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The week that was in Thailand news: Thailand: It Ain’t Half Cold Mum!


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As an ex teacher you will know more about it than us lesser mortals but Nataphol Teepsuwan must be really bad at his job to be compared Gavin Williamson.  Your remark that Williamson resembles David Harris-Jones is spot on and brings back fond memories of the Reggie Perrin in his various guises!

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Mixed blessings around my way at this time of year.

I enjoy a coffee in the morning outside when it's cooler but along with the lack of rain it seems to inspire quite a few of the locals to rush out and burn all the stuff they've been collecting in their gardens.

Usually end up back inside with the windows shut to try and keep most of the smoke outside.

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16 hours ago, rooster59 said:

The week that was in Thailand news: Thailand: It Ain’t Half Cold Mum!

 

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It’s a funny thing, the cold. I was musing on the subject this week as the daytime mercury in my Bangkok condominium hovered precipitously just above 25C.Call me a wuss of the first water but after nearly four decades of Thailand whenever there are warning signs of an approaching cold snap I check my socks for holes, and ensure the England football team onesie that I bought years ago for 50p at a boot fair in Blighty has not been attacked by moths in the wardrobe over the last 12 months.


The said items are now carefully laid out and at the ready should – heavens forbid – the temperature encroach anywhere near 20C when alarm bells will ring throughout the Rooster household. When I shall forego even bath night, making do with what a friend’s maid admitted to me on one bitter Thai winter night: Ja Lang Tuut Yang Diaw; she was just washing a few of the essentials rather than having the traditional twice or thrice daily scrub.


 I was brought up in South London in the 60s and 70s, admittedly not the Arctic but still cold for about half the year and rainy for about 11 months. The sun used to occasionally peep through the cloud and smog for the odd day in July inspiring headlines line “Bank Holiday Crowds Throng Brighton – Traffic at Standstill”. The articles would be accompanied by pictures of stalwarts in vests with knotted handkerchiefs pretending it was warm as they tried to get comfortable lying on towels on stones sheltering from the elements with a hired “windbreak”.


 My siblings and I would likely be sneering from a distance breaking wind after a trip for a Wimpy paid for with my dad’s accumulated Luncheon Vouchers. Usually we only went to Brighton in the height of winter on days when it was so cold that we’d use euphemisms like “fresh” (freezing) and “bracing” (subzero) to describe the icy conditions. I always wondered how many years before it would “put hairs on my chest” as my folks suggested.


However, on family trips camping to relatives’ farms in France in July (my French/English dad always said to avoid August because of the French) we would complain incessantly when it got over 75F (centigrade being unheard of then). We couldn’t wait to get back to the sanctity of Albion where we could start moaning about the cold again.


It’s always said that if you want to have a conversation with someone in England there is only one acceptable subject, the weather. Unless you do that, you will be completely ignored especially if you can’t pronounce a word like “twelfth” precisely or object to being shouted at to help you understand plain English. It is even possible to be rude about the English weather and remain popular. I once saw an Indian cricket commentator on TV call it “your bloody weather” on the BBC. Everyone laughed appreciatively.


The English almost universally hate their weather unless it is 25 degrees C on a July evening in a pub garden with no wasps and the children are not playing up. However, a lifetime of living in Asia has taught me that there are very different attitudes to the weather worldwide and it can be quite a revealing window into different cultures to question people about it.


 Rooster has mostly met Thais and Japanese people. I spent eight long but pleasant years tutoring Japanese people in my mother tongue in Sukhumvit apartments. Talking about the weather I found to be handy for beginners and a great ice-breaker for every occasion. The Japanese astounded me because every salaryman, okasan and brattish child agreed that their favorite weather was winter. How they loathed the mosquito infested summers in Tokyo and Nagoya. Spring was also tolerable if not too warm as they romanticized about “sakura” blossoms.


Not surprisingly, they appreciated the coldest that Thailand could throw at them even if an extra 10 degrees lopped off was preferable.


The Thais on the other hand are, in my experience, dissatisfied almost every single day with their weather. At least that’s what they say. I mean when do you hear them say: What a lovely day it is! Only when they have got the last three numbers in the lottery. As an Englishman, this endears me to them.


When it’s hot they complain that it’s too hot. When it’s cool they complain that it’s too cold. When it’s monsoonal it’s just plain inconvenient with the storms causing broadcast interruptions of the nightly soaps.


They have a romantic notion of “Phaak Neua” (the north) and yearn for holidays in the mountains where it is really cold, even “tit lop” – in the minus!! But when they get there they complain bitterly, conspiratorially and collectively in their jackets and bobble hats before they are restored to equilibrium by the one thing that unites them in unbridled joy….Thai food. That can be relied on.


Mrs Rooster is from Loei where it can get quite chilly around the gills so she puts cold at 19C and below. For Rooster, for all intents and purposes a Bangkokian, that is enough to freeze the undercarriage off a troop of monkeys. I’m getting the blankets down from upstairs to snuggle under while watching the premiership at 25C! Forget that famous UK sitcom, this is “It Ain’t Half COLD Mum!”


Gran in Loei puts “nao maak” at 14C though she doesn’t really understand the concept of thermometers. My little chicks – 7 and 4 who have only experienced Bangkok, Loei and YouTube – say they like the snow best. I put this down to a recent trip to Dreamworld where the “Snowtown” temperature was -5C. I couldn’t wait for the torture to end.


Unsurprisingly, you won’t catch this columnist reminiscing fondly about England in winter. The last Christmas Day I spent there was in 2011 and I vowed never again.


The trip was loathsome in the extreme, only relieved momentarily at Kempton Park on Boxing Day for the fifth victory in the King George of Kauto Star. Even then it rained all the way home….


I’ve only ever appreciated the weather a few times. I’d have to be out walking in Perth (WA), Sydney, San Francisco, Copacabana or Ooty on a clear day at precisely 78C or 25.555C for perfection! I’m a fussy old git who prefers fans to air-conditioning.


And like most Brits only I’m only truly happy when complaining!


Cool weather was furthest from many people’s minds in another eventful week of news on Thaivisa. In the south – and especially in Nakhon Sri Thammarat where there was widespread flooding – they had the monsoon to contend with.


The protesters in Bangkok vowed to fight on. The cooler weather was helping their cause and the lack of rain – especially that version emanating from police vans – was welcome. Twitter took action against accounts opposing the protesters. The BBC called the young people of Thailand demanding reform a “youth rebellion”.


Their attempts to inspire “Bad Student” sympathizers not to wear school uniforms at the start of term on Tuesday was a bit of a damp squib. Though it still got education minister Nataphol Teepsuwan in a tizzy after those wretched leaders of tomorrow promised to name and shame teachers and schools. (There are times when he looks as idiotic as his counterpart in the UK – Gavin Williamson – who I thought was the spittin’ image of David Harris-Jones from the Fall and Rise of Reginal Perrin this week. As his swinging legs failed to reach the studio floor, I thought he was going to say “Super” in an interview with Kay Burley).


 Nataphol clearly subscribes to the view that children should only speak when spoken to and preferably not even then. He even comes across as someone schoolkids know well – a bully. But the youth of today’s Thailand – perhaps inspired by figures like Greta Thunberg and emboldened by their superior social media savvy compared to most adults – are not the youth of yesteryear.


Along with adult protesters many were appalled by the decision of the Constitutional Court who ruled unanimously in favor of PM Prayut concerning his continued residence in an army home since his 2014 power grab when still army chief. The court decided he had the right to stay in his house as someone who “continued to serve the country well”, a key stipulation in an army rule made in 2005.


Of course, serving the country well is a matter of opinion. Though it is interesting to note that “serving” food years ago didn’t save former PM Samak Sundaravej whose conflict of interest in a TV cooking show led to his untimely downfall. Mind you he never had so many friends in khaki.
 
Apropos school uniform, as a long-term schoolteacher I’m in favor of uniforms so long as they are not too expensive for parents and are appropriate for the climate. I agree with the minister that abandoning them entirely can create an unlevel playing field where rich kids wear designer stuff and the poor kids lose face. But I also think that compromise is important in guiding children and that “casual Fridays’ should become the norm everywhere and that the ridiculous hair requirements are relaxed as much as possible.


Individuality – much feared by the Thai elites – is something that today’s youth are rightfully demanding.


In tourism news – a staple of Thaivisa these days – deputy at the tourism council Pradit introduced a scheme that was called “Champ Thong Thiaw” (champion of tourism). It’s designed to lead the country back to the old pre-pandemic days when the turnstiles at Suwannaphum clicked as if there was no tomorrow.


The English version of the project didn’t have the same ring: “Thailand Champion Again Global Expat and Tourism Hub”. My goodness – TCAGETH wasn’t even a decent acronym though it did manage to have more buzzwords than a planeload of STV tourists.


Pradit claimed that Thailand would be the first place that tourists would come to when all this virus nonsense has died down.

 

Understandably, this sent the forum curmudgeons into a mother of all lathers with the now familiar anti-China rhetoric taking center stage. To me it seems perfectly reasonable that the Thais should want to re-engage with their Asian big brother when it comes to tourism. Besides, at the moment what else is there?


In the north of Thailand tourism was said to be in tatters after six Thai women who had worked in a karaoke bar in Tachilek had sneaked over the border and threatened to infect many people back home. Frankly, the test and trace procedures in Thailand are top notch that many countries would be proud of. The porous borders leave more to be desired.


In international news former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing died of Covid related complications aged 94. His work in legalizing abortion, liberalizing divorce and lowering the voting age were notable.


Across the pond, president elect Biden said he would ask the American people to wear masks for 100 days after his inauguration. Good luck with that. The incumbent is said to be planning to miss that event and stage a rally to launch his 2024 campaign.
 
In the UK government ministers were cock-a-hoop instead of cocking-oop. This was because the regulatory authorities approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in double quick time. Meanwhile, fans in masks returned in limited numbers to some sporting events in the UK most notably football.


Back in Thailand another virus that has played second fiddle to corona this year featured in the news as the world marked HIV/AIDS Day on December 1st. Thailand has done an amazing job since some initial but thankfully brief days of denial in the early 80s. While hundreds of thousands have died over the last 35 years and much stigma still remains, great progress has been made especially in life saving drugs that are produced economically in Thailand and in the care afforded to Thais and others living with HIV in the kingdom. That number is estimated at about half a million. The number would be higher if including those who don’t know they have the virus.


Thailand’s HIV/AIDS programs have been recognized around the world especially in stopping the virus passing from mother to child and in providing universal health care. However, the Labour Department this week only REQUESTED that workplaces stop the scandalous testing of potential employees. They should be DEMANDING and prosecuting to end a practice that has been illegal and flouted for many years.


People with HIV are not lepers – or even “sufferers”, as a daily newspaper in Thailand who should have known better, stated.

 

Those on anti-retroviral treatment with suppressed viral loads are not even infectious and all things considered have virtually the same life expectancy as anyone else!


That is unless they go on the roads……this week it was announced that the transport minister’s idea to establish a 120kmph speed limit was soon to be enshrined in law. In reality it only refers to certain main highways without U-turns, so virtually none that don’t have the regulation in place already!


In crime news, a senior police sergeant in Buriram went to a restaurant where he shot his ex-wife and murdered a couple of friends, while in Chonburi near a fish market some Thai tourists who were cooking seafood nearly became part of the barbecue when a nutter with a gasoline canister set fire to himself. Police said they would have a word with him.


Plod also plans to have a little chat with a woman in Sa Kaeo who was keeping her 89 year old father chained to a bed without food and water while she went to work at Big C.


On Friday it was announced that Thailand was buying 26 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford virus for 6 billion baht and would start vaccinations in May. This can’t come a day too soon, if not for the health of the people in Thailand then for the health of the devastated economy that affects so many.


Finally, a very touching story came from Nakornping Hospital in Chiang Mai where a young motorcyclist was taken after suffering catastrophic head injuries. Pictures put on Facebook showed medical staff and nurses ‘wai-ing’ the dead body. The reason for this soon became clear.


His mother and brother took the difficult decision not to prolong life by pointless surgery. Instead they gave permission for his organs to be cut out and donated to the Red Cross so that many others could enjoy a new lease on life.


It is to be hoped that more people in Thailand follow their fine example in thinking about others even at such a time of extreme personal grief.


I applaud them.


Rooster

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2020-12-05
 

I think you should go for. Xmas holidays already. If not avoidable come back next year with fresh stories 

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It was a freezing 13C early this morning in Loei where I am visiting with the in-laws!

The skies are clear, but the mornings are heavily shrouded in mist. It does warm up when the sun takes over. It's now 28C.  The humidity is only 40%, something I've never experienced in Phuket. It's reminiscent of a late autumn day back in Perth.

I've picked up a nasty head cold, the first I've had in Thailand after 10 years of living in Phuket. 

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Utter twaddle.  COLD ?????  For goodness sake get real man.  It is in fact perfect weather for human comfort.  It is still a hot temperature by anyones standard at about 30C - 32C each day but now with the NE dry air monsoon season the oppressive humidity we suffer from for most of the year has now mercifully gone away making it an ideal comfortable very warm climate with little if any rain and a refreshing lovely NE breeze.  Even at night it is still not going below 20C which once again is far from cold for nightime and with this lower nocturnal heat it makes sleeping easier and little if any need for air con at night to be able to sleep well.  Indeed my electicity bill has plumeted now the weather is so much more comfortable.  I have to add that my numerous Thai friends and family members also comment just how nice the much welcomed more refreshing comfortable drier air truly is.

 

We should all be celebrating that this year the perfect weather has arrived a little earlier than it has done over recent years where we frustratingly have barely got more than a couple of weeks of such great weather. Lets hope, like before climate change became so truly noticeable, that it will stay like this for 2 or 3 months like it used to do each year when I first came over to live in Thailand. 

 

How great it would be if we had this lovely dry cooler season weather all year long just with the occasionally needed heavy and steady rainfall we need (and at night too but that is expecting too much hmm).  Almost all of my friends and family visitors to Thailand indeed claim it is way too hot and sticky here with often too much rainfall as well.  Unlike well off folk, most of my visitors are ordinary fairly poor folk who cannot afford to come over at this time of year as everything, including flights, is as always much more expensive, and of course we are talking pre COVID19.  

Edited by rayw
typos and edits
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8 minutes ago, rayw said:

Utter twaddle.  COLD ?????  For goodness sake get real man.  It is in fact perfect weather for human comfort.  It is still a hot temperature by anyones standard at about 30C - 32C each day but now with the NE dry air monsoon season the oppressive humidity we suffer from for most of the year has now mercifully gone away making it an ideal comfortable very warm climate with little if any rain and a refreshinng lovely breeze.  Even at night it is still not going below 20C which again is still pretty warm for nithgtime but withthe lower heat it makes sleeping easier and little if any need for air con at night to be able to sleep well

{snipped}

Maybe you like the cold weather, but I for one don't. Different people enjoy different temperatures.
 

When I go to visit my friend locally, he has the aircon on all day at 22C and I have to take a coat, as I'm cold.

Last night in Udon it was 13C and was cold - by my standards, obviously not yours.
We only switched the fan on this afternoon when was warmer. Now at 7pm it's already down to 19C. I see the forecast for tonight says it will be down to 14C.

I like the hot weather, I have no intention of going back to the cold UK. The last time I went there it was 6C and my friend living there thought it was fine.

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Well written and witty Rooster. re the weather I have always found it just right not to hot (+34) not to cold (-10) Back home in Blighty the market traders as me where my shorts are as I am always in short sleeves all the year round only wear a jacket when it rains heavy. Nice to see you are not getting old yet as you didn't near to wear your onesie or long-johns last year.

Can I just add while writing that Poster dbnee and others. Don't have to ask that all the ghastly tourist do not come to Thailand anymore. Why ask for something that has already happened and will remain so for the rest of his or her life. 

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9 hours ago, Flying Saucage said:

Another masterpiece of your writing skills Rooster. Well written, funny and entertaining!

 

 

and

 

 

Well, so true. There is weather always and everywhere, so it's always a topic to talk about, a handy ice-braker when there is no other topic to talk about in situations when someone feels self-conscious and small talk urgently is required. But in your this weeks TWTW, you elevate this normally boring topic to a another form of language arts. Chapeau!

 

However, also this TWTW was not free of some quite questionable points, in my opinion:

 

 

Well, English is not my native language, so I am not sure if I understood "wretched" really correctly in the way you meant it in this sentence. But if the word "wretched" is really meant as my dictionary confirmed it to me, it is quite a bit wretched to call these brave youngsters wretched, Rooster!

 

And also:

 

 

Well, I as one of these forum curmudgeons critical of Thailands close ties to China am well capable to see the chronic kowtowing of the Thai government exclusively towards China as what it really is: A big danger to Thailand and its people. If you are not aware of what happens right now to Thailand, just have a look here to understand Chinas Road and Belt Initiative a little bit better:

 

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/15/the-belt-and-road-initiative-is-a-corruption-bonanza/
 

Mind that the generals watch collections just appeared during the negociations of the generals with China, about the submarines. Mind that the high-speed rail contracts were awarded to China without any open tender. And there are so many more examples.

 

Last year during a trip to to the Philippines I had a talk with a Charge d'Affaires of a Western country, who exactly confirmed my concerns regarding the ties of Thailands government to China as well. I trust that he, backed by the information flow of his country's secret services, knows quite well what happens with Thailand currently.

 

And also this might give you an idea:


https://www.thaienquirer.com/17341/is-thailands-foreign-minister-refusing-to-meet-with-western-countries/

 

Many of the forum curmudgeons understand and know where beloved Thailand currently is heading to under this government. And not only we 'forum curmudgeons' understand that. Also those "wretched leaders of tomorrow" do understand quite well:

 

https://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/2020/02/25/opposition-attacks-prayuts-ties-to-china-in-debate-day-2/

 

 

Anyway, I enjoy to read your weekly column. Not always for 100% because of its content, but definitely always because of your art of writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V interesting read. Please clarify something. If what you say is the case, is there a genuine reason on the Thai side of things why the inter-rail from Yunnan, will come to a halt at the Mekong, and not cross it, as was planned very concretely not so long ago? The thought of all those train passengers disembarking at Vientiane and catching a bus to the Friendship Bridge, is mind-boggling. Hopes for a White Elephant. The other Sino-Thai proposal I recently read about, which met a refusal allegedly, was a proposed shipping canal across the south of the country. On the surface the former seems a total turnaround and a point of considerable contention no? 

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Weather is always an interesting topic across cultures.

 

I'm a Southern Californian by birth, lived in several countries in Asia, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore & Japan and have ended up in South Dakota.

My Thai wife, lived in Chicago then Singapore.

 

We sort of concur we are good with cold and snow, so long as it's powder snow, not that awful heavy wet stuff. for a couple of months, then a hot dry summer

 

Asia can suck with regard to weather. A lot of it can be hot and humid to the point walk outside of the AC and you are sweating like a pig. Singapore was monotonous, every day hot in the morning, rain in the afternoon, steamy in the evening, 365.

 

We normally try to go back to our house in Thailand for a couple of months in the winter, it's warmer than our home but not too hot.

 

Everyone has different tastes, although the Brits get the worst. I've been visiting the UK for 40 odd years and it's one of the wettest climates I've ever known. That is miserable

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