Friday, October 17, 2014

Adopt a Thai street dog, and stop buying "toy" dogs

One of the interesting issues in Thailand is the discrepancy between what is always described as Thainess or core Thai values and what is reality. Starting by Buddhism, what is in practise largely animistic practise, over to Thai food that is a mix of regional and even oversea contents (Papaya and Chili are from South-America) to ethics: Money and consumption is as important as appearance and status here, and status symbols are iphones, cars and sadly toy dogs.

In our compound we have a lot of toy dog owners. I call them toy dog because they are treated as toys, not as animals. Sadly, the owners call them toy dog as well, because they actually think they are toys. With very few exceptions they don't go out for a dog walk, many are not even allowed to leave the house. Contact with others dogs? Nope. The get immediately lifted up when we arrive with our friendly pack of street dogs.

The way you treat dogs and pet animals in general shows a lot about the state of development of a society and how civilised people actually are. At Paradise Park, the same Soi Dog Foundation that is looking for homes for  dogs from the dog meat trade, will support an exihibition of animals like owls and wild cats in a shopping mall.  It shows that even charities like the Soi Dog Foundation forget their own standards when it comes to money.

Defining yourself by status symbols is silly and shows your lack of self confidence, but that is your problem as long as it doesn't harm anyone (although annoying people with showing off is kind of harm as well). But don't use animals for your selfish purpose.

Thai street dogs are smarter than most Pomeranians, Chiwawas and Pugs, more healthy and genetically better equipped. Owning a street dog shows that you are smart, self confident, intelligent, caring and taking responsibility.

(I know that in the West people own toy dogs as well, and I condemn that. But I live in Thailand, and the majority of dog owners are Thai here, of course).


Monday, October 13, 2014

Cool down - a lot: Wonderland has -15 degrees Celsius

Yes, it can get hot outside, and yes, I sometimes miss the snow, or at least the change in the seasons. But does that really mean I need to get winter here in Bangkok? On the other hand, many Thais never see any snow and haven't enjoyed the fun of freezing noses.
That may have been reason enough for the people behind Harbin Ice Wonderland to set up a winter land next to BTS Bearing. It is really cold in there, -15 degrees Celsius, but you can rent coats and gloves. I recommend proper shoes (NO flipflops), jeans and socks as well. Even then, you may not stay there more than 15-20 minutes.

What can you see? A lot of ice sculptures, from Big Ben to pandas. Kids may enjov the three different slides, one with tubes, and one with sleighs. There is also a snow corner, where you can at least try to make a snowball. My friends in Germany were laughing at what I showed them as my first Thai snowball.

The entry fee is not cheap, 350 for Thai and 550 for foreigners (Driver licence didn't work to get the local price), plus rental fee for coats. It is open everyday 10.00 - 21.30 and is located direct next to the Bearing BTS. Parking space is available. There is also a ice bar, in case you want to take whiskey on the rocks literally, and food courts are yet to be installed.

You can get more information in Thai (overcharging foreigners doesn't mean social media communication is included, although some staff speaks some English) on Facebook. And they do have a English website

And now, enjoy some pictures. Yes, it is colorful.

Have drink afterwards

My first snowball in Thailand

Better have jeans on to use this slide

Coats provides, trousers not

Even pandas are here