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 2013: Jan-March
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31st March

  Only in Thailand...

National Innovation Agency has the innovation to stifle culinary innovation
Link Here

tom yam kungThe Thai National 'Innovation' Agency (NIA) is stifling culinary innovation and setting down standard recipes for the popular Thai dishes, tom yam goong, massamun and pad thai, aiming to bring the same taste of Thai food at Thai restaurants worldwide.

Science and Technology Minister Woravat Au-apinyakul said only 20% of Thai restaurants in other countries can be considered as offering the authentic Thai taste, even though they may all serve well-prepared, delicious food. Many of these Thai restaurants have non-Thai chefs, so they might not serve up the same, genuine taste, particularly the three most popular dishes.

But confusingly Woravat also said he realised that diners of different nationalities have different preferences and restaurants cook to serve the tastes of their customers.

The problem is restaurants in many areas spoil the taste of Thai foods, causing a misunderstanding about the food and dragging down the opportunity for the country to export more Thai food.

The NIA, therefore, was formulating standard recipes for each the three top dishes, after extensive research into the tastes and demands of many nationalities. It expected to have them ready for distribution to the world by the end of April.

 

22nd March

  A Thai Girl Different to the Rest...

Movie set in Pattaya to get film festival showing
Link Here

Teddy Bear Kim Kold The Danish movie Teddy Bear , directed by Mads Dinesen, will be screened at Thailand International Film Destination Festival.

This will be the first ever Thailand International Film Destination Festival and is held to show Thailand as a desirable shooting location.

The event is from April 1 to April 10 and will comprise a mixture of film screenings, seminars and location visits. It will also contain a short film competition with shorts to be made on the theme of Thai exploration.

Backed by Thailand's Ministry of Culture and the Thailand Film Office, the festival expects to screen ten foreign films that have used Thai locations.

One of these films is Teddy Bear from Denmark. The 38-year-old bodybuilder Dennis wants to find true love. He has never had a girlfriend and lives alone with his mother. When his uncle marries a girl from Thailand, Dennis decides to try his own luck on a trip to Pattaya, as it seems that love is easier to find in Thailand. The intrusive Thai girls give big bruises to Dennis' naive picture of what love should be like, and he is about to lose hope when he unexpectedly meets the Thai woman Toi.

 

26th February

  Anybody for Horse Balls?...

IKEA removes meatballs from the menu as they get caught up in the Euro horsemeat scandal
Link Here

ikea thailand The Swedish furniture shop Ikea has stopped selling horse balls at its Thai store.

A bargain at 160 baht, but the Swedish meatballs are off the menu right now. Ikea's frozen meatballs, which come in one-kilo packets, were found by the Czech State Veterinary Administration to contain horse meat, although the label says they contain only beef and pork.

After a general withdrawal of the product from 12 European countries last week, Ikea on expanded the withdrawal of the product to its Thailand outlet.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson claimed in statement to the Associated Press from the company headquarters that This is an extraordinary effort to ensure that no one is worried . She did not say whether the meatballs sold in Thailand contained horse meat.

 

20th February

 Updated: Knocking Nok...

Thai miserablists recommend Nok Air
Link Here

nok air calendar Thai nutters have been whining at a bikini calendar for the Thai budget airline, Nok Air.

Nok Air announced on its Facebook page that people who participated in its online campaign would receive the airline's 2013 calendar. Models from Maxim magazine were hired for the calendar photo shoot. This was set around Nok Air planes.

A complaint was filed with the Ministry of Miserable Culture by Natee Theerarojanapong, leader of Chiang Mai Araya, who ludicrously claimed that the calendar should be banned because it tarnishes Thailand's image:

The campaign focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organisations have been trying to change.

The message being sent out by the airline could also be misinterpreted as encouraging passengers to sexually harass air hostesses, he spewed without the slightest shred of credibility.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin said:

It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers. There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed.

Culture Ministry permanent secretary Prisana Pongtatpitakkul claimed the photos in the calendar were inappropriate. Being an airline, the pictures were not only viewed by local people but also by foreigners, she spouted. However, she admitted the ministry could not take any action against Nok Air because it had not broken any law by producing and distributing the calendar. The incident just reflects that modern society is full of businesses that lack integrity and social responsibility, she added.

Update: Calendar is a big hit thanks to the publicity

20th February 2013. See  article from  bangkokpost.com

nok air calendar bikinis Nok Air is unperturbed by criticism that it exploited women's bodies as a marketing tool in its 2013 calendar featuring bikini-clad Maxim models.

The budget airline is already promising that the 2014 calendar will be at least as daring.

We will surprise many people again, said chief executive Patee Sarasin, who is known for his unorthodox marketing tactics.

Nok Air's calendar, with women posing in front of jets in bikinis and skimpy clothing, was taken to task by miserablists including the Ministry of Culture, which accused the airline of lacking a sense of social and cultural responsibility .

Patee shrugged off criticism that the calendar tarnished Thailand's image:

These pictures of ours are no more exotic than what is already on the magazine stands. Everybody has the right to express his opinion. If they don't like it, they don't have to look at it.

Interest in Nok Air's calendar, which was Patee's own idea, has been overwhelming since its debut. Nok Air produced 3,000 calendars and 300 will be offered as part of an online promotion to its Facebook members through a random selection to be announced on Friday.

I reckon at least 100,000 people want one of the calendars, even well-respected types, said Patee, though the airline does not plan to have more calendars printed.

 

19th February

 Updated: Hot News...

Thailand set for power cuts in April
Link Here

candle Homes and government agencies will need to conserve power to heed off a potential energy crisis over the next several months, Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal has warned.

Pongsak explained that gas imports from Myanmar would be disrupted from April 4 for annual maintenance, leading to a significant drop in gas supplies. This is an annual event when power utilities each year cope with the disruption by increasing generation from other sources such as hydroelectric dams or fuel oil. However Pongsak said he was concerned that it might not be sufficient this year.

He said the Energy Ministry would consider a state of emergency and issue a call for the public and the civil service to step up power conservation measures to ensure that electricity to the industrial sector is unaffected.

Senator Rosana Tositrakul questioned why the annual maintenance cycle for gas from Myanmar had to be scheduled during the hot season when energy demand peaked.

Update: Only in Thailand! Thai Government advises malls to lower temperatures by 1 degree

19th February 2013. See article from nationmultimedia.com

Shopping malls and large-scale supermarkets may be urged to lower air-conditioner temperature during April 4-12, to reduce their electricity consumption.

A source from the Energy Ministry said that the lower temperature by 1 degree celcius would reduce power usage by 300 megawatts.

He said that the commercial complexes may be asked to lower the temperature on alternate hours during 9am to 8pm. As this should reduce the use of diesel and bunker oil for electricity generating, the saved amount could be split among the complexes as incentives.

 

19th February

  Dangerous Thailand...

Thailand hits the headlines of the British press for all the wrong reasons
Link Here

twoonfourwheels Peter Root and Mary Thompson Peter Root and Mary Thompson, who have been killed in a road accident in Thailand during a round-the-world cycling trip.

A British couple's round-the-world cycling odyssey ended in tragedy when both of them were killed in a road accident in Thailand.

Peter Root and Mary Thompson, who had been chronicling their journey in the blog twoonfourwheels.com , died when they were hit by a truck in a province east of Bangkok.

The couple, both 34 and from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, had been cycling through Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China since July 2011.

The couple had been posting photos and details of their trip on the website Two on Four Wheels. They also had many followers on Twitter and Facebook who were tracing their journey and vicariously enjoying their adventure, which included a trip through remote parts of Central Asia. The blog has been untouched since the tragedy and now shows a happy smiling couple with lots of adventures now rather poignantly proclaiming "we're in Thailand".

The truck driver, 25-year-old Worapong Sangkhawat, was seriously injured in the crash and faces charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

Update: Meanwhile in Nakhon Si Thammarat,

See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

A British student has been gang raped in Thailand after moving there two weeks ago to become an English teacher. The 22-year-old was attacked in the early hours of Saturday morning by four Thai men.

Police said the men were driving around the southern provincial capital of Nakhon Sri Thammarat in a pick-up truck. They snatched their victim as she left a late-night restaurant popular for serving alcohol after-hours.

The young woman, from Scotland, was thought to have been taken to a nearby building where she was repeatedly raped. Left sobbing: Police comb the second-floor balcony of the building in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, where a British student was found weeping after being attacked

The story seems strangely absent from the Thai media

 

6th February

  Tarnishing Thailand's Image for Fun...

Thai culture minister attempts to censor US comedy skit alluding to the Thai sex industry
Link Here

saturday night live thai joke video The Thai government plans to ask Youtube to remove a video clip joking about the sex industry in Thailand.

The clip is a parody of a commercial for the Rosetta Stone foreign language learning programme. The spoof was produced by popular American late-night television show Saturday Night Live .

In the video, foreigners are interested in learning the Thai language so they know how to say things like, How much? , Is that for the whole night? or How can I take off your clothes? in Thai.

Culture Minister Sonthaya Khunploem said that the Culture Watch Centre is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an effort to have the video removed from Youtube.

The government will also claim to the United States embassy that the commercial spoof is tarnishing Thailand's image and will ask the embassy to explain the situation to the producer of Saturday Night Live, Sonthaya said.

Rather ironically the Thai culture minister is the brother of the Mayor of Pattaya which is very much the capital of the tourist sector of the sex industry. Perhaps the minister should consider that his actions are contributing to an image of hypocrisy and internet censorship.

One Thai commenter kindly translated the culture ministers diplomacy speak:

Even though it might be true, the producers should not offend Thailand this way.

Update: Censored?

5th February 2013.  See  article from  nationmultimedia.com

YouTube has removed the Rosetta Stone Thai spoof video clip produced by US late-night TV show's Saturday Night Live that portrays Thailand in a negative light, mocking the country as a destination for sex tourists. Well at least according to Apinand Poshaya-nond, deputy permanent secretary for culture, who 'confirmed' the removal yesterday.

Apinand said yesterday that the ministry would explain the situation later to the producer of Saturday Night Live .

Meanwhile you can watch the 'offending' video on...you've guessed it... YouTube !

Comment: What a proper minister of fun would have said

6th February 2013.  See  article from  notthenation.com

This video is neither accurate nor humorous, and relies on outdated stereotypes to make fun of our nation and culture, said Thailand's minister of fun: The truth is that Thai prostitutes and those who provide sex services are fluent in English.

The minister blasted the video's ignorant suggestion that foreign tourists who wished to experience the unique pleasures of Thailand's extensive commercial sex services needed to undergo expensive and difficult language training.

Our sex tourism industry is one of the world leaders in the field, and we have serviced millions of satisfied customers -- male and female -- for decades. English, Chinese, German, Japanese, Russian, French, and Arabic-speaking sex tourists from around the world know that you don't need to speak a word of Thai to enjoy sex in Thailand. We are proud of this and will fight to maintain our image.

 

5th February

  Tarnishing Thailand's Image for Fun...

Thai culture minister attempts to censor US comedy skit alluding to the Thai sex industry
Link Here

saturday night live thai joke video The Thai government plans to ask Youtube to remove a video clip joking about the sex industry in Thailand.

The clip is a parody of a commercial for the Rosetta Stone foreign language learning programme. The spoof was produced by popular American late-night television show Saturday Night Live .

In the video, foreigners are interested in learning the Thai language so they know how to say things like, How much? , Is that for the whole night? or How can I take off your clothes? in Thai.

Culture Minister Sonthaya Khunploem said that the Culture Watch Centre is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an effort to have the video removed from Youtube.

The government will also claim to the United States embassy that the commercial spoof is tarnishing Thailand's image and will ask the embassy to explain the situation to the producer of Saturday Night Live, Sonthaya said.

Rather ironically the Thai culture minister is the brother of the Mayor of Pattaya which is very much the capital of the tourist sector of the sex industry. Perhaps the minister should consider that his actions are contributing to an image of hypocrisy and internet censorship.

One Thai commenter kindly translated the culture ministers diplomacy speak:

Even though it might be true, the producers should not offend Thailand this way.

Update: Censored?

5th February 2013.  See  article from  nationmultimedia.com

YouTube has removed the Rosetta Stone Thai spoof video clip produced by US late-night TV show's Saturday Night Live that portrays Thailand in a negative light, mocking the country as a destination for sex tourists. Well at least according to Apinand Poshaya-nond, deputy permanent secretary for culture, who 'confirmed' the removal yesterday.

Apinand said yesterday that the ministry would explain the situation later to the producer of Saturday Night Live .

Meanwhile you can watch the 'offending' video on...you've guessed it... YouTube !

 

2nd February

  Dangerous Thailand...

Australian consulate reports on the cost of fun
Link Here

australian government logo Figures reveal that Thailand is the deadliest destination for Aussies. The 100 Australians who died there last year accounted for one in eight of the 791 deaths on foreign soil. Greece, which boasts large numbers of dual Australian citizens, was the next most likely spot for Australian passport holders to die, with 58 deaths.

Most died from natural causes, such as illness and age but, sadly, many -- the result of accident or misadventure -- were avoidable, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Simon Merrifield said.

Consular officials say motorbikes, power-ski accidents and alcohol-fuelled mishaps are the most common cause of serious injuries. Thailand's full moon parties also often spark calls for help.

Disputes over jet-ski hire, with false claims of damage leading to extortion of large amounts of 'compensation', are also common.

We have had several reports of tourists being threatened with violence if the compensation is not paid. Some operators have also refused to return passports that tourists have left as a guarantee until such compensation is paid, a consular official said.

Almost a third of the 875 incidents reported to consular officials in Thailand in 2011 happened at Phuket.

In 2012, 146 Australians sought consular help after being taken to hospital in Thailand, 57 were arrested, 15 were attacked and nine reported child abduction or custody problems. Most arrests involved drugs, theft and assault, with Aussies often facing penalties or jail, even for seemingly minor offences. Consular officials also investigated 82 missing person reports and made 190 welfare checks and other serious investigations.

 

30th January

  Dear Dear...

Thai music video gets noticed for alluding to threesomes
Link Here

dear video Thai luk tung singer Dear Narissara has come under fire on Youtube for a sexy music video that not so subtly alludes to a menage a trois.

In the video, the country singer wears a silver bra, a silver long-sleeved shirt that covers only her shoulders and arms, and very short shorts. Dear moves her hips and breasts in a way that, some commenters contend, reveals too much in the way of cleavage.

Neung Song Sam. Sam. Sam. Sam. Sam, Dear sings in the song's hook. Translated literally, that chorus simply reads, One, two, three, three, three, three, three. However, some Thai netizens have picked up on the fact that Dear's repetition of the word Sam, sounds an awful lot like the Thai word for threesome.

Dear's music video has recently garnered massive attention from Thai internet wags. With almost 100,000 views. Comments about the video have expressed disapproval not only of its sexually explicit content, but also of the alleged shortcomings of Dear's body.

 

26th January

  But Does Being Easily Offended Engender Respect?...

Ikea Thailand apologises over advert featuring ladyboy
Link Here

ikea thai advert video IKEA Thailand has apologized to Thai Transgender Alliance for the unintended offense caused by an advert featuring a transgender person.

The advert, shown on Bangkok's BTS Skytrain system and YouTube, features a transgender woman who is so shocked by a sale item she speaks in a masculine voice, causing the man she is with to later run away.

Thai Transgender Alliance said in a letter of complaint to IKEA:

The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature.

IKEA Thailand marketing manager Gannrapee Chatchaidamrong responded:

I would like to apologize for the unintended offense may caused and we will be more careful in the future.

We run many "spoof advertisements" where the friendly humor is intended to be an essential component. This was the intention in our campaign, where we also featured a number of different people from a spectrum of Thai society "forgetting themselves" when they are so surprised at the value of the prices in our sale.

 

15th January

  Common Sense Expires at Telecoms Regulator...

Thailand mobile companies told to implement ID checking for Sim card buyers from Friday
Link Here

12call sim card Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has set a Friday deadline for mobile operators to start properly registering prepaid SIM cards and scrapping the expiration date on prepaid mobile credits, or face tough fines and other penalties.

The watchdog threatened to double or triple the fine currently imposed on the operators if they failed to comply with the rules, said Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC's secretary-general.

Takorn said identification cards will be required from this Friday for customers who want to buy a prepaid SIM card from mobile operators.

Also, operators must scrap the limitation on the expiration date for prepaid mobile credits. Customers who found any operators failing to comply with the rule can file complaints at the NBTC's office. The NBTC also wanted operators to set all mobile tariff rates at no higher than 99 satang a minute.

 

8th January

  A New Game Plan Having Lost their Star Striker...

True Visions has to get more competitive after losing the rights to the English Premier league
Link Here

true visions logo TrueVisions, Thailand's largest pay-TV operator, is extending its cable service to the mass market with a price cut of 40% for its basic package.

The strategic move is aimed at boosting the subscriber base of its cheapest True Knowledge package by 30% to 100,000 by the end of this year, said managing director Anat Mekpaiboonvatana. He admitted that after losing the English Premier League football broadcasting rights for 2013-16, TrueVisions needs to create some innovative strategies to retain customers.

The price of its True Knowledge package is being slashed from 495 to 299 baht a month for customers signing up for the company's service for the first time. The rate includes VAT and installation costs.

With the new offerings, Anat said customers can view 78 channels. In April, the figure will rise to 90 channels including high-definition channels. Viewers can add more viewing choices by paying an additional 155 baht a month for another set-top box.

TrueVisions has been facing tough time convincing investors how it could sustain future revenue from high-end subscribers after losing the EPL right to the newcomer Cable Thai Holding Plc. The EPL has long been TrueVision's edge over other cable TV operators, enabling it to maintain the number of regular subscribers even though its membership fees are far higher than those of other pay-TV operators. TrueVisions still has the broadcasting right for the Uefa Champions League until 2015.

 

5th January

 Update: Magically Censored...

Thai TV series featuring a sorcerer who performs black magic to manipulate politics hits too close to home
Link Here

nua mek 2 logo Thai Government figures have denied any political intervention in the abrupt termination of a controversial TV series on Channel 3, which was unexpectedly replaced last night with a new drama series.

Channel 3 announced in an onscreen message last night that Nua Mek 2 (Above the Clouds 2) had been replaced earlier than scheduled because of supposedly  inappropriate content.

The storyline focuses on a corrupt politician keen on profiteering on a satellite launch and a sorcerer who performs black magic to manipulate politics, and of course lots of soapy romance.

Comments on social media, have it the series was cut short at the orders of people in power who were stung by its content.

Suranand Vejjajiva, the prime minister's secretary-general, claimed that the government had never interfered with any TV drama or news report. The prime minister has nothing to do with the abrupt end of the drama, he said in a phone interview with The Nation.

The original schedule for Nua Mek 2 called for 12 episodes. Episode Nine aired last Sunday. As controversy mounted the producers hastily edited the last 3 episodes into a single episode to at least provide a presumably uncontroversial end to the series. However even that edited last episode was cancelled, leaving the show's story unfinished.

 

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