Yet More Notes From a Tainted Paradise

The World’s Longest-ever’ Half-marathon

Wake-up-with-a-Zespri-kiwi-at-the-_12th-August-Half-Marathon-Bangkok-2015Yes, folks – The Thais now have something else to be proud of… another world record!

Participants in the recent Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon were made to run an extra 5.5 kilometres on top of the standard 21.1km in last Sunday’s early morning race.

The Bangkok National Jogging Association of Thailand apologised for the error yesterday, stating that their organisation had miscalculated the half-marathon course distance.

“Our staff mistakenly marked a U-turn onto the course, which added around six kilometres to the route,” said a co-organiser. “We admit our mistake and have apologised. Our staff worked hard, but they were confused,” he said.

The course for Sunday’s competition, which started and ended in front of the Grand Palace, was longer by 5.5 kilometres. About 7,000 runners calculated the distance on their GPS devices and many were thoroughly exhausted by the finish. Predictably, many used social media to slam the organisers.

It really does make you wonder what is going on in this troubled paradise when officials make such an enormous error and become the laughing stock of international athletes.

I mean, just how hard is it in this day and age with GPS, Sat-Navs, Google maps, Google Earth – to say nothing of the lowly pedometer – to assist you in calculating a distance of 21.1 kilometres?  Okay, an error of a few hundred meters or so might be put down to minor carelessness – but 5.5 kilometres? The mind boggles.

It begs the question:  precisely what level of responsibility is considered necessary in Thailand to entrust the marking out of a running course for international competition? And what system of verification existed?

It seems to me that a few kids were told to go and do it, and that was the end of the matter.

Most likely the senior officials, who in Thailand are only appointed to these exalted positions for prestige, (the chairman of the jogging organisation is a Thai general), considered it was beneath them to become involved in a menial task such as measuring out the course.

After all nobody will notice and we can always lie our way out of it and blame someone else…..

One foreign competitor said:

“I nearly did my knee in having upped the pace for what was supposed to be the last 1.5 km. This race was an absolute joke. On top of this, I had to pay four times the amount for race registration than a Thai national”

What did youexpect? After all we gave you another 5,5 kilometres to run – surely that’s worth the extra fees?

According to an Asian journalist, Sunday’s race was not the first time Amazing Field has been criticized for charging foreign runners multiple times the price it charges Thai nationals.

But who cares? Not the Thais, that’s for sure!

I’m thinking of asking the Guinness Book of Records if they would consider including this proud world record in their next edition…

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“Stupidity Fee”

danThe Thai government’s words – not mine.

Thailand’s Cabinet has recently agreed to pay a “stupidity fee.” The fee has been assessed following the scandal of the Klong Dan wastewater treatment plant.

In total, the fee will be 9.8 billion baht. That is approximately 300 million US Dollars.

The massive treatment plant was constructed in Samut Prakan Province on the outskirts of Bangkok but following allegations of fraud, corruption  and local opposition on the environmental impact, the project was cancelled when it was 95% complete.

Compensation is being paid to the constructors through public funds, and the country’s prime minister reaffirmed that the funds should have been used in an effort to benefit the country.

You have to give it to them – they never do corruption by halves – 300 million dollars lost on a corrupt waste treatment plant, 20 billion dollars lost in a corrupt rice scheme…..

Are stupidity fees tax deductible?

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Thailand’s “Ma Baker”

14478340901447834326l (1)A 72-year-old woman turned herself into the police Tuesday after faking her own death to escape the death penalty.

Juree Jan-ngam, who had been sentenced to death for the contract killing of her son’s fiancée eight years ago, turned herself in at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok after police were closing in on her whereabouts. This is nearly two years after she faked her death and disappeared.

In 2007, Juree was accused of hiring someone to murder a young woman who was three-months pregnant with her son’s baby and was set to marry him.

The wealthy Songkhla businesswoman disapproved of her son marrying the pregnant lady. She took out a ‘contract’ and the hit went down in a clinic. The pregnant lady’s assistant was also cut down and killed in the gunfire.

In 2010, Juree was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. While waiting on an appeal to the Supreme Court, she was released on a 5 million baht bail bond.  Then in February 2014, her daughter told the court that Juree had died, presenting a death certificate and requesting the bond money returned.

The victim’s mother did not believe the story and urged the police to investigate further. Witnesses stated that no funeral was held and Juree had been “seen around from time to time”.

1447834040_201511171511376-20090709164940So the police started searching for her  in Chumphon province, where she was said to have died, and also Songkhla province, where she was still running her businesses.

Presumably running out of options, Thailand’s “Ma Baker” surrendered.

Oh, the poor dear… what a shame…. Don’t you feel sorry for such a helpless old lady?

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Murder for Losing Face?

No matter how rich or how poor you are, life is cheap in the Land of Smiles, especially when it comes to losing face….

Last Tuesday, Suriya Chansukon, a well-known co-owner of a pub and restaurant in Krabi, was shot dead in a club after he refused to pay for an acquaintance’s broken drinking glass.

Sompop Kongphakdee asked the 48-year old Suriya, to pay the cost of a broken glass for him. When the Suriya refused, Sompop shot him in the head.

After the shooting, Sompop rushed to his car, drove away and later returned to the club in an attempt to pretend he hadn’t been at the scene when Suriya was shot.

However, police searched him and arrested him after they found the gun which was used in the murder.

Sompop confessed to police. He told them that a stranger had bumped into his table and had broken his glass.

He then went to Suriya asking him to help him with the bill as the Suriya knew the venue’s owner.

Suriya refused and rebuked him, so Sompop shot him dead

Sompop was charged with murder and carrying a weapon in a public place.

The dead man leaves behind his wife, who is a former national basketball player.

What a price to pay for making someone lose face.

MAB mini pic