If you think Pattaya is only about sleaze, think again

(Reposted because of its mysterious disappearance from my blog)

IMG_5383Many folks familiar with Southeast Asia perceive Pattaya as a city with a dirty beach on the Gulf of Thailand, streets lined with hookers, ready access to illegal drugs and frequent brushes with violence.

Yet such a broad brush overlooks and, I think, overstates Pattaya’s proximity to Bangkok (a two-hour, $3 bus ride from the capital city), and its plentiful positive aspects.  I have managed to sample only a few of them on two visits this year .

When I tried the ocean, Continue reading

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Killer disease remains an open secret in Southeast Asia

‘. . . most of the time, the patient has already passed away.’

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The bacterium that causes Melioidosis.  Source: Eye of Science

There may be some folks who call a disease that still kills the “Vietnam Time-Bomb.”  More than 300 U.S. servicemen who fought in Vietnam were infected with it.

Melioidosis, as it is known medically, caused their deaths.  It may be Southeast Asia’s most quiet killer, a stealthy predator.

The deadly disease occurs throughout the world’s warm climes; in Southeast Asia, it is especially present in northeastern Thailand and perhaps less so in Cambodia as far as can be known.  Because it lurks with so little public awareness, physicians here don’t tend to look for it in ailing individuals, and those patients just perish, often within days.

“In Cambodia, we think 70 per cent Continue reading

Corruption query is unfortunate sign of times in SE Asia

CorruptionNot only in Southeast Asia would someone write the following, as one administrator of a non-governmental organization (NGO) did on a Cambodia Web site dedicated to expats:

Unfortunately we experienced a case of corruption in our NGO. Our accountant asked service providers to slightly increase invoices in order to get the difference to the lower invoice as a personal commission. For the time being we suspense [sic] her in order to investigate the case.

The writer went on to ask for advice, which another member of the forum answered in detail. Someone else subsequently suggested that the discussion be taken private, and therein is revealed discomfort with the West’s intolerance for the extent of corruption in Cambodia. In reply, on the site of the Cambodia Parents Network (CPN), another writer objected to the need for privacy. Said he: Continue reading