Witnesses Who Will Testify Against Police in Rural Thailand Need Better Protection


The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) today issued an urgent appeal to the public in the case of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong. His body was found dead several days after his arrest in 2004.

Here’s a reprint of the appeal:

THAILAND: Call for observers in the case of torture and murder of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong; strengthening Witness Protection is needed

ISSUES: Extrajudicial killing; forced disappearance; impunity; rule of law; Human Rights Defender
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the case of Kiettisak Thitboonkrong that on 7 June 2011 at 9 am at the Criminal Court in Bangkok, the witness hearings of the defendant will continue in the case of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong, who was one of the 28 victims of the Kalasin Killings. This is the first case in which the DSI has charged police for the murders that characterised the notorious ‘war on drugs’ and its aftermath in Kalasin. Close observation would offer valuable support to the victims’ relatives and the case witnesses. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges all concerned persons to attend the court as observers, and calls on other interested persons to follow the case closely.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

On 16 July 2004, Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong, age 17, was arrested by the police in Kalasin province on charges of allegedly stealing a motorcycle. When his family heard this news, they went to the police station and attempted to talk to him. After returning multiple times, his grandmother was allowed to witness his interrogation on 22 July 2004 and told to wait for him to be bailed out (the guarantor was a municipal officer) later that day. But Mr. Kiettisak never came home. A few days later, his mangled body was found in a neighboring province.

At the urging of the relatives of Mr. Kiettisak, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in the Ministry of Justice began investigating his death in 2005, spent three years investigating his death. On 18 May 2009, six police officers were charged with premeditated murder and with concealing Mr. Kiettisak’s corpse to hide the cause of death (an image of the body can be found here, but please be warned that it is graphic). Because this case was investigated under the Special Investigation Act it was sent to the Criminal Court in Bangkok. The public prosecutor is conducting the case.

In previous appeals and updates (see UAU-031-2009) we recounted the opening of the first court trial in October 2009. The court agreed to combine Black Case No. 3252/2552 and Black Case No. 3466/2552 into Black Case No. 3252/2552, 3466/2552. Mr. Kiettisak’s father was also allowed to become a joint-litigant and his lawyers were accepted. Since then the parties in the case have presented themselves before the court for the opening of the trial, among them Mr. Chainarong Sengthong-a-ram, prosecutor in charge of the case; Mr. Kittisapt Thitboonkrong, father of Mr. Kiettisak; lawyers from the Lawyer Council of Thailand who are supporting Mr. Kiettisak’s father; six defendants who are Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Angkarn Kammoonna, Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Sutthinant Noenthing, Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj. Phansilp Uppanant, Pol. Lt. Col. Samphao Indee, Pol. Col. Montree Sriboonloue, Pol. Lt. Col. Sumitr Nanthasathit; and the lawyers of these defendants.

At this time, all prosecution witnesses have testified and the first two defense witnesses have testified. At the hearing at the Criminal Court on Tuesday, 7 June 2011, the remaining defense witnesses will give testimony; if this testimony cannot be completed within one day, the Court will then set additional dates. The AHRC is requesting that all persons able to do come to observe the hearing for several reasons. The AHRC has learned that court observation plays an important role in any cases in which the authorities have been charged, both in terms of supporting the victim, relatives and witnesses, and for an understanding of how the rule of law is currently functioning in Thailand. This case shows the police not as protectors, but as perpetrators of violence in which human rights are negated, especially the right to life.

In this particular case, court observation by national and international observers will also help raise the signal the concern felt by the AHRC for witnesses in this case. In particular, the AHRC would like to highlight the ongoing concerns that we have for the safety of Mrs. Pikul Phromchan, the aunt of Mr. Kiettisak and a human rights defender (HRD) who has consistently worked to secure accountability in both the case of the murder of her nephew and also the other 27 cases of murder and disappear of citizens by the police in Kalasin. Mrs. Pikul is currently under the Witness Protection Program of the DSI, but the AHRC is concerned about the quality of the professional standards of the protection she is receiving, both in terms of personal protection and the support for Mrs. Pikul to live in a province other than her home province. First, given that the defendants in this case are police, the AHRC is concerned that the state officials who are engaged in the day-to-day protection of Mrs. Pikul are also police. Second, since March, Mrs. Pikul has not received the accommodation, food, and living allowance that she is meant to receive as a person in the DSI Witness Protection Program.

The AHRC calls on the DSI to ensure that Mrs. Pikul Phromchan and all other witnesses are given full and professional protection. Particularly in cases where state officials are the perpetrators, it is essential that witnesses and involved parties are protected, so that the cycle of impunity is broken, rather than further consolidated.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below, urging them to ensure the continued and professional protection of Mrs. Pikul Phromchan and to continue to work for accountability in the case of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong.

The AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for her intervention.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

THAILAND: Torture and Murder of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong

I am writing to express my concern over recent reports about the protection of Mrs. Pikul Phromchan, who is under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Special Investigation. Mrs. Pikul is a human rights defender who has worked closely to secure justice and accountability in the cases of a series murders of citizens by police in Kalasin province. In particular, she has worked closely on the case of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong, her nephew, who was murders in July 2004.

The case of the murder of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong is the first one of the 28 killings in Kalasin in which the Department of Special Investigation has brought criminal charges against the six police officers allegedly responsible for his murder. The protection of Mrs. Pikul is particularly important at this time because the case will continue at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday, 7 June 2011.

I call on you to ensure that Mrs. Pikul Phromchan is given full and professional protection and to work for accountability in the case of the murder of Mr. Kiettisak Thitboonkrong. Particularly in cases where state officials are the perpetrators, it is essential that witnesses and involved parties are protected, so that the cycle of impunity is broken, rather than further consolidated.

I look forward to your prompt action.

Sincerely,

—————
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva
Prime Minister
c/o Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300
THAILAND
Fax: +66 2 288 4000 ext. 4025
Tel: +66 2 288 4000
E-mail: spokesman@thaigov.go.th or abhisit@abhisit.org

2. Mr. Peeraphan Saleeratwipak
Minister of Justice
Office of the Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice Building
22nd Floor Software Park Building,
Chaeng Wattana Road
Pakkred, Nonthaburi 11120
THAILAND
Fax: +66 2 502 6734 / 6884
Tel: +66 2 502 6776/ 8223
E-mail: om@moj.go.th

3. Mr.Tharit Pengdith
Director-General of
Department of Special Investigation
Department of Special Investigation office
128 Chaeng Wattana Road
Thoongsonghong, Laksi
Bangkok 10210
THAILAND
Fax: +66 2 831 9888
Tel.: +66 2 831 9888
E-mail: tharit@dsi.go.th

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

So, just send out that letter.

Thailand Election Primer by Duncan McCargo


Watch this short video by Duncan McCargo for a quick roundup of Thailand’s coming election. Definitely worth watching the full 6 minutes.

http://asiasociety.org/video/policy-politics/duncan-mccargos-thai-election-primer

Overthrow-The-Monarchy Mindmap Is Fake (Thai Army Admits)


Being involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the monarchy in Thailand is one of the most serious allegations that can be made against someone. No one would do so jokingly, particularly not in public. People can go to jail for life when they try to overthrow the monarchy.

Last year, the Thai army released a mindmap that showed a conspiracy to overthrow the monarchy, and some of the people involved.

It looked ridiculous to begin with, and nobody I know took it serious, other than that it was a real lowball by the authorities to harm their enemies.

Now, the Thai army “admits” that the map wasn’t really what they said it was… check out Bangkok Pundits post Thai army backtracks on the conspiracy to overthrow the monarchy chart.

Yingluck Overview


If you want a 2 minute overview on what people think online of Yingluck Shinawatra, check out this Globalvoices article: Thailand’s First Female Prime Minister.

Reuters also has an article on her titled Thaksin’s sister shakes up tense Thai election. To Reuters, she said that the two most important things to focus on first would be to help people with rising living costs, and to unite the country again.

Southern Thailand – No End In Sight?


Pretty much every day you can read about new attacks and killings in Thailand’s troubled south.

It’s interesting that the military leaders in charge always seem to be very happy with the progress that is being made, and if you listen to them it sounds as if things are getting a lot better.

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A powerful blast that killed nine civilians and a brazen raid on a military base in Thailand’s troubled southern provinces show that a conflict that has killed 4,300 people in seven years is far from over.

Just as the government and the armed forces lauded the success of public relations campaigns and measures to undermine the rebel movement in the Muslim majority region, the shadowy militants struck back with the biggest and deadliest attacks in almost two years.

The renewed violence, while a setback for the government, is unlikely to damage its stability or the ruling Democrats’ popularity in the south ahead of possible elections this year.

The government and military are focussed on tackling security issues in Bangkok. Developments in its three restive provinces bordering Malaysia, 1,100 km (680 miles) south of the capital, have had little impact on nationwide public opinion.

Experts who follow the conflict in the south say the nature of two recent attacks suggest the insurgents are eager to discredit government claims of success and to force authorities towards a political solution.

A January 19 raid on an army outpost in Narathiwat province, a stronghold of the ethnic Malay rebels was well-planned and tactically sophisticated.

Four soldiers were killed, among them the unit commander, their living quarters set ablaze and about 50 weapons looted in an assault described by IHS-Jane’s security analyst Anthony Davis as what could be the “opening shots of a new and more militarily aggressive phase of conflict.”

“The attack on the base clearly demonstrated they wish to make a point,” Davis said.

“It wasn’t just a weapons raid, it sent a political message that the government shouldn’t underestimate them and they’re not going to put down their guns and walk away.”

Cease-fire ‘DOWNPLAYED’

Davis, a prominent researcher of the conflict, said the raid may have also been a response to the military failing to take seriously a unilateral month-long cease-fire declared by the insurgents last July in three districts in Narathiwat province.

The cease-fire aimed to dispel assertions that the rebel leaders did not have full control of fighters on the ground.

“It was clear the military tried to downplay this as much as possible. Those who organised this took great risks and they were slighted and made to feel they weren’t important,” he said.

It’s interesting to ask: how did downplaying the ceasefire help to better the situation? What possible benefit might have come from downplaying the situation? It’s not easy to come up with a good answer to that. And it begs the question: what is the army more concerned about? Looking good or solving the situation?

The decades-old separatist rebellion resurfaced in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces in 2004, with a new generation of militants thought to be leading the insurrection.

The region was a Malay Muslim sultanate before it was annexed by Buddhist Thailand in 1909 and separatist tension has simmered since and led to low-level conflict fought mainly in the jungles during the 1970s and 1980s. That changed in 2004 into a violent and well-organised ethno-nationalist struggle.

A security force of more than 60,000 has been deployed in the region since then, about 40,000 of them troops.

Srisomphob Jitphiromsri, a political scientist at Pattani’s Prince of Songkhla University, said the recent attacks showed the government may not have made as much progress as it might have thought, particularly in its public-relations drive.

The military has used development projects and a hearts-and-minds campaign to try to win support.

“The large troop presence may have led to a reduction in violence but there is still a negative attitude towards the security forces,” Srisomphob said.

“The militants still are very strong and have a solid grassroots structure. The claims of progress by the government was probably seen by the insurgents as a challenge to them.”

Source: Reuters

2 Soldiers killed in Yala gunfight


2 soldiers were killed, 4 injured in an ambush in Bannang Sata, a district of Yala on Sunday morning (today). The ambush lasted around 10 minutes, and it seems only soldiers, but no separatist militants have been killed.

Tracking down the people who are responsible for the bombs in Bangkok


After the grenade attack on Friday night (around 11:30 pm) at Pratunam near the Rajprasong intersection (nobody got hurt).

According to the DSI the people who plan and finance the attacks are using new methods so that they can’t be tracked down. In particular, they now use couriers who enter the Thailand from other nations who carry money that is used to pay the people who do the bombings. This is done so that cash withdrawals or wire transactions do not reveal clues about who might be financing it. However, it is not clear how they obtained that information.

DSI director-general Tharit Phengdit also claims that the people behind these bomb attacks are the infamous “men in black” who were blamed by the government to be responsible for a lot of the violence during the April/May 2010 protests.

“They have now gone underground after they are no longer accepted as being part of the [red shirts’] political movement,” he said.

However, again, no evidence or explanation has been given how they have reached at that conclusion.

Source: Police investigate grenades in Pratunam

Boot Camp for Thai Gang Leaders


It’s funny that in a country where the military is, according to many, the strongest force in the nation, pretty much every solution is solved with a bootcamp. Drug addict? A bootcamp run by the military is often an alternative to prison.

Thai gang wars are another growing problem, and the government has set up a bootcamp in Lopburi for the gang leaders.

Sixteen soldiers from the army’s First Psychology Unit mixed boot camp drills with icebreaking activities, including song-and-dance numbers in which officers and gang leaders swiveled their hips and sang crude songs.

One exercise, holding hands and bowing to each other, met some resistance.

Next came group meditation before a Buddhist altar. “Put your mind to rest,” a soothing voice said over loudspeakers, as the gang leaders lowered their gaze and sat cross-legged on the floor. “All the confusion and turbulence in your mind, put it away.”

The students wore matching white T-shirts printed with the slogan, “Reconciliation. Learn to Love. Unity.” Most didn’t fit the image of an inner-city thug. Fresh-faced with trim haircuts, they were polite and answered questions thoughtfully.

Few saw an end to the violence. In many cases, spotting a rival school’s badge on a belt buckle is enough to spark a fight.

“The problem is almost a tradition. It’s been passed down from generation to generation,” said Issara Kummin, 17, the student with scars on his scalp and forearm. He got them in June, he said, when 20 kids jumped him as he stepped off a bus.

He considers himself lucky: One of his friends was shot and killed in February while getting off a bus.

“I want revenge,” he said, softly. “We’re seen as the bad guys. But people don’t know what we’re up against. If we don’t fight, we’ll be killed.”

A 16-year-old student at the Bangkapi School of Technology has been arrested for the killing of the boy on the bus. He allegedly fired the shots about 6:30 a.m. after an all-night booze binge. He reportedly told police his handgun cost 2,000 baht ($65).

“I’ve been here 20 years, I never thought I would see that,” said Somsak Karparyoon, a gym teacher at Bangkapi, which sits amid Bangkok’s northeastern industrial sprawl.

He walks the school grounds with a thin bamboo cane to whack students who arrive late, cut class or have their shirts untucked. Asked how often he uses it, he laughed and said, “Very often.”

Teachers at the school escort students to and from the nearby bus stop and search the surrounding streets for hidden weapons. Trade schools in the area have staggered hours, so students will be less likely to cross paths. Riding the bus remains the most dangerous part of the day.

“You can’t ever doze off on the bus. It’s too risky,” said Watcharin Khusuwan an 18-year-old junior studying auto mechanics at Bangkapi.

“I can’t remember how many times my bus has been attacked. So many times,” he said. He glanced at his watch and apologized. School had ended 15 minutes earlier, and he was wearing his school uniform. “I’m sorry. I have to leave. It’s getting risky to be outside.”

As Patrick Winn noted in his interesting related article Thailand: Tech school wars:

Violent tech school posses are called “gangs,” but they’re much more akin to the Westside Story’s Sharks and Jets, who battled over turf and bragging rights, than crime syndicates like the Bloods and Crips. These brawls are fought for adolescent glory and little else.

Bombs in Bangkok


Three bombs have been found in Bangkok – fortunately, they had not yet exploded. One bomb was found under a footbridge outside a school in central Bangkok, one in the public health ministry car park in nearby Nonthaburi province and another one near The Mall Ngamwongwan.

It is not quite clear who’s responsible for these bombs. It could be anti-government movements that want to create disruption, opposing military fractions who want to create a situation to justify the army stepping in and taking over one more time, people who want to keep the state of emergency in place, Southern insurgents who are taking a more aggressive stance or evil smurfs.

The most obvious and most likely scenario (apart from the smurfs) is an underground red-shirt movement. I don’t think the militant fraction of the red shirt movement was nearly as threatening as the government depicted them (although I’m not one to say that no “men in black” existed), but it would be surprising with all the anger and discontent if there aren’t some people who will resort to fanaticism – specially because the government is driving a rather suppressive strategy in dealing with the opposition.

September 19 is the day when the only PM of Thailand who got reelected was ousted by a military coup, and red shirt groups have announced (peaceful) protests during that time, while the government has also received threats of sabotage acts and reports that assassinations of important people with war weapons are planned.

Awesome Architecture in Bangkok: Handmade Banana Fiber Facade


If you’re into sustainable architecture, check out Happyland Townhouse in Bangkok. You’ll be able to see how banana fibers have been turned into an architectural facade on a residentual building.

A team from the architecture & design practice Architectkidd went to communities outside Bangkok to learn traditional techniques for harvesting and processing the banana plant material, and then figured out how they could use it to create a sustainably-crafted shade screen for the building. The techniques that they used are usually employed for basket and mat weaving.

Besides giving the building an modern look that is both natural and contemporary, the screen also shades the building from the sun while facilitating natural ventilation into the interior of the townhouses and adding a level of privacy that was not there before.

Reconciliation?


The Abhisit government has talked a lot about reconciliation since the protests ended in May. And that sounds good when you listen to it on the radio, on TV or read about it in the papers.

One can’t fail to wonder every once in a while though which definition of reconciliation they use. The dictionary defines reconciliation as: “the process of making (oneself or another) no longer opposed” or simply the “settling of a quarrel or difference”.

It is not so obvious where exactly this has happened. As Pavin Chachavalpongpun pointed out:

Reconciliation has now become a vocabulary discursively used to legitimize certain policies and behavior of the power holders.

The quote comes from his article Thailand’s Disheartening Aftermath published on Asia Sentinel.

For example, the “Independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission” is headed by former Attorney General Kanit na Nakhon. Former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun and social critic Prawes Wasi lead the national reform panels.

Should the current government, also a party in the political conflict, be given the right to set up a reconciliation commission and national reform panels?

Setting up an “independent truth and reconciliation commission” is of not so much use when one party is unilaterally in charge.

Moreover, none of these handpicked personalities have ever been elected into office. Anand was an appointed prime minister twice without having to go through the democratic process. Clearly, the discourse of “relying on good people [khon dee] in time of crisis” is still a powerful self-legitimization tool. But the so-called khon dee happen to be on the side of the Thai traditional elite.

The fact that they have not been elected into the positions they hold is of course a situation that current prime minister Abhisit is very familiar with.

Some red-shirt members are convinced that the reconciliation roadmap is nothing more than Abhisit’s delaying tactic to postpone the push for real political reform or fresh elections.

It would of course be quite a smart tactic.

Third, the Abhisit government, during the past three months, has been busy indeed, not so much in making peace with its opponents as entrenching itself in political power through a variety of channels. The ruling Democrat Party managed to win a by-election in July, boasting that it had regained the trust of Thai voters and therefore approval of its policy toward the red-shirts. Yet its candidate, Panich Vikitseth, defeated his Puea Thai rival Korkaew Pikulthong, also a core leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), by just 14,000 votes.

It should also mentioned that Korkaew was imprisoned on terrorism charges during the whole election period, and that some of the messages he wanted to share with prospective voters were not allowed to be publicized.

After all, this was a fight within a Bangkok constituency, the Democrat’s stronghold. Only about 50 percent of the voters were enthusiastic enough to turn out.

Disillusioned disinterest was the most common feeling towards the election process among many people here in Bangkok, which I personally noticed.

Prime Minister Abhisit also had his hand firmly on recent reshuffles within the army and the police. He has picked two royalists and pro-government figures, General Prayuth Chan-ocha as a new army chief and Police General Wichean Potephosree as a new police chief. The opposition considered such appointments a part of the establishment’s plot to strengthen its power position, especially in a possible post-election period in which those associated with the red shirts might form a new government.

Along the way, the Abhisit regime has solidified its rule in other ways, such as through the curbing of freedom of expression. More anti-government websites are blocked every day. More have been arrested for insulting certain institutions in Thailand.

It should also be noted that “anti-government websites” is a term that is used quite loosely, and the ministry in charge of censorship really doesn’t need to justify any of it’s decisions.

Drug Problems in Deep Southern Thailand


Here’s an interesting video from Al Jazeera on drug problems in Thailand’s deep South. They’re using a drug you probably never heard of called 4×100 that includes the powder of flourescent light bulbs.

Silent Anger In Isaan


David Streckfuss published an article in the Wall Street Journal that is very critical of the current government’s strategy. Worth a read, specially in terms of how it portrays the current situation in Isaan:

Fearing arrest or worse, many leaders have fled the region, gone underground or remained silent. They worry they are being watched and that their phones are bugged. Many are reluctant to meet with journalists or human-rights groups. There is a perception among red shirts that the government can do virtually anything it wants under the emergency law.

[…]

Left without access to red-shirt radio or television, many families have chosen to listen to nothing at all. They say watching the government-controlled news or even reading the newspaper upsets them too much.

[…]

The silence and the appearance of normality in the northeast, however, is deceiving. They mask feelings of fear, frustration, disgust and anger.

Historically, the mood now is not like after the coup in 2006 or even after the military crackdown in 1992 when scores of demonstrators were reported killed. It is more like Thailand after the bloody suppression of students at Thammasat in October 1976.

But best to read the whole thing here: Life Under Abhisit’s Thumb: The Thai government cracks down on dissent in the restive northeast

Thailand Business Magazine: Director


Director Magazine is an English-language magazine for business leaders in Thailand. Now, you can read the first digital edition of Director Magazine online for free at issuu.com.

If you’re involved in the corporate world in Thailand, it’ll be of interest to you.

Elephant Feeding Verboten


In case you wonder what “verboten” is, it’s the German word for prohibited. Bangkok residents and tourists often encounter mahouts with their elephants on the streets of Bangkok. For 20 baht, you can buy some sugar cane from the mahout and feed it to the elephant.

This is good for the mahout, and bad for the elephant, because Bangkok’s streets aren’t exactly elephant-friendly, and these elephants often get injured and sick.

There have been laws against this kind of elephant abuse, but enforcing them was never very effective. So the government passed a new law that prohibits feeding the elephant. That means, if you are caught giving food to one of those begging elephants, you can be fined 10,000 baht.

For that kind of money, you might just as well make a trip to one of the many elephant conservatory places and support the people who take good care of elephants.

Associated Press has the full story.

25 Million Eggs A Day – Some of Them Barbequed


Apparantly, Thailand produces 25-26 million eggs a day. I don’t know if that is a lot or a little in comparison to other countries, but that means Thai’s don’t even eat half an egg by day – where I in generally always was under the impression that they are a country that’s prone of eggs.

Apart of that, many of my friends from abroad are always amazed when they see vendors selling barbequed eggs, a way of egg preparation that isn’t really known in many other countries. If you never tried a barbequed egg and wonder what it might taste like, you’ll have to find out by yourself. Just make sure to tell the vendor that you want your egg “sook”, otherwise he might hand you one that is still half-liquid.

Bangkok Voted World’s Best City


The readers of the “Travel + Leisure” magazine have voted Bangkok as the world’s best city. I can think of a thousand reasons why I this is totally justified. Not that I have compared Bangkok to every other city in the world (there are still a couple missing on my list), but I’m very confident that it is an impossible task to outdo Bangkok’s awesomeness.

Just a few of my personal reasons why Bangkok is the most awesome city in the world:

  • The best food is often the cheapest
  • The most amazing Somtam / Labmoo / Namtog / Soup Nomai stall five minutes from my place
  • The family that’ selling the best organic-farm, free-range BBQ chicken in the world for 100 baht a body
  • the people who remain friendly in the midst of all this Chaos
  • the fact that you can pretty much fish in any puddle of water that’s deeper than 4 inches
  • a gazillion incredibly delicious food stalls that sell fresh, healthy food
  • incredibly skilled and experienced Thai massage therapists that will fix you up with a smile
  • the fact that I can live in the middle of a multimillion people metropolis and hear frogs and birds in the morning instead of cars
  • and a lot of other very small reasons that all add up to one huge big ball of Bangkokboogie 🙂

Pet Funerals in Buddhist Temples


Even though the current political situation has still enough serious topics to blog about, I feel that this rather refreshing tidbit is well-worthy of attention too.

Most of the cremated animals are of course dogs and cats, but even turtles, rabbits, monkey and fish (!) had the honor of receiving a funeral at Wat Klong Toey Nai in Bangkok.

An average funeral costs 1800 baht, but there are of course “deluxe options” available – and the temple is also offering free cremations for those who can not afford to pay.

The Washington Post wrote:

The monk chanted, asking Jiraporn and her family to repeat after him: “This life cycle is completed. We pray that Bai Toey be born in the next life blessed with prosperity and good health, in a better form, like one of a human.”