WATER FESTIVAL

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Return to Thai tradition, saving water the themes for this Songkran

Published April 14, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Return-to-Thai-tradition-saving-water-the-themes-f-30283928.html

WATER FESTIVAL

At Nong Khai

At Nong Khai

Throngs of Songkran celebrants yesterday attend a good luck ritual by pouring scented flower water onto the sacred Buddha image, which is temporarily enshrined at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang ceremonial ground for the occasion.

Throngs of Songkran celebrants yesterday attend a good luck ritual by pouring scented flower water onto the sacred Buddha image, which is temporarily enshrined at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang ceremonial ground for the occasion.

Locals and tourists enjoy the first day of a Songkran water fight in Khao San Road yesterday. Saving water is the main theme of this year’s |celebrations. Revellers have been advised to avoid larger water guns.

Locals and tourists enjoy the first day of a Songkran water fight in Khao San Road yesterday. Saving water is the main theme of this year’s |celebrations. Revellers have been advised to avoid larger water guns.

At Silom Road, Bangkok

At Silom Road, Bangkok

At Siam Square, Bangkok

At Siam Square, Bangkok

At Chiang Mai

At Chiang Mai

At Chiang Mai

At Chiang Mai

At Silom Road, Bangkok

At Silom Road, Bangkok

At Koh Pha-Ngan

At Koh Pha-Ngan

THE KINGDOM kicked off the three-day Songkran festival yesterday in a more traditional and frugal manner, as saving water appeared to be the main goal of authorities and event organisers.

Revellers during Songkran, billed as the world’s biggest water fight, were urged to help conserve water since Thailand is experiencing its worst drought in decades.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Metropolitan Police have banned the sale of high-pressure water guns as they consume more water and pose a safety threat to targeted passers-by. Sellers of such guns risk a maximum prison sentence of six months and fines of up to Bt50,000.

However, many celebrants, most of them foreigners, were still seen carrying such guns in places like Khao San Road and Silom.

People have been urged to use small water guns or even spray bottles to conserve water. In some areas, revellers were given punctured plastic bottles that they can use to squeeze water at others.

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Authorities have also geared up to scrub the celebration clean of alcohol, topless dancers and other such “indecencies”, by threatening to arrest scantily-clad women and banning the sale of alcohol at raucous street parties in a bid to bring the festival back to its traditional roots.

In response to the government’s policy to save water and conserve Thai tradition and culture this Songkran, the Culture Ministry and its allies have organised Songkran celebrations at temples and is inviting people to make merit. Thailand’s first cross-country prayer for Songkran will be held at different temples, Culture Minister Weera Rojpojanarat said yesterday.

He made these comments after presiding over the launch of “Songkran in Temples: Attending Thai-style New Year Prayers and Saving Water” activity at Wat Arun and another event highlighting the worship of nine sacred Buddha images at Wat Pathumwanaram. Weera said the prayer campaign, to run until April 17, has received cooperation from monastic sites and communities nationwide.

In Bangkok, six key temples joined the programme by holding Songkran activities and traditional shows. The temples involved were Wat Benchamabophit, Wat Phra Chettuphon or Wat Pho, Wat Rachathiwat, Wat Pathumwanaram, Wat Prayurawongsawas and Wat Arun.

The Khunnadhamma community at Wat Hongrattanaram also made arrangements for alms offering, water blessing of Buddha images and the making of pagodas from sand, he said, adding that people could call (02) 422 8812 for more information.

Traditional flair was also brought to Mahasarakham Hospital in the Northeast, with doctors and nurses at the emergency unit dressing in traditional attire. They said such clothing did not get in their way, while many visitors welcomed this gesture and asked to take photographs with them.

Many Thais as well as people in neighbouring countries joined merit-making events to usher in the New Year. In Bung Kan’s Muang district, provincial governor Pongsak Preechawit led local residents and Laotian people to offer alms to 80 monks yesterday morning. Water-splashing celebrations also were joined by Thais and their neighbours alike, with nearly 10,000 Myanmar citizens from Koh Song crossing the border in Ranong yesterday to join the fun, make merit at local temples and to visit local attractions.

In the Northeast, owner of Buri Ram United football club Newin Chidchob set up a large tent with a sign reading “Morgue” in a move to control chaos-creating drunken youth at the grand Songkran party being held at the i-Mobile Stadium in Buri Ram.

 

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No sexy Songkran outfits, junta insists

Published April 14, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/No-sexy-Songkran-outfits-junta-insists-30283803.html

WATER FESTIVAL

Elephants splash water at people as part of a Songkran celebrations at an elephant camp in Ayutthaya. Songkran, which starts tomorrow, is the Thai traditional new year every summer, when people splash water on one another and return home to celebrate the

Elephants splash water at people as part of a Songkran celebrations at an elephant camp in Ayutthaya. Songkran, which starts tomorrow, is the Thai traditional new year every summer, when people splash water on one another and return home to celebrate the

AUTHORITIES WILL push for sober and “appropriate” Songkran celebrations this year under instructions from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Revellers wearing clothing considered “too sexy” will be barred from 40 water-playing zones, including the popular “Khao” walking streets nationwide, while booze will be prohibited at 96 Songkran concert and public sites nationwide, deputy police spokesman Krisana Pattanajaroen warned yesterday.

Krisana said Prayut has instructed police to strictly enforce the law.

Women wearing revealing clothes will be barred from walking streets, including Bangkok’s Khao San Road, Pattani’s Khao Yam Road, Nakhon Phanom’s Khao Poon Road, Chon Buri’s Khao Lam Road and Khon Khaen’s Khao Niew Road. Ang Thong’s Khao Suk Road will not be affected, as the area does not have enough water for festivities.

As roads leading to upper Thailand were clogged with holidaymakers heading to their hometowns to celebrate the holiday, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda yesterday officially opened a road safety centre to monitor motorists’ accidents during the long holiday period.

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To reduce the number of road accidents with a multi-agency integrated approach, the centre will monitor road tolls from April 11-17, during which time the concept of “Safe Songkran, promoting Thai culture and respecting traffic law”, would be emphasised via various activities. They included the setting up of “one checkpoint, one village” and Songkran water-playing zones where alcohol consumption will not be allowed. Drivers caught drunk or found to be involved in speeding or reckless driving will be subjected to harsher punishments than usual, including temporarily impounding their vehicles and driver’s licences. The centre would also use the data collected during this period to formulate appropriate measures to curb road casualties and encourage traffic discipline in Thais.

Nakhon Ratchasima’s Mitraparp Highway yesterday saw a greater number of cars, as many people took days off yesterday and today to leave Bangkok before the official holidays began.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has launched a “drug-free Songkran” campaign at Suvarnabhumi Airport and randomly conducted urine tests on public transport drivers, particularly taxi drivers to prevent accidents. Of the 120 cabbies tested, one yielded a positive result for drugs. He has been sent to a nine-day rehabilitation programme at Kwan Phaendin Centre. A total of 1,000 cabbies yesterday underwent alcohol tests and the condition and meters of their vehicles were also checked.

Land Transport Department deputy chief Jirut Wisanjit said 836 out of 1,000 taxis were found to be in a poor condition and their meters also did not function normally.

ONCB deputy chief Narumon Chuangrangsi warned travellers against obliging requests from strangers to carry luggage, as |they may turn out to be drug gangsters.

The director of Suvarnabhumi Airport insisted that there would be enough taxis for people during the Songkran period when demand peaks to 9,000-10,000 trips a day. Although the airport had 3,000 registered taxis, more taxis would be enlisted to cater for passengers during this period, he said, adding that details of the temporary cabbies would be recorded to boost the confidence of tourists.

Meanwhile, acting city police chief Pol Lt-General Sanit Mahathaworn led 300 subordinate police officers to donate blood at Rajavithi Hospital under a project to aid those injured in Songkran road accidents.

 

Prayut lays down rules for Songkran

Published April 14, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Prayut-lays-down-rules-for-Songkran-30283360.html

WATER FESTIVAL

PROVOCATIVE dances, revealing clothes and red bowls emblazoned with the name Thaksin Shinawatra will be banned during the upcoming Songkran Festival.

Officially held from April 13 to 15, the usually colourful festival will this year face a stern stance towards revellers who get drunk, become sexually provocative, or adopt a politically ‘red’ stance.

Police have vowed to take swift action against any Songkran celebrant who gets drunk or wears too revealing clothes. Revellers were also warned to be cautious about applying powder on others or risk being punished for sexual harassment.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday he had ordered the immediate arrest of any females or transvestites found performing sexually provocative dance moves on pickups or trucks during the festival.

“Don’t say this is a festival for fun and this festival is just held for a few days each year. Such actions can cause trouble to others,” he said.

He said provocative dances may arouse some revellers who may end up sexually harassing others. Crimes may then follow.

On red bowls, an informed source yesterday revealed that police were preparing to quickly interrogate any reveller who carries a red bowl with Thaksin’s name on it.

“At their meeting, police have been given guidelines – that they should ask questions to find out where the bowls came from,” the source said.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is even considering putting politicians who give out the pro-Thaksin bowls in a seven-day course to “adjust their attitude”. Prayut, also the NCPO chief, has insisted that such bowls are not usual Thai New Year gifts.

Senior police did not mention the red bowls directly when they emerged from a meeting on Songkran measures yesterday.

However, the source said they discussed the issue at the meeting.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is calling on people to avoid carrying backpacks, wearing facial masks, and wielding huge water guns during the upcoming festivities.

There will be many big Songkran events around the capital. Events are being held at Khao San Road, Silom Road and Central World.

Assistant National Police Commissioner Pol Lt General Anan Srihiran said water trucks would also be banned on 33 of Bangkok’s main roads during the period.

“We will promote a safe and beautiful celebration of Songkran,” he said.

A splashing good time

Published April 7, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/travel/A-splashing-good-time-30283382.html

WATER FESTIVAL

Known as Thingyan in Burmese, the water festival runs at the same time as Songkran and involves extreme water splashing

Known as Thingyan in Burmese, the water festival runs at the same time as Songkran and involves extreme water splashing

Angkor Wat, Cambodia, is a centre stage for Cambodia's traditional New Year. Nation Photo/Phoowadon Duangmee

Angkor Wat, Cambodia, is a centre stage for Cambodia’s traditional New Year. Nation Photo/Phoowadon Duangmee

Chiang Mai celebrates traditional New Year.

Chiang Mai celebrates traditional New Year.

Travellers get a bucket of water in Chiang Mai during Songkran Festival.

Travellers get a bucket of water in Chiang Mai during Songkran Festival.

Where to go wet and wild during Southeast Asia’s various water festivals

April is here and in several Southeast Asian countries, the old traditional year is once again giving way to the new circle. The Sun God is already heating up the air from hot to far too hot, depending on where you are – Chiang Mai, Mandalay, Luang Prabang or Bangkok. And the region’s cities, long connected by a “water culture” (and more recently by a network of low-cost carriers), will as usual be answering the Sun’s call with water.

From Jinhong in China’s South to Luang Prabang in Laos’ North, from Yangon in Myanmar to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, millions of Asian folks will be gathering with buckets full of water at city landmarks to dance, sing and pray their way into a new year.

Here are the best cities in which to soak up both water and culture over the next week.

MANDALAY, Myanmar

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Date: April 13 to 15

Known as Thingyan in Burmese, the water festival runs at the same time as Songkran and involves (depending on how old you are) extreme water splashing or gentle pouring of water. Over in Myanmar, the New Year is welcomed with a week-long celebration across the country, but the best place to visit is Mandalay, where the action and festivities take place around the city moat and the walls of Mandalay Palace. Big and small stages are erected along the roads for people to sing and dance. Colourful processions and parades add a carnival atmosphere.

LUANG PRABANG, Northern Laos

Date: April 14 to 16

If the traditional New Year needed a home, it would probably be Luang Prabang – the attractive town on the banks of the Mekong River in northern Laos. Legend has it that King Kabilaprom had seven daughters (known as Nang Sangkharn), but he lost a challenge to Thammakuman and had to pay the penalty – decapitation. Since a monarch’s head couldn’t touch the ground, it was placed on a tray and kept on Mount Krailard, to be brought down every year by one of his daughters for a procession. Known as the Sang Klan Long Festival, the legend is recreated annually for Pi-mai Lao (Lao New Year), with the revered Buddha Image of Prabang, senior monks seated on a palanquin and beautiful local women competing for the title of Queen of Sang Klan. Find your way to the bank of Mekong on April 14 and admire the thousands of sand stupas. The locals make them to keep the evil spirits at bay over the New Year celebration.

CHIANG MAI, Northern Thailand

Date: April 13 to 16

Chiang Mai draws many thousands of visitors over the Thai New Year for a thorough soaking. The city plays it both gentle and wild when it comes to Songkran. Early in the day, there will the traditional and gentle sprinkling of water on temple grounds. As the day heats up, shots of water will be fired from a high-power pump and there will be cold water in balloons. The target is, of course, anything moving. Expect to finish the day looking like a wet puppy. The festival culminates at night with cultural shows at Thapae Gate.

JINHONG, Southwest China

Date: April 13 to 16

The water festival is very obvious in Jinhong, since the locals celebrate it every day to earn tourist dollars. For around 50 yuan (Bt280), tourists can enjoy throwing buckets of water at the locals – usually young women in colourful costumes and flowers. However, the real deal comes in the next two weeks when the city celebrates the Dai New Year. For three days, the streets and surrounding villages will be totally wet as the locals roam around armed with buckets of water, hoses, water-pistols and water-filled balloons. Nobody goes home dry. Follow your nose to the banks of MeSkong (or Lanchang as it is called by the Chinese) for cultural shows and dragon boat races.

BANGKOK, Thailand

Date: April 13 to 15

The traditional Songkran Festival will be celebrated all over Bangkok including at Wat Suthat, Wat Pho and Siam Square shopping district. But the centre of the action is still the backpacker ghetto of Khao San Road. For a really wet-and-wild scene, this small street is definitely the place to be. Armed with pump-action water cannons and buckets of coloured powder, thousands of fun-lovers will be soaking everything that moves. Starting from April 12, though punters can expect the fun to start on Sunday, until there is nothing left to soak, Khao San Road and Santi Chaiprakan Park in Bang Lamphu play host to the unofficial International Songkran Festival, the most boisterous of the Asia’s water festivals.

SIEM REAP, Cambodia

Date: April 13 to 15

Angkor Wat, with its rustic moats, is the near-perfect setting for the water festival. Siem Reap, once the seat and the soul of Cambodia’s art and culture, hosts Sankranta and this year is expecting to draw more than 500,000 visitors to watch Khmer traditional art performances and games and the chess competition.

 

PM has not banned water throwing at Songkran: govt

Published April 1, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/PM-has-not-banned-water-throwing-at-Songkran-govt-30282660.html

WATER FESTIVAL

Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd has denied reports Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is okay with water being thrown on only one day of the three-day Songkran Festival next month.

Sansern said the PM had made it clear that Songkran was a Thai way of life and it was impossible to ban water throwing during the festival.

“If the PM is going to issue any instruction, he is not going to talk to one person but [will talk to] the Cabinet,” Sansern said.

Prayut has urged Thais to be aware of the water crisis in the country and celebrate Songkran responsibly, the spokesman said.

Sansern said police and concerned agencies would take action against websites that ran the water-ban story.

 

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