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

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.

The trunk is sensitive

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And here a little lession about elephants and sensitive trunks:

In addition to possessing an exceptionally well-developed sense of smell, the trunk also is one of the body parts most sensitive to touch – not only at the tip, but also all along its length. One of the reasons is that the trunk is partly derived from the upper lip, which is especially rich in touch receptors (nerve endings on the skin surface).

[via elephantexperts.org]

Bangkok, the Wildlife Sanctuary

Google thinks Bangkok is a wildlife park.
Google thinks Bangkok is a wildlife park.

This morning Google Maps made Bangkok into a Wildlife Sanctuary. If you zoom far out of the map, the label “Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary” stays visible. Somebody seems to have by accident (or not?) been changing the layout of the wildlife park. There is a high probability that you can’t see this much green in this region in several hundred years when the apes rule the world.

On a funny side note: When reporters called a park deputy to ask if the borders of the park were extended to Bangkok now he asked to refer to the Land Department to find out, “because he was genuinely unsure about the dimensions of the park”. Really.

[via Khaosod]