Bangkok – New mall ‘SHOW DC’ opens with durian room and shower for tourists

Another new shopping mall, SHOW DC, recently opened their doors near RCA. They hope to serve as the city’s tourist hub by offering basic facilities that all travelers need — such as a shower.

Located 30 minutes from Suvarnabhumi, SHOW DC will soon offer shuttle buses from the airport, Petchaburi MRT station and other attractions in the city. With its goal to become “Bangkok Tourist Terminal,” it offers a shower room, a courier service counter, a prayer room, a tourist police center, travel agents counters and a tourist information center with multi-language assistants.

Meanwhile, to please Thai travelers, its “K-District” on the first floor boasts the world’s biggest Koreatown with all things Korean such as street fashion, cosmetics, lifestyle products, groceries, cafes and restaurants owned by K-Pop artists. This is an attempt to give customers that they are shopping in one of Seoul’s shopping destinations like Myeong Dong.

For the first time in Thailand, Lotte Duty Free will also open at the mall, occupying two whole floors.

In the Thai Market, you will be able to find the best products from all regions of the country. There’s even a room for you to buy and eat durian so you don’t have to worry about the smell bothering other shoppers.

The mall is located on a 14-rai parcel (68,800 sq.m.) on Jaturatid Road, Huai Khwang. While some features have not opened yet, the mall will have its soft opening on Jan. 22.



Tourist looks for safety

Nothing adventurous, risky and dangerous. The average vacationer chooses for security during his vacation this summer.

Vacationers find this summer a sense of security on their vacation is more important than ever.

Of all consumers say 60% consciously paying attention to safety aspects when choosing hotel and destination.

“That has never been so high,” says director Kees van der Most NBTC Nipo, who did with trendwatcher Cherry Laboratory research on the travel trends this season. The results are presented today at the ‘Holiday Fair’ in Utrecht / Netherlands

Large guarded all-inclusive resorts and parks are responding with more and more facilities and entertainment indoors.

“Tourists are also in need of familiar places, which are also safer in their perception. Even retro places like Benidorm are back “, also Italy, the former Yugoslavia and Portugal are in demand.

Attacks make tourists wary.

Thailand – Southern provinces brace for further heavy downpours and landslides today.

Southern provinces brace for further heavy downpours and landslides today.

There are fears that the expected worsening flooding could be exacerbated by landslides in at-risk areas.

The 11 provinces are Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Phattthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang. In Nakhon Si Thammarat yesterday, there was a landslide at the Thung Song-Ron Phibun section of Highway No 41, where motorists were forced to use one lane to transit the area.

Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport also announced an additional suspension of services for today and tomorrow due to a flooded runway. Technicians are scheduled to inspect the runway and the airport’s electronics systems today.

Meanwhile, Lower Pak Phanang Irrigation Office director Kornnarom Wannakul said the Pak Phanang River basin was inundated with 1 billion cubic metres of floodwater, which would take up to 20 days to drain.

In Sichon district in Nakhon Si Thammarat, soldiers from the Fourth Special Warfare Camp yesterday trekked six kilometres to aid residents of Ban Huai Kaew (Moo 3), where about 50 homes were damaged by floodwaters and a bridge connecting the village to the outside world was destroyed.

In a separate assessment, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation chief Chatchai Phromlert yesterday said since January 1 the Southern floods had already affected 958,602 residents in the 12 provinces of Phatthalung, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla, Pattani, Trang, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon, Ranong, Krabi and Prachuap Khiri Khan. Only in Yala had the situation been resolved, he added.

Along with the 21 reported death as of yesterday, two people were missing while five state offices, 218 road sections and 59 bridges were damaged, he said.

At Bang Saphan Hospital, officials erected sandbag barriers and installed water pumps. Although the hospital was not flooded, its surgery and childbirth services were suspended as equipment was removed as a precaution, while 30 critical patients out of the 100 being treated at the facility were moved to a six-storey building on the hospital grounds as a precaution.

As rain continued yesterday, three reservoirs in Bang Saphan were at capacity, while the area’s Anubal Bang Saphan School was closed.

In Krabi’s Muang district, which was hit by flash flooding on Sunday, floodwaters receded yesterday and the bodies of two drowned men were recovered.

Muang Krabi Municipality mayor Kiratisak Phukaoluan said 400 homes in the area had been damaged, mostly along Klong Krabi Yai, where the flooding was more extensive than that seen during the 2011 floods. His office has set up a flood-aid centre at Thesabal 1 Talad Kao School. Khao Phanom district reported that a 60-year-old woman was missing as a result of Sunday’s flooding.

A traffic policeman in Muang Krabi, Sgt-Major Kritthanapol Samranjit, was swept away by floodwaters at about 9.15pm on Sunday after he saved a child from drowning, but he was found alive tangled in a bamboo stand at about 2am yesterday. The exhausted policeman was rushed to Krabi Hospital and released later yesterday.

In Trang, whose six districts were declared flood-disaster zones affecting 50,000 people, various state offices continued to remain closed along with 25 schools including the 1,800-student Saparachinee 2 School that was under floodwaters of up to three metres deep.

Source: TheNation

Famous ‘tunnel tree’ felled by rain

SACRAMENTO – One of the most famous trees in the United States collapsed after heavy rain storms.

The Pioneer Cabin tree has fallen! This iconic and still living tree – the tunnel tree – enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it.

The huge Seqoia in Calaveras Big Trees Nature Park was a popular destination for tourists because a tunnel was made by the tribe. The hole was so big that a car could drive through and was carved 137 years ago.

Another photo from this morning at the Pioneer Cabin Tree shows the #21 sign that goes with the trail guide, along with the huge roots that were yanked out the ground. The tree will most likely remain where it fell, providing habitat for many creatures and slowly decomposing to improve the soil for future sequoias. Photo’s by Claudia Beymer

The last storm, the worst in a decade in the area, the more than thousand year old tree was eventually fatal, the park announced on Facebook.

Thailand – Having a ‘Mia Noi’

It’s All Just Part of Thai Culture – Men Having a Second Wife.

XXX – There is a common Thai practice that visitors to Thailand will not see. Once you have lived here for a while and made friends with Thai people on a personal level, you may discover this most shocking custom of marital relationships.  This is the practice of men having a Mia Noi, which translates to “Little Wife”, but more accurately refers to “Second Minor Wife”.    This practice has been around for hundreds of  years in the Kingdom, and the practice is alive and well today.  It is practiced by most wealthy Thai men, and by a huge percentage of not-so-wealthy men.   Support for a Mia Noi may well include a separate residence, a car, spending money, the whole nine yards, and often children with the minor wife that also are fully supported.  If many people know about the lady, she is considered a Mia Noi. If the lady is a closely guarded secret, she is considered a girlfriend, or Gik (pronounced as geek).

Believe it or not, in this overly status conscious country, having a Mia Noi may be another status symbol for men.  Everyone knows that it takes big money to support another wife, or another whole family, so having a Mia Noi is an indicator of wealth.  In America, wealthy people like to live in secluded gated communities away from the notice of others, but in Thailand, the wealthy want to flaunt their wealth and build expensive houses near the busiest road in town to show all.  If it is known that the man of the house also supports a Mia Noi, his social status is elevated.

This practice is not isolated unusual examples of eccentric people on the fringe.  It is widespread and common, and any Expat married to a Thai is likely to find several male in-law relatives have a Mia Noi relationship, and a good percentage of their Thai friends.  It is not looked down upon.  There will be less of it with modern young couples in Bangkok, but in the smaller cities and in villages, it is very visible.  The concept of Mia Noi is not accepted in Thailand but instead “tolerated”, and openly acknowledged, by most Thais. The Mia Noi practice is not discussed very often because the main wife does not want to lose face, but she will usually not leave her husband as long as he maintains her status as the main or major wife (Mia Luang) and supports the family

When the main wife finds out about the minor wife, it’s not usually like it would be in the west. No demanding that the husband breaks up with the minor wife, no threats of divorce. Instead, often the major wife will look at it like, as long as she and the children are being taken care of, she’s not going to make too many problems about the minor wife. Overall, most Thai men still tend to stay with the first wife so, having a Mia Noi, some women think, can make the first marriage more likely to work out. If they push though, and insist their husband break up with the minor wife, they also know there’s a chance he will leave them for the second woman. So, it’s easier just to stay quiet.

One thing that is changing in modern Thai culture though, especially in Bangkok, is that a lot of major wives now have jobs and money of their own. In the past, it used to be that the money for the family belonged to the husband so, in this case, the major wife wasn’t likely to rock the boat when it came to a Mia Noi as, if the husband left, she might be left in financial straits. Now, with major wives having their own jobs, some of them don’t care if the husband leaves because, unlike in the past, they can take care of themselves and their kids without the need for money from the husband.  So times are changing things.

However, as modern women in Thailand often make their own money, the cost of having a Mia Noi can be a lot less than it used to be.  So perhaps this new earning power for women may allow for more men to have (or rather, afford) a Mia Noi relationship.  And the major wife is sometimes also happy as she has less pressure placed upon her for sex, she knows that her husband having a second wife makes it less likely they will get divorced and, as long as she and the kids are taken care of financially, this set up often works fine for her.

In my opinion, very few Western men (including yours truly) would ever want to have a Mia Noi relationship.  It would open up a myriad of problems that could make life miserable for me. But more then once, in my married life, I have been asked by Thai men, even uncles, why I didn’t have a Mia Noi. “You are farang (foreigner), you have big money! Why no have Mia Noi ?”

They could never understand, when I would answer them, that I wanted only one wife.  My thinking was completely alien to them.

Keeping my only wife contented and willing to put up with my sometimes erratic and eccentric behavior requires a lot of investment by me of time, patience and attention.  To double that would be much more than what I am capable of handling, so this idea of a second wife would never enter my mind, no matter how wealthy I might be.

As part of a domestic violence study, a survey was conducted from 2009-2010 on state officials’ attitudes towards men possessing minor wives by Ramathibodi Hospital and reported in The Nation Newspaper. Almost 60 per cent of the men surveyed said having a minor wife was a man’s personal business, while only 28.5 per cent mentioned it as an immoral act. About half of the women said it was an immoral act and 39 per cent felt it was a very personal matter.

Your comments and opinions on this matter are appreciated.


‘La La Land’ waltzes to huge victory at Golden Globes

LOS ANGELES – Whimsical modern-day musical “La La Land” pirouetted its way into major Oscars contention Sunday as it swept the board at the Golden Globes, the glitziest party of the showbiz year.

Damien Chazelle’s nostalgic tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals picked up all seven of the statuettes for which it was nominated — giving the film momentum as it launches its campaign for next month’s Academy Awards.

    The film’s influence was felt from the opening moments of the three-hour ceremony — host Jimmy Fallon and a slew of stars got the bash underway with a parody of some of the iconic scenes from the movie, which is set in Los Angeles.

    “This is a film for dreamers,” said Emma Stone, who took home the prize for best actress in a musical/comedy for her role as aspiring actress Mia.


Malaysia – Carving out his own niche

Luthier Jeffrey Yong explains why he likes to use nontraditional wood for his guitars

Alder, ash, basswood, maple – these are just some of the woods used to craft the body of guitars. Malaysian Jeffrey Yong, though, has always preferred to use the tonewoods, as the cuts are known, from trees found in the region, and over the course of his career has crafted his instruments from the rain tree, rambutan tree, mango tree, rosewood, and cengal amongst others.

Now he’s hoping to try his hand at using Musang King, the wood of a type of durian tree.

Yong, 58, is one of the very few luthiers in the region. He has received various international awards and is often invited to exhibit his instruments overseas.

His career as a luthier started in the mid-1980s, the day, he laughs, when he realised he would never become the No 1 guitarist in the world. In 1985 he bought a set of equipment and started making musical instruments, travelling abroad to refine his skills and place orders for his materials.

“On one occasion when I was buying wood overseas to make guitars, the locals asked me why I was buying wood overseas when Malaysia is famous for exporting wood,” he recalls. “That really woke me up.

“At first my instruments made with non-traditional wood were treated with suspicion,” he says. “But as long as the sound produced is good, the process and raw materials are not important and musicians quickly came to understand that.”

The highest point of his 31-year career came when he won the top prize for a guitar made with rain tree wood in a contest organised by The Guild of American Luthiers (GAL) in 2006.

“It was like an athlete taking part in Olympics. Competing with so many others, I felt extremely small and never thought I had a chance to win.”

Yet Yong remains sad that despite receiving international recognition and fame, the majority of Malaysians do not know him. His Malaysian students make up only one per cent of his total students.

“A university lecturer told me that would-be luthiers are take to Japan to visit a factory manufacturing musical instruments,” he laments.

Yong describes making a musical instrument as similar to painting. “You need time and or inspiration. It might take two to three months perhaps even one year,” he says, adding that his classes do however enable students to make a guitar in two weeks.

In addition to guitar, he also makes the ukulele, sape and sundatang, traditional musical instruments from Sarawak.

One problem he faces is requests from people wanting tailor-made musical instruments. “They usually want a smaller musical instrument or one that fits their physical size. I always say no.

“Take a piano for example. A small child can play a standard size piano. He or she doesn’t need one made to scale.”

Yong is also the founder of Institute Guitar Malaysia and is often called upon to give lessons.

He tells parents not to just sign up their kids for classes for the sake of it nor impose their own interest in music on their children.

“The starting point for learning music is important. Let the children understand and like music. Don’t push them into sitting exam after exam. They play without knowing their mistakes. They can play difficult music pieces but they play without soul.”

He advises parents who feel their kids do have a talent for music not to rush them. “Don’t push them into attending music school. That will kill a child’s interest in music. Instead let them decide when they are ready.

“People tend to buy a guitar, learn how to play a couple of songs then complain that they are unable to make a living with music. They have never explored music in a professional manner. But you can make a career out of music. Music teachers, for example, have a good income.”

Yong is now planning to start classes in China, hoping to pass down his luthier skills to the new generation of Chinese.

Source: TheNation

Cambodia – Ripening market for wine sales

Darren Gall, managing director of Liquid Assets, displays a bottle of red wine at the store in Phnom Penh last week.

More than 20 specialty wine stores and hundreds of smaller shops selling wine have opened in Cambodia in recent years, reflecting rising wealth and an increasing local taste for wine. The Post’s Cheng Sokhorng spoke to Liquid Assets managing director Darren Gall, an Australian wine marketing expert with over two decades of experience in Asian markets, about his latest business venture and the opportunities in Cambodia’s market.

What prompted you to open the wine store Liquid Assets?
I see a continuing opportunity to develop a strong and dynamic wine market in Cambodia, because as the economy grows, people have more disposable income and consequently tend to eat better, drink better and try new things in their lifestyles.

The company is a joint venture and I am the minor shareholder. I was invited to have a role in the company as they did not have much wine expertise and they were interested to have someone with my experience and connections in the wine industry.

Cambodians are not traditionally wine drinkers. How is this changing?
Wine has always been here in Cambodia for the small group of wealthy people that could afford it. But now it is slowly growing, and in the past few years, there has been an emerging middle class that is starting to have an interest in wine. More and more people can afford wine, and its consumption in restaurants is increasing.

You’ve worked in Vietnam. What similarities and differences do you see in Cambodia’s developing wine market?
In Vietnam there is a big connection with France and strong economic growth, so wine has become popular. Tax and duty is comparable between Vietnam and Cambodia, but the interesting thing in Vietnam is that it is a communist country that relies a lot on bureaucracy and red tape, which makes it harder to bring in new wines compared to Cambodia.

I always like doing business in Cambodia because if you have good ideas, and a good business opportunity, you can work with the government to get that business going. There is minimum tax impact and minimum government interference. It is a fair system for everybody in the wine business, and consumers also find fair prices.

With so many wine shops now operating, how competitive is the Cambodian market?
It is very competitive, but the best performing outlets have good knowledge of wine and a good ability to source quality wine. Anyone can bring in cheap, poor-quality wine, but many people don’t want to drink that wine. So you have good-priced wine that is also of a good quality.

How big is your wine stock on display and in storage?
We have more than 1,000 different types of wine for display from around the world and a lot of different grape varieties and styles. The storage capacity of our store is about five containers and there are approximately 1,100 boxes of a dozen bottles per container.

What is the ratio of Cambodians versus foreigners buying wine at your store, and what buying preferences have you noted?
If we talk about per capita consumption, for expats it is higher than for Cambodians. But overall, consumption by Cambodians is higher because the population is much larger.

In the local market there are a group of wealthy people that want only the best wine in the world, which is quite expensive. Then there is the middle class, who just want to drink cheap wine, and the expats fall in between the two. Rich Cambodians can drink bottles costing hundreds of dollars, while low or middle class Cambodians prefer cheap wine from $3.

What are the main supply chain and storage challenges that you face?
The challenge of the supply chain is to maintain proper wine stocks over long periods of time. Many wine sellers don’t know how to control their stocks as they always sell the popular wines fast and sell the rest of the wine more slowly.

It is also a challenge to correctly handle wine and maintain its quality during transport and storage. Wine is easy to spoil if it is not stored properly. It should be shipped in refrigerated containers. You have to move it quickly to storage and think about the humidity and moisture in the long-term storage area.

This costs a lot of money and people in the sector don’t really understand the specifics. They just think to sell it fast and make money, so they don’t prepare to pay for the extra costs of looking after the product.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Source: PhnomPhenPost

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Oh look, another temple! Ken next took us to Wat Haus Pla Kung, a temple with a strong Chinese influence. There was an enormous statue of the (a?) goddess of mercy, visible well before we arrived at the temple. There was a new temple under construction, and we did go look at the old one, […]

Click on the link for more beautiful pictures
via Chiang Rai, Thailand

Mariah Carey stopped on social media

Mariah Carey shows via her Twitter account known that for the time being to stop on social media.
She does this after the controversy that arose on her New Year performance on Times Square the was completely fallen into the water.

Maria Carey on Twitter