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The week that was in Thailand news: It’s a dog’s life….or just horses for courses.


The week that was in Thailand news: It’s a dog’s life….or just horses for courses.

Despite my acquired moniker, Rooster has never been much of an animal lover. Though the exceptions to that would be horses and cats.


Growing up in England my Maths teacher, Mr Banson, despaired that I would ever be able to handle long division let alone equations. I rectified this deficiency by having the Sporting Life delivered at age 15 and skipping his classes to study the subject of probability in the real world at places like Epsom Downs and Kempton Park.


It was not just the betting that improved me because, in the teenage absence of any woman, I fell hook, line and plonker for the grace of the equine form.


Years later I would take my second Thai wife all the way to Goodwood just to see Frankel win at 33-1 on and we named our first daughter after Frankie Dettori, whom I admired for his attitude as much as his jockeyship.


In my childhood we kept cats having three at one point. It is one of my earliest memories when my father backed over Ginger in the driveway squashing him as flat as a Ginger Snap. I was rather put off pet ownership after that…..


When my first two children reached double figures their clamoring for a pet became obsessive and I relented getting them the dog they wanted and the cat that would soften the blow.


The dog developed some palsy and had to be “retired” upcountry, or so we told them, while the gorgeous Persian was run over by a truck load of monks at precisely the time the Asian Tsunami hit Phuket.


It truly was a carload of karma.


Like my ability in predicting the racing results, my luck with animals is severely lacking. With the new Mrs Rooster who believes evil is embodied in felines, the chance of my new nippers having a pet is zilch. If they demand animals I take them to the zoo – I coo and smile and photograph….. and can “glap baan” safe in the knowledge that when I get home I only have humans to worry about – that’s bad enough.


My first wife is a kind of Buddhist militant and still, I believe, wakes at 4.30am to say “om” about a thousand times. This meant she was more than able to turn the other cheek when all the annoying soi dogs in the moo ban disappeared overnight some years back. She knows they were shot, indeed contributed to the cost by making merit, but balanced this against the conviction they would enjoy a better life next time.

Rooster dislikes dogs but hates soi dogs. In fact my loathing is only worse for the misguided idiots who feed them (How I remember fist pumping when a pensioner in my UK hometown was finally jailed for persistently feeding the pigeons! Som nam na!).


Once on a site survey drive around Hua Hin accompanied by a female teacher who ran my school’s Soi Dog Foundation activity for the children of hi-so’s, I ploughed into a mutt that ran out under my new Honda Civic.


The dog was history but, alarmed, I stopped to see what damage was done to my front fender. After I declared it was not too bad the teacher went green and never really spoke to me again.


Maybe in the continuing drive I shouldn’t have banged on about the German’s getting it right with some law that forbids motorists from slowing down for a dog.


These kind of feral incongruities and inconsistences were thoroughly on display on Thaivisa this week in seven days completely dominated by animals.


On the one hand we had “The Kindest German Dog Lover” in Pattaya looking after every mangy mutt as if they were his own flesh and blood, while on the other we had the biggest rabies outbreak in years that threatens to decimate the denizens.


The UK has been free of rabies for a century or more. The only deaths there have been brought in from bites inflicted abroad – mainly Asia. As a ten year old I remember being told of a precautionary cull in southern England where the entire animal population was wiped out. Shortly thereafter I saw an episode of General Hospital where a patient died of rabies drowning in their own spit.


They should show something like that to the supposed Buddhists and animal lovers who encourage and tolerate the strays and make life unsafe for the rest of us. I’d get rid of them all – the strays that is – and throw people in jail who allow their yapping brutes to get anywhere near me or my kids in the street.


They say pets increase life expectancy….not mine. Blood pressure, perhaps…..


Apparently, more than 50 provinces now have rabies and some rabid hounds were even found beside Tesco Lotus in Pranburi. That’s it, I’m going to Tops…..


The authorities are indeed acting but it is cull not vaccination that is required right now and to hell with Thailand’s absurdly one sided animal rights.


Apropos, it was a pleasure this week to contact Dutchman Edwin Wiek who runs a terrific wildlife sanctuary in Petchaburi. I took a thousand school children to his facility over the years to teach them about the folly of taking wild animals as pets.


He helps to rehabilitate, or just care for, many such former pets such as bears, tigers and monkeys. To my mind he is a real animal lover with concern about their welfare but no sentimentality about the realities of man versus beast.


Speaking in his excellent Thai language he was shown in a video on the Thai Rath site giving his view about Mali the monkey that a member of the public had raised on a rope outside her house. He more than put the record straight following claims that Mali was hurt at the sanctuary after she left him there and demanded him back.


Canny Edwin has had his run-ins with the authorities because he says it like it is – and usually employs the Thai language to do so. If only more foreigners would appreciate the value of learning to speak Thai fluently.


Somebody once asked me knowing that I was into property, what was the most valuable thing I owned – I replied: “My Thai voice”.


Meanwhile, the animal heat was turned up several notches on Premchai the Panther Popper this week as animal rights activists painted on walls across from Ital-Thai on Petchaburi Road, the man himself was named concerning attempted bribery of the cops and even his wife was questioned about elephant tusks.


Not surprisingly Premchai took off on his private jet to Bangladesh to bag a few Bengal Tigers before breakfast I shouldn’t wonder.


Fallout from the panther affair is also affecting the police in many ways with chief Srivara also “on-heat” from the supposedly over the top “wai” he gave Premchai at the station. On this one Rooster will give the benefit of the doubt to the chief.


Rooster, a fool in many aspects of human relations especially concerning wives, is somewhat of an expert on the wai. Premchai wai-ed first in deference to position and culture required that Srivara wai back. His was cursory and not low and he didn’t even bother to put down his hat – all indications that it was done not with the highest respect to the poacher but perfunctorily.


Thais reveal themselves more subtly in the extent to which they perform their gestures rather than whether they actually perform the gestures or not.


Premchai’s case is now clearly more about status than animals. We can thus bracket him with the like of car killers Boss and Jenphop or the Jet Setting Pedo Monk.


Few of the aforementioned may ever partake of rice gruel but the fact that the people are on their case is significant as years ago such cases would have been swept under that thickest of shag pile that is Thai carpet.


Speaking of shag pile, sex seemed to have been put on the back burner this week. All was forgotten as the Gambian minister apologized for banging on about Thai banging though the pretties at a football arena in Bangkok kept male juices flowing. Especially – keeping the animal theme going – when they were pictured in front of the players on all fours….


The word ‘pretty’ is to Thai media what ‘Page 3’ is to the UK’s though I loved the comments on Facebook from one wife who, using what legendary columnist Bernard Trink always called “the vernacular”, castigated her “old man” for playing football when he was obviously playing the field.


Yet another occasion when not just speaking Thai – but reading it – adds a gilt edge to Thai life.


An occasion when it may be better NOT to be able to read Thai is when it comes to pronouncements from porn star Nong Nat concerning her coupling with balding and aging Harold Nesland. Balding and aging are not in doubt but coupling is in question.


Nat – whose Peaks are sponsored by Silicon if not her Valley – says that she never consummated the marriage and to rub salt into Harold’s wounds she admitted preferring the company and solace (read billions) of Taksin’s son Oak Panthongtae.


Apparently her relationship with Oak is really “deep” which surprised me rather. I recall in my early days at Harrow International that Oak’s frivolous sister turned up to enroll at our sought after international school clearly desperate not to miss out on our hi-so gloss!


She got the uniform, went to a couple of classes taking what would later come to be known as selfies and then decided that was quite enough education for one life. She repeated the trick on another occasion by being photographed at McDonalds pretending to be employed selling burgers.


Biggest animal hoot of the week involved a zebra. Though this was zebra as in crossing…..


Dr Thaejing (a name that means “really it’s true”) asked us to believe that driving behavior would change if motorists were photographed stopping for pedestrians at the crossings. The public were asked to get the campaign ball rolling by sending in their snaps to his anti-driving driving foundation and the Culture Ministry so that compliant drivers could get awards.


Not wishing to tempt fate but I foresee a flurry of stories next week as people with smartphones at the ready are mown down on the black and white lines by fleeing drivers wondering what the hell these crazy people are doing crossing the road.


Indeed Dr Thaejing may well like to know a word we use in Scrabble that is a cross between a zebra and a donkey – the ZEBRASS.


And so to this week’s bumper basket of Rooster eggs…the awards.


Leading the way on the red carpet in Oscars week are three nominees for “Best Excuse in a Leading Role”: The motorist who refused to let an ambulance pass because he had a bad back, the military man in the north who said he was actually waving while showing his middle finger outside a court and the 22 year old in Bangkok who drove over a motorcyclist, smashed up five cars and then flipped his own saying “Sorry, I can’t drive”.


And the winner is…..well, you read the stories and decide for yourself.


“Best Comedy”, for about the 150th year in a row since modernization by Their Majesties King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn, went to the Royal Thai Police for a) thinking that banning the wearing of sunglasses would increase professionalism and B) imagining that running fast in full uniform at the police games in Chaiyaphum would mean more arrests.


Bless! Shades and lazing about is what put the Keystone in these Kops.


Finally the “Best Denial in a Foreign Film” must go to deputy PM Prawit.


Though previously nominated for his acting role in “Fargo 2 – The Watch” he has now won for his direction of the nation’s media concerning the objectives of the Thai Niyom Yangyuen initiative saying:


The junta is not canvassing for votes.


Like the watches, that was priceless.



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