Posts Tagged ‘Bangkok’

CITES COP 16 : Invitation to the exhibition opening from GoodPlanet / Yann Arthus Bertrand

March 3, 2013

Hugh Paxton suggests you check out these wildlife and nature photographers’ work, Spectacular! Now showing in Bangkok.

BLOG ED NOTE: I”ve just seen the photo exhibit. First class! There is a downside, I’m afraid. If you want to see it, too, you need to be certified to attend the conference. And if you haven’t applied it’s probably a bit late for that. You can, however, buy their books. You’ll need a fairly hefty coffee table to display them all. My suggestion is – buy one! Or visit their websites. They are generous with their photos. The exhibition may be on in, or may move to, other parts of the city. I’ll check that tomorrow and let you know. Cheers! Hugh! PS Charles thanks for the website idea. I hadn’t thought of it! H

From: Eric Boisteaux [mailto:eric@goodplanet.org]
Sent: 03 March 2013 01:38 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: CITES COP 16 : Invitation to the exhibition opening from GoodPlanet / Yann Arthus Bertrand

Dear Sir/Madam

On behalf of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, President of the NGO GoodPlanet, we would be delighted to welcome you for the opening of the exhibition WILD&PRECIOUS on Sunday 3rd of March at 1.30pm at the Bangkok Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

This opening will be celebrated in presence of John E. Scanlon Secretary General of CITES and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP.

With WILD & PRECIOUS, the GoodPlanet Foundation, CITES and UNEP, celebrate CITES 40th anniversary and aim to raise awareness on the illegal trade in endangered species, with the contributions of 7 committed and world-renowned photographers: Laurent Baheux, Sandra Bartocha, Heidi and Hans-Jurgen Koch, Mark Laita, Brian Skerry and Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Please find attached the press release of WILD&PRECIOUS and please note that some pictures from the exhibition can be used to illustrate the crucial decision that will be made in the convention center these next days.

We would be very happy to welcome you at the exhibition, between the Plaza and the Atrium, before the NGO area.

Sincerely yours

Eric Boisteaux

Exhibition coordinator

Fondation GoodPlanet

www.goodplanet.org

Tel : 33-1 48 42 76 02

Mob : 33-6 85 66 89 20

PR Wild and Precious.pdf

Charlie’s Thai Green Currier Blog: A Tale of Two Parks – park 1

February 8, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s blog really liked this post from Charlie the author of the green currier blog. I think you’ll like it, too

START

Hi all

In honour of the 200th anniversary of a famous Charles’ birth – Mr Dickens, that it – here’s the first in a two part contemporary series that the TGC is dedicating to the great man :

A tale of two Parks – park 1

Charlie

___________

http://thaigreencurrier.wordpress.com/

twitter: thaigreencurrie

Thai Days: The green mamba.

November 27, 2011

This morning my daughter saw a green mamba attack a taxi. I assume the mamba, which is native to Africa not South East Asia, was an escapee from a private collector’s home inundated by floodwater. A lot of animals – tigers, crocodiles, the mambas – have got free over the last two months fuelling public consternation and hopefully a post flood strengthening of illegal wildlife legislation. 

The taxi was bringing my wife home from the international airport and was almost at our front doorwhen  the snake which had been basking in the road, took fright and tried to bite it. The attempt was brave, but unsurprisingly, failed. A little bit later the mamba got into a fight with two feral cats. A gardener broke it up and walloped the unfortunate snake with a club. End of incident. end of mamba.

Thai Days: Useful Local Information On Flooding

October 27, 2011

Here is a charming communication with local advice about how to cope with the floods. Beware the whales.

PS Midi just SMSed us. She’s in a boat in a mangrove swamp surrounded by flying fish. She sounded thrilled!

Message begins:

Dear all tenants,

I would like to convey message to you as precautionary measure and what we are going to do if the compound is flooded.
1. If the main road of the compound is flooded more than 1/2 m., there will be electricity blackout along the road in order to prevent electric leakage.
2. for each house, it will be up on tenant’s judgement wether to cut out the circuit breaker or not if the first floor is flooded high enough. However, the breaker is separated for each area (downstair and upstair). The tenant may choose to cut down the supply of electricity in the risk or flooded areas.
3. I attaches herewith the VDO clip of the basic understanding of flood situation in Thailand with the English subtitle. So, you will have accurate basic understanding about what’s going to happen not by the bombarding miss leading information from press and internet.

 

4. The district area of Huaykwang which our compound is located, is higher than the level of sea 0.5-1 m. So, according to the flood map released by the credible scholar on water management. Huaykwang area (the red zone) will be flooded from 50-70 cm. (pic as attached).

Thai Flood Map

Thai Flood Map

Any concern or problem that may occur, please contact directly to you landlord. Thank you very much. Wishes everyone stay dry and safe.!;)
Sincerely Yours,

Toung Bunnag & Mek

Thai Days: Flooding

October 23, 2011

Thai flooding 2011

Thai Days: Flood travel advisory – roads north impassable

October 6, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has just received an advisory to the effect that all roads heading north from Bangkok are either flooded or are very likely to be. There’s currently another storm raging over head as I write this. Thunder so frequent it sounds like an artilleru duel. If you are in Bangkok stay here.

Cheers! And stay safe!

Hugh

Thai days: Widespread flooding

September 11, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog suggests prospective visitors to Thailand, or visitors currently in Thailand, adjust their schedules to avoid drowning. The Kingdom has been experiencing very heavy rain and since July 26th:

346 districts in 43 provinces have experienced flooding (currently 64 districts in 14 provinces remain flooded)

4.23 million people have been affected, 73 have died and 83,393 people have been recorded with flooding related diseases.

A lot of roads are impassable in affected areas and there ore to come.

Bangkok is still keeping its head above water. But it’s still raining. Heavy, thumping rain that makes the frogs sing, and our forecourt a minor river.

So heed local media and embassy/consular advice. Stay dry!

Cheers!
Hugh

THAI DAYS: Markets, Wildlife Smuggling and ‘Hedge’

June 5, 2011

Just got back from Chatuchak market (see an earlier blog post for a description of this extraordinary Bangkok market). It was its usual self – exuberant, bemusing, selling everything imaginable and cooking a lot of stuff that was quite frankly unimaginable. The first stall offered me deep fried cicadas. Just too big!

 I skipped my cicada breakfast (there were deep fried scorpions on offer, too, and intact chicks deep fried bones beaks and all)  and I started my foray into the maze  by entering the aquatic pet quarter.

Hundreds of stalls – hundreds!

One guy had a tank full of meter long reef sharks with lionfish for company, his neighbour’s speciality was freshwater eels, though he did a sideline in battling half-beaks (needle like fish used in non-lethal combat much favoured by Thai gamblers; victory goes to the half-beak that succesfully clamps its opponent’s half beak in its own half beak), there were tonnes of guppies for sale (they keep mozzies down and are known as mosquito fish or Dengue doctors), mutant bulge-headed carp (one breed is particularly mutated to the point that it has four eyes making it especially holy to certain Korean religious sects who believe it is watching both Earth and Heaven), buckets of frogs, plastic bags full of many whiskered catfish, tanks of frogs (a couple of dollars buys you half a kilo), kids touting tubs of beetle larvae, worms and crickets, a few tattooed and sweating men in shorts and nothing else hefting industrial size sacks of colour enhancing food pellets for the man whose koi aren’t golden enough, thousands of Siamese fighting fish (also used by gamblers -the fish frequently fight to the death), shrimps, crayfish, coral reef beauties, sturgeon, alligator snapping turtles from the Deep South (USA not Yala) big enough to snip off your hand, jellyfish pulsing away like alien space ships, seaweed, pond weed, rays, snails, chunks of gnarled mangrove root (naughty, and poached because they are water resistant and look interesting in fish tanks), chunks of coral (also naughty for the same reasons), freshwater puffer fish…

And then I left the fishy area and entered a much more fishy area. The bird and animal quarter.

 

The same level of spectacle was apparent. Wonderful looking creatures for sale and on display. The signs weren’t explanations. They were warnings. “No photograph”

“No photograph”

I’d brought my beloved daughter, Annabel, and Midori my equally beloved wife, along for the jaunt and both watched me with concern as I viewed the offerings.

Me: What a pack of bastards!

Annabel:  Don’t start fighting, Daddy!

Midori (angry but calm): That’s a sugar glider. It’s illegal. And that’s a toucan, Annabel.

Annabel (outraged seven year old): These are bad men and breaking the law!

Annabel (quick re-think): Don’t start fighting, Daddy!”

Having a fight wasn’t an option. The guy running the shop wasn’t anybody I’d like to have a fight with. He wasn’t fierce. But he was cold. And his wife was worse. Grendel’s Dam. With more muscles.

I withdrew and ended up buying 10,000 water fleas, ten guppies, 20 fake buns that look more realistic than real buns and even smell better than real buns, 20 more guppies, six newts (doing well), 20 plastic geckoes and a bunch of dubious custard cookies.I thought about buying a few deep-fried cicadas but resrained myself.

Oh but we did buy a Pygmy African Hedgehog.

Annabel has called him “Special Agent Hedge”.

We have all fallen in love with Hedge.   

 More of hedgehogs in my next post. But yes, I confess Hugh Paxton’s blog has fallen in love with hedgehogs!     

Me:

Thai Days: Wildlife trade

June 3, 2011

Question: You find a UAE national preparing to board a flight for his homeland (first class ticket). You also find that his luggage contains four leopard cubs, a bear, a monkey and other assorted personal bit and bobs- underpants, that sort of thing. Do you

a) Say “Have a nice flight!” and smile.

b) Comment on how realistic his cuddly toys look and ask him how much they cost and where you could pick up some of the same?

c) Arrest him.

If you checked ‘C’ then you followed the course of action undertaken by Thai police and airport authorities you win a point

Question Two: Imagine that you are a judge and standing in the dock is a UAE national apprehended with a suitcase full of leopards, a bear, a primate or two plus  his clothes and (this is pure conjecture on my part) a stolen hotel bath gown. Do you

a) Ask him why he is breaking the law, associating with criminal poaching gangs, and being a callous bastard?

b) Confiscate his passport, deny him bail, and hurl him into an interrogation room where experienced officers will extract full details of his nefarious connections, thereby destroying a villainous network of human/wildlife/narcotic/timber traffickers and murderers?

c) Scratch your balls and think about the up-coming golf tournament while mentally reviewing potential investment opportunities offered by the launch of the Luxury Living Expo at Central World?    

d) Tell him he faces a prison term if convicted then release him on 200,000 Baht bail (less than the price of his return air ticket)? And neglect to confiscate either his ticket or his passport?

If your answer was ‘D’ well done. Another point! You have a future in the judicial system.

Question Three:  Just for the hell of it, imagine you are a UAE national, facing a very guilty verdict and with no plausible explanation available to explain the presence of a bunch of leopards, bear etc in your suitcase, do you?

a) Throw yourself on the mercy of the court and say you always loved your muvver and won’t go wrong again?

b) Tell the judge to “Go suck your wig, pig!”

c) Flee the country with your passport.

‘c’ wins. He did just that.

Final question: how many rare miniature tortoises were confiscated at the airport yesterday?

a) none

b) two

c) three

d) 451

Yes, you’re right again!

But here’s the twist.

This lot came from Bangladesh. My guess is that nobody will help the smuggler post bail. He’s poor.

But Thailand is running the risk of becoming known as wildlife smuggling central. The cops and NGOs, most notably the Freeland Foundation, are doing their best. But penalties remain light, incentives remain high. We all like pre-election promises and there is a general election here scheduled for early July. Hugh Paxton’s Blog hopes that wildlife smuggling will be a promise from politicians and that it will be stamped out. With it comes a multitude of evils. The perpetrators are intimately linked with other smuggling activities. The pangolins headed for China can share a truck with child slavers.

I’ll leave you with this last comment.

It was filed in the Bangkok   Post by Lamphai Intathep

“The problem is not the law -but rather the implementation of the law.”

 

PS I’ve just learned that the confiscated tortoises may have been tortoises in some cases but at least one wasn’t. It was a turtle. Confirmation just arrived courtesy of our neighbour’s boy, Gabriel. I showed him the photo in the press of the seized tortoise, he told me it was a turtle (I taught him the difference last week!) and as evidence he brought round an identical specimen that he’d bought at Chatuchak market in Bangkok. I’m going to Chatuchak on Sunday. I’ll be carrying a digicam and have busts in mind.

Thai Days: This and That: Horsemeat, lucky bones and vodka, Bangkok hospitals and health, Genghis Khan, Polit

March 22, 2011

Greetings from a muggy Bangkok. Muttering thunder but no rain, outdoor fan sluggishly turning, a slightly greasy feeling to the air. Inside our house temperatures are sub-Arctic. We have a Mongolian friend undergoing breast cancer treatment staying with us and she likes it that way. She’s a feisty lady and immediately won my heart by

a) bringing me a bottle of Mongolian vodka and some auspicious sheep and camel knuckle bones (nicely framed).

b) bringing us two vaccuum packed bags of horse meat (the verdict of my daughter is that these are ‘gross’ and I’d have to say I won’t be eating any until I’ve had at least half the vodka to strengthen my nerve and obliterate my sense of unease when it comes to eating horses).

c) regaling us with little known facts on Ghengis Khan. Apparently his hordes used to feed groups of young men with milk and a special type of lamb (*meat of a bird called khoilog in Mongolian) believed to have curative powers. Wounded warriors would then eat them (the young men) to heal their injuries. Our guest will be with us for a few more days and I’m sure she has much more to tell me. I’ll be taking notes. Should make for an interesting Hugh Paxton blog post!

I took her to Bumrungrad Hospital early this morning. Quite an experience. It was hard to tell if this really was a building where medicine was practiced. If there hadn’t been nurses and doctors and signs directing visitors to brain surgery I’d have thought I was in a five star hotel. Restaurants, boutiques, florists, comfy chairs, lounges with magazine racks and plush carpets, coffee shops, manicured jungles of ornamental plants, burbling fountains…blimey!

Bangkok Hospital’s pretty decadent – food courts, classical concerts in the foyer, a 7-11, sushi bar,    etc. but Bumrungrad has definitely upped the ante. Bangkok medical tourism soars to new heights!

After dropping her off I hit Suhkumvit and so did massed ranks of policemen.

“Polit,” I said to my taxi driver. By and large, Thais called the police ‘polit.’

“Police,” he corrected me. “Prime Minister is here. Many people want to…””

He trailed off.

“Kill him?” I suggested.

“Yeah…”

He trailed off, looking weary.

I’ve come home. There’s an asbestos scare in Thai Village. A local house has been pounded into ruin by heavy machinery and all local kids are meant to stay in their houses. None are taking a blind bit of notice. Of course. What is a lingering death due to lung disease compared to going fishing or goofing around on bikes or having a fight with imaginary monsters in the forest? Nothing.

I’m pleased to say that our Mongolian friend has also come home. Diagnosis good. My beloved daughter Annabel made some rather vocal comments about her lack of hair – nothing malicious, she just wanted to know why she didn’t have any hair. I tried to explain about chemo-therapy, soon realised that I didn’t know anything about it, and stuffed her face with a peanut butter sandwich.

Our guest then caught a shuttle bus destined for downtown and some serious shopping. I’m glad to see people getting better. She was off in such a hurry, all smiles and broken cameras and spectacles in need of repair, that I didn’t really have time to advise her on the Polit situation. She’s in the heart of it right now. Hope she’s safe and not revisiting Bumrungrad in the back of an ambulance.

I like the place. But a hospital is a hospital. And best avoided if possible!

cheers!

hugh


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