Thailand in the News Week Ending 02/13/10

Thailand Refuses Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Photo Courtesy Reuters

Even thought the Dalai Lama practices Tibetan Buddhism, a different branch of the religion from the Theravada Buddhism the Thai’s practice he is still a very revered Buddhist figure in Thailand. Even so he is now on the list of those not allowed entry to the country.

His last visit to Thailand was in 1993 for a solidarity meeting among Nobel Peace laureates, but things have changed much since then, and for reasons only known to the Thai government his visa applications have been refused since then.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why this revered Buddhist figure has been denied entry. From causes he supports such as Democracy in neighboring Burma and the release of  long time political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi from Burmese jail to the long arm and influence of China who fears the man and his words.

China has done much through the years to curtail the Dalai Lama’s travels through the world spreading his words of peace and continually reminding the world of Chinese occupation of what should be an independent Tibet. China has used it’s power and influence throughout the world to bully governments into keeping the lone Buddhist monk Quiet. China even went as far as to warn the United States not to confer upon him the Congressional Gold Medal stating that it would seriously impact U.S. – China relations.

Thailand for it’s part has stated “generally, we don’t allow anyone to use Thailand as a base country to do any political activities or instigate violence in other countries.” Which is the easy way of saying we have way too much trade with China to jeopardize diplomatic relations between the countries. As it stands China has made sure that most of South East Asia is off limits to the Dalai Lama.

It never ceases to amaze me that one of the largest nations on this earth with all their military might turn  into a bunch of quivering pussies due to the power one Buddhist monk wields with words alone. China has come a long way in the past 100 years and yet they are still an ass backwards country in the eyes of the world.

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TAC to Begin Selling iPhone in Thailand


Rumors have been circulating for a while about a second iPhone carrier for Thailand and it seems that Total Access Communication, the second largest carrier in Thailand, has won the bid and will begin selling iPhones within the next month.

Norway’s Telenor company who is a majority owner of TAC  has declined comment on this news but sources close to the company say that finishing touches are going on towards advertising and web sites dedicated to the iPhone.

True Move the original carrier of the iPhone has sold about 100,000 units in the last year and project a further 120,000 units this year. With the emergence of non voice services the market will become very competitive again as voice services are already saturated in Thailand.

Another carrier in the mix to watch out for is Advanced Info Service ADVA.BK who failed to make a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone but hopes to find another way to offer the iPhone to the Thai market.

This could be very good news to consumers because with increased competition iPhone prices and plan pricing may drop, but this is Thailand so prices could easily go the other way as well. 3G is still another consideration as it is limited throughout Thailand and the iPhone capabilities won’t be able to be utilized everywhere yet.

A New Guinness Record?

Ripley's Believe it or Not in Pattaya, Thailand

Photo Courtesy Pattaya Daily News

Well, the folks at Ripley’s Believe it or Not in Pattaya are hoping so. On Sunday February 14th, Valentines day,  they held what they hope is the worlds largest speed dating festivity.

A total of 1076 people showed up to participate in the event which beats the previous held record in Germany by 129 couples set back in 2008.

This event was the largest ever undertaken by Ripley’s which took up 168 square meters of the Royal Garden Plaza’s ground floor. Thai’s and foreigners were in participation to set the record with the oldest participant being 52 and the highest educated holding a masters degree.

The participants spent 3 minutes getting to know one another before a bell signaled them to move on to the next person and a further 3 minutes. Impression cards were filled out and hopeful matches made by information filled out on the cards.

While the Guinness World Record was definitely one goal of the event the much bigger goal was to promote Pattaya as a tourist destination and it seems they did a good job.

If you want to be more technical about it, Pattaya has probably held the record for speed dating for a very long time but I don’t think any speed dating records or confirmations have been kept on soi 6 in years and I believe they would be disqualified anyway due to the fact that they are paid professionals.

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23 Comment(s)

  1. Thailand Refuses Dalai Lama – what a crying shame. With true monks on the wane in Thailand, you would think that they’d take every chance to revive Buddhism.

    After my initial surprise, I’m not really shocked. Just saddened. I often grumble in the direction of the deteriorating state of monks in Thailand.

    TAC selling iPhones – sounds good. Although I don’t see the cost per phone going down, just the service. And it’s really not very expensive. I now pay less per month for my iPhone than I did for my Nokia with 12Call.

    And an iPhone is a lot more fun than my old phone because I get to bug a certain someone with instant pics of Singha, Pad Thai and such.

    (It’s payback time for all those photos of Ding Dongs! :-D
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Ten Steps to Learning Thai =-.

    Catherine | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. What are you paying per month for your service Cat?

    That’s just mean bugging some poor bastard like that…don’t be surprised if you get a large box from America filled with snow…If I can get chocolate there intact you can bet I can get a couple tons of snow there too.

    Talen | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. My last bill for TRUE was 516.87 bht.

    Mean? No mean is sending pic after pic of creamed filled chocolate goodies!

    PS: Send on the snow. Pookie and I will find something fun to do with it. Snow fights in Thailand? Why not?
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Ten Steps to Learning Thai =-.

    Catherine | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. The Dalai Lama post was very interesting and informative, although (and I can’t believe I’m going to say this) I can’t blame the Thai gov’t for not wanting any more political unrest/controversy in their country. I’m not saying their decision was right or okay! It’s just no surprise considering. . .

    Lani | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  5. Lani, I too see the possible reason. But… when will Thailand be free of political unrest?

    I’ve been here six years now and it’s been back to back.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Ten Steps to Learning Thai =-.

    Catherine | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  6. Lani, I agree that the last thing Thailand needs is more political unrest but this has been going on since his last visit in 1993. The Thai government will maintain it’s because they don’t want Thailand used for political purposes but you can Bet China is in the background pulling the strings and letting Thailand know of the consequences if the Dalai Lama sets foot on Thai soil.

    Talen | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  7. I haven’t even begun to start with you yet woman…moon pies and Twinkies are on the horizon.

    Pookie told me last night that the snow is beautiful…grass is always greener I guess.

    Talen | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  8. I see another phone purchase in my future as iPhones become more pervasive in Thailand.

    I wonder how the wife will off her current phone ?

    Does short time really qualify as speed dating ?

    ChuckWow | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  9. Chuck, The wife will find a way that you will be happy to buy her a new phone I’m sure.

    Short time, speed dating…it all depends on the participants I guess…some are faster than others.

    Talen | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  10. Catherine, Talen and ChuckW, the iPhone is so 15 mins ago! “BB” is on everybody’s lips. That’s BlackBerry. It’s the new iPhone. I’m seeing this on other SEA blogs, too.

    Me, I’m waiting for the new iPhone in June (rumour on I’m a Mac guy — even though the BB is a Canadian company, eh, about a 100 klicks from where I live.
    .-= SiamRick´s last blog ..A story of profoundly brainwashed nation, North Korea =-.

    SiamRick | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  11. Rick, I’m a Mac person too. So they can keep their Blackberries and I’ll take something that works like the rest of my stuff. Yeah.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Ten Steps to Learning Thai =-.

    Catherine | Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

  12. Chuck, all the cool kids have iPhones…Right now I’m a Nokia kinda guy but if I can get a good price and plan when I make the move I’ll happily be a mac guy…that is, until I break it and once again become a Nokia guy.

    Talen | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  13. “China is an ass backwards country” made me LOL. Captain Obvious to the rescue!

    vange | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  14. Talen I rate this as your best weekly round up so far, excellent writing.

    I’m not into politics or Buddhism in any big way but I can see where you’re coming from with the China big business angle, it makes sense (your theory).

    Like Chuck Wow I can see my ear getting slightly bent when it comes to the iPhone but at the current prices Wilai will see sense. Here’s hoping anyway.

    Speed dating in Pattaya, they must set a new record every Christmas in the soi’s of that city.

    Martyn | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  15. Vange, it’s always nice to be as clear as possible otherwise people in New Mexico get confused… :)

    Talen | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  16. Martyn, Pattaya must be the speed dating capital of the world …

    Talen | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  17. Yeah. And if I ever get single, I’ll head straight down to Pattaya. Heh.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Ten Steps to Learning Thai =-.

    Catherine | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  18. Cat, I hear Red Point is the place to start… :)

    Talen | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  19. Sigh… I won’t even lurk around that soi on YouTube.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Ten Steps to Learning Thai =-.

    Catherine | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  20. PC here. This video from Tosh.0 pretty well sums up how I feel about Apple products.

    ChuckWow | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  21. Chuck, you never disappoint…that was awesome! And it probably made thousands of Mac nerds cry like a little girl.

    Talen | Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

  22. Talen great post but I have one question.

    Whats an “iPhone” :-)

    Mike | Feb 17, 2010 | Reply

  23. Mike, That’s exactly how I intend to play it when Pookie should get around to asking…

    Talen | Feb 17, 2010 | Reply

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