Stop hurting Thailand - Stop using violence
Many of us may be aware, through the internet, of the above slogan, which is
being applied to a positive new movement spreading throughout the kingdom.
Gratuitous violence, of course, never solves anything, only begetting more
of the same.
Leaving aside the over-optimistic wish that the movement might become
Thailand’s most successful export to the rest of the world (which seems to
desperately need something similar), it seems the right time to note the
aims and objectives in the new movement’s declaration of intent.
The first and most essential demand is that all sides should stop hurting
the kingdom by using violence and divisive comments. The freedom to gather
together under democratic principles should not violate the rights of
others, and conflicting parties should use peaceful manes to find solutions.
Further points are that infringements against the much-loved Monarchy should
end, that equal standards should be applied to all, that the media should
report ethically, not just to gain political advantage, and that financial
support (from wherever it originates) of events and announcements that
incite violence should end.
These are high hopes, and represent a positive step forward in that the
movement itself has been established. The Thai national flag is the symbol
of this campaign for reconciliation, initiated by 21 organisations,
including universities, local government administrative organisations, and
civic organisations, all with the same aim - to reunite the Thai people and
show the world that violent conflict is unacceptable to the vast majority.
A network has been formed, with large gatherings having already taken place
across the country; all are invited to sign the ‘People’s Declaration’ which
contains the aims outlined above. The campaign invites all Thais to join
with it in order to re-establish peace and happiness in society. We wish it
Charity Club helps Isaan family to a better life
In the words of Peter Rottmann, the Pattaya Charity Club’s Isaan
representative, “I’ve never seen such an incredible turn around in a
These words were spoken after the club, led by Malcolm and Christina
Boden, had heard about the family, visited them in their Isaan village,
and worked their magic on their lives.
Mrs Bunlam was suffering from severe depression; her daughter, Pantip,
was the main carer. Wherever Pantip sat her mother, that was where she
remained until moved again, not speaking or reacting to anyone or
anything. Out of necessity, Pantip landed a job for 3 hours after school
in a pig farm, but she was so tired and weak through hunger she couldn’t
do both. As a result, she stopped attending school.
The Charity Club got involved by accident, as a neighbour told Peter
about the leaking roof and how Mrs Bunlam couldn’t afford to have it
repaired. When they heard about the problems, they immediately put
Pantip and her mother on the food programme, which allowed Pantip to go
back to school. They also arranged for the roof to be replaced.
Unfortunately, the house couldn’t stand the weight of the new roof and
fell down! So, they raised funds to replace the house.
The turn-around began right there. Mum started to take notice of the
building work being done and slowly started awakening to everything
around her. After her return to full-time schooling, Pantip is now the
number one student in the school and her ambition is to become a
teacher, although she is still working at the pig farm, which she hates,
because the family needs the money. Mum is now cleaning the house,
cooking for herself and Pantip, and surprised us by telling us she now
has a job in a restaurant close to home working all day for 50 baht.
Malcolm and Christina were asked by Mrs Bunlam and Pantip to come and
see the new house now it has been completed, which they did on a flying
visit before the madness of Songkran, also visiting most of their other
projects in Krasang and coming back after doing it all in a day!
They were thrilled to see the changes in the family. Mum came flying
down the hill towards them on an old bicycle - they didn’t even
recognise this happy smiling person. She is, now, a completely different
As there is a little land at the side of the house, the Charity Club
will provide garden equipment, vegetables and fruit trees, and provide
the family with 1,000 baht a month for a year so that Pantip doesn’t
need to work at the pig farm. Pantip has agreed to do the vegetable
garden and tend to the fruit trees. The mother is happy to remain
working at the restaurant. After the year is up, the fruit and vegetable
should be ready for them to use, and any surplus can be sold.
For more information, visit www. charityclubofpattaya. bravehost .com
or contact charityclub [email protected] yahoo.com
British husbands beware: Bangkok’s IKEA is finally happening
How many of us expat British
ladies, while we were planning our exodus from that troubled
country, wondered how we would cope without that nightmare for
husbands allergic to shopping, IKEA? I still remember happy
hours spent (along with rather a large amount of hard-earned
cash) wandering the huge complex close to our part of London,
and the even longer hours spent trying to assemble what I’d
bought. Along with the demise of my fingernails, my patience
and, almost, my marriage…
After a ‘will it, won’t it?’ saga which seems for have run for
years, it finally looks as though, perhaps due to the falling
cost of construction, work will begin on the first IKEA store in
Thailand - in Bangkok, of course! The chosen site is the new
Mega Bang Na complex; construction is scheduled to begin in the
third quarter of 2009, and will take approximately a year. As is
usual for IKEA stores, it’s going to be massive.
Before you get seriously excited, though, there may be several
downsides to this news. Firstly, I remember how utterly
confusing the signs were, especially in the warehouse section …
here they’ll be in Thai, ouch! Send out a search party … for the
customer as well as the goods!
Secondly, there seems to be concern that the store may decide to
aim for the Bangkok upper-middle classes - no more
self-assembly. That may sound good to BKK residents, but to
those of us who were joyfully envisaging flat-packs sliding down
the luggage chutes at CNX - dream on! A fully assembled, up to
the minute design of bedroom suite would not, I’m sure, be
acceptable to Air Asia, even if we’d managed to get it to
Suvarnabhumi strapped to a songthaew.
Thai furniture manufacturers, many of whom at present supply
IKEA, have been fighting against even one domestic IKEA store
for years. However, one of the, admittedly smaller, investors in
the new complex is the furniture manufacturer SPS Group, which
has been supplying IKEA with its products at a rate of 5 billion
baht per year. Coincidentally (?), its contract has just been
increased to 15 billion baht per year. No surprise there, then!
A plus point, particularly in these difficult times, is that
around 22,000 jobs will, apparently, be created - let’s just
hope that not too many are lost from smaller provincial
manufacturing companies who can’t hack the competition.
Farang Lady gags over Mother’s Day cards
A couple of weeks ago, it was Mother’s Day in America. Each
year, millions of people buy flower-laden cards, with
butterflies and ribbons, declaring that their mother was
perfect, and celebrating all that they owe her.
Fill your glass with your drink of choice, and join me in
tribute to the reality of the imperfect moms of the world, whose
children seemed to be able to earn a living, and stay out of
Here’s to the
Here’s to the mom who put the kid’s wool sweater in the dryer,
Here’s to the moms who stayed in bed with a hangover once in a
Here’s to the mom who made instant mashed potatoes,
Here’s to the moms who flushed the diaper down the toilet,
Here’s to the mom who blamed the wrong kid for a deed, and the
kid still tells her about it 40 years later,
Here’s to the mom who cut her daughter’s bangs too short, making
her look like a “geek” for 2½ weeks,
Here’s to the mom who yelled, screamed, and lost it
Here’s to the mom who sometimes forgot appointments, and soccer
Here’s to the mom who forgot to have the kid’s hair cut for
school picture day,
Here’s to the mom who resented the fact that the kids followed
her into the bathroom,
Here’s to the mom who forgot promises, made them when she
shouldn’t have, and didn’t keep all of them,
Here’s to the mom who walked into the parent -teacher
Here’s to the mother who once in a while stood at the kitchen
sink, and thought, ‘I could have had a career!,’
Here’s to the mom who baked cookies when the kids were at
school, so she could lick the pan,
Here’s to the mother who, if she wrote a book about the things
she did right, it would look like Cannery Row, and if she wrote
one about all her mistakes, it would look like War and Peace,
Here’s to the mothers who didn’t read a bedtime story every
night, or fell asleep while reading it,
Here’s to the mothers who didn’t fit the mould, didn’t march to
the same drummer, and who were downright selfish at times,
Here’s to the moms who taught their kids to be creative,
imaginative, and able to cope with the real world, and rise
above the fact that they didn’t have perfect moms.
Happy Mother’s Day!