Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thailand's Constitution Drafting Committee

For months I tried to refrain myself from making comments on the political situation in Thailand, but within these same few months, I have watched the military junta together with the body that they installed as government slowly but steadily foul up the democratic strength of Thailand!!!! So today I decided I can no longer sit quietly.

As you know the first thing the coup makers did after they took over powers was to throw out the 1997 Constitution (the one that is widely accepted as the People's it had the maximum people involvement). Anyhow over the months various contentious issues have been toyed with..including things such as an appointed Prime Minister! an appointed Senate body (upper house of parliament), or making Buddhism the religion of the country (dont know the technical term for it, but this will mean Thailand will no longer be a secular state if this were to happen. How do they see that will sit with other religious minoritites in the country...not to mention the very same Muslim population in South Thailand where the situation is already at boiling point?!?!0 anyhow today I will only talk about the below issue that got me really mad!!

The members of Consitutional drafting committee has proposed to dissolve the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) or combine it with Ombudsman. Presently the Commission is an independent body that was established in line with the Paris Principles (internationally accepted guideline for establishing a truly INDEPENDENT human rights commission).

Thailand's NHRC is one amongst 4 that exist in ASEAN countries, and in the past Thailand together with the Philippines has been in the forefront to work on establishing an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. Other countries such an independent commission exist include: Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Cambodia has recently agreed to establish its national commission, while also voicing support for the ASEAN wide body. True that in the political world such support will take years before it turns into substantive actions, but if the thailand body is to be dissolved, this would not be only a huge step back for thailand, but also for the entire region! The efforts has taken atleast 10 years of hard work before we reached this point.

without going into other contentious issues that this Constitution Drafting Committee are playing around with, the issue of the National Human Rights Commission in itself is already a huge blow and certainly a jump backward for thailand's democracy!!

I cant describe how mad this makes me!!!!!! angry.gif

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Arsenal vs Chelsea:Carling Cup Final

gee what a bizarre end to the match! 3 red cards and 2 yellows given in the 90th+ minute!!!
and yes we lost 1:2 to chelsea......


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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The real drama....more bombs in the south!!!

Mom called...said they had lost power at the house and were going out for food. Whole street had lost electricity. Turns out there had been a bomb near the electricity plant in Pattani. Half the town had lsot power. Four other bombs in Pattani, 11 in Yala, a few in Narathiwat also with some schools burnt down. sighhhh things seem to be getting worse and worse.
Im not going to analyse the situation, cos Im so done trying. It made some sense earlier...I could still come up with some theories....but since the coup last year...things seem to be even more out of control. cant even attempt to put things under any theory anymore.

if you dont know the cause, how can you solve it? this is what worries me.....

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Had my hair cut....

well ok nothing as dramatic as my boy-cut 4 years ago....but given how challenging it is to manage my hair any change done to it is like a major deal :p
funny thing is...while Im struggling to manage it, most people wouldnt even notice it!!!

Why do movies affect us so?

is it just me? or does it happen to anyone else too?
movies seem to affect me....well not that it changes my mood and make me more aggressive if Ive watched a violent movie, but the sad ones make me cry...eventhough I know its not real?

and yes ofcourse it doesnt help if Im already in a sad mood.

anyhow...this morning I woke up and decided to flick through the channels. seems to be a animated movies day? on different channels there were: Prince of Egypt, Shrek II and one other animated cartoon movie (however you call those?)

I watched The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. One of those 'chick-flick' I suppose....but there are parts of the movie thats really really sad :( made me cry actually...sighhhh


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Update on the weekend and the birthday dinner

so last night Pa Pawan, P Kai and I ended up at my favourite pizza/pasta place...Bella Napoli. still as yummy as ever :) my only regret is the place has become so popular in the last 3 years!! still remember the first time Beau and I stumbled upon it....2 months into its opening, small little place with the upstairs still being renovated, but the BEST food...mmmm

on the weekend I also met Ghoong (finally!) Nok has been promising to drive me out to Ayutthaya/Sena since a year but that never happened. On Saturday Ghoong was in town at Cath's I kinda crashed their party :) Was worth it to get to meet the lovely Ghoong

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pa Pawan's birthday

hes gone to Cha-am with P Kai, so I guess we will be meeting up for dinner tomorrow instead.
Happy Birthday to you :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Die Weisse Massai

I decided Id check out Goethe Institute's Open Air Cinema, so I showed up there today for their 7.30pm screening. met up with Isabell there. and as it turns out Andrea, Chalitsuda and Anya from work were also there.
and no I dont understand any German...besides half of the movie was also in some african dialect. anyhow..if you wanna know more about The White Masai quite an odd movie Id say...makes me wonder if anyone would really do that...I guess its that amazing thing called love?

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

War and peace

courtesy of DJ David
so we were hearing from each other after 5 years or so...maybe 6? he asked for an I gave a quick run down of my work life in the past few years...and this was what David had to say --- "Your update is a little like war and peace" whatever he means by that..hmmmm will have to pester for further answer on this

Monday, February 05, 2007

Living under the crescent moon

an exhibition of domestic living in middle eastern culture
I went to the exhibition this weekend (4th Feb). it was at TCDC (Thailand Creative Design Centre) at Emporium shopping mall.
Living Under the Crescent Moon is an overview of living styles in the Arab world. You’ll see the nomads’ tents of the Tuareg and the Bedouin, as well as Moroccan casbahs, magnificent court-yarded houses in Marrakech, Damascus, Cairo, and other cities, plus 20th-century buildings by architects such as Hassan Fathy and Elie Mouyal.
the exhibition was pretty good, mostly pictures and text explanation, with a number of videos and sound. the music is quite hypnotising! made me want to go visit the region, I think particularly Morocco seems very interesting. There were also some models, and one room that was a replica of a courtyard in a house...with the walls decked up with intricate mosaic work. really impressive!!

you see?? I do have my cultured moments/weekends. 2 in a row now :)

after Bangkok the exhibition will be in Singapore. or for those that arent in Singapore and missed it elsewhere, you can also get the book... here

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Poo and Phillippe

amidst all my updates I forgot to mention that while in ChiangMai I also met up with Poo and Phillippe. Phillippe and Poo recently got married!!! Congratulations to them :) was the first time I met Phillippe, and I have to say hes pretty nice. really happy for you both :)

Symphony in the Park

Last Sunday (28th Jan) went out to the Symphony in the park concert at Lumpini park with Chris (the American one, friend of Dylan and Laurent). The music was quite good, with a Japanese conductor that has a very pleasant and funny style :) Chris was very well organised (and thoughtful) and came prepared with a nice picnic food.
pleasantly enough, since that morning a strange turn of temperature had taken place....with quite chilly breeze in bangkok. by evening the temp was still cooler than the average bangkok days, so it was really nice to be out in the open park, listening to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart. the only thing that was missing when looking up at the open sky were the stars! I guess with the number of buildings and lights around bangkok...that will take a hugeeee turn of events to see the sky lit up with stars :)

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Australia Day?

nothing special on Australia Day for me this year......unless going out for drinks at a scandinavian furniture shop with a Finnish friend in Bangkok counts?
the night before managed another evening with Virg and David before they took off back for Aus on Aussie day. the way I remember it.....a nice conver over sandwich and cocoa at the Oriental Coffee shop outlet of Emporium...then headed off to Villa where Virg wanted to buy ....guess what.....yep!! western snacks BACK to Aus!!! pretty funny!!
coincidentally ran into Isabell there (Jochen's friend that I met in Bali). as they say Bangkok is a pretty small place :)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Do nothing in Pai

Trip up North -- Part III
another first for me......first visit to this small quaint town of Pai, which is between ChiangMai and MaeHongson. Its one of those places where the charm is the quietness and beautiful nature of the place. The official slogan of the town is --- Do nothing in Pai ---which I think is pretty cool!
the place is popular with foreign tourists, many of who stay for long periods, some even stay on to do small business --selling handmade jewelry, running guesthouses, bike shops, tattoo places and the likes.
Those that visit Pai would go on excursions, trekking trips of various lengths, elephant rides and other such tours. but since I wanted to just relax I decided to not do any of these things, but just picked up a book from the guesthouse and read. as close as I could to fulfilling the town's slogan I suppose. was nice and pleasant enough...but I didnt stay too long...I guess partly cos it was impossible to do much with daytime temp so hot that you feel your skin burn, and night time temp getting so cold that you need a warm sweater, a jacket and a scarve :p


Trip up North -- Part II


first day was spent at the Royal Flora Exposition...quite impressive.....with stalls from many countries....Holland with its ever popular tulips, Japan with its bamboo and rock sculpture garden, thailand with its amazing display of orchid decoration, and lots others. at the end of the evening there was a spectacle performance set against the background of 'Hor Khum' and light and sound. I must say it was really good, and well worth the price of 100Bht for the one day pass ticket (silly me had the multi-day ticket that cost 400Bht). Other days were spent going up Doi Inthanon, and Phuphing Ratchanivet (royal winter residence) which is like a huge flower garden!! with varied types of roses from all over the world (the Queen loves roses, and often is given seeds from people on her visits overseas), plus a visit to a small town near ChiangMai (forget the name..) where they found some old ruins....went on horse carriage ride...pretty cool, although the temple ruins were boring.
last 2 days in ChiangMai Mom and I stayed with a friend of hers and pretty much did nothing but relax, go out to eat and just sit around the house and chat. I was perfectly ok with this after the hectic schedule we had in the past 5 or 6 days, particularly so because the house has 2 lovely dogs.....they were enough to keep me company :)


Quick account of my 2 weeks holiday up north -- Part I

Chiang Rai
a little bit old news...but yes Ive been lagging on the blog updates since around December last year. my excuse is life has been busy....with lots you go:
so it started with a flight to first time there actually. quite a lovely town. we checked out the MaeFahLuang university...they have some new rooms built...meant to be a hotel type accommodation, but it wasnt available for rent yet! shame...we were hoping to stay there...really quiet atmosphere, great weather, and amazing view....well hopefully next time. visited a number of places...cant remember them all...but included a number of hills....lots of flowers.....a stop at orchard farm and bought some fresh tangerines; a road that cut through the middle of a small village, with whole family out drying coffee beans (I think this is the area where they used to grow opium); a thai military checkpost, alongside the Burma one, where soldiers from both sides playe 'ta-kraw' together -- we gave them some fresh pineapple that we had bought, plus a few other knick-knacks we had in the van.....kinda made my day to see the lovely smile from the young soldier saying his thanks to me :) that same day we drove to the Golden Triangle town of Chiang Saen....took a 15minute boat trip in the river for a glimpse of Burma land that projected into the river, made a u-turn and crossed the river to the other side and boarded on the small market on the Laos side. the market wasnt anything impressive...just stretches of small stalls selling souvenirs and tshirts at expensive price, with lots of caucasian tourists....but was quite cool to be at the Golden Triangle point where you stand there and can see 3 countries almost converging. was also my first time to Laos.....unless you count the time I was still some loose forming substance in my Mum's tummy :p
we went up Doi-Tung, saw the Queen Mother's house....a nice minimalist swiss style wooden chalet set amongst beautiful trees and flowers, with balconies looking out to all directions.
We stayed in Mae Sai (the border town to Burma), so one of the days we made a trip into the Burma border.......some temple there, plus a replica of Shwedagon....I found that quite strange that they'd build a replica like that....not sure what the logic behind it is....mind you the replica itself was pretty big...and apparently one of the pagodas (rather than all of them) are gold coated/plated..whichever you call it. then it was shopping time....lots of shops at the market near the border crossing.....i was amazed at how cheap all the silver/semi precious stones jewelry...while others went nuts with all the pirated products like tshirts and handbags.


Situation in South Thailand.....

Of late there has been incidents of violence on a daily basis. Last night my brother called and told me while driving home from Yala province (40kms from Pattani where my Mom and brother live) he picked up 2 victims that had just been shot!! One man was shot on the neck, while the other in the stomach. The perpretrators had just driven away on their motorbike probably no longer than 5minutes earlier, and ofcourse not before scattering those little sharp metallic objects to block the road (whatever you call those things..) serves 2 purpose...ofcourse block authorities from pursuing them, should they happen to be at the crime scene fast enough, but also blocks those that are trying to take the victims to hospital!! somehow my brother manage to get through and they were delivered to hospital for treatment. not sure how well they will recover though......

the other aspect that never fail to baffle the time my brother drove by, there were already quite a few 'thai-mung' (onlookers) but no one made any attempt to take them to hospital? too concerned about getting blood smeared all over their car? but more than a concern for someone's life? having said that I must admit I dont know if I would be that brave myself. Mom commented whether our sales lady who was with my brother was said she seemed fine as she didnt say take on it is she was obviously shocked and too speechless to say anything......

I guess there really isnt any particular point Im making.....since I have had numerous discussions with friends and others over the last 2 years, and as long as the real cause cannot be determined, I dont see how any government, be in the previous Thaksin one, or the current military installed one, are going to solve the problem. it a venting out of frustration. ........not to mention how it makes me worry about my brother all the more..he can be quite stubborn and very determined about continuing a very 'normal' lifestyle so as to not let the militants achieve one of their goal of frightening all the non-muslims out of the area.........

Saturday, February 03, 2007

....and then I get to the new year

the new year had kinda a weird strange feel to it. while the country, myself included, was in shock from 6 almost simultaneous bomblasts in Bangkok, yet somehow it didnt seem real. partly because it was so unbelievable something like that would happen in Bangkok, but I guess waking up at 5.30am and travelling to a small town on the border of Thailand-Burma to set up clinic for Karen people in the area and running the pharmacy handing out paracetamols, amoxyl, cough syrup, diacox, vitamin B, multi-vitamins, even anti-scabies have more pressing thing on your mind than to worry about bombs in Bangkok.
so whilst at the back of my mind I was still shocked and raging from what has become of Bangkok, of our lovely charming country as we knew it, it was soothing to know that despite all that we can still focus on doing the tiny bits of good......and hopefully make whatever little difference each one of us can....
was definitely a different way to start the new year for me. we even had a treat of Karen traditional dance performed for us to celebrate the new year!