Bangkok wants government support
to solve traffic congestion
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration needs the support
of the new government to successfully solve the capital city’s traffic
congestion, a senior city official stated. The city’s administration needs
the new government’s support if it is to push ahead with its various
projects to reduce traffic jams, said the capital’s top municipal
official, Khun Ying Nathanon Thavisin.
“To solve Bangkok’s traffic problems, we need the
support of the new government to push ahead with planned projects to reduce
traffic congestion. We need cooperation from government agencies to make it
happen,” the BMA’s permanent secretary said.
The Bangkok authorities have drawn up plans to build
trams, to run new express buses, and to extend the elevated train routes.
“The cabinet has approved the extension project, but
has insisted that it must be totally financed by a private company. But so
far no investor has come forward,” Nathanon said.
The BMA plans to build four more elevated train routes
linking the city center with outlaying areas. (TNA)
China-Phuket tours resume
Tours from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou to Phuket
resumed on February 9, the first day of the Lunar New Year. But the spring
festival peak travel season will have no effect on the prices of Phuket
packages. In fact, the price of a six-day tour from China’s southern
Guangdong province has even fallen to less then RMB2,000 (US$242) from the
normal off-peak level of around RMB3,700, according to a Guangdong China
Travel Service spokesman.
Prices for a tour package to Phuket, formerly one of the
most popular resort destinations for tour groups from China, usually rise by
about RMB1,000 during peak travel seasons.
Thirty tourists headed to Phuket on the first day of the
New Year having won their places through an online bidding campaign to
promote tourism to the tsunami-hit resort island held by online travel
company Ctrip.com. All proceeds will go to the regions affected, via the
China Charity Federation, according to the company’s website. Another
group set out from Shanghai to Phuket on February 11. (TTG Asia)
Emirates adds flights
to Sydney via Bangkok
Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, will
soon boost services to Sydney, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand, with
additional flights. From March 29, Emirates will introduce an extra
thrice-weekly service from Dubai to Sydney via Bangkok. Initially operating
on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the airline will increase this to a
daily service from May 1.
On May 1, the new Dubai-Bangkok-Sydney daily service will
also be extended to Auckland in New Zealand, replacing the current
Dubai-Sydney-Auckland daily service which will then terminate in Sydney.
This move opens up new connections between Bangkok and Sydney, and Bangkok
Emirates will fly its Boeing 777-300 aircraft in
three-class configuration on the Dubai-Bangkok-Sydney-Auckland route,
offering 18, 42 and 320 seats in first, business and economy classes
respectively, plus 23 tons of belly-hold space for cargo.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ executive vice-president
for Commercial Operations Worldwide said, “Bangkok and Sydney are key
commercial and tourism centers in their respective countries. Demand for
passenger and cargo capacity into and out of these two cities has remained
constantly high, and we are confident the additional capacity from our new
service will be welcomed by both travelers and shippers alike.” He added,
“With this service, shippers and travelers will have a new air connection
between Bangkok and Sydney, and when the route is extended to Auckland in
May, it will also open another air travel option between Thailand and New
The new service will increase Emirates’ flights between
Dubai and Bangkok from twice daily to three-a-day by May. It will also add
to the airline’s current daily non-stop service between Dubai and Sydney,
bringing the total number of Sydney flights to twice-daily. Emirates will
continue to fly to Auckland thrice daily.
EK418 will depart Dubai International Airport at
09:00hrs, arriving in Bangkok at 18:10hrs, before flying onward to Australia
at 19:50hrs, to land in Sydney at 07:45hrs the next day. From May 1, the
service will extend to Auckland in New Zealand, departing Sydney at 09:15hrs
and arriving in Auckland at 15:15hrs.
Return flight EK 419 will take off from Sydney at
18:45hrs, arriving in Bangkok at 01:00hrs the next morning. The flight will
then depart Bangkok at 02:30hrs to arrive in Dubai at 05:35hrs on the same
day. From May 1, the return service will start in Auckland, departing
15:50hrs and arriving in Sydney at 17:15hrs. All flight times given above
are local. Timings are subject to change of schedule. For further details,
contact us at media.relations@ emirates.com
Extra-marital affairs top family problems
Husbands’ extra-marital affairs ranks top of
Thailand’s family problems, according to a leading women’s rights
activist. Nearly half of the 1,508 complaints referred to the Happy Family
Center (HFC) between February 14, 2004 and January 31, 2005 concerned
extra-marital affairs by husbands, the HFC chairwoman, Rabiabrat Pongpanit
Nearly 1,200 cases, or 80 percent, of the complaints
referred to the center have been successfully dealt with. However, Western
influences and materialism, especially among younger people, are the key
reasons behind many family problems, Rabiabrat said.
The HFC was upgraded to an association on its first
anniversary on February 13, when an executive board was selected. (TNA)
Poll says young people increasingly keen on sex
Young people in Bangkok are becoming increasingly keen on
sex, with many having more than one sexual partner simultaneously and a
growing number engaging in ‘swinging’, according to a poll published on
The ABAC Poll survey of 1,513 Bangkok residents, aged
15-24, suggests that around 40 percent of young people in the capital attach
a high level of importance to Valentine’s Day, and that 100,000 young
people in Bangkok intended to have sex on the day.
Somewhat alarmingly for traditional Thai mores, the
survey found that 23.8 percent of respondents tended to have more than one
sexual partner on the go at any one time, and that 22.7 percent of
respondents made the decision to have sex with someone after having known
them for less than a day. At the same time, a significant proportion of
respondents, or 6.7 percent, said that they had engaged in group sex.
One particularly worrying finding to emerge from the
survey was that 60 percent of the sexually active respondents had at one
time or another put themselves at risk of catching sexually transmitted
disease by failing to use condoms. And while 40 percent of those questioned
agreed that condom machines should be placed in educational institutions, 36
percent expressed disagreement.
What the survey also found was that knowledge of the risk
of sexually transmitted disease was not the determining factor in whether or
not young people engaged in unsafe sex, with those aware of the risks just
as likely to take risks as those not aware. (TNA)
More women needed in politics
A leading woman parliamentarian has urged the new
government to support more women in politics. The senator from Sakon Nakorn
and leader of the woman’s parliamentarian group, Maleerat Kaewka, urged
the ruling Thai Rak Thai Party to assist any woman parliamentarian who
volunteered to be deputy house speaker.
More than fifty women were expected to win parliamentary
seats in the recent general election, seven more than at the last election,
She also urged the ruling party to consider selecting
more women as ministers in the new government. “Every woman who was
elected is very experienced and capable. By appointing them to important
positions, they will help the government to seriously tackle women and
children’s problems. It would also be good for the new government’s
image internationally to take action to improve the status and position of
women in Thailand,” she said.
There are only two women ministers in the current
government - Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan and Labor Minister
Uraiwan Thienthong. (TNA)
HRH Princess expresses concern over rampant development
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
spoke out against the rampant nature of development, warning that it was
riding roughshod over local knowledge and traditions.
Speaking at a seminar on February 9 organized by the
Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in conjunction with the
Danish government, HRH the Princess said that rapid development often has an
adverse impact on local ways of life and community environments.
As a result, many local traditions which had been passed
down through the generations have been virtually wiped out, leaving
subsequent generations with few opportunities to absorb their cultural
Speaking of the value of these ancient beliefs, practices
and systems of knowledge, she warned that unless action was taken, local
ways of life would become extinct.
Her concern was echoed by Suwit Kunkitti, minister for
Natural Resources and Environment, who acknowledged that Thailand had lost
much of its unique culture and beliefs. Attributing this in part to the fact
that Thais are reluctant to inscribe their traditions in writing, he cited
the case of the Sea Gypsies of the Andaman region, who are now no longer
speaking their traditional language. (TNA)