Connect with us

The week that was in Thailand news: The calamity that is so long a life in Thailand

Bangkok

The week that was in Thailand news: The calamity that is so long a life in Thailand

To splash or not to splash, that is the question.
Whether ’tis knobblier in the mind to nip to Tops,
And suffer the ice and powder of baiting adults,
Masquerading as children, or to raise arms against
A sea of high power hoses intent on bringing me,
Off my Honda. And by opposing them,
Be  deemed culturally insensitive. Or stay home and
Sleep, or even die ‘ere watching endless reruns of Fawlty
Thus avoiding Thailand’s Midsummer Mayhem.
And by a sleep to say we end (at least for now)
The thousand natural shocks that those who enjoyed the
Fleshpots of Thailand are heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d……perchance to dream of those
Years gone by when we feigned a love of Songkran,
To please the girlfriend. But now as we hurtle towards
Shuffling off that mortal coil we don’t give a Yorick’s.
But pause, and stay behind the safety of our
Keyboards – giving self-respect to that calamity
That is so Long a Life in Thailand.

 

So speaketh the self-styled Bard of Ratchayothin, though to be fair some would rather seem him “barred”.

 

Whether or not to venture out into the streets this year was rather taken out of Rooster’s hands. Mrs Rooster and the chicks had flown the coop and were out of town. And the grown up children visiting from Yonder Albion are past that flush of youth when throwing water was once deemed ‘sanuk’. They expressed the need for some simple home time with mum and dad in Thailand….. to get away from the trials and tribulations of Brexit if nothing else.

 

Many years over several decades in Thailand, after the thrill of wetting farang bar owners in Soi Cowboy wore off, I would consciously hide come mid-April no matter where and with whom I was living. Now I hardly go out anyway. I spend so much of my life hiding in a sweltering box behind a keyboard peering at a screen that I’m beginning to feel like one of those forum curmudgeons and Thai bashers I so despise!

 

Som nam na (serves you right) I can hear you – and them – say!

 

As Songkran loomed on the horizon like my old neighbor’s smalls on the balcony washing line, I contacted my editor to volunteer for extra work. If I am to stay in why not continue to monitor the madness that is the Thai news, I reasoned.

 

Despite the offer of a New Year break, why not soldier on and offer my services in translating news of the inevitable road carnage on an hourly basis, rather than just in round-up when the final death toll is revealed. Call it dedication….or an excuse to have a few days off AFTER Songkran when it will be much nicer to be out and I might actually remain alive after a short ride with the family.

 

I’ll be going to Cha-Am not Pattaya. I made that mistake one year. Patting myself on the back for having avoided Bangkok splashings for yet another year I had headed the sports car south east, blissfully forgetful that they soak each other there until about May. The once beautiful car, now covered in sludge, oily perfumes and staining St Luke powder, limped into Pattaya apologetically eight hours after leaving Bangkok following the Khun Mae of all Sukhumvit traffic jams. One less than happy camper was growling behind the wheel.

 

Welcome once more to QUOTES – the Queen Of The Eastern Seaboard.

 

Consequently I have been glued to the Thai news these last few days and, if I’m honest, the last few weeks. This week we were treated on the forum to the biggest Thai soap opera of this or any other recent year – the transfer of Big Joke and his mysterious appointment as a special adviser to uncle Big Pom’s chief Big Too. Bigs were everywhere.

 

To say that speculation was rife would have been the understatement of the decade. Big Joke’s rise has been meteoric and all his poster boy antics and press conferences have been followed by both Thai and very much now the foreign, English speaking social media. Thaivisa has been a big factor in that with yours truly guilty as charged..

 

By continually referring to the moniker of Big Joke the life of Maj-Gen then Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn began to be a feature of Thais’ AND foreigners’ lives alike. The nickname helped of course, but so did the stories that propelled BJ to the forefront; all those naughty Romance Scammers, mostly black with their Thai female accomplices, Chinese miscreants running call centers, over stayers etc. etc…..

 

The self-righteous foreigners who proudly proclaimed that they “played by the rules” enjoyed the torment of the Nigerians and their equally vilified white overstaying crims. All hail Big Joke!Big Joke for PM! was all you could hear for a moment or two in time. All hail the end of police corruption was also heard though scarcely given credence!

 

Until BJ made the seminal mistake, as least as far as the expat community was concerned, and took up the reins of immigration. And – if his detractors are to be believed – somehow connived with the embassies to make the lives of retirees hell. Suddenly Big Joke was just that. Almost overnight he became a trumped up, attention seeking ne’er do well who despised all foreigners and deserved to be hated and hounded to oblivion.

 

How fickle are people when they feel that their own circumstances are threatened.

 

Nobody in their right mind would think that his transfer has anything to do with the views of the expat community or its large band of retirees. They may have been poorly treated but in the bigger picture they are but a grain of sand in that vast cosmos that is the Thais, their complex relationships and their all pervasive corruption, patronage and influence peddling.

 

Where the truth lies in the Big Joke saga, frankly, I don’t care to speculate here. If Christopher Hitchens were still with us I’m sure he’d know but unfortunately he’s not.

 

But I found it amusing that everyone and his pit bull had a cast iron view on the forum. With wink-wink posts some referred to a well known Edinburgh uni lecturer and his online views. These posters quickly suspend disbelief as they rush headlong to believe what they want to believe and thus appear knowledgeable in the eyes of those they deem ill-informed. He may have written a book, he may have knowledge, he may love Thailand – but he has an almighty axe to grind.

 

As perhaps we all do.

 

Others went many steps further into madness with their “insider” knowledge. They asked us to believe their opinions because their wife said so. Or because they have mates in Songkhla (BJ’s hometown). Or because the Thai girl on the next bar stool translated the caption on the TV into bitty English. Or because they had a VPN. Or because they have insight like the forum guys who mysteriously know the exact penis size of every Thai male. Or because…..

 

Everyone had an opinion and only a few – mostly those who have been in Thailand the longest incidentally – said they didn’t know and probably never would even if an explanation was forthcoming!

 

For there, to go back to the bard, is the rub. Whatever we are told – especially in a country like Thailand where the truth is a commodity strictly guarded by those in power – we should smile like the Thais, nod and say yes of course, that must be it…….and reject it out of hand! For this and a thousand far more important mysteries dating back to the earliest palace intrigues of the era of the constitutional monarchy and beyond will forever remain just that….mysterious and unsolved lost in the passage of time and its concomitant deceit.

 

Aware that I have rambled more than enough and that you may wish to go out and get revenge on the noisy neighbors and their yapping dog by giving them a good Songkran dousing here are a few Rooster awards.

 

The “Please Don’t Come To Tea Even If We Invite You By Mistake” award goes to “Ai Korn” in Koh Si Chang who raped and murdered a 26 year old German lady out peacefully riding a bike on a sunny day in the Land of Smiles. I’m not in favor of the death penalty but I do hope this miscreant never again sees the light of day that he so cruelly denied to his young and entirely innocent victim.

 

The “Understandable Canine Modesty” award I give to the editorial team over at Sanook for their work on an online story about a man falling on hard times having to find homes for his pit bulls. The daddy of the pups was pictured with his dog-hood thankfully obscured. The childish British translator in me is still chuckling days after I penned the phrase “pixelated penis”. I make no excuse for ALWAYS finding a fart funny especially when it is done by a prim and proper woman during tea and buttered scones with a man of the cloth.

 

The “Go Back to Kindergarten Drawing Award” goes to the taxi driver in Bangkok who crudely changed the number on his cab with what looked like a dab or two of yellow paint and some magic marker. Apparently jail awaits such wrongdoers which made Rooster – normally an upright if not actually Thai citizen – believe I dodged a bullet in the past.

 

I bought a new and very swanky 900cc Kawasaki chopper and tried to get a personalized number plate – 1882, the founding year of my beloved Spurs. The best I could do for free was 882 so I cut out a strip of black plastic to complete the cherished job. On my first car when I was a relatively new father in Thailand it had the Thai letters that spell out the word “phor” meaning enough. A little plastic tape mark above the letters transformed the word into “phor” with a falling tone.

 

Now it meant father and this was DADDY’S CAR!

 

Fortunately I never got arrested for either offence. I sold the Kawa and Mrs Rooster 1 now drives the car….with the “may ek” tone mark still in place!

 

Finally the “Don’t Be So Boring” award I give to my editors who rejected my suggested headline for a story about the dire state of Songkram tourism in Pattaya. They opted for “Hotel bookings down as tourists stay away” pouring cold water, appropriately enough for this of all weeks, on my infinitely superior suggestion:

 

“Pattaya in doo-doo, it’s as dead as a dodo”.

 

Yes, I’ll never grow up and I might even change tack and go out and do some splashing!

 

Merry Songkran everybody and a Happy New Year.

 

Rooster

Continue Reading

More in Bangkok

Join our newsletter

Events

june, 2019

06feb(feb 6)00:0031dec(dec 31)23:59New Flavours at Trader Vic’s at Anantara Riverside Bangkok ResortChef Manuel Gastelum launches Trader Vic’s new menu for a new year, with an exotic medley of Pacific Rim flavours.

03mar(mar 3)11:3029dec(dec 29)15:30Every Sunday Penthouse Brunch at Park Hyatt BangkokMake Penthouse Brunch the highlight of your Sunday and immerse in a one-of-a-kind brunch experience above the city.

15mar(mar 15)00:0030jun(jun 30)23:59Friday Night is Thai Night at Trader Vic’s Anantara Riverside Bangkok ResortUnwind after work overlooking the river and start your weekend in style. Trader Vic’s tropical hideaway is transformed by the spices of Thailand each Friday evening from 5 pm. Available from 15 March – 30 June 2019.

17mar(mar 17)12:0029dec(dec 29)15:00Sunday Brunch at NEXT2 Café, Shangri-La Hotel, BangkokSunday Brunch at NEXT2 Café is packed with wonderful flavors awaiting your indulgence. Enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.

20mar(mar 20)14:2030jun(jun 30)14:20Weekday Lunches at Benihana Anantara Riverside Bangkok ResortAnantara Riverside Bangkok Resort brings the world-famous flair of Benihana to the riverside. And with an express set lunch now on offer, experience all the theatrics during a business meet-up or quick weekday gathering with friends. Available form now until 30th June 2019.

31mar(mar 31)12:3029dec(dec 29)16:00Glamorous Black & White Sunday Brunch at Siam Kempinski Hotel BangkokCome celebrate a leisurely afternoon indulging in gourmet delights, caviar tasting, Blanc de Blancs champagne and smooth jazz at Brasserie Europa one of Bangkok’s best brunch places.

05apr(apr 5)18:0030jun(jun 30)22:30Prime Time @ Rossini’s, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, A Luxury Collection Hotel, BangkokEnjoy premium quality dry aged Australian beef with wines from Wine Spectator awarded primoVino by Rossini’s.

14apr(apr 14)12:0005jan(jan 5)15:30Gourmet Sunday Brunch with Unlimited Lobster at The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, BangkokA special seafood selection sumptuous spring vegetable salads, splendid carvery, plus grills, foie gras and more live stations, enhance the array.

18apr(apr 18)18:3026dec(dec 26)22:30Along the Silk Road Night at Shangri-La Hotel, BangkokTake the venture along the Silk Road on every Thursday night at Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok’s NEXT2 Café.

26apr(apr 26)10:0031jul(jul 31)22:00From Monet to Kandinsky at River City BangkokRiver City Bangkok is proud to bring the works of Europe’s most recognized modernist painters to Bangkok, the first time in Asia.

01may00:0030jun(jun 30)23:59Surf or Turf? at amBar Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok

18may(may 18)12:3029jun(jun 29)15:00New Saturday Brunch Special at ScaliniNew Scalini Saturday Brunch features Mediterranean dishes such as Galician kraken, butterfly Boston lobster, and fresh sea urchins.

30may(may 30)06:1114jul(jul 14)06:11East meets West with Cricket Fever at The Drunken Leprechaun Four Points by Sheraton BangkokCome join us at The Drunken Leprechaun, the famous sport bar and best Irish Pub in town and try our “East meets West” promotion everyday from 10 AM – Midnight.

30may(may 30)07:0514jul(jul 14)23:05The ICC Cricket World Cup LIVE at Scruffy’sONE MORE DAYS! The ICC Cricket World Cup gets underway LIVE at Scruffy’s.

30may(may 30)07:1314jul(jul 14)23:13ICC Cricket World Cup Live at The Aussie PubThe 2019 Cricket World Cup gets underway 30 May with England vs. South Africa. EVERY TEST will be shown LIVE at The Aussie from Wednesday 30 may through the 14 July Final.

07jun00:0007jul23:59The Women’s World Cup LIVE at The Kiwi PubLooking for a place for Women’s World Cup LIVE ? The Kiwi Pub is pleased to welcome you all with our great food and good promotion.

07jun14:5607jul23:56The Women’s World Cup LIVE at The Aussie PubLooking for a place for Women’s World Cup LIVE ? The Aussie pub is pleased to welcome you all with our great food and cold drinks.

13jun(jun 13)18:0027(jun 27)22:30Sea to Shore at Orchid Café for Weekday Buffet DinnerMonday to Thursday at Orchid Café, tuck into a bountiful catch of local seafood.

20jun(jun 20)11:2530dec(dec 30)23:59Green Tea Detox at Anantara Spa Anantara Riverside Bangkok ResortAt Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort’s award-winning spa, we draw on the powers of nature to rejuvenate. Green tea is known for its soothing properties for both body and mind. Polyphenols reduce inflammation, caffeine stimulates circulation, and antioxidants slow down the natural ageing process.

22jun01julEuropean Games in Minsk Live at Scruffy Murphy’sTen of the 15 sports in the 2019 European Games in Minsk are Olympic qualifiers. Catch the down-to-the-wire competitions on the big screens at Scruffy’s through 1 July.

26jun(jun 26)10:0030(jun 30)21:00FAST Auto Show Thailand 2019 at Bitec BangnaExhibition and sale of new and used cars from leading automobile companies under the concept FAST: making it fast for buyers to make a decision.

27jun05:4623:46The Kiwi Sports Pub & Grill 1st Birthday PartyHaving set itself apart from the copycat English and Irish pubs in Bangkok, The Kiwi Sports Pub & Grill will celebrate the first anniversary of its “new” location off Sukhumvit Soi 8 with a musical barbecue party June 27.

28jun(jun 28)08:0029(jun 29)17:009th Social Business Day at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorldSocial Business Day is an annual event organized by the Yunus Centre to celebrate the groundbreaking idea of social business and highlight new developments.

29jun10:3016:00PNN Capital – UK Property Investment Seminar 2019 at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, A Luxury Collection Hotel, BangkokPNN Capital is delighted to invite you to attend our free seminar UK Property Investment on Saturday 29th June 2019.

29jun19:0022:00CHAR Celebrates 3 Years in Bangkok with Rooftop PartyRaise a glass with us and commemorate CHAR’s third anniversary!

29jun(jun 29)21:0030(jun 30)02:00Hey Big Spender at LevelsWe’re back again with another edition of our Hey Big Spender Party Expect a night of glitz, glam and a ton of fun.

29jun(jun 29)21:0030(jun 30)00:00Oriental Sub Sessions #005 (Footwork Special) at JamWe are back and this time with a lil twist! We are bringing some sweet sweet footwork to Bangkok and who better to showcase the genre than our good friends Jay A.D and Oomboi Lauw.

Trending

Sponsor

To Top
X