Monthly Archives: May 2011

Thailand FA chief Worawi: cleared by FIFA

To follow up on previous posts regarding England’s failed World Cup bid, the cancelled Thailand-England friendly, and allegations against Football Association of Thailand President Worawi Makudi, I wanted to point out a Retuers/Bangkok Post story today. It says:

Thailand’s Worawi Makudi and three other Fifa executive committee members accused by former English FA chairman David Triesman of seeking favours for votes have been cleared, soccer’s governing body said on Sunday.

Here’s the FIFA statement, and here’s a detailed “review of allegations” (PDF).

For an overview of the crisis that has engulfed FIFA, by the way, I suggest reading this Rob Hughes piece — headline: “FIFA’s Mess Gets Even Messier” — in today’s NYT/IHT.

WSJ: “Thaksin’s Sister Pulls Ahead in Thai Polls”

Today’s WSJ notes that:

Fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra’s bold move to name his youngest sister as a candidate for prime minister appears to be changing the complexion of Thailand’s coming elections–and might provide the controversial politician a ticket home after nearly three years in exile.

Initial opinion polls suggest Yingluck Shinawatra is now leading the race to form the next government. A Suan Dusit Rajabhat University poll released over the weekend shows her opposition For Thais Party gaining 43% of the vote—up from 41% a week earlier—compared with the 37% for the ruling Democrat Party.

(Emphasis mine.)

More on American citizen arrested on lese majeste charges

An update to my post from Friday:

In a May 27 story, the New York Times calls the arrest “the latest in a string of cases…”

As I mentioned on Friday, there are also stories from the BBC and Reuters.

Today’s Bangkok Post says the man faces a “new security charge”:

A Thai-born man with American citizenship arrested on a charge of lese majeste has also been charged with committing an offence against national security, Department of Special Investigation chief Tharit Pengdit says.

This has provided grounds for the DSI to oppose the man’s request for bail, Mr Tharit said.

Lerpong Wichaikhammat, also known as Joe Gordon, is being held in a Bangkok prison after a court denied his request for bail.

(Emphasis mine.)

9 links

Some Thailand related, some not…

  1. Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of JournalismThe Atlantic
  2. El Bulli Is the Greatest Restaurant in the WorldNew York Times
  3. Is it possible to pirate-proof a yacht? — BBC News
  4. A Year at War: The Chaos of War, Up CloseNew York Times
  5. Action figures of “four global revolutionaries” — couvertureandthegarbstore.com
  6. The Catalan kings: The management secrets of Barcelona Football ClubThe Economist
  7. Cut This Story! Newspaper articles are too longThe Atlantic
  8. Area 51 ‘Uncensored’: Was It UFOs Or The USSR? — NPR
  9. Video embedded above: “Hey You! What Song are you Listening to?” on YouTube

American arrested on lese majeste charges

A quick note to point out a story that has just emerged today. The AP reports:

An American has been arrested in Thailand for allegedly insulting its monarchy, a serious offense in this Southeast Asian nation punishable by up to 15 years in jail. The U.S. Embassy confirmed the arrest but gave few details.

There’s more from AFP.

UPDATE: There are also stories, now, from the BBC and Reuters.

Observations on “The Hangover Part II”

Update: Bill Clinton is said to have visited the set, but apparently did not film a scene. So scratch the bit about that portion being edited out.

2011 05 26 hangover2

Just briefly, here are eight tweets I recently wrote containing a few observations about “The Hangover Part II,” which I saw last night. The film, as you may know, is set in Thailand. Start from the bottom…

8. The Ebert review is worth checking out, as is this Atlantic run-down of the critical response so far: http://is.gd/5JXsa5

7. Final two thoughts (for now) on “Hangover 2.” Yes, it’s raunchy. But anyone who’s familiar with the first film shouldn’t be surprised.

6. Lebua hotel features prominently. Chiang Mai is also referenced. Overall, a fun if silly jaunt. But there were plenty of laughs.

5. Unlike many films set on Bangkok, this one gets beyond the street level, with plenty of shots of the river, the skyline, etc.

4. While some may not appreciate the way Thailand is portrayed, nothing is beyond the pale.

3. All the crazy stuff is there: drugs, foreign gangsters, a drug-dealing monkey, you name it.

2. Various scenes with nudity are pixillated, and Bill Clinton scene was cut entirely.

1. Saw “The Hangover 2” here in Bangkok tonight. A few thoughts: The version showing here appears edited…

(Image via Wikipedia.)

Coming soon to a (Chinese) market near you: Malaysian durians

2011 05 25 durian

The AP reports that Malaysia is set to begin exporting durians to mainland China, “challenging Thailand’s virtual monopoly on shipments of the spiky, stinky delicacy that many Southeast Asians hail as ‘the king of fruits'”:

The breakthrough Tuesday for Malaysia’s durian growers comes after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Kuala Lumpur last month and formally agreed to allow the entry of Malaysian durians, which some fans insist are deliciously creamier and more aromatic than Thai-grown ones.

Read the whole thing. Fascinating stuff.

(Via 2Bangkok. Image via Wikipedia.)

Thailand’s GDP rises 3% for quarter

The WSJ‘s lede sums up the new data:

Thailand’s economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, but at a slower pace than market expectations, driven by strong domestic demand and record exports, though the natural disasters that hit Japan in March could trim the expansion in the April-June period.

The BBC notes that the economy “has grown by 3% in the first three months of 2011, helped by increases in both exports and consumer spending”:

This growth from a year earlier compares with a 3.8% rise in the last three months of 2010, said the National Economic and Social Development Board.

Thailand has been trying to boost growth after civil unrest last year.

The government has called elections in July and the strength of the economy will be a main issue.

The story includes a sidebar on food costs that begins:

Going to lunch costs more in Bangkok nowadays. Office workers seeking their standard bowl of noodles at a nearby food-hall have seen the price jump by 10 baht (£0.20; $0.33) in recent weeks. Coconuts, vegetables, fish – all are pricier in the fresh food markets which most households rely on.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg points out that inflation could be a problem:

Thai economic growth accelerated in the first quarter to the fastest pace in a year, adding pressure for higher borrowing costs to contain inflation as the government prepares for a July 3 election

And there’s this, on the baht:

The Thai baht fell 0.3 percent to 30.38 per dollar and has dropped about 1.3 percent in 2011, the worst performer among major Southeast Asian economies. That aids exports while providing less of a buffer against costlier global food and oil.

And more details on economic growth:

Thailand’s GDP advanced 3 percent last quarter from a year earlier, compared with 3.8 percent in the previous period, today’s report showed. The median estimate in another Bloomberg survey was for a gain of 2.6 percent.

The development board is maintaining its forecast for an expansion of 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent this year, said Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, its secretary-general.

Neighboring Singapore last week raised its 2011 GDP growth forecast to as much as 7 percent and Malaysia predicts its economy will expand up to 6 percent as Asia fights price pressures stoked by economic expansion.

Thai Airways to launch budget airline next year

2011 05 23 TG

MCOT says Thai Airways will launch a low-cost carrier in April, 2012:

The new airline has not yet been given a name. “Thai Silk”, “Thai Wings” and “Thai Fly” were initially offered for selection by the public and THAI staff.

And:

Mr Ampon added that the board, meanwhile, approved the extension period of THAI and Singapore’s Tiger Airways contract for another three months. If by then Thai Tiger Aiways, earlier planned to be operated by both airlines, cannot yet be set up, Thai Airways International will cancel its joint venture with the Singaporean counterpart.

There are also stories from Reuters, the WSJ and the Bangkok Post.