Pichaya Svasti is a writer of the Life section of the Bangkok Post.
It became the talk of the town when social-media posts last week unveiled a sign saying: "Using the postal service of Thailand Post means repaying the debts of gratitude that you owe to your country". The message led to widespread negative criticism. Many people were upset and complained the state enterprise should not have demanded people's gratefulness when it offers a poor service.
Problems commonly faced by Bangkokians living in small alleys in Bangkok include the lack of footpaths, danger and vibration caused by running lorries and big buses, and the mushrooming of high-rise buildings. To me and my relatives, we encounter most of these problems.
Over two years ago, I wrote about my contentment with a new trend in which a number of Thais wear traditional costumes in everyday life. Today, I feel happier since so many Thai people opt for traditional outfits and the style is even recognised and promoted by the government. I must note this was ignited by the craze for the periodical TV series Bupphesanniwat (Love Destiny), which was about the time journey of an archaeologist to the reign of Ayutthaya's King Narai the Great over 300 years ago.
Time flies. Things change and more people around me leave this world year after year. Since the start of the New Year, I have been feeling down because birthday reminders and "Like" notifications have been popping up on the Facebook and Instagram pages of my deceased friends. Though some of these "friends" were just co-workers, and some others distant relatives who had never met me in person, I felt uncomfortable with such untimely reminders.
A heart-wrenching day for Thailand -- that of the royal cremation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- is only about one month away. The beloved monarch is in the hearts of Thais always, and many are in pursuit of memorabilia associated with His Majesty. Almost everything, ranging from coins and medals to stamps, was sold out or fully reserved within a day.
Social-network users have many reasons to hide, block and unfriend their friends and followers. Since its establishment in 2004, Facebook has rapidly increased users from a few friends of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to 2 billion monthly active users in June 2017.
That skinny woman clad in a sari carrying an infant in her arms waited for me in front of the bus door. A few small children wearing dirty torn clothes gathered around my legs looking up at me. Like robots, they repeatedly uttered words "Sawasdee, Maharanee [meaning a queen]. Khob khun kha", begging me to give them money. These sights and sounds were common at all pilgrimage sites in India I visited recently. Initially, I felt pity for them until I asked the guide and friends if I should give them money. They warned me against more beggars' arrivals.
From Oct 29 last year on, almost everyone who has paid respect to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Grand Palace has received a photo of the royal urn and a small packet of rice grains as tokens of his memory. What is special about the rice is the label saying "sufficiency", specially designed from the King's handwriting. Most recipients keep the rice grains on altars at home in loving memory of King Rama IX. Many farmers keep them for their rice farming while some want to grow rice and follow his sufficiency-economy principles. As a frequent palace visitor, I keep one packet for myself and give the other to my housemaid to plant in her rice field in Si Sa Ket province.