There have probably been better years

There have probably been better years

Well we've just about scraped through the Year of the Ox. It was a strange time, rather like living in a vacuum, not entirely sure what would happen next. Nothing could have been worse than 2020, but 2021 wasn't far off. At the start of the year there was hope that the cloud of Covid could be shaken off and we would all become happy folks in the Land of Smiles again, but it didn't quite work out that way -- it's the hope that kills you.

Anyway, it is customary at this time of the year to take a not-too-serious look back on the last 12 months. There are only a couple of Covid-influenced items as I reckon we've all had enough of reading about that.

Mission Impossible: At the start of the year we were informed by an official that Thailand would have its own space mission to the moon within seven years. One suspects that the kingdom might have more urgent matters to tackle than embarking on a space odyssey.

Half measures: In January magicians around the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of sawing a woman in half, prompting assorted doubtful jokes about split personalities and the like. I still don't know how they do it. It must be magic.

Wonders never cease: The curious case in Kanchanaburi of the dead leopard, the tycoon and the cooking pot actually ending with a three-year sentence for the perpetrator. Whatever next?

Just a reminder: Two years ago the Bangkok Governor claimed with a straight face that the tangled, ugly mess of overhead cables in the city would be totally gone within two years. We await his progress report with interest. Or is he vying for the post of Minister of Wishful Thinking?

Catnap chaos: A cat took a snooze on the roof of an express train waiting to leave Euston station in London and wouldn't come down, prompting a near three-hour delay. It gave rise to possibly the worst joke of the year when a railway official commented "thankfully we avoided a cat-astrophe".

Happiness is a warm Finn: Finland once again ranked first in the UN-sponsored World Happiness Report. It is perhaps no coincidence that Finland is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. In the same report featuring 149 countries, Thailand ranked 54th. Could it be the face masks are hiding all the happy smiles?

Hugs and cuddles: In May Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a relaxation in Covid restrictions with "cautious cuddling" being permitted. It prompted the Daily Mirror to come up with a Shakespeare-inspired headline "The Darling Hugs of May".

Periscopes down: Thailand deferred payment on two submarines from China much to the relief of the general populace. The purpose of the subs still remain unclear and rumours they will protect us from hostile jellyfish or combative crabs could not be verified.

Monkey business: The macaque monkeys, a long-time tourist attraction in Lop Buri, have become so aggressive they are frightening away what few tourists there are and also scaring local residents. An emergency "Monkey Forum" was held in a bid to make the hungry monkeys behave. Bananas might do the trick.

Cuppa calamity: Britain was in a state of near panic when it was reported that unseasonal hot weather in Kenya, Sri Lanka and China had ruined tea plantations, prompting a Daily Star headline "Cuppa Crisis Brewing". For those who were unconvinced, the Star added "Tea At Boiling Point".

Lighting up time: When more than 4,000 lamp-posts adorned with the mythical half-man half-bird Kinnaree suddenly lit up the streets in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan, there were a few raised eyebrows. Allegations emerged that the lamp-posts were, heaven forbid, "overpriced". An investigation failed to shed any light on the matter, but at least the Bang Phli canine community are happy.

Most overused words: "Democracy", followed by "transparency", "synergy" and "paradigm" which sounds great even if nobody knows what it means.

European discord: The British entry at the Eurovision Song Contest gathered a grand total of zero points, the second year in a row Britain has finished rock bottom of this kitschy contest. It was admittedly an awful song but is Europe also sending the Brits a message?

Makeup shake-up: With most of the globe wearing face masks there has been a worldwide slump in lipstick sales. On the bright side, the sales of eye makeup and mascara have soared.

Full steam ahead: The 105-year-old Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok received a last-gasp reprieve only days before it was supposed to close down forever. Something similar happened to Don Mueang airport in 2006 when it was officially shut down only to be back in action within six months and is still going strong. So all is not lost for the grand old station.

When you know you're getting old: A squinting Crutch reluctantly facing up to the fact that you can live without sex, but not without spectacles.

Finally, thanks to readers who have bought The Long Winding Road to Nakhon Nowhere which prompted such positive reviews as "not a book to be tossed aside lightly … it should be thrown at great force." It is available at AsiaBooks and

A Happy New Year to all readers and please do your best to keep on smiling even if it's hidden behind a mask.

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Roger Crutchley

Bangkok Post columnist

A long time popular Bangkok Post columnist. In 1994 he won the Ayumongkol Literary Award. For many years he was Sports Editor at the Bangkok Post.

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