Samui? Samui! Notes about my life as expat
on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand

Portuguese Man-of-Wars

The Atlantic Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis), also known as the man-of-war, blue bottle, or floating terror, is a marine hydrozoan of the family Physaliidae found in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its venomous tentacles can deliver a painful (and sometimes fatal) sting. Despite its outward appearance, the Portuguese man o’ war is not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, which, unlike jellyfish, is not actually a single multicellular organism, but a colonial organism made up of specialized individual animals called zooids or polyps. These polyps are attached to one another and physiologically integrated to the extent that they are unable to survive independently, and therefore have to work together and function like a so-called individual animal.

Here on Samui Man-o-wars are found mostly in June. This year the Marine Department tries a new trick to keep them from injuring tourists that don’t listen to warnings:

Officials from the Marine and Coastal Resources Department’s Chumphon-based marine resources research centre for central Gulf of Thailand provinces joined with Koh Samui Municipality and the Koh Samui Tourism Association to install the nylon nets in the sea off Lamai Beach.

The nets are 100 metres long and seven metres deep.

Thanyaporn Ajalawichakul, an official with the Chumphon research centre, said Samui was the first location where the department had installed the protective nets.

Thailand’s new king watches as sacred oxen predict good harvest

Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, dressed in a traditional costume, throws rice grains during the annual royal ploughing ceremony in central Bangkok, Thailand, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thailand’s new King Maha Vajiralongkorn attended an annual plowing ceremony on Friday where sacred oxen predicted a bountiful harvest, auguring well for the world’s second largest rice exporter’s hopes of selling more this year.

The royal plowing ceremony is an ancient Brahminical rite which heralds the start of the new rice growing season.

Broadcast on national television, the rite is celebrated in Thailand as a holiday for state employees. Thailand is the world’s second-largest rice exporter and the grain is a staple food in the Southeast Asian country.

Samui Sea Sewage: Island residents lose business due to stinky, filthy black water beach

Thais that live and work in the Mae Nam section of Koh Samui have called in reporters to photograph their nasty beach in hopes of getting the attention of the government, who they want to clean up their sea front.

The dirty beach, which teems with garbage and whose waters are foul and dark, has been abandoned by tourists worried about their health and safety in that area.

Google Doodle of the day: Por Intalapalit’s 107th Birthday

Tireless Thai writer Por Intalapalit was born on this date in 1910. Famous for Sam Kler (or SamGler), a novel series that spanned more than 1,000 books, Intalapalit was nothing short of prolific.

Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, Sam Kler (“The Three Buddies”) revolved around the comic adventures and antics of three main characters: Pol, Nikorn, and Kim-nguan (with the later addition of the scientist Dr. Direk). Together the pals sparred in boxing matches, trekked through jungles, wrangled with monsters, and encountered UFOs. Several of the stories were also developed into well-known TV shows and movies, including Sam Kler Jer Long Hon, a Cold War-themed film starring legendary Thai actor Mitr Chaibancha.

Today’s Doodle was inspired by Por Intalapalit’s beloved characters and colorful, mod-era book covers.

A new constituion

His Majesty the King on Thursday signed Thailand’s 20th constitution in the first such royal ceremony in 50 years.

King Rama X presided over the ceremony, broadcast live at 3pm from the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, where he endorsed the new constitution approved in a referendum last August.

Fun fact: The “constitution approved in a referendum last August” had different wording than this one. But who cares…

National Elephant Day in Thailand

On 26 May 1998, the Thai government declared the 13th of March to annually be the Thai National Elephant Day or Chang Thai Day (Thai: วันช้างไทย). The observance was suggested by the Asian Elephant Foundation of Thailand and submitted to the Coordinating Subcommittee for the Conservation of Thai Elephants. The date was chosen because the Royal Forest Department designated the white elephant as the national animal of Thailand on 13 March 1963.

Great-Grandson of Last Burmese King Wants Thai Soap Canceled

A direct descendant of Burma’s last king on Friday said he is offended by a Thai soap opera’s unflattering depiction of his great-grandfather’s court and called for it to be pulled from the air.

Soe Win, who is descended from King Thibaw, reached out to Khaosod English on Friday to say the series, which has angered some in Myanmar for its obvious parallels to the 19th-century Konbaung dynasty, was not helpful for good relations between the neighboring countries.

“Everybody knows that this ‘The Lady’s Flame’ Film is not beneficial for our present and future generations,” he wrote in English before asking how Thais would react to a negative depiction of its royalty.