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For the love of mangoes

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s mangoes, famed for their smell and golden colour, often seen in the company of sticky rice and topped with coconut cream, are as local as you get when it comes to Thai cuisine. And is there anything better than a mamuang pun (mango smoothie) on a hot Thai day?!

Mangoes have been cultivated around South Asia for thousands of years and reached South East Asia between the fifth and fourth centuries BC. By the 10th century, cultivation had begun around East Africa. Cultivation later arrived in Brazil, Bermuda, the West Indies and Mexico, where a similar hot and humid climate allows its growth.

Markets can now sell ripe mangoes any time of the year but the natural peak season for mangoes is the annual “hot season” between March to May. Thailand grows some 200 varieties and the Kingdom is the world’s third largest mango exporter, just behind India and China. Although modern agricultural techniques allow it to be grown around the country, the best regions for mangoes are said to be Ratchaburi, Nonthaburi and Chachoengsao – a strip through the central region of Thailand adjacent to Bangkok.

The energy value per 100 gram serving of the common mango is 250 kilojoules, and that of the apple mango is slightly higher 330 kilojoules per 100 grams. Fresh mango contains large quantities of vitamin C and folate.

Mangoes thrive in the Thai tropical heat. The trees take root quite easily and grow in lower grade soils when compared to the demands of other popular Thai fruits. Farmers say that mangoes usually thrive on being ignored and don’t demand a lot of attention. Mongo trees can eventually grow to 35 metres tall and display yellow flowers during their annual bloom. Some mango trees have been known to live for 300 years.

The fruit usually takes four to five months from flowering to ripe, pickable mangoes.

As popular as the sweeter golden yellow mangoes are, the green mangoes are an important ingredient for Thai cuisine and also as a traditional snack.

For the love of mangoes | News by The Thaiger

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Politics

Opposition criticises Government for unnecessary borrowing

Maya Taylor

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Opposition criticises Government for unnecessary borrowing | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng - Thai PBS World

The Pheu Thai opposition party is calling on the government to look to existing funds first before attempting to borrow a trillion baht from as-yet-unnamed sources. Opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng was participating in the last day of the debate on three government decrees concerning the country’s finances.

A Thai PBS World report says the government is under fire for still not disclosing how it plans to borrow one trillion baht. Opposition parties say the public should be kept informed about such decisions, given that they will be paying the price for such significant borrowing for a long time into the future. Meanwhile the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the Thai public to trust him and his government to acquire and handle the money with the interests of the Thai people at heart.

The opposition’s Suthin points to neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as examples of nations that have not had to resort to borrowing huge amounts of money in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. He acknowledges that Thai people need help as a result of the significant blow to the country’s economy but insists funds should be allocated from the government’s existing reserves. He says with some reshuffling of existing spending plans, the government could potentially reduce the amount of money it needs to borrow by as much as 15%.

Suthin also questions the government’s motivation in borrowing the money, accusing it of wanting to inject cash into the economy to drive spending, as opposed to compensating the small to medium businesses that have been so severely impacted by the impacts of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Road deaths

No “new normal” for Thailand’s deadly road toll

Maya Taylor

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No “new normal” for Thailand’s deadly road toll | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Double fatality on Phuket's Kata hill on Saturday afternoon

In what will come as no surprise to most, the death toll on Thailand’s roads has resumed its upward trend after a brief interruption during the Covid-19 lock-down. As restrictions are gradually lifted across the country, more people are back behind the wheel or the handlebars, and with that, the carnage returns on Thailand’s roads.

In Phuket, a truck ploughed into a power pole on Saturday, killing the Thai driver and a Burmese national who was hit by the falling power pole as he rode his motorbike on the opposite side of the road. In the west of the country yesterday, a mother and 3 year old daughter were killed, when the car they were travelling in, left the road and drove into a tree in Kanchanaburi. The woman’s husband, who was driving, is in hospital in serious condition.

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PHOTO: Chiangrai Times

Another accident in the south killed an 80 year old woman in Nakhon Si Thammarat, when the motorbike she was a pillion passenger on was hit by a car. The woman lost a leg and sustained a broken neck in the impact, while the man driving the bike sustained serious injuries. Reports say the car involved was travelling at high speed and it’s understood the unidentified driver remained at the scene and surrendered to the police.

Already on the first day of June, 11 people have died on Thailand’s roads and nearly 700 have been injured (as of 10.40am).

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Data from thairsc.com

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Crime

Monarchy satire Facebook group under government scrutiny

Caitlin Ashworth

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Monarchy satire Facebook group under government scrutiny | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod

Police are investigating a popular Facebook group that posts satirical commentary about the Thai royal family. One man was even detained and questioned about his posts on the satire group page, Thai media reports. There was also talk about a few other members questioned, but that has not been confirmed.

The group dubbed “Royalist Marketplace” (in Thai) is run by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a popular critic who lives in Japan, according to a screenshot of the page taken by Khaosod. There was 430,015 members at the time of the screenshot with hundreds of posts each day. It’s now up to 452,000 as of Monday morning. The page was created about a month ago.

We can’t even post the full content of the Facebook front page.

Whilst the site was originally intended to be a broader marketplace to help Thailand’s struggling SMEs, it’s quickly morphed into politically charged commentary and satire, with plenty of ‘Royal’ content as well, that is considered highly offensive by a coterie of Thai society, as well as the current government.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is associate professor at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University in Japan.

“A week ago, I set up another Facebook group, the Royalists Marketplace, as a platform for discussion on all things monarchy. Content is mixed, ranging from business advertisements, serious discussion on the monarchy, to parody and sarcasm. It is the latter which brightens up the Royalists Marketplace.”

Discussions of the Thai monarchy remain a taboo subject in the country. An anti-cybercrime police spokesperson said the agency is constantly working with the digital economy ministry to monitor and suppress any content deemed inappropriate, but he did not confirm if people were detained and questioned over the content on this page.

While Western countries can usually speak freely about those in power, it is a criminal act to make negative comments about members of the Royal Family in Thailand. Under Thailand’s Lese-majeste laws, you can be arrested and prosecuted and end up with a 15 year prison sentence.

Last month, a man was fired from Krispy Kreme Thailandafter he made remarks about the former King of Thailand. The doughnut chain said the man did not pass the employment probation period, but most people with knowledge of the matter say the Facebook post led to the man’s dismissal. In the post the man alleged some of the former King’s musical pieces were lifted from Western songs.

Monarchy satire Facebook group under government scrutiny | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Khaosod English| Khaosod English

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