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The Travel Diary

Spending the night in a Japanese capsule hotel

I walked up to the counter, a sparkling white surface with two ipads neatly placed on top, to check in. I scanned the lounge area only to find a large space with bare minimum furniture. “Check in is at 1 pm. Please take a seat” the man behind the counter said as a matter of fact. I looked at my phone. It was 12:57 pm. Perhaps it was Japanese efficiency? But it’s more likely that this capsule hotel emulated a sort of robotic efficiency. Capsule hotels are uniquely Japanese and were once popul

History of Thai kings a new topic in schools of conflict-torn south

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Private Islamic schools in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south will teach the history of past kings, a governor said on Wednesday, the Buddhist-majority nation’s latest bid to bring peace to the strife-torn region, but one that could backfire. The mostly Muslim southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala are home to an insurgency by ethnic Malay Muslims fighting for autonomy, in which more than 6,000 people have been killed since 2004. Narathiwat governor Suraporn Prom

Thai police arrest Hells Angels gang members

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai police have arrested four members of a Hells Angels biker gang accused of drug crimes, violence and posing a threat to society, the Tourist Police said on Thursday. Three Australians and a Canadian were arrested on Wednesday in Pattaya, a major tourist resort with a reputation as a hub for foreign gangs, drug dealing and the sex industry. Piyapong Ensarn of the Pattaya Tourist Police told Reuters that two of the accused gang members would be deported and the two others

Late Thai king's remains returned to palace after night of tears

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The ashes and bones of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej were returned to the palace on Friday as part of an elaborate, five-day cremation ceremony that drew hundreds of thousands of black-clad mourners to Bangkok’s historic old quarter. King Bhumibol was the world’s longest-reigning monarch when he died a year ago aged 88. His seven-decade rule spanned some of the most tumultuous moments in modern Thai history, including several coups, a deadly crackdown on student protest

Thai vegetarian festival expects record spending

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s annual vegetarian festival began on Friday with record spending expected from Thais abstaining from meat-heavy diets to earn spiritual credit during the year-long mourning period for the late king. Tiny yellow flags fluttered over shops and stalls in Bangkok’s Chinatown to show those with vegetarian-friendly dishes. The festival is particularly popular among Thai Chinese. Spending on food, transport and donations to Buddhist temples to ‘make merit’ during the fes

Prices drop in major exporters on weak demand

A farmer spreads fertilizer in his rice field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files Bangkok (Reuters) - Rice prices dropped this week in Thailand, Vietnam and India due to weak demand for the staple, traders said on Thursday. Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $370-$375 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, down from $375-$377 a tonne last week. The fall in prices can be attributed to the release of new crops. “Export market demand is

Lost in Translation: Thailand offers course for women who marry foreigners

German Ralf Wacker and his wife Ploynisa Duangdararungrueng pose for photo with their dogs at a park near their house in Ayutthaya province, Thailand, August 22, 2017. Picture taken August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand is offering a free course to help Thai women cope with the highs and lows of interracial marriage and avoid potential scams or falling victim to human trafficking when moving abroad. As Thai society becomes more accepting of interracial marri
Bangkok Post

Lights, Camera...Asia

Hollywood is often seen as the epitome of the global film industry as it is the primary source of some of the world's most commercially successful films. When it comes to quantity, however, Asia's film industry tops the table. It is home to more than a third of the world's population with a growing appetite for entertainment, as well as being the source of thriving film industries such as those in India, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. By far the biggest producers of films in Asia are
Bangkok Post

Delayed marriages have major implications

Asia traditionally has been characterised as having universal marriage -- defined as fewer than 5% of the population having not married by age 50 -- but rapid economic development has led to changes in the trend in some regions. "More and more people are beginning to delay marriage," said Gavin Jones, a former professor of sociology and director of the JY Pillay Comparative Asia Research Centre at the Global Asia Institute at the National University of Singapore. "Marriage was traditionally se
Bangkok Post

Hotels hone digital strategy

The digital revolution is challenging the hospitality industry on many fronts, from changes in the way people plan and book travel to the technology needs of guests. The impact of disruptive technologies such as Airbnb may dominate the headlines but many more changes are taking place behind the scenes as hotels refine their digital strategies to stay fresh and relevant. This major transformation reflects the fact that travel research, planning and booking is now done almost entirely online for
The Market Mogul

Thailand: Time To Look At The Bigger Picture?

Over the last decade, Thailand has fallen prey to a vicious circle of political turmoil with society effectively polarised between two groups. The ‘red shirts’, on one hand, comprising of poor farmers from the rural areas in the North and Northeast region, are pitted against the ‘yellow shirts’, which are mainly middle-class urbanites from Bangkok. Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted due to corruption charges and scandals, but he has continued to be the de facto ruler through hi
The Tab Warwick

Warwick protesters call for BP archives to be removed from campus

Tireless campaigners have petitioned the chancellor to shut down a BP archive based in the campus library. An eight-week campaign is being run by the protesters, who earlier this summer persuaded the academic board to stop investing in coal, gas and oil companies. Members of pressure group Fossil Free Warwick are now calling for a “total disengagement policy” when it comes to BP, as the fossil fuel giant have moved away from investing in renewables. Leah Lapautre, a member of the group Fossil
The Boar

Warwick India Forum 2015

India Reconstructed, a conference organised by the Warwick India Forum, took place on February 21 at the Woods Scawen Room in the Art Centre. In the words of Dr. Shailaja Fennell, a lecturer in development studies at the University of Cambridge and a guest speaker at the conference: “to reconstruct something we must first deconstruct it”, in particular, “deconstruct the challenges facing India” in the areas of education and skills, employment, and beyond. Dr. Fennel examined the challenges Ind