Connect with us

Inspire Bangkok e-Magazine Events

The week that was in Thailand news: Euphoria gives way to reality


The week that was in Thailand news: Euphoria gives way to reality

The understandable outpouring of joy experienced not just in Thailand but throughout the whole world on Monday night gave way to the grim reality that the Mu Pa team and their assistant coach are not out of the woods, let alone out of the cave.


Once again this column – written ahead of Sunday – will unashamedly focus on what has become one the biggest stories to come out of the kingdom since the Erawan and Hua Hin bombings. And in many ways, such has been the human interest behind the events in Chiang Rai it makes those tragic events pale into insignificance from a newsworthy standpoint.


Even multiple boat tragedies in Phuket resulting in the death of perhaps four dozen tourists barely succeeded in shifting the continuing cave drama from the headlines. Such perhaps is the nature of modern day news when drama and suspense takes precedence with online and TV viewers voraciously gobbling up every last snippet of human interest that the newshounds can muster.


Monday saw the discovery of the 12 boys and their assistant coach. Many were surprised – those posters who had spread doom and gloom conspicuous by their absence from the forum though some shamelessly hung to their bashing straws only to be shouted down by the sane.


It was a heartwarming and touching scene caught on video as the English rescuers were first to the group. Rooster along with many other shed some tears. The boys seemed in remarkable shape as they attempted to communicate in English with the divers. Then came the reckoning that the rescue had only just begun.


And this was rammed home in tragic fashion by Friday when one of the gallant Thai Navy Seals died while making his way back through the murky tunnels after having been in contact with the boys.


Petty Officer 3rd Class Samarn Kunan, 38, will be remembered by millions and it is hoped that his family is helped by the government. A sacrifice such as his puts everything into perspective.


Whether the group can be taught to swim and scuba dive and whether this will be deemed worth the risk as a means of getting them out remains to be seen. All the while the threat of further rains rises amid reports on an almost hourly basis that a rescue could be imminent.


The future of key spokesman Narongsak appears uncertain. It looked like he had been enjoying too much of the limelight; one of the crimes in Thailand that rarely goes unpunished. For all the heroism this is being shown no one could deny that this has been a very Thai rescue if there is such a thing.


Meanwhile the media circus continued. Grateful of the foreign assistance tourism and sports minister Weerasak Kowsurat made a big fuss of one of the English divers seeing him off with gifts at the airport as Thai Airways flew the rescuer back to Blighty hopefully for free.


One dreads to think what will happen to that circus if and when the boys make it out. Dr Wimonrat Wanpen, director of an adolescent health institute said it best when she noted: “These kids have undergone a difficult experience, so there’s no need to do any more teaching or preaching to them”.


Well said but with the Thai penchant for blaming and finding a scapegoat I fear for the assistant coach and even the boys themselves when they see the light of day. Thailand should give them space and reflect on how such problems might be avoided in the future rather than going down the blame route.


Khun Weerasak has been very quiet since he took over the tourism portfolio from the hapless Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavarankul. One of the latter’s most famous pronouncements was that she intended to make boat accidents a thing of the past with a swathe of safety measures.


The events in Phuket showed that nothing has changed. Operators of tourism vessels are clearly still setting off to sea when they shouldn’t and as usual it is all about money and not the safety of the visitors.Several boats seem to have been involved.


In this case blame is due.


Weerasak should resign immediately. If the best part of fifty tourists are going to die on his watch it is time for someone else to take over who might have the clout to make a difference. Harvard educated Weerasak talks a good game but looks weedy and unable to make any officials do their job by insisting on a modicum of safety.


Of course, the same could be said of virtually anyone in charge including the pocket general who jumps up and down but is largely ignored.


How pathetic these so-called leaders look when compared to Petty Officer Samarn.


One wonders if the generals were shifting about nervously in their khaki undies this week as down in Malaysia former untouchable leader Najib Razak faces 20 years for corruption. It is barely months since Razak issued draconian decrees designed to stifle the public and the press in the multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal.


It all looks eerily familiar to Thailand. While there is no suggestion from me that backhanders have been taken, the country has nonetheless started some of the biggest infrastructure projects in its history. At the very least I imagine there have been some shenanigans for which there may be a reckoning if the ballot box ever successfully removes some of the power of the generals to influence the courts.


An interesting story that caught Rooster’s beady eye this week were claims made by Manager that immigration and the Airports Authority of Thailand are more than happy with the long and lengthy queues at Suvarnabhumi. This is so that unscrupulous officials – by which they mean virtually anyone with a badge – can sell priority lane passes to tourists willing to pay 1,000 baht to get in or out of Thailand quickly.


We were told that the scam is worth hundred of millions of baht a year. It would be nice if “Big Joke” Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal investigated this one.


Naturally, he wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. For all the bluster and PR photos mustered by the deputy commissioner of the Thai Tourist Police Bureau he has never gone anywhere near corruption.


As my mother used to say, he knows which side his bread is buttered.


Buttering bread is a skill necessarily developed by Mrs Rooster over the years. This week was a confusing one for Her Loei-ness as she saw a side of Rooster not normally prevalent.


Readers of this column will know that Rooster is not averse to a healthy smattering of Blighty-bashing. With some of the antics of my countrymen and women in Thailand over the years it would take the patience of a saint to resist.


But this week the missus had to put up with my chest pumping out “USA! USA!- style” with the actions of the modest self-effacing characters in the cave. She was even more bemused by the tears of nationalistic pride dripping onto the keyboard.


This was followed up in sensational fashion barely 24 hours later with England’s historic win via penalties against Colombia at the World Cup in Russia. I am someone who normally puts his club a million miles before his country but with three Tottenham guys in particular helping England on their way to the quarter finals it was impossible not to get excited.


Whether by the time you read this the dream is still alive for the English remains to be seen. Writing this I am tempted to see if I can get some beta blockers just to get through the Sweden match.


FIFA secretary Infantino meanwhile contacted the Thai authorities. Like everyone else he had heard about the plight of the boys in the cave and took the opportunity to provide support and even invited the whole group of 13 to the final on July 15th.


Let’s hope they get out in time to make the historic showpiece.


And see Harry Kane score a hat-trick against Belgium.



Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Bangkok

Join our Newsletter


march, 2019

06feballdayNew 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.

28feballdayBritish Pie Week at The Drunken Leprechaun Four Points by SheratonJoin us for British Pie Week and pick a delicious one for your best choice…

28feb(feb 28)10:0031mar(mar 31)20:00The Gift of Relaxation at Quan Spa, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s ParkGive yourself a gift! Enjoy a complimentary 30-minute Foot Massage when you book a 60-minute Aroma Fusion Massage at QUAN SPA, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park

01maralldayMango Madness at The Eatery Four Points by Sheraton BangkokThe Eatery at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 invites all mango lovers to experience a 4 highlights of ‘Mango madness’ menu made from Nam Dok Mai mango Mango, a gold-yellow fruit with a delicious sweet taste and unique aroma.

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.

15maralldayFriday 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.

15mar(mar 15)10:3030apr(apr 30)22:00Wagyu Beef at Pagoda Chinese RestaurantChef Oscar Pun aims once again to delight your senses with an exclusive Premium Wagyu Beef menu featuring 5 variations inspired by this highly-prized ingredient.

15mar(mar 15)11:0024(mar 24)22:00Sports World Expo 2019 at Impact ArenaA showcase of Thailand’s sporting industry, where local and international sporting equipment and accessories, and all sports related products and services of the largest quantities and of the most varieties, will be on sale.

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.

19maralldaySnack Box by Design Four Points by Sheraton BangkokMade your day successfully with customized snack box delivered straight to your meetings, events and parties from Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15.

19mar(mar 19)09:0024(mar 24)19:00NLP Practitioner Triple Certification at NLP Top Coach Bangkok ThailandCertified by the World’s largest NLP authority, you will receive 3 internationally recognised certifications.

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.

20mar(mar 20)19:0005apr(apr 5)21:00Free Flow Wine & Cheese @ Sofitel Bangkok SukhumvitEvery week, Wednesday to Friday evening from 7pm to 9pm join us at Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit for a fantastic wine and cheese buffet, featuring prized imported and local cheeses for ONLY THB 845++!

21maralldayAFL Kickoff Party at The Australian Pub & BBQ PubKick off the 2019 season with beer, BBQ and all the action at The Aussie. We’ve got some free chicken, pork & sausages, great drink specials and, after the game, live music to celebrate the start of our favourite sport.

21maralldayAFL Kick off Match at The kiwi pub BangkokCarlton Blues and Richmond Tigers will kick off the 2019 Australian Football League season March 21 in what is sure to be a blockbuster at the MCG. Watch it LIVE at The Kiwi!

21mar19:0023:00Thursday FREE BBQ at Scruffy Murphy’sChicken, pork & sausages on the grill every Thursday from 7pm. Yours free with the purchase of a drink!

22maralldayJim Gaffigan – Live in Bangkok at Scala Theatre Siam SquareThe Comedy Club Bangkok and Live Nation BEC-TERO present JIM GAFFIGAN – ‘The Quality Time Tour’, Live in Bangkok!

22mar(mar 22)16:0030(mar 30)20:00BCT presents Once On This Island: A Musical at Creative Industries At M Theatre‘Once on this Island’, a ninety-minute one-act musical, opened on Broadway to great acclaim in 1990 with 8 Tony Award nominations.

22mar(mar 22)19:0023(mar 23)22:00Omakase Experience at The COMMONSOMAKASE EXPERIENCE by Chef Tsuyoshi Komatsu of Roppongi Sushi Komatsu (Tokyo)

22mar(mar 22)21:0023(mar 23)04:00Hexer pres. Sabura at De CommuneThailand residing techno producer & DJ, Hexer calls Germany’s rising name Sabura to decks for all night long real Techno experience at De Commune.

23maralldayR-HAAN features Royal Thai Summer Menu

23mar(mar 23)10:0024(mar 24)21:00Sabuy Wedding Festival 2019 at Royal Paragon HallBangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park is excited to be part of the next Sabuy Wedding Festival!

24maralldaySunday Arvo Session at The Aussie pubGet together every Sunday arvo and enjoy our free barbecue, live music and jugs of Leo & Singha for only 199 baht!

25maralldayMonday Curry Night at The Kiwi pubWe’ve got three great curries every Monday night at The Kiwi. Mondays are the only day to enjoy curry menu with a free pint of Heineken or Tiger beer.

25mar(mar 25)10:0007apr(apr 7)20:00The 40th Bangkok International Motor Show 2019 at Impact ArenaGoing for a ride behind the wheel can raise the joy of driving to the new level of excitement.

26maralldayLady Night every Tuesday at The Aussie pubTuesday is Ladies Night at The Australian! Ladies, come and get free Maitais from 7-9 p.m. and listen to live music from Lee Shamrock.

26maralldayTaco Tuesday at Slanted Taco BangkokIt’s Taco Tuesday buy 2 for 1 taco at Slanted Taco Sukhumvit 23!!

27maralldayCigar Smoking World Championship 2019 at Whisgars BangkokFor the 3rd year running exclusively at WHISGARS™ Join us on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 7pm.

27mar18:0021:00GIA’s 111th Gemstone Gathering at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park“Journey to the Center of the Gem” by Billie Hughes, Gemologist at Lotus Gemology

27mar20:0023:00Tom Odell Jubilee Road 2019 Tour at Scala TheatreBRIT Awards’ Critics’ Choice winner Tom Odell heading to Thailand on 27 March at Scala Theatre

28mar(mar 28)12:0003apr(apr 3)22:00The 11th Bangkok Used Car Show 2019 at Impact ArenaSecond-hand car exhibition, quality level From the leading car tents in Thailand

28mar(mar 28)14:3031(mar 31)21:00Disney On Ice Presents Mickey’s Super Celebration at Impact ArenaMinnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy join Mickey in a high-energy opening that is a modern take on the film that started it all, Steamboat Willie.

28mar(mar 28)18:0030(mar 30)21:00Michelin-Starred Chef Sascha Stemberg Dinner at Park Society, SO Sofitel BangkokPark Society has always been active about creative cuisine from innovative chefs.

28mar18:3021:30Advertising : The Thai Excellence at SO Sofitel BangkokThai commercials are now recognized as the most entertaining, thought provoking and refreshing the world over.

28mar19:0023:00Thursday FREE BBQ at Scruffy Murphy’sChicken, pork & sausages on the grill every Thursday from 7pm. Yours free with the purchase of a drink!

28mar20:0023:00Boyzone Thank You & Good Night Farewell Tour Live in Bangkok 2019 at Thunder Dome, Muangthong ThaniBack lash sweetness from the past will be back once again for all the Thai fans.

29maralldayJimmy Carr - Live in Bangkok at The Westin Grande SukhumvitJIMMY CARR 'The Best of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits World Tour’ - Live in Bangkok, Friday. March 29th at 8.00pm and 10.30pm at The Grand Ballroom of The Westin Grande Sukhumvit.

29mar(mar 29)10:0031(mar 31)16:00Elephant Boat Race & River Festival at Anantara Riverside Bangkok ResortJoin us at the inaugural Elephant Boat Race and River Festival next to Anantara Riverside Bangkok for electric competition on the water in the form of elephant boat races and a weekend of enormous entertainment.

30maralldayLover Latin Saturday for March at amBar Four Points by Sheraton BangkokPut on your dancing shoes for Latin Dance!

30maralldayR-HAAN features Royal Thai Summer Menu

30mar(mar 30)10:0031(mar 31)18:00The Mall Shopping Center presents Strider Cup Thailand 2019This is our biggest strider bike competition in Thailand. It’s a very worth-going to join event.

30mar18:0022:00Arch Enemy Live in Bangkok at Live Arena RCA

30mar(mar 30)21:0031(mar 31)03:00Hey Big Spender | Launch Party at LevelsLevels is bringing you Hey Big Spender launch party Saturday, 30th March it’s a night you don’t want to miss.

31maralldaySunday Arvo Session at The Aussie pubGet together every Sunday arvo and enjoy our free barbecue, live music and jugs of Leo & Singha for only 199 baht!




To Top