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Bangkok’s bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS | The ThaigerBangkok’s bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS | The Thaiger

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Bangkok’s bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS

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by Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul and Tim Newton

In a stark reflection in the massive changes in musical tastes, music business models and the spread of world music in the last 20 years, Bangkok has witnessed the passing of one boyband icon and welcomes the next frenzy, all within 10 days.

In both cases, Irish crooners Boyzone and South Korea’s BTS (Bangtan Seonyeondan) end their Asia tour of their latest concert tour. Boyzone members, in their 40s doing a farewell spin around the globe lapping up some residual love of their popular hits from the 90s. For BTS, the 20-something Koreans are on the rise and breaking records as they completely re-invent the music industry’s tired money-making model.

Boyzone’s farewell concert to Bangkok took to the stage minus one member. It was a slightly sad farewell to Bangkok in their “Thank You & Goodnight Farewell World Tour 2019” – at Thunder Dome. Judging by the number of vacant seats both upstairs and down it wasn’t a commercial success and it lacked one of quartet’s powerful vocals after Keith Duffy fell sick and was rushed to hospital.

Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch gamely went ahead with the show as a trio. Boyzone’s lead singer Stephen Gately died in Spain back in 2009.

Bangkok's bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS | News by The Thaiger

“Sawasdee khrub. Boyzone has been coming here since 1995, I think. You welcome Boyzone with open arms. You make me feel like I’m home. That’s why the band is here tonight to thank you for the last 25 years. Tonight, you’re going to hear songs from the last 25 years, the songs that you want to hear.”

Only Ronan Keating has stepped away from the group with a successful pop career post-Boyzone.

But this weekend BTS are performing two sell-out concerts at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, seating 50,000.

It’s the last part of their sell-out ‘Love Yourself’ world tour which has broken records as their music, mostly sung in Korean, has broken into western charts and seen the group nominated for two Billboard Music Awards next month – they’ve won two Billboard awards in the past.

The group’s seven members have taken the K-Pop genre, refined it, weaponised social media and broken Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube records along the way. Their concerts sell-out as soon as they’re announced.

So who the hell are BTS? For many music fans over 40 or so the band has snuck under the radar but built an enormous loyal fandom called ‘Army’. They debuted back in 2013 so they’re not an ‘overnight success’. As this video shows, it hasn’t always been easy.

At the American Music Awards last year, whilst there was polite applause and occasional fan screams for Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Cardi-B and Camilo Cabello when they entered the arena, the audience went completely crazy when RM, Suga, Jin, J-Hope, V, Jimin and Jungkook walked in. The American music industry bean-counters were wondering what the hell was going on. How could this Korean band have two #1 albums on the top of the Billboard 200 in one year?!? The group even handed out awards at this year’s Grammys.

BTS perform their two final concerts in the ‘Love Yourself’ world tour, tonight and tomorrow night (April 6 and 7) ahead of the launch of their much-awaited ‘Persona – Map of the Soul’ album launched on April 12 and then followed up the next day with a performance on America’s Saturday Night Live program – a maker and breaker of music acts over the past 2 decades.

As of this month, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and BTS each have three videos in the top 40 most-watched YouTube videos – the South Korean band is in good company.

Boyzone closed out their last concert in Bangkok with “Love Me for a Reason”, “No Matter What”, “Life Is A Rollercoaster” and “Picture of You”.

BTS will open tonight’s concert with ‘Idol’ as Bangkok witnesses a changing of the guard in pop music music this weekend.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Student activists gather in Bangkok to oppose emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Student activists gather in Bangkok to oppose emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Members of the Student Union of Thailand have come together to protest the government’s emergency decree, gathering outside Pathumwan police station in Bangkok. Officials have extended the decree by another month after it was originally set to expire at the end of June. Human rights activists and critics of the government have slammed the extension as politically motivated.

The latest protest comes after some students tore up a summons handed down to them for allegedly violating the decree on June 5. At that time, they were drawing attention to the disappearance of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a Thai activist kidnapped in Cambodia, where he was living in exile.

The activists were later criminally charged for tying white bows around various monuments in Bangkok to draw attention to the plight of the missing activist, as they demanded answers from the Thai and Cambodian governments.

The students also received a summons for unlawful assembly on June 24, when they came together to commemorate the 88th anniversary of democracy in Thailand.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Expats

UK’s Kew Green Hotels launches 7 properties in Bangkok

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UK’s Kew Green Hotels launches 7 properties in Bangkok | The Thaiger

Despite a quickly changing business environment for the world hospitality industry, some companies are accelerating expansion plans in anticipation of the eventual recovery.

Kew Green Hotels, one of the UK’s leading hotel management companies with over 55 hotels in its portfolio, has now announced plans to expand into the south east Asian market through a joint venture with Siamese Asset. The new entity, Siamese and Kew Green Management Company Thailand, are launching 7 properties in Bangkok, 4 under the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts brand. Alongside the launch of these 7 properties, Kew Green Hotels will also be launching a Commercial Hub for south east Asia to support the region, based in Bangkok.

Siamese and Kew Green Management Company Thailand will launch 4 hotel and branded residences in the heart of Bangkok next year…

The Wyndham Queen Convention Centre, Wyndham Garden Sukhumvit 42, Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Sukhumvit 48 and Ramada by Wyndham Sukhumvit 87, with an additional three properties in the pipeline. Guests staying at each of the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts will have access to Wyndham Rewards, the global hotel loyalty rewards program.

Kew Green Hotels set themselves apart by “combining years of experience with innovative ideas to deliver outstanding hotel services and by delivering exceptional returns for hotel owners. Combining market-leading technology with expert talent, the Commercial Hub will integrate proactive and reactive sales, marketing, analytics and revenue management, to support their increasing hotel portfolio in the region, providing a consolidated approach to deliver growth”.

Chris Dexter, CEO of Kew Green Hotels, says they look forward to delivering “world-renowned Thai hospitality in these seven properties, supported by our state-of-the-art commercial hub”.

“As a growing company, this milestone reflects Kew Green Hotels’ broadening expertise in the international hotel market and reputation for operational excellence, strong commercial awareness and industry leading profit delivery.”

The Wyndham Queen Convention Centre Hotel & Residences, with 120 rooms and suites, is conveniently located just 50m from Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre MRT station, yet close to the greenery of Benjakitti and Lumpini parks. The hotel and residences offer panoramic views of the city, the bustling Port of Bangkok and outstanding surroundings. Amenities include rooftop gardens, a sky lounge, infinity pool, restaurant, executive lounge and an expansive fitness room, all with spectacular panoramic cityscape views. The hotel is just five minutes from contemporary shopping centres within the vibrant Central Business District of Bangkok.

Wyndham Garden Sukhumvit 42 sits in the heart of Ekkamai, known for its lively collection of popular cafés, bars and restaurants and just 300m from Ekkamai BTS station and five minutes from the Ramindra-Art-Narong Expressway. The hotel offers 120 rooms with city views, a roof-top garden, a restaurant, a Kafeology coffee bar on the terrace, swimming pool, spa and gym.

Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Sukhumvit 48 offers 100 rooms together with a sky bar, restaurant, bar lounge and spa with far reaching views across the city plus a swimming pool and gardens. The hotel is less than 10 minutes’ walk from Phra Khanong BTS station with easy connectivity to world-class shopping, dining and nightlife.

Ramada by Wyndham Sukhumvit 87 is located between BTS Bang Chak and BTS Onnut at 430m and 550m respectively, with convenient access to shopping malls and entertainment in the Ekkamai area. With 85 rooms, the hotel offers a dedicated yoga room and roof-top gardens, a swimming pool, garden and Kafeology coffee bar.

UK’s Kew Green Hotels launches 7 properties in Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

Pathum Thani police hunt “100 million baht auntie”

Jack Burton

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Pathum Thani police hunt “100 million baht auntie” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Police in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, are tracking down a mysterious loan shark known as “Mrs. Millionaire” to face charges that she hired a man to beat a vendor who owed her money, leaving him with permanent brain damage. The woman, whose age is estimated at around aged 65-70, dresses plainly and carries a large rubbish sack around, which reportedly contains the cash she lends to traders in local markets, including the one outside the Zeer Rangsit IT centre where the March 12 attack occurred.

Despite her modest appearance, she’s been dubbed the “100 million baht auntie” and linked to a gang which employs violence to chase down unpaid debts.

63 year old Weerapat Kampiranon, who’s run a market stall outside Zeer Rangsit with his wife, selling crab fried rice for the past 8 years, complained to Kukot police last week about the assault, which took place as he and his wife were packing up for the day. He had been in a coma for months.

The couple later addressed the media with celebrity lawyer Ronnarong Kaewpetch, who demanded Pathum Thani police explain why loan sharks were able to ply their trade freely around the market, even after the government told them to drive “informal lenders” out of business during the Covid-19 virus epidemic.

Weerapat says he was getting on his motorcycle while his wife went to the toilet when the attack occurred. A man wearing a cap and face mask hit him 4 times over the head with a heavy object, leaving him with internal bleeding and temporary loss of brain function, requiring 2 months’ hospitalisation.

His wife says she heard the sound of her husband being struck and raced out in time to see the attacker, who fled the scene. Pointing to a large caved-in area on the side of his head he told police he can’t remember much about the attack.

“Doctors say I have lost 10% of my brain capacity and the damage is permanent. I had to re-learn how to walk, and still stammer a bit.”

Weerapat’s wife says the past months were gruelling – medical bills for his care came to 100,000 baht, which they raised from relatives.

“He was in critical condition for 4 nights, and I wasn’t sure he’d make it. I was worried about losing the mainstay of my life. It was like bringing up a child. He had to start again.”

Weerapat said “100 million baht auntie” has many customers in the marketplace outside Zeer. He borrowed an initial 60,000 baht from her in late 2016 as he wanted to sell T-shirts and open a new branch of his stall. She charged monthly interest of 10%. He carried on borrowing and his debt at one point reached 80,000 baht, though she agreed to halve the interest 2 years ago when the economy soured.

Ronnarong, the lawyer, says Zeer Rangsit is well known for its loan shark lenders. Police have issued a 10,000 baht reward for information leading to auntie’s arrest, but say they’ve been unable to establish her name and know little about her. They say she’s unlikely to be as wealthy as her nickname suggests nor attached to any gang.

Pathum Thani police hunt

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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