to the king.
His words resonate among the 80,000 inhabitants of Bangkok’s Klong Toey shantytown, says Prateep Unsongtham Hata, a 5-foot-tall activist known throughout Thailand as the “angel of the slums.” Born in Klong Toey, as a teenager she organized slum dwellers to fight the bulldozing of their homes and was a leader of the 1992 pro-democracy protest that was fired on by the army before the king intervened.
“In the past, people had no hope,” Prateep, 57, says. “Then, when Thaksin came in, they could see tangible democracy. They could be healthier, have more food and better job opportunities. But now they find democracy has two classes.”
Thailand, which is 95-percent Buddhist, is already beset by another security problem—a secessionist Muslim insurgency in three southern provinces near the Malaysian border that has claimed more than 3,400 lives since 2004. In June, Abhisit said Thailand may allow more local autonomy and consider Shariah law to defuse the insurgency, which has recently targeted teachers, Muslim worshippers and policemen.
By comparison, the toll in the yellow-red confrontation has been small. Last year, at least seven people died and hundreds were injured in street battles, grenade attacks and shootings related to the protests. In April, Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi escaped death when gunmen sprayed his car with more than 50 bullets. Red Shirt leaders claim that at least 10 of their people were killed during protests the same month.
The king has remained above the political fray in recent years and his nonattendance at several key ceremonies has triggered speculation in the international press about his health. On December 5, Bhumibol failed to deliver his customary birthday address to the nation for the first time. The king, now bent with age, appeared on television in June presiding over a Buddhist ceremony marking the anniversary of his brother’s death and was also seen receiving an award in government pictures dated June 24.
The task of maintaining stability is in the hands of 44-year-old Prime Minister Abhisit, a leader whose résumé mirrors that of a UK politician. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to parents who were medical professors, Abhisit attended Eton College, the alma mater of 18 British prime ministers, before earning a degree in politics, philosophy and economics at the University of Oxford.
Returning to Thailand in 1986, he lectured at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy before being elected to Thailand’s parliament in 1992 as a member of the country’s oldest party, the center-right Democrats.
Abhisit joined others in his party pledging to strengthen Thailand’s UK-style parliamentary system. In 1997, when the Democrats formed a coalition and introduced a new constitution that gave more powers to the parliament, Abhisit won a cabinet position advising then Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai.
In 2005, four years after the Democrats lost power to Thaksin’s party, Abhisit became opposition leader. His coalition now controls 280 of 480 seats, though the pro-Thaksin opposition, now known as Puea Thai, is the largest single party.
To calm Thai politics, Abhisit has introduced a program for political reconciliation, which includes an election-free period to avoid poll-induced violence, possible amnesty for banned politicians and the promise of new elections after the constitution is changed.
“The question is: Will the government be able to guarantee both the succession and political stability?” Cantor Fitzgerald’s von Parpart says. “That’s going to be a lot easier under circumstances of economic normality rather than economic crisis.”
Stability would also be welcome news for entrepreneurs such as Bill Heinecke, American-born founder of Minor International Pcl, a hotel and restaurant chain that has attracted investment from the king, who, together with the CPB, owns about 4 percent of shares.
The son of a Voice of America correspondent, Heinecke arrived in Bangkok as a teenager in the 1960s. Today his business runs 27 hotels, including Four Seasons and Marriott properties and the luxury Anantara resort chain.
At the height of the airport demonstrations in December, occupancy at the Bangkok Marriott plunged to 20 percent from 80 percent; it bounced back to 65 percent in the first quarter of this year. Minor’s share price, which soared more than 700 percent between 1998 and 2008, has fallen 1 percent this year, trading at 7.8 baht on July 7.
To shore up overseas-investor confidence, Abhisit made a one-day visit to Hong Kong on May 15 and followed that up with visits to Singapore and Beijing in June.
“Thailand continues to get back to business,” he said at a press conference in Hong Kong. Abhisit said the king is still performing his duties. “I can tell you His Majesty is very well aware of all the issues that are pertinent to the current situation.”
In an interview at his Italianate office in Government House in Bangkok five days later, Abhisit discloses that Bhumibol, who has four children and 11 surviving grandchildren, has already endorsed his only son as the next king.
“The crown prince is the designated heir,” Abhisit says.
A visit to investor Faber’s home 700 kilometers north of Bangkok highlights both Thailand’s allure and its risks for future investors.
Swiss-born Faber first visited Thailand 36 years ago and moved his home there in 2000. Today, he lives in baronial splendor, surrounded by first editions of books such as Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, in a teak house on the banks of the Ping River just outside the 1,000-year-old walled city of Chiang Mai.
As night descends on the ancient city’s golden temples, Faber decides it’s time for a beer and leaps astride a blue 1,150-cc Kawasaki motorcycle, arriving a few minutes later outside a neon-lit strip of tiny bars, where friendly girls from the poverty-stricken northeast become friendlier still for the price of an 80 baht “lady’s drink.”
Even at 8 p.m. on a Saturday, the bar girls far outnumber customers at Bar Linda, Faber’s favored watering hole. “A few months ago, this place would have been packed by now,” he says, gesturing down the row of near-empty bars.
Just up the road, a 10-meter-high illuminated portrait of the monarch gazes benignly upon the city. “Long Live the King,” the sign proclaims. That’s a sentiment investors, as well as Thais, endorse, even as they also quietly accept that the Land of Smiles will one day shed tears over the end of the Bhumibol era.
IN PHOTO -- KING Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and his wife Queen Sirikit greet a select crowd of dignitaries and diplomats on the occasion of the king’s 80th birthday, at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, in this December 2007 file photo. The nation celebrates the king’s birthday with festivities, prayers and wearing yellow—the color that symbolizes devotion to the world’s longest-reigning monarch. THAI ROYAL HOUSEHOLD VIA BLOOMBERG NEWS

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thailand Priminister "Abhisit" stands strong

Abhisit Vejjajiva - World Economic Forum Annua...Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr


Despite renewed political pressure and economic uncertainty, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is still voicing staunch confidence in his "Strong Thailand" stimulus plan, saying the country is not ready for an early election.

thailand ko phi phi 02Image by FriskoDude via Flickr

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Abhisit said the existing national divide would stop a truly democratic election from

BANGKOK, THAILAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Tourists rea...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

taking place because politicians could not visit hostile constituencies. This is why he is reluctant to dissolve the House, he explained.

"I'm willing to hold an election if, at some point, there is a consensus that an election is the only way out," he said. "I won't cling to power or try to stay until the end of my term. All I want to say is I don't want to see an election while some undemocratic political groups continue obstructing real [free and fair] competition. So, I won't hold an election as long as they still block [us] from entering certain areas."

English: Garuda image as National Emblem of Th...Image via Wikipedia

The interview, which marked the government's six months in office, was held against the backdrop of serious political issues coming to a head, namely the Election Commission's attempt to disqualify 13 Democrats, a breakthrough in the investigation into the assassination attempt on Sondhi Limthongkul and growing pressure on Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya to quit.

The investigation into the Sondhi case is already threatening to sour the government's ties with the police and the military, whereas the Kasit issue has further affected Abhisit's relations with both the red and yellow shirts. In addition to the stormy relationship with his uneasy coalition allies, speculation about an early House dissolution has been rife and persistent.

ตึกสันติไมตรีImage by isriya via Flickr

However, yesterday Abhisit showed no signs of giving up any time soon, as he hit back at critics comparing his performance to that of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
"Give me another two or three years, and I assure you, I will deliver more than Thaksin. I have to fix some of his legacies such as the Elite card, the 'We Care' housing project and the damages sustained by the rice market. If Thaksin did indeed solve the poverty problem, why do we still have so many poor people?" Abhisit asked.

The economic challenges are tough, but they are not un-expected, he said, adding that the magnitude of the political divide and related crises had exceeded his expectations.
He confirmed that the economic growth this year would be minus 3 to 5 per cent, but said the economy should bounce back in the fourth quarter. His government's priority is to ensure a 1- to 2-per-cent GDP growth next year.
"The most important thing is to make sure the second phase of the Strong Thailand stimulus plan moves quick and effectively," he said. "It's imperative that we complete the programme, which - if it goes ahead as planned in the next two or three years - is guaranteed to deliver a massive change for the country. This programme seeks to arrest the decline of key foundations that have not been attended to over the past few years."

Government House. Bangkok. 3rd December 2008.Image by adaptorplug via Flickr

He also voiced confidence in the potentially explosive plan of overhauling land taxes and the government's efforts to revamp ways of guarantee-ing crop prices. The government, he added, will also push for state banks to provide more loans to the private sector.
"We are very aware that the credit crunch and issue of interest and exchange rates remain the most frustrating aspects as far as the private sector is concerned," he said.

"We have been in constant contact and discussions with the Bank of Thailand, which we guarantee will remain independent. I think the crux of the interest-rate matter is that if rates drop any further, the question will arise as to whether it is really helping the economy. Moreover, if the banks don't lend, it won't matter how low the rates are," he said.

Abhisit also dismissed rumours about Suthep Thaugsuban's loyalty and denied that his ties with the power broker had soured to the point where the government's stability was being affected.
"We are still the same. We have been working together for a long time and there are no problems between us. Sometimes, we have some different opinions, but that is normal," Abhisit said.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thailand - Bangkok - Charges of Crimes against the Nation

PRESS RELEASE - Thursday July 9, 2009 11:00 am Metropolitan Police Bureau

Thai Royal Convoy at Esplanade Centre, BangkokImage by Ian Fuller via Flickr

Headquarters Bangkok

Krung Thep Maha NakhonImage via Wikipedia

Summary of the Charges Filed & Major Issues of each Case plus Additional Notes

UDD Demonstration at Sanam Luang. Bangkok. 19t...Image by adaptorplug via Flickr

In addition to the charges under article 112 of Thai Criminal Law further charges are to be filed this day against Thaksin Shinawatra, Jakrapob Penkhair, Veera Musikapong, Nattawoot Saikuea, Jatuporn Prompan, Marwaan Macan-Makar, Jonathan Head, other FCCT directors and UDD members that are implicated in crimes against the nation. Criminal Code articles 107, 113, 114, 116, 133, 135/1, 210, 213, 215, 217, 220, 288 and 289 are all used and each of the accused will have at least 2 or more of the aforementioned articles filed against them. Instant action is demanded as the cases expose a co-ordinated gang of conspirators committing acts of treason and concealment that not only threaten the Kingdom of Thailand and her national security but also insult Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain that she reigns (not rules). Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is protected by article 133 of Thai Criminal Law.

To represent the Kingdom of Thailand and her people Ms. Luksna Kornsilpa, 57 years of age; an analyst, management system auditor, industrial sector consultant and hazard analysis specialist having an engineering education with a solid management background shall file the charges against all conspirators identified herein and hereafter.

Presently she is working on her doctoral research in visualization (forming correct and twisted perceptions, understandings and misunderstandings through graphical and textual information).
Ms Luksna has researched, detected, analyzed and documented evidences of numerous acts of treason and treachery using sound academic principles.

Extensive scrutiny of Ms Luksna's meticulous reports clearly reveals and proves without a shadow of a doubt that there is an organized underground movement that aims to destabilize and overthrow Thailand's Monarchical Democracy, it is also highly evident that fugitive convict Thaksin Shinawatra is both the puppet-master and highest benefactor of the now exposed treason plot. Ms Luksna reveals numerous techniques used by the plotters including both audio-lingual and visualization tactics that target those with below average education who make up

Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue. Bangkok. 19th Octobe...Image by adaptorplug via Flickr

the majority of Thailand's population.

Condemning facts highlighted include the fact that Mr Jakrapob Penkair and his cronies conspired with the directors of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in a fashion designated under Thai criminal law as literally being a “Brothel of Criminals” which when defined by judges equates to a “Den of Conspirators”. This event was the first of a long series of propaganda events staged at the FCCT and during the event Mr Jakrapob who according to the FCCT was speaking as Thaksin's spokesman made a proclamation that a violent rebellion would be staged to create chaos and destabilize the nation and change the political system to bring absolute power to his treacherous Thaksinophilia faction.

From the FCCT stage Mr Jakrapob deliberately lied and made fraudulent statements attacking Thailand's highest institution thereby creating a new tool to add fuel to his underground insurgency both nationally and globally.

Mr Jakrapob knew that various stunts had created resentment and misunderstandings regarding the use of Lese Majeste laws and that coupled with the powerful network and corruption of the Thaksin regime there would be little chance that anyone would dare fight back to protect the nation's developing democracy. Mr Jakrapob had his speech disseminated via the FCCT's sale of DVDs and the voice of many directors along with a campaign to remove the Lese Majeste laws which would also mean having to rewrite the constitution.

The DVDs sold by the FCCT each contained the speech and question and answer sessions for ONE event on each DVD. These DVDs were sold to the public (non-members) until the FCCT fell under closer scrutiny and on 12th December 2008 the FCCT announced that their DVDs would no longer be available to the public but only to paid up members.

Of the numerous events and activities of the FCCT board designed to destabilize the Monarchical Democracy, 3 prominent events resulted in Lese Majeste charges being filed against speakers and presenters.

These were:
1. “Democracy and Patronage in Thailand” on the 29th August 2007, the official invitation to the event drafted by the FCCT board stated that the speaker “is out on bail” and “After a particularly turbulent evening of protest in July outside General Prem's house, Jakrapob and seven other UDD leaders were charged by police with illegal assembly of more than 10 people, defying police orders and attacking police, and instigating disturbances.” The invitation ended with “Join us for what promises to be a provocative evening.” Charges were subsequently filed against Mr Jakrapob for the content of his speech which was found to be full of lies, deceit and unwarranted hatred towards the highest institution causing him to resign from his ministerial position. note: Many British nationals were shocked and outraged at how Mr Jakrapob rudely lashed out at Her Highness Queen Elizabeth II from the FCCT stage stating amongst other things that Tony Blair had put her in her place, Mr Jakrapob was questioned by a British national and forced to concede that like the presenter of the event he had very poor knowledge regarding the Great British Monarchical Democracy and that most of what he knew he learned by watching a movie. Mr Jakrapob arrogantly stated that Thaksin only had some loyalty for the monarchy.
2. “Coup, Capital and Crown” on 13th December 2007 at the FCCT also attracted Lese Majeste charges, the official invitation to the event asked questions such as “Why was there rivalry between monarchy and Thaksin?” would be answered. The question itself stunned many as it presumed that there was a rivalry in existence that even Thaksin himself has publicly denied. Any attempt to answer such a presumptuous question could indeed defame both the monarchy and fugitive convict Thaksin Shinawatra. (Ironically the title of this event was very similar to the name of a plot exposed by General Chawalit Yongchaiyut some time before the FCCT events in which Gen. Chawalit stated that an underground movement to discredit and destroy the military, monarchy and economy existed.)

3. “The State of Politics and the Way Forward for Thailand” on 9th December 2008 resulted in Lese Majeste charges being filed against 2 of the speakers Mr Veera Musikapong and Mr Nattawoot Saikuea. Again the speech was full of verbal vitriol that viciously attacked various groups whilst implicating and defaming the monarchy with lies. This speech led to Lese Majeste charges being filed against both Mr Veera and Mr Nattawoot just days before the Red Shirt movement took Bangkok by siege, this was the head on clash that Mr Jakrapob had announced in his speech in 2007. The official invitation to the event from the FCCT board stated “Join us for an insight into the nature of a crisis analysts say is the biggest to face Thailand since World War II.”
After careful examination of DVDs, hundreds of pages of documented evidence including witness statements from journalists and members of the public numerous further charges to be filed on 9th July 2009 include:
Extension of Case filed at Lumpini Police Station on June 30, 2009:
FCCT Board Further Charged with Article #210 “Criminal Conspiracy to destabilize National Security”
On 30th June board members of the FCCT were charged with Lese Majeste which means a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail. If a crime committed warrants a maximum sentence of more than 10 years and if the crime involves 5 or more conspirators then article 210 can be applied. This means that the FCCT has acted as a “Den of Conspirators” or more literally as a “Brothel of Treacherous Criminals”. One article in this group of laws has in the past been used against Chinese Triad organizations that threatened the nation and now similar articles in this case apply to the FCCT, this means that directors involved in acts that destabilize national security are by legal definition Criminals; not Correspondents.
Case 1 of July 9, 2009:
Police and Attorney General Charged with Treason and Information Concealment
Government officers in both the Police Department and the Attorney General Office have been found to be delaying prominent cases affecting national security and concealing information of a nature that is forbidden to hide by laws designed to ensure transparency and protect the nation. Charges of malfeasance have already been filed against some officers and on July 9 more serious charges are to be filed against officers whose malfeasance poses a threat to the stability of the nation and her internal security. The Chief of the Royal Thai Police, the commanders of certain divisions of the Royal Thai Police and the Chief Attorney are to be officially charged. Some of these officials will also have charges of treason and conspiracy filed against them.
Case 2 of July 9, 2009:
Thaksin, Treason Leaders/Supporters and FCCT Board Charged with Committing National Security and Royal Safety Crimes
On 9th July other laws that protect National Internal Security and the safety of the Monarch are to be filed against Thaksin Shinawatra, Leaders of the UDD and the FCCT board. These laws empower special teams of officers; allow for rapid issuance of arrest warrants and the penalty is execution. Government officials delaying such cases would find cases filed against themselves for malfeasance.
Additional notes:
The above mentioned cases will be processed fairly. Due to their sensitive nature, importance to national stability and the irresponsible behavior of some media outlets that seek to distort and deceive, only reliable fully accredited media without criminal charges filed against them will be provided with case details providing that the details do not violate laws of the land which are to be respected by all those on Thai soil be they Thai nationals or foreigners.
Although due to the dissemination efforts of the FCCT board the content is widely known the exact details will not be printed in this press release as repeating a slight could be perceived as Lese Majeste by those who do not understand that actually Lese Majeste cases must have negative intentions before they are taken seriously and of course those Thai nationals who are not interested in filing any case would still feel saddened and hurt to learn how evil and unethical the board of the FCCT had been. The goal is to restore peace and unity to Thailand and although some things are best forgotten it is difficult to forget when these subversive activities continue to flourish, it is hoped that these unprecedented cases will teach the guilty parties a serious lesson in journalistic ethics and help Thailand and her people start afresh in a society where people are not separated by the color of a T-shirt.
Mr Jakrapob resigned when he was exposed and indeed all those in positions of responsibility who have likewise been exposed should resign to prevent adding insult to injury.
Ms Luksna states, “Some media have distorted the facts recently, this is not an issue of freedom of speech. I fully support freedom of speech but do not support the dissemination of lies and propaganda in an underground movement to destabilize Thailand's economy and internal security. Foreign correspondents clubs and media alike are advised to examine the facts carefully before making biased statements, intelligent nations like China and Japan should be able to differentiate between news and lies. Lese Majeste cases should not be filed against anyone unless there is clearly malicious intent that can be proven, people cannot just file Lese Majeste cases against others when there is absence of motive as that would result in either the case not being processed or the accused receiving a Royal pardon after a short spell inside, the accuser could also be sued heavily if sufficient evidence is not provided to show serious malicious intent. Many media sources lack legal knowledge and are guilty of reporting that anyone can file a case against anyone; this is simply not true. His Majesty has stated himself that he is human and as such can do wrong. This does not however mean that people are free to make unwarranted accusations and lies regarding His Majesty as such behavior would anger his subjects and cases would certainly be filed, especially if the Lese Majeste statements were being used as a tool for subversive threats to internal security."

It is interesting to note that numerous blogs that appear on the Internet attempting to protect the FCCT from their crimes are written by anonymous bloggistas and clandestine journalists.
It is also noteworthy that Thai law protects EVERYBODY from defamation not only the Thai monarchy with article 112; article 133 protects all royal families all over the world and articles 326 and 328 protect all those on Thai soil both Thais and foreigners. Anyone filing false charges could find themselves with heavy counter charges filed against them so these laws are usually only used when there is solid evidence.

Ms Luksna's cases filed today are done so in good faith using internationally accepted research and analysis tools that enable the harvesting of concrete evidence to support all facts stated and accusations made. She is well known in data analysis circles and renowned for her attention to fine detail and high integrity. She is a certified translator of both German and English.
It is also noteworthy that Thai law protects EVERYBODY from defamation not only the Thai monarchy with article 112; article 133 protects all royal families all over the world and articles 326 and 328 protect all those on Thai soil both Thais and foreigners.

To avoid misunderstandings by foreign media it should also be noted that the term “Brothel of Criminals” is a literal translation of the legal term used for the crimes committed by a “den of conspirators”. A brothel is a place where numerous prostitutes gather to ply their trade and according to dictionaries the definition of a “prostitute” is usually given as:
1. One who solicits and accepts payment for sex acts.
2. One who sells one's abilities, talent, or name for an unworthy purpose.
tr.v., -tut•ed, -tut•ing, -tutes.
1. To offer (oneself or another) for sexual hire.
2. To sell (oneself or one's talent, for example) for an unworthy purpose. use: to prostitute one's talents.
The “brothel of criminals” in this case refers to the second definition of prostitute.
The laws used in all these cases are all related to conspiracy to ruin the political system and the penalties are severe, those found guilty of violating article 107 will be subject to the death penalty.
"Freedom of Deceit" versus "Freedom of Speech"
Ms Luksna wrote an interesting piece on the FCCT case on June 30, 2009 entitled "Freedom of Deceit" versus "Freedom of Speech"

As an information specialist and management system consultant conducting doctoral research, she detects the abuse of "Freedom of Speech" as a means for "Freedom of Deceit" realization.
In the world of uncontrolled information overflow, LIES with dishonest purposes are passed efficiently over the mass media channels. Some have the target to erode national security.
In Thailand, the effort to change country's foundation was announced purposely by treason leaders at the FCCT. And a means to that change is through LIES. As traitors themselves lack the necessary ethics and qualifications to be capable national leaders, they need to soil the existing foundation with LIES.

Among LIES to soil country foundation, Lese Majeste is the most frequently used. Agent Provocateurs foolishly believe that if charges are filed against them that they will make threats to continue telling the world that such law can be easily abused which is far from true, they will also try to use language like “draconian laws” to discredit even the laws of the land that they live in.
Sadly and surprisingly, the FCCT board got involved in the divisive LIES content fabrication and distribution!

As judicial process might not have full and proper access to the cases filed against traitors, as they have often been screened out by upstream authorities; the cases filed against FCCT will finally bring back all rejected cases directly to the judiciary for prompt processing so that Thailand can return to stability and social unity.

When the case is analyzed in court, mass media around the world would realize how "Freedom of Deceit" is discriminated from "Freedom of Speech".
Mass media cry for rights without duties and responsibilities. This will be their first lesson that, in order to possess rights, ones need to show adequate duties and responsibilities.

This is just a part of the many duties of this astute information specialist, in her effort to make world's information highways cleaner.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thailand Golfers will never believe this golf Course in West Australia

Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of ...Image via Wikipedia

Giant golf course to open in the West Australian outback

Covering roughly the same distance as Land's End to John O'Groats, it is a golf course that requires a driver, that is a Bus Driver!!!! at every single hole.

Australia, Kalgoorlie: A big wholeImage by kool_skatkat via Flickr

Ore truck, KalgoorlieImage by Tony Spencer via Flickr

The holes are so far apart that players will have to be bused from one to the next and are likely to encounters some native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, bush turkeys, emus, snakes and, of course, flies, on their way.

Alf Caputo, who has managed the construction project, said the idea was to attract tourists and golfers who want to experience "the real Australia".

"Australia's Nullarbor Links" is the largest course in the world, crossing two time zones and encompassing some of the flattest, driest terrain on the planet.

It spans two states, stretching 848 miles from Ceduna in the south to the old gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

A golf ball directly before the holeImage via Wikipedia

"There's some absolutely amazing scenery out there and before Nullarbor Links there was no magnet to bring people out there to have a look at these beautiful things," he said.

As well as its size, the course boasts some rather unique sights.
"One of the holes is right smack bang in the middle of a sheep station," Mr Caputo said. "You can actually see the sheep, you can see the shearing shed, you can imagine international tourists will have never seen anything like it in their lives.

Exchange Hotel, KalgoorlieImage by Michael Gorey via Flickr

"There's also a wheat farming area – people would have never seen anything like it."
Construction on the course, which has taken five years, will finish next month and its first tournament will be held in October.

The seventh hole features an unusual water hazard

Some 250,000 tourists travel the Eyre Highway each year, and it is hoped the venture will draw more than 26,000 visitors from England, Japan and China annually to bolster the region's tourism market and its economy.

Western Australian cities, towns, settlements ...Image via Wikipedia

The course, which was part-funded by the Australian government, is expected to take between three days to one week to complete, with players staying in roadside motels en route. Driving time between the holes varies from 45 minutes to two and a half hours.

Mr Caputo said he believed the launch of the links would not be affected by the global downturn in travel. "This is a course that backpackers can do, you can stay in caravan parks and drive yourself around," he said.

"It is also so unique, and that's the difference, you can go to the Sydney Opera House 30 times and nothing changes, but there is nothing else like this in the world.

"It's not just a game of golf, it's a true Australian experience."

To find out more about West Australia visit our "Thai Travel WA" website and select the page on Tourism....

or better get your travel agent to organise a trip to Kal....

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]