Thursday, June 23, 2011


American father's day and Thai father's day are two different days.  Thai father's day is on October 23, on the anniversary of the death of Chulalongkorn the Great--one of the most respected Thai kings.

So when I showed up to Talaat Romsak and said that today was father's day, Khun Mae said, "Ah!  Father in America birthday!"  Nope, not quite Khun Mae.  Fortunately the Japanese food stall behind us knew what I was trying to explain, and then I pulled out my gidt for Khun Pa: a bottle of Singha beer.

Singha beer is brewed by the Boon Rawd Brewery.  It is significant for many reasons.  Unlike many breweries in third world nations, Boon Rawd is not owned by a larger western corporation.  Boon Rawd is owned by Thais and their products are made affordable for Thai people.

This is especially significant since Boon Rawd also is one of the major distributors of bottled water throughout the country.  Much like the rest of the third world, the water that comes out of the faucet is far from safe to drink.

I remember back at United being at the presentation by the global justice group that went to Chiapas, Mexico, and they said there were many problems with Coca Cola controlling the bottled water market, forcing the people to pay huge prices or else drink the tap water.  I am glad to say this is far from the case in Thailand.

Thailand has a number of breweries and soft drink distributors that easily rival big western companies.  Coca Cola products are common, but are secondary to Thai products.  Pepsi barely has presence in the country.

In Thailand there are a number of western businesses--KFC, Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, and more--that have come in and charge higher prices for their food.  Though while this is the case for food, on the beverage side western corporations don't stand a chance against Thai products.

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