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 2011: April-June
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30th June   

Campaigning Banned on Election Day...

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Thailand bans internet electioneering around polling day
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Thailand flagAny political campaigning via Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks will be banned from 6pm on election eve, Saturday until midnight on election day, Sunday.

No alcohol will be on sale or served during these hours as well.

More than 900 websites will be monitored for signs of a breach of the electoral law during those hours.

The ban covers not only political parties and their candidates but also the general public.

Police said the use of online campaigning tools such as Facebook and Twitter is of serious concern and police are stepping up efforts in making the users aware of the restriction.

 

25th April   

Updated: Miserable Bangkok...

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Officials line up to whinge at topless Songkran fun
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songkran revellerMisreable Bangrak District Office director Surakiat Limcharern has lodged a complaint with police over topless female Songkran revellers whose sexy dancing near Silom Road was recorded and posted on the Internet.

It hurts the image of Thailand, in particular Silom, he ludicrously claimed: It distorts Songkran culture too. Close examination showed the topless revellers were young, so young that it dismissed my initial assumption that they might have been workers in the redlight zone of Patpong.

Lodging his complaint at the Yannawa Police Station, Surakiat urged police to track down the teenagers who he claimed carried out obscene acts in public places.

Miserable National Police Commissioner General Wichien Pojphosri vowed action against both the topless revellers and their cheering crowds.

Miserable Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat, meanwhile, wanted action taken against those lending loudspeakers and stereo systems for the topless dancing: Apart from being fined, the topless girls should be required to do some cultural work. For example, they should be made to read books about the Songkran Festival for young students to listen to as part of the punishment .

Video clips showing the topless Songkran revellers were posted on the Internet on Saturday, provoking a nutter 'outcry'.

Culture Watch Centre director Ladda Tangsupachai has disclosed that Nipit also instructed her to officially ask the National Police Office and the ICT Ministry to ban the video clips on the Internet.

In Phichit, two transvestites were fined yesterday for exposing their breasts during the Songkran celebrations.

In Chon Buri, Pattaya City's councillor Rattanachai Suttidechanai said all entertainment venues were told not to stage pornographic shows.

Update: Oops, Thai Minstry caught 'destroying the image' of Thailand

25th April 2011.  See  article from  globalvoicesonline.org

thai ministry website

  Image rapidly deleted from the
Thai Ministry of Culture website
lest they 'destroy the image of Thailand' again!

The buzz in Thailand in the past week (before the renewed border fighting with Cambodian troops) was the scandal caused by the topless teen dancers during the Songkran Water Fighting Festival.

The photos and videos of the three girls dancing bare breasted in Silom, Bangkok immediately went viral and generated intense debates on Thai culture and morality. The girls were slapped with a 500 Baht ($17) fine while the person who uploaded the video received a 100,000 Baht ($3,320) fine and a possible prison term for up to five years in violation of the Computer Crimes Act.

The Thai Ministry of Culture ludicrously condemned the girls for 'destroying the image' of Thailand.

But embarrassingly, netizens spotted that very same accusatory ministry were themselves 'destroying the image' of Thailand.

The image [right] of three topless topless women enjoying Songkran was featured on its website and was mysteriously removed when spotted immediately after the Songkran topless dancing incident.

The censored image was of the Nang Songkran (Thai Goddesses of Songkran) painting by Sompop Budtarad.

Thai Connoisseur observes that the three teenagers were merely embracing the more traditional, and somewhat forgotten aspects of Songkran:

...three young Thai ladies embracing the more traditional, and somewhat forgotten aspects of Songkran, by dancing in much the same way as their great grandmothers would have done back in the days of Siam. In other words, bare breasted! Who can blame them? I think it is a good thing for the young people to revive forgotten traditions of one's ancestors.

Harrison George, writing for Prachatai, comments on the hypocrisy of the authorities

Where the young women went wrong was doing it for free. Theirs was an economic sin, not a moral one. If they had done the same thing in a bar a few hundred yards away, they would never have been bothered by the law. And got paid for it.

 

18th April   

Expressing an Opinion...

Bangkok airport express train not a big hit
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bangkok airport trainThe rail link project between central Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi airport has turned out to be a fiasco, with passengers paying up to 150 baht for what they say is a shoddy service.

There have been complaints that the terminals at the stations are badly signposted; there are no escalators; and there are no trolleys for passengers with heavy bags to use. Other complaints include the lack of a car park and no facilities linking the stations to public transport.

Passengers also complained the train looks old and the seats are uncomfortable. Many passengers are also upset by the way the doors to the train shut with heavy force.

Permanent secretary for transport Supoj Saplom admitted the problems and lack of facilities stemmed from the operation's substandard design.

The Airport Rail Link offers City Line, which runs from Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi with a full range of stops. The 30-minute ride costs from 15 to 45 baht. The Express Line runs non-stop from Makkasan to the airport, taking just 15 minutes and costs 100 baht, while the Express Line costs 150 baht.

Permanent secretary for transport Supoj Saplom said the recent increase in fares from 100 to 150 Baht for the Express Line has led to a sharp drop in the number of passengers to 700 a day, below the target of 2,200, although the City Line still can attract between 36,000 to 40,000 a day.

State Railway of Thailand governor Yutthana Thapcharoen said the SRT has set aside a budget of 646 million baht to improve and build facilities and signposts at all stations within this year.

Kantapa Piriyapongsa, an office employee, complained the trains do not arrive on time, resulting in passengers missing flights at Suvarnabhumi.

 

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