September 1-8, 2008
September's Leo Girl:
More proof that Bangkok is cool: the Marriott:
Now it is not so cool.
PM to have absolute control; PAD to go on protesting despite state of emergency; more people join protest at Government House, pro-goverment protesters disperse
BANGKOK: -- Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej Tuesday announced the state of emergency in Bangkok following a clash between the pro and anti-government supporters early in the morning.
Reasoning that some groups of people caused disturbances in Bangkok that affect the peace and security, Samak announced the enforcement of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations in Bangkok.
The prime minister's order also appointed the army chief to be in charge of enforcing the emergency decree in Bangkok.
Thai PBS said the PM's order would exempt the enforcement paragraph 1 of Article 9 which prohibit people from leaving their houses, meaning peole can still go to work.
The station said the announcement would prohibit gathering of more than five people.
But the state of emerency authorises the authorities to evict people from any place or prohibit them from enteirng a place.
The state of emergency also prohibits news publicity in a way that terrifies the public.
The state of emergency also allows the authorities to detain suspects for seven days and would prohibit people from making illegal entries into government offices.
Pro-government protesters dispersesd soon after learning about the the emerency situation announcement.
But the leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy said the protest would continue at Government House.
Thai PBS reporter reported from the scene that more people came out to join the rally Tuesday morning.
Democrat Party MP Sathit Wongnongtoey said the state of emergency would allow the prime minister to have absolute control.
Sathit said it seemed that the government foresaw the violence and state of emergency. He said the prime minster and People Power MPs indicated the violence would take place when they spoke during a debate on the political crisis Sunday night.
-- The Nation 2008-08-02
THAILAND'S Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency in Bangkok today, state radio announced, hours after clashes between opponents and supporters of his government left one dead.
Embattled Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who has faced mounting calls for his resignation, appointed the powerful army commander General Anupong Paojinda as chief of a special team tasked with enforcing the emergency decree.
Bangkok's police chief and the capital's regional army commander have been appointed his deputies.
Under the emergency decree, gatherings of more than five people in Bangkok are banned.
"By invoking this emergency decree, (General) Anupong can ban people from entering any specific place and can evacuate people from any specific place," the announcement said.
Thai police called in army reinforcements early Tuesday as thousands of pro-and anti-government protesters clashed in the capital, leaving one dead and dozens injured, officials and local media said.
Thai television showed protesters wearing helmets and carrying batons running though the streets, fighting with each other and throwing rocks, as people lay bleeding on the street.
The violence took place not far from the site where about 15,000 demonstrators have been besieging the main government compound for a week, demanding that Mr Samak step down.
My minder worries so much.
September 2, 2008
This warden message is being issued to alert U.S. Citizens traveling to and residing in Thailand that demonstrations in the area near Government House in Bangkok have turned violent. One demonstrator has been killed and others injured.
On Tuesday morning, September 2, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency in Bangkok following the street violence that occurred overnight between anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporters and the pro-government United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). The fighting resulted in one death and over 30 people injured. Unarmed Royal Thai Police and Military were able to separate the two parties and restore peace by early morning. The state of emergency gives the government additional powers, which are intended to bring a peaceful end to the demonstration.
News reports also indicate that various railway, bus, utility, and airline workers may go on strike September 3 in sympathy with PAD protesters, possibly causing delays and outages. If you will be flying within or from Thailand, we recommend that you contact the airline and reconfirm your flight.
The government has announced that Thai government schools in Bangkok will be closed for the next three days. Media report that some schools around the Government House area closed at noon September 2, but we do not know the extent of school closings. If you think that your child's school may be affected, please call your school directly for updated information.
We wish to remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.
The Embassy remains open with no interruption of consular services. For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and health-information resources can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers in other areas by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).American citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov. The after hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.
It was a key day! Literally!
Today I got the keys (45 of them)* to our new condo at the Athenee Residence.
Along with the keys came a box loaded with extras: proximity cards for accessing the building and the elevator, flash cards that allow our cars into the garage, an instruction manual that covers all the electronic stuff in the condo**, six air conditioning controls, a stove top scraper, hexagonal keys to unlock the A/C mains, the architect's floor plan on a CD and a multi-language*** DVD that tries to explain everything.
I was impressed. The last time I bought a home I just got two keys.
* OK, they were triplicates: there are only 15 doors in the condo that lock via keys. But that is far more lockable doors that I have ever owned in the past.
** It is thicker than the manuals for our Mercedes cars.
*** Well, just two: Thai and English.
Even if they write once every three months it is great to hear from kids.*
Just a quick note to say hi. Sounds like you are weathering another change of government well. Things here are more peaceful. Lula just wants to nationalize the new petroleum finds.
Well, I was able to sell both properties that I wanted to and bought another 12 acres along that road. I'll need to buy a horse now to ride my range.
I hear that Christy and Bernie will be coming for a visit. When will that be? Do you have an i-phone yet? Will Bernie bring one over? I am dying to get one as my old i-pod is looking very dated by now. Whenever I swing my next trip to the US I'll be doing a lot of Tech shopping. I've had friends bring me the odd toy down, but nothing is like going into Best Buy intent on conspicuous consumption.
Carmela and I are still together. More than a year and a half! Going great. When we have time to travel you must meet her.
How is Watcharee? Send her a hug.
* Full disclosure: I wrote to my parents about once a year.
The Onion reports:
Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory
KANSAS CITY, KS — As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.
"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
Burdett added: "Gravity-which is taught to our children as a law-is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."
Founded in 1987, the ECFR is the world's leading institution of evangelical physics, a branch of physics based on literal interpretation of the Bible.
According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.
The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."
"We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.
Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.
"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some gravity making them fall-just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious intelligence governs all falling."
Critics of Intelligent Falling point out that gravity is a provable law based on empirical observations of natural phenomena. Evangelical physicists, however, insist that there is no conflict between Newton's mathematics and Holy Scripture.
"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."
"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"
Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."
Bangkokians stress over "emergency rule".
We stress over a new refrigerator that won't fit through the kitchen door. *
* OK, it's not that bad; we just have to remove the kitchen door.
The Shangri-La's old Next2 is now next2nothing.
First time ever: night views from the Athenee Residence.
The Economist writes:
VOTERS in this weekend's mayoral election in Bangkok can be forgiven for feeling perplexed. No fewer than 21 candidates are vying for the job, ranging from former diplomats and police officers to a massage-parlour boss who admitted to bribing police with trays of (genuine) Rolex watches. A businesswoman who posed in lingerie in her fliers was disqualified for an overly boisterous campaign. Other hopefuls have donned hard hats and posed in front of air-brushed building sites to show they mean business.
Candidate #8 is named Chewit (phonetic spelling). His brand of massage-parlours glow with a red light ... nudge, nudge, know-what-I-mean!
Next: Part II