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Thai Shots

A regularly updated list of facts about Thailand. While these quirky tidbits, which have previously received little attention, were supplied to me by various stringers throughout Thailand, I cannot vouch for their accuracy.

1. Feckless foreign backpackers and hippies can submit paid applications to the Thai government requesting that they be voluntarily locked up at Bangkok's notorious Bang Kwang prison with a conviction of their choice filed on the books. In return they receive media attention in their home country and upon their release can write an utterly shite book detailing the experience.

2. In 1999, Siraporn Boongsangwon and her 12 year-old daughter were pounded into the concrete by one of the hundreds of monolithic billboards that scar Bangkok's skyline as it came toppling down on them as they were out for an evening stroll. An investigation was immediately launched in which it was found that 95% of such billboards don't adhere to any legal specifications. A committee that was convened to solve the problem concluded in their official findings that "This shouldn't happen again." Unfortunately they forgot to address the fact there were no legal specifications for billboards before the incident and there still isn't.

3. Bangkok's international airport reports the highest occurrence of missed flights in the world. The statistic has an interesting caveat though as foreign couples returning home after a vacation in Thailand are the group that make up the bulk of the no-shows. Strangely, it is commonly the wife who returns alone while her husband is mysteriously absent...

4. At an annual beauty contest that is held yearly in Bangkok but receives little media attention, Kittipop Cheerasipang won the top honours in this year's event. The winner is determined in a very unique way as fitness, strength and overall suppleness of contestants is what are the deciding factors. After a raft of competitions and tests of endurance it normally comes down to the "Coin Bounce Competition" in which the contetsants lay face down while a coin is bounced off their arses, with the contestant whose buns send the coin skyward to the highest altitude being declared the winner. This year's winner who also set a new record, Kittipop launched the 10 baht coin 7 metres into the air.

5. In a 1997 survey, Thais were queried about their perceptions and opinions of western habits and beliefs. Regarding popular cultural and religious holidays they were most perplexed by the mythical figure of Santa Claus. While they welcomed the idea of a fat friendly oaf giving things to people, the notion of teaching young children to leave food out for an imaginary person was one they thought was strange.

6. In 2001, after operating for 15 years in Thailand, Freshy Mart convenience stores announced that for the first time a clerk had successfully balanced the till after an 8 hour shift. However, the president of Freshy Mart did admit that the employee in question, Siricha Pimpasanong, may have given out too much change and mistakenly ripped off any number of clueless individuals in equal measures and coincidentally arrived at an even till.

7. Sirichart Choppidat, a factory worker at Sun Thai food processing in Korat recently had 3 of his fingers sheared off by automated blades as he worked the assembly line. The accident occurred at 10:00 a.m and due to a quick reaction by management in rushing him to the hospital, he was back at work by 3:00 p.m, allowing the sign out front that reads "No Shifts Lost to Injury in 3, 567 Days" to remain in place...

9. Like many before him, drunken British tourist Rodney McPherson was horrified when the prostitute he brought back to his Bangkok hotel room turned out to be a lady-boy. In an attempt to salvage some of his manhood he decided to "teach this freak a lesson", and again, in a repeat of many past, seedy, one-night vignettes that have played out in the City of Angels, he had his shame compounded after receiving a thorough ass-kicking by the katooey, this one, like many, having received military and/or Muay Thai kick-boxing training. Where Rodney's experience careened off into new and twisted territory was when the lady-boy, in the high-end hotel room with a computer and internet connection supplied for guests, fired up the system and then, while clicking away with McPherson's digital camera, forced him into shameful and degrading poses. Many of the shots were taken posing together with his now buck-naked tormentor who then threatened McPherson into giving up his e-mail address and password. Scouring Rodney's e-mail contacts' list, the katooey fired off the pictures to a raft of the trembling Brit's family, friends and work colleagues. McPherson's family report that he has not been heard from since...


10. Scientists have uncovered a gene in Thais that goes some way to explaining their erratic and inexplicable behaviour in public.  They have called the gene "14across" in reference to the Thai propensity when slowly shuffling along together in a public place to walk abreast with enough space between every group member to clog up a path that could potentially accommodate 14 people across.  No matter the number of people in the group and the width of the public space, this inbred objective is accomplished with a stunning frequency.  The researchers have said that the gene that contibutes to this habit is one of the most resilient ones they have ever encountered and has resisted all efforts to alter or manipulate.


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