Via the blog Thai 101 comes a couple of great Thai pop music videos from the 1980’s.
First is this video (embedded below), “Door of the Heart,” a 1982 tune by a band called Sao Sao Sao. (Warning: official page contains auto-loading midi music.). ((For some reason, this song reminds me of the all-female Japanese punk rock band Shonen Knife‘s tune called “Banana Chips“. Except, well, “Door of the Heart” is much softer, slower…and in Thai.))
If you spend a few weeks — or even a few days — in Thailand, you’re likely to hear this song on the radio or performed live. ((You can find the lyrics here; the words contain an interesting take on international trade policy.))
Visit the link to Thai 101 above to find more Thai music videos from the 1980s.
The Bangkok Bugle is a (relatively) new-to-me blog that’s worth checking out. Tag line: “news, views, and opinions from Thailand’s media industry.”
I especially enjoyed this recent post about how subscriber-addressed magazines — such as a recent New Yorker with the label from a US subscriber still affixed — end up for sale in Bangkok’s Chatuchack market. Check out the post for the answer.
AP: “Thai academic accused of insulting monarchy flees“:
A prominent academic facing 15 years in prison for allegedly insulting Thailand’s monarchy fled to England, saying Monday he does not believe he will receive a fair trial.
Ji Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, was charged last month under the so-called lese majeste law over a book about Thailand’s 2006 military coup. His case is the latest in a spate of prosecutions and increased censorship of Web sites allegedly critical of the royal family.
“There is no justice in Thailand,” said Ji in an e-mail sent Monday to The Associated Press. “The regime seems to be inching toward a police state.”
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lese majeste laws, mandating a jail term of three to 15 years for “whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent.”
Here’s a round-up of some links that have caught my eye of late:
Steve Yelvington on the future of newspapers: “Stop the irrational negativity: Newspapers are not dead.” And don’t miss his post about local news sites: “The three primary roles your local website should play.” (Related Newley.com post about newspapers on online journalism here.)
The New York Times has a great story about an Italian tourist who recently ventured to Iraq: “Falluja’s Strange Visitor: A Western Tourist.”
My pal Austin Bush recently posted a dispatch and some images from the town of Mae Hong Son, in Thailand’s northwest: “Screw Provence.” (More on Mae Hong Son province here.)
The Run of Play is my new favorite soccer blog. (It’s written by Brian Phillips, who penned the Slate story about Masal Bugduv, which I mentioned recently.) Related, fun football link: BrazilName: Create your own Brazil football shirt
I read a lot of James Wright‘s poetry in college. And I thought of his imagistic work the other day and began consulting The G00g. This poem is one of my favorites: “Having Lost My Sons, I Confront the Wreckage of the Moon: Christmas, 1960.”
Atul Gawande in the New Yorker: “Getting There from Here: How should Obama reform health care?“
The WJS’s Weekend Journal Asia has a round-up of interesting Asia reads: “Asia’s Best Books: Our Top Picks of 2008.”
AP: “Jolie asks Thailand to help Burmese refugees“
Angelina Jolie has called on Thailand’s government to give more freedom to tens of thousands of Burmese refugees it has kept locked inside camps for up to 20 years.
The Academy Award-winning actress and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Refugee Agency visited Thailand’s Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee center Wednesday.
“I was saddened to meet a 21-year-old woman who was born in a refugee camp, who has never even been out of the camp and is now raising her own child in a camp,” Jolie was quoted as saying by UNHCR in a statement released Thursday.
She asked Thai authorities to give around 110,000 refugees in northern Thailand greater freedom to move around and seek higher education, because they are unlikely to be welcomed back anytime soon to Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Bloomberg: “Angelina Jolie, UN Envoy, Asks Thailand to Aid Myanmar Refugees“
Angelina Jolie, a United Nations goodwill ambassador, asked Thailand to accept Muslim migrants fleeing Myanmar’s military authorities during a visit to refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border.
Thailand is facing an international outcry over its treatment of the minority Muslim Rohingya group, after CNN published a photo showing armed forces towing refugee boats away from the shore on Jan. 26. Five of six boats towed in late December sank, killing several hundred people, CNN reported.
Jolie issued the plea during a visit yesterday to camps in northern Thailand that house 111,000 mostly ethnic Karen and Karenni refugees from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
There’s also an accompanying article on the UN Web site.
BANGKOK (AFP) — Thailand launched its annual war games Wednesday with troops from the United States, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia linking up with Thai forces for two weeks of joint military exercises.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the biggest war games in Southeast Asia in the northern city of Chiang Mai, US Deputy Chief of Mission James Entwistle said the focus would be on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
“Multinational responses to regional crises are likely to be the norm in the future. It is therefore vital that friends train together in order to better address future requirements,” Entwistle told the gathering.
“Cobra Gold is unparalleled in preparing our militaries for the real-world priorities of peace support, stability and reconstruction, humanitarian assistance and combat operations,” he said.
About 11,600 military personnel from the five nations are involved in the games, which run until February 17.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Dozens of refugees from Myanmar, rescued by the Indonesian Navy after drifting aboard a wooden boat at sea for almost three weeks, are receiving treatment at a hospital in Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesian officials said Tuesday.
About 200 refugees, all of them men, were found by a local fisherman Monday afternoon. It was the second boatload of refugees from Myanmar to land in Aceh in the last month.
Interviews by Indonesian Navy personnel indicated the men are all part of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar who had fled to Thailand in December.
Survivors from the first boat, which was found in early January and was also carrying about 200 men, told Indonesian authorities that they had been rounded up by the Thai military after escaping Myanmar, and then were beaten, towed out to sea and abandoned.
The survivors rescued Monday told Navy personnel a similar story, adding that originally there was a flotilla of nine motorless boats that had been led out to sea by the Thais, containing about 1,200 people.
Hong Kong blogger Thomas Crampton ((You’ll recall that he also recently interviewed Curtis Winston about the Thai film industry.)) interviewed Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last weekend. Embedded below is the brief video interview. Crampton also has the full transcript on his site.
In the interview, Abhisit says exiled PM Thaksin Shinawatra should return to Thailand to face the charges against him.
“[Thaksin] still has influence,” says Abhisit. “He still has supporters, but the Thai government must prove that our country will enforce the law in a non-discriminatory way. I can assure him that he will get a fair treatment. It is our clear policy and every intention to do just that.”