Newley Purnell's home on the web since 2001

Month: November 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

Asian Games: Thailand women win gold in 4×100-meter relay

Some upbeat news for Thailand near the end of what has been a difficult year: The women’s 4×100-meter relay team won a gold metal Friday at the Guangzhou Asian Games.

AP has the details:

Thailand was the surprise winner of the women’s race, clocking 44.09 seconds as they interrupted Chinese dominance of six straight golds in the event. No female sprinters from Thailand finished in the top three of either the 100 or the 200, but that didn’t prevent them putting togther a winning team.

Nongnuch Sanrat flashed a wide smile as she overtook China’s Ye Jiabei in the final leg to give Thailand its first track and field gold in Guangzhou. It was sweet vindication for the 27-year-old Thai after she dropped the baton in the same race at the previous Asian Games in Doha four years ago.

“We lost at the Doha Asian Games and this time we came here for a gold medal,” her 30-year-old teammate Neeranuch Klomdee said. “I have trained for 10 years. Our team trained five days every week and we worked on strength, speed and co-operation.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Here’s a video — embedded below — of the race. Nongnuch’s sprint in the final leg is inspiring indeed. She takes the baton around the 3:20 mark.

Bangkok Post: “Court dismisses case against Dems”

To follow up on my previous post: This is just in from the Bangkok Post:

The Constitution Court on Monday dropped the electoral fraud case against the Democrat Party, ruling that the petition process was unlawful from the start.

The judges voted four to two against the petition brought by the Election Commission.

Stay tuned…

Constitution Court to rule Mon. on Democrat Party dissolution

Thailand political nerds only…

Thailand’s Constitution Court is due to rule Monday on a dissolution case against Prime Minister Abhisit’s Democrat Party. Here are some resources for reading up on the issues at hand:

For analysis, I suggest this Bangkok Pundit post, called “Why would the Democrats be dissolved?”

And here’s a Bangkok Post story about the Election Commission’s recommendation, during the red shirt protests back in April, that the party be dissolved.

The case is also mentioned in this Reuters story about political risks in Thailand.

And finally, today’s Nation offers this graphic, below, explaining the situation. Here’s a bigger version.


9 Links

Some Thailand related, some not…


  1. Thai “yellow shirts” rally to block charter reforms — Reuters
  2. Is this a portrait of a human 50 million years from now? — io9
  3. Remote Bhutan Aims to Draw Investors to the HimalayasWall Street Journal
  4. Experts try to convey danger of Indonesian volcano — The AP
  5. Thailand Confronts Its Issues With AbortionNew York Times
  6. Radio reporter covers D.C. with an iPhone only — PoynterOnline
  7. Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ RichesNew York Times
  8. Picture Cook — visual recipes
  9. How to Write a Great NovelWall Street Journal

Image above: From Hunter Davies’s book Postcards from the Edge of Football: A Social History of a British Game, via The Run of Play.

Red shirts protesting here in Bangkok today


Anti-government red shirt protesters are gathering here in Bangkok today to mark the six month anniversary of the May 19 army crackdown.

The image above, taken by by @RichardBarrow and shared via Twitpic, shows the gathering at Rajaprasong intersection at 3 p.m. local time, or about 45 minutes ago.

Here’s an AFP story about what may be in store:

Thai “Red Shirts” gathered on Friday outside a Bangkok prison where the movement’s leaders are held as they began events to mark six months since a deadly army crackdown on their anti-government rally.
Police estimate that 10,000 people will take to the streets by the evening in the upmarket central shopping zone that the Reds brought to a standstill earlier this year with their campaign for snap elections.

(Emphasis mine.)

Related post: some observations and photos from the Sept. 19 Rajaprasong gathering.

I may be posting more to Twitter at @newley, and you can consult the Bangkok Post and The Nation as the day progresses.

Following up on Aung San Suu Kyi and Viktor Bout


Not that the two are related, obviously. But given my absence last week, a couple of quick follow-ups:

First, I mentioned how to track the Myanmar elections online, so I wanted to weigh in again on a related topic: the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Here’s a NYT story about Saturday’s events, and here’s an interview she gave to the BBC not long after she was freed.

I recommend checking out this piece in the The Telegraph by Justin Wintle, who wrote a 2007 biography of Suu Kyi. He puts her release into perspective:

Any celebrations, however, are likely to be shortlived. Any thought that she will or can do a Nelson Mandela and walk to power in triumph is misbegotten. Should she opt to return to the hustings, or cause the regime any other kind of embarrassment, she will find herself confined to her residence for a fourth time, and probably without any eventual release date.

Having gone to such pains to protect and reinforce his position, Than Shwe is unlikely to seek a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi in the interests of national reconciliation or any other cause.

More ominously, Miss Suu Kyi’s restored freedom may allow the army’s dirty tricks department to complete the job so badly botched at Depayin in 2003.

On the face of it, then, Suu Kyi’s political ‘journey’ (to borrow Tony Blair’s way of seeing things) has been in vain.

By refusing to contest the 2010 election on the grounds that to do so would have meant both signing up to a new constitution launched by the junta in 2008 and acknowledging that the 1990 election result was now dead wood, the NLD has permanently damaged its ability to make any further meaningful contribution to Burmese political life.

(Emphasis mine.)

For more reading on the subject of potential reform in Myanmar, I suggest checking out this WSJ story, “Myanmar Opposition Group Has New Tack: Cooperation.” And here’s a more recent NYT story about what comes next for Suu Kyi.


And second, I wanted to point out that yesterday Viktor Bout — the alleged Russian arms dealer I’ve mentioned before — was extradited to the U.S. to face terrorism charges.

Here are stories from The AP, CNN, the NYT, and Bloomberg. More on this — and Myanmar — soon, I’m sure.

See you next week

I won’t be posting anything here at until next week. See you then.

(If anything momentous happens, you can look for me on Twitter, as ever, at: @newley.)

Following the Myanmar elections online


Myanmar is holding elections today for the first time in 20 years. Critics, however, say the vote is a sham designed to allow the military junta to remain in control of the country while claiming to be undertaking democratic reforms.

While it’s unlikely there will be any surprising developments, here are some resources for following today’s events online:

For background reading, here are three stories worth checking out:

Image: Reuters.

“Cool” weather comes to Bangkok


I know it’s been all-Thailand-flooding-all-of-the-time in these parts, but a quick note: This will come as no surprise to readers here in Bangkok, but the weather in the city has been absolutely delightful for the past week or so.

We’ve been spared the daily downpours as the rainy season has come to a close, and patches of bright blue have begun peeking through the normally overcast skies.

But what I’ve loved most of all is the relatively — and, if memory serves, unseasonably — “cool” temperatures.

We have been enjoying, if you can believe it, lows in the low 70s Fahrenheit (low 20s Celsius) in the mornings and at night. And it’s been even colder in northern Thailand.

Okay, so it’s hardly frigid here in Krungthep, but for a tropical climate, this dip in temps means the option of occasionally wearing long sleeve shirts. It means walking long distances without perspiring. And — at least for me — it means the ability to open the windows in my office and enjoy the cool breeze, rather than having to rely on air conditioning for a comfortable working environment.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering: As of yet, we have not forced our adopted street dog to bundle up with a sweater due to the cold, though other pooches in the neighborhood have not been spared such indignities.)

I’m not the only one who’s taken note of this meteorological change, of course: See the #ThaiCold Twitter hashtag for others’ reactions (mostly in Thai).

Here’s to the “cool” temperatures. Fingers crossed this weather holds through February.

Southern Thailand hit by flash floods

First it was flooding in central and northeast Thailand. And now the country’s south has been hit.

Here’s the front page of today’s Bangkok Post, which includes an image of flooding in the southern Thailand city of Hat Yai:


From the accompanying story:

Rescuers have struggled to get help to thousands of people stranded in their homes after three days of heavy rain triggered a massive flash flood that knocked down power poles and cut communications in Hat Yai city.

Officials said tens of thousands of people were trapped yesterday in the southern commercial hub which is facing its worst-ever flood crisis.

Torrential rains since Monday caused by a depression in the Gulf of Thailand engulfed Hat Yai municipality and many other areas of the South.

Many districts are under as much as three metres of water. One resident has been electrocuted during the flooding.

And here’s a closer look at weather patterns in the region — a larger image is here.


(All emphasis mine.)

(Screen captures via @RichardBarrow, who is tweeting images and updates on the situatuion.)

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén