The year 2012 was promoted as a ''Miracle Year'' in Amazing Thailand, although no wondrous happenings immediately spring to mind.
At least we didn't suffer too many soggy socks situations in Bangkok this time, which could be interpreted as some sort of miracle. Here are a few reminders of events and characters that graced the year 2012, although some you may prefer to forget.
Must remember that excuse: A senior Thai politician explaining his wobbly walking and slurred speech in parliament said it was the result of an ''ear infection'' and nothing to do with consuming generous volumes of the amber liquid.
A sight worth seeing: After the aforementioned ''ear defence'', there was a proposal that all MPs entering parliament should queue up and take a Breathalyser test. Some might argue that lie detectors might be more useful.
And pigs can fly: The announcement that all tourist police will speak fluent English within six months.
Top marks for frankness: The owner of the last remaining typewriter repair shop in Bangkok admitting the only sentence he can type in English is ''the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog''. He's still probably a step ahead of the tourist police.
Hole of the year: A magnificent excavation that appeared overnight in March near the Thai-Belgium Bridge, causing horrendous traffic jams. A reminder of the golden era of the '70s and '80s when the splendid Bangkok Hole earned an international reputation.
It's showtime: The driver of a large crane who parked his vehicle on the top of a bridge on Rama III, climbed out and proceeded to watch the vehicle roll backwards down the incline wiping out half a dozen cars, 32 utility poles and bringing down power lines, prompting a 10-hour electricity blackout.
Bravest 2012 book title: Thailand's best-seller, Cooking With Poo. Who could resist Saiyuud Diwong's quaintly-named book of recipes?
Sleuths of the year: Ayutthaya's eagle-eyed police pouncing on a topless transsexual at the Songkran celebrations. It does raise the question, are a transsexual's nipples female or male?
What the cops should have been doing: Arresting flabby, shirtless European gentlemen waddling around in Pattaya and Phuket. The sight of these blubbery fellows is far more unsettling than anything a skinny Thai transvestite has to offer.
Do you know who I am?: A well-known singer in a Thai female pop group refusing to take a Breathalyser test until she ''sobered up'' a couple of hours later. Now, that's not quite the way it works, love.
Porky pies award: To the Thai finance minister who admitted making up highly optimistic forecasts for export growth. He was quickly forgiven for his fibs as he was only trying to cheer us up.
Joke of the year: The official who announced that any taxi driver who refused to take a passenger would be fined 1,000 baht. One suspects the official hasn't tried to take a taxi lately.
Not the brightest crooks: Two men whose motorcycles ran out of petrol on a remote road in Chon Buri. They eventually flagged down a passing police vehicle for assistance. A quick check showed that both motorcycles had been stolen in Pattaya just a few hours earlier.
A bit on the worrying side: Mass cheating uncovered in police entrance exams with prospective cops paying 350,000 baht for the examination answers. They should go far in the force.
Even more worrying: Some of the alleged cheats still managing to fail, despite having the answers.
That's more like it: A squad of policewomen, known as the ''Sweet Troop'', being transferred to active traffic duty. It works too. Just one wag of a feminine finger and those male drivers fall into line. Well, maybe not the Benz boys.
Menu of the year: The Seafoot Cocktail offered at a Khon Kaen restaurant. Other ''seafoot'' delights available were Fried Squit and Boiled Crap.
All very educational: The parliamentary ''study trip'' to Europe featuring a leading politician and a gaggle of journalists. What they studied was not entirely clear, but they did manage to squeeze in a trip to an English Premier League match and a visit to Harrods at the taxpayers' expense.
Please do not adjust your set: The ludicrous blob which appears on TrueVisions Channel 42 every time a cigarette appears. It's particularly hilarious when several people are smoking at once.
Song of the year: The heart-rending country & western number, How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?
What goes up: The Thai army airship that came down to Earth very quickly shortly after take-off in Pattani. No one seemed very surprised.
Les miserables: A report in January that Thais are not as happy as they once were, with the Land of Smiles in danger of becoming the Land of Snarls.
Les (not so) miserables: A second report this month that Thais are in fact the eighth happiest people with hardly a care in the world. All a bit confusing .
Golden panties award: To the Bangkok flying squad who swooped on a suspected jewel thief's house only to uncover 5,000 pairs of stolen ladies' panties. A case of the knickers nicker being nicked.
Word of the year: ''Omnishambles'', a new way of saying ''total cock-up'' or ''Bangkok Futsal Arena''. Could become a very busy word in the coming year.
A Happy New Year to all readers and let's hope 2013 is not too amazing.
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About the author
- Writer: Roger Crutchley