Although political turmoil and hellish traffic are what Thailand is widely known for, some recent weird and strange incidents have given us hope that lighter matters might help us attract international recognition too. To prove that we're getting a bit better at developing a sense of humour, here's a round up of odd and sometimes inexplicable incidents that have recently been in the news.
There must be a Feb 30 in here somewhere
1. Born This Day
The strange tale: Although it's very unlikely that this was intended as a joke, you can rest assured that this story probably hasn't been played out anywhere else in the world. How would you feel if you're already in your 50s and had never once had a birthday party? Having no friends is one of a few possible explanations, but that is not the case for Sangwian Khuncharoen, 53, a deputy village headman of Moo 3 in Tambon Thapchan of Aranyaprathet district. According to Thai Rath, the date of birth detailed on Mr Sangwian's ID card was registered as February 30th by mistake in his civil registration. To change his date of birth, he needs at least two witnesses, including an official to verify that the information is correct, so the problem has been plaguing him ever since. Mr Sangwian said he was very worried because he could neither deal with official matters nor process any financial transaction with the banks because (obviously) no calendar has his date of birth in them.
What makes this incident even more ridiculous is all the fuss that follows. After being rebuked by the Interior Minister and provincial and district superiors for damaging the reputation of the Interior Ministry by complaining to the media, Mr Sangwian decided to resign from his post, and go on with the Feb 30th birthdate.
A possible solution: Mr Sangwian, with all due respect, stop showing your ID card around! You're a state official, a deputy village head, remember? There would have been no need to resign if he would have gone quietly and fixed this himself. If he wasn't up for splashing a bit of Liquid Paper on his ID card and forging himself up a new date of birth, we suggest he simply goes to the district office and demands a fix. But if it's been too long and he's not really sure whether it's February 28th, 29th or March 1st that is his birthday, maybe February 30th is best for him.
Not sure if these are fancy enough to please the deities
2. Radio Ga Ga
The strange tale: News recently spread about locals in the area of Nong Phian temple in Suphanburi province who come to the temple carrying radios to offer, instead of food or other usual stuffs, to fulfil their vows. According to Daily News, the abbot of the temple said that people offer radios to Luang Por Dum, an image of Buddha that has been with the temple for over 100 years, because there is a tale circulating that Luang Por Dum once visited one of the locals in his dream and said that he liked "loud noise". After some interpretation, people decided to offer radios as a token of loud noise.
A possible solution: If the temple decides not to give away some of the radios that have surely amounted into piles over time, they might as well save costs by using them as bricks if the time comes when they need to build or renovate. But if they are really keen on fulfilling the (interpreted) wish of Luang Por Dum by turning the radios on loud, they should at least agree on what FM channel every radio should be tuned to. Otherwise, Luang Por Dum might be baffled and perplexed rather than pleased.
Make sure to have papers slipped in here and there
3. Money is Just Paper
The strange tale: Once upon a strange time, Jedsada Ladkratoom, 26, went to an ATM and withdrew 2,000 baht. However he only received a 1,000 baht note and another piece of paper out of the cash machine. Turns out, the second note, was just a blank piece of paper. According to Khao Sod, after noticing that the other note underneath was blank, Mr Jedsada was puzzled that 2,000 baht was also somehow stated to have been withdrawn from his account.
A possible solution: Mr Jedsada should not make a fuss out of this, but can learn the philosophy behind this seemingly ridiculous incident instead. Maybe this is not a stupid mistake from the bank's side but in fact, it's the bank's well-intended teaching about the nothingness and emptiness in the material world; that money, in fact, is nothing more than just paper.
If only there was a red shirt big enough for this teddy
4. A Present from Yingluck to Abhisit
The strange tale: Amidst a heated political situation, a coincidence can more or less ease up the tension. At the New Year's party for the media thrown by the government, Prime Minister Yingluck hosted a lucky draw to give out her present (a big brown teddy bear) and it turned out that the name she picked out of the hat was a reporter named "Abhisit". Obviously confused that it was her Democrat opponent, she asked the reporter if she could see his ID card before saying "Oh, it really is Abhisit!"
A possible solution: She should have dressed up the teddy bear in a harmonious red-yellow striped T-shirt, have the teddy bear hold an olive branch, and pinned a little note to its chest asking him to join her party as Deputy Prime Minister, working closely alongside Mr Chalerm.
They are being abducted by aliens
5. Alien on the Beach
The strange tale: Over-credulity is a typical Thai characteristic and there is no doubt it has probably made us look quite ridiculous internationally. That's what happened recently, when a picture of a supposed alien standing in front of a kid on the beach appeared in the media. Some people waited for no further proof but believed right away that the alien was real. Claiming that the picture was candid, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Preecha Inwichian of the Provincial Police Region claimed that the photo he took of his son and the alien was not edited, and also announced that if any organisation wanted to use the photo for any research, they could contact the police station. And as some of us might have guessed, there was soon proof that the photo was fake and edited using a smart phone app called Camera 360.
A possible solution: The policeman in question should have made the photo more epic and hence famous throughout the world by re-enacting the scene from E.T., having his son reach his finger out and touch the alien. There's a possibility Steven Spielberg might break down in tears.G
About the author
Writer: Kaona Pongpipat