Video clip of Somchai?

A video clip is circulating on the internet featuring a man who resembles none other than Thailand's embattled prime minister Mr. Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra.

Isn't that a familiar face?

Is that Somchai?

As reported in Bangkok Post today, the 25-minute video footage, shot by an unidentified cameraman between March 22 and 27 this year, has become the talk of the town. The video was viewed more than 261,000 times in less than 24 hours after it was posted on the Manager website at about 8pm on Wednesday, and there were reportedly hundreds of thousands of clicks on other websites where it was being featured.

In short, the 4-part clip shows the man in his red Mercedes picking up a woman in her 20s, in front of a convenience store, and the couple have dinner at a restaurant serving southern-style Thai food. The second part features the same fellow driving a BMW to a love motel after picking up another woman from a house. The third part shows the man wearing eyeglasses parking his white Lexus SUV at a restaurant and has lunch with his wife, who resembles Thaksin's younger sister, Yaowapa. The final part was taken on March 27 when the man picked up a woman at the Justice Ministry on Chaengwattana Road for lunch, and then went to HomePro department store where they bought a refrigerator.

When asked about the unusual video clips yesterday, Mr Somchai, who also happens to drive a Lexus SUV, a Mercedes and a BMW, refused to comment. He just smiled and rushed back into the House of Representatives.

K-Bank gives me candy, shows me money

I walked into Kasikorn Bank today for my usual "show me the money" banking transactions and was greeted by a pretty KBank girl who smiled at me and also gave me a strawberry candy. This candy or khanom (Thai: ขนมลูกอม) carries the brand logo "K Excellence" with the words Kasikorn Bank Group below it (seen in the picture below).

KBank Excellence Candy

I've never received a candy from a bank staff member before so I'm not sure whether this candy is meant only for KBank employees and I got lucky, or is it meant for handsome customers like me as well ;). Or could they be sharing it with every other Tom, Dick and Somchai?

As usual I got my job done quickly, and KBank has once again excelled at making me a happy customer. I'm happy to have recently closed my Bangkok Bank account. I'm too tired of waiting at Bangkok Bank, good bye.

The candy tasted excellent no doubt, not that it was any better than any regular candies sold elsewhere, but it was given to me by a cute Thai lady with a beautiful Thai smile - this was enough to make the candy more tasty.

Peerada Kajornmalee wins Miss Congeniality at Miss Intercontinental 2008

"Ming" Peerada Kajornmalee has won Miss Congeniality at the Miss Intercontinental 2008 beauty pageant on 25th October 2008 in the Music and Festivaldom in Zabrze, Poland.

Peerada Kajornmalee wins Miss Congeniality

Profile of Peerada Kajornmalee:
Nickname: Ming
Age: 22
Height: 172 cm
Profession: Student
Hobbies: Yoga, Cooking, Singing

Peerada Kajornmalee seen below in a Thai traditional costume

Peerada Kajornmalee Ming National Costume

Christina Carmago, Miss Colombia was crowned the title Miss Intercontinental 2008. Christina Carmago is seen below in her swim wear

Christina Carmago Miss Colombia

Miss Intercontinental 2008

Miss Intercontinental 2008

The results:
Miss Intercontinental - Colombia
Miss Intercontinental Europe - Belarus
Miss Intercontinental Asia Pacific - Singapore
Miss Intercontinental Africa - Seychelles Islands
Miss Intercontinental Americas - Brazil
Miss Intercontinental Caribbean - Dominican Republic

Miss Congeniality - Thailand
Best National Costume - Georgia
Best Body - Czech Republic
Miss Photogenic - Ukraine

TOP 15:
Georgia
Venezuela
Mexico
Brazil
Belarus
Serbia
South Africa
Canada
Scotland
Korea
Colombia
Seychelles Islands
Ukraine
Poland
Czech Republic

Miss International Queen 2008 postponed

The 5th annual Miss International Queen 2008 beauty pageant to be held in Pattaya is being postponed until further notice.

Miss International Queen 2008

Tiffany's Show Pattaya, the organizers of the beauty pageant for transsexuals, had to take this painful decision due to the recent political instability and unrest in Thailand, which has seen a state of emergency been applied. Despite the trouble free and safe environment within Thailand, several Europeans and Asian countries have advised their citizens not to travel to Thailand through “travel warnings”, which has jeopardized the participation of some contestants.

Miss International Queen Pageant is produced and organized by Tiffany's Show Pattaya Co., Ltd., the world's largest transvestite/transgender cabaret show and supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The event was held in Pattaya last year between 5th - 10th November 2007 in which Tanyarat Jirapatpakon "Nong Film" was crowned Miss International Queen 2007.

Emporium Pet-a-Porter: Pet Passion Week 2008

Emporium Pet-à-Porter: Pet Passion Week 2008 is being held at The Emporium, Bangkok from 22 October to 26 October, 2008 at the Fashion Hall on the 1st floor.

Emporium Pet-à-Porter Pet Passion Week 2008

Guest appearances by well-known fashion and photo models include Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova and Thai-Swedish model Patrick Ribbsaeter - accompanied by canine models, of course!

Natalie Glebova and Paradorn at the Emporium Pet-à-Porter Pet Passion Week 2008
For more amazing pictures of Natalie Glebova at the Pet Passion Week - visit Natalie Fan Club

This Year's Show Highlights:
  • Royal Canine Pets of Her Royal Highness from Sapathum Palace Talent Show
  • Dog Performance Show
  • Fashion Show titled “HELLO! Glam Perros on Runway” by Emporium Debutante
  • Exclusive People & Perros Exhibition by HELLO Magazine
  • Dog Talent Show by SCAD (Bangkok Soi Cat and Dog Rescue)
  • Adoption Day
  • Charity Doggy Musical “From the Mid-road with Love”
  • Shih Tzu Lover Talk

Pet Fashion Week 2008

Pet Fashion Week 2008

Pet Fashion Week 2008

Pet Fashion Week 2008

Pet Fashion Week 2008
(Photo credits: ThaiCatwalk)

Andrew from The Bangkok Bugle made a special guest appearance at the show along with his cat Moto, once rescued by SCAD (Bangkok Soi Cat and Dog Rescue).

Khaao Kreeyab Pak Maw (ข้าวเกรียบปากหม้อ)

Khaao Kreeyab Pak Maw is another Thai delicacy worth a try.

It's just Friday and I'm snacking already...

The main ingredients used in preparing this item are:
  • rice flour
  • tapioca flour
  • starch
  • minced pork
  • vegetable oil
  • water
  • peanuts
  • garlic
  • sugar

Khaao Kreeyab Pak Maw

Khaao Kreeyab Pak Maw

Piercing the stick is the toughest part as the outer layer breaks apart very easily, so its best eaten by a spoon

ข้าวเกรียบปากหม้อ

Khaao Kreeyab Pak Maw

Protesters Rally at Central World in Bangkok

About 2,000 supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) marched past Bangkok's upmarket shopping malls including Central World, and through Wireless Road, Bangkok's Central Business District today accusing police of brutality, upping pressure on the prime minister.

Protesters Rally at Sukhumvit

The protesters handed out leaflets and VCDs showing graphic images of protesters injured in a deadly clash with police on October 7th.

Protesters Rally at Central World

The protesters blocked traffic on busy roads, while hundreds of police officers stood on the sidelines. All traffic lanes of the outbound Sukhumvit Road were occupied causing traffic to be paralyzed.

The protesters carried placards emblazoned with the word "Murderer" underneath photos of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and the national police chief.

Quantum of Som Tum for solace

A quantum of Som Tum (Thai: ส้มตำ) is all I got for solace after hitting the streets late during lunch hour, thanks to a long meeting with a client. There wasn't any Gai Yang (Thai: ไก่ย่าง) left as it was all eaten up by the 'the others'.

Som Tam plate

As you might have noticed, the title of this post is inspired by the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace" which is releasing in Thailand on 5 November 2008, which is almost three weeks' time. I just can't wait to watch the movie.

Quantum of Solace

Hotmail Server is too busy

The screenshot says it all. Hotmail Server Too Busy!!!

Hotmail Server Too Busy Screen

We are experiencing higher than normal volume and are therefore unable to service your request at this time. Try one of the following:
  • In your browser, click Refresh - Refreshed, no luck
  • In your browser, click Back, and try again - Tried, no luck
  • Wait a few minuted an try again - Waited, no luck
We apologize for this inconvenience.

I think they forgot to mention the words "Do Not Disturb" before "Server Too Busy".

Wake up Microsoft!

International Ride to Work Day 2008

Yesterday was International Ride to Work Day 2008. The activity is held on 15 October of each year to reduce pollution and global warming.

International Ride to Work Day 2008 in Bangkok

Newly elected Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin together with artists and private organizations introduced the International Ride to Work Day 2008 event yesterday. More than 800 people turned up in Silom and Sathorn area yesterday for the launch of the activity to campaign for people to ride bicycle to work.

Cyclists gathered at the Lumpini Park and rode to Rama IV and South Sathorn Road. Recently a new bike lane painted in red has appeared on Sathorn Road.

International Ride to Work Day 2008 in Bangkok

Apirak Kosayodhin is seen cycling in the picture below

International Ride to Work Day 2008 in Bangkok

Environmental conservation is also focused in this activity. The event is usually held during 7:00 - 10:00 am based on local time of each country.

The C40 Cities (Large Cities Climate Leadership Group) including Sydney, London, and New York held similar events. Even Bangkok is part of the C40 Cities. The event which is organized by The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), is taking place for the first time in Thailand.

International Ride to Work Day 2008 in Bangkok

International Ride to Work Day 2008 in Bangkok

(Photo credit: ThaiMTB)

Pole Dance at California WOW? 299 Baht!

Just saw this poster today by California WOW that says "XXX Pole Dance" - First Time in Thailand! It also states a Warning: Producing Hot Sexy Divas!

Check out the poster below that features one of their regular models in a hot pole dancing pose

California WOW - XXX Pole Dance Sexy Divas

299 Baht a month? All Hours All Days! Hmm... I thought it was a place mostly for gays... Looks like they want real men to show up now.

A very bold marketing campaign by California Fitness. I wonder if they are going to use one of those Chinese poles.

California WOW - XXX Pole Dance

They even got a farang pole dancer that looks like a gymnast

Pole Dancer Babe

Pole Dancer Babe

This pretty Thai girl also gets to the pole for a pose

Pole Dancer Babe

Lottery Luck: numbers right, sequence wrong

Ah, I missed the lottery again on 1st October. This time I got the last 3 numbers right but the sequence wrong.

I bought a 042 but the winning number was 204!

Missed the Thai Lottery

The next lottery draw is taking place tomorrow! No numbers up my mind yet, will see in the last minute as most vendors offer a 20 Baht discount on a regular 100 Baht lottery, which I'm not gonna win.

Melamine inside: Mali Condensed Milk

The Nation reports that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) today found high levels of melamine in unsweetened condensed skimmed milk with palm oil formula produced by The Thai Dairy Industry, under the Mali brand.

Mali Unsweetened Condensed Skimmed Milk

"The FDA said the manufacturing lot of milk, which carries the expiry date of January 16 2009, was found to be contaminated with melamine at the rate of 92.82 milligram per kilogram.

FDA impounded 150,000 cans of the lot and ordered all shops to take the milk from the lot out of their shelves immediately." (The Nation)

From what I've seen in supermarket stores, Mali Unsweetened Condensed Skimmed Milk is sold in tin cans with a Net weight of 405 grams. Its main ingredients are Skimmed Milk Powder 17.7% and Butter Butter 7.8%, but it does not seem to contain any Palm oil. I haven't noticed Mali cans with palm oil formula before, so I guess they might not look the same as in the picture above.

The Mali brand has been sold since many years in Thailand and Mali is commonly used in preparing food, dessert, beverages, bakery and pastry. Mali has been one of my favorite brands all along.

Melamine is making surprise appearances these days, as seen in another report by The Nation after Swiss authorities found a high concentration of melamine in S&P milk cookies from Thailand.

Tough job for the FDA, as it is too busy studying samples of wheat flour, butter, milk-based products, powdered milk and now cookies.

I wish there was a melamine test kit easily available so that I could perform my own testing before munching those cream filled cookies I bought form Indonesia.

Gunshots fired at Thai-Cambodia border

Fighting breaks out at the Thai-Cambodia border near Preah Vihear Temple as Thailand and Cambodia face off again!

The Nation reports that sound of several gunshots were heard near the disputed area at Preah Vihear area along the Thai-Cambodia border at about 2.45pm today.

One Khmer soldier was killed during the clashes.

Gunshots fired at Thai-Cambodia border
(Photo credit: AP/Heng Sinith, FILE)

The area is in the heart of border tension between Thailand and Cambodia which re-emerged after Cambodia's premier threatened to open war if Thai troops were not withdrawn from the area.

Both Thai and Cambodian troops were deployed along the border in Si Sa Ket following Hun Sen's threats. The Thai army vowed to retaliate if attacked.

It is still unclear who fired first shot.
Thai officials said that the shots were fired from the Khmer side.
Cambodian officials said that the shots were fired from the Thai side.

Stephanie Rice photographed partying in Patong nightclub

Swim star Stephanie Rice has lashed out, after a mystery man photographed her partying in Thailand and sold the pictures to the media. Stephanie Rice was snapped letting her hair down on the dance floor of a Patong night club.

Stephanie Rice partying in Thailand

Stephanie Rice partying in Patong

Stephanie Rice partying in Phuket

(Photo credit: Live News)

The 20-year-old described it as being ‘really out of line’.

Rice was in Thailand for a relaxing holiday, hoping to have some down time after a whirlwind year.

A relative unknown in the tourist haven, the triple-gold medallist and her friends were also photographed falling into a giggling heap on the floor.

"Some of those photos from Thailand were kind of frustrating," the Daily Telegraph reported Rice as saying.

"I remember that night and I know who it was.

"This guy had asked me a photo with me and I said 'Sure, no problem', but then he kept taking photos of me having a good time with my friends.

"I just thought it was really out of line."

Rice's personal life has been under the microscope since she catapulted to superstardom after breaking both the 200 and 400m individual medley world records at the Olympic trials in March.

After breaking up with freestyle sprinter Eamon Sullivan in the lead-up to Beijing, she has been romantically linked with fellow swimmers Michael Phelps and Brisbane training partner Brendan Capell.

While in Thailand, Rice missed many of the Australian team's homecoming parade.

"The whole point of going to Thailand was to unwind and relax, to be with my friends because I've come out of probably the most intense year of my life and haven't had any down time because I knew it would calm down after Beijing," she said.

She is also the face of Davenport underwear and has also graced the cover of a men's magazine.

Source: National Nine News

Vegetarian Food Festival Delights

The Vegetarian Food Festival just got over last week. I felt quite good having vegan food for over 10 days and I really enjoyed the mushrooms and tofu. It is the only time of the year that vegetarian food is widely available in Bangkok. Even the street vendors sell veggie food, as you will find the stalls marked with typical triangular yellow flags, as seen in the picture below.

Vegetarian Food Yellow Flags

The Thai word for vegetarian is "Jay" (Thai: เจ), and "Kin Ahaan Jay" simply means to eat vegetarian food.

During October of every year, vegetarian food festival is held in Thailand for ten days. This religious festival is celebrated mostly by Thais of Chinese descent. During the 10-day event, devotees stick to a strict vegetarian diet which is believed to spiritually cleanse the soul.

The vegetarian food festival is celebrated with much gusto in Bangkok, Trang, and Phuket Town.

Vegetarian Food Festival Bangkok

Vegetarian Food Festival Bangkok

Fish sauce and other seafood sauces are very common in most Thai recipes. However, most recipes can also be prepared with vegetarian ingredients as alternatives. Here are a few simple substitutions:

Fish sauce: Soy sauce, vegetarian fish sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce
Shrimp paste: Soybean paste
Red meat or Beef: Tofu (regular or deep fried), Textured Soy Protein (TSP) or Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Chicken or fish: Tofu
Shrimp: vegetarian shrimp
Dried shrimp: no substitute

Below is a packet of Smoked Stripe, and Veggie Chicken Sausages, which is similar in taste to a real chicken sausage. The bottom of the packet is clearly labelled "No Preservative No Borax and No MSG"

Veggie Chicken Sausages

I followed a strict vegetarian diet for 10 days, and I'm not so sure if my soul got spiritually purified or not, but my body definitely got physically cleansed. Can't wait for next year's Jay festival!

Hindu Festival in Bangkok

On Thursday evening parts of Silom Road including Surasak Road was closed to motorists to pave way for the Hindu festival procession which was held at Sri Maha Mariamman (Indian) Temple on Silom Road, opposite Narai Hotel.

Hindu Festival Bangkok BTS

The procession was to start from the Hindu temple, move along Surasak Road, through Pan Road and finally back to the temple. Along the pavement of the entire route, hundreds of Thai people dressed fully in white with vermilion on their foreheads had setup tables with large statues of Hindu Gods placed on them, along with dozens of coconuts to be used as offerings. I even spotted some Thai ladies wearing red Indian sarees!

Hindu Festival Bangkok Surasak BTS

This Hindu festival is known as Dussehra or Vijayadashami, and is held to celebrate the victory of the Hindu God Lord Rama, prince of Ayodhya, over Ravana, the ruler of Lanka who had abducted Rama's wife, Sita Devi. This festival is the grand culmination of the 10-day annual Navratri festival, and is celebrated in India and Nepal with much gusto where crackers are burnt, and huge fetes are organised. Effigies of Ravana are also burnt throughout India.

Later that night at the Hindu temple, the devotees performed a bizarre ritual where they push metallic objects through their skin on different parts of the body, primarily around their mouths and backs. These devotees are called "the soldier of god" and this custom has its origin in Malaysia, known as Thaipusam. Similar rituals are also held in most Chinese temples in Phuket Town every year.

Thaipusam

Surasak Road was to be closed at 6 pm, and at around 4.45 pm, it wasn't possible to walk on the pavement as it was filled entirely by the devotees. I had to walk on the road as I was heading for Surasak BTS.

Hindu Festival Bangkok

It was a rare site to see so many Thai and Chinese devotees with so much faith in Hindu Gods. It was a Hindu festival but the Hindus were clearly outnumbered by the Thais.

Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple in Bangkok

Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple in Bangkok
(Photo credit: Kawaputra)

I managed to click just a few photographs after I climbed up the stairs of Surasak skytrain station, after which I had to hurry up and start my train hopping journey from BTS to MRT and beat the human traffic.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of this Hindu Festival at Silom Road, Bangkok in 2007.

Grandpa Yen passes away at 108

Grandpa Yen, a 108-year-old man who had been living alone on his small boat on the Phetchaburi river for years, died today from natural causes.

Grandpa Yen houseboat ปู่เย็น

A famous resident of Phetchaburi province, Yen Kaewmanee, a Thai-Muslim man well known as Pu Yen (Thai: ปู่เย็น), was found lying unconscious inside his houseboat by his neighbors and rushed to the hospital. Doctors at the Phra Chom Klao Hospital tried to revive him but failed, and at around 11am the hospital announced that Grandpa Yen had passed away from heart failure at 10.40am.

Grandpa Yen Houseboat

The old boatman shot to fame in 2004, when Khon Khon Khon (Thai: คนค้นฅน) a life documentary program aired the story of his unique and austere lifestyle on Thai television, Channel 9. He had been living alone on his small wooden boat on the river for years to save on rent and mostly lived on fishing. His wife died in 1993, when he was in his mid-90s, and since then Yen had been living in small houseboats in the river.

After his story was aired on Thai TV, Yen was flooded with services and gifts, and Her Majesty the Queen granted a new and lighter fiberglass houseboat for the old man to live on, which provided better protection from sun and rain. The Phetchaburi province also used him as the province's tourism presenter last year.

The well-known elderly man who was much adored by the public was in the news again recently during the floods in Phetchaburi province, when he was spotted by local villagers near his boat in neck deep waters. While they rescued him, he requested them to save his boat which was damaged. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit tasked officials to take good care of him, and have his boat repaired.

Grandpa Yen had been widely known and respected for his self-sufficient and distinctive lifestyle when he decided to live on small fishing boats to save his expenses in his mid-90s.

The fame was not without its down side. Yen had to open a bank account for the first time in his life last year, after thieves stole 70,000 Baht ($2,060) in cash which he had received as donation money from his small boat. Grandpa Yen went to the bank to deposit the remainder of the donation money he had than, about Bt100,000. The incident prompted him to park his houseboat at a safer spot every night for fear of another theft while he was sleeping.

Grandpa Yen smiles ปู่เย็น

Grandpa Yen cycles ปู่เย็น

Grandpa Yen smiles ปู่เย็น

He is going to be missed by all Thais.