Archive for the ‘Cultural exchange’ Category

Thai Days: Dark Side of Buddhism – BBC

June 1, 2015

Hugh Paxton’s Blog enjoys living in Thailand for many reasons. One of these is that it is Buddhist. I’m not particularly religious but the underlying philosophies of Buddhism – well, I can live quite happily alongside them; they don’t evangelise, order me around, annoy me, insist my wife be wrapped in a black bag, ban beer and bacon, don’t encourage adherents to murder each other because of doctrinal divisions etc. In most cases Buddhists come across as decent, easygoing people with a generosity of spirit and tolerance and that is why so many visitors to Thailand leave with fond memories. Not everybody does, of course, but people are people, good bad and ugly the world over. And wearing the saffron robe is not an automatic guarantee of inner peace. On rare occasions it may be concealing an assassin’s weapon.

The following two BBC reports (video and audio – I prefer the audio, it’s less glib) dwell on a branch of Buddhism that has sprouted some atypical fruit, both in Sri Lanka and Myanmar and, to a lesser degree, in Thailand.


Sent: Monday, June 01, 2015 9:30 AM
To: Hugh Paxton
Subject: Dark Side of Buddhism – BBC

Radio version too:

Midori Paxton

Regional Technical Adviser, Biodiversity and Ecosystems

UNDP – Global Environment Facility

Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Bangkok Regional Hub

Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, 10200 Bangkok, Thailand

Tel: +66 (0) 2304 9100 Ext.2713 / Fax: +66 (0) 2288 3032

Mobile: +66-(0)98 824 7330

Skype: midori.paxton Follow us:

Thai Days: Festival of India in Thailand from 19 – 31 March 2014

March 12, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog plans to skip the yoga. But the India Food Festival! You will catch me there! This effort looks like great fun! Wish it well and if you are in town check it out!

From: Indian Cultural Centre Bangkok []
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:40 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Festival of India in Thailand from 19 – 31 March 2014

Embassy of India, Bangkok presents "Festival of India in Thailand" from 19 – 31 March 2014.

You are cordially invited to join various activities being held in different places in Bangkok as per the detail in the poster below:

Entry to all events free of cost except Food Festival at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.

“We have to be the generation to stop the illegal wildlife trade” – Prince Charles And Prince William Speak Out Against The Illegal Wildlife Trade – In Key Languages !

February 11, 2014


HRH Prince Charles says in the Unite For Wildlife video, “We must treat the illegal wildlife trade as a battle.”

This week the London 2014 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference will mark a key milestone in the campaign to end wildlife crime. UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron has invited leaders from 50 countries to attend the conference and it is hoped that this will help win the war .

Prince Charles says “It will take action from all of us to beat back this highly organised criminal activity,”

We can all play a part in wildlife protection

The Princes delivered the last part of their message in multiple languages including English, Swahili, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese in keeping with the global scope of the campaign which has developed in tune with ambitions of the UN COP16 CITES conference in Bangkok. The campaign aims to address the demand side of the problem as well as the supply side. Getting the message across in all these languages is crucial. The resounding message from this video is “Together we can stop the illegal wildlife trade. Let’s Unite For Wildlife.”

HRH Prince William urges us all to make our voices heard in the social media and to support world leaders and conservation organisations in their efforts to end wildlife crime.

Why not join the social media thunderclap to support action to protect wildlife and habitat from criminal gangs?

To add your voice click

and follow the directions.


Wild Open Eye - Natural Vision, News from Wild Open Eye

“Our profound belief is that humanity is less than humanity without the rest of creation. The Destruction Of These Endangered Species Will Diminish Us All”    HRH The Prince Of Wales, Feb. 8th 2014

If you are worried about the illegal wildlife trade, take comfort from the video above.

Sunday morning’s BBC news showed HRH The Prince of Wales and Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, speaking out in defence of  endangered species in their Let’s Unite For Wildlife video. Prince William’s United For Wildlife Foundation is the kind of powerful cooperative partnership of influential organisations needed in the fight against wildlife crime, but if humanity hopes to make headway against the organised criminal gangs responsible for much of the world’s illegal wildlife trade the Princes make it clear that we all need to be supportive and unite for wildlife.  In view of these efforts and long term commitments to…

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Thai Days: Fake snow

December 8, 2013

Hugh Paton’s Blog has once again bought fake snow. My first effort was at the Emporium, a large department store in Phrom Pong. The spray can looked as if it contained snow spray. Jolly! That was Saturday morning. I’m not sure what snow looks like in China but if it looks like this one China’s not going to be having a white Christmas. I watched my excited daughter trying to spray Merry Christmas on our gate and the snow was rusty. Ancient. Revolting. Not pink, not red, just rusty. The sort of colour you see on rotting barbed wire fences around derelict buildings.

Undaunted, and still stupid, later in the day, I took my foul beagle puppy for a rabies shot. It’s bad enough healthy. Eats everything. If it catches rabies then that would really raise the bar! So the dog got its shot, and then had a bright green bowel movement in the waiting room. A huge quantity! Mega-output! And really green! My wife and daughter who still love this pestilence of a beagle (because they don’t have to live with it) were alarmed. I diagnosed the problem with alacrity. The beagle, named Buggly, had been drinking paint. Green paint. I thought beagles could smell things. Avoid drinking things. Like, to take a wild example, a litre of green paint. Not Buggly.

After helping to mop up the mess we walked on to the Thong Lo intersection where there is a flourishing street market atmosphere. Great food! Really! No comfy chairs just plastic stools but perhaps fifty stalls frying, grilling, boiling, and in under a minute we had a feast laid out and we got into it.

Mango salad, boiled pork stew with a sweet gravy, a seafood thing with only one shrimp which our guest ate immediately, banana rotis, more pork deep fried and crunchy.

Feeling mellow, I then bought three more spray cans of snow from a very pretty woman who took the money with a smile and then gave it to her ugly sneer at the world father.

This new snow paint WAS white! My daughter got spraying. Merry Christmas churned out of the canister and then blew away in frothy, very temporary, clots of foam.

"It’s soap!" said my daughter. As if it was my fault!

And, blimey! She was absolutely right! We began the day with Rusty the Snowman, I started the evening cleaning up bright green beagle shit, and come curtain fall was faced with heavily diluted shaving foam.

I don’t want to get Scrooge about this but snow falls where it should fall. And Bah Humbug to the Thai/Chinese versions! I’ll enjoy the sunshine!

Visit The Maldives! A paradise where rape victims are flogged and tourists get ripped off!

February 28, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests that anybody considering a holiday in the Maldives changes their plans.

First: It’s ridiculously expensive. Your flight there may seem cheap but once you are in paradise everything comes with a bill from hell.

Second: It couldn’t be described as humane. A 15 year old girl was raped by her step father and was dumb enough to report it. The police investigated and arghhh! discovered that this young hussy had had sex with somebody else. Yes, she’d been raped by step dad, but the court wasn’t bothered about that. She’d had sex with some chap while she was under the legal age of 18.

The Islamist (yes, them again) government found this outrageous behaviour offensive.

What does this 15 year old girl get for her sin?

100 lashes.

I shit you not!

100 lashes.

There are options.

She can be lashed when she reaches the age of eighteen.

Or, if she’d like to be lashed now she can request it.

“The sentence will be enforced immediately if she wants it to be carried out now,” said the court.

Not much news coverage of the rapist. He’s free. No lashings for him.

Maldives. Do you really want to go there?

Hugh in Bangkok

Thai Days: Rhino horn seizure in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh

January 10, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has nothing more to say on the morality and consequences of the ongoing rhino slaughter in Africa. I’ve said it already. Again and again.

But for the record, more than 27 kilos of rhino horn have just been discovered by customs officials in Thailand and Vietnam. Both busts on the same day, last Sunday.

The culprits, tellingly, were both Vietnamese. Rhino horn is big in Vietnam. Not for aphrodisiac purposes. It’s a prestige thing. Newly rich Vietnamese even shave it thinly as an ostentatiously consumed cure for a hangover. Vietnam used to have rhinos. It doesn’t have any now.

The Thai arrest took place in the international airport, Suvarnabhumi. A 53-year-old man had cunningly hidden 10.6 kg of horn in his luggage which he deposited in a left luggage locker.  I guess his arm was getting tired lugging the stuff around. He intended to pick it up before flying on to Hanoi. The Thai wildlife people spotted his flight path and his final destination and, give them their due, put two and two together and grabbed the scoundrel. Good work, lads!

The Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) a 33-year-old smuggler was caught with 16.5 kg of horn.

No link between the two men has been established at time of writing.

Both couriers used convoluted routes to reach their prison cells – ports of call included Doha (as usual) and Ethiopia – but Vietnam was the intended destination. In Vietnam 100 grammes of rhino horn can summon prices of up to $US 5,000.


I’ve no idea what the Vietnamese judiciary is planning to do with their smuggler. The guy held here is looking at a four year prison stretch in Bang Khwang and a rather paltry fine of 40,000 baht. The Bangkok Hilton (Bang Khwang prison) will probably kill him. It’s hard time.

The source of the rhino horn is Mozambique – both men began their flights from there. But I think we all know where it really came from. The Kruger National Park – a trans-frontier African friendship/peace initiative that has let the poachers and their gangster bosses do as they will.

Sit properly on your motorbike ladies: Wow Sharia strikes again!

January 3, 2013

Hugh Paxton blog travel advisory goes out to women in, or visiting, Indonesia’s state of Ache

BLOG ED NOTE: Aceh, surely?

Me; I stand corrected. Aceh. You remember it? A tsunami hit it with severity, you all knowingly (or unknowingly) rushed to its rescue and the usual pitiful images of disaster victims fleetingly appeared on TV screens then moved over to make room for more disasters elsewhere.

BLOG ED NOTE: Yes I think we all remember Ache.

Me: Aceh.

BLOG ED NOTE: Ache, Aceh, who gives a damn. It’s somewhere in Indonesia and they don’t want women riding on motorbikes.  Is that your point? If it is, get to this point! Promptly!

Me: We all know that women are despicable temptresses, sluts, unclean abominations and I applaud Arse.


Me: Yes them.  In Arse.

BLOG ED NOTE: An acre is an area of land.

Me: Yes, and I know it.  I don’t recall raising the issue of acres. My point is this – the wise and holy men of Aceh have decided that women can’t straddle scooters or motorbikes because it  will  “provoke the male driver.” They can, however,  sit side saddle as long as they are “dressed in a Muslim way.”

BLOG ED: Weary sigh…




China, Editors, The Onion and the ‘sexiest man alive’

November 28, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has worked with scores of newspaper and magazine editors and they’ve been good, bad and ugly. Mainly good. Just occasionally they’ve been stupid. One BBC Wildlife Magazine editor changed “wild boar rootling” to “wild boar tootling.” Tootling? A bunch of wild boar tootling? Why would boar tootle while looking for roots, grubs and tubers?

These infrequent cock-ups are inevitably attributed to the writer.

“Look at this clown!” says the reader to his wife over breakfast, “Wild bores are tootling in Takao forests!”

“Do wild bores tootle?”

“According to Hugh Paxton they do.”

“I’d like to hear them try it. A tootling bore would make my day. More miso soup before your traffic jam to work?”

“No I’ve got to tye my tie round my nek and fuck my briefcase. Luv U.”

BLOG ED: Let’s move anus.

HUGH: Move on?

BLOG ED: That’s what I just said and edited. Let’s anus along promptly before people lose interest in this story about the stupidest editors in China, The Onion and the sexiest man in the world. Fenugreek is healthy but causes flatulence.

HUGH: Perhaps you could stop editing and let me tell this story?

BLOG ED: Suitcases me. All writers are arrogant bastards!

HUGH: And most editors are fenugreeking imbeciles who want to be writers but can’t bloody write! I wrote a story about Poland and they changed it to Finland!


Hugh: I’ve been trying to and nickel prices have soared in response to the decline in cod stocks in the Sahel!

HIGHER AUTHORITY: I sense non sequiters hear.

Hugh: It’s the editor! He’s still editing!

HIGHER AUTORITYR: Fa Crying out loud! Will editors stop editing, writers start writing and let’s wrap this story up in a soft dough made by pounding pecan nuts with wholemeal flowers in Florence where the Pope explained he was fond of octopus but only if it was grilled while fighting continues in the suburbs of Lago near Pluto which isn’t a planet any more because it’s too small and there aren’t two ‘n’s in Aregentina.

Hugh: Sounds reasonable. Here it comes: And thanks to AP for this!

“The online version of China’s Communist Part newspaper has hailed a report by The Onion naming North Korea’s dictator Kim Jung-un as the “sexiest man alive”. The People’s Daily ran a 55-page tribute to the round-faced leader, under the headline “North Korea’s top leader named The Onion’s Sexiest Man alive for 2012.”

The commie rag went on to explain that “with his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true.”

The disturbing thing about this accolade is that millions of Chinese readers of The People’s Daily might fall in love with the ugly, foppish little turd. More disturbing yet is that a state controlled media organ reaching the aforementioned millions of Chinese could devote 55 pages to a loony, and draw their quotes and references from a publication called The Onion.

The Onion, and I’m sure you have already realised this, was taking the piss. Beijing swallowed it.

Wild Open Eye: New Video PSA Explodes Myths About Efficacy Of Wildlife Products

November 1, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is grateful to Andy Luck, host of my sister (or brother) blog for the following. Please spread it around, particularly if you live in Indochina. And especially if you live in Vietnam or know people who do.

New post on Wild Open Eye


New Video PSA Explodes Myths About Efficacy Of Wildlife Products

by wildopeneye

This news just in from Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), celebrities speak out against myths about use of wildlife products in their new video PSA: "Tiêu thụ ĐVHD không giúp bạn thành công hơn!"

ENV has released a new public service announcement (PSA), starring five well-known Vietnamese public figures urging the public not to consume wildlife.

The new one-minute PSA will be aired on national and provincial TV stations in Vietnam throughout November and December. It features former politician Vũ Mão, scientist Nguyễn Lân Dũng, businessman Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, wrestling coach Mẫn Bá Xuân, and supermodel Vũ Nguyễn Hà Anh, each sharing the message that using wildlife products will not make you stronger, more intelligent, more influential, more successful or famous.

The PSA encourages people not to consume wildlife, and to report wildlife crime to the ENV hotline.

Many of Vietnam’s endangered species face the risk of extinction due to illegal hunting and trade of wildlife. Rising consumer demand for wildlife, which is served in restaurants and used in traditional medicines to ‘improve human health’, has coincided with economic development and an increased standard of living.


“The new PSA is designed to dispel some of the myths surrounding the use of wildlife products,” said Mr. Trần Việt Hưng, Vice-Director of ENV. “With the support of so many respected, well-known public figures, the message is clear and strong that consuming wildlife will not make you stronger or more successful in any way.”

“Wildlife consumption doesn’t bring any benefits to you, but contributes to the decline of our precious wildlife and biodiversity,” said Mr. Hưng. “One of the best things anyone can do to protect wildlife is to not consume it in any form, and this is what we are encouraging, before it’s too late.”

The new PSA is the 14th public service announcement by ENV, and part of an ongoing ENV campaign over the past 12 years to reduce demand for and consumption of wildlife in Vietnam. (View the ENV Youtube Channel)

ENV wishes to thank the MacArthur Foundation for their partnership and support in producing the wildlife trade PSA.

The PSA can be watched online via this link:

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy
Communication and Public Awareness Unit
Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV)
No. 5 IF1, Lane 192, Thai Thinh Street, Dong Da District, Ha Noi, Vietnam
Tel/Fax: +84 4 35148850
Email: communication.env; communication.env
Website: (English); (Vietnamese)

About Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV)

Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000 as Vietnam’s first non-governmental organization focused on conservation of nature and the environment. Our mission is to foster greater understanding amongst the Vietnamese public about environmental issues of local, national and global significance, ranging from protection of wildlife and natural ecosystems to climate change. We employ creative and innovative strategies to influence attitudes and mobilize Vietnamese citizens to live in balance with the natural world and to take action to protect Vietnam’s precious environment.

About ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline

ENV maintains a toll-free national Wildlife Crime Hotline to facilitate reporting of crimes by the general public. Trained case officers from ENV receive calls and transfer information about wildlife crimes to appropriate local authorities. Each case is then documented and tracked through to conclusion.
Members of the public are kept informed of the results of cases that they report to ENV.
So far, ENV has documented more than 4,500 wildlife crime cases resulting in confiscation of hundreds of animals, closure of wildlife markets and restaurants, removal of advertisements, and punishment to violators, as well as voluntary action by hundreds of violators after initial warnings were issued by ENV.

wildopeneye | 01/11/2012 at 8:21 am | Tags: businessman Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, Education for Nature-Vietnam, ENV, myths about wildlife products, politician Vũ Mão, PSA, scientist Nguyễn Lân Dũng, supermodel Vũ Nguyễn Hà Anh, Trần Việt Hưng, vietnamese celebrities, wrestling coach Mẫn Bá Xuân | Categories: Environmental education, Illegal Wildlife Trade, Message, Short Films | URL:

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Horrible bastards

October 15, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has a section in its library called Horrible Bastards. I don’t use it too often. Not that horrible bastards are in short supply but because it could become a full time job and this blog hopes to save a bit of time and space for nice things; fluffy bunnies, good news and the trusting twinkling smile of a new born child.

But for tonight I’m reopening my Horrible Bastards department.

Because these bastards are horrible and deserve a bit of profiling.

Let’s start with Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan (on the telephone).

“This was a new chapter of obscenity,” said he to the world, unrepentant. “And we have to finish this chapter.”

Ahsan was talking about the shooting of three young Pakistani girls on a school bus in the Swat valley, once dubbed the Switzerland of Pakistan and the sort of place honeymooners (and young girls going to school) would head for.

The obscenity he was describing wasn’t the shooting of unarmed teenaged girls off for a maths lesson – it was the girls going to school.

That’s what struck Arsehole as obscene. And who could disagree with that? Girls? Going to school! Now that is seriously obscene! Abhorrent! What would all those virgins waiting in Paradise with bottles of wine for Taliban teetotal martyrs make of that sort of thing?

Yes, right, all those celestial virgins would be shocked and horrified! They’d give the gallant child murderer flirtatious winks and girly giggles and say “Oh you are so brave! Have some wine? Rampant sex with us all for eternity? Oh, come come come on, don’t be coy! We’re gagging for it! You’re so bearded, so ruggedly ugly! And you’ve killed (or failed to kill) three young girls!) So brave you are! So flushed with honour! Bring on virgin one! Stenchhole Armpitsa. Plus her flies. And her wine’s made in Siberia using, among other fluids, liquids involved effectively in toilet purges.

“God’s great. And I’m a martyr and I’ve tried to kill three children ! Is there anything else on the menu?”

“Nope, not until you’ve finished infinity with Stenchhole Arrmpitsa. Then you get your next virgin.”

“But that’s going to take years! God is great give me a break?”

“Rules are rules. Read the Koran!”

“I can’t read! This isn’t fair! I gunned down three little girls while I was shouting God is Great! I think I deserve better than that…virgin! She looks like a yeti!!!”

“No mate. She’s a virgin. Virginal. Hymen intact. Medical tests confirm it. Pure as the driven snow. Enjoy your eternal copulations. And no more questions. And leave your AK at the door Move it! There’s a queue!”

Hey ho, let’s leave Jihad’s heaven behind and get back to reality!

The gunman, definitely a horrible bastard, didn’t know what his target looked like. So he called out her name and one of her friends pointed her out. She didn’t see what was coming. The intended victim did and, quite understandably denied being her. When in doubt shoot as many girls as time and ammunition permit then run. That’s what our Taliban hero did.

Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old who was the intended target had not just had the temerity to want to go to school but had gone a few steps further. She’d started a blog and had started sending her diaries to the BBC.

I hope she recovers. I hope her school friends recover.

People have been arrested. Pakistan and the world is appalled.

The Taliban made a major mistake when they blew up the Buddhist images in those magical, spiritual caves in Afghanistan. They’ve blown a lot more by attempting to kill brave little girls.



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