Unhappiness in the land of smiles

Story ImageThailand, a country in South-East Asia, has seen lots of protests over the last two weeks by people that want the Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej, to step down. The protestors have been trying to cut off water and electricity, and prevent tourists from visiting Thailand. The court of Thailand finally used an excuse to ask Samak to step down – the reason was that he appeared on a TV cooking show and accepted money for it! But it is likely that he will be elected as Prime Minister again.

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s longest-ruling monarch alive today – he has ruled for over 60 years. He is loved and respected by the Thai people. Last year, the video sharing site, YouTube, was banned for four months in Thailand for not taking down a video that made fun of the King!

Most Thais follow the Buddhist religion. Thai food is famous for trying to balance all five fundamental tastes – sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, and salty – in every meal. The national sport of Thailand is Muay Thai, or Thai kickboxing. It is called “the art of eight limbs”, because it uses hands, shins, elbows, and knees! It has been featured in movies such as “The Kickboxer” and “The man with the Golden Gun”, and popular video games like “Dead or Alive” and “Street Fighter”.

Thailand is referred to as the “Land of Smiles” because the Thai have smiles for all sorts of emotions – “yim soo” (the sad smile), “yim harng” (the dry smile), “feun yim” (the stiff smile), “yim tak tan” (the winner’s smile), “yim yor” (the mocking smile), and many others!

Image Credits: SmileMakers for smileys graphic