Tag Archives: Thailand

The Thai Medium and the tattoos

Yantra tattoos are one of the most beautiful art works I have seen. This is pure skin art with a religious focus. It is said that to have these tattoos are a form of blessings, the Yantra or Sak Yant  gives protection or even magical powers. This is typical Thai and sometimes Cambodia influence, a mixed of the local pagan rituals mixed with this form of mystic Buddhism.

The monk went into a light trance and wore his mask, invoking the spirit power of that mask’s being. He chanted while giving blessings to a patron, while the rest of the devotees awaits for their turn. Using the same bamboo stick that is used for his tattoos, he blessed each chakra point of the devotee. In exchange each devotee gives an offering to the spiritual being that was invoked.

 

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Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand

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Once a year, the Chinese in Phuket Old Town would have a week long celebrations oddly named Vegetarian Festival. The Thailand Tourism Board renamed it for the Tourists dollar.

The Chinese here celebrate the Ninth God Celebration, a festival which sends off the Ninth God of the Taoist Heavens.

As a gruesome and almost bizzare way of cleansing themselves from Karma and Sin, the Ninth God devotees would go into a trance and perform these piercings. Phuket old town turns into a hectic frenzy during October with all the devotees from all over Thailand coming and participating in the processions.

Some devotees would possess different Gods and get into an aggressive trance for a day long procession, they would begin from Ninth god emperor’s temple in the old town, joining the procession in Phuket Old town before ending their devoted offerings at their chosen temple.

Each year, more devotees compete with each other to have as many bizzare objects as their piercings.  Out-doing each other and attracting audiences Part of the ritual involves going through a complete vegetarian diet and getting into a trance to invoke and possess the various Gods of their choosing. Quite a sight!

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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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Vegetarian Festival like you never seen before

Think the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand is a benign occasion where meek vegetarians run around promoting eating vegetables and no killing of animals?

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Recap : Anti Government Protest Area Yellow Shirt Protesters 2008

In 2008, I visited Bangkok, Thailand, when the then incumbent prime minister declared State of Emergency, the political breakdown of Thaksin Government occurred 2 years before.

The Yellow shirts, or Anti-Thaksin supporters quickly set up protests around the Central Government region and called for the return of Thaksin (who fled to London) to face legal arrest for corruption.

Around Feb, 2006, Prime Minister Thaksin was ousted due to his sales of Shin Corporation (Shin Corp) a leading Thai telecommunications company to Singapore’s government affiliated Temasek Company. The Thais mainly middle and upper class citizens were upset that Thakin family had pocketed billions of dollars from the sale without paying the appropriate taxes for it. Come 2008, the controversy went on with Thai law regarding foreign investments in the telecom sector had been amended just prior to the sale. The resulting political turmoil forced Thaksin government to order the dissolution of the Lower House and a puppet government affiliated with Thakin was put in power, much to the Thais dissatisfaction. When the government had called for the non-taxation of Shin Corp’s sale, the Yellow shirts had quickly organised an anti-government campaign, calling for the return of Thaksin to be trialed for corruption.

Present day 2010 Thailand seems to have turned 360, with the Red Shirts, Pro Thaksin Supporters (mainly rural regions) calling for the return of Thaksin and for the new re-elections and claiming the incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva election was illegitimate.

I can’t comment on Thai politics as I am not living there, am neither a supporter or against any governments. The Yellow shirt demonstration back in 2008 seemed more like a carnival event than a political demonstration. However it was quite interesting to note that local businesses were supporting the anti-corruption stance against the former Thaksin government by offering the protestors with food, lodging and other amenities instead of larger political parties.

I wonder what are the political motivations for the Red shirts this time, who is financially supporting these anti-government supporters? And why don’t the Thais learn from previous mistakes?

Images of Luang Prabang, Laos

A short trip to Laos (Republic of Lao) in Feb 2007 for the Chinese New Year. It was one of those random trips which I had decided spur of the moment.

Took the plane to Udon Thani Airport, Thailand and crossed the border to Lao, and unto Vietiane by local bus. The Thai bus system is terrific and you can easily access anywhere by public buses.

Had originally decided to visit just Vietiane since I only had a few days to spare. Vietiane didn’t impress me much, a dull city without any personality, built like any non-chalant China sub-city with giant block non-script buildings. Decided to do a whole 12hr bus ride to Luang Prabang. I was kinda glad I made that trip to the World Heritage Site.

Would have been miserable in Vietiane, it was dusty and hot and wildy uncomfortable. The weather was a little cooler in the highlands, althought the skies were overcasted with haze and you could hardly see the clouds, this being the dry season where most of the Mekong river was dry.

It was also the Chinese New Year period, and the whole place was filled with tourists from South China as well as tourists from Thailand. Took me a few hours to find decently priced accomodation during the holiday period. Cheapest I found was average us$25-35 a night.



Luang Prabang -This was the first scene that I woke up to the next morning after a long 12 odd hour bus ride from Vietiane. Loved the mountainous folds, being the dry season, it was hazy and all i saw was grey cloudless skies. The weather being cool was a welcome relief from the sweltering city of Vietiane.


The rather uncomfortable motor boat takes tourists down the Mekong River to Vietnam


The dry season when the Mekong river slows to almost halt.


Bridge to the other side of town. Locals walk free, but foreigners have to pay the bridge toll, equivalent to $1.


As with most places, Luang Prabang seem to be in a massive change, they had some construction going on at the river beds and around the historical town. The whole place was changing, and slowly being turned into tourist museum. Many local residents have moved out, leaving many of the ancient houses renovated into hotels or shops. Every block I explored since to be undergoing some expansion or renovation of some sort.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

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First October :

Happy Birthday to me!!

And

Happy Independence day to Republic of China!
Happy Children’s Day to all the kiddies in Singapore!
I use to hate going to school on this day, i had to celebrate my special day with the rest of the hundreds out there. I felt sooo un-special.

Bah I am still special!

I am in Phuket at the moment for Thailand’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival!
The vegetarian festival has nothing to do with vegetarianism much, its more a buddhist festival.

First october is also World Vegetarian Day, please support this day and have a non-meat out today. Check the website out http://worldvegetarianday.org/
October is also the month of vegetarian awareness.

Anti Government demonstration paraphernalia

Photos of Bangkok – political crisis Sept 2008.

The many stalls at the protest site gives the whole place a funfair feel. The stalls sells anti-government demonstration paraphernalia. Only in Thailand where the enterprising thai mixes politics and enterprise, creating merchandises from political protests.


Vendor selling towels for the protesters


Head banners


Locals buying protest demonstration parapanelia

Displaying Political street art

Photos of Bangkok – political crisis Sept 2008.

Thai University student protesters displaying their political street art.

Posters Caricatures of Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej

Caricatures of Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej pasted on portable toilets. Samak being criticised of being in a televised cooking show. Samak, a self-proclaimed foodie, hosted a popular television cooking show _ “Tasting and Complaining” _ for seven years before becoming prime minister. But he also made several appearances after taking office, allegedly breaking a constitutional prohibition on private employment while in office.


Wanted poster of Khunying Potjaman Shinawatra, wife of former Prime Minister Thaksin. Potjaman played a key role in the development of Thaksin’s commercial enterprises. Potjaman fled the country with her husband to Britain.