Thailand in the News Week Ending 8/07/2010

Thailand Gets a New Province

Tuesday the Thai cabinet upgraded Bung Kan district of the northeastern province of Nong Khai as Thailand’s 77th province comprising eight Nong Khai districts, as proposed by the Ministry of Interior. The new Province will close to 400,000 residents who are all probably none to happy at the moment as they will all have to change a lot of paper work starting with house registrations and going down the line.

Thailand’s newest province will do little to change the political landscape for the time being as the 6 MP’s from Nong Khai will be split evenly among the two provinces giving them 3 MP’s each.

Marut Massayavanich, deputy government spokesman, said Tuesday:

the cabinet agreed in principle for a draft bill to elevate Bung Kan district to provincial status before submitting it to Office of the Juridical Council for further consideration

Local residents have been requesting the upgrade for years due to administrative issues and border problems. They were so confident that this day would come most of the provincial infrastructure has been in place for years including the electric grid, telephone and sewage systems.They have even had government offices ready for almost a decade.

The 77th province will encompass 4,305 square kilometers and consist of eight districts including;  Bung Kan, Seka, So Phisai, Phon Charoen, Pak Khat, Bung Khong Long, Si Wilai and Bung Khla.

To find out more about the new province and anything related to the administrative subdivisions of Thailand head over to Changwat, Amphoe, Tambon, Andy knows much more than most anyone when it comes to these things and does an excellent job bringing us all up to date information.

Convicted Pedophile Gets A Longer Sentence

Steven Erik Prowler convicted pedophile

Steven Erik Prowler who at one time called Los Angles home found out this week that he probably won’t see the outside of prison for another 20 years or so.

Prowler was arrested in Thailand back in 2005 , where he was an English teacher, for having sex with a 15 year old boy. After a small amount of time in a Thai prison he was remanded to American Authorities who jailed him until his 2007 U.S. trial where he pled guilty to several lewd acts performed on minors. In 2007 the judge in the case gave Prowler 10 years in jail. The Justice Department appealed, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the sentence and remanded the case to the lower court for re-sentencing.

In that time investigators for the Justice Department uncovered numerous handwritten journal where prowler described in graphic detail just what he had been up to in the past 5 years in several different countries including Mexico, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall told Prowler on Friday that his depraved nature demanded a sentence of no less than 25 years. Unfortunately Prowler will be spending that time in a U.S. prison instead of the Thai prison he should be in…they don’t call it the monkey house for nothing.

Elections Only After Peace & Stability?

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal not long after two separate grenade attacks killed one bystander and injured 11 others in Bangkok over the past week. Thailand’s prime minister said he won’t call national elections until next year at the earliest as the government promotes programs intended to bridge the economic gaps that fueled deadly protests earlier this year.

Constitutionally elections are called for either way next year but it would seem the PM is trying what he can to win hearts and minds before elections take place. Oppositions leaders are still calling for the PM’s ouster citing the lack of representation for lower income Thai’s. The opposition would prefer to see ex-Prime Minister Thaksin back in place as he reached out to the rural Thai’s and instituted many programs for their benefit. Unfortunately Thaksin also robbed the country blind while doing good for the rural poor.

Until such a time as a new party or individual steps up that understands the complexities of the Bangkok political game and the needs of the rural poor there will continue to be unrest. If the current government stays in control then the Red shirts will continue with their efforts, and if the Red Shirts happen to get one of their people elected then we will be sure to see another Yellow Shirt uprising. Maybe it would be best if all Thai’s went shirtless for a while. When the elections finally do happen I’m sure a very popular Thai phrase will be on all our minds…”Same same but different”.

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19 Comment(s)

  1. Talen, you made me smile with the quote at the end, same same but different. In a way if you take the names out of your weekly review it sort of sums up Thailand for any week of the year.

    Things don’t really change i.e. paedophiles, politicians and political wrangling(boundary changes).

    What’s the betting there will be another demo of some sort in BKK once the rainy season is over and the rice crop is in?

    Mike | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. Week Ending 7/7/2010 or 7th August 2010?

    Now your heading to a civilised country maybe you should start using a world standard date format, like Day/Month/Year ;-)

    Its ignorant comments about Thaksin that bring about the grievances between people in Thailand. Pretty much all politicians the world over feather their own nests, to what degree varies. The difference between good and bad politicians is how much did they do for their country that counts, on that score Thaksins Government oversaw a level of stability and financial growth that lifted Thailands global image and status as a trading partner to a far higher level than any previous or succesive Government.

    People should look at the facts a little more!

    Lloyd | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  3. Good spot Lloyd seems I had my head stuck into July for some Reason.

    While I agree that Thaksin and his government did a lot of good for the country especially rural Thai’s it doesn’t change the fact
    that Thaksin was a major crook selling off every little bit of the country he could to line his pockets. Doing good never erases the bad one has done.

    Talen | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  4. Mike, I would be willing to bet you are right about more protests in the upcoming months…same same but different :)

    Talen | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  5. Whether this is true for many or not… I read a curious Thaksin twist recently:

    …my son carefully asked [red shirt supporters] several times what ‘democracy’ means. Their answer ‘thaksin is democracy’, my son quickly realized that they have been brainwashed to believe that the English word ‘democracy’ means sometimes like savior (thaksin is democracy (our savior)).

    To see if others have the same interpretation, in the coming weeks I’ll ask around BKK.

    Catherine | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  6. Thaksin was convicted on a technicality on tax evasion relating to the sale of shares not on any other grounds. I believe he should pay the taxes however there are far more corrupt people in power now who are manipulating the legal and political system to a far greater degree then Thaksin and his cronies ever did!

    The truth is that state owned communications monopolies damage the economy and tend to charge extortionate rates and provide sub standard services. By opening up the networks and allowing foreign investment Thaksin brought about changes that saw the rapid expansion of service throughout the whole of Thailand. However since the initial growth Thailands telecommunications sector has all but stopped growing as first the coup leaders and more recently the democrats have delayed the 3G network expansion whilst they look for ways to get as much out of it for themselves as they can.

    Im not a fan of Thaksin but most of the stories people propagate are not based on facts.

    Lloyd | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  7. Lloyd, What Thaksin was convicted of was only the tip of the iceberg…let’s not forget Thaksin’s dealings with Shin Corp which he claimed was his children’s doings not his and the shady business he had going on with the new airport.

    The man literally had his hands in everyone’s pocket and Thailand didn’t benefit from any of these dealings.

    There can be no doubt he did a helluva lot for the rural poor but that coin has two sides…if he didn’t do those things they wouldn’t have backed him and there was no way the Bangkok elite would have put him in power.

    Talen | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  8. Just a small nitpicking on the new province. It’s not the district which gets upgraded, but a whole of eight districts form the new province. The current district Bueng Kan is only eponym for the province, and it will become the Mueang district of the new province, but other than that it remains unchanged. It’s fascinating that even the official news outlet of the government by the Public Relations Department wrote patent nonsense about the new province, in one of the articles they quoted the population and area of Bueng Kan district as the one of the new province, as if the author fell exactly that same trap by the sloppy wording.

    Andy | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  9. Andy, I only read the positive news about the new province. That those living there won’t have to travel as far to government offices and amenities, will have more money, etc. Is that part true?

    Catherine | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  10. Steven Erik Prowler – another case of my name is my destiny.

    I guess it could have been worse though – his name could have been Steven Erik Predator.

    ChuckWow | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  11. An interesting side note I asked my wife about the new region and the changes as we have a house and farm in Pak Khat. My wife said most of it changed last year including the new regional offices taking over issuing ID cards instead of Nong Khai. Funny thing was that each household received 800 baht for expenses to update ID cards and vehicle registration docs.

    Apparently the letter with the payment voucher was from “your elected Government”, talk about corruption!!!

    Lloyd | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  12. Funny, in the English forums I only read the opposite, how much it will cost, that it’s bureaucrats creating new jobs for even more bureaucrats, how much of the money for the creation of the province hall will go to the pockets of corrupt officials… This province was requested for almost 20 years, and the elongated shape of Nong Khai together with the location of the capital far west in the province makes it quite a hardship for those in Bueng Kan to do any business with the province administration. From what I know the new province makes sense, and it seems to be rather popular within the region.

    Andy | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  13. I only read the news (not the expat forums), extolling how beneficial this province will be to the Thais living there. So I was wondering how close to the truth it really was (too good to be true?)

    But I did take it as a given – TIT – that a chunk of the money earmarked for the people will get stucked into top pockets.

    There was a mention of money coming from the government for development (irrigation for farms, etc). Did you read that article?

    (apologies, I don’t have it handy)

    Catherine | Aug 9, 2010 | Reply

  14. For a programmer, the only reasonable date format is that of ISO 8601, i.e. year-month-day, thus 2010-08-07, easily sortable and no ambiguity between day/month and month/day. :-) Sadly, according to Wikipedia China and Japan are the only major countries who are using this format.

    Andy | Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

  15. Thanks for the correction Andy…That’s exactly why I linked to your site because you are the man in the know.

    Talen | Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

  16. Chuck, name=destiny is dead on in this case and he even looks slightly off too.

    Talen | Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

  17. Lloyd, I wonder how many of those 800 baht expense stipends went to a night on the town and a few bottle of whiskey.

    Talen | Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

  18. “Looks slightly off” – Well, yeah, he’s wearing a “red shirt”.

    ChuckWow | Aug 10, 2010 | Reply

  19. What a great shot of Steven Prowler, the man looks exactly what he is, a pathetic loser and a broken defeated man. 10/10 for the photo.

    Elections….the PM knows he has to buy time, he can’t even step inside Isaan at the moment let alone register a vote. If elections were held this year then I think Khun Abhisit knows he’d be defeated, he and his backers need to somehow sweet talk Isaan into their bosom, mission impossible might be an easier task.

    Thaksin Shinawatra and his hopes to one day boss Thailand again are dead and buried. The time has come for a new red leader to pick up the reins. I think Shinawatra knows that and he won’t keep chucking money at his own lost cause. A little yes, but not a lot.

    Martyn | Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

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