Hello 通勤家族，歡迎收聽Look Back Sunday回顧星期天，在這個節目John老師會彙整過去不同國家與主題的熱門跟讀文章，讓你可以在十五分鐘內吸收最精華的世界時事趣聞！我們這週聽聽泰國的趣聞，Let's get right to it!
Topic: Spray and pray - Thais celebrate Songkran
Thailand’s traditional New Year, as known as Songkran, is celebrated on April 13 to 15 every year. It is a time when people splash or spray one another with water, to symbolize washing away the old and welcoming the new. The word Songkran derives from the Sanskrit word for “passage” or “cross over,” representing moving into a new year. Songkran is also celebrated in Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
Known by the Taiwanese as the “splashing festival,” Songkran conjures up images of street water fights, with participants using water pistols or buckets. It originated from a traditional Buddhist ritual, and the water represents purification and blessing.
Songkran is about more than water fights. Traditionally, Thais also go to Buddhist temples to donate money or goods to the temple or monks during the festival, and the monks sprinkle holy water, symbolizing blessings, on them. People also bathe statues of the Buddha by pouring water over them. Thais will also sprinkle water in the hands of family elders, symbolizing respect and the receipt of the elders’ blessings.
Miss Songkran beauty contests are also held throughout Thailand, as a way to preserve traditional Thai costumes. There are around 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan. Of these, just over 60,000 are from Thailand.
In order to make Thai workers in Taiwan feel at home, Songkran was celebrated on Sunday at the ASEAN Square in Taichung, organized by the Ministry of Labor and the Taichung government. There will be another Songkran celebration held this coming Sunday at City Hall Square in New Taipei City.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/04/17/2003713497
Topic: The Price of Recycling Old Laptops: Toxic Fumes in Thailand’s Lungs
Crouched on the ground in a dimly lit factory, women picked through the discarded innards of the modern world: batteries, circuit boards and bundles of wires.
They broke down the scrap — known as hazardous electronic-waste, or e-waste — with hammers and raw hands. Men, some with faces wrapped in rags to repel the fumes, shoveled the refuse into a clanking machine that salvages usable metal.
As they toiled, smoke spewed over nearby villages and farms. Residents have no idea what is in the smoke — plastic, metal, who knows? All they know is that it stinks and they feel sick.
The factory, New Sky Metal, is part of a thriving e-waste industry across Southeast Asia, born of China’s decision to stop accepting the world’s electronic refuse, which was poisoning its land and people. Thailand in particular has become a center of the industry even as activists push back and its government wrestles to balance competing interests of public safety with the profits to be made from the lucrative trade.
Last year, Thailand banned the import of foreign e-waste. Yet new factories are opening across the country, and tons of e-waste are being processed, environmental monitors and industry experts said.
“E-waste has to go somewhere,” said Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network, which campaigns against trash dumping in poor countries, “and the Chinese are simply moving their entire operations to Southeast Asia.”
“The only way to make money is to get huge volume with cheap, illegal labor and pollute the hell out of the environment,” he added.
Each year, 50 million tons of e-waste are produced globally, according to the United Nations, as consumers grow accustomed to throwing away last year’s model and acquiring the next new thing.The notion of recycling these gadgets sounds virtuous: an infinite loop of technological utility.
But it is dirty and dangerous work to extract the tiny quantities of precious metals — like gold, silver and copper — from castoff phones, computers and televisions.
For years, China took in much of the world’s electronic refuse. Then in 2018, Beijing closed its borders to foreign e-waste. Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia — with their lax enforcement of environmental laws, easily exploited labor force and cozy nexus between business and government — saw an opportunity.
“Every circuit and every cable is very lucrative, especially if there is no concern for the environment or for workers,” said Penchom Saetang, head of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand, an environmental watchdog.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/349813/web/
About Thailand - Thailand’s pet groomer reopens as new coronavirus cases slow
Chewy and Miley, both two-year-old Schnauzer dogs, are getting their hair cut at a groomer in Bangkok for the first time since the new coronavirus outbreak began in Thailand in January.
Pet grooming shops are among a handful of businesses that the Thai government allowed to reopen this week, following the decline in the number of new coronavirus cases.
Extra precautionary measures that accompanied the reopening to prevent a new round of outbreak mean that the owners of Chewy and Miley are no longer allowed inside the shop.
Instead, they have to make an appointment and pick a hairstyle for their dogs in advance. They then drop off their pooches in a sterilised basket behind a plastic barrier in front of the shop. None of the dogs’ personal accessories are allowed into the shop.
“Instead of being able to groom more than 10 dogs during the whole day, we can only take about five in order for us to practise social distancing,” said Sukhum Nuangjanpat, the owner of Modern Dog Grooming and School shop.
Clawing back normality: Bangkok cat cafe reopens after virus shutdown 回到常態：曼谷貓咖啡廳在因病毒歇業後重新開放
As Thailand’s capital cautiously reopens many restaurants shuttered over coronavirus fears, the feline “employees” of the Caturday Cafe are back at work.
The few dozen friendly cats typically lounge around the cafe, breaking up naptime to saunter over to human customers for snuggles and belly rubs.
The friendly furballs give some much-needed outside contact for Thais who have mostly been confined to home during weeks of semi-lockdown with most non-essential businesses closed.
Like other businesses across Thailand, the cafe has new rules aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Before entering, customers must have their temperature checked and wash their hands, and once inside must wear a mask at all times.
As an extra precaution, the cats have dry baths, their fur brushed and eyes cleaned every day.
Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1373101 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1371500
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