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Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand’s New Year water festival

Caitlin Ashworth

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Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand’s New Year water festival | Thaiger
Songkran 2019 in Koh Tao / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand’s massive water festival Songkran, celebrating the Thai New Year, got the “okay” as long as the festivities are in line with Covid-19 prevention measures. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says people need to abide by social distancing rules during the Songkran holiday from April 13 to 15… So make sure your water gun shoots at a long range.

For long distance water fights, the Super Soaker CPS 2000 is recommended by Wirecutter for the New York Times. They say it’s the most powerful mass-produced water gun in history, shooting at a 15-metre range at nearly a litre per second. The CPS 2000 is around $150 USD, so a more affordable option would be the plunger-style water gun from Steam Machine, which cost around $20 USD. While the Steam Machine water launchers can shoot at a range of up to 21 metres, it needs to be refilled often and is best used near a pool or a barrel of water.

Social distancing for Songkran, Thailand's New Year water festival | News by Thaiger

Songkran 2019 in Koh Tao / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Allowing Songkran to take place this year is intended to help stimulate the economy which was battered over the past year due to the pandemic. Along with the prime minister, Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome also insisted that disease prevention measures must be strictly maintained, adding that social distancing and capacity limits are “chief” among the measures.

Popular spots for Songkran celebrations, like Bangkok’s Khao San Road, are given the “okay” to hold events, as long as they abide by the rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19. For Khao San Road, famous among foreign backpackers, the festival can give a boost to local businesses and vendors who have been struggling to earn an income due to the lack of tourists, according to president of the Khao San Business Association Sanga Ruangwattanakul.

“We know that it won’t help much as there are still no international tourists, but at least it is a good starting point to reignite business activities on Khao San Road… At the moment, we can only count on the support of local tourists to survive.”

He says 80% of the business activities on the street rely on foreign tourists. Many businesses that rely heavily on tourists, like massage shops and souvenir shops, there are “no customers at all.”

“For pubs and bars, there are just a few customers per night. Out of 500 entrepreneurs on the road, only 50 are still operating.”

Travel restrictions are likely to be eased in time for Songkran, Prayut says, adding that the government is still reviewing the rules for the holiday.

“The government is in the process of considering what can be allowed, whether to permit some activities or all of them. But if the virus spreads, the government might be blamed for it…So I call for your understanding. Easing restrictions is not an easy call to make since the government has to take responsibility for the whole country.”

Director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University, Thiravat Hemachudha, said he was concerned with the government’s plan to relax restrictions during the water festival. While the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration reported a decline in the number of daily coronavirus infections, he says the CCSA did not report on 100 infections at a plant in Samut Sakhon.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Wirecutter

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:12 am

    “ Out of 500 entrepreneurs on the road, only 50 are still operating.” – that pretty much says it all.

  2. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Wirecutter PR/ free ads suck.

  3. Avatar

    Shane

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    I have not seen social distancing practised here, so I doubt it’ll be observed during Songkran. I recall going to my local bank branch last March and being checked for a mask and temperature, so initial impressions were good. Inside however, it was fairly crowded as service was slower than normal as they only had two counters open. What troubled me however was that out of six teller counters in the bank, the only two occupied were adjacent counters 3 and 4. The same seems to apply at my local supermarket. Makes no sense.

  4. Avatar

    zig

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    social distancing for Songkran???….yeah right

  5. Avatar

    Frank

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    You think I want to play Songkran and risk myself? No thanks.. I have underlying issues even.. why do they not prospone all this stuff … money money money so pathetic

  6. Avatar

    henry

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    First time I ever comment. Recommended watergun US 120. I am Dutch, live in Nakhon Ratchasima since 15 years and I’ve got a smaal mini market here. We sell waterguns starting from 10 till 300 Baht. Cold beer big bottle 55 Baht. There is also an another Thailand. Here no Pukhet, Pattaya or Bangkok things. [ All the “fun” available] Wish I would see more info about these areas. Invitation to all, come and have a look. Have fun and a good time without spending too much money [Sorry if my English is not that good)

  7. Avatar

    dispensed

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    The water has germs in it. It gets in your sinuses and you get sick. Suh-suh-suh-suh-TAHY HOME!

  8. Avatar

    Philip John Lawrence

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Please know Sangron is weeks away xxx

  9. Avatar

    Lee Hai

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 2:06 am

    My feelings exactly, Songkran and social distancing, an oxymoron if there ever was one!

  10. Avatar

    BJoe

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 2:37 am

    One must realize that Songkran is first and foremost, a celebration of the coming “rice planting” season, not a drunken revelry that most farang consider it to be, or a money inducing event to attract tourist. It should be a celebration among family and friends, not a water-gun fight by drunks. Certainly it should be allowed with common sense restraints considering the pandemic.

  11. Avatar

    Geoffrey

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 9:33 am

    That ain’t going to happen !!!

  12. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Very foolish move (do the vaccines first you morons )
    The Gov will see a spike in infections
    Hope not the new strains
    I cannot believe this Gov in Thailand
    No wonder is now classed as only 30/100 as a free country
    Good Luck Thailand

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Burmese students to hold Bangkok cultural event to support Civil Disobedience Movement

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Burmese students to hold Bangkok cultural event to support Civil Disobedience Movement | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Burmese students in Thailand are holding an art and culture concert to raise awareness and funds for the Civil Disobedience Movement. The concert, called “Myanmar Spring,” will be held on April 24 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The event will help fund the movement, which has staged protests over the February 1 coup in Myanmar by the military. It will honour the families of internally displaced individuals and of those who have lost their lives in the conflicts.

Last Friday, the Myanmar military allegedly killed 82 civilians, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group. The military then told the families of those killed that they would have to pay US$85 to recover their loved ones’ bodies, according to Bago University Students’ Union’s Facebook page as well as Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service.

Eyewitnesses in Bago say the Burmese military used grenades, RPGs, and assault rifles to quell anti-coup protestors, forcing many villagers and activists to flee and go into hiding. Military security forces are going through the neighbourhoods now and have cut off internet access. Since the February 1 coup, the military has been systematically cracking down against peaceful protesters, detaining 3,000 civilians and killing over 700 more.

NGO Human Rights Watch had published a call for the EU to take action and implement strict sanctions on the Burmese military on Thursday. And yesterday the US Embassy in Myanmar joined the call, posting on Twitter, urging peace.

The art and cultural event will also be held virtually on the same day. Anyone wishing to support the event outside of attending can buy t-shirts at the food festival being held on April 13. The orchestral music concert will be performed by a group of student volunteers and others. There will also be a poetry recital and other heartfelt performances, which the artists say will reflect the struggles for democracy in Myanmar.

Information on tickets and performances for “Myanmar Spring” is on their Facebook page HERE.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Giant monitor lizard visits Thai 7 Eleven store, video goes viral

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Giant monitor lizard visits Thai 7 Eleven store, video goes viral | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

A giant, nearly 2 metre long, monitor lizard decided to visit a 7 Eleven store looking for food, with customers and staff wondering what he (or she) was going to do next. The lizard climbed up a fully stacked shelf of dairy products, with apparently no cares in the world, as he clumsily knocked off cartons of milk and other packages. At the top, he appeared to stop for a rest. After all, that was a big climb for a 2 metre monitor lizard.

Witnesses say he came from a nearby canal on the outskirts of Bangkok, in which it’s speculated he probably struggled to find food outside due to months of dry weather that has led to lakes and canals drying up. Police were called and with them, they brought reptile handlers to catch the lizard and escort him outside. The video of the incident has gone viral worldwide, and can be watched HERE.

Noting from Culture Trip, monitor lizards will generally run away from people. They do not prey on humans but will defend themselves if threatened. They can make an intimidating hissing noise and often lash with their tail to protect themselves. Their claws and teeth can also inflict nasty injuries, which are prone to infection.”

If you see a monitor lizard in the dairy section of your nearest 7 Eleven, best give it some space and leave the beasty’s removal for some experienced hands.

SOURCE: YouTube/The Guardian

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Weekend party event in Phuket reports positive Covid attendee

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Weekend party event in Phuket reports positive Covid attendee | Thaiger

A band member from Bangkok who attended three ‘Kolour’ party events in Phuket over the weekend has tested positive for Covid-19. The main Kolour Beachside Main Event was held at Cafe Del Mar, along Kamala’s foreshore. Other pre and post event parties were also held at Shelter and Illuzion, both in Bangla Road, Phuket.

The promoters Kolour Beachside have a published Covid-19 policy on their website.

Weekend party event in Phuket reports positive Covid attendee | News by ThaigerThe promoters sent out this letter today…

Thank you for joining us last weekend in Phuket at Kolour Beachside Pre-Party at Shelter April 2nd, Kolour Beachside Main Event at Cafe Del Mar Phuket April 3rd and Kolour Beachside After Party at Shelter and Illuzion April 3rd.

We have received enquiries from our guests ever since the news announced about a new wave that occurred in the Bangkok nightlife area.

We have been notified directly from one attendee that they tested positive for Covid 19 on April6th. The guest visited all 3 Kolour events in the past weekend. The guest also informed us that they attended one of the Bangkok clubs that has reports of a cluster before they arrived at our events and suspect this is the origin.

In light of this, we suggest all guests monitor their condition and, if in doubt, always put safety first by considering self-quarantine.

We are working with the appropriate authorities and will provide updates on a regular basis.

Please be aware of false rumours circulating around this situation and that we will only share verified information from sources on our channels.

Please follow to stay updated.

If you have any concerns or if you have any information that might be important around this, please email us directly at safety@wearekolour.com

Best, Kolour team

Laguna Phuket have postponed the Revive 555 Festival events following today’s revelations. It appears that the band member contracted the coronavirus as part of the current cluster of infections recorded around Bangkok’s nightlife in the past few days. Some photos shared with The Thaiger of the Cafe Del Mar event show very little mask wearing at the Kolour Beachside Party.

Weekend party event in Phuket reports positive Covid attendee | News by ThaigerWeekend party event in Phuket reports positive Covid attendee | News by ThaigerWeekend party event in Phuket reports positive Covid attendee | News by Thaiger

 

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