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Online Thai newspapers in English

To truly start understanding Thai society, keeping up with the news is essential. Expats and foreigners in general often regard Thai newspapers as inaccessible. The language barrier does not have to be a problem, though. Thailand has several English-language newspapers. In fact, Thailand’s oldest newspaper has always been exclusively available in English. Additionally, an increasing number of publications and periodicals have an English-language edition. Here is an overview of my favorite online news outlets. They feature news, analysis, opinion and op-ed pieces. Do post a comment if you spot another one.

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Glitterati Blog recovered

This blog has almost completely recovered from the major difficulties early this week. After a major power outage in the data center the site returned with very long loading times. Transfer to another server inflicted additional damage and flushed all recent upgrades down the drain. A few days later I am proud to say that everything is back up and running. The pagespeed score has even increased to 99%. With the infrastructure no longer an issue I can return to writing new content. Coming up is an exciting new series about the mystical side of Thai culture. Stay tuned. *Update: video player fixed* All systems are go.

 

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The history of Luk Thung

Virtually every time we are in Thailand together, Khwantippa and I spend a night at a Tawan Daeng club with her friends. Always heaps of fun, it made me curious about the style of music that is played there, which is Luk Thung. Extremely popular throughout Thai society, why is this considered as country music and what is its history? Turns out it is a very interesting story. Let me tell you all about it.

poster for Monrak Luk Thung, famous for its country music soundtrack

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The best currency exchange rates in Bangkok

Holidaymakers set on visiting Thailand regularly ask me where they can get the best exchange rates, converting their Euro’s into Thai Baht. In my experience (so far) the best deals are had by bringing cash over and converting them the old-school way at an exchange office. Let me explain where the best exchange rates are offered. Update (25/05/2017): Added additional exchange agencies.

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Siam in-between: Livin’ la vida local

Over the last few weeks the frequency of the updates on this blog has diminished, I am well aware. Getting a visa that allows my (Thai) fiancée and I to get married in Belgium has proven to be a daunting task. So much so, that I decided to fly to Thailand a few weeks ago to help get things sorted, locally. One Blue Monday, we found ourselves standing on the side walk outside of the Belgian Embassy, administrative challenges handled, red tape cut … and both of us with two weeks of holiday ahead, wide-open. Why not take the opportunity to experience vintage country-side living before this options disappears?

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Taking care of business in Bangkok

On Friday, I hopped on the red-eye to Bangkok, as some of you have noticed on social media. A little while ago, I started writing about the process of getting married to my Thai fiancée in Belgium. After battling through the red tape at my local city hall and the Belgian Ministry of Foreign affairs, the very last part of the administrative journey takes place at the Belgian embassy in Bangkok. As we want to manage the process ourselves and in person, I decided to fly over. As a bonus, I’ll have more adventures and discoveries to tell you about. Updates coming soon. Sawasdee khrab.

Sunset at Ploenchit Skytrain station
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Mobile wallets: skewed market research

Kind of a tech geek, my attention was drawn to this article in Business Insider today. Yes, I know, your wallet has been mobile all along. Mine too, but I was kind of hoping it was about hardware wallets. Turns out that mobile wallets are apps that store payment card information in your smartphone, allowing you to make in-store payments. Mastercard, heavily invested into the phenomenon with its Masterpass, did some market research about mobile wallets and came up with a conclusion that seems rather biassed. Mobile Wallets were mentioned In 75% (!) of 3.5 million social media conversations about new payment methods. Yet these apps are used in just 1% of retail sales. Their conclusion: mainstream breakthrough is hindered by too many available mobile wallet apps, lack of support for store loyalty cards and consumers waiting for wearable wallets. My two cents: with 75% awareness and 1% penetration, could it be that the public just isn’t interested? 🙂 My wallet contains all cards I need, is finished in premium leather and I do wear it … in my back pocket.

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Playlist: Mash-ups

Mash-ups are made by combining two separate songs, thereby creating a completely new track. They typically combine the vocals of one song with the instrumental version of another, but other approaches exist and more than two songs can be involved. Views on the history of mash-up vary. Personally, I consider the megamixes of the 70s and 80s (Stars on 45, Mirage, Patrick Cowley, etc) as a precursor, with the practice being implicitly present in mixing culture for decades and brought to the surface by 2manyDJs around the turn of the century. The phenomenon has resulted in very popular tracks, some hugely popular as bootleg records, some re-released (or re-recorded) officially, a dedicated MTV show and mainstream artists even collaborating and doing live bootlegs. This playlist contains my favorite ones, including one by yours truly. Pretty sure that you’ll be surprised to find out that some are in fact mash-ups, as they are more popular than the originals. Full track listing if you continue reading.

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