The following are my most popular tweets about Thailand for April 2016 (click here for last month). They are not necessarily the most retweeted, but they are the ones that got the most engagement on Twitter.
1. This is something we have all seen and so I was a bit surprised that it got so much attention. Though, according to the replies, it would seem that many adult Thais recognized this as something that their parents did to them. Great to see that they are reading, just a shame that it is in a book store and not a library.
2. The big news story in April was the brutal attack against the British family in Hua Hin during the Songkran festival. It certainly shocked me and I tweeted quite a bit about it. Partly because the Thai language media was so slow in picking up this story, but also to highlight the dangers of being out late at night. This incident may have been avoided if the British family just walked on. But, that doesn’t excuse the brutal attack. This tweet is about the family saying they will never return to Thailand.
3. One of the craziest news stories to come out of the Songkran festival was this one of the foreigner fined for taking his shirt off in a public place. It is a little known and even less enforced Thai law, and so it was strange they targetted someone celebrating the songkran waterfight. Thai police also detained and fined other foreign and Thai men for going shirtless. Ironically, a few days later, popular Thai newspaper Thai Rath had a large front page photo of a topless woman covering her breasts. Go figure.
4. This news story was initially very shocking. Photos started circulating on Twitter of a big fire in one of the capsules in the ferris wheel at Dinosaur Planet in Bangkok. At first we didn’t know if anyone was onboard at the time. These are enclosed capsules and the ride is very high. Anyone trapped in a fire on the ferris wheel would be killed for sure. Luckily, there was a big storm and the management had decided to close the ride. So, when the fire broke out, there was no-one injured.
กรมศิลปากรประกาศงดเก็บค่าเข้าชมโบราณสถานขึ้นทะเบียนและพิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ ทั่วประเทศ ในวันที่ 2 เมษายน ของทุกปี เนื่องในวันอนุรักษ์มรดกไทย
5. Thai Heritage Conservation Day is on 2nd April every year. On this day all national museums and historical parks are free. Obviously, a lot of Thais were interested to read my tweet about this. Incidentally, according to the statistics, 37% of my followers are Thais. This is why I tweet in Thai sometimes.
6. A change in weather gave us a wonderful surprise of these colourful flowering trees in Chatuchak Park and other places around Bangkok. But, you had to be quick as it didn’t last a week.
7. This front page story in the Bangkok Post got a lot of interest. Drunk driving is a big problem in Thailand, not just during the new year holidays. So, to see a story that drunk drivers would have to visit mortuaries was welcome news. I just hope that it actually happened as this was posted at the start of the Songkran holiday.
8. This video is crazy. It is CCTV showing the moment that a tour bus crossed a railway line and was hit by a train. Another angle, which I also tweeted, showed that it was a straight stretch of railway and the train could be seen from a long way off. There were barriers here, but they hade only just been delivered apparently, and so weren’t working yet.
9. I think we all like laughing at crazy suggestions by people in power. No more so than this story during Songkran where people were told to leave their big waterguns at home and use a foggy sprayer instead. Of course, no-one paid any attention.
10. Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand will soon be getting their first big water park. As the weather has been hot lately, there was a lot of interest in this tweet.
11. On 21st April, Bangkok celebrated the 234th anniversary of the founding of Rattanakosin and Krungthep, the City of Angels. Bangkok itself is much older.
12. The Thai military government are continuing their campaign to silence their critics. This includes people posting on Facebook or just clicking “LIKE”. The detention of these people in dawn raids is a reminder to ourselves that we should be careful about what opinions we post online.
Miss Songkran & Mister Loi Chai Phra Pradaeng 2016 นางสงกรานต์-หนุ่มลอยชายพระประแดง ปี 2559 pic.twitter.com/1hl0CGrO0w
13. One of my favourite Songkran festivals is the one held at Phra Pradaeng in Samut Prakan. The celebration here takes place one week later than the rest of the country (local people go away during Songkran and so wanted to celebrate when they come back home). It is also a good place to see more of a traditional side of the festival.
14. April wasn’t a good month for tourist attractions in Bangkok. At Dream World these people had to be evacuated after power was lost on the roller coaster. Luckily for them the ride had an “anti roll-back” procedure in place.
15. Another shot of the big fire on the ferris wheel at Dinosaur Planet in Bangkok. Luckily no-one was hurt, but who would ride after this?
When I first came to Thailand I was told it was rude to point. But so many Thais point at things. Even junta leaders pic.twitter.com/ao6IwNet0F
16. I remember when I first came to Thailand being told that it was rude to point at people. On this day I was talking about the Thai media’s fascination of getting people to point at things, so I also tweeted this picture of the junta leader. No further comment.
Did you share the CCTV clip of the brutal attack against the Brits? Thai police might be making arrests soon pic.twitter.com/lEwpHXs9q7
17. Thai authorities are infamous for shooting the messenger or whistleblowers. In this case, police want to know who leaked the CCTV footage of the brutal attack on the British family in Hua Hin. They said that this was more damaging than the attack as it made Thailand look bad in the eyes of the world. So, doing a cover-up doesn’t count?
18. April was certainly one long heat wave. Though a storm on the last day helped break the heat. On 28th April, a record breaking 44.6°C was recorded in Mae Hong Son. In Bangkok on that day, we had a temperature of 44.639°C.
Thanks to everyone who engaged with my tweets during April. I got 47,800 retweets, 13,100 likes and 1,700 replies. The majority of my tweets are about Thailand, where I have lived for twenty two years. I tweet the good, the bad and the ugly about the country, but as many people have noted, I mainly only see the good. Please don’t blame me for that. I don’t get paid to tweet, nor do I accept payment for tweets. If I like it, I will tweet it. If you have an upcoming event or have opened a new attraction that might be of interest, then please let me know. See you on Twitter at @RichardBarrow.