Foreigners in Thailand

If you are traveling to Thailand in this moment or you are there, it is appropriate to take some security measures. Keep contact with your embassy. Traditionally, Thai political turbulences keep distance from the tourist industry, but be aware of incidents. Here some recommendations:

- Keep your passport and all travel documents with you all the time. Provide it to any authority if they request to see them.

- If you are travelling in group, please stay all the time in connection with your agency and the tour leaders, especially passing any security checkpoint.

- You have to know that the taxi services at the Suvarnabhumi Airport are available 24 hours. The taxis have a sticker displayed on the front windscreen as Suvarnabhumi Taxis. Please use them, because officials will allow access for those vehicles only.

- If you need any other information or assistance, contact the Survarnabhum Airport Call Center (number phone: 1722).

- Keep with you the number phone of your embassy or consulate and follow news.

- The press has been restricted (censorship). Please don’t take photos or videos of sensitive areas. Stay aways from political gatherings of security checkpoints.

- The army announced a countrywide curfew from 10PM to 5AM. Please follow instructions by the authorities.

Other interesting links:

Why Cambodians migrate to Thailand

Phnom Penh. CARAM Cambodia, USAID and WINROCK International celebrated a forum directed to the private sector at the Cambodiana Hotel on Friday with about 50 participants from government, private sector, NGOs, migrant workers’ representatives and stakeholders. Sam Somuny, the CARAM’s project officer said that the forum was promoted by the official National Employment Agency of the Ministry of Labor and his NGO. The event was also attended by ten workers that were deported from Thailand for illegal employment in that country.  Continue reading

The son of the snake, an erotic Cambodian symbol

Puah Kong Kaep

Cambodian beauty Ampor Tevi as Noun with Thai star Winai Kraibutr as Mek, the snake’s son in 2001 Keng Kang Snake film by director Phai Somang.

There is currently an authentic explosion of the Cambodian cinema and it can open the doors to a new golden time for national filmmakers, as it was before the wars of the 1970′s. Cambodians have the talent, creativity and willing to produce their own movies and, with a best investment and support from national and international sponsorship, it is possible to guarantee a successful film industry in the Kingdom of Wonder. However, all these national productions go unreported either inside or outside Cambodia. There is a lack of film criticism, an element that is very important to discuss about what we watch and create.  Continue reading

Elephants recovery from global warnming

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Visiting the Central World Plaza, the sixth largest shopping center of the planet at the Bangkok downtown, you cannot skip to admire the bronze elephants’ sculpture at the side of the Ratchadamri Avenue. It is not possible to see who’s the artist, but it seems to keep an influence by Colombian international recognized sculptor Fernando Botero. Thinking on it, I looked for the author and it is not a Boteros’ work, but it is named Elephants recovery from global warming, a gift by Central Pattana and Thai Beverage Public Company on December 2009 (2552 in Thailand.) It is made by three elephants: mother, father and a baby searching for water, represented in the beautiful fountains at the site. The art calls the attention on global warming and the need to preserve our planet. The elephant is a national symbol in Thailand.

An apostle of the refugee camps to honor forever

Fr Pierre Ceyrac at the Khmer Refugee Camp Site II in Thailand by 1985. Photo courtesy 

Too many organizations must receive recognition for their commitment to the people during the most troublesome moments of the Cambodian history like the time of civil war and conflict. The Cambodians of the unforgettable refugee camps in Thailand keep by sure a good memory of those institutions and their members spending their times and resources to support the most needed. Continue reading

Lonely… ‘Khmer’

Hua Hin. Visiting ‘Amazing Thailand‘ from the ‘Kingdom of Wonders.’ I got the 2010′s edition of Lonely Planet about Thailand (13th edition, January 2010) to read in my 12 hours bus travel from Sihanoukville to Bangkok. I have to recognize that I admire the work of Lonely Planet. It is real original and well documented. Then it is made upon the research of writers living or working in the country. The history of Thailand, according with this 2010 edition (p. 29-40), is a complete resume. I noticed only a great absent: Cambodia. Actually, it is a pity that the use of references is poor in the article. It is  said, for example, that a ‘modern linguistic theory and archaeological evidence‘  - which ones? – ‘suggest that the first true agriculturists in the world, perhaps also the first metal workers, spoke an early form of Thai and lived in what we know today as Thailand (p. 29).’ How can Lonely Planet say it? From where this conclusion came?  Continue reading

The mysterious object that fall on Thai-Cambodian border could be a satellite debris

Bangkok. The unidentified object that fall on the Sisaket Province, bordering Cambodia, could be a satellite debris, declared General Yutthasak Sasiprapa, Thai Defense Minister, reported by MCOT News. On Thursday, December 22 a mysterious object fell from the sky over Srisaket, a Thai village near the Cambodian territory in an empty farm. The noise produced the panic of the villagers that though it was another Thai-Khmer military clash. The Thai police went for inspection and concluded that it could be the part of an aircraft, but the identity still unknown. Military of both countries denied any fire of artillery or gunfire near the border. The Thai Ministry of Defense confirmed that it is likely the pieces of a satellite, probably belonging to ASEAN. The satellite did not burn after it enters to the earth, said the report. The Suranaree Thai airspace forces declared also that there were not shooting over any aircraft. Investigations are under way.

The kid of migrant workers feeding from a cow

‘Um Oeung said Friday the cow doesn’t mind the boy suckling but he is worried about his grandson’s health if he continues.’ (AP)

Well, actually the boy is going to grow healthy. Milk by itself has sterilizing elements. Cambodian children should drink more milk and its derivations. The boy is just giving a good example. The other problem is the situation of migrant workers. Hopefully, this boy will have opportunities for education and a healthy environment. See the story from The Associated Press here

Queen Beatrix gave medal to director of the Don Bosco schools

Amsterdam. The director of the Don Bosco schools and Children Fund in Cambodia, Dutch Fr. John Visser, 78, was honored by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands with the Medal as Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Fr. Visser received the honor from the hands of the Queen on August 31 for his commitment and work for education to unprivileged children and youth in Thailand and Cambodia. The founder of the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia with Italian Br. Roberto Panetto, came to Thailand in 1956 and was involved in the development of technical schools in poor provinces of that country. In 1992 he was about to go in pension, when the Order of the Salesians of Don Bosco asked him to move to Cambodia to answer the request of the government to help Cambodian youth with technical schools. Since then, Fr. John Visser has opened with the support of a network of benefactors, mostly from the Netherlands, Italy and US, technical schools in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Poipet and several literacy centers in different provinces. The Don Bosco Children Fund, also his creation in Thailand, has attended more than 40 thousand Cambodian children since 1993, helping them to return to school. Currently, the DBFC is developing the Don Bosco Vocational Center of Kep and it accepted an invitation of the governor of Stung Treng to open a technical school in that northern province of the Kingdom.

Buddhist bi-national march for peace during the Visakha Bochea

Sa Kheo, Tailandia – Banteay Meanchey, Camboya. Promoted by the intellectual Buddhist Thai leader Sulak Sivaraksa, a group of monks of the Thai province of Sa Kheo and the Cambodian province of Banteay Meanchey, did a march for peace among the two countries in the Dhamma Yatra pilgrimage. The activity was framed inside the celebrations of the Visak Bochea that remembers the birth, enlightening and passing away of Buddha that, according to the tradition, occurred miraculously during the same month and date.  The Thai group left from the Mai Sai pagoda in the Aranyaprathet district and their Cambodian colleagues from the O’Chrov pagoda district. They met at the international Thai-Khmer Friendship bridge. The activities were made by prayers and lighting of candles for peace and they will continue until tomorrow Wednesday at the Mai Sai pagoda. Cambodia and Thailand are among the most Buddhist countries of the planet and they shared the same school of Theravada Buddhism. The Joint Dhamma Yatra is a bi-national effort to promote peace and friendship among both countries.

Thai police persecution ended in accident

Sa Kheo (Thailand). The persecution by the Thai police of a truck that was transporting illegal migrants into the Sa Kheo province, border with Cambodia, ended in an accident that left four women and four men in the hospital last May 11. The deputy for the border relations between Cambodia and Thailand, Lo Mithona, said to the press that the Cambodians were smuggled into the neighboring country by human trafficking networks. A similar case occurred on April 24 when the Thai police allegedly shot to another truck with illegal migrants causing its rollover. Six persons died in that accident.

June 15, deadline for Cambodian workers’ regulation in Thailand

Bangkok. June 15 is the last day for Cambodian workers in Thailand to regularize their permits before the emigration office. According to the Foundation for the Development and Human Rights in Bangkok, authorities are doing some deportations in order to push illegal workers to expedite procedures. Any Cambodian who would be working in Thailand after June 15 without the due permits, will be arrested and deported, announced the Thai department of employment. The total cost of the procedure is 125 US dollars, an amount that some human rights organizations see as too high for the pocket of poor migrants, but the Thai government insists that it is the only way to give to them social protection.

International Court of Justice 1962 sentence over the Preah Vihear Temple

The Hague, 15 June, 1962. In its Judgement delivered today, the Court, by nine votes to three, found that the Temple of Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia and, in consequence, that Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory. Continue reading

6.8 magnitude earthquake shook Myanmar and Thailand

This Thursday an earthquake of magnitud 6.8 shook the border between Thailand and Myanmar, reported USGS. The epicenter was located in Myanmar (20.705°N, 99.949°E) and a deph of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and it was felt in Chian Rai (Thailand), Yunjinghong (Yunnan Province in China), Rangoon (Myanmar) and Bangkok. Three aftershocks came: 4.8 the first, 5.4 the second and 5.0 the last. The Asian Institute of Technology said to The Bangkok Post that there is a possibility of a big magnitude earthquake in the Kanchanabury faul line with the Thai provinces of Chiang Mai and Pennung Warnitchai. The biggest damages were at the Myanmar side where the epicenter was located. There is a report of 74 dead victims and one in Thailand. According to the last reports, about 111 persons were injured. The Myanmar television was showing damaged houses and roads. They said that about 244 houses were destroyed and also some Buddhist monasteries. Some humanitarian organizations try to read the area in Myanmar, like the Red Cross, Crescent and Doctors without Borders, but the access if difficult to one of the poorest Myanmar provinces. Bangkok, a metropoli of more than ten million persons, was also shaken and there was a power outage, but there was not big damages.


Briton to be extradited to Cambodia on rape charges

A Thai court was favorable to a Cambodian request of extradition to David John Fletcher, a British citizen of 65 years old that had a children’s charity center and is accused of rape charges, according to The Bangkok Post. Fletcher was arrested and charged in Cambodia, but he managed to escape to Thailand last August. He denied the accusation and said that he is a victim of a group of influential people with whom he did not want to cooperate in money-laundering. He even said that he was threaten to dead. The Thai criminal court did not find the claims of Fletcher of enough weight and order his extradition to Phnom Penh.

There is no nuclear threat to Southeast Asia

Few hours ago, a Cambodian Facebooker reported about the last nuclear plant explosion in Japan due to the Sendai earthquake and tsunami. The Facebooker said that ‘radiation will spread over all Asian countries‘ and he goes further recommending ‘not get in contact with raining water, because it causes skin burns, cancer and lost of hair.’ However, it is a false alarm. According to nuclear experts from around the world, the level of radiation is too low to be so concern in countries outside Japan. The Japanese nuclear incident is not worst as it was the 1986 Chernobyl disaster or the 1979 partial meltdown of the Three Mile islands plant in United States. It is true that radiation can be transported by the wind, but the Japan Meteorological Agency declared that winds are blowing toward the Pacific Ocean. It means that no radiation will reach countries like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia or Thailand so far. If it would reach our countries, the level of radiation is too low to cause harm to life.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation through its general secretary, said to Reuters that there is not a serious public health issue at the moment. The evacuation of 140 thousand persons from the area of Fukushima is a measure of prevention, say the experts in nuclear power from different nations. Even the incident of 1979 in United States did not release a meaningful amount of radiation.

The World Health Organization by its part said also that the emision of radiation from the atomic plant in Fukushima is ‘quite low‘. The director of the Nuclear Power Plant Safety of Sweden said to Reuters that there is not problems for other countries.