Archive for December, 2004

Bloggers without borders

Bloggers without borders is a new website aimed at raising awareness for charities and charitable events around the world and I urge you all to take a look. Some of the people behind it are also the people behind Metroblogging and also our very own Bangkok Metblog. If nothing else, the BwoB site has gone live quickly (or quicker than expected, at least) because of what is going on here in Asia right now, so not only is it good timing, it is also incredibly relevant.

If you have a blog and would like to link to BwoB, please do. Please also feel free to replicate this post, or do your own.

Goodbye ’04

Well, it is the end of the year and although Thailand is most definetly not going out on a high

note, it is also a chance for a little look at our favourite things of ’04. So, without further ado… the categories

are:

Best Concert / Event
Best Book
Best Movie
Best Music
Best Game
Best thing to happen to Bangkok in 2004
Best place to eat
Best place to shop
Worst thing about 2004 in your city

My choices are after the cut. I hope to see many of yours in the comments.
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The Best Time of Year

It’s events like New Years and Songkran (the Thai New Year – which spans three days) that make Bangkok such a nice place to live in.

Everyone’s out of Bangkok and there isn’t as much traffic as usual, meaning there also isn’t as much pollution. Yes, this is one of the few times of the year that you can see the sky without a veil of pollution partially (or totally) obscuring it.

The good thing about the ‘farang’ New Year is that you don’t have millions of people trying to hose you down with water or throw bucket loads of it at you.

It’s so hard to decide which one is better. Sure you get wet during the Thai New Year, but it is three days and everyone knows three is better than one. Decisions!

A little good news in the mountain of misery

So much destruction, so many lives lost, and if clean water and effective sanitation are not available quickly, the disease toll may eventually top the wave toll. In all this misery, perhaps there is a small bit of good: The Bangkok Post reported today that “Tourist area land misuse ‘can now end’; Illegal resorts swept away won’t be rebuilt” The full story below:
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Resources

While I encourage you, the readers, to take in everyone’s views of the current S.E.A disaster situation, a local – and well-known – Bangkok website is constantly updating with many exclusive links and resources for those looking for friends and relatives in Thailand. So, click on over to 2Bangkok for more.

Translators, Volunteers, and Donations Needed

If anyone is able to help with the earthquake relief efforts, translators are needed at relief stations set up at Thammasat University (Rangsit campus) and volunteers are needed down South over the next few days. If you are able to help, please contact Pippa at (01) 810-5799
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Tsunami Tragedy’s Poster Boy – A Ray of Hope?

As the tsunami tragedy continues to flood various TV channels, radio stations and newspapers here in Thailand, everyone sits glued to the TV, watching in horror as the death toll continues to rise ever so steadily. Most Thais came home earlier this evening to learn that 800 bodies have just been found buried under the rubble at Sofitel Hotel in Phuket, sending Thailand’s death toll to 1,516. In a statement made earlier today, Thailand’s prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said that once this is all over, Thailand’s overall death toll could easily go over 2,000, or even higher.

But besides the mass horror stories, it’s the individual accounts that pull at the heart the most. Throughout the day, Thai journalists have been interviewing loads of people, ranging from fishermen, Swedish tourists, construction workers, and Thai vacationers hailing from Bangkok. With tears in their eyes, all of them held up photographs of their loved ones, pleading in earnest that should anyone spot them, to please notify them immediately. No one wants to think that those currently missing might in fact be dead. No one wants to give up hope, especially when there has already been an odd miracle story here and there. Everyone wants to think that their missing father, son, daughter or mother might still be alive; that there might still be the chance of a possible reunion.


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seven days

the royal family has just issued a statement that all celebrations have been called off for the next seven days in lieu of the tsunami tragedy and the death of the king’s grandson.

the nation newspaper just finished their holiday weekend issue, and now have to pull all the stories. i’m not sure if they’re gonna can the whole issue altogether or not.

my friend is still stuck on the liveboard she took out for her scuba diving trip in the similans. my prayers are with her and all the families affected by this tragedy.

Complacency, Part II: Anytime, Anywhere, Everyone

The marketing slogan for the Prime Minister’s mobile phone operator doesn’t just apply to the company’s touted network coverage, but also underscores that vulnerablity that all Bangkok citizen’s face with regards to petty theft. In this case, we’re talking about the PM’s wife, whose purse was snatched at a cafe in one of Bangkok’s more upscale and popular shopping centers.
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Quake, revisited

phuket.bmpIt’s not so much that I’m an insensitive bastard, but rather I tend to put my cynical, jaded foot into my cynical, jaded mouth. Back in 1989, I was very flippant and non-chalant about the Bay Area quake, not realizing at the time the full impact and resulting death toll that the quake would have. So when friends SMSed me this morning about tremors in Bangkok, my first thought was “Just another bunch of people making much ado about a jiggle that wouldn’t even cause your run-of-the-mill Californian to bat an eye.” And boy, was I wrong. Again.

The 5th largest recorded earthquake in recorded history, and a death toll almost 5,000 (almost 200 in Thailand alone, many of them tourists and divers who got swept out to sea). What a truly tragic and very “un-Christmas-sy” way to end the year. My prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.
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