The Thai Insurance Company has a TV advert that has created a lot of discussion here over the last few weeks. It features children from Srisangwan School (a school for children with special needs, and a project of the late Princess Mother Somdej Phra Sri Nakharindra Boromaraj Chonni) singing Que Será, Será a song originally made famous by Doris Day back in the mid-50s.


Quite possibly the advert is exploitative, but it definitely has a strong emotional effect, too. Note the joy on the faces of the children and the pride on those of the parents. This deserves a wider audience.


Former Prime Minister Samak has died of liver cancer. He wasn’t a very nice person – an arrogant thug. In fact, he was totally loathsome – not only because he taught Thai people how to cook ham in Coca Cola on his TV cookery show, but also because he was a leader of the mob that tortured and murdered hundreds of university students on 6 October 1976 as they protested for democracy. Still, de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est.

Former Thai Prime Minister Samak

The following report outlines (brilliantly, in my opinion) some of the horrors of that day: (The link is to The Wayback Machine because the original article appears no longer to be online.)

According to The Bangkok Post “a royally sponsored bathing rite for him will be held at the Benchama Bophit Temple”.

Internet censorship strikes again, which is why I don’t know that The Times has refused to provide the Thai government with a copy of the recording of an interview with another former Prime Minister. Thank you, Nanny State, for protecting me.

The weather here is bitterly cold. At night the temperature is dropping as low as 19°C, and during the day it struggles to reach 30°C. Everyone around town is wearing thick jackets to stave off the cold. And further north it’s even colder. Sadly, several people have died of hypothermia.

Four of six ancient Buddha figures at a temple near here have been destroyed, and two Buddha figure heads stolen by thieves. The abbot didn’t bother reporting the incident to the police since they haven’t done anything productive following previous thefts. This sort of theft is pretty commonplace. I can only view with utter contempt the western collectors who fuel this trade.


So, Thaksin and Hun Sen are new best friends. It wasn’t always like that. For decades there have been tensions between Thailand and Cambodia over various issues, such as the ownership of Khao Phra Viharn and the land around it and the rights to certain areas of seabed which are believed to have oil deposits. Also, Cambodia resents Thailand’s cultural dominance; much of the television watched and music listened to in Cambodia emanate from Thailand.

Still, Cambodia is now happy to provide Mr. T. with a house, to appointing him as a financial advisor to the government, and to give him a base from which to launch an attempted comeback in Thailand.

Cambodia is also happy to reject Thailand’s request for Mr. T.’s extradition. (He is, after all, a convicted criminal, sentenced to two years in prison.)

In the case of Hun Sen’s new “brother”, money can buy you love.


A few days ago The Times published a report of an interview in Dubai with former Prime Minister Thaksin on its website. The next day that report was blocked. The nanny state strikes again.

The article wasn’t particularly significant – certainly not on a par with Luther’s 95 Theses, Das Kapital or On the Origin of Species. The mere fact that it was in English would limit its appeal to most Thais. Yet it is considered so dangerous that no one here can be allowed to read it.

Website blocking is a lot of fun! Imagine sitting at the computer all day searching the web for pictures of pretty ladies in a state of undress, carefully checking the site to make sure it really is pornographic, not artistic, then blocking it so no one else can see it. In fact, it’s such fun that there are several bodies in Thailand which are involved in blocking websites. The largest of these (by number of sites blocked) is the Royal Thai Police. Probably next in size is the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT). They send a (secret) list of sites to be blocked to each ISP. The ISPs apparently aren’t too keen on the job of entering this list onto their systems, so sometimes they don’t bother, and a site can be available through one ISP, but not through another. Finally, there’s CAT which was, until recently, the monopoly provider of Internet connectivity out of Thailand. (I presume that the newer providers of international connectivity are also involved in blocking, but I’m not certain.)

Thailand is a very puritanical country – pornography and sex toys are strictly illegal – not that one would get that impression from wandering through Patpong, Soi Nana or Soi Cowboy where prostitutes openly ply their trade, or from the open sale of “dirty videos” along Sukhumwit Road (one of the major tourist areas in Bangkok) or in Pantip Plaza (a shopping mall dedicated to computer equipment). And the sex industry isn’t only geared towards tourists and foreigners; every town has its brothel or two. OK, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Thailand has very puritanical governments.

Of course, it’s not only pornographic sites that are blocked. Sites commenting on the situation in the south are blocked, as are those of certain political parties and political commentators, sites commenting unfavourably on His Majesty and the Royal Family, and sites which either comment on Internet censorship in Thailand or might help one bypass that censorship.

Fortunately (?), website blocking is getting more sophisticated here in Thailand. In the past, entire websites would be blocked willy-nilly. At times all of Youtube and WordPress have been unavailable because of a single offending image or text. However, I was pleased to find that it was just a single page on The Times website that is being blocked – the rest of the content is still available. And, amazingly, that content includes a full 12 page transcript of the original interview with Thaksin! I guess Nanny should try harder.