Thailand: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Thailand, Bangkok the sex capital of the world, monk culture, foot boxers, Bride over the River Kwai and the King and I.

THAILAND

NOTES

Bangkok is considered the sex capital of Asia. Hundreds of inexpensive massage parlors, shortterm motel rooms, and secret pornographic movie houses cater to the desires of Thais and foreigners, especially the growing number of Japanese businessmen.

Every Thai male at an early age is expected to don the saffron robe and enter a Buddhist monastery. Each morning, the Buddhist monks roam the streets to beg for their day's food, which they must consume before 12 noon. They are not allowed to eat anything else the rest of the day.

The movie The King and I and the book upon which it is based are banned in Thailand. The story is a distorted version of the life of King Rama IV, who reigned from 1851 to 1868.

The Bridge over the River Kwai is located in northwestern Thailand near the Burmese border. This infamous structure, built with the lives of prisoners-of-war during W. W. II, was a vital link between Thailand and Burma for the Japanese.

Thailand's professional "Foot Boxers" are the world's most accomplished martial artists. Repeatedly they have defeated Chinese Kung Fu experts in staged combat.

Thais have never paid much attention to family names. In fact, not until 1916 did the King require all Thais to adopt family names, which are patrilineal.

The Thais have developed elaborate methods for avoiding conflict. For instance, the ubiquitous smile is a convenient device for masking true emotions. If a Thai wants to express his anger with someone, he will usually do so through a 3rd person who will pass the information on, thus avoiding a face-to-face confrontation.

Thailand, a member of SEATO, was an important ally of the U.S. throughout the Indochina War. The U.S. had as many as 50,000 airmen at once at 8 major Thai bases to support it air war in Laos, Cambodia, and both Vietnams. Furthermore, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency hired and trained some 12,000 Thai irregulars to fight in Laos, and U.S. scientists used Thailand as a laboratory to test out communications and surveillance equipment for Indochina.

Traditionally peasants have owned their land, but land shortages, the introduction of money, technology, and government agents have created a growing class of landless farmers.

Today there are 3 active communist guerrilla fronts in Thailand: Ethnic Chinese and Malay Muslims operate in south Thailand, as well as in northern Malaya; Meo tribespeople fight in the north; and Thai-Lao insurgents are based in the northeast. The 3 fronts have a unified command, and they receive at least moral support from China, from which their radio station broadcasts.

Elements of Chiang Kai-shek's Army who fled China in 1949 still live in northern Thailand where they cultivate opium with the support of the Thai Government which reportedly realizes large sums of money from the venture.

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