BKK Weather 31C; Hot, mainly cloudy, rain; Euro:US 1.2908, Euro:Baht 39.55, SET Index: 1290
National Security Chief: time for a full counter-insurgency army division for South. Police tracked accused Japan killer – with iPhone app.
Turkey deploys tanks, missiles at Syria border. Shot Pakistani girl stable. Nigeria attack on mosque kills 20. Skydiver sets 128,000-foot world record.
– CAMBODIA: Cambodia’s former King Norodom Sihanouk, a revered figure in his country, has died aged 89, Cambodian officials say. He died of a heart attack in China’s capital, Beijing.
– NEW UK ENVOY: New UK Ambassador Mark Kent doesn’t look like your usual reserved diplomat. He carries a black backpack almost everywhere, and it’s heavy. So what’s in there?
“Lots of books, actually too many. My iPad, and some bits and pieces. I’m a little bit messy. I should take some out and also to balance my shoulder,” he said.
One of the many books he’s reading now is the Thai version of the biography of Sir John Bowring, the British envoy to Thailand who sponsored the Bowring Treaty between the two countries 157 years ago.
He also carries around notebooks to practice writing Thai in his car or sometimes on the Skytrain.
Born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, Kent has been in office for two months, but he has spent more than a year studying Thai at Khon Kaen University, Chiang Mai University, and in Bangkok.
Thai is his sixth foreign language, after Vietnamese, Spanish, Dutch, French, and Portuguese. And despite his busy schedule, he still finds time for Thai lessons twice a week. “A language is like an onion, as the more layers you peel off, the more layers you still need to peel off,” Kent said in an interview with Nation Channel about the challenges in learning the local lingo. It was his first time to talk on TV in Thai.
“My teacher says I speak like a book, very official. I need to learn the spoken language, and I’m working on it.”
He listens to Thai news on the radio while jogging in Lumpini Park, watches news and the Premier League football matches in Thai on TV, and even tweets in Thai on his iPad. He is using twitter @KentBKK to converse with Thai Arsenal fans. He says followers have to get used to some of his misspellings, but he’s trying to get better.
Kent attended a political science course at Chulalongkorn University for a month before he was appointed, which helps him understand how history and politics are taught here.
He also has a better comprehension of this country’s foreign policy. His four-year term will focus on trade and investment and tourism, making sure that 850,000 British travelers to Thailand each year are looked after properly.
“Trade and investment are a traditional element of the Thai-UK relationship, and this year marks 400 years of official contact between the two countries and the first contact at that time was based on trade. My job is to ensure that people are aware of the opportunities available in Thailand,” Kent said.
Thailand remains an attractive investment destination despite all the troubles in recent years. But with the Asean Economic Community fast approaching, Thailand has to strategically plan how to take the economy forward, how much of the workforce needs to speak fluent English and how to secure enough energy to ensure the upward development part.
“But you cannot be complacent. Nobody in this globalized economy can be complacent.”
So next time you’re riding the Skytrain or going somewhere in Bangkok and see a man with a black rucksack, it could be Kent. Go and say “Sawasdee Krub” to him, and you’ll be amazed with his Thai!
– LUXURY FOOD IN HOTELS: There are a cluster of hotels that are known for the Chef who reigns over their Michelin-star restaurant in the establishment and is happy to cook up a signature meal for you. Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse, Ferran Adria, Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Gordon Ramsay, Ken Hom – all culinary greats with a star power normally reserved for film actors and with a waiting list of guests that runs sometimes into months and years – they make hotels housing their restaurants a definite port of call on a luxury traveler’s itinerary with the promise of the delight that they bring with their willingness to paint their culinary art on the canvas of your palate. Some hotels go a step further, like The Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence, which offers truffle hunting expeditions with an expert truffier followed by a cookery demonstration by the chef and special truffle-rich dinner.
– PB PIROM KHAOYAI RESERVE TEMPRANILLO 2010: One of the best vintages of Pirom Khao Yai Wine. This exceptional vintage Tempranillo is a result of a long and stable winter. Unusual temperature decreases during the season, resulted in better yield and quality. This is a top-grade smooth and silky full-bodied red with rounded tannin, suggesting plum, blackberries, black cherry, and distinctive hint of oak from being partly aged in French oak for 14 months. It goes well with duck, game, and most red meat dishes. This Thai wine can be enjoyed now or can be kept in a cellar for another 3-7 years to reach the full benefits. Recommended serving temperature at 15-18 C.
– SPACE SKYDIVER: Austrian Felix Baumgartner has become the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a top speed of 1,342 kilometers/hour. The 43-year-old has also broken the record for the highest ever freefall by jumping out of a balloon 128,100 feet (39kilometers) – the edge of space – above New Mexico.
– WHY DO HOTELS CHARGE FOR WI-FI AND INTERNET? One of the most common questions asked in a hotel or discussed in a review or blog is, why do hotels and other accommodation venues still charge for the Internet? Especially when the world has advanced so rapidly in recent years on the mobile front. And it’s not just in your room, there is nothing more annoying than attending a conference or congress that doesn’t provide its delegates with the ability to stay connected without charge.
Internet service in your hotel room is not yet the same necessity as bottled water, TV, minibar, clean linen,or fresh towels, however is it the way of the future; will complimentary Internet become one of those included necessities in every hotel? Many of us these days want to check emails on the go; check-in on apps; update our latest status; and share with friends, family, and colleagues from anywhere in the world.
Knowing that hotels often provide Internet services through a third-party provider and may have a profit-share contract it, therefore, may not be possible to always provide free services.
Some hotels now offer complimentary Internet to loyalty club members, also complimentary Wi-Fi in certain areas such as the lobby or leisure areas, and some brands offer property-wide, while some continue to charge full price for the service. Charges can vary considerably from hotel to hotel, brand to brand, independent to independent, however, those that do charge, offer plans from 15-minutes, 1 to 24-hour sessions, or even long-stay rates.
So how can you get that free Internet in a hotel?
– Consider what their loyalty program offers, some status tiers on loyalty programs include complimentary Internet.
– Seek accommodation packages that include Internet in the rate.
– Seek accommodation that offers complimentary Internet, however, let’s face it – you are still paying for it as it’s included in their rate.
– Consider negotiating a better Internet and roaming rate with your mobile device provider; it may prove a cheaper option than seeking a hotel that offers complimentary Internet.
– PENANG GAI: I am a great fan of Indian food, which is probably why Penang curry is one of my favorite Thai dishes. Penang is a dry curry, probably originally “imported” from Malaysia. It can be prepared with any meat and fish. This variety uses chicken.
1 cup chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 / 2 mléko kokosového mléka
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons Penang Curry paste
2 lžíce rybí omáčky
sugar to taste
3 kaffir lime leaves shredded
10-15 Thai basil leaves, finely shredded
Place a wok over medium-high heat, and warm the coconut milk, but don’t let it boil. Add the curry paste, and stir it until the oil begins to separate out and form a thin film, to bring out the maximum flavor. Add the remaining ingredients except the lime leaves and basil leaves, and simmer until the sauce is absorbed and thickened. Add the lime leaves and basil leaves and stir fry briefly before serving.
– F1: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso lost his lead in the Formula One championship but still found positives to take away from a Korean Grand Prix dominated by Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel.
– TENNIS: Novak Djokovic exacted revenge on Andy Murray for his US Open final defeat by saving 5 match points to outlast the Briton 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 to win the Shanghai Masters title.
– HK IRONMAN DIES: A 27-year-old expatriate man collapsed and died meters from the finish line during an ironman triathlon race held on Lantau Island in Hong Kong.
– TROPICAL GARDENS: Heliconias are tropical plants related to bananas, cannas, and gingers. There are about 100 different individual species, and most species then have a large number of hybrids and cultivars, with flower styles varying significantly from the original.
The actual heliconia flower is fairly insignificant. What most people would call the “flower” is actually a group of colorful specialized leaves, called bracts (some resembling parrot beaks). The true flowers are hidden inside these bracts.
Heliconia leaves look more or less like banana leaves. They are generally green, but some are tinged slightly with color (particularly when young) and sometimes the leaves and stems are colored or patterned slightly.
Heliconias grow from an underground system of rhizomes. Rhizomes are a type of root (the ginger that you buy in the supermarket is a piece of rhizome from the common edible ginger plant).
Heliconias are found throughout Asia and enjoy warm, humid climates.