Feature writer for the Life section
Suwitcha Chaiyong is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.
A couple of weeks ago, two well-known monks -- Phra Maha Sompong Talaputto and Phra Maha Praiwan Worawano -- held a livestream talk show on social media that attracted 200,000 viewers. The chat led to several debates between their supporters and opponents since it was different from typical dhamma talks or dhamma preaching. The two monks used several teenage slang expressions and joked with their viewers who commented via the live chat. While Phra Maha Sompong focused on delivering his own jokes like a standup comedian, Phra Maha Praiwan, who knew many teenage expressions, giggled uncontrollably throughout the show. He was criticised for not being not calm or having self-control as a monk should.
A couple of weeks ago, the Facebook forum "Let's Move Abroad" was established and it grew rapidly to 500,000 members within three days. The founder of the forum, Pooh, said in an interview with The Standard that he runs many restaurants in Thailand that have all suffered financially due to the pandemic. He wants to expand his business to other countries so he established the forum to get information from people who have experience working and living abroad. The forum, which provides both positive and negative information about being an immigrant, includes how to study languages, what kinds of jobs are available, how to prepare visas and apply for jobs. Even though Pooh supports the youth protest movement, the forum does not aim to tackle political issues but focus on information regarding how to settle down in developed countries.
A couple of weeks ago, the Lower House of Parliament in Spain approved a bill to legalise euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Prior to that, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada and Colombia had also legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide. In Thailand, euthanasia has been discussed as well but more discussions are scheduled to be held in the future since the country is fast becoming an ageing society.
A couple of weeks ago, a manager at Barbecue Plaza's Pinklao branch was fired because he harassed an intern in a group chat. Apparently, the manager sent a sexually suggestive message along with a photo of a girl in a tight school uniform. A female intern took offence at the message and commented that she felt uncomfortable and harassed by the message. The manager responded by claiming the intern didn't have a sense of humour and later kicked her out of the group. After evidence was posted on social media, the viral message led to an end of his management career.
The Women for Freedom and Democracy (WFD), who are championing a campaign for abortion and women rights, were part of a rally protesting against the government at Democracy Monument on Aug 16. Afterwards, the group's twitter account, @womenfreedomth, posted statements that the WFD representative had made at the protest.
Last week, exiled Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who was living in Phnom Penh was reportedly abducted. In 2014, the 37-year-old Thai political refugee had refused a military summons and in 2017, he was accused of violating the Computer Crimes Act. In an interview with the press, Maj Gen Burin Thongprapai said Wanchalearm wasn't facing lese-majeste charges. Regardless, news of his abduction has caused an uproar on social media. Most people (on Twitter) think that someone who has a different opinion than the junta government should not be made to disappear. Yet, some people also commented that there was no evidence to prove that the state was involved in his abduction while others went as far as to believe the abduction was fake news.
Travelling to environmentally-aware countries inspired singer and actor Phakin "Tono" Khamwilaisak to improve his motherland. In January, he launched a project titled "Kebrak" (translated as collecting love) encouraging people and students to collect garbage. After working with many people, the star learned more about waste pollution and how it affects all creatures, including marine animals.
It's fair to say that the campaign to reduce single-use plastic bag at major retailers and convenience stores since the beginning of the year has not been entirely smooth. While many understand the environmental concerns driving the campaign, there are still a great deal of people who can't look past the minor inconvenience of doing without plastic bags.