This is what all Bangkok governor candidates must do before trying to sell us any of their fancy ideas on improving the Big Mango.

Day one: Wear a cast to immobilise one of your legs, use crutches to walk, then go to work or do your errands.

Day two: Try to do the same thing in a wheelchair and see how far you can go from your place.

Day three: Cover your eyes with a mask, or wear a pair of thick spectacles to blur your view. Grab a cane, and walk on Bangkok's notorious footpaths for at least three kilometres.

Day four: When hungry, eat only at food stalls in wet markets. To relieve yourself, do so only in toilets at temples, wet markets, state hospitals or bus and train stations.

Day five: Pedal your bicycle to the Bangkok Post for an interview on how you would make Bangkok friendlier for people of all ages, including those with special physical needs and for health- and environment-conscious cyclists.

Today, one out of every 10 Thais is over 60. The number will be two out of 10 just 15 years from now. The majority in Thailand's greying society will be women. Yet, there is little sign from the city administration to make Bangkok friendlier to the elderly, particularly the grandmas.

According to Asst Prof Trairat Jarutach, the Thai Gerontology Research and Development Institute recently did a survey to see how safe and user-friendly Bangkok buildings and public spaces are for the elderly. The result is distressing.

Government buildings passed only one criteria: the door.

pinched from BKK-Post 21.11.08

The cabinet decision appears to bring an end to the tempestuous history of iTV, which started out as an effort to introduce an independent slant on the news to Thailand's state-controlled television, then became the alleged mouthpiece of a populist prime minister and ended up the property of a Singapore investment firm.

Shortly before the January 6, 2001 general election, which Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party won, a handful of iTV staff were fired for providing too much coverage of the opposing parties, sending a signal for what iTV was to become during the Thaksin years.

(excerpts from Bangkok Post,  March, 7th 2007)

Since Tuesday (19-09-06) Thailand is controlled and reigned by military. They gained control Tuesday night and from a western point of view this sounds scary...

However, after months of tension and a 50/50 torn apart Thai nation - about their former Premier, it's almost a release for most of the Thais (over 80% feel okay about the coup according to a survey in Bangkok Post). Thai hearts and feelings tick different to Westerners.

And I must say... even though a coup d'eta is definitely not a democratic way of solving conflicts, it might be to the good of the country, if the new guys manage to reduce corruption within the system.

Let's watch and see whether a 'new' democraacy can be established and whether they are really able to take out some of the bad roots and restore peace and unity in the country. I wish the new men on top and the people succeding in finding a new and solid path - hopefully good enough to avoid any future interference by the military. Thailand - the land of the free - has a great chance! Take it!

Bangkok (dpa) - Thailand on Friday announced visa regulations for tourists limiting visitors to a maximum stay of 90 days every six months, in an effort to put prevent foreigners from remaining in the kingdom on a long-term basis.

Immigration Police Chief Lieutenant General Suwat Thamrongsrisakul said the new enforcement was aimed at blocking foreigners who created social problems and posed internal security treats from living in the country indefinitely.

"Some people were using the loopholes in the old regulations to work in Thailand, while others were staying here to engage in criminal activities," said Suwat.

Under the old system, foreigners from 41 countries that have good relations with Thailand, were granted 30-day tourist visas that could be extended twice within the country.

With a quick trip abroad, one could pick up another tourist visa and thereby live in Thailand on an annual basis.

There is a heavy flow of foreigners living in Thailand to neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia on cheap "visa runs."

Under the new system to go into effect on Oct 1, nationals from the same 41 countries will be allowed 30-day tourist visas which may be extended twice, after which the tourists will have to stay out of Thailand for at least 90 days before returning again.

The 41 favoured countries include most European nations, China, Japan, Canada, the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations among others.

"Tourists (from the 41 countries) will not be allowed to stay in Thailand more than 90 days every six months," said a statement issued by the Immigration Department.

Nationals from other countries are only allowed 30-day tourist visas, non-extendable in the country.

The new regulation will likely affect hundreds of English-language teachers who work semi-legally in Thailand, and other foreigners working in Thailand without the requisite working papers.

(pinched from Bangkok Post Sept.15th 2006)

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