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  1. #1
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    Songkran - Let the festivities begin

    Let the festivities begin
    Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont stops to greet visitors after opening the Yen Tuala Maha Songkran Festival, the lead-up to the Songkran festival, at Sanam Luang. The event features parades representing the four regions of the country.

    APICHART JINAKUL
    Bangkok Post

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    Songkran / Road Safety Campaigns

    SONGKRAN / ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGNS
    Police hope sour sweets will keep drivers alert



    CHAIWAT SADYAEM

    Prachuap Khiri Khan _ Packets of ''super sour'' lollies will be handed out to drivers during the Songkran festival to keep them from nodding off at the wheel.

    Somchai Jitsa-ngob, head of highway police station 3, said the abbot of Wat Huay Mongkol in Hua Hin had donated 200,000 baht toward a campaign to reduce road accidents.

    Highway police bought 140,000 packets of lollies with the money and they will be distributed to drivers from April 11-17.

    The festival, which marks the traditional New Year, sees droves of revellers heading to their home provinces or popular holiday destinations to celebrate.

    The holiday is notorious for the high number of road accidents, mostly due to drunk driving.

    This year the Songkran holiday extends from April 13-17.

    Pol Lt-Col Somchai said the lollies were especially sour and would ''wake drivers up instantly''.

    On Saturday, 2,999 monks gathered at Wat Huay Mongkol to bless the lollies.
    An accident prevention centre opened yesterday in Kaeng Khoi district of Saraburi.
    Over Songkran, officers from the Land Transport and Highways departments stationed at a rest area on the main highway will breathalyse the drivers of inter-provincial buses, whose vehicles will also be checked for roadworthiness.

    Bangkok Post



    Police to step up security for Songkran revelries


    There will be a heavy security presence and extra traffic-control measures in Bangkok over the Songkran festival.



    An additional 600 police and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration officers will patrol popular Khao San Road.

    The heavy security presence will be obvious from Thursday, a day ahead of the official April 13-17 festival.

    "Early birds" are often "enthusiastic" in their activities and police said area businesses were intending to observe the festival from April 12.

    Organisers are asking revellers to wear traditional Thai dress and women not to wear revealing attire.

    Police and city officials will search bags, patrol for pickpockets and thieves, check motorists for drunk driving and stop motorcyclists without safety helmets.

    The city has banned the use of talcum powder and high-powered water guns. Those caught flouting the bans face fines of up to Bt2,000.

    Meanwhile, police vowed that homeowners away on holiday could rest easy because of residential patrols.

    Royal Police Cadet Academy commissioner Lt-General Pongsapat Pongcharoen said

    the academy would deploy 255 senior students to home patrols.

    He expects more homeowners to seek the special service while out of Bangkok.

    Last year almost 2,100 capital homeowners requested the service, mostly in the Lat Phrao, Khan Na Yow, Phaholyothin, Bang Khen and Don Muang areas.

    In Chiang Mai, public transport is prepared for an influx of visitors.

    Provincial transport officer Charnchai Kilapeang predicted huge numbers travelling to

    popular tourist destinations.

    Normally, the province sees 75 inter-provincial bus round trips a day. During the festival that will increase to 100.

    Charnchai said a passenger-protection centre would be open to take complaints. Its hotline number is 1584.

    Chiang Mai state-rail officer Sompong Buttakhun said trains with additional carriages would run to the province from Bangkok, delivering thousands of passengers.
    Local Thai Airways officer Kanchit Reianthong said the airline would put on 22 flights a day from Bangkok to meet demand.

    The Nation

  3. #3
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    Some idiots here seem to be confused about the dates.
    Got hit by a bucket of water doing 80 on the motorbike - it's not funny.

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    hope no probs, injuries stroller.
    there are some thai and in certain areas, farangs, who see that as good "fun".

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    Elephants spray revellers as Songkran gets under way

    the ultimate squirt gun. Elephants spray revellers as Songkran gets under way in Ayutthaya yesterday.

    Nation\KitTinun Rodsupan

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    Pump action squirt guns still popular

    Pump action squirt guns still popular


    The amazing array of water guns available in Bangkok's Sam Pheng area remain popular among people looking forward to the coming Songkran Festival and, as usual, everyone has ignored a ban on "air-pressured" guns.


    Police and city administrators have imposed many restrictions this year including a ban on water mixed with talcum and dyes, spaghetti-strap tank tops, and pick-up trucks carrying revellers into Khao San Road - to ensure "safety and order".


    Safety measures also include a ban on using or selling high-pressure water guns - by far the most popular "weapon" of choice on Khao San Road. And Sam Pheng is where people go to buy them - for Bt10 to Bt600 each.

    Vendor Pimpaporn Sripeng, 50, said she shifted from selling dolls to water guns from March 10 to April 16 every year for the past decade. Most customers were retailers who bought in bulk to later re-sell to revellers.

    This year's best-selling model is a 2,000cc "space-style" squirter at Bt200. It was "better built" than other models, noted Pimpaporn, who sells up to 150 a day.

    Many people continued to buy air-pressured water guns despite the ban, she said, insisting that the kind she sold were of weaker pressure and not dangerous.

    The Nation

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    MtD promised me there would be no water-throwing tonight. I doubt this is going to be true

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    Wednesday 11th April 2007
    Chonburi Prison Raid as they fear Songkran Escape Attempts.

    These Pictures come from the Chonburi Central Prison which was raided by officers from the Royal Thai Navy at 6am on Wednesday. This raid was held in cooperation with the Prison Governor who requested the soldiers to make a complete search of cells to ensure that any contraband including narcotics and weapons could be removed. The Governor of the Prison is concerned that inmates may attempt to escape from the Prison so they could be with their families for the Songkran Festival and the inmates on long sentences would be prepared to use any means necessary to ensure their escape. The raid uncovered 1 knife and lots of pornographic magazines and the offending inmates will be dealt with by prison staff. The staff at the prison are happy with the results of the raid but remain on high alert as Songkran approaches.


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    Wednesday 11th April 2007
    Pattaya Songkran Preparations.

    Four stories now relating to local preparations for this years Songkran Festival.
    We begin with a meeting at the Chaimongkon Temple in South Pattaya chaired by Khun Ronagit, Deputy Mayor of Pattaya. He explained the dangers of drink driving and how this in combination with the Songkran Festival can easily lead to road fatalities. He urged delegates who came from South Pattaya communities to avoid driving whilst drunk and stressed that even small amounts of alcohol can affect reaction times if they are required to perform an emergency stop.
    We joined Khun Niran, the Mayor of Pattaya and senior members of his staff as they presented four Breathalyzer machines to Pattaya and Banglamung Police Stations. Police Major General Somdaert, the Deputy Commander of Region 2 Police accepted the donations on behalf of both Police Stations and promised the Mayor that they will be put to good use over the Songkran Festival period.
    This meeting of Banglamung Police Volunteers at Lan Po in Naklua was conducted by Police Colonel Nopadon, the Chief of Banglamung Police Station who was joined by Khun Itipon, the Adviser to the Mayor. The volunteers were told to look out for anti-social and criminal activities which could rise significantly over the Songkran Festival. Anything suspicious must be reported to Police as quick as possible so action can be taken against those who break the law. We have also been given a direct number to a senior officer at Banglamung Police Station if you should spot anything suspicious. Please call 086 306 1362 at any time for assistance.
    Finally we take you to a parade which took place on Pattaya Second Road on Tuesday Afternoon organized by the Chonburi Probation Service. This parade which included those from local organizations attempted to send the message to local residents and tourists that drink driving can kill. Leaflets were given out and anti-drink driving banners were displayed as Pattaya gears up for the impending Songkran Festival.



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    Sawatdee Pee Mai (happy New Year) To All Our Devoted Wet Readers

    SAWATDEE PEE MAI (HAPPY NEW YEAR) TO ALL OUR DEVOTED WET READERS

    Welcome to the Endless Festival! At least thatís what it seems like to some. Thailand, in common with its neighbours, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and by ethnic Dai in Yunnan, China and Sri Lanka, celebrates the coming of the New Year.
    The new astrological year, that is. Originally, Songkran, (from the Sanskrit) meaning "a move or change", marked the passage of the sun from Pisces to Aries at the vernal equinox on March 21st. But the Thais, ostensibly not being aware of the precession of the zodiac, moved the New Year celebrations to April.

    Starting in Sukhothai on the 11th and extending in Pattaya to the 18th, whatís meant to be three days (13th April to 15th April) has, essentially because of tourismís influence and each town insisting on enjoying the water games to the full, become an eight-day-long, complete dislocation of the business sector in Thailand.

    Mayhem, anti-social and criminal activities usually radically increase over the Songkran Festival. Theyíre even tightening security, sending in the Thai Navy, at Chonburi Central Prison in anticipation of a breakout of long-term inmates, desperate to return home to be with their families to celebrate the New Year.

    The impression gained by most foreign visitors is one of deluges of water as they themselves and beautiful young women, in particular, are targeted for a drenching. What originated partially as the opportunity to pay respects to the Buddha and elders as plaster-daubing, water ritual, pouring a thimbleful of lustral rose-water on other peopleís hands as a sign of respect, has now become total mayhem. Gone has the other original reason, namely, the sympathetic magical ritual to encourage the return of the rains after the hot season and in its place a hi tech water war has arisen.

    The thimble has evolved into the super-soaker, the high powered water gun, complete with back-pack reservoirs, the ďcylinder spray waterĒ Ė the metre-long, PVC cylinder equipped with a plunger and the ultimate weapon, a water tanker armed with a hose. The walkers have turned into pick-up mobile drenching gangs, taking malicious delight in drenching song taaw passengers and any dry person.

    In the worst case scenario, Songkran has almost become celebration of killing as motorcyclists and their passengers are swept off their bikes, or into the path of passing vehicles, impelled by water guns, hoses and the worst, freezing water. Likewise, itís a fine time to OD on alcohol and wreak devastation on the roads, as nearly 1000 motorists commit hari-kari, during Songkran every year.

    But this is not the essential significance of Songkran. The Thai ancestors started this festival to inculcate in their descendants several important principles. Songkran originated as the opportunity to respect family, elders and ancestors. To:

    1. return to the parental home, pay respects, bring presents and give thanks for parental care;
    2. pay respect to the neighbourhood elders;
    3. visit the wat (Buddhist temple) to honour the Buddha, pray and give food to monks. To also clean Buddha images with water and gentle Thai perfume to bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. In many cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha statues from all the city wats are paraded through the streets for people to wash as they pass by. People also carry handfuls of sand to their temple to make up for the dirt that they carry away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then piled into large, tiered piles and decorated with colourful flags.
    4. do community services at the wat. Doing community service teaches people to give, the fundamental way to happiness in Buddhism.
    5. clean and renew the home, the Thai equivalent of Spring Cleaning.

    Only the rural backwaters retain the original spirit of Songkran, in the cities, especially Chiang Mai, the war of water renders best friends enemies and even gives one the chance to soak the police; only the monk-hood is immune. It even causes murderous vendettas as ultra-pissed off, armed maniacs blow away water sprayers who dare to enflour their new Mercedes or soak their new clothes.

    So, letís stop the mayhem right now. Letís return to the true spirit of the festival. The gentle paying of respect, not wreaking havoc. And while weíre about it, why not restore the original two days, instead of eight? Then, instead of phased urban celebration, each town vying for its share of the enjoyment and consequent dislocation of the Thai economy as devotees rush homeward, often a couple of days early, leaving the business sector high and dry. (The only place that is).
    Letís restore the original festival, not its modern caricature.

    Pattaya Daily News

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    Thursday 12th April 2007
    Tourist Police anti drink-driving Songkran Parade on Walking Street.

    On Wednesday Evening on Walking Street, Police Colonel Manoo, the Deputy Commander of Tourist Police in Thailand was Guest of Honor at an anti drink driving parade organized by the Tourist Police Division of Pattaya. The idea of the parade was to highlight the dangers of drink driving especially over the forthcoming Songkran Festival when road accidents normally increase. The message was given to both Thais and Foreigners who will reside in Pattaya over Songkran. Mock-ups of road accidents using Tourist Police Volunteers were staged in an attempt to deter those who enjoy a drink from drinking and driving. The parade made its way along the entire stretch of Walking Street and then made its way to the Royal Garden Plaza where the parade continued, watched by hundreds of Tourists.


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    Donít Drink and Drive Parade in Pattaya

    Donít Drink and Drive Parade in Pattaya

    The Department of Probation Chonburi organized a huge gathering in front of Wat Chaimongkhol Temple on 10th April at 4.00pm to begin a parade through Pattaya.


    This well organised parade included disabled people, victims from drink driving accidents, children from Huay Yai School, and local residents around Pattaya. The parade, taking its message of not drinking and driving made its way along Second Road to Central Road then onto Beach Road and back to the temple.
    This campaign was aimed at people that drink and drive because accidents not only risk their lives, but also other innocent people using the roads. The penalties for drinking and driving are now very severe. The message is clear and simple, do not drink and drive.

    Pattaya People

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    Play nice at Songkran

    Video from the Nation.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Songkran in Takís Mae Sot district

    Getting in early and going at it full pelt, these young boys in Takís Mae Sot district launch into the Songkran celebration, which officially begins today.

    The Nation

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    rod nam dam hua ceremony

    Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda blesses Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont in a `rod nam dam hua' ceremony at his Si Sao Theves residence. Those calling on Gen Prem yesterday to wish him a happy Thai new year included eight members of the Council for National Security.

    CHANAT KATANYU
    Bangkok Post

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    Songkran traditional Thai New Year

    A devotee pours water on a Buddhist statue on the occasion of Songkran or traditional Thai New Year.

    Photo by Thanis Sudto
    The Nation

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    Songkran in Huay Kwang

    The Huay Kwang area of Bangkok is dead quiet. Boys in brown have been out in force booking anyone having too much fun. Here's a video of my soi this afternoon - very bloody boring lot this year .
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Burma Celebrates New Year

    Burmese youth in colour ful outfits and makeup march on the streets to enjoy traditional New Year festivities in down town Rangoon on Thursday. Burma is observing New Years holiday along with other neighbouring countries; including Thailand and Laos.//AFP

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    Police ban water throwing on Sukhumvit during Songkran holiday

    Police ban water throwing on Sukhumvit during Songkran holiday

    Set up roadblocks to test for drunk drivers Vimolrat Singnikorn
    Pattaya police are warning Songkran revelers to stay away from Sukhumvit Road during April 18 and 19, saying that water throwing will not be allowed there, in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion and road accidents.

    Traffic inspector Pol Maj Pitakpong Krongchon said that each year the traffic along Sukhumvit during Wan Lai becomes chaotic, all the way from Laem Chabang to Jomtien. This year, he said, the traffic police committee has decided there will not be any allowance for water players in trucks to drive on the Sukhumvit highway. People can still enjoy their water splashing in the city areas and sois.
    Some roads that are normally two-way will be converted to a one-way traffic flow during this period, such as the Naklua Road and some sois in Banglamung.
    PVC water pipes would not be allowed for spraying water this year, as there have been so many cases in past years in which reckless water players have sprayed water into the faces of motorcycle riders, causing accidents.
    Somchai Wattana of the Chonburi Public Health Department said that in an effort to reduce the usually high accident toll over the holiday, there is a strategy within the province of imposing speed limits, checking for blood alcohol levels, ensuring seatbelts and safety helmets are worn, and spot-checking for driver licenses.

    Pattaya Mail

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    Songkran fun gets under way in earnest

    Songkran fun gets under way in earnest


    Full celebrations of Songkran began across the country yesterday as hundreds of thousands of revellers filled the streets to splash water and have fun.



    Tourists also accounted for a large number of celebrants in famous zones such as Bangkok's Khao San Road and Phuket's Patong Beach.

    "We expect the festival to spread up to Bt9 billion all over the country," said Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Pornsiri Manoharn.

    South Korean film star Kim Jeong Hoon joined the celebrations in Khao San Road as a special ambassador for Thailand's tourism.

    Surrounded by about 500 fans, Kim was on a procession from Khao San Road to Sanam Luang.

    By midday, Khao San Road was a sea of water-soaked revellers.

    For safety reasons, officials closed all entrances to the road except those at its mouth and end. As part of a plan to tighten security, everyone was subject to a search before entering the backpackers' street.

    Earlier in the week, a small bomb exploded in Bangkok, reminding the capital of fatal bombing attacks on New Year's Eve.

    Revellers on Khao San Road were barred from playing with talcum powder and high-pressure water guns. Females were encouraged not to wear revealing clothes.

    Many people received rebukes from officials after using talcum powder and their powder was seized.

    So far, the strict rules have not dampened joyful spirits as celebrants confirmed they were having a great time.

    "It's so much fun. I am very happy," an American tourist said cheerfully while engaging in a water fight.

    "It's such a wonderful experience," Nisachol Chanabua said about her first Songkran in Bangkok.

    Hailing from the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, the girl said the lively atmosphere of Khao San Road was very similar to Songkran celebrations in her hometown.

    "The Khao Niew Road has this same feel," she said.

    In Khon Kaen, Khao Niew Road attracted a huge number of revellers, including tourists. Up to six stages went up to entertain the water-soaked celebrants with live musical performances.

    In Phuket, almost everyone on Patong's beach had a water gun while many roads were closed to traffic to allow revellers to get the fullest fun from the celebrations.

    In Nakhon Si Thammarat, fun-seekers took part in water battles in the rain. Some accidents took place.

    The grim side of Songkran was the high number of road casualties. On Wednesday and Thursday, road accidents claimed 98 lives, said Interior Minister Aree Wongsearaya. The number of people injured on the first two days of the festival was 1,234.

    "Drunk driving was responsible for 40 per cent of 1,067 accidents on Wednesday and Thursday. The number two cause was speeding, which accounted for about 19 per cent of accidents," Aree said in his capacity as chairman of the Road Safety War Room.

    There were 632 road accidents on Thursday alone, claiming 57 lives and leaving 720 injured. Most involved motorcycles.

    Officials are manning 3,251 checkpoints across the country in a bid to enforce traffic laws and enhance road safety.
    Checks on 1,819,299 vehicles so far have led to 38,950 people being punished for breaking traffic laws. The most common offences were failure to carry a driving licence, failure to wear a crash helmet and failure to wear a safety belt.

    The Nation

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr View Post
    The Huay Kwang area of Bangkok is dead quiet. Boys in brown have been out in force booking anyone having too much fun. Here's a video of my soi this afternoon - very bloody boring lot this year .
    Lived on Inthamara Soi 40 last year and it was a flocking zoo..... total chaos until late late in the evening. Going towards the market area was almost impossible, even walking.... glad I had stocked up on Gin...

    The good thing was it was really bad only 1 day, the rest were bearable.

    E. G.
    "If you can't stand the answer --
    Don't ask the question!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    ...Officials are manning 3,251 checkpoints across the country in a bid to enforce traffic laws and enhance road safety.
    Checks on 1,819,299 vehicles so far have led to 38,950 people being punished for breaking traffic laws. The most common offences were failure to carry a driving licence, failure to wear a crash helmet and failure to wear a safety belt.

    The Nation
    I can't believe drunkeness and reckless driving haven't made it into the top three offences.

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    Songkran at Khao San road

    Children wearing masks and a man on stilts are part of a parade organised yesterday by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and local residents to celebrate
    Songkran at Khao San road and surrounding areas.

    Bangkok Post
    APICHART JINAKUL

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    Saturday 14th April 2007
    Safety concerns as Songkran starts early here in Pattaya.

    Despite the fact that the official day for Songkran here in Pattaya is 5 days away the festivities have already begun in some areas around the City. We went to Soi’s 7 and 8 off Pattaya Beach Road on Friday Afternoon and as you can see the chaos otherwise known as Songkran has started. We did notice many foreigners and Thai’s using the large PVC Water Guns and also noted that many vendors were selling them. We must warn you that they are illegal and if caught using them, they will be confiscated and you may be liable to pay a small fine at the Police Station. For those selling the items, harsher penalties may be forthcoming. They are also very dangerous and the force of the water expelled from the pipes can cause injury, especially if directed at someone’s face. We hope everyone has fun over the Songkran Festival but urge everyone to use their common sense and play safe, otherwise your Songkran Festival could become a moment to remember for the wrong reasons.

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    Saturday 14th April 2007
    Two Soldiers charged with drink driving after angry incident at Police Checkpoint.

    On Friday Night, two Soldiers were arrested at a Police Checkpoint in Soi Beokeow who were accused of attempted assault on a Police Officer. Three men were arrested, including a Colonel who was stopped as he drove along the Soi. There were two low ranking soldiers accompanying the Colonel who were thought to be the main instigators of the alleged attempted assault. It was also found that they were both over the legal alcohol limit and the altercation begun when the two low ranking soldiers refused a breath test at the checkpoint. The Police Officer at the center of this incident is Police Senior Sergeant Major Pakdee who told us that the two young soldiers showed aggression towards him when he was undertaking his duties at the checkpoint. Police Lieutenant Colonel Sirichai from Pattaya Police Station took up the case and decided to charge the two junior soldiers with drink driving. We expect further disciplinary action by the army to be taken in due course.

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