Category Archives: Links Around the Web

Further Fabrications of KFC Hitler Fried Chicken Story – A study of lazy reporting.

andrew spooner twitted on 28 July 2013

@andrew spooner tweet on 28 July 2013

When @ Andrew Spooner,  tweeted an image of Adolf Hitler logo character resembling the colonel of  KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken Fast Food chain) o from Amusing Thailand website out to the Twitterverse,  he unleashed something that even he cannot stop…

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Raskols of Papua New Guinea

Raskols of Papua New Guinea

by Stephen Dupont

Am deciding if I should visit Papua New Guinea this year, via Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia.  The universe is wonderful as such, as soon as I open up the possibility of visiting this country, I keep finding these lovely images.

here’s a small write up about it

In 2004 Stephen Dupont infiltrated a Raskol community to document the individuals behind the facelessness of gag warfare. His Raskol series presents formal portraits of the “Kips Kaboni” or “Red Devils”, Papua New Guinea’s longest established Raskol group. By building trust… over several visits, Dupont was able to set-up a makeshift studio in which to photograph his subjects- mostly young, unemployed adults and teenagers who orchestrate raids, car-jackings and robberies as a means of survival. Raskols focuses on Papua New Guinean youth in crisis, men that have turned to crime, violence, anarchy in a bid to protect the future of themselves and their communities.

Afghanistan – The Extreme Tourist

The Extreme Tourist

I envy this crazy Australian filmmaker Sabour Bradley, the Extreme Tourist who travelled to Kabul, Afghanistan  in 2008 for love and did a travel show. Episodes include the famous Afghan bodybuilders, roller skate along the streets of Kandahar in pink spandex, casted genies out by a scorpion doctor.  Always wanted to visit Kurdistan and Afghanistan, a beautiful country!

An Indian Auto-Rickshaw driver goes online!

It’s not common that cab drivers have their own personal website around the world, but in India, where the internet is not as accessible for most auto-rickshaw drivers let alone most lower-economic class Indians. This makes the news.

One enterprising auto-rickshaw in Chennai, India has his own website call Tuktasic

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A Korean Comedian who speaks Arabic

Wonho Chung is an incredibly funny Korean comedian who speaks fluent Arabic, born in Saudi Arabia to Korean and Vietnamese parents. He is hilarious to watch!

Axis of Evil Comedy tour

CouchSurfing in Singapore getting known to the Media

Sep 22, 2009

Couch surfing catching on 5,090 in Net-based service to host travellers, up from 17 here in 2004

By Jessica Lim

EACH year, Ms Juana Jumat lets about 20 strangers into her home, some from far-flung places such as Estonia, Russia and South Africa.

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Beware! Bangkok Airport scam by Thai Airport Police!

Tourists warned of Thailand airport scam

By Jonathan Head
BBC News, Bangkok

Bangkok's showcase new international airport is no stranger to controversy.

Built between 2002 and 2006, under the governments of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the opening date was repeatedly delayed.

It has been dogged by allegations of corruption, as well as criticism of the design and poor quality of construction.

Then, at the end of last year, the airport was shut down for a week after being occupied by anti-government protesters.

Now new allegations have been made that a number of passengers are being detained every month in the duty free area on suspicion of shoplifting, and then held by the police until they pay large sums of money to buy their freedom.

That is what happened to Stephen Ingram and Xi Lin, two IT experts from Cambridge, as they were about to board their flight to London on the night of 25 April this year.

They had been browsing in the duty free shop at the airport, and were later approached by security guards, who twice asked to search their bags.

They were told a wallet had gone missing, and that Ms Lin had been seen on a security camera taking it out of the shop.

The company that owns the duty free shop, King Power, has since put the CCTV video on its website, which does appear to show her putting something in her bag. However the security guards found no wallet on either of them.

Despite that, they were both taken from the departure gate, back through immigration, and held in an airport police office. That is when their ordeal started to become frightening.


"We were questioned in separate rooms," Mr Ingram said. "We felt really intimidated. They went through our bags and demanded that we tell them where the wallet was."

The two were then put in what Mr Ingram describes as a "hot, humid, smelly cell with graffiti and blood on the walls".

Mr Ingram managed to phone a Foreign Office helpline he found in a travel guide, and was told someone in the Bangkok embassy would try to help them.

The next morning the two were given an interpreter, a Sri Lankan national called Tony, who works part-time for the police.

They were taken by Tony to meet the local police commander – but, says Mr Ingram, for three hours all they discussed was how much money they would have to pay to get out.

They were told the charge was very serious. If they did not pay, they would be transferred to the infamous Bangkok Hilton prison, and would have to wait two months for their case to be processed.

Mr Ingram says they wanted £8,000 ( about $13,000) – for that the police would try to get him back to the UK in time for his mother's funeral on 28 April.

But he could not arrange to get that much money transferred in time.

'Zig-zag' scheme

Tony then took Ms Lin to an ATM machine and told her to withdraw as much as she could from her own account – £600. He then withdrew the equivalent of £3,400 from his own account.

According to Mr Ingram this was then handed over to the police, and they were both forced to sign a number of papers.

Later they were allowed to move to a squalid hotel within the airport perimeter, but their passports were held and they were warned not to leave or try to contact a lawyer or their embassy.

"I will be watching you," Tony told them, adding that they would have to stay there until the £8,000 was transferred into Tony's account.

On the Monday they managed to sneak out and get a taxi to Bangkok, and met an official at the British Embassy.

She gave the name of a Thai lawyer, and, says Mr Ingram, told them they were being subjected to a classic Thai scam called the "zig-zag".

Their lawyer urged them to expose Tony – but also warned them that if they fought the case it could take months, and they risked a long prison sentence.

After five days the money was transferred to Tony's account, and they were allowed to leave.

Mr Ingram had missed his mother's funeral, but at least they were given a court document stating that there was insufficient evidence against them, and no charge.

"It was a harrowing, stressful experience," he said.

The couple say they now want to take legal action to recover their money.

'Typical' scam

The BBC has spoken to Tony and the regional police commander, Colonel Teeradej Phanuphan.

They both say Tony was merely helping the couple with translation, and raising bail to keep them out of prison.

Tony says about half the £8,000 was for bail, while the rest were "fees" for the bail, for his work, and for a lawyer he says he consulted on their behalf.

In theory, he says, they could try to get the bail portion refunded.

Colonel Teeradej says he will investigate any possible irregularities in their treatment. But he said any arrangement between the couple and Tony was a private affair, which did not involve the police.

Letters of complaint to the papers here in Thailand make it clear that passengers are regularly detained at the airport for alleged shoplifting, and then made to pay middlemen to win their freedom.

The Danish Embassy says one of its nationals was recently subjected to a very similar scam, and earlier this month an Irish scientist managed to flee Thailand with her husband and one year-old son after being arrested at the airport and accused of stealing an eyeliner worth around £17.

Tony told the BBC that so far this year he has "helped" about 150 foreigners in trouble with the police. He says sometimes he does it for no charge.

The British Embassy has also warned passengers at Bangkok Airport to take care not to move items around in the duty free shopping area before paying for them, as this could result in arrest and imprisonment.

Have you used Bangkok's main airport recently? Do you have any stories to tell about how you were treated there? Send us your comments:

A similar system operates in Cambodia. Police arrest foreigners in the street and you are contacted by someone who claims to have influence with the police and judges and who asks for large sums for your immediate release, which doesn't happen. I was even told at my friend's trial that the police would provide witnesses of my friend's offence if more money was not immediately provided. Even though there was no evidence against him and he was acquitted, a large sum had to be paid to the prison authorities for his release. John Smith, Doncaster, England

Two friends and I travelled to Bangkok 29 December 2008. We were really worried about the situation there, as the airport had just been closed for some time several weeks before. Aside being quite harassed by taxi drivers who wanted to take us to hotels they no doubt received commission from, the experience wasn't very trying at all. Connor, Chicago, IL, USA

Another scam at Bangkok Airport is when the Thai customs meet passengers off airplanes from Dubai/Qatar where there is cheap duty free. The customs tell passengers to put duty free items inside their check-in luggage when they take it off the carousel – or they will be prosecuted for smuggling. They then tell people that it will be OK not to show or declare any duty free items. When the passengers reach the arrivals area, the customs pounce and you are arrested and taken to customs head office at BANG NA and told to pay four times the duty or go straight to jail. There is an ATM machine next door to the customs office. Your goods are kept by the officers and they then pocket the money you have paid them and you are free to go without any criminal record. Paul Grant, London, UK

Same happened to me in April this year. The police arrested me and charged me approx £400. There were 5 of us in our group, we purchased 1000 cigarettes at Heathrow, but on leaving the plane at Bangkok the police approached me and told me to keep them in one bag. I did as I was told, and that was the set up, so when I got through customs with the other four people they arrested me and would not accept what we told them. They took copies of my passport and made me sign at least six documents, all in Thai. They would not give me copies so at this moment I don't know what I signed. They escorted me to an ATM. I have been in touch with the British consulate who asked me if I want to make a complaint but I don't want to go to another country and find they have done something to my passport. I will never return to Thailand again, it was the scariest time of my life. Lynn Ward, UK

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James Nachtwey on Extreme Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

My favorite photojournalist James Nachtwey was awarded the TED Prize in 2007 given a grant of us$100,000 and ‘One wish To change the world’. (If you have the time, go visit TED talks on their website for some inspiring great ideas on science, business and arts.)

Nachtwey best know for his stark images on humanity took the grant and started the project to highlight on Extreme Drug Resisant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB). Once treatable common disease has mutated through mis-management.

Everyone should be informed and educated that there is a serious concern that it might turn into a pandemic with no cure.

We have forgotten that Tuberculosis once plagued our world only a few decades ago. We have become complacent again, and this disease might be coming back on a pandemic level. XDR-TB arises when a patient with the common TB gets misdiagnosed or not treated. A simple treatment is all that is needed, as usual politics and money gets in the way.

Spread the word and bring attention to everyone at

James Nachtwey’s haunting photos of TB patients were taken from Thailand, Cambodia, India, Siberia, Lesotho brings us to the harsh reality. James Nachtwey’s haunting photos of TB patients were taken from Thailand, Cambodia, India, Siberia, Lesotho brings us to the harsh reality. His social documentary photos are filled with humanity that changes you. While his intentions are not to shock us, it shakes our attention and brings us back to reality, the gritty truth of what is really happening in the world.

Baraaza : A new travel review community site

There’s a new travel community based site call, I received an invitation to join them. You are suppose to contribute your travel experiences, reviews and create destination guides for others.

Have yet to do a proper look around, the setup and the look of the website seems pretty useful. Once you have sign up, you are provide with some blog like feature, a place to upload your photos, share your travel ideas and destinations. There’s the community forum which you can post all your travel questions, reviews or any activities.

It looks promising but only if they could attract a large mass who would contribute, at the moment there are only a few contributors, its a little quiet. With so many other travel sites out there such as the popular travelblog to compete with, not sure if it is worth a second visit just yet.

Here is what it says at their website : is a travel network that connects people who love to travel with inside information about any destination on the globe. Members connect with other travelers and natives from around the world to discover unique, direct-from-the-source information about amazing spots and travel activities. We hope the information exchanged on our site will quickly inform baraaza travelers and enhance their overall travel experience.

Journey of a Lifetime – a travel grant

I received an email, inviting talented travellers to participate in this travel grant organised by the Royal Geographical Society (UK) and BBC radio 4.

The catch is you have to fly to London should you be shortlisted for an interview. The Deadline is on Friday 26 September 2008. The chosen applicant would get £4,000 for their dream journey and a chance to make a radio documentary of it.

Great opportunity for those who would love to get their hands on some travel funding on their next dream trip. Go for it!

Journey of a Lifetime – A Grant

For those with a genuine curiosity about the world around them, the Journey of a Lifetime is a grant of £4,000 for an original and inspiring journey anywhere in the world. The winner will receive training in radio broadcasting from the BBC and will record their experiences for a BBC Radio 4 documentary.

The aim of the award is to inspire an interest in the people and places of the world
and to discover new radio broadcasting talent.

About the award

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), in partnership with BBC Radio 4, offers you the chance to make a journey of a lifetime and to tell the world about it in a memorable piece of radio documentary-making. Each year the RGS-IBG and the BBC support the best idea for an original, exciting, and exceptional journey. It is important that the project takes you somewhere fresh, different and original. Therefore it is a good idea to bear in mind where the previous winners have been (Egypt in 2006, Kenya in 2007). For further details please see our website.

Your journey needs really to matter to you: we need to feel your passion and enthusiasm and Radio 4 listeners need to be fascinated. The BBC already broadcasts a lot of documentaries about faraway places. When developing your idea, make sure it is the sort of thing journalists rarely have the time to cover. Most reporters can only afford the time and money to make short visits to meet important people and do not get immersed in the local society.

The programme you will be making needs to tell your story – and that of the journey and the place you will be visiting – in a graphic and attractive way.

Think of all the audio potential in the idea – not just indigenous music and sounds, but how you are going to find interesting sounds within the substance of the journey (by keeping an audiodiary, for example). Radio is very good on atmospherics and imaginative pictures, but you need to think about what your journey and your destination offer to create those pictures.

In terms of where you choose to go –anywhere you can think of is potentially an interesting destination.

Eligibility guidelines

  • You will be travelling between February and July 2009
  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over
  • BBC, RGS-IBC staff and their close relatives are not eligible to apply for grants
  • The BBC will retain editorial control over any programme it may make. It cannot guarantee that any programme it may make will be broadcasted.
  • Interviews will be held, in London. You must be able to attend these interviews in person
  • Applications from small teams rather than solo travellers are accepted, but please make it clear in your application if this is the case
  • The award is for independent travel. We will NOT consider any journey joining a commercial expedition or pre-paid tour, including organised charity fundraising tours

Application process

Applications may be submitted electronically in word format, by mail, or by fax by 26 September 2008.

Initial Proposal

Applying to the Journey of a Lifetime Award is easy. We are only looking for the ‘pitch’ of your
idea at this stage- the core idea that makes this your Journey of a Lifetime. Your pitch should be
no longer than 550 words and should provide;

  1. A Two line summary- A very brief description of your planned journey. Think of this as what Journey of a Lifetime £4,000 and a BBC Radio 4 documentary for an inspiring and original journey would appear as your headline in the Radio Times.
  2. A 250-300 word description of the journey in more detail. You do not have to include everything listed here, but it may help you to consider;
  • Why is this a journey of a lifetime
  • Why will this make a good radio broadcast – Why is this of interest to the audience
  • How will you achieve the journey – What will you get out of it
  • What will the audience get out of it
  • Why you and not somebody else
  • How did you hear about the award

Please remember to keep this brief. At this stage we are not looking for detailed route plans and

Applications should be submitted by email, mail, or fax to the grants officer at the society by 26
September 2008. From the initial proposals, up to ten projects will be shortlisted by a panel of
judges. Those selected will be asked to prepare a detailed proposal.

Detailed Proposal
Applications should be submitted electronically in word format, by mail, or by fax and must contain the following information:

  • Title and short abstract (max 100 words)
  • Full contact details
  • A description of your journey. This might include your motivation for the journey, a description of the aspects of the journey that would make interesting radio, your aspirations following the journey and your previous travel experience. (1,000 words)
  • A breakdown of the budget for the different aspects of the journey.
  • An outline timetable for the journey.
  • A risk assessment and safety management plan (max 300 words).
  • Please include the latitude and longitude of your destination (These are used by the RGS-IBG to geocode information about our grants programme in GIS)
  • Please indicate how you heard about the Journey of a Lifetime Award.


  • Interviews will be held at the RGS-IBG in December 2008.
  • After the interviews two of the applicants will be asked to attend a training day at the BBC. A final decision regarding the winner will be made following this training day. This training day is part of the evaluation.


  • Within a month of your return you should submit a 1000 word report detailing your journey and including three to five digital images that capture the spirit of the project.
  • The award winner may be asked to present a lecture on the project work at the RGS-IBG at a mutually convenient date
  • The Society’s support should be acknowledged in all publications and outputs. Copies of any such publications and outputs should be submitted to the Society
  • Award details may be published in the Society’s publications and on the website
  • The RGS-IBG requires that the projects it funds be conducted in an ethical and responsible manner and that recipients fulfil all their institution’s health and safety requirements and ethical approvals.
  • Full details of the Society’s ethical guidelines for research can be found at

Note: Digital photographs should be in JPEG or TIFF format and at a quality of 300 dpi or more in A5 size.

Contact/ Applications
Grants Officer
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
1 Kensington Gore
T: (0) 20 7591 3073
F: (0) 20 7591 3031

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) offers many other grants for different areas of geographical research at different career stages.
Full details of all grants can be found at

Please note: an application may only be made for one grant per project, with the exception of the Henrietta Hutton Research Grants and the Gilchrist Fieldwork Award.