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Super Full Moon visible on Tuesday

Posted by pakin On December - 28 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
Thailand will see the biggest and brightest moon of 2018 on Tuesday night in a phenomenon known as the “Super Full Moon”.

National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand director Saran Poshyachinda said on Wednesday that the next Super Full Moon would appear in the night sky on January 2, as the moon approaches the Earth at a distance of only 356,595 kilometres.

Saran said the full moon would appear slightly larger than the last super moon on December 3, while compared to a normal full moon it would appear 7 per cent larger and 16 per cent brighter.

He added that the moon would be visible on the eastern horizon beginning at 6pm.

He also encouraged people to go to four National Astronomical Research Institute observation centres in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Songkhla and Chachoengsao where telescopes would be available to view the moon’s geographical features.

People can also go to 260 schools in the National Astronomical Research Institute’s network across the country where telescopes would also be available, he said.

Thai street food cook feels heat of Michelin fame

Posted by pakin On December - 22 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
Wearing her trademark ski goggles for protection from flying sparks, Thai cook Jay Fai hunches over two sizzling woks as tourists from around the world line up in three-hour-long queues at her modest streetside eatery.

The 72-year-old’s crab-stuffed omelettes have always been popular among local gourmands, but her eponymous restaurant shot to global fame overnight after it was awarded a Michelin star this month at the launch of Bangkok’s first guide.

While she is proud of the achievement, former dressmaker Jay Fai is still adjusting to the media frenzy that has seized her open-air kitchen in Bangkok’s old quarter.

“There are advantages and disadvantages,” she told AFP as she flung ingredients into a wok, explaining she did not have time for a formal interview.

“The downside is being exhausted … Also, the government wants me to promote Thailand. I feel like I don’t have a choice,” she added.

She has been asked to appear at the seaside town of Hua Hin for an international tennis tournament this weekend, where she will teach top-ranked players to make her signature crab omelette and the Thai soup dish Tom Yum Kung.

“I will not be selling for two days,” she said ruefully, adding that she would even consider handing back the coveted star if it meant returning to her normal routine.

Any distraction from work means a loss of business for Jay Fai, whose spirited cooking style — a flurry of activity from grabbing handfuls of raw seafood to dishing out plates of the finished product — is one of the main attractions.

Her supersized portions of crab and jumbo prawns are also part of the draw, though the dishes are far pricier than the city’s average street vendor at upwards of $20 a pop.

The unflashy eatery, which has partial indoor seating, was the only streetside venue among the 17 Bangkok restaurants awarded stars on December 6, when Michelin unveiled its first guide for the Thai capital.

Michelin only awards stars to establishments with fixed addresses, leaving many of Bangkok’s famous roadside stalls out of the running at a time when the city is attempting to move them off the pavements and into organised markets.

Jay Fai had heard of the brand name Michelin but was not aware that the French tyre company had anything to do with cooking.

She is not the first chef to feel the heat over the flood of attention that comes with a Michelin star.

In September a chef in southern France with three stars said he wanted to be stripped of the award because of the “huge pressure” to meet its standards on a daily basis.

But Jay Fai’s colleagues are not worried about her.

“She’s quite strong. She never gets ill,” said Kung, an assistant who has worked there for 10 years.//AFP

 

K-pop singer’s death sparks suicide alert

Posted by pakin On December - 20 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The apparent suicide on Monday of 27-year-old Korean singer Kim Jong-hyun, the lead vocalist for the hugely popular K-pop band Shinee, has prompted fears at the Department of Mental Health that young Thai fans might copy the star and try to kill themselves.

The department released a statement Tuesday warning parents to monitor their children’s behaviour to see if there were any changes after they learnt about the superstar’s death, adding that copycat suicides usually happen to people who already have thoughts of self-harm.

Dr Boonruang Triruangworawat, the department’s chief, said suicide is the cause of death of more than 800,000 people a year in Thailand and that number is expected to rise to 1.5 million by the year 2020; meanwhile, the number of people who attempt suicide is 20 times higher.

Warning signs include crying a lot, quietness and talking about suicide, he said.

“Committing suicide is a thing we can prevent and symptoms of depression should be treated. It is very important to talk with family, friends and psychologists when you feel like this,” he said.

According to the department, the number of suicides among Thai people last year was 6.35 per 100,000 people, falling from 6.47:100,000 in 2015. The 35-39 age group has the highest suicide rate.

Many Thai fans have been saddened by the passing of Kim, better known as just Jonghyun, which South Korean police said was a suicide. Some fans said they were still too shaken to talk about what happened.

Ekapol Wong, a representative of the band’s fan group in Thailand, said he was still shocked and saddened by the news.

He added that it was only when he read an official statement released by Jonghyun’s record company about the death that he realised the news was actually true.

“I still had a glimmer of hope he might still be alive.”

The fan group might organise a making-merit session as a tribute to Jonghyun, he said.

The group’s Shinee-Thailand Facebook page has 179,000 Likes and 30,000 followers on Twitter.

Another Thai fan who asked not to be named said fans loved the singer so much because he was really devoted to them.

“He [Jonghyun] didn’t make us feel like he was an ‘idol’. He made us feel like he was our friend, a younger brother, or an approachable big brother. He made us feel we were appreciated,” she said.

“Multiple” people were killed early Monday when an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Washington state near the city of Tacoma, sending cars flying off a bridge and onto a busy interstate, officials said.

It derailed during the morning rush hour at about 7:40 am (1540 GMT), about halfway between Tacoma and Olympia, the capital of Washington state.

“There’s multiple fatalities,” said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Troyer put no number on the fatalities, but local media said at least three people were killed. None of the people in vehicles travelling on the highway below the train were killed, according to Troyer.

Local news outlets reported that dozens of people were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

“When we got to the scene, it was obvious there were fatalities and injuries, and some people were able to get off the train,” Troyer said.

“No fatalities on the roadway. As you can see by the large response, we have taken them out and people that were able to walk are under the tents being cared for by multiple groups,” he said.

Photographs posted online from the scene showed multiple cars having derailed from the train. At least two dropped onto the roadway below, a busy highway that connects Olympia to the busy Seattle metro area just to the north.

The accident snarled morning rush hour traffic and officials warned the highway, Interstate 5, would be blocked in that area for a long period of time.

“We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,” passenger Chris Karnes told local CBS News affiliate KIRO-TV.

“All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill,” said Karnes, adding that several cars had gone off the tracks and passengers kicked out the windows to escape.

“The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.”

Karnes said the tracks were supposed to have been upgraded to accommodate higher speeds.

“I’m not sure what happened,” he said.

 

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