Thailand History: 1500 - 2007 European Colonial Expansion complicates things.

Thailand Historical Maps (pre-colonial to WWII)      Thailand Road Maps       Thailand Train Routes w/ schedules

French Map of 1886:  Both Angkor Wat & Preah Vihear are within the sovereign borders of Thailand .. err, Siam

Siam in 1809 in purple .. French colonial expansion over laid.

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Below is a short 'synopsis interpretation' of the Thai historical events listed in this Thai Timeline Chart   Thailand Historical Maps (pre-colonial to WWII)

December 2008:There is considerable ongoing political turmoil in Thailand.  We've elected to put daily political  updates on the newspaper page..

French Indochina Colonial Expansion by year.

 Annam & Cocinchine in the map of above is the traditional kingdom of the Vietnamese people & Cambodge is the traditional kingdom of the Khmer people.

  • Between 1893 & 1972 3 wars were fought over French colonial Imperialism.  Between Thailand & the French + Vietnam & the French.

  • The French prevailed in the 1st Franco Siamese war, 1893.  In the second Franco Siamese war, 1940-1941, the good guys (Siam) prevailed! 

  • & of course the Vietnamese who began fighting French colonialism in the 1950s.

Thailand History: The Thai People  Thailand History -1511

Beginning in the early 16th century the European competition for colonial Empire left the Thai in conflict with the European Colonialists.

Scattered throughout Thailand are ancient walled cities and huge elaborate ancient temples. 

  • One of the ancient temples, Prasat Preah Vihear 1053 AD, is making headlines in 2008 as it is the subject of a border dispute between Thailand & Cambodia.

  • The border dispute is rooted in the colonial French expansion into Siam.  Both French & British maps of the mid 1800s show Preah Vihear to be in Siam.

 

Over the past 30 years, 1980 - 2009, Thailand has shifted from an agrarian export based economy to South East Asia's most diverse economy . Thailand has developed a thriving industrial sector with a niche in the labor intensive export oriented industrial manufacturing sector.

Ford / Mazda B-Car is produced at Ford's Rayong Plant.

2006:  Thailand is the world's 7th leading exporter of automobiles. 

  • The Auto Alliance Thailand now has a capacity to produce 275,000 vehicles per year.  80% of the automobiles & trucks produced in Thailand are for export.

  • Oct. 2007.  Thailand is Ford's hub for all of the Asia Pacific Region. Ford is expanding it's Thai production facility in Rayong (near Pattaya) to produce an additional 10,000 cars per year.

    • The Rayong B-Car is the  "Mazda2" in Japan & soon to be the Ford Fiesta.

  • The first Ford Ranger pick-up trucks sent to the US military in Afghanistan in 2002 came from the Thai Mazda Plant in Rayong.

  • Toyota will begin manufacturing Camry Hybrids at it's Chon Buri Plant in 2009.

 

Relatively unique globally Amazing Thailand avoided being an European colony.

 

There were also sporadic continuations of on going disputes ( err, wars ) with Vietnam & Burma during this period.

Vasco de Gama rounded the (South African) Cape of Good Hope and sailed across the Indian Ocean in 1498.

  • The fate of the entire non European world became one of conflict with the Europeans and their dreams of colonial empire.

  • Colonial economic and political policy was designed to milk ( = steal / rob / plunder ) the colony of it's resources & enrich the 'mother country'.

  • The first Europeans to reach Thailand were the Portuguese in 1511.

  • Followed in rapid succession by the Dutch, the English, the Spanish, and the French traders.

  • From that first Farang step forward, things became complicated for the Thai Kings

  • The Spanish made the Philippines their regional capital, the French focused on Indochina, the Dutch were occupied with Indonesia while the Brits ruled over Malaysia & 'most' everything west of Thailand all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Thailand was an island of soverngnty in an area spanning 1/3 of the globe.

  • & Thailand remains an island of sanity in that huge geographic region today!

The historical record of the last 500 years shows a brilliant 'chess game like strategy' executed by Thai kings. 

The Thai kings choose to loose selected 'small battles' but win the larger societal war.

Thai proverb, "the tree that bends with the wind is the tree that survives the storm"

  • The ever so wise Thai kings of the Ayutthayan period offered small trade concessions & grants to avoid all out colonial hostilities.

  •  From 1600 - 1941 the Thai Kings were engaged in constantly increasing & shifting demands from the European builders of world colonial empires.

 

1st it was the Dutch whose demands became unreasonable (more & more generous trade agreements) & King Narai finally resisted the increasing Dutch colonial demands for domination of the Thai trade options.

Even though the Dutch had a generous trade agreement they wanted to dominate & control Thai imports / exports.

  • Apparently deer & cow hides were hot items

  • The Dutch had been allowed to set up a processing plant in Thailand but that was not enough.

  • The Thai King was resistant to paying homage to the Dutch King.

  • Thankfully, King Narai stood up to the colonialist.

  • The Dutch then took 'war like action' capturing a Thai merchant vessel in the Gulf of Thailand & blockading the mouth of the Chao Praya River. When King Narai resisted the 'standard European colonial style armed robbery' the Dutch upped the threat.In 1688 King Narai developed a desperate relationship with the French (Thankfully short lived!), the French helped control the Dutch aggression.

  • The 'quick' 7 month dangerous sea voyage around Africa to communicate with the French meant that events happened in slow motion compared to today's millisecond communication.

 

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Score:  Thailand  1   Colonialist  0

 

The Thai then severed relations with the French to avoid becoming the last piece for a 100% French Indochina.

Score:  Thailand   2   Colonialist  0

  • King Louie's attempt to Christianize King Narai was perceived as subversive by the Thai people.

  •   
  • The Thai people revolted against the 'French dependant' Thai government's position.  

  • The 21st century Thai name for western foreigners is Farang, an abbreviation of the original Farangse - the Thai word for the French (François in French). The term Farang had a negative connotation until after World War II. 

  • King Narai was a displaced ruler when he died 2 months after the 'revolt'. 

  • 1688, Sep 30 - All French troops leave Siam after negotiations with the new Siamese king, Phra Petraja.  Phra Petraja takes European missionaries as hostages, pending the safe return of a Siamese embassy still in Europe. 

  • 1689, Dec - The Siamese embassy to Europe returns & the honorable King Phra Petraja releases all his European hostages and restores religious freedom but implements a policy of eliminating foreign political influence in the kingdom. 

  • 1698, Oct - A French envoy is sent to Ayutthaya with the offer of a new treaty, but the offer is declined by King Phra Petraja. France gives up her political interest in Ayutthaya.

King Phra Petraja closed Thailand's doors to the west for over 100 years.

Score:  Thailand   3   Colonialist  0

  • Between 1824 & 1884 there were 3 Anglo-Burmese wars.

  • Significant that none of these wars occurred in 'Anglo land'.

    • This is one reason I am offended by the current usage of  'Anglo' in 21st century America.

    • The silly Burmese resisted brutal British colonial domination. 

  • The ever so wise Thai King immediately granted the British Empire land concessions on the Malay Peninsula & the land hungry colonialists were gratified.

  • A few million rai sacrificed  for good of the realm.

  • Thailand could easily have been devastated by brutal British colonialism .. but the wisdom & foresight of the King kept the realm intact!

  • Again the wisdom of the Thai King kept the realm mostly intact!

By granting land to the colonialist the Thai King avoided war.

In American baseball it's called a 'sacrifice bunt'... run scores.

Score:  Thailand   4   Colonialist  0

& please no "After Thai Land ..colonialist will be land hungry again in hour.." jokes!

Colonial demands continued into the 20th century!

In the 1893 Paknam Incident, French and Siamese ( Thai ) gunboats engaged in a gun battle that set the stage for the Franco-Siamese Treaty Convention of October 1893.

Under a 'colonial kangaroo court' French Colonial Cambodia forced the Thai to abandon part of it's soverngnty: Battambong, Siam Reap ( Angkor Wat ), Champasak and Lanchang

Score:  Thailand   4   Colonialist  1

Above: Siem Rep just above & to the right of "Tonle Sap Lake"

 ..  on the edge of the green color & well inside Thailand!

LIFE Magazine, July 1939. Only the canny rule of King Chulalongkorn in the late 19th Century saved Siam from being swallowed by Britain and France like the rest of the peninsula.

In May 1941 an international court returned to Thailand the same territories taken in the 1893 French land grab. 

  • A series of incidents between French colonial forces in Indochina and Thailand escalated into open war in late November, 1940

  • During the Franco-Thai war, 1940-1941, Japan supported Thailand .. supplying bomber aircraft.

  • The war ended on January 28, 1941, after Japanese diplomatic intervention.

  • France was forced to cede a considerable amount of previously taken territory back to Thailand.

    • The Thai only wanted back what the French Colonialist had taken in 1891.

    • Or, Thailand kicked France's butt & took the stolen property back.

    • Before Vietnam in the 50s booted the Colonial French, the Thai had done it 20 years before!

  • This last colonial land / territory / border dispute with French Colonial Cambodia was settled in Thailand's favor by the 1941 Tokyo Accord.

    • An international court ruled the 1893 land grab by French Colonial Cambodia to be illegal & invalid.

Score:  Thailand  5  Colonialist  0

 .. previous Colonialist point ruled invalid & disallowed.

International boundaries were arbitrarily reassigned by the French colonialist as they abandoned their dream of world empire & abruptly abandoned their dependant colonies after World War II..

  • The French Colonialist needed to make an arrogant declaration of score: 

  • A quick border relocation as they "turned out the lights".

  • The location of the Thai Cambodian border remains an area of 'negotiation' between Cambodia & Thailand until today.

  • A recent, 2003, incident in Phnom Penh: Cambodians demonstrated in front of / stoned the Thai Embassy after a Thai movie star stated Siem Reap ( Angkor Wat ) should be in Thailand.

  • Thailand's fans of soverngnty are insisting on a review of this questionable and typically arrogant colonialist edict.

Score:  Thailand  5   Colonialist  1

The era of European colonialism ended with WW II.

Interesting, :-o,  that the Japanese ( Tokyo Accord ) were assisting the Thais resist European Colonialism 6 months before Pearl Harbor.

Bangkok newspaper Thai Mai, 1939:  " What can small nations situated in the battle zone do? If Siam takes the side of Japan and the predicted troubles in the British and French colonial empires do not come off, then Siam would be in an unpleasant position."

  • Thailand is so placed on the map as to be a natural steppingstone for Japan in a drive against the great British base of Singapore at the end of the Malay peninsula.

    • Thailand desired to be completely neutral.  Thailand was caught in-between global military powers. 

On the 8th of December 1941 the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Thailand.

The Thai forces resisted as best they could, but were overwhelmed by the numerically superior Japanese forces.

  • Thailand was controlled by the Japanese during WW II but is historically considered to be part of the Allied efforts.

  • The first Japanese forces entered Thailand on December 8.

    • Due to the international date line Thailand was on the 8th & Pearl Harbor was on the 7th .. Actually Thailand was invaded a few hours before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

  • The Japanese invasion force landed at four different places along the Thai coastal provinces, including Samut Prakarn south of Bangkok.

  • Japanese controlled Thailand was bombed by the Allies during WW II.

    • Bangkok was a regular target of allied bombs.

    • WW II era 'dumb bombs' were very accurate, they hit the ground 100% of the time.

  • Most major cities ( civilian population centers, there were few military targets ) in Thailand were bombed during the war.

The Japanese brutality in Asia is infamous.

  • Japanese atrocities in Thailand building the Siam Burma Railroad were among the worst of WW II.

  • Post WW II military courts, 1946-47, in Japan returned several 'SE Asian' war crime convictions.

  • 12,000 Allied troops died on the Siam  Burma railroad.  

  • 50% of Thai citizens that were Japanese prisoners of war died.  Less than 10% of German military POWs died in captivity!

The infamous "Bridge on the River Kwai" ( Japanese war atrocity movie fame ) is a popular tourist day trip from Bangkok.

2005:  A sunken Japanese World War II-era train train complete with steam engine & caboose has recently been located next to a current Thai bridge, Chulalongkorn Bridge over the Mae Klong River in Ratchaburi.

  • Local Thai were used as slave labor by the Japanese to build a bridge, part of the Japanese Siam Burma Railroad network.

  • Local lore has it that the Thai workers made the bridge weak intentionally.

    • The intentionally weak bridge collapsed with the fully loaded train.

    • Japanese soldiers 'tested' the load-bearing capacity of the Mae Klong Railway Bridge by having a fully crewed & loaded train run over it.

  • Excavation depends on the current bridge structural integrity.

    • The Mae Klong is 10m / 30' deep at this point.

  • If you are into WW II Siam Burma Railway history, Ratchaburi is a short drive down highway 3274 from the River Kwai site, on the way back to Bangkok.

The Karen tribe of the Thai Golden Triangle & Burma fought the Japanese with extreme vigilance.

  • The Karen fought a war that greatly benefited colonial British interests in SE Asia.

  • The Karen guerilla action was the most successful Allied guerrilla action against the Japanese in WW II.

  • The British promised the Karen an independent country for their cooperation with the allied war plan.

  • The more assets Japan dedicated to SE Asia the fewer resources it had for the rest of the Pacific region.

  • Many Karen villages were destroyed by the Japanese.

The Karen tribe is famous for the 'long neck women'.

 

  • Then the British Post WW II Labor Party reneged on the promises made by the wartime allegiance.

  • It is said that Winston Churchill was upset when the Post WW II British Labor Party choose to forgot their good friends & warrior allies .. The Karen were sold out after WWII.

In 1949 the brave warrior Karen began a civil war against the post WW II Burmese government with large quantities of stashed WW II weaponry.

  • The Brits supplied weapons to the Burmese government to fight their former warrior allies.

  • The communist military government of the Socialist Republic of Myanmar, Burma, is one of the most ruthless governments in the world today.

  • The Mon and Karen have fought a 60 year guerrilla war against the brutal Burmese / Myanmar government.

  • 2006: The Mon & Karen struggle with the brutal Burmese Junta continues until today.  Current escalation of Karen guerrilla activity is due to a 36" oil pipeline that transverses their traditional ethnic homeland.

    • The Myanmar Junta is building natural gas pipeline from Myanmar to Thailand.  Problem is it passes through Karen ethnic territory.

    • The Junta has been hired by the 'oil project participants' to 'protect' the pipeline.

"As the Unocal official's denial of company responsibility for the forced road-clearing attests, it is impossible to operate in a completely abuse-free environment when you have the Burmese government as a partner.." the embassy report concluded.

  • The Karen's primary problems are with the ruthless Myanmar government not the Thai, but the Karen's traditional homeland spans the Myanmar / Thai border.

  • The pipeline will provide the Junta $400m per year.

  • The Thai government is also a participant. The 36" pipeline project is owned by a French company Total, a California company Unocal, along with the Thai & Myanmar governments.

  • 2002: There are allegations of slave labor as well as forced relocations of entire Karen villages. International relief organizations have set up large refugee camps to feed & house the Mon & Karen displaced by the project.

March 22, 2005. US oil giant Unocal has agreed to compensate Burmese ( Karen & Mon ) villagers over abuses committed during the construction of a gas pipeline.  www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4371995.stm

  • Court documents demonstrate Unocal Management did not stop Burmese troops guarding the project from abusing the indigenous people.

  • To avoid the entire & detailed truth coming out regarding Unocal's US management's complicity in allowing the mass murder / rape during sworn testimony Unocal agreed to a huge out of court settlement.

  • 2004: Rumor had it, Unocal would be controlled by Chinese investment / management .. & to design / build a pipeline from Russia to China to circumvent US control of the sea lanes used by oil tankers.  Chevron Texaco the world's fifth-largest oil company, beat out rival bidders such as Italian oil group Eni and snatched the prize at the last minute from state-run China offshore producer CNOOC Ltd.

  • 2005: The sale of UnoCal has turned into a major international news story.

US President George Bush  in July, 2003 signed into law the "Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act", saying "The United States will not waver from its commitment to the cause of democracy and human rights in Burma".

Bush's "Burmese Freedom & Democracy Act" actually consists of a series of economic sanctions against one of the poorest societies on this planet.

  To foster better relations and to demonstrate a spirit of cooperation, in 2003, the US imposed economic sanctions on the people of Burma!

  • US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Daley said the sanctions - imposed in late July, 2003 - had immediately disrupted all of  Burma's industry.  

  • According to Mr. Daley,  "more than 40,000 people in the garment industry alone have been thrown out of work, many of them ending up in the sex industry". see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3161498.stm

    • 80,000 Burmese lost their jobs in less than 2 months due to the US sanctions.

  • The US government has acknowledged that the US economic / trade sanctions have deprived thousands of Burmese workers of a regular source of income.

  • Problem for the individual citizens is that they still get hungry when their source of income is taken away by political decisions far removed from them.

The decision made by the US government is to literally starve a people because of civil rights abuses rendered upon those same people.  ??

  • January, 2005.  Condi Rice , US Secretary of State, includes Myanmar on the US's 'bad boy list'.

    • Thanks, Condi!

    •  

  • April, 2005: SYDNEY (Reuters) - A London-based Christian human rights group says it has collected strong evidence of a chemical attack on Karen rebels by Myanmar's military government.

  • September, 2006:  Of every 1,000 children born in eastern Karen, Kayah or Mon states ( on the Thai border) 221 will be dead before their fifth birthday.

    • The report compiled by mobile medical teams of the Thailand-based Back Pack Health Worker Team, document the terrible state of affairs in Myanmar, considered the "rice basket of Asia" when it won independence from Britain in 1948.

Thankfully the relief organizations have filled the basic needs of survival for an entire ethnic group.

Spring, 2005. HUGE refugee camps for displaced Mon & Karen.

Buy a relief worker lunch!  Tough duty they pull.

Many of the Karen & other hill tribe peoples in the Golden triangle have limited citizenship rights in Thailand.

  • King Rama VI granted Thai citizenship to all tribes who lived in the kingdom before April 10, 1913.

  • Many tribal persons missed out on state registration & are thus ultimately undocumented tribal persons today.

  • Mai Hong Song is a long '2 day touring' roundtrip drive from Chiang Mai.

  • Beautiful drive ..

Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive.~ Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • & the guided hiking treks offer a unique insight into traditional SE Asia tribal life.

  • You can actually stay in a Yao or Karen village & sleep in hooch for several days

  • Air service from Bangkok & Chiang Mai.

WWII, 1941, was the beginning of the end for the era of European colonial domination of SE Asia.

Unique in an area spanning 1/3 of the globe, since the 13th century Thailand has always remained free.

Thank goodness Thailand's Kings have kept the realm intact.

The Thai society that has resulted is quite unique.

Thailand's avoidance of Colonial Hegemony ( political, economic, societal & religious revision to meet the standards of the colonialist ) has resulted in a stable society that has maintained much of it's cultural richness.

  • Democratic Thailand is the only country in the global region from Indonesia to Palestine to avoid the political, economic & cultural revision of Colonialism.

  • Shortly after WW II the colonialist started abandoning their colonial empires in Asia & Africa.

  • All of the world's regions of 21st century terrorism were 20th century colonies.

    • Borders were arbitrarily assigned all over Asia & Africa by exiting colonial bureaucrats drawing lines on global maps.

      • Without regard for natural geographic or ethnic borders.  "Duh?"

      • North Africa, Palestine ( from Egypt to Turkey ), Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Burma, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia  ... all colonies in the 20th century ... some as late as 1975...

      • The Brit goal was to control all of the coast line of the Indian Ocean, from eastern Africa to southern Asia.

    • The French imperial assignment of the Thai - Cambodia border is just another example of Colonialist mistakes resulting in years of disputes.

  • The British Empire ( Burma ) & France ( Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia ) left an incredible geopolitical mess in SE Asia as their colonialist dreams of world wide empire crumbled.

    • Post WW II synthetic rubber from petroleum reduced the need for natural rubber & thus the rubber plantations of SE Asia.

    • Technology rendered the SE Asian colonies asset no longer worth milking.

 

Thailand was a major ally to the Americans during the Vietnam conflict.

  • In the post WW II era, Viet Cong leader Ho Chi Minh found refuge in the village of Ban Na Chok.

    • Nakhon Phanom, the closest point to Vietnam located in Thailand .. Laos is very narrow at that point.  Far Eastern Issan.

    • Ho prepared his strategy for the successful Vietnamese's French / American War against colonial rule.

  • America used air fields in the safety of eastern Thailand to launch B-52 attacks over Laos & Vietnam 

  •  
  • The acknowledged attacks on the jungle trails of Laos & the secret attacks on Cambodia were both against international law, neither sovereign country was a participant in the war.

    • 1/3 the civilian population of Laos was killed by the indiscriminate carpet bombing.

    • These illegal attacks on the citizens of sovereign nations who were not part of any war was the beginning of the end for US political support for the Vietnam War.

    • More bombs were dropped on Laos than on Germany in WWII.

"Unofficially Cambodia", the "Kent State Massacre" demonstration  was about 'secret bombing' & the clandestine invasion of Cambodia from Thai bases.

  • Kent State Massacre Report directly from the Kent State University web site: "In May 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio, US Army National Guardsmen confronted student antiwar protestors with a tear gas barrage. Soon afterward, with no provocation, soldiers opened fire into a group of fleeing students. Four young people were killed, shot in the back, including two women who had been walking to class."

    • + 9 University students wounded.

  • Remember the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young anthem from the early 70s, "4 dead in O Hi O"?

  • Cambodia had severed relations with the US in 1963 and by 1965 Cambodia's infamous King Sihanouk was accepting military assistance from China & France

  • The immediate reason for the severing of relations with the US was a 1963 Newsweek article contending that the Queen of Cambodia owned brothels.( turned out to be not true ).

  • King Sihanouk secretly granted the North Vietnamese access to the deep-water port of Sihanoukville (later Kampong Saom) in 1966.

  • Sihanoukville became a main port of entry for North Vietnamese military supplies from China and the U.S.S.R.

    • Sihanoukville / Kampong Saom has become a western adventure tourist hot spot .. for those extreme adventure traveler types.. travel involves "avoid the local roads" cross the ocean on a "local style ferry" between a coastal Thai disembarkation  point & an intermediate Cambodian island .. involves changing ferries on the remote Cambodian Island.The ferry schedule is by day of the week & not by the hour of any day .. you said you wanted adventure .. right?

  • Sihanouk left for France in January 1970 for medical treatment. The Cambodian National Assembly lost no time voting no-confidence in Sihanouk and FARK Military commander Lon Nol then staged a bloodless coup.

    • This CIA supported coup government was the immediate predecessor to the Khmer Rouge. (Cambodian Red)

  • Cambodia & Laos were non combatants & the US bombing / invasion was illegal by international law.

  • Some of these were the Cambodian missions that US Presidential Candidate John Kerry spent so much time detailing.

  • Remember the anti-Kerry 'Swift Boaters' pointing out that Kerry's reported river boat missions into Cambodia were in violation of International Law.

    • ... Kerry was commanding one of the Navy River Boats taking CIA types into Cambodia, very similar to the story line in the Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now.

  • Huge Vietnam War USAF B-52 bases near Udon ( 1970 common usage British spelling was often Udorn ) & Korat

  • .
  • Millions of pounds of US bombs and currently illegal by international law WMDs Napalm & Agent Orange were randomly dispersed around remote Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam.

    • 10,000,000 gallons of the highly toxic & currently illegal WMD Agent Orange were sprayed on SE Asian jungle / crops/  villages / water supplies .. the people.

    •   Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian + the soldiers.
  • U.S. aircraft sprayed the chemical Agent Orange in SE Asia between 1962 - 1971 in attempts to destroy crops (food for both combatants & the civilian population) and to remove foliage used as cover by freedom fighting anti-colonialist forces.

  • Over 10,000 U.S. war veterans receive medical disability benefits related to the WMD Agent Orange. 

  • 2006:  A South Korean court ordered Dow Chemical and Monsanto, two makers of Agent Orange, to pay more than $60m in compensation to thousands of South Korean Vietnam war veterans and their families.

  • 2004: Lawyers sued on behalf of some 4 million Vietnamese. 

  • The defoliant has caused birth defects, miscarriages and cancer.

    • New York (AP) 2005. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming that American chemical companies committed war crimes against Vietnamese citizens by making Agent Orange, which is laden with the highly toxic chemical dioxin & thus is a chemical agent, in 21st century vernacular = WMD, barred by international rules of war. 

    • The dioxin entered the food chain and caused a proliferation of birth defects. 

      • Lawyers for Monsanto, Dow Chemical and more than a dozen other companies argued that international law generally exempted corporations, as opposed to individuals, from criminal and civil liability for alleged war crimes.

      • There are eight times as many hernias in such children, and three times as many born with mental disabilities.

      • In 2001, scientists found that people living in an Agent Orange "hotspot" at Binh-Hoa near Ho Chi Minh City have 200 times the background amount of dioxin in their bloodstreams.

  • A Japanese study, comparing areas sprayed with those that were not, found children were three times more likely to be born with cleft palates, or extra fingers and toes.

  • Thai newspaper reports, 1997 - 2004, of huge unreported spills of the Vietnam war's favored  toxic herbicide ( in the 21st century a WMD) Agent Orange around the US air bases in East Thailand during the 60s & 70s.

 

Some of the truly innocent victims of the war &  Agent Orange are denied help.

  • Millions of babies have been born without eyes or arms, or were missing internal organs.

  • Who is responsible for massively high instances of genetic defects in areas that were sprayed?

The infamous Vietnam era  "US Army R&R Hotel" (for you nostalgic Vietnam vets) is now the 'mid level' Ambassador Hotel on Sukhumvit.

Vietnam R&R = military 'Rest & Relaxation' = 6 months in the Vietnam war w/ 1 week in Bangkok to 'party'.

Nostalgic baby Boomer?  The 'old' BOQ / BEQs ( Bachelor Officer Quarters / Bachelor Enlisted Quarters ) are now the Windsor Hotel on 'Suk' Soi 20 and the Rajah Hotel on 'Suk' Soi 4.

  • 10s of 1000s of  (crazed warriors?) young men isolated from all that is human for 6 months,  turned loose on Thailand.

  • It happened pretty much overnight ...from 0 R&R soldiers to 1000s per week in a only a couple years ..can you imagine watching this influx into your neighborhood?

  • Thankfully the 'R&R damage' is fairly localized. 

  • Legendary USAF B-52 pilot 'Cowboy' Edwards, a leading R&R innovator & pioneer, has a busy Bangkok Soi known by his name until today.

    • 'Cowboy' was a 6' 3" ( 2 m ) lean man with the skin the hue of Hershey's Milk Chocolate

    •  .. The Cowboy was known to dress in all white on Sundays. 

      • White Stetson, white western custom cut suit & white cowboy boots.

    • Lore of The Cowboy is often repeated .. some of his cohorts continue to be spotted around Bangkok 'til this day.

  • Bernard Trink of the Bangkok Post claims to have coined the Soi's moniker...

    • "..enough said" ... 

    • "The Night Owl" was been THE Bangkok entertainment authority for 30 years. 

    • & the Night Owl still "don't give a hoot"...

  • When Bernard Trink first started writing for the Bangkok Post, the best way up Sathorn was by row-boat. 

  • ..his weekly ramblings & bad jokes were a delight .. if you care for an often outrageous perspective 110% biased, punctuated with stupid Burma Shave slogans & ...  THE world class collection of bad jokes, seemingly in an endless supply on any and all topics..

The funniest, IMHO, of Trink's self promotions were his caricatures on decals strategically placed in urinals all around Bangkok.

Trink denies he was the perp ... a lot of guys stared at that "Alfred Hitchcock like profile" caricature drawing + his byline.

  • From the 2000 Bangkok Post, "...uniqueness of his prose style. Linguists have described it as a distinct dialect, and named it Trinklish, with individual bon mots classified as Trinkisms  (although I prefer to call them Trinkets)."

  • Mr. Trink was dismissed by the Bangkok Post in the spring of 2004

  • Trink's unexpected dismissal was noted by Time Asia, NY Times, CNN Asia ..

  • 2007: Trink's PAY site is no longer on line  :-(

Pre the Vietnam War huge influx of Soldier R&R the Bangkok Red Light Districts were limited to a small area of shacks near today's China Town, in several high end Japanese Hotels plus many ladies paddling boats near Chaloemlok Bridge.

The US Navy uses Thailand for regular R&R until this day. 

  • Locals will actually leave Pattaya when the Pacific battle groups is in port.. 10,000 young men who have been a sea for 6 months get a few hours on Pattaya Beach.  :-o

Cobra Gold is the name by which the annual 'Battle Group Party' is known to the US Navy.

  • In the spring of  2001, I mistakenly reserved a beach front hotel suite for Cobra Gold week.  Checked in just in time to see the US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk & it's battle group arrive in Pattaya Bay.

  • Quite amazing transformation of a relatively quiet community in only a few hours... from a relatively quite tourist beach community to a huge rowdy boisterous anything goes Frat party... seemingly in an instant!

Pattaya's Beach Road is solid taxi lights 'til dawn when the fleets in!

The HUGE economic boom the town gets is actually worth a little inconvenience. 

Every restaurant, disco, hotel, boat ride .. tuk tuk .. it was happening!

Lots of smiling vendors.

Young 'men in arms' having a celebration of what they are.   each sailor individually celebrating what their fleet represents as a powerful warrior group & what they individually are in that well defined military group structure.

The above is a World War II cartoon .. some things do not change

  • Proud & excited young men, eager to demonstrate country & battle group pride along with their individual friendliness.

  • I've never had so many 'excited conversations' in an elevator in my life!  "It was OK for a dozen or so elevator rides."

    • Standing still on the street could result in conversations with excited sailors.

  • & I must say they were 100% nice young men, but they were also ship bound kids none the less!

  • .... the hotel eagerly refunded my internet discounted room rate.. the lobby was filled with sailors ready to pay any price for a bunk on land.

  • I was able to determine that the flight deck crew is clearly the rowdiest.. I guess jets screaming by a few feet overhead would have an effect on their perception of normalcy!

    • They party Aussie like!  "I swear!" :-o)))

  • Was a great people watching event for a couple days!  "Enough!  Enough!"

  • These guys & gals were REAL HAPPY about getting off those damn ships!  Labor Day, Christmas & New Year all in one!

music video on myspace.. : Jeff & Soi Dog do traditional Blues .. Blues  sung in Thai (way Cool!)

Many US Vietnam era warriors returned to Thailand after the war & made The Land of Smiles their home.

  • Jack Shirley was in charge of CIA covert operations in Laos during the 'Vietnam War Years". 

  • Mr. Shirley recently, 2003, passed away in his beloved adopted home town of Pattaya, Chon Buri.

  • From the The Washington Times " Top CIA Agent in the CIA's "Secret SE Asian War Dies".

  •  Lucy's Tiger Den Party 1984, Lucy's Tiger Den, Patpong, is where the CIA covert-op types hung out & this 1984 reunion resulted in 'war stories' being told.

  • Some terrible atrocities are described in the 1st hand stories told by aging CIA covert ops.

  • These are some of the same guys the Vietnam war movie "Apocalypse Now" was based on.

    • & Kerry's controversial river boat events involved this group of guys.

    • How many movies have been made based on what these guys actually did?

  • Several dead links on the "Lucy's Tiger Den"  site & several pages unrelated to this topic, but the relevant pages that open are worth the wasted clicks.

  • Jack participated in CIA operations within Laos from 1961 to 1969. 

  • The CIA began secret ops in Laos from Thailand in 1954, 10 years before the announced war.

    • Feb. 15, 2005.  51 years after the fall of Dien Bien Phu, French Colonial Vietnam, the seven surviving American pilots who braved those perilous skies - but later were essentially disowned by the CIA - will be awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, or Legion of Honor, France's highest award for service.

    • The CIA argues that the men technically were not government employees since they worked for a CIA front company.  The CIA has not specifically honored the 37 pilots who flew the 1953 - 1954 Dien Bien Phu missions, although in June 2001 the spy agency issued a Unit Citation Award in recognition of all who served with Civil Air Transport and its secret successor, Air America, which ended operations in 1976.

In the early 70s there was a movement amongst the Thai intellectuals to press the government for increased democracy.

  • In December 1972, military dictator Thanom announced a new interim constitution that provided for a totally appointed legislative assembly, two- thirds of the members of which would be drawn from the military and police.

  • By October, 1973 11 University intellectual leaders had been jailed for distributing antigovernment literature.

  • On October 13, 1973 more than 250,000 people rallied in Bangkok before the Democracy Memorial, in the largest demonstration of its kind in Thai history, to press their grievances against the government.

  • These demonstrations changed Thailand forever.

  • 1973: Thammasat University was the center of the movement for a more open democracy.

    • Thai University students in 1973 were careful to tone down their actions against the military dictatorship by an appeal to religion and the monarchy,

    • The demonstrators were displaying the symbols of the Thai people ..  Buddha, pictures of the king, and the national flag.

      • I am constantly amazed at the reverence the Thai people show to the King .. & Buddha.

  • The 2000 Thai movie "3 days in October", with English subtitles, is an excellent depiction of these events.

    • Scenes depicting student leaders arguing over demonstrations conflicting with exam schedules.

      • One of the student leaders currently teaches at Thammasat & was a film consultant.

    • If you know anything about Thailand's competitive Universities, the banter amongst the movie's University students is hilarious.

    • Chula vs. Thammasat exchange, with the classic stereo-typical Chula vs. Thammasat characteristic /  differences accented.  

    • LOL!

  • On October 14, 1973 the Army of military dictator Thanom opened fire on & killed 75 college students.

  • The evening of October 14 King Bhumibol ( Rama IX ) intervened & on October 15 Thanon was exiled from the country.

 & in October, 1974 Thailand had democratic elections!

The new constitution of October 1974 called for a popularly elected House of Representatives.

  • In 1976, Thammasat University once again became the battlefield. Students demonstrated to protest the return of Thanom as a monk and Thanin Kraivichien, a new right-wing government official was declared as a premier.

  • This incident made Thai students and numerous idealists joined the insurgents in the forest.

  • Finally Thanin was forced to resign by another coup in 1977.

  • 2 of the leaders of the student movement are now Thai national heroes, after spending several years in hiding with communists rebels in Laos.

  • A current Thammasat University professor of poetry & 1973 student leader, Prof. Teerayuth Boonmee, actually lived with communist rebels in the mountain jungles of northern Thailand & western Laos.

  • 2006: Thammasat University remains Thailand's center of intellectual discussion.

Thailand is part of the Geo-Economic Zone commonly referred to as  'The Pacific Rim'. 

  • Thailand is at the far western border of The Pacific Rim Geo-Economic Zone.  West of Thailand is the Indian Ocean.

In 1975 under the Bangkok Agreement 7 nations: Thailand, Bangladesh, China, India, S. Korea, Laos and Sri Lanka agreed to an economic pact that provided reduced tariffs on selected goods & services between member nations..

  • Signed signed in 1975 as an initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia & the Pacific.

  • The Bangkok Agreement has now evolved into APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Asian version of NAFTA & CAFTA.  Reduced tariffs on selected goods between member nations.

  • In 2005 APEC's 21 member economies account for 57 percent of world gross domestic product, 45.8 percent of world trade volume and 44.8 percent of the world's population.

  • APEC is larger than NAFTA, CAFTA & the EU combined!

  • Thailand has had a positive trade balance with the US for over 20 consecutive years.

  • Thailand has had a positive balance of trade with China for over 10 years.

    • 2005: Trade between Thailand and China is expected to triple from the current US$15 billion (euro12.2 billion) annually in the next four years, 2009, to as much as 50 billion US$.

    • Thailand is the 4th biggest trading partner to China among Eastern Allianc

    • Thailand is amongst the top 20 US trading partners each year.

  • The EU is Thailand’s fourth largest trading partner following Asean, Japan and the United States.

  • In 2005 Thailand will be the 7th largest exporter of Automobiles in the world.

    • March 14, 2005: The Afghan army received the first 83 of 5,160 Ford Ranger 4x4 light trucks manufactured at the Mazda factory in Thailand.

2006: Thailand is one of five countries in the Pacific region with which the U.S. has a security alliance. The other four countries are Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and the Republic of the Philippines.

In 2003-2005: Thailand has supplied non-combat military forces, Thai Army medical units,  for the international efforts in both Afghanistan & Iraq.

2004:  The Thais are the 10th largest deployment of foreign troops in Iraq and are part of a multinational force of 9,500 soldiers, led by Poland, that controls south-central Iraq.

  • Sept., 2003.  Thailand demonstrates it supports the humanitarian rights of all peoples by deploying Thailand Military Units to Iraq.

  • November, 2003.  Thai medical support unit in Iraq was shelled by unknown militants.

  • Feb, 2004.  The Thai compound in Iraq is attacked by 'car bomb'.  First Thai military causality recorded.

  • Thailand's military coalition commitment was for 1 year, ending Sept., 2004.

    • Thailand began ending their troop deployment in August, 2004. 

    • By October, 2004 all Thai military were out of Iraq.

  • Thailand remains a major supplier of civilian contract workers in Iraq.

  • December, 2004.  A Thai relief worker was killed by rocket attack in at the Gani Tal settlement in occupied Palestine.

Thailand's economy benefited greatly from the huge input of American financial support to the only non communist country in SE Asia.

  • Pre 1960, there were almost no buildings more than 3 stories high and for the most part Bangkok's Buddhist temples were still 'properly' the tallest structures.

  • In the mid-1960's things started to change rapidly.  Bangkok was experiencing the first big building boom since World War II.   

    • Most of this new construction boom was directly attributable to the new war in Southeast Asia.

  • The construction boom in Bangkok continued until the late 1990s.

Thailand has a consistent positive balance of trade with both China and the US.

The Thai Baht, like the Japanese Yen  & European Euro, floats against the value of the US dollar in international currency markets.

  • China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan essentially enforce a hard peg of their currencies’ values against the dollar.

  • The Thai Baht 'floats' against international currencies and has demonstrated the strength of the Thai economy 1998 - 2006.

The Asian 'economic flu' of the late 1990's had a major effect on Thailand.

  • Thailand was amongst the first of the Asian economies to feel the pinch of over zealous expansion.

  • The baht fell from $1 = 25 to $1 = 35 pretty much overnight.

  • In 1997 many high-rise construction projects were halted & there was  huge amounts of vacancy in Bangkok office buildings ..  which resulted in huge amounts of defaulted loans.

  • 1997: Incomplete 30 story new office buildings with canvas over the 'windows' seemed to be everywhere.

  • 1998-9: Incomplete 30 story new office buildings with torn & tattered canvas window covering .. 1 & 2 year old window covering now raggedy & torn .. or blown completely off  .. & the blue sky visible through the incomplete 30 story skeletons of buildings .. strange site it was.

  • Even the BTS was in limbo because of a contract negotiated in Baht.  The rapid devaluation of the Baht left the Japanese contractor holding huge amount of Baht worth 40% less than they were when the contract was negotiated.

    • All BTS, sky train, construction stopped at the 85% complete stage ..the incomplete project looked pretty complete from the ground but inoperable for over 2 years.

  • The fabulous BTS is quite wonderful .. almost cannot remember how we got around before .. lots more klong rides..

  • During that time frame it was not unusual to have an 'obvious engineer / business executive' as a cab driver!

  • Obvious?  55 ( Thai word for 5 = ha, so 55 = ha ha ) 

    • The driver that presents professionally dressed in 'proper casual Friday' business attire always stands out .. & turns off ( down?) the radio lottery winning #s announcer.

    • The reading of lottery winning numbers can go on for an hour or more .. excited radio announcer reading of numbers .. only numbers .. endless numbers .

The initiative launched in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in May 2000, in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, involved wealthier countries such as Japan, South Korea and China making emergency foreign currency loans to Asean nations in the event another currency crisis ever menaced these nations.

ASEAN: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia

"What it is doing is try to insulate this region from the kind of turbulence it faced in 1997, the Asian countries would prefer less influence from the IMF because in 1997 the Asian countries feel the advice they got from the IMF was not correct and led to a lot of suffering" said Ifzal Ali, chief economist of the ADB.

  • The 10 Asean and three East Asian Financial ministers ( or Asean +3, China, Japan, South Korea + 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations ) set up a system of bilateral currency swaps so that a member Asian country hit by a foreign exchange crisis, like the one in 1997, can borrow borrow foreign currency from the positive trade balance $$s of other the member nations.

  • This could be viewed as a step towards setting up an "Asian Monetary Fund".

  • The initiative now covers some 16 bilateral agreements totaling almost $40bn between Asean nations and the three East Asian economic giants.

2005: The Asean +3 have called for a review of the quota of Asian countries in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "to properly reflect the current realities and their relative positions in the world economy."

  • 2005: Asean +3 group of nations has a cumulative positive balance of trade with the rest of the world measured in multi-trillion US$ ( trillion = 1000 billion or a million million )

December, 2005:  East Asia Summit.  Sixteen nations, representing nearly half the world's population, sat down together at one table for the first time. 

  • Topics discussed center on trade & not security.

    • The opposite has been recently true of Central Asian grouping the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, whose meeting in the summer culminated in the US being asked to reduce its military presence in the region.

  • The caucus without the Caucasians has been diluted by the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand.

  • This summit was originally envisioned by the charismatic Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad after the financial problems, Asian Financial Flu, of the late 1990s.

In 2004 - 5 Thailand is again experiencing an economic boom.

2004 - 2006: Muslim Unrest in southern Thailand, on the border with Muslim Malaysia

  • Eighty percent of people in the far south, an Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Bangkok a century ago, are Muslim, ethnic Malay and do not speak Thai as their first language.

  • Since January, 2004 there has been increasing Muslim separatist violence in southern Thailand.

    • In 2004 - 2006 more than 600 people have died in Thailand's Muslim south, in attacks blamed on Islamic militants.

  • Dec 21, 2004: Thailand has photographs showing Muslim militants responsible for violence in the far south being trained in jungle hideouts in neighboring Malaysia.

  • March 28, 2005 A train was bombed in southern Thailand, injuring 19 people, including 11 police officers.

  • April 4, 2005.  Damn!  Several more bombings over the past few days.  More & more militant separatist activity on the border with Muslim Malaysia.

  • April 18, 2005: Thai intelligence agencies believe two Syrian nationals may have been involved in both the Hat Yai blasts and a car bomb attack in Sungai Kolok on 17 February.

There is a major Thai-Malaysian gas project  ( in addition to the Thai Myanmar project ) pipeline running through the middle of this area of terrorist activity.

Combining the newly developed hydrocarbon natural resources with hydroelectric from the Salween River means Thailand's energy requirements can be met by mostly domestic sources in the 21st Century.

Proposed & supported by the current Thai administration is the 100 KM ( 60 mile )  Kra Canal which would cut across Thailand's Malay Peninsula  thus enable shipping to bypass the Strait of Malacca and head directly from the Indian Ocean / Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand  /  South China Sea / Pacific Ocean.

  • Current proposal is a two-lane canal (with each canal lane at 170 meters ( 660 feet ) wide and 26 meters ( 80 feet ) deep, to allow two 250,000 dwt tankers to pass each other.

  • Both the Andaman Sea & the Gulf of Thailand are shallow.  The project will require considerable 'open water canal' dredging through tourist dominated water recreation areas.

  • This shortened route route between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean directly links more than 2/3s of the world's population... could shorten by days the transport time between Arab oil / Indian Commerce with China / Japan.

  • The canal was first proposed in 1677 during the reign of King Rama I of the when his brother, Prince Bovornmahasurasinghanart, proposed the idea of constructing a canal that would link the two coasts in order to protect the country from Burmese invaders attacking the Andaman Sea coast.

  • In 1973, the idea came up again with support from the U.S. and Japan. They suggested the use of nuclear explosions for excavation.

  • 2006: The "string of pearls" strategy by China includes an ambitious plan to build a 20-billion-dollar canal in Thailand to bypass the Strait of Malacca.

    •  The "string of pearls" plan also includes a new naval base under construction at the Pakistani port of Gwadar, naval bases in Myanmar, a military agreement with Cambodia, strengthening ties with Bangladesh.

    • The activity has raised concerns in the US military.

  • 2006: From the current Kra Canal web site: "Notes:  Excavation by the use of nuclear energy can save costs by up to 40% but this construction method is considered as unsuitable..."    "oh, dear!"

December, 2005:  East Asia Summit.  Sixteen nations, representing nearly half the world's population, sat down together at one table for the first time. 

  • Topics discussed center on trade & not security.

    • The opposite has been recently true of Central Asian grouping the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, whose meeting in the summer culminated in the US being asked to reduce its military presence in the region.

  • The caucus without the Caucasians has been diluted by the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand.

  • This summit was originally envisioned by the charismatic Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad after the financial problems, Asian Financial Flu, of the late 1990s.

April 4, 2006. Prime Minister Thaksin resigns after huge protest demonstrations in Bangkok. + Vendors sell a unique Thai form of ecologic demonstration.

As usual the Thai found a unique form of demonstration.  Protesters holding plastic sheets made from hundreds of used consumer product labels .. shampoo . water. soft drink . 100s of labels

  • The battered used labels remain visible .. a good way to demonstrate, recycle &  keep the streets clean

    

  • All areas of Siam Square were filled with peaceful demonstrations.

  • Unrest came from the middle class .. college educated professionals.

  • Pink color dominating above is the Chula University color.

  • Siam Sq is adjacent to the Chula Campus.

  • Thaksin's daughter attends Chula.

Thaksin is widely recognized as the richest man in Thailand .. the most corrupt man in Thailand?

  • Thaksin is one of the richest men in the world.

    • 1994 Forbes magazine estimated he was worth about us$2 billion.

    • Mr Thaksin is accused of deliberately concealing some of his wealth while a cabinet minister in the 1990s.

    • 2 billion in assets ..  & he was concealing assets!

  • Summing up the case against Thaksin, NCCC secretary-general Klanarong Chanthick told the court evidence of Thaksin's intentional asset concealment "abounds".

    • Mr. T transferred some of his assets to his wife, who in turn transferred them to six of their domestic servants and associates in the form of billions of Thb of shares in companies owned by Thaksin and his wife.

  • Thaksin is accused of tax fraud, insider trading & corruption in addition to political issues.

Security transaction & stock market rules are complicated .. here's my take on 1 transaction.

  • In January, 2006 the Thaksin family sold one telecom asset for $1.9 billion to a Singaporean conglomerate.

    • Shin Corporation, for US$1.9 billion, 800 Billion Thb.

    • & sold in such a way as to avoid paying any tax.

  • November, 2006.  The post Coup government has billed the Takinsin estate us$320, 000, 000.

  • The sale involved the Thaksin family's use of a shadowy offshore company Ample Rich, and raises questions about insider trading, tax evasion and even whether Thaksin was lying about who controlled the company when he first took office in 2001.

    • The deal was a complex Enron like transaction .. involving multiple off shore companies and considerable paper asset shuffling.

  • Thaksin 100% owned Ample Rich, registered in the British Virgin Islands, didn’t have to pay any tax due to questionable deal structuring.

    • The cash assets resulting from the sale of a "Thai national asset" never entered Thailand!

The reigning PM sold assets in a deal questionably structured to avoid taxes .. even denying the Thai economy / society the benefit of those assets coming back into the Thai society.

Similar to Off Shore Corporation.. set up to avoid taxes. .. & The Thai People have said "Not our PM"!

  • Thaksin's wife's brother, Bhanapot, received 31.32 million shares in Shin without paying tax.

  • Shares were sold to Thaksin children, Panthongtae and Pinthongta, at Bt1.

  • The shares were re-sold at Bt49.25 each ..

    • thankfully all these profits remain in Thailand.

    • A quick 5000% profit.

  • They borrowed the money to complete the transaction using the shares as collateral.

Anti-Thaksin Thai often mention the size of Thaksin's wealth, his failure to pay taxes on the sale of Shin Corp and the fact that the sale put what they see as national assets - a mobile phone network and communications satellite - into the hands of another state.

  Thai Rak Thai, Thai Love Thai, is Thaksin's majority party.

  • In the run up to elections Thai Rak Thai created village funds in rural areas.

  • The 'funds' created by members of Mr. Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party were tantamount to vote-buying.

  • Thaksin promised grants of 1 million baht, us$25, 000., to each village.

    • To get / buy votes Mr. Thaksin "has promised to the people things that cannot be done by any human being on earth," asserted Montri Chenvidayakarn.

  • Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party has instituted a health care system in the rural areas that has greatly improved the lives of villagers.

    • The health care program, 30 Thb for medical care.  = less than $1 us,  .5 EU for medical care.

    • The plan is not fully funded, but is still the best yet for Thai villagers.

  • Thai Rak Thai controls over 60% of the Thai parliament.

  • In 2004 Thaksin was in negotiation to purchase Manchester City Football team.

  • In 2007, after being run out of Thailand by the coup Thaksin completed the transaction of Manchester City.

  • The demonstration demographics are interesting .. the educated middle class vs. the richest & poorest of the land.

  • Thaksin is sleazy at best ..& possibly a corrupt human rights violating politician.

2007: Elaborate High Rise Construction is again underway everywhere you look in Bangkok.

Thailand continues to demonstrate that  it accepts a prominent position as a world leading society.

The success of the Thai society in the 21st century is demonstrated both by it's economic success as well as democratic political stability..

  • Stable government, efficient education system, infrastructure for high tech growth in place.

  • Thailand has an educated & motivated work force available to multinational corporations for high tech outsource manufacturing.

    • Thailand has a literacy rate approaching 95%.

    • Mandatory schooling is required even in the most remote rural areas.

    • The rural areas of Thailand offer a huge and willing semi skilled work force.

  • Thailand is a source of high quality out sourced manufacturing.

    • Advanced first world infrastructure in an emerging market economy.

  • Thailand has one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia.

  • April 2005: Rumor has it that Bangkok's Don Muang Airport will become a US military base when the new Suvarnabhumi Airport ( aka, "Cobra Swamp Field" ) is completed in 2006.. 07 .. ??.

    • September, 2005.  The first plane has landed at the still incomplete airport .. the landing strips, longest in the world, are 90% completed .. reputed to have the tallest control towers also ..

  • .. other rumors have a US base in Narathiwat on the Malay Peninsula facing the Gulf of Thailand.

Thai Newspaper "political cartoon"  about reported CIA Torture Camp in Thailand.   Thailand hosted the first CIA “black site”.  Abu Zubaydah was held in Thailand in 2002.  Washington Post 2005

Really Funny Political Cartoon.  The Nation has excellent editorial articles.:

3 hours of Thai TV Soap Operas .. definitely torture under Geneva.

Issan BBQ beetle delicacies, highly unusual & the chili dipping sauce is cruel.

Thai Whiskey .. will definitely cure what ails ya .. no chaser ..

Thai Moon Shine .. 20 Thb for small recycled water bottle of moon shine .. some of it is pretty smooth ..

History is always subject to interpretation— historians' piece together collections of isolated facts to paint a portrait of a time or event. Some historians do a better job than others, but in every case, the biases / goals of the historian inevitably color their portrayal.

"What is history but a fable agreed upon?" ~ Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Dec 26, 2004.  The Tsunami.

The Tsunami waves coming in .. viewed from a hill top hiking trail on a Thai island in the  Andaman Sea.  Khun Toi's pics

Khun Tem's Recommended Dental Clinic

Head & Shoulders, Tooth & Gum, above all the rest

PolyDental Clinic

Sukhumvit Plaza 2nd Floor, A mostly Korean Complex with construction (Fall, 2006)

Sukhumvit, just past the information booth, 30' / 10m  from the 7-11 @ Soi 12

 < 66 > 02 251-8822, 02 254-8860

Exercise Basics in Thai Language   เป้าหมายของโปรแกรม “ที่สุดของแอโรบิค” คือ การแนะนำให้ผู้ที่มีความสนใจในเริื่องของ

Health Tourism?  Western level Medical / Dental care is available for a small % of western fees!

  • Medical Care is an area in which individuals can take advantage of Globalization.

  • Uninsured & need an MRI ( dental, dermatology, cosmetic, rehabilitation .. )?  .. Flu shot?

  • Pay for a nice vacation with the savings on medical modalities by American/European educated Thai doctors..

  • The savings on one 'major tooth repair' can pay for an economy level 2 week vacation!

  • Root canal & cap front tooth 14,000thb   US$354 AUD$481 EU284.

  • Diagnostics, imaging, lab analysis, physical rehabilitation, cosmetic .. all 80% off US pricing.

  • MRI is less than 10,000 THB   US$200,  EU170, AUD$265.

 Laughter the Best Medicine    Quote Me!

In case you're interested a serious rant against tobacco companies here, some gross smokers lung pictures.

Have a yen to travel:  TESOL / TEFL can be a good career choice

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