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Thailand 2024



Two mother elephants and their young were in heaven as they approached the elaborate New Year’s Eve fruit smorgasbord set up by the mahouts, or elephant tenders, at the Thai Elephant Home Nursery near Chang Mai. Established for the protection and breeding of the threatened Asian elephant and the conservation of its jungle habitat, Thai Elephant Home rescues elephants from unhealthy working conditions and provides them with a safe home. Such habitat conservation and wildlife preservation efforts are an important part of Thailand’s thriving eco-tourism industry.

Gary T. Bank © 2019
PCV Kenya 1995–1997
English Education

Kingdom of Thailand/Prathet Thai

Southeastern Asia

Area 198K mi2; 513K km2

Arable 31%

Population 69.8 (32/mi²; 136/km²)

Gov’t Constitutional monarchy

Capital Bangkok (11.7M)

GCP/Capita $17,100

Unemployment 1%

In Poverty 10%

Infant Mortality 6/1K live births (167th)

Life expectancy 78 yrs

Median Age 39 yrs

Literacy 94%

Languages Thai (official), Malay, Burmese, other; English is a secondary language of the elite

Religions Buddhist 95%, Muslim 4%, Christian 1%

Health 4% of GDP

Education 3% of GDP (152nd)

Military 1.3% of GDP (109th)

Labor Force Agriculture 32%, industry 17%, services 51%

PCVs 1962–present CURRENT: Yes, TTD: 5,557

Adult Books

Bangkok Wakes to Rain: A Novel
By Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books (2019)
ISBN-10: 0525534768
ISBN-13: 978-0525534761, 978-0525534778

A house in the heart of rain-drenched Bangkok witnesses the yearnings, regrets, and hopes of generation after generation of its Thai and foreign inhabitants. Their interlocking stories set in the captivating, chaotic, and ever-changing city’s past, present, and future come together in a novel that makes for a “wildly imaginative, mesmerizing reading experience."

“Sudbanthad proves to be a generous author with a keen eye for unique characters, who expertly evokes a sense of place — his descriptions of Thailand are gorgeous; the reader feels transported there. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is well worth reading. It's a strong debut from an intelligent, self-assured author." (Michael Shaub, NPR)

“… we see a city racing to digitize itself, to transfigure people and objects into an incorporeal state beyond the water’s reach. It’s a vision oddly terrifying and ethereal, and another demonstration of this author’s extraordinary range, flowing gracefully from historical fiction to contemporary realism to science fiction.” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)

“[Sudbanthad] creates a portrait of Bangkok that sweeps across a century and a teeming cast of characters yet shines with exquisite detail. […] This breathtakingly lovely novel is an accomplished debut, beautifully crafted and rich with history rendered in the most human terms.” (Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 1, 2018)

“Important, ambitious, and accomplished.” (Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West)

Kids' Books

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field
By Scott Riley

Format: HC, 40 pp, col illus & maps
ISBN-10: 1541579151
ISBN-13: 978-1-54157-915-6
Age Range: 6–11 yrs / Grades 2–5
Publisher: Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, 2021

On a tiny Thai island without room for a soccer field, a group of resourceful teen boys gathers scraps and works together to build a floating field so they can play the game they love.

Editorial Reviews

"This is a story that presents kids as true problem solvers. . . . an excellent STEM resource."―starred, School Library Journal

"[F]illed with happy smiles and strong kicks. . . . A splendid nonfiction picture book."―starred, The Horn Book Magazine

"A compelling book for football [soccer] fans and readers seeking examples of ingenuity."―starred, Publishers Weekly

"This inspiring tale will appeal to soccer fans, of course, but also has applications for problem solving and determination."―Booklist

"An intriguing true story elevated by striking illustrations."―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author and Illustrators:
Scott Riley is a middle school English teacher who was inspired to write about Prasit Hemmin and Koh Panyee's floating soccer field after visiting the Thai island in 2018. He currently lives with his family in Singapore.

Huynh Kim Lien and Phung Nguyen Quang are Vietnamese illustrators who have collaborated on books published in a number of countries, often under the pen name KAA. Their illustrations are influenced by the folk culture of Vietnam and Asia.


Film: Uma
Genre: Documentary
Director: Tsering Rhitar Sherpa
Country: Nepal
Release Date: 2013
Filming Locations: Nepal
Language: Nepali
Run Time: 2 hr 20 minutes

Set in the early 2000s, Uma is a story about Uma, her brother Milan, and their widowed mother living in rural Nepal during the Maoist insurgency.

Shreya Paudel of The Kathmandu Post praised the director writing "[he] shot the movie beautifully with stunning camera work and angles." ... The best thing about Uma is its non-partisan approach. It does not have black and white characters, rather it treads in the grey zones of reality. It is not a revolutionary fable, nor it is a piece of anti-Maoist propaganda. It is just a story of the times we lived in. ...

UMA—PERCEPTION FLANKED BY POLITICS (2013): Torn in the prodigal war between 1996 and 2006, Nepal floated as a country divided into three hierarchies: the so-called elites, the ordinary citizens, and the rebellion of the Maoists in a superficial war between the Government and the party for the working class people—as they supposed—the Maoists. Amidst this illusory chaos, a family finds itself torn in the brink of reality—with a touch of revolutionary, a spirit of obligation, and a nature of empathy. ...

.. Flying from the creations of New Wave Nepalese Cinema, Uma is an accomplishment. Despite flaws in the story and minor faults in the exposition, characterization, and dramatics, Uma touches. It occupies—primarily due to astounding performances by the special two and everybody involved, a dynamic and stunning second portion, breathtaking visuals, cinematography, and photography; melodic and just perfect background music, and the splendor of meaningful cinema coming from home, sweet home. —Rey Kissna


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