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Loi Krathong ( BANGKOK)

Posted by arnon_k On November - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

November 21, 2010
(12.00 – 12.00)

Loy Krathong is a festival which occurs on the full moon of the 12th lunar month, a date which usually falls in November.
Loy means to float and a Krathong is a small, hand-made “boat” or “raft” traditionally made from the leaves or bark of a banana tree and decorated with origami-esque banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense sticks. In modern days, Krathongs are often made of specially baked bread, so the Krathongs are biodegradable, although many use styrofoam.
Many Thais believe that celebrating Loy Krathong by offering a krathong to the Water Goddess, Phra Mae Khongkha, will bring them good luck, particularly for couples, who will go to launch Krathongs together: a particularly auspicious event if the couple crafts their own krathong, although it is more common in modern days to simply buy krathongs from vendors near the water.
During the night of the full moon, many people will light their candles and incense and celebrate Loy Krathong by releasing their floating offering on a river or other body of water. Governmental offices, corporations, and other large groups will collaborate on larger, more elaborate rafts, which are often judged in contests. Loy Krathong celebrations also typically feature fireworks displays and beauty contests.

These beauty contests are known as Noppamas Queen Contests, named after Noppamas, a consort of the King of Sukothai in the 14th century, who is thought to be the first to float decorated krathongs.
Consequently, the tradition of Loy Kratong is believed to have begun in Sukhothai, although it is now celebrated throughout Thailand, with the festivities in Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya the most popular.
In Chiang Mai the Loy Krathong holiday is called Yi Peng. In addition to the krathongs floated in the waters around Chiang Mai, thousands of Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai) are released into the sky, part of the lantern oriented Lanna belief in their symbolically auspicious flames.

Emergency rule in Bangkok to be lifted by New Year

Posted by arnon_k On November - 16 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas will likely be lifted before the New Year holiday, National Security Council secretary general Thawil Pliensri said on Tuesday.

“The situation no longer warrants emergency rule,” he said.

The Nation

Democrats dominate city vote

Posted by arnon_k On August - 30 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

New Politics shut out in councillor elections

The ruling Democrat Party has cemented its status as the most popular party in Bangkok after its candidates handily outperformed the opposition in local elections.

The New Politics Party failed to win a single seat in yesterday’s polls.

The Democrats followed their success in last month’s by-election in Bangkok by winning more seats than the Puea Thai Party and the NPP, the political arm of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, in city and district council elections.

The Election Commission for Bangkok estimated the voter turnout at 42%.

City clerk and director of the Bangkok EC office Charoenrat Chutikarn said bad weather, not an ineffective EC campaign, was to blame for the low turnout.

A survey held on election day showed that 98% of people were aware of the poll and 80% of them said they would vote, he said.

“The BMA will look at the reasons why voters paid little attention to local elections,” he said.

The Democrats last month won a by-election in Constituency 6, in Bangkok’s outer eastern suburbs, which saw Panich Vikitsreth win a seat in parliament.

Most Democrat incumbents held on to their seats on city and district councils yesterday.

Democrat MP for Bangkok Natthapol Theepsuwan, who is in charge of the party’s campaigning in the city, said the poll results were in line with party projections.

But Ong-art Klampaibul, an adviser to the Democrats on the Bangkok elections, cautioned people against assuming the results would portend a decisive victory for the party in a national election.

“This election does not reflect what would happen in the next general election,” said Mr Ong-art, who also serves as the PM’s office minister.

“Voters in the council elections made their decisions based on individual candidates, while in general elections, voters tend to cast ballots for particular parties.”

The Democrats were still weak in the capital’s outlying districts such as Phasicharoen and Bang Na, Mr Natthapol said.

The most disappointed party was the NPP, which failed to secure a single seat in its first set of elections.

Deputy leader Samran Rodpetch blamed the party’s defeat on low voter turnout.

“Had 60 or 70 percent of citizens gone to vote, I believe we would have had a chance to win,” he said.

Mr Samran said the low voter turnout reflected the public’s disenchantment with politics.

But he said his party would not be deterred by its poor showing yesterday. It would regroup to address problem areas before the next general election and the next Bangkok governor poll.

NPP secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila hoped the “silent majority” would make their presence felt once general elections were called.

He said the party must learn from yesterday’s results.

“We started [campaigning] a bit late. Voters were still not familiar with our candidates,” he said.

Puea Thai MP for Bangkok Vicharn Meenchainant, who oversaw the opposition party’s campaigning in the city, said the party was disappointed not to win at least 15 seats, as it had projected. Puea Thai had more work to do if it wanted to win over Bangkok voters in the next general election, Mr Vicharn said.

The city councillor elections took place in all 50 districts in Bangkok, while the district councillor polls took place in 36.

Only the votes in Din Daeng district had yet to be counted as of last night because of a Puea Thai protest over suspected voting irregularities.

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