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Thread: Best of Thailand, 2011

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    connoisseur of empathy Array cluezo's Avatar
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    Best of Thailand, 2011

    From today's Post ...

    Thailand's got talent, 2011 (the year's best)


    Published: 24/12/2011 at 12:00 AM

    Best robbery: It's a plot for a Hollywood heist flick, or a Third-World black comedy: ex-permanent secretary for Transport Supoj Saplom ("surrounded by treasure" his last name prophesises) reported that a gang of thieves broke in and took five million baht from his house.

    Six robbers were arrested, spilled the beans that they actually took 165 million and left something like a billion back in that treasure house because they couldn't figure out how to transport such an abstract amount of cash. Mr Supoj, an impermanent permanent secretary, insists on a conspiracy plot.

    Chalerm Yubamrung insists on a Skytrain double-whammy. Fans of Ocean's Eleven insist on (at least) a triple-cross and an even more dazzling banditry. Fill in the blank: It takes a thief to catch a ...

    Best disdain

    Those who seek the amendment of the lese majeste law, suggested Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha "should go live abroad." In other words: Get out. This includes those who ask sanely, academically, even loyally, for another look and maybe a tweak at the increasingly contestable law.

    Like a sad angel at the gates of hell, the army boss's comment transcends fury into cynicism, then transcends cynicism into disdain. Maybe banishment, deportation, and forced-exile will be amended into the law.

    Best superstition

    When one Black Hawk is down, it is a movie. When three Black Hawks were down, you channel such misfortune into the superstitious corner. That forest is haunted. That particular valley in Kaeng Krachan, where three army helicopters perished in the span of eight days, is cursed by a Karen witch doctor who jinxes those who encroach upon his ancestor's land (deservedly I would say). It's a Thai specialty - and this is as much a compliment as it is a reflection - to rely on the inhuman power in the face human tragedy and procurement error.

    Best scandals

    The cases of Sek Loso and Arisman Pongruangrong. In the past week, the Sek Loso saga has consumed much of our time and moralising capacity and revealed a knotty relationship between the artist, his label, and the horde of adoring fans.

    Not even Keith Richards would dare declare that he could "master the drugs" he took - that quote of Sek's can go down in in history as rock 'n' roll's hall of lame. Meanwhile, have we forgotten that Arisman Pongruangrong was (and maybe is) a singer/songwriter whose power of lyric-writing is matched only by his increasingly madcap behaviour? After leading a mob to literally gate-crash the Asean party two years ago, he played Spider-Man as the police laid siege to his hideout in 2010. His star turned him into a Hyde-Park performer, convict, fugitive, and now, political prisoner. Would a team-up with Sek possible?

    Best surveillance

    The ones that work, of course. not those dummy boxes placed to scare off criminals, who're no longer scared now that the scarecrows are exposed.

    Best hypocrisy [*ah, yes ... remember?]

    Me, you and everyone we know are probably implicated in this vice. But forced to choose between a frying pan and the fry, I choose the moralists who cringed and fumed at the sight of topless dancers during the wild, wild, wet party of Songkran on Silom, when 200 metres from the scene is our world-famous Patpong, where all sorts of interesting activities go on a nightly basis.

    Hot on the heels is the fact that the Culture Ministry came out to condemn the half-nude dancers and quickly removed the picture of ancient paintings showing bare-breasted nymphs from their website. Even the mammary gland faces the scourge of double standard in Thailand.

    Best demonisation

    The one we inflicted on crocodiles during the flood. Certainly the crocs are carnivorous, and there were bad cases of attacks, but the degree of demonisation we heaped upon those animals whose only notion of the afterlife is Prada bags and whose idea of food is chicken carcasses thrown into a pool is pretty unjustified.

    In some places, there were croc-hunting squads with rifles - their favourite movie is still Rambo - and TV news fed us daily fear as if a monster had been unleashed. We need a monster because, deep inside, we need a hero. And during the flood - and maybe during this time of hopelessness - a demonstration of heroism is an antidote to our panic, fear, and despair.

    Merry Christmas.

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    Pretty Like Girl Array WilliamBlake's Avatar
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    Spot on. Especially the Songkran comedy.
    The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

    ~L.P. Hartley

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