No matter where I have gone in the four decades since I met Thailand, the country always seems to follow me around in one way or another.
In the early days of my stay when Thailand was not so widely known as a holiday destination as it is today, it was always possible to go abroad and remove oneself. Though for this writer I always took my “Thai baggage” with me.
By that I don’t mean Mrs Rooster or her predecessor, but that nagging personal demon that was always with me when abroad, reminding me of everything Thai and the need to hurry back so I didn’t miss anything.
In later years as Thailand replaced Spain for many holidaymakers, knowledge both from personal experience or that gleaned from the internet by potential visitors who wanted to sample something “exotic”, added to the understanding of and recognition for Thailand.
This week, still holidaying in England, was certainly like “Thailand the Asian Stalker” was following Rooster around.
The tragic events in Leicester ensured that.
Before the clocks went back Sunday I had happened to have a pre-norn perusal of the news sites – as us journalists count copy rather than sheep – and noticed there had been a helicopter crash at the football stadium. Rather than sleep I started to glean information that would make one of the first stories on the tragedy for Thaivisa.
Various videos made it all too obvious that Leicester owner and CEO of King Power Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was going to be one of the dead. It transpired that others apart from the pilot and his partner were a Thai right hand man and PA Nursara Suknamai who was once in the Miss Thai Universe pageant.
The outpouring of respect for Vichai – Thailand’s fifth richest man – was immense in the UK. Locals in Leicester to the wider football community to leaders of the country all joined in with tributes talking about Vichai’s popularity and good public works.
The Thai was hailed as a model business owner and the best chairman of a football club in the league. Even I was surprised by the depth of the adulation and reaction.
Many football and even other sports fans both in the UK and around the world spoke of the inspirational achievements of the Leicester team in 2015/16 in winning the EPL title at odds of 5,000-1.
They felt the little Thai man with a huge family heart had been instrumental in inspiring Leicester to that most improbable of triumphs.
Best comment of the week award I give to “Sonhia” who said on Thaivisa forum:
“To see the respect shown by so many to a non-Brit makes me proud to be British”.
This week will see many of the distraught players, who clearly have a strong relationship with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, attend funeral bathing rites in Bangkok. They won’t need to stay a week, just be in and out.
Hopefully, though, not in the manner of the Clockwork Orange version of in/out practiced on some of the female population of Bangkok on a previous visit that led to sackings of players and manager at the English midlands club a few years back.
Some jealous posters on Thaivisa cast aspersions in the direction of Vichai saying he was not as popular in Thailand and should have contributed his billions there; reading such things after an honorable and considerate family man has perished in flames in bewildering agony reminds me that the MSR (Miserable Sod Ratio) on Thaivisa remains stable.
Apart from the tragedy at Leicester it was a busy week on Thaivisa for its employees, serious posters and forum wags alike as news aplenty inspired a plethora of punditry.
Stories ranged from Thai men who have their wicked way with soi dogs to a female Yankee butt that became the most viewed in anti-Christendom after its owner took an illegal leak in Asoke.
First up was the denouement to the story about the Swedish man and his wife who rushed back to Thailand
a couple of months back after 480,000 baht went missing from their account. Lo and behold it was an inside, family job and not the bank’s fault after all. It was “wais” all round as mum apologized to the bank and doubtless planned a little chat with her daughter who had spent all the couple’s dough in a one month online spree.
I’ve found Thais to be like my favorite chocolate when it comes to repaying loans – crispy and flaky. Crisp in the sense that several have repaid small and larger sums quickly and responsibly while flaky in the sense that the odd one treated them more as gifts and in one case, involving a hitherto likable relative, even had the temerity to disappear from the face of the earth after a sizable Rooster loan.
I’ve learned my lesson now leaving the Loei Loan Lottery to the locals. Try saying that and opening my wallet.
I was in Liverpool this week visiting my son who is at uni nearby. I hadn’t been there since losing my wheels to theft in the seventies. But this time I was “driven away and dumped” – well gobsmacked – by the development, beauty and friendliness of the city.
I take back last week’s aspersions regarding hubcaps while still reserving my right to slag off their Red football team till I go up in smoke through a Thai temple chimney.
Never, ever, ever far from the news was His Photegenic-ness Maj-Gen Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn who began the week having “smoke coming out of his ears”
as there was still a couple of underlings at Immigration scoring deliberate own goals for Bakshish United.
Now almost as rare as tigers in Thailand, corruption was similarly declared to be over.
“Red Rag to a Red Bull” the forum went into miserable meltdown especially among members who have lapsed in payments to the Big Joke Fan Club. Some related figures on the latest “Xray Outlaw” arrest push
, only stoked the fire indicating that Maths teaching in the kingdom may require educational reform.
Rooster has been trying for some while to get an interview with the man himself and this week I received some responses that I hope will mean a memorable encounter in a few weeks. I am sure the Maj-Gen will not have gone away by then.
Apropos please suggest in comments what you might like me to ask of the Immigration Chief. Of course, I have thought of many questions but the different perspectives on Thaivisa may help me down from the Ivory Tower of Thai Residence where I was criticized as living last month.
Again apropos, the most read story on the forum was the latest in the income letters saga. What began with the UK embassy’s refusal to issue guarantees has now spread not just to the US but the Aussie Embassy too
The unmistakable aroma of “Eau de Schadenfreude” was in the air as posters on both sides of the Atlantic Pond realized they were not alone and that most other nationalities would doubtless follow suit. Now everyone could be united, it was time to start the finger pointing.
Of course! It was Thai Immigration’s fault, wasn’t it obvious all along…… though Big Joke was grudgingly exonerated as he’d only just arrived in situ.
They’d probably be obliged to actually import pigeons into Thailand to cope with increased demand.
Those in QUOTES – the Queen of the Eastern Seaboard – were interested to read that the mastermind behind the execution murder of Tony Kenway
, 39, shot in his red Porsche outside a Pattaya gym, had been arrested in Malaga. Toby Nelhams may be leaned upon enough back in Thailand to help with the exact whereabouts of the man who pulled the trigger and his motorcycle accomplice who fled to Cambodia.
The weird and the quirky vied successfully for attention on the news forum this week. Leading the way was the story about “Sex with Swinging Soi Dogs”
that also came out of Chiang Mai. Apparently for want of a better word there was a “ring” of people on the LINE app queuing up to meet saucy Surarat who used to work the area by the municipal bins as a boy dog and is now a lady girl Poodle for online hire.
Gawd Bless the modern news world and all who click in her. A comment that also definitely applies to the aforementioned US lady having a pee by a taxi in Bangkok. Little did she know that her butt (and her caught short situation) would be seen and commented upon by millions within days.
First the forum and Facebook debate centered on what nationality was the woman – Thai or foreign? Then as more precise details emerged – What kind of foreigner? When the whole truth was out – and the repentant urinator had been fined 2,000 baht
by the unusually busy guys at Thong Lor – posters didn’t know where to turn.
Blame America? – no since Trump its becoming boring. Blame women? – nah, we all pee. Blame the Thais? – oh go on then!! They must be responsible.
Personally I wouldn’t blame the woman one drop. I mean who hasn’t been in urgent need in their lives – there are places in India where they should put up blue plaques at the site of historic and very public Rooster dumps.
These stories always have forum curmudgeons burbling about the Thais being superstitious. Just accept the way of things when all the family go out to everything from seances to temples; put on a good DVD, have a few beers, smile and chillax.
If nothing else understand that many Thais don’t really believe in all the mumbo-jumbo. Their culture kind of demands it as denial of superstition is tantamount to saying one isn’t Siamese. Also reactions like the villagers in Korat are designed to create a collective “sabai jai” to counter bad things that may happen like unexpected deaths.
Mill Reef was needed for procreation – the buffalo most likely for steak.
My only Rooster award this week is the “I’m Truly Terrified of Being Sued for Defamation” prize that goes to the unknown editorial person who decided to pixelate the face of one of the dogs in the Swinging Soi Dog Sex story.
Finally no more quips from me. Just some words from Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel who went online to express his heartfelt sorrow and respect for Khun Vichai who was killed with four others in the helicopter accident.
“You were so passionate. We must honour your legacy…and continue being the close-knit family club that you built. You will never know how much you meant to me and my family.
“I am truly honoured and privileged to have been a small part of your life”.