2015. A year of many things. As is each year. Here we take a look at some of the crazy, unique or unusual (take your pick) things that happened in this wonderful city we call Bangkok!
A Som Tum shop hired a bunch of good looking guys and made them wear half naked dress to gain attention of people and get more customers. It turned out to be a great business model for the gutted owner.
A woman pooped herself in the MRT in Bangkok. The incident was described the one the person travelling in the compartment.
Monkeys Munched Through Massive US$11,000 Feast
Those of us Bangkokians who feel faint at a Bt1,100 lunch bill (yes, there are some of us), missed a breath at the total racked up for the lavish dinner put on as part of the annual monkey festival in Lopburi province. A tidy sum of US$11,000… for around two tons of fruit, veggies and jellies. And forget any table manners – the monkeys spent half the time jumping from table to table battling for the best bits of grub. It’s probably the main reason thousands of tourists gather to watch the fabulous feast-cum-food fight each year.
Condom Points Cropped Up In Bangkok
Far from crazy and much more in the region of responsible thinking, admirable and safe, a total of 1,131 ‘condom points’ have been added throughout Bangkok to help people practice safe sex and prevent HIV. City authorities, to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, staged the “Bangkok Zero Fest” to educate youngsters on HIV and as part of efforts to reduce the number of newly infected patients to zero. And it was announced free condoms would be distributed at local health centres, district offices, city halls, police stations and selected motorcycle taxi stations in Bangkok.
Yet More T’riffic Tuk-Tuks
In December the Department of Land Transport held registration for aspiring Tuk-Tuk drivers, with an additional 565 of the iconic three-wheeled vehicles due to take to the streets in 2016. The official reasons given for having more of these ubiquitous (with Bangkok) urban passenger workhorses plowing the city thoroughfares was to enable drivers to own their TukTuks instead of renting them and because they’re so popular among tourists.
…And One Really Terrific Tuk-Tuk!
Miss Universe Thailand showed off a Tuk-Tuk-inspired dress she planned to wear at the Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas in December, to the press and the public. The dress was created by cultural scholar Hirankrit Paipibulkul, made from chromium and decorated with real light bulbs which 21-year-old Aniporn ‘Nat’ Chaloemburanawong could flash. Oh right, Nat also showed some of the slightly more conventional dresses she would wear at the pageant. But we thinks the Tuk-Tuk dress was the eye-catcher of the day.
Of All The…
Some unfortunate Loy Krathong revelers were, on 25 November, forced to watch their krathongs get raided by a thief for the money on them. A video of the unscrupulous gentleman in question knocking down people’s krathongs to steal their money quickly went viral. Ok, so thieves stealing money from krathongs? It happens. But at least said thieves could do it a little less blatantly.
Em…? Yet Another Glitzy Mall?
Yep. Bangkokians jumped for joy with the opening in March 2015 of the brand sparkling new EmQuartier luxury mall right opposite the recently renovated Emporium shopping mall. Those of us who dared to think to ourselves “Hey look, there’s another high-end mall a stone’s throw from another high-end mall” were quickly put in our place. You see, the new EmQuartier is the latest part of the multi billion baht EM District that envisions turning this particular stretch of Sukhumvit Road around Phrom Phong BTS station into one of the biggest retail hubs Bangkok has ever seen. Enter the EmQuartier realm and you’ll find yourself in an impressively designed world of luxury brands, futuristic inside and outside spaces, restaurants, offices, event halls and movie theatres including an Imax theatre.
Touris, You Are Safe!
Tourist confidence in the capital must surely have been boosted at the site of a parade of tourist police making its way through Bangkok with banners stating ‘We Safe Thailand Safe’ and ‘Touris Safe’. Discussions flourished on whether the incorrect English on the banners was intentional – as a clever publicity-building strategy perhaps – or not. Who knows? The parade of some 2,000 tourist police officers and volunteers was apparently designed to display the force’s preparedness for the upcoming era of ASEAN economics and to show the willingness of Thais to provide assistance to tourists.
Bangkok’s Very Own Batman… And Other Super Pals
Gotham, we mean Bangkok, benefited from its very own band of superheroes including Batman, Spiderman, Superman and Captain America who patrol the city streets once a week to help citizens feel safe. Batman (aka toy shop owner Kampanat Chankaew) said he and his fellow superheroes, along with fighting crime, enjoy making people smile.
No More Broad Daylight Pee Tests
Early on in 2015 Bangkok’s finest were ordered by their superiors to halt the random stopping of foreigners on the street for spot searches. This followed a notable surge in stop-and-search incidents over recent months which appeared to be targeting foreign males on Sukhumvit Road.
Now, the crazy thing here is not that the searches were stopped. It’s that the searches were happening in the first place and the nature of the searches. Many foreigners complained they had been stopped for no reason, were bag and/or body searched and in more than a few cases there were reports of humiliating urine tests being carried out right there on the street in broad daylight. Well it wasn’t soon before this practice by the boys in brown along Sukhumvit and in particular Thong Lor caught the eye of international media, including in Australia. A foreign ambassador even got on the case, bringing it up with the appropriate Thai authorities. Soon after came the order from above for these random searches to stop.
Sorry, We Can’t Sell Booze To Unconscious Persons
Alcohol sales times continued to befuddle many a tourist popping into a convenience store or supermarket for a cool mid afternoon beer during their sightseeing around Bangkok. And let’s face it, many an expat as well. There are those of us who are still trying to make sense of the rule that stipulates alcoholic beverages can be sold only during the hours of 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 12 am. And definitely worth a mention here, is the check-out counter sign seen at the branch of one particular supermarket chain that displayed a list of those to whom alcohol could not be sold. That list included ‘unconscious persons’.
A Museum All About Corruption
A new museum focusing on public corruption opened in Bangkok, using sculptures to represent 10 famous corruption cases. We won’t name any names here, and neither does the museum. Rather the sculptures were designed to illustrate the various cases. For example, the rice-pledging scheme corruption used the statue of a man and woman standing behind rice stacks. The museum was opened to warn the public that corruption if unchecked could severely damage and cripple and entire nation.
A Hong Kong girl / model did a naked bungee jump in Chiang Mai and posted on social media. (the only exception of the article).