Thai Rice Festival honouring the “Queen of Rice” – Hom Mali rice!
Sun 16 May, 2010. Royal Thai Embassy, Republic of Singapore .
MAKING merry with my good friend, HE Khun Nopadol, The Thia Ambassador to Singapore is always a pleasure and delight.
Regarding the political turmoil and civil unrest in Bangkok, Nopadol told me that outlying areas like Koh Samui, Chiengmai, Phuket, Hua Hin are all ok.
"It is all normal and peaceful there." he explained with a wry smile.
There was lots of different Thai dishes at the Rice Festival and I met the lady Minister of Commerce who had specially flown in for the ocassion.
The various exotic and authentic Thai food dishes were all based on Hom Mali rice, of course, and the Minister of Commerce even cooked up a fiery stir-fried dish of Pork with Thai Holy Basil. i loved the Thai Mango with Sticky Rice and Coconut Cream! Everyone was in a jolly mood including my friends, the UK High Commission Defence Attache and General "Danny" the Israeli DA, and his charming wife. She told me all about ”Kosher" food.
Bouncy Porntip, the Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, explained while making her Rice Salad dish for me to taste, "It is not good, and for Tourism…Travel Retail and Duty Free, it is down about 40%…We are very lucky that Singaore has direct flights to Samui and Phuket so the impact is a little reduced. Bypass Bangkok…but overall”’not good."
It was a bit surreal and I felt like Emperor Nero fiddling while Roma burned, as everyone was all smiles, exchanging small talk, drinking Thai wines, and enjoying themselves in the huge embassy garden. Well, as John Steed used to say in "The Avengers": "Keep a stiff upper lip and carry on regardless."
Meanwhile, as we know, BKK is literally burning…with bullets flying and grenades exploding.
C’est la vie et c’est la guerre.