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Showing posts from July, 2010

Fines for feeding elephants in Bangkok

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In a move aimed at discouraging elephant handlers from bringing their animals into Bangkok, authorities in the Thai capital have recently introduced a new law stating that foreign tourists caught feeding elephants will be fined 10,000 baht (approximately £200).

That’s a pretty hefty fine for giving a poor, starving pachyderm a 25 baht bunch of bananas or a corn on the cob!!! This practice has been going decades, despite the fact that the elephant owners or mahouts are already banned from bringing their creatures into the city and are supposed to face substantial financial penalties if they are caught. However, the owners often bride local police to allow them to work in the red light districts and other tourist hot-spots and when money is changing hands, existing rules and regulations are rarely enforced. Whilst I believe that elephants shouldn’t be roaming the streets of a busy, polluted city and I commend the authorities for trying to take positive action, criminalising tourists is n…

Wet Thai Pussy

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If you have ever been to Thailand, there is a fair chance that you will have seen a wet pussy or two, particularly if you enjoy the night-spots of Nana Plaza or Walking Street in Pattaya!!!

But, if you think that I’m going to tell you a raunchy story featuring naked pole-dancers, a jacuzzi and a jar of nutella, then not only are you a pervert but you’ll also be very disappointed!!!

This story actually features real felines and how they are used in a traditional ceremony to encourage the monsoon rains.

Many of you will know that parts of Thailand are experiencing some of the worst droughts in decades and worried villagers in the Northern town of Phichit have turned to ancient rituals and superstitions in an attempt to appease the rain gods.

As we know, rural folk in Thailand can be a pretty strange bunch, probably something to do with working in the glaring sun for 12 hours a day or drinking too much rice whiskey. But, whoever it was that came up with the idea of a “cat-calling” procession…

Brutal and Beautiful: The two faces of Burma

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Thailand is hardly a bastion of democracy, freedom, truth and good governance....but, if things are that bad, then why do boat loads of Burmese immigrants regularly turn up on the Thai coast or flee to jungle refugee camps in the border regions?

What is so dreadful, that it forces Burmese citizens to risk life and limb to reach Thailand? When most of them are well aware of the historic animosity between the two nations and knowing that they will receive a less than coridal welcome and leave themselves open to exploitation.

The reason is very clear and his name is General Than Shwe, head of the Burmese military Junta.

Don't be fooled by that smile, because underneath lurks a nasty, brutal and treacherous despot, who, for nearly 20 years, has run a regime synonymous with violence, murder and political oppression.

I am not normally one for politcally-motivated rants or explicit demonstrations of support for particular regimes or individuals, as I think most people involved in politics ar…

Thailand waives tourist visa fees

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If you are planning an extended stay in Thailand and you haven’t already organised your visa, then I have some good news for you.

Thai embassies and consulates are waiving the fees for all tourist visas issued between 11th May 2010 and 31st March 2011, which in the UK is £28 per entry.I recently applied for a 3 entry tourist visa and saved myself £84 in the process. I can assure you that money will be put to very good use when I arrive in the LOS……it will buy me well over 100 bottles of beer Leo or a nice handbag for my better-half!!!I had heard mixed reviews about the quality of visa services at the main Thai Embassy in London, so I decided to try the Royal Thai Consulate in Hull instead. They accept applications by post and in person, but if you want to apply in person you must make an appointment with them first.I made an initial enquiry, via email, which was answered within 7 hours (I think this is incredibly good when compared to some other organisations!!!) and when I submitted m…

Book Review: Good Medicine for Thailand Fever

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Given that my last book review was so well received by my readers, I thought I would have another crack at this type of post.

The book that I have chosen to comment upon is entitled "Good Medicine for Thailand Fever".

When I first picked up this book with it's unusual title and garish yellow cover, I must admit that I was intrigued and as soon as I'd read the first few pages, I was hooked.A lot of books which deal wth the topic of Thai-Western relationships, are written by Westerners, for Westerners and tend to be full of hubris and pathos, focusing on how gullible farangs lose their hearts and life savings to devious bar girls. "Good Medicine for Thailand Fever" is a refreshing change from this staid format and far from being a skewed, one-dimensional and one-sided portrait of Thai-Western relationships, the book is bilingual guide, dealing with all aspects of cross-cultural relationships and offering advice and help to both parties. Written by an Amercian m…