On February 8th our fragrant lady Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was spotted heading upstairs in the Four Seasons hotel. The businessman who spotted her secret visit whilst sitting in the hotel’s coffee shop was attacked immediately after she left, though that obviously is a coincidence. After all, people get beaten up and have a gun drawn on them in five star luxury hotel coffee shops all the time.

When the news leaked out some smutty minds thought she might be having a secret tryst when she should have been appearing in parliament. (Though not legally married, she lives in sin with a man and has a son by him.) When it was further revealed that there were actually seven men there with her in the hotel room, the same smutty minds leapt to the obvious conclusion that she has a Snow White fetish. Kinky!

Two weeks later the Prime Ministeress revealed the truth on her Facebook page: she was having a meeting with prominent business executives. She made it absolutely clear that the meeting was not in the slightest unethical, and certainly didn’t involved any conflict of interest, and most definitely did not in any way shape or form concern the valuation of land to be used as floodways or water retention areas, which is good.

So far the only businessman who has revealed he was at the meeting is the President of Sansiri, a major real estate developer that happens to have built lots of moobaans on the floodway to the north and east of Bangkok and which could potentially be very badly affected by the government’s flood prevention plans.

I’m sure it’s a complete coincidence, but since the end of last year the Sansiri share price has risen 61%. (For comparison, the share price of Land & House – a very similar company, but without heavy investment on the floodway – has risen 10%. The SET index over the same period has risen 12%) No hint of dodgy dealings here whatsoever.


During last week’s televised parliamentary debate Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm appeared unsteady on his feet, slurred his words, had a flushed face, and repeatedly harangued the leader of the opposition. One MP rushed to the outrageous conclusion that he was drunk – though the fact the she thought he smelled of booze might have prompted her in the direction.

When he sobered up Chalerm later explained that he suffered from an inner ear condition which made him unsteady on his feet. So that’s all right, then.

His response to the scurrilous accusation of his having been three sheets to the wind has been to start legal action against seven newspapers and a couple of opposition MPs. He said “I am not trying to intimidate the press. I am only preserving my rights.” So that’s all right, too.


Late last year a gang of thieves broke into the house of a civil servant, Supoj Saplom, whilst he was attending his daughter’s wedding. They were rather surprised to find sacks of cash all over the place – an estimated total value of somewhere between 700 million and 1 billion baht (that’s £14.6 to £20.9 million). They weren’t equipped to steal such a large sum, so just grabbed what they could and fled the scene.

Supoj initially claimed that just one million Baht had been stolen, though later changed his story to say it was his daughter’s sinsot (bride price). It seems a little strange though that more than 17 million Baht has been recovered from those gang members who have so far been arrested.

It also is a little strange that the bands on the notes recovered apparently relate to money for certain state railway projects, and Supoj just happens to be Permanent Secretary for Transport.

On investigation, it turned out that his personal bank accounts had about 20 million Baht (£420,000) in them, but Supoj claims that this was money he received for working overtime. (It seems civil servants are surprisingly well remunerated.)

The panel charged with investigating Supoj’s surprising riches has now decided to abandon its investigation, being unable to determine the source of his wealth.

There are a number of possible explanations for what happened. The following spring to mind:

  1. There never was all that money, and he was set up by someone bearing a grudge
  2. He was “looking after” the money for someone more powerful the he
  3. He has the sort of friends who can influence the outcome of official investigations.

Whatever the truth, it all looks rather fishy.

And the fact that the investigation has been closed down after only three months suggests that the government isn’t all that interested in tackling corruption – so no surprise there.


when master picks up my poo Whisky Portrait
in the morning
he s usually very happy
probably thinking about
all the money
he s going to get for it
sometimes he sings a song

here we go gathering poo in may

is one of his favourites
he also sings

p p p pick up a poo poo
a lovely big poo poo
when you pick up a p p p poo poo
there s so much more to enjoy
it s bigger
so delicious
chocolate flavour through and through
when you feel a little p peckish
what s bigger and best for you

and sometimes it s

bringing in the poo
bringing in the poo
we shall come rejoicing
bringing in the poo

who knew there were so
many songs about pure finding



it s an outrageWhisky Portrait
an absolute outrage
i tell you
master feeding my whiskyfood
to the neighbours dog
and giving whiskywater
from my bowl no less
and feeding him whiskytreats
but let me begin at the beginning

i d taken master out
for his afternoon drag
when i got back home
i saw that one of the neighbours
dogs had escaped
a pale coloured siberian husky
i knew she was all
fur coat and no balls
so i tried to chase her away
but master was holding
my leash too tightly
next thing i knew
master was picking me up
and locking me in the house
i tried to break down
the front door
but it was too strong
master then let the husky play
in the garden
and eat my whiskyfood
whilst i was locked inside

to make matters worse
master kept going on about
what a beautiful dog she is
and what lovely soft fur she has
he knows i m sensitive
about my fur
because it s still
falling out in handfuls
soon i could be as bald as master
that would be terrible
the vet thinks it s because
i ve got a vitamin deficiency
and says i should be fed
royal canin dog food
but master says it s very expensive
and he doesn t understand
how increasing the vet s profits
will cure my condition

anyway the security guard
phoned the neighbours mobile phone
and the family drove back
to collect their dog
but i m not going to
forgive master in a hurry



A friend of mine, a committed, caring professional, has recently come under attack by a seemingly deranged woman who has written a number of blog posts which attack him and his work, despite the fact that the woman concerned has never even met him. Naturally he’s been concerned that her baseless accusations will affect his reputation and livelihood. It’s particularly unfortunate that searching for his name (and he has a very distinctive surname) on Google brings up her hate pages in positions 2, 3 and 4. Hurtful as the situation is, my advice to him was to do nothing; any attempt at publicity will only fuel the situation.


Until a couple of days ago I’d never heard of Caroline Spelman or her teenage, rugby-playing son, Jonny. However, she applied for a superinjunction to prevent any publication of details of her son’s bad behaviour. That application failed, but she did obtain a common-or-garden injunction which has prevented the British press from publishing details of what happened. Naturally I was curious. Information is hard to come by about what Jonny did, though the suggestion appears to be that he had sex with an underage girl, which is rather embarrassing for his mother, given that she’s a government minister in “the party of family values”. No doubt the dinner party set in Hampstead knows the ins-and-outs of his tiny peccadillo, but it’s not something for us little people to know about.


Sometimes I want to write on my blog about a particular subject, but hold myself back. The recent failed terrorist attack in Bangkok is a case in point. Because the would-be bombers were Moslem and because the planned attack was seemingly motivated by a religiously inspired hatred of Jews I stayed my pen. Had the attackers been inspired by Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Zoroastrian extremism I am pretty certain that I would have written something, but we’ve been conditioned to treat matters relating to The Religion of Peace with kid gloves.


It’s a pity (for him) that Hazma Kashgari wasn’t a little more cautious when he tweeted, referring to Islam’s prophet:

“I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you … I will not pray for you”.

It’s now a distinct possibility that his head will be severed from his shoulders by the authorities in Saudi Arabia. (I rather doubt they got Interpol involved to get him deported from Malaysia just so they could have a prolonged philosophical discussion with him about his theological doubts.)

In all religion there’s a lot not to believe. I no more believe that Jesus walked on water than that Mohammed had a magic flying donkey. I equally doubt that Sidartha Gautama was able to walk from the moment he was born and that lotus blossoms grew from where his feet touched the ground. I also doubt the powers of The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly appendages, and that Haile Selassie is a god. I’m also pretty sure that a monkey army from India didn’t invade Sri Lanka. (The only army of monkeys I believe in was in The Wizard of Oz – and they flew.)

I can well believe that for a thinking Moslem the fact that their prophet, supposedly the perfect man, had sex with a nine year old girl, and that he ordered the execution of several hundred Jews at Qurayza, and … well, there’s a lot more … might be a bit of a problem. Frankly, I’m not surprised that the 23 year old Kashgari is confused about his prophet. I think in the same circumstances I would be too – though I’d rather not to lose my head over it.


There was a news story that caused me to draw me up short. It concerned a woman who had tried to steal from a donation box at Wat Kasattrathirat Worawihan in Ayutthaya. It’s a temple I know well; I used regularly to drive through it on the way to a favourite riverside restaurant. The shock, however, wasn’t so much the crime, but the woman’s circumstances. Her husband had left her. She had lost her job due to the flooding. And she was seven months pregnant – so no one would employ her and she had looming medical bills. She also has a ten year old son to look after.

It made me think of the old woman in a cheap polyester dress who used to scavenge through the dustbins at my moobaan in Ayutthaya. It made me think of the mentally ill man, skin grained black with dirt with long, matted hair, who wanders along Sukhumwit Road wearing home-made trousers – nothing more than a couple of rubber flaps tied together – with his behind hanging out. It made me think of the couple, clad in rags, who sat outside 7-eleven begging day in, day out.

There is no state provision here to care for the most desperately needy in society. If you don’t have family to fall back on. If you can’t root your way through garbage to find plastic bottles and paper to sell. If you have nothing, then robbing a donation box might be your only option.

The woman was caught red-handed. The temple’s abbot, with true Buddhist compassion, decided to let her go free.

But still, like the poorest and most vulnerable in society, she’s still living without any safety net.


It’s not only Thais who can end up in dire straights. There are at least two westerners living on the streets of Bangkok. One is clearly mentally ill and has long, rambling conversations with himself. The other lives under a pedestrian overpass, though somehow manages to scrape enough money together for beer and cigarettes. And there’s an elderly gentleman who has senile dementia. His wife and family have found his increasingly cantankerous attitude unbearable and have abandoned him. He lives alone in an apartment, unable to care for himself.

Needless to say, the embassies of the countries these people are nationals of have done nothing to help.


Coming from Europe, where everyone has a right to be looked after, from cradle to grave, I find the lack of any social support rather shocking; there it’s a given that you’ll have free access to medical treatment, free education and some sort of state-provided income if jobless. Surely the way a society looks after its weakest and most vulnerable is its true measure. Perhaps if I’d been born American I’d have a different viewpoint, given that in the world’s richest country it’s still possible for people to die for lack of access to medical treatment and millions go to bed hungry*, a place where 38% of Negro children and 35% of Hispanic children live in poverty**. Still, you wouldn’t want the obscenely wealthy there to pay a little more in taxes to help the poorest and most desperate in society. That would be socialism.

* In 2010 14.5% of Americans were food-insecure at some time during the year. Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/ERR125/
** Source: http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/


i d been having doubts Whisky Portrait
about my being the dog
who lays the golden poo
after all i ve never seen
master polishing away
then it hit me
master s a pure finder

he s been stealing my poo
and selling it to tanyards
for a shilling a pail
so they can make
leather book bindings
and gloves

where s my cut
after all i do all the hard work
squeezing it out

well i ve had enough
i m going to
cut out the middle man
i m going to
find myself a bucket
and poo in it
then i ll pick it up
by the handle and
trot to the tanyard

anyone know where the nearest tanyard is



In Thailand it’s not unusual to see children working in restaurants – some looking as young as 4 or 5. They, presumably sons and daughters of the owners and staff, take orders and deliver food, sometimes late into the night. Not a great situation, but far worse happens behind the doors of garment factories and seafood processing plants. It’s not unusual for 11 and 12 year olds to be working 12 or more hours a day. (That’s below legal minimum working age of 13 – but enforcement of the law is lax.)

Thailand is on a US watchlist because of its child labour situation. The government’s response has been to draft a list of dangerous work. It includes:

  • Working night shifts between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m..
  • Working in a slaughterhouse
  • Working on scaffolding above 10 metres. (It’s apparently OK for a child to fall from 9 metres as it will bounce.)
  • Working on a fishing trawler

It’s rather horrific to think that there must be children doing these things if the government needs to include them on a list – not that the list will make any difference to these children’s lives whatsoever. (Living in Thailand makes one very cynical about the police when it comes to suppressing crime. They’re excellent at running illegal gambling dens, taking bribes, and extorting money, though.)

What is rather strange, though, is that the Thai government appears to be concerned about what the American government thinks. After all, the Prime Minister last month appointed Nalinee Taveesin to the Cabinet, even though she is subject to US sanctions for facilitating gem trading, real estate transactions and financial transactions for the Mugabe regime.


yikesWhisky Portrait
i m being stalked by a gay dog

it all started yesterday
during my afternoon constitutional

i met a miniature poodle in the street
we exchanged the usual pleasantries
we rubbed noses a bit
then i sniffed his bottom
and he sniffed mine

i think he must have misunderstood
my civilities or perhaps
was thrown by my rakish good looks

a little later the love besotted creature
turned up in my garden
he d squeezed in through the railings

master realised i was being hounded
by the rogue hound
so he picked him up and
he peed on him
that is to say
the poodle peed though i d
have been more impressed if master
had peed on the poodle

master phoned security
it seems this crazy canine is notorious
for roaming the streets

unfortunately the dog s master
wasn t at home
so i had to go to sleep
by the front door
with my psycho stalker
on the other side
images of jack nicholson
in the shining
haunted my doggy dreams

and when i work this morning
the deranged dog
was still there

i guess i now know how
jodie foster felt