4 June 2023
34 years on from the bloody crackdown on the protests in and around Tiananmen Square.
The thing about history is that you cannot whitewash it however hard you try. The best you can do is learn from it.
How China is erasing Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square memories DW.
Meanwhile in India on Friday a three-way train collision around Balasore station in the eastern state of Odisha killed at least 288 people and injured more than 800, making it India’s worst railway accident in more than two decades. One fast-moving passenger train, the southbound Coromandel Express, received an errant signal and moved on to a back-up track where it crashed into a stationary goods train, according to the government report. A third passenger train heading north then hit the derailed carriages.
31 May 2023
I had a birthday. Nice day by the beach in Chumphon. It is a long drive from Chiang Mai.
“Ted Lasso” had its final episode after three seasons. It has been the finest comedy/sports drama/healing show that ever existed. Ultimately, we’ll always remember The Lasso Way/The Richmond Way as a guiding force of kindness in times of real hardship and misery.
It has probably done more than any tv show to make it ok to not be ok – to encourage people to talk openly about their issues and stresses and to make inclusivity a force for good.
Not many tv shows would include a scene of a team of professional male football players singing and dancing to The Sound of Music…and make it work.
The only catch is that I know no one here in Thailand who actually watches the show. Tai has not watched an episode. None of my football friends seem to have watched it.
So there is no one who I can share this moment with. Which feels like something that Ted Lasso would understand.
8 May 2023
Much though I would like to it is hard to ignore the coronation of Charles 3 on Saturday. The first UK coronation for 70 years. So, yes, there was a sense of history – as much as there was a sense of waste!
The Thai women won the LPGA’s team championship in San Francisco this weekend – beating the USA in all three matches in the final. Quite an achievement.
4 May 2023
Chiang Mai’s four seasons – stolen from facebook:
1. Feb-Apr, Farang complain about smoke
2. Apr-June, Farang complain about heat
3. July-Oct, Farang complain about rain
4. Nov-Jan, Thai wife complain about cold
Actually – that is about right!
26 April 2023
A few excerpts from “Hong Kong’s Memory Is Being Erased” by By Louisa Lim for New York Times Opinion
“Authorities aren’t merely choking off future protest; they are attempting to rewrite Hong Kong’s history.
Revisionism — with its ancillary altering or obliteration of memory — is an act of repression. It’s the same playbook China used after violently crushing the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing. Then, state-induced amnesia was imposed gradually.
In Hong Kong the silence has set in much more quickly. The gagging of dissenting voices and editing of the past has happened at warp speed, mirroring the blink-and-you-miss-it modern news cycle.
Most Hong Kong journalists I know have fallen silent. Some are in jail, some are in exile, and some no longer write, as no publications are left that will publish them. After a draconian national security law was imposed on Hong Kong in 2020, at least 12 news outlets closed down, including the popular, pro-democracy Apple Daily. Its founder, Jimmy Lai, could face life in prison on national security charges.
Some of the shuttered outlets pulled their archives from the internet. This is how history is erased, both virtually and literally.
The amnesiac playbook includes mass indoctrination through “patriotic education.” New school textbooks state that Hong Kong, which Britain handed back to China in 1997, was never a British colony, because Beijing does not recognize the 19th-century treaties that ceded Hong Kong to Britain, even though some roads and parks are — for now — still named after British colonial figures.
History is identity, and to challenge this foundational tenet of Hong Kongers’ experience is to assault their identity. Britain did not establish full electoral democracy in Hong Kong, but it left behind a stubborn respect for civic values, a free press and a desire for political participation that fueled the huge protests of 2019. The act of rewriting history whisks away the cornerstone of that legacy, recasting Hong Kongers as victims of an occupying force rather than as agents of their own fate.
Hong Kong is being remade almost faster than the changes can be reported, as if the whole city had suddenly been unzipped to reveal a shadow society lurking beneath.”
Just worth noting here that Jimmy Lai is a British citizen and the UK government’s inaction in his case speaks volumes.
Trade first; principles second.
25 April 2023
Der Spiegel last week published a damning piece on the state of the UK; and many people in the UK agreed with it:
“The UK Faces a Steep Climb Out of a Deep Hole
Food shortages, moldy apartments, a lack of medical workers: The United Kingdom is facing a perfect storm of struggle, and millions are sliding into poverty. There is little to suggest that improvement will come anytime soon.”
It is hard to argue with this conclusion: “It is a country which, thanks to its universities, its thinkers and its cultural importance, has so many opportunities, yet which makes so desperate little out of them. And that is mostly due to the fact that for decades, it has been essentially standing still, seeking its salvation in the very financial industry that collapsed so spectacularly 15 years ago, creating a situation in which billions were squandered – billions which are still lacking today.”
Levelling up has gone nowhere – one start would be to uproot all of central government to somewhere that needs the investment – Blackpool.
22 April 2023
Geoff Lemon in The Guardian on the Saudi plans to replicate IPL cricket:
“As for cricket, the end of the current order was already approaching, but a Saudi league will finish it off. The IPL takes up three months each year. A Saudi equivalent would have no reason to aim smaller. Others will crowd the gaps. The ICC will acquiesce, its members hoping for crumbs from the table. Test cricket is already a luxury most of them can’t afford. India, England, and Australia might continue it as occasional exhibitions. Otherwise, like football, internationals will give way to franchises, shrinking to short and frequent T20 World Cups, with the 50-over format a white elephant in search of its graveyard.”
The full article is here.
16 April 2023
One week away from the end of Star Trek Picard season 3; and there is so much to unpack….fortunately this has been done by a number of websites including Inverse.
“I am Worf, son of Mogh. House of Martok. Son of Sergey, House of Rozhenko. Bane to the Duras family. Slayer of Gowron. I have made some chamomile tea. Do you take sugar?”
Picard – Season 3 – Episode 3.
14 April 2023
7 April 2023
Thai AirAsia is expanding flights from Chiang Mai International Airport to three additional locations in mainland China.
According to the report, the new return flights from CNX will be
- Beijing – daily
- Hangzhou – four times a week
- Changsha – five times a week.
The new services start on April 30.
13 March 2023
I guess if you are from Florida you may see everything as some sort of media conspiracy – you may also be too lazy to do your research.
Chiang Mai News in English on Facebook is occasionally useful but some of the comments are a mix of the dumb, offensive and vitriolic – and the facts are irrelevant.
Here is a guy having a go at IQAir based on a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald about the air quality in Chiang Mai:
Here is the SMH article: As hazardous haze envelops Thailand, residents seek refuge
Under which was written on CMNIE:
“IQAir must have a big PR team to get their worst air list in a newspaper each day somewhere in the world. They only monitor 100 cities in total, not even enough for one in each of the countries on this planet. Truth in journalism should mandate publishing a statement that they use a very limited sample in every article that quotes them.”
Truth in comments is a good idea as well – the IQAir quality and pollution city ranking is for 100 major cities. “The current list has tried to focus on major cities with a population of >300,000 people, and which represent a wide range of countries to allow global contrast.”
A quick run through the 100 cities also makes it clear that it is an air quality list not not a worst air list.
The SMH states that their report is based upon IQAir’s real-time index of 100 MAJOR centres around the globe.
How many locations does IQAir montor? The UN Environmental Program states that in collaborating with IQAir they “developed the first real-time air pollution exposure calculator in 2021, which combines global readings from validated air quality monitors in 6,475 locations in 117 countries, territories, and regions.”
But it is not worth calling him out on this – why bother to point out someone’s lazy ignorance.
20 February 2023
Oops. Where did those two weeks go.
Tai and I did travel down to Krabi and Koh Lanta. First time back at Koh Lanta since a trip with Alex back in 2011 (I think).
No need to go back there. Some nice beaches.
Joe Biden went to Kyiv today – one year on since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
3 February 2023
From Watford Council:
“We are proud to announce that Luther Blissett OBE DL has been chosen as one of the ‘100 people who made Watford’.
Luther Blissett has been a pillar of the community for over 40 years, advocating for various initiatives and selflessly lending his time and support to those in need.
He made his Hornets debut in 1976, and became the club’s record goal scorer and leading appearance maker. One of only four men to play in all four divisions for Watford in their meteoric climb from the Fourth Division to the First Division, Luther’s career flourished under coach Tom Walley and the club’s greatest ever manager Graham Taylor, the driving force behind bringing the club and community together. As Watford FC’s international cap, he was the first black player to score a goal for England in 1982.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he organised and participated in numerous fundraising events, including our Big Bold Community Quiz which raised nearly £200,000. Luther’s efforts have benefited numerous local charities and families, as he has rallied fans to help support Ukrainian refugees, securing housing and donations, such as provide food deliveries, baby products and care packs. He has also personally made thousands of phone calls and visits to football fans in need of support.
Luther values inclusiveness for everyone in Watford, on and off the pitch, and is recognised worldwide for his advocacy against racism and discrimination. He is also a driving force behind Watford becoming a dementia friendly town, helping to establish the town’s ‘Forget Me Not’ restaurant and other activities for those with dementia.
Luther works to ensure that veterans, the elderly and former Hornets are not forgotten through the creation of the Former Players Club.”
2 February 2023
The Guardian on the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia:
But while there was already little room for dissent under the Kingdom’s absolute monarchy, Prince Mohammed has taken intolerance to new levels, with political and business rivals subject to mass detention and financial shakedowns, and family members of officials that have fled the country being detained for use as leverage to get them back to the kingdom.
The death penalty is seen as one of the new regime’s more visceral tools.
“It’s literally a sword that hangs over all of us, any one who dares to defy him,” said one Saudi royal in exile in Europe. “It’s either that, or being disappeared. Think Gaddafi. Think Saddam. That’s where we are now.”
20 January 2023
The Economist worries today about Turkey’s slide towards dictatorship. “When Recep Tayyip Erdogan was first elected two decades ago, he brought welcome stability. For a while, Turkey was a serious candidate to join the European Union. But the longer he has been in charge, the more autocratic he has grown. Critics are stifled, courts harass dissidents, the internet is in effect censored. Mr Erdogan sits in a vast palace snapping orders at courtiers too frightened to tell him he is wrong. So his increasingly eccentric beliefs swiftly become public policy. His theory that high interest rates cause inflation is frankly bonkers, but Turkey’s previously independent central bank must act as if it were true. Hence Turkey’s galloping inflation and shrivelling living standards.
Mr Erdogan suggested this week that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on May 14th. If the opposition unite around their best candidate and the vote is more or less free and fair, there is a good chance that Mr Erdogan will lose. Unfortunately, he seems determined to tilt the playing field even more in his favour than it already is. His government is trying to shut down one of the main opposition parties, and one of Mr Erdogan’s most plausible rivals has been banned from politics for calling an official an “idiot”.
The West must speak up. Turkey is an essential, if troublesome, ally, located in one of the most strategically sensitive places in the world. It would be a disaster if Mr Erdogan were to join the dictators’ club.”
Trying any desperate means to hang onto power is a certain sign that you should not be in power.
9 January 2023
Chiang Mai Zoo revealed plans to open a -10°C snow dome to offer guests a chilly winter experience normally unavailable in sweltering Thailand.
Zoo director Wuttichai Muangman revealed today that the zoo will gain a winter wonderland named “Snow Buddy Winter Land” in collaboration with Frost Management Company Ltd.
Wuttichai said that zoo guests can get a real ‘winter’ feeling inside the snow dome at a temperature otherwise unheard of in Thailand.
Snow Buddy Winter Land will open after Chinese New Year at the end of January, said Wuttichai.
Inside Snow Buddy Winter Land, zoo guests can play in the snow with various apparatus and equipment, build snowmen and enjoy ice sculptures.
The zoo’s Lin Hui giant pandas will make guest appearances in the snow dome, added Wuttichai.
Hmmm – let’s wait and see.
EVA just sent an Airbus A330 to Chiang Mai. Quite possibly the first wide-body into CNX for almost 3 years.
2 January 2023
A long drive down to Bangkok on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day….with for a change a stop in the now by-passed town of Singburi.
The hotel was a distaster – no sleep – but the town itself was both friendly and unremarkable.
One of those small world moments when a Thai Mum and daughter at a Chinese cake shop started speaking in perfect Australian English – back in Thailand for a one year visit – and the daughter went to Thongchai Jaidee’s school in Lopburi. “Do you know him?” they asked!
EVA Airways is back in Chiang Mai – with its daily flight to Taipei and the best connections onwards to the USA:
On January 1st, 2023, EVA Airways resumed its service for Chiang Mai-Taipei-Chiang Mai again. Operating daily, EVA Air’s flight BR257 of TPE-CNX departs at 07.15 AM and arrives at 10.30 AM. Flight BR258 of CNX-TPE departs at 11.35 AM and arrives at 4.35 PM.
Flights are not cheap.