Tuesday, August 30, 2005


As I write this, CNN is doing a series on North Korea. I find it interesting. In one segment they have filmed roads that are totally devoid of vehicles of any kind. I found that surprising. I’ve been in many poor countries but completely empty roads are uncommon.

Then I remembered, this is CNN. They seem to be unable to do an honest report. They have an agenda for almost everything. First they decide what conclusion they’re looking for, and then they go out and find the evidence to support that conclusion.

It’s like a 30’s movie.

“Charlie, go out and get me some pictures of empty roads. We want to show the North Koreans have no vehicles.”

“Right away, Chief.”

I’m not saying that’s what happened, but any CNN report should raise suspicions.

Why were the empty roads they photographed out in the country? There were no houses in sight along their empty roads.

I would guess it’s because where there were houses, there were vehicles. That would have harmed the simplistic propaganda point they were trying to make which is, North Korea is so poor there are no vehicles.

The fun in watching a CNN report is working backward from the finished product to deduce what their motives were.

They are unable to do a straight report.

How embarrassing it must be for a real reporter to work for such an outfit. That is, if there are any real reporters working there.

Has there ever been such a shabby, suspect, news organization?


I apologize for the spotty record of postings. The increase in our family has been distracting.

We took the three kids to the dentist yesterday. It’s the first time in their lives. All three had to have a tooth pulled. That depressed me. For Little Orphan Kin it was only a baby tooth. We have to enforce some dental hygiene.

The girls love to take a dip in our spa after school. I use it about midday. But I also shower. The girls are arguing their dip is as good as a shower. We will compromise.

I gave up eating eggs here. They were making me ill periodically. They do not refrigerate eggs here in Bangkok. I have seen them stored out in the sun. Almost all the eggs have brown shells which absorb even more heat. I guess Thais have built up immunity to salmonella or whatever it is that comes with the hot eggs. It was too much for me.

Then I made a discovery in our local 7-11. They have chilled pizza slices and a variety of frozen dinners. The pizza slices are fifty cents and the dinners a little over a dollar. Two slices or one dinner are pretty filling for me. The pizza is just OK when condiments are added. The dinners are good, better than in some restaurants.

Dow and I weighed in at a doctor’s office Monday. I am under 160 pounds and she is under 110. I say under because that’s what we weighed with all our clothes on. All the walking is doing me some good. The Jungle Princess eats like a lumberjack. How does she keep her weight down so low?

The first time I walked the girls home from school, I waited for them across the lane from the gate. Many children exited before they appeared. As they went out, the kids put their palms together on their chests and bowed their heads toward me. Almost all of them did this. To be polite, I did the same gesture in return to each child. Then I realized I was standing in front of a statue of Buddha.

Monday, August 29, 2005


It was decided that the five of us would go to the Siam Water Park last weekend. The vote was 4 to 0. It seems my vote wasn’t necessary since so many were for it.

My only question was, ‘How far is it?’ Some of our outings turn out to be marathons.

“Do you want to go to the beach?”

“Okay.” That turned out to be three hours each way in traffic.

“We’ll visit the crocodile farm and elephant show.”

Two hours plus, each way.


That’s why I asked, “How far?”

“30 minutes,” The Widow Dow told me.

I didn’t believe her but that’s what it turned out to be.


This water park is extensive. There’s a zoo and aviary, two roller coasters, one of which does a 360, and lots of smaller rides. There’s even a double-decker merry-go-round. There’s a large, circular pool with a current. There’s a large pool with waves and many smaller pools without. There are half a dozen high slides and a few smaller ones. There are snack bars all over the place. The only thing missing was people.

We were there on an ideal Sunday. The temperature was mild for Bangkok, about 93, and no rain. The park had a promotion going on. Admission, with coupons, was $2.50 for adults and $1.25 for kids, which is half price. But still the attendance was low. I estimate it was ten percent of capacity.

Pok, my friend, once told me that the Thai people do not spend much on leisure activities. This was when I was contemplating building a miniature golf course here in Bangkok. Right now there are none here although there are many driving ranges. My visit to the water park dissuaded me from that venture. There’s nothing worse than building something and no one comes.

Another tough business to get into here would be restaurant. Food vendors are on every street. They drive their carts up my street several times a day. A full meal, meat, rice, vegetable and sauce, can be bought for fifty cents. And still, Thai restaurants are everywhere, mostly very inexpensive unless you get into exotic dishes. I wonder if many cook at home.

Almost all western type restaurants are confined to downtown. There are two or three Subway franchises. The sandwiches are excellent but cost about the same as in the States. You can buy a sandwich (much smaller) from a vendor for 25 cents. The Subway franchises don’t appear to be thriving.

What are thriving are a few Aussie and British themed restaurants. They are pricey but well attended by their target customers.

We found a Mexican restaurant only a few yards from one of the more wicked lanes in town. The food was 100% authentic which leaves the question: Why?

I’ve been to several Italian restaurants, one quite pricey. The food in all was third rate.

We get pizza delivered. It’s passable and sometimes interesting. There’s an almost all seafood pizza for the Buddhist customers. But then they put sausage in the rolled crust on the perimeter. The price is about 2/3 of American. I have no idea how the business is doing.

That’s a look at Bangkok leisure and restaurant businesses.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


I walked two little girls to school today

Yes. Little Orphan Kin is back… to stay. She is as happy as we are. Which is very happy.

But the soap opera continues. The 14-year-old boy who lives with us, Beer, Dow’s ”nephew,” it turns out is really Dow’s son. Dow, The Jungle Princess, it turns out is a widow. (The Widow Dow.)

It did seem odd to me that she would be 37 and unmarried. Especially when she is so marriageable.

So now our household encompasses Beer, 12-year-old Fie, just turned 8-year-old Kin and a maid. A few weeks ago it was just the two of us.


A word about Thai names. Most Thai given names are long and awkward. All Thais have nicknames to simplify things. They go by these nicknames in their everyday life. Most are one syllable. Some are just a vowel. I have met girlfriends of Dow named Oh, Aw, and Ah. Try keeping them straight.

About the school I take the girls to and from. It is the largest primary school I have ever seen. It is four stories high and two football fields long. It has a large cafeteria that seats hundreds. It must draw children from a wide area. Luckily, it’s only a 12 minute walk from our house. We couldn’t have planned it better if we had planned it. The secondary school is much closer. (Yes, I must walk them there and back. There are two busy streets to cross and, once, a cross dog.)

All the student wear uniforms which can vary from day to day. All the girls have their hair cut the same way. I don’t know what it’s called. A bob? It comes down just below their ears. Quite severe.

How did we get Kin back? More soap opera.

Pok, my Thai friend who is my interpreter/internet tech, was amazed when I predicted what would happen step by step of the way. It’s not the first time I’ve done it. He starts to think I have supernatural powers.

But it’s no big deal. I’ve been through it before. It’s one of the bonuses of growing old. If I live another thousand years, I’ll be able to predict even better.

Suffice it to say, Kin is back with us.

The hard part now will be not to spoil her or favor her over Beer and Fie.

That will be difficult.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


A few years ago I was in a store to buy a radio for my car. For some reason I was becoming more and more irritated and impatient as I looked thru their merchandise. Then I suddenly realized why. They had rap music playing throughout the store. It was piercing into my sub-conscience. I don’t like to deal in excesses so I’ll just say, that stuff is pretty bad.

It reminded me of a time back in 1948 when I left California for the first time, going to Air Force basic training in San Antonio. Our ‘flight’ of 62 youths was predominantly southern, but almost all of America was represented. It was there I was introduced to country music. We Californians call it “hill billy” or “shit kickin’” music.

The leading exponent of that discipline was a chap called Hank Williams. I had never heard such caterwauling in all my life. Nasal screeching was a reasonable description. It was sung as off-key as the law allowed, and the law allowed a lot. I had heard worse sounds before: Brakes squealing, fingernails on a blackboard, a woman’s scream. But they ended quickly. His “singing” just went on and on. To make matters worse, every would-be country singer imitated him.
That awful sound would come at you from amateurs in some unexpected places. In places where there was little defense and no escape.

As Marlon Brando once said, “Horrible, horrible.”

Flash ahead 11 years. I was working and socializing (read: drinking) with some English engineers in a construction camp in northwest Iran. I was amazed that almost all of them seemed to have had some voice training. They, in turn, were amazed that one American had some voice training.

In one of our sessions I did an impression of Hank Williams, meaning for it to be an exaggeration. Have you ever tried to exaggerate Hank Williams? Probably not. He is almost impossible to parody.

Anyway, they loved the impression. Not as comedy but as straight singing. They kept asking me for more and more.

I have never figured that out.

My attitude towards country music changed in 1963. I was in Viet Nam. There was an interview on Armed Forces Radio Service. Willie Nelson was being interviewed at length. In between talk segments they played his music. Country music. But country music like I had never heard before.

His phrasing, his sincerity, his simplicity, were all Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra with a nasal, country twang. It made me a fan for life.

The name of the album they were talking about and playing selections from was, “And Then I Wrote.”

Yeah. Willie Nelson had written everything on it. Wow! I’m thinking, ‘This guy has made himself a store,’ to put it in the country vernacular.

Then, early in ’64. I’m back in the States in a record store. What do I see in the discount bin? Hundreds of that Willie Nelson album. The great, landmark, groundbreaking, country album had bombed. I bought one for 50 cents.

Take a look at what was on that album:

Release Information


Orig. Release:1962


No. Name

1 Touch Me

2 Wake Me When It's Over

3 Hello Walls

4 Funny How Time Slips Away

5 Crazy

6 Part Where I Cry, The

7 Mr. Record Man

8 Three Days

9 One Step Beyond

10 Undo The Right

11 Darkness On The Face Of The Earth

12 Where My House Lives

That has to be one of the great country albums of all time, and it bombed. He was ahead of his time.

Fortunately for everyone, Nelson went on and reshaped country music. He, and others like him, brought it into the mainstream. That would have been impossible as long as Hank Williams was the voice of country music.

Good for Willie Nelson.

Now, can someone do the same for rap? Don’t hold your breath.


A scandal has raised its ugly head.

This from a Bangkok newspaper The Nation:

A Thai Rak Thai Party MP plans to ask ministers of the party whether any of them have received a silicone injection to enlarge his penis.

Surachart Chamnarnsilp from Udon Thani said the issue had tarnished the party's reputation so he would ask Thai Rak Thai ministers during a party meeting today whether any of them had used such surgery service.

Surachart was commenting on a claim by a woman, Raweewan Satakrak, that a member of the current Cabinet had received a silicone injection on his penis from the same cosmetic clinic which treated her.

"I will raise the issue during a party meeting tomorrow [Tuesday]. Although it's personal affair, a minister is a public a figure and should be a role model instead of behaving like this."
See? He said, “raise the issue,” not me. I wouldn’t have said that.

I wonder if there will be a penile penalty. (Sorry about that.)

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I woke this morning (Aug. 20) and found Paul Krugman in my Bangkok Post. The editors of that newspaper love him. Those editors despise America and all that America stands for but they love Paul Krugman and, to a lesser extent, Frank Rich. They print Krugman’s columns on a regular basis.

There is one other New York Times columnist they print. It’s a black guy. I know that because they put his picture in there. I have never read his column and I can’t remember his name. (Couldn’t you look it up?) (I don’t feel like it.) I’m sure he’s a wonderful writer but, in case he’s not, I don’t want to take chances with my blood pressure.

Isn’t it strange that the editors of The Bangkok Post, who are so anti-American, regularly, almost daily, print opinion columns from The New York Times? Those are practically the only opinion columns from America they will publish. I have never read a column favorable to The United States.

They (the editors) never allow rebuttal to any of those columns. In fact I have never seen a letter to the editor favorable to The United States. I know they get some. I have written some myself. Not many. Perhaps one every two months. Then they refused to accept any more of my emails, perhaps thinking my words might corrupt whoever read them.

In today’s column, Mr. Krugman makes some strange statements. Here is one:

"Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

He doesn’t name the “consortiums.”

His own paper, The New York Times, has reported that every news organization that probed the election, has concluded that Bush would have won no matter how the votes were counted.

Krugman goes on to question the outcome of the 2004 election and has this dire prediction of the future:

Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.

He is already doing the groundwork to challenge future election defeats.

Krugman is known for getting many, many things wrong. When Dan Okrent was the Public Editor (ombudsman) for The Times, Krugman was his biggest headache by far. You can read about it here. Okrent’s last words on the subject were these:

I hate to do this to a decent man like my successor, Barney Calame, but I’m hereby turning the Krugman beat over to him.

Of course Krugman’s facts in today’s column are screwed up and The Times will have to print a retraction. But here is the problem: There is no way in hell that The Bangkok Post will print a retraction. They got the story they wanted and they will stick with it even if it’s wrong. Their readers will never know.

It’s up to The Times to rein in Krugman. He is often wrong. His column should not be allowed to run in papers that do not agree to run retractions when necessary.

This is not a matter of freedom of the press. He can write whatever he wants. This is a matter of a responsible press. And The Times is responsible for Krugman.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


There is a sexy lady in showbiz that I have admired for a long time. She is just my type: Tiny, a little exotic and, as I said before, sexy. She is immensely talented.

Who is she? Here’s a clue: She is the only person ever to have won an Emmy, a Tony, and an Oscar.

I always looked forward to her performances. Ageing hasn’t hurt her in my eyes. As I grow older, the older ladies look better to me. In short, I held her in great esteem.

Then she just had to tell us her theories on how to make the world a better place. Wow! What an airhead.

Why do they do that? To get high-fives at their cocktail parties? How sad. Is that worth alienating over half of their public? To what end? To influence an election? It seems to lose more votes than it gains.

In my youth I worked with scores of young actors and singers. Those who became the most successful were the ones who were focused on their careers and little else. I was delighted when they’d give me tips on my work in show business. One of my precious memories is of Lee Marvin lecturing me on how to open doors in the movies. What a generous man he was. It did me no good because I went in a different direction. But when my number one son decided he wanted to be an actor, the advice worked to perfection.

About showbiz, the young performers learned a lot and knew a lot. About politics and world affairs they were clueless. But then, when they attained some modicum of success, would they lecture us about something they knew about; about how to succeed in showbiz? No. They lecture us about politics and world affairs.

Where is the logic in that?

Here’s something to think about. Performers work their hearts out to gain approval of their audiences and the esteem of the public. Then, when they achieve some recognition, they risk alienating much of that public by displaying their ignorance of world affairs and politics and religion. Does that make sense?

To me, that sexy lady is now just an aging air-head. If I want to lust after an air-head I can find thousands half her age. But she made her opinions known. Who cared?

I don’t mean to pick on her but, since she had been a personal favorite of mine, her air-headedness hit home.

She is only one of very many who feel the need to speak out. But, isn’t it strange that none will speak out about the murder of a fellow film maker, Theo van Gogh? Why wouldn’t they be outraged that one of their own was killed for making a motion picture? Shouldn’t they, the picture making people, be in the forefront of that outrage?

Come to think of it, they haven’t vocally protested the deliberate killing of children in the Middle East either. I wonder why.

Come to think of it, I don’t recall any of them speaking out about any outrage perpetrated by Muslim assassins anywhere. I wonder why.

Could it be that the Muslim assassins and the Hollywood activists have a common enemy? That enemy would be the administration of George W. Bush.

Perhaps it is the old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Monday, August 15, 2005


If you travel much or spend much time outside of the United States, here’s some advice that might save you a lot of money. What I write here is true of everywhere I have been (except for where the money is pegged artificially and there is a black market). I do not say it is true of everywhere.

The best exchange rate is always at an ATM.

Bank rates are less favorable.

Money Exchanges are much less favorable.

Remember there is a service charge for each transaction at an ATM. It does not make sense to withdraw small amounts. I always withdraw the maximum allowed by that ATM.

Some ATMs have a higher maximum than others. It might pay to shop around.

You are usually limited to a dollar amount or one transaction per day, whichever is higher. That is another reason to shop around for a friendly ATM. For instance, if your dollar per day limit is $300 but you find an ATM with a $500 dollar maximum, you can get $500.

Use an ATM card issued by a bank instead of a credit card. The service charge from a bank card is a fraction of that from a credit card.

Make your withdrawals in a well lit public place, with lots of people around. Don’t flash the money.


My friend, Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, suggested I write about the Bangkok sex industry. Of course he’s right. I live here and the sex industry is what Bangkok is most famous for. That is obviously where the interest lies.

I’ve written about it briefly in How I Met the Jungle princess and in the Zone. Until recently, that was all I knew about it. But duty is duty. If I have to explore the Bangkok sex industry, then that’s what I have to do.

I’ll start out with a look at Saigon in the old days for comparison.

SAIGON, 1962 VS. BANGKOK, 2005

We live in the northeast part of Bangkok. If you know the town, we’re not far from the Grand Hotel. It’s an area not frequented by westerners. I have gone a month without seeing a westerner in my part of town. In my previous 16 months in Bangkok I have spoken to perhaps 4 non-Asians, only one in my area. I haven’t moved around very much.

I knew about, and have written about, the massage establishments in my area. Because they are not frequented by westerners, I thought they might not be of much interest to readers. So I decided to explore the touristy areas. I’m glad I did.

There are parallels between Bangkok now and Saigon in 1962. In some ways, for me, it’s like going back in time.

Saigon in 1962 was like a paradise to a normal American male, sexually repressed as we all were and continue to be. There were dozens of bars which were heavily populated with what looked to be the most beautiful women on earth.

A friend of mine said, “Liz Taylor would be just one of the girls in those bars.” And he was talking about Liz Taylor in her prime.

Were they available? Only if you had the equivalent of $5.00 in piastres (the local currency).

Of course we were victimizing them. So sue me. It’s not like we out and recruited them.

They were sweet, sweet ladies. Americans were much liked and respected. But in 1962 there were only about 2,000 Americans in the whole country. Over time, it became horribly corrupted

I can’t help wondering if that will happen here. “Here,” of course, is Bangkok in 2005. I suppose there is little chance of that happening. From my observations, the American presence here is miniscule.

Before I arrived, the Saigon government had already enacted some morality laws. For one thing, dancing was prohibited. No, not lap dancing, just ordinary, man and woman dancing.

That law inspired a wag to comment:

It’s OK to take a crap in the middle of the street, but if you dance around it, in celebration, you’ll be arrested.

I had heard Saigon described as a provincial city. While I was there, I sort of resented that. When I came to Bangkok I understood and agreed. Saigon in 1962 was a provincial city.

There are morality laws here in Bangkok also. There is no nudity allowed on TV, even cable TV. I’ve heard there is no nudity allowed in theatrical movies either. Smoking on TV is censored. They blur the image of whatever is being smoked so that often an actor’s face is not visible. Some violent scenes are also censored.

(Next: The Bangkok bar scene.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I walked a little girl to school today. Then I went back when school was out and walked her back. It’s over a mile, round trip. When I get back I’m bathed in sweat. These are the cool months here in Bangkok. July and August are monsoon months so it’s usually cloudy. I’m just not used to exercise so it’s good for me.

I walked a little girl to school today.

But it wasn’t my little girl.

They told me my little 7-year-old, Kin, had to go back to her province for two months to complete her school semester there. It didn’t make sense to me. Still doesn’t. Why couldn’t she transfer to the school here? That wasn’t explained to my satisfaction.

Anyway she’s gone.

I hope for only two months.

I was pretty angry.

I think to mollify me, a 12-year-old niece of Dow has moved in and is now living with us. Her name is Fie. She’s the one I walked to school.

Fie is an ultra nice girl. She had visited us often. She is quiet, polite, demure and obedient. She helps out around the house and is eager to please.

Kin is undisciplined, disobedient, overly energetic and an all-round pain in the ass. She is also the sweetest, most loving child you could imagine. Of course we bonded immediately.

I’m told, when Kin returns, her 12-year-old sister will also come here to live. That’s great. We have plenty of room.

But I miss Kin now.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Lt. General McCaffrey was no fan of the war in Iraq. He recently completed a fact finding mission there. If you’d like to find out what’s going on there, read his report here. Where has this guy been (besides being drug czar)?

My only question is: Why the hell isn’t he still there? He’s just what we need over there. He’s an independent guy who will tell it like it is. Get him the hell back over there.

One of the biggest problems we have had in Iraq is getting the word out about what is going on. A lot of that is not the fault of the news media, although a lot of it is. Reporters cannot move around to get at their stories. Also, they are not trusted by the military because they thrive on the negative. A guy like
McCaffrey can solve all that and, at the same time, do a major payback to the media.

Here’s what our government should do: Send McCaffrey back with a staff including some computer experts. Set up an internet site from Baghdad with daily news and interviews.

In his report he writes:

2nd - Our unbelievably competent, articulate, objective, and courageous Battalion, Brigade, and Division Commanders are not on TV. These commanders represent an Army-Marine Corps which is rated as the most trusted institution in America by every poll

4th - Military leaders on the ground are talking to people they trust instead of talking to all reporters who command the attention of the American people. (We need to educate and support AP, Reuters, Gannet, Hearst, the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc.)

I say, screw AP, Reuters, etc. Bypass them all. Put the interviews and the news on the internet. It’s the American people and the world that we need to educate. The news media will only twist everything around anyway. Skip the middle man.

McCaffrey is the man. He has the connections and the respect to pull this off. And it sounds as if he knows what needs to be done.

Please, please, put this guy to work!


If you want liquor, you go to a liquor store. If you want paint, you go to a paint store. So if you want news do you go to a news organization? It depends. On what? It depends on if they feel like reporting it. There’s a lot of stuff they know about, important stuff, but they just don’t feel like reporting it. (But isn’t that their job?) (Yeah. So?)

Remember back in the old days, in the movies, when all the newsmen wanted was a scoop? The most important thing, back then, was to get the news first and report it first. They were newsmen. Reporters nowadays will laugh at such naiveté. They have made life far more complex today. Major American news organizations today will only report what they want you to know. All news is carefully censored before being passed on. (But won’t that hurt their circulation and ratings? Won’t people look elsewhere for the news?) (Yeah. So?)

Remember when Newsweek had the scoop of the year? They had the lowdown on Monica’s blue dress. They wouldn’t report it. Drudge reported it. That one story made his reputation and fortune. Today Drudge is a go-to guy on the internet. Newsweek became a laughing stock and is now skipping entire publications. (But they held to their principles, didn’t they?) (Yeah. Right.)

Remember a few months ago when Eason Jordan, the head of CNN News, made ridiculous accusations against the American military in Iraq? The NY Times wouldn’t report it for 9 days. Millions of people knew about it, but not the readers of the NY Times and many other news organizations. When the NY Times did report it, after 9 days of silence, it was because Eason Jordan had resigned. Imagine the surprise of readers of the Times. They wouldn’t have known there was a problem. (It was reported on a ‘need to know’ basis.) (Yeah. Right.)

Now there is another unreported scandal. It looks like Air America is involved in stealing nearly a million dollars meant for starving children. Air America is a thriving radio network featuring the political comments of such as Al Franken and Jeananne Garafolo. Some say the stolen money went to pay their salaries. (Could that be true?) (No way, Jose. Those are upstanding people. They’d never take money from starving children.)

It has been 14 days since this scandal broke. Millions of people know about it but, according to el Capitan, no one who depends on the NY Times, LA Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, or any other leftish news outlet. There has been no mention of it in any of those news organizations. Perhaps they haven’t heard. If anyone out there knows a reporter from any of those organizations you’d be doing them a favor by sending them an email. The first one who breaks the story would be scooping others. Right? (Yeah. But not the rest of the country.) (Yeah. So?)

Despite the Times not reporting it, New York’s Attorney General found out about it some way or another. According to the New York Post, again by way of el Capitain, Eliot Spitzer has started a probe:

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer yesterday opened an investigation into the Bronx social-services agency that made $875,000 in bizarre loans to Air America radio, The Post has learned.

This is reported all across the country. The dream of a small town newspaper scooping The NY Times has been realized over and over. Congratulations are in order.

The bottom line is, if you want to find out the news, there is a large segment of the news industry that should be ignored.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Muslims shut down sections in the south of Thailand Friday.

This was in the Bangkok Post:


Rebel threat shutters Yala, Pattani businesses


All shops and markets in Pattani's Muang district were closed yesterday in the wake of rebel leaflets threatening to kill people who operated their businesses on Fridays, claiming it is an Islamic holy day. Muslim religious teachers, however, say there is nothing in the Koran forbidding work on Fridays. —

Threats of violence against people who work on Fridays brought businesses in Yala and Pattani to a standstill yesterday.

It was business as usual, however, in Narathiwat, another Muslim-dominated southern border province plagued by unrest, as shops, market vendors and townspeople defied a warning issued recently against working on Fridays, which claimed it was in breach of the Koran.

Downtown Yala looked like a ghost town as 80% of shops closed and buses plying between Yala and Pattani and some outlying districts halted services.Outside Yala, food shops, groceries, petrol stations and other businesses run by Muslims were also closed while there were no hawkers on the streets.

Yusuf Doloh, a Yala vendor, said despite a guarantee of safety from authorities, people still felt unsafe and had decided to take precautions.Security officials had asked people to live their lives normally.

Islamic religious leaders confirmed that working on Fridays was not wrong under their religion.

Some bus passengers could not go home and had to stay in town after services were suspended.

Business closure meant a day without income so some people were wondering out loud if threatening Muslims against working on Fridays was in breach of Islamic principles.

Yala governor Boonyasit Suwannarat went out to visit people and pledged to work out protection measures.

It was also quiet in Pattani. A market owner said vendors dared not sell their wares out of fear for their safety.''They said they were afraid of having their ears cut off,'' he said, adding that most people also stayed in their homes.

See the article in context Here.

Note that the assassins are called rebels. Both English papers here in Bangkok are very careful not to offend the killers who have dispatched over 800 Thai citizens. Their editorial policy is very close to that of the NY Times. Paul Krugman is their favorite columnist. He appears in their pages sometimes 3 times a week.

While they are careful not to offend assassins, they take every opportunity to vilify the United States. If they ever get in serious trouble, whom do you suspect will come to their aid? Will it be the Muslim assassins whom they obviously respect, or the Americans, for whom they have nothing but contempt?

Understand, these are the strange elitists who run the newspapers. They are totally out of touch with reality and the vast majority of the Thai people.