What’s On in Thailand
by: Mike Bell
The winds of change will blow throughout March – known as Minakhom round here. The natives are getting restless as there are NO Public Holidays. Government (the term is used loosely) workers will have to graft (the term is used literally) ceaselessly for a complete month, and they say slavery has been abolished. (Fortuitously it means there will be no bar closures or other such nonsense unless, of course, there is another General Erection).
There are, however, four red letter days to look forward to: the 8th is, of course, International Women’s Day. Thailand has its first female PM, (twice now if we are to believe the poll results)Yinglucky Shinawatra, their very own International Woman figurehead. According to Forbes, who knows about such things, she is number 30 on the Power Women list. (Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton are one and two!) She is blessed with a Master's Degree in public administration from Kentucky State University, in 1991, and a billionaire older brother. Did I mention she’s very photogenic?
A growing trend in Thailand concerns increasing hordes of other international women descending on Bangkok and Pattaya for that most basic of commodities: bought sex. Once the province solely of mature mongering males, lots of women have decided that what’s saucy for the goose is worth a gander for themselves. Armed with their latest alimony payments and weighty, well-filled bras, they can be seen frequenting certain establishments in Boy’s Town (so I’ve heard.) Apparently some of the boys swing both ways; (so I’ve been told) which explains why they play to packed audiences of all three genders.
Unlucky for some, the 13th is National Elephant Day – there is only a slight connection with the snippet above – weight! Long considered the symbol of Thailand, this mighty beast, the bearer of Kings into battle, can now be found painting pictures or riding oversized tricycles in Nong Nooch Gardens. An added attraction is the weekly tug-of-war competition with the international women’s team from Boy’s Town. Sadly the elephants invariably lose. They’ve even named a beer after it: Chang. This can be seen a hundred times a day emblazoned across the sleeveless vests of some of Pattaya’s smartest as they sit down to breakfast clutching the first beer of the day.
On the 20th something called the March Equinox takes place! The equinox is the time of the year when the sun is directly above the equator. It means that the sun goes straight up and straight down at the time of sunrise and sunset. It’s called the March Equinox ‘cos there’s one in September! Told you nothing much happens in March.
This most exciting of months comes to a shuddering climax on the 31st: King Nangklao Day. As we all know he was otherwise known as Rama III (1824-1851) and ruled Thailand for 27 years; unusually he was the son of a concubine rather than the Queen. This year it’s on a Monday so be careful out there.