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Do you wonder how approximately sixteen million tourists fly to the same destination each year? What magic must such a destination hold? It’s Thailand, and it is magic. Despite the influx of tourists, this country maintains its cultural integrity. It hasn’t changed much other than in its infrastructure. A constitutional monarchy, Thailand has 77 provinces that contain 63 million people, even in the mountains. Before you visit Thailand, we suggest you familiarize yourself with a few facts about this fascinating country. Here they are!
Basic Thailand Facts
1. Thailand exports the largest quantity of rice to other countries in the world.
2. The combined length of Thailand’s coastline is 3219km long, if you were to measure it with a tape.
3. About 90% of the Thai follow the Buddhist religion. The remaining 10% comprises of Muslims, Hindus, Christians and others.
4. In Thailand culture, saying or doing anything that goes against the monarch is punishable under strict Lese Majeste laws. One could be severely fined or even imprisoned for saying something out of turn. In fact, the Hollywood movie ‘The King and I’ was never shown in Thailand because it was felt that the movie was derogatory to the King.
5. Did you know that of all the Southeast Asian countries, Thailand is the only one that the Europeans couldn’t colonize? Good for them!
6. Thailand is the one country where the smallest and the largest of creatures live in harmony. The bumblebee bat is the smallest mammal in the world, and the whale shark is the largest, and both call Thailand home.
7. There was a time when all young Thai men were required to become Buddhist monks before they turned 20. They could come out of the order after a while or continue to be monks.
8. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand has been named the world’s hottest city! Best not to visit it during summer.
9. A tenth of all the animal species in the world call Thailand home, as do a tenth of all bird species. In fact, Thailand has more birds than the combined land mass of Europe and America!
10. Bangkok has a long, unpronounceable name – it goes something like this: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. What this actually translates into is, ‘City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest.’
11. Logging is completely banned in Thailand because over the last 100 years, Thailand has lost 3/4th of her forests.
12. Bangkok houses a tenth of Thailand’s entire population, being the nation’s capital and its largest city.
13. Another interesting piece of Thailand information – the country has about 35,000 temples, all of them beautifully designed and executed. One must be dressed modestly while visiting any Thai temple – no shorts or sleeveless shirts!
14. Don’t touch anyone on the head while in Thailand. Don’t ruffle a child’s head, even for fun. The head is considered very important, and Thai culture forbids touching another person’s head. Also, when you meet someone older than you, you must keep your head low at all times. Remember some of these Thailand information and facts when you visit Thailand.
15. Thailand’s national flower is the orchid and you can find over 1,500 species of orchids growing in Thai forests. Thailand is one of the world’s largest orchid exporters.
16. Thailand has more than 5,000 elephants, though more than half of them are domesticated. A hundred or so years ago, Thailand had about 100,000 elephants, a fifth of them wild.
17. The biggest and the most poisonous snakes can be found in Thailand. The King Cobra, the most poisonous snake in the world lives freely in Thai jungles, as does the reticulated python that grows to over 33 feet long.
18. Thailand used to have 23 types of Siamese cats originally, but now there are only six. The country was once known as Siam in honor of these cats. In fact, a Thai bride is given a pair of Siamese cats for good luck at her wedding. One of the cooler Thailand culture facts!
19. Bangkok was cut through by water canals, which were filled in later on to create streets. In fact, Bangkok used to be known as the ‘Venice of the East’owing to the buildings that were constructed over the water on stilts, and the gondolas used to traverse to them.
1. Yes, this is 100% true and not some middle-schooler’s idea of perverted fun. In Thailand, it is indeed illegal to leave one’s home without underwear. No idea how they find out but it’s still illegal.
2. In the Lopburi Province, an annual ‘feast for the monkeys’ is held to thank the monkeys for the increased tourism to the area. This festival is held in front of the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple, and a buffet of meat, fruit, nuts, ice cream and peanuts are laid out for the tailed critters. Obtaining a Thailand visa is worth it just to see those tailed gluttons going at the food!
3. Did you know that ‘Thailand’ actually means ‘the land of the free’? And it’s the US that has that phrase in its national anthem!
4. In Thailand, apart from stepping out without underwear, one more thing is illegal. You cannot step on Thai currency, even by mistake. That’s because Thai currency has an image of their king printed on it.
5. The Thai Muay boxing style is referred to as the ‘art of eight limbs’. No wonder it feels like there are too many limbs when Muay boxers fight!
6. Thais are required to keep their head lower than those who are older or more important or be chided for it. Must be getting massive cricks in their necks by the time they’re adults!
7. One more – you simply cannot do the California thing and drive shirtless during your Thailand travel, even if you’re soaking wet due to the perspiration.
It’s hard to stop at just a few facts when it comes to this intriguing country of such contrasts! Some of these facts are very important for tourists to note and remember, especially the lese majeste ones. The Thai are a generous people and readily forgive small faux pas committed by tourists but be careful not to break any of the bigger rules. Do visit Thailand as soon as you can and check the ‘Land of Smiles’ out for yourself!
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television
One of India's leading private museums, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, has released new primary research conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, on audience behaviour in India's cultural sector. While more than half of the respondents thought the arts and culture are essential, they rarely manage to make time for it. The majority (60.6 per cent), mostly young people under 30, felt Indian museums could present more engaging content, and most perceived culture as anthropological/ sociological. Of the diverse categories included, music emerged as the most popular cultural activity.
The report is based on a survey of 500 people, which included school and college students, professionals across sectors, homemakers and senior citizens. The first initiative of its kind in the cultural space, the report shares valuable insights into the behaviour and expectations of Indian audiences engaging with a broad range of cultural activities. As part of MAP's mission to foster meaningful connections between communities and the cultural sector globally, which includes its innovative digital programme Museums Without Borders, the report shares a wealth of insights that can help museums across the country understand their audiences better. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.
As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Speaking on the recent report, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), said, "MAP is focused on changing the notion of a museum in India, by enabling more relevant and inclusive programming, both online and in our space in Bengaluru. The audience research commissioned by MAP, and conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, provides valuable, and actionable insights which we hope will help museums across the country better understand their consumer base, improve decision making and deepen social impact." As much as 62.3 per cent college students and 47.6 per cent professionals/homemakers perceive culture as anthropological and sociological. Music was the most popular cultural event likely to be attended, followed by heritage tours and plays/comedy shows for Indian audiences.
Over 70 per cent of college students visit museums with family and friends; working professionals, homemakers and senior citizens also predominantly visit with groups/ spouses (indicating a need to focus on increased group programming/facilitation). As much as 68 per cent of people were optimistic about going outdoors for activities and events in 2021. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.(IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Art, Culture, India, Museum, Music
What is the best way to save Goa from deforestation?
Drinking feni, may well be the answer, says the secretary of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association Hansel Vaz, who on Thursday said, that sipping the state's unique alcoholic drink and making it popular would directly aid the greening of Goa's hills and other barren landscapes.
"To get more cashews, we need to plant more trees. I always say, by drinking feni you will save Goa, because we will be planting more cashew trees and we will have greener hills. The beauty of cashew is you do not need fertile land. You can grow it on a hill which can provide no nutrition. We will be able to grow more trees, if we can sell feni properly," Vaz said. Vaz's comments come at a time when the hillsides of the coastal state have witnessed significant deforestation for real estate development and for infrastructure projects. Feni is manufactured by fermenting and double distilling juice from the cashew apple.
Best way to keep Goa green is to grab yourself a glass of feni. | IANS
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Vaz also said that the promotion of feni was also in sync with the Prime Minister's vision for India to go "vocal for local". "There is no conglomerate, multinational company owning the drink. So every time we sell feni, it is a direct cash injection into Goa. If you sell a feni cocktail in Calangute (a popular beach village), it makes a direct impact in Valpoi and Bicholim, because this money is going down there," the Association official said at a press conference in Panaji.
The Association held the media briefing to announce a road map ahead for the feni industry, especially vis a vis streamlining aspects related to production, standardisation and marketing of the brew to make it popular in other Indian states and abroad.
The efforts to streamline the state "heritage drink" comes a month after the Goa government notified a formal policy, 'Goa Feni Policy 2021', which covers 26 different varieties of feni distilled in the state. "There were many barriers related to feni, which the policy has now addressed," treasurer of the Association Tukaram Haldankar said. One such hurdle was the previous government classification, which described feni as "country liquor", which would deter tourists from purchasing the drink. The reclassification of feni as a state "heritage drink" has lent dignity to the brew which has been manufactured locally in Goa since the 16th century.
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. | Photo by Ishvani Hans on Unsplash
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. "We request the government to allow the sale of feni in duty free stores in airports and cruise liner terminals. The government should also support us through the department of Tourism, so that feni can be promoted in its programmes. iIf you go to Scotland, they promote Scotch. Goa should promote its feni to Goa," Haldankar said, adding that traditional distillers should also be given subsidies and other measures should be taken to standardise feni, which he said, "would require further subsidies and financial assistance from the government".
"It should be a standard product like scotch, champagne," Haldankar said. "Like Mexico's tequila, Russian vodka and Japan's sake, we need to export our feni across the country and the world and the local distillers should also benefit economically," president of the Association Gurudutt Bhakta also said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: deforestation,cashew,distillers,association,government, goa, feni, India