Bangkok is everything I had expected it to be. It’s alive, buzzing, noisy, hot, frenetic – the Big Mango. Being and feeling at home here somehow comes naturally – I know enough of the language, people don’t treat me as a foreigner, I have many Thai and non-Thai friends. The language classes at AUA allows me to meet many interesting folks from all parts of the world. The food is cheap and delicious, and KL is just a short flight away.
A weekend ago I was in Singapore to attend a friend’s wedding. It was somewhat strange just flying over the peninsular without stopping by in KL. On the same day, there was in fact another wedding to attend to – a Thai one in Bangkok. Alas, I wasn’t able to attend the latter. Congratulations L and K, and Selamat Pengantin Baru, as we say it. I have also been invited to a Javanese wedding in Jawa Timur next year by a course mate here at Mahidol. Really looking forward to that. I had jested with the chap, querying whether it was safe for me to travel to Indonesia 😉 Tak habis2 bergaduh!
There are several doctors from Myanmar in my course – they are a great bunch. We’re currently learning about malaria, and a recurrent theme is the high burden of the disease along the Thai-Myanmar border. There was interesting talk this morning from a a Dept of Health doctor, on elimination of malaria in Thailand.One of the topics he touched upon that piqued my interest was the situation in the deep south of Thailand.
The southernmost three provinces have been a very problematical area with regards to malaria control as the incidence is amongst the highest in the country. The Thai health ministry personnel couldn’t safely carry on their work in treatment and prevention programs with the troubles that are occurring.
I honestly don’t know what to make of the troubles in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. Undoubtedly they are Malay, but living in a Thai state. Somehow it has to work. There are so many Thai Muslims living in absolute peace and harmony in Bangkok – I haven’t felt uncomfortable being a Muslim for a single moment here in Bangkok.
also learnt was also reminded that the 5th strain of malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi was found in Sarawak a few decades ago, and is now making its way into the medical textbooks.