This is Thailand

 |  August 30, 2010

For those of you with any questions regarding Thailand, Thai culture, history, tourism, laws, rules, food, nightlife, sub-cultures, dating; generally anything as long as it is relevant,
we have a panel of three experts who will respond to your enquiries.

1. Today I saw a creature in the garden, which is similar to what English people call a ‘wire worm’. That is, it was very thin, like a piece of wire, about 1.5 inches long and was a shiny black colour. My Thai neighbour told me that it was a baby snake, which was dangerous and was called ‘ngoo din’. I assume that the nearest translation of that is either land snake or earth snake. I have a book titled ‘Snakes and Other Reptiles of Thailand and South-East Asia’ but cannot find anything resembling this creature, in either name or appearance. Could you help?

The reptile curator at Chiang Mai Zoo told me that ‘ngoo din’ really is a snake. It is very tiny, black and shiny. They are completely harmless since their mouths are very small and only big enough to maybe eat a termite. But some villagers believe the myth that they are dangerous. In English they are called ‘brahminy blind snakes’ and their claim to fame is that they are ‘parthenogenetic’ meaning that they can spawn young without males. They are native to Thailand but are now found all over the world, being transported in the soil of potted plants.

2. Could you tell me where the foreign cemetery in Chiang Mai is located and how to get there? Do you know who to contact regarding reserving a plot there, assuming there is still space available? Thanks.

The Foreign Cemetery is on the old Lamphun road opposite the Electricity Office, near the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club. The best person to contact is Major Ron Rae; email or ask the caretaker at the cemetery for the name of other committee members. A plot can be purchased either before or after the death.

3. I am a member of Facebook and quite enjoy some aspects but it really bugs me when I find myself in some photo ‘cos someone has tagged me, do you know what I can do about this?

First visit your profile privacy page on Facebook and change the setting next to ‘Photos Tagged of You’. Tick the option which says ‘Customise’ and a box will pop up. Tick the option ‘Only Me’ and then ‘None of My Networks’ if you would like to keep all tagged photos private. If you’d like to make tagged photos visible to certain users you can choose to add them in the box under the ‘Some Friends’ option. There are actually tons of things you might not know about Facebook, its hidden functions and privacy settings. This site can teach you a lot about that:

4. Will we be able to see that film of the Thai director you had in the magazine, ‘Uncle Boonmee Can Recall His Past Lives’?

Joei, the director, told us he is presently trying to show the film in cinemas in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Issan, so keep your eyes and ears open.

5. A few of my friends have been broken into recently, in your opinion, what is the best form(s) of house security?

The best is to not have anything worth stealing, or to be a good Buddhist and not be attached to anything you have, so if someone steals something of yours you won’t mind. Most of us aren’t that good though. I am not a dog lover but their barking will often keep the bad guys away. The best ‘watch dog’ in my opinion is a pair of geese. No one will be able to come near your house without them making a huge racket, not even you.

I’ll opt for a euphemism here just to be safe. A man I know very well is also worried about having his house done over. To abate his fears somewhat he gives a ‘gift’ of thanks to the local police station each month for sending a man each night to check that everything is ok at his house. [Ed. Citylife, naturally, does not endorse corruption of any kind.]