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Elephants in the Dohyo

Oct 16, 2017 | 0 comments

Admittedly, elephants are not used here to provide a connection with The Elephant Story but to metaphorically describe sumo wrestlers in a dohyo which is the circular ring wherein two wrestlers attempt to bring their opponent to the ground or throw them out of the ring. In both cases of elephants and sumo wrestlers, you have creatures which are immense in size though quite strong and agile.The Japanese sport of sumo wrestling began hundreds of years ago and has deep roots in Shinto religious rituals. In fact, the original sumo wrestlers were likely samurai who needed to find an alternative...

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Khun Sommai, Our Friend the Mahout

Oct 09, 2017 | 0 comments

Over the years of our involvement with elephants, we have had the opportunity to come to know a young mahout and follow his path to adulthood. Khun Sommai Petchakia, age 29, was born in Baan Ta Klang from a lineage of generations of elephant owners and mahouts. We thought it would be interesting to get his view of life and follow his activities as a young mahout.First of all, Khun Sommai is wiser than his years. Three years ago, the author was preparing to take a penalty shot in a King’s Cup elephant polo penalty shoot-out. It was against a...

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The Chinese Flame of Freedom is Finally Extinguished

Oct 02, 2017 | 0 comments

Liu Xiaobo, China's foremost political dissident and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize recently passed away from liver cancer which likely could have been prevented had there been any desire on the part of the authorities to save him. In fact, it took less than two days for the Chinese to cremate and scatter Liu's ashes which, as a result, solved a prolonged problem of the Politburo.Liu became a thorn in the side of China when he emerged as a prominent figure in the pro-democracy movement 28 years ago that resulted in the wanton deaths in Tiananmen Square. In fact,...

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Charming Chinatown

Sep 25, 2017 | 0 comments

Everyone should recognize that the reference above is to Chinatown Bangkok as the only alliteration with a "C" to describe the word "China" is "corrupt." Only in China does the word "corrupt" go beyond financial corruption to just about every form one can imagine. Whenever we go to Chinatown Bangkok, I think we ought to spend more time there though it is a bit chaotic and lacks the calm of the Dusit area where we stay. However, you might recall some scenes from the movie, Year of the Dragon, starring Mickey Rourke as portions of it were filmed in Bangkok's...

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Baht for the Baan Ta Klang Bus

Sep 18, 2017 | 0 comments

Most village people in Thailand are accustomed to the traditional manner of transportation which is the "soongthaew" or, in the old days as it was referenced, the "baht bus." The Thai baht was equivalent to five cents for which you could hop on and go anywhere on its defined route. In today's world, the most common riders are village school children on their way to school. However, in Baan Ta Klang, which is home to some 300 elephants taking morning strolls on the village roads, the "baht bus" is not the safest manner to transport young students hanging on the...

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