Can a CISF officer join the NSG

In our detailed introduction to Air India in December 2013, we had to mention that Air India's membership in the Star Alliance was refused in 2011 and that this airline is now working hard on its modernization. This seems to have succeeded quickly, because the accession took place formally on July 11, 2014 and we would also like to mention this change in the context of the article series.

The Star Alliance was founded in 1997 as the first global association of international airlines. The headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main and the "founding fathers" included the German Lufthansa and the THAI.

The Star Alliance transports passengers comfortably and reliably around the globe. It has already received several awards, including the Market Leadership Award from Air Transport World, as well as from the travel magazine Business Traveler and the market research institute Skytrax for the Best Airline Alliance.

The members are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. The inclusion of Avianca Brasil is expected to be completed in 2014. In total, the network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,316 airports in 192 countries.

As the first Indian airline, Air India has now been accepted as a full member of its global airline family, so that the airline's extensive national network in the fifth largest aviation market is now available to Star Alliance customers worldwide. The Air India network includes 50 destinations in India and 33 international destinations in 23 countries. The now more than 40 additional inner-Indian destinations provide passengers with excellent connections to, in, over and from India. It's a rapidly growing market.

Air India occupies a special place within the Indian aviation scenario, has grown rapidly in recent years and has become a huge international airline with significantly improved service and processes. The "new" Air India today has one of the youngest, most modern aircraft fleets, including wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing B777, B747, the Airbus A330 and the recently acquired B787 Dreamliner as well as the narrow-body Airbus fleet A321, A320 and A319 includes.

All Star Alliance customers can now take advantage of Air India's airline network and, at the same time, Air India customers benefit from the same advantages when they book flights with one of the 26 Star Alliance airlines. Air India is adding a total of 400 daily flights and more than 40 new destinations in India to the Alliance network. The greatest growth can be expected from their national market, in which 13 Star Alliance members have been active in 10 destinations and with a market share of 13%. As a result of Air India's new membership, the Star Alliance's market share in India has increased to 30%. From a global perspective, passengers also benefit from a larger selection of flight routes that connect North America, Europe, Asia and Australia across the Indian subcontinent.

Air India now offers check-throughs for both passengers and their luggage to the end point of the flight for connecting flights operated by every Star Alliance member airline, thus enabling a smooth journey. The advantage for passengers is that they do not have to collect their boarding passes for connecting flights at the transfer airports and the baggage is transported to the final destination, provided that this is permitted by local customs regulations.

Mutually, the benefits for frequent flyers under the frequent flyer program of Air India, Flying Returns, and those of the existing member airlines are now taken into account. This gives customers more opportunities to benefit from it, to receive remuneration or an upgrade, as well as to achieve Star Alliance status. As part of the membership, Air India now also participates in various ticket tariffs and business solutions.

Conclusion: There are many travelers who are participants in the various frequent flyer programs of the Star Alliance member airlines listed above and who can now collect the coveted "miles" on flights to India or an onward flight, e.g. to Thailand. The handling of flight connections and the quality of service in general have also been significantly improved. Air India only flies from Frankfurt in Germany, but can be easily reached there by connecting flight or Rail & Fly. There are regular cheap flight specials, including to Thailand, which you can inquire at TAF or the travel agency of your choice. Bernd Kamjunke

Information from the Bümlein law firm

Lawyer Nadejda G. Bümlein, Phaichit (Daggy) Phaso, Lawyer Nicole Rinau

New decision of the Higher Administrative Court Berlin-Brandenburg

In the beginning everything is nice: people get to know each other, fall in love, decide to get married. Even across borders. A spouse gives up his old life - he moves to live with his spouse in a foreign country. There are many ways in which marriage or civil partnerships are then shaped in Germany. Maybe both partners go to work. Perhaps one partner will do most or all of the housework, while the other will do most of the living.

But what if the marriage fails? In Germany, the divorce rate has been at a high level for years - around half of all marriages are divorced again. That figure doesn't even include separations without a divorce. Nor should one turn a blind eye to the possibility of death.

What now? The spouse who moved to Germany has given up his old life. He or she may have made new friends here, built a new home in Germany and would like to stay here.

According to German law, those who have no children also have the option of obtaining an independent right of residence after the end of their cohabitation. The prerequisite is that the cohabitation has existed in Germany for at least 3 years and the residence was legal. Exceptions to the 3-year period apply in the event of the death of the spouse and in the event of particular hardship - this can be e.g. domestic violence (see our report in FARANG 06/2014).

Another prerequisite for an independent right of residence is that the foreigner can secure his livelihood himself. If the spouse was already working during the marriage, this is usually not a problem. In those cases in which the spouse who joined them did not generate any income of their own, the law gives them a period of one year to be financially on their own two feet.

When calculating this so-called "integration year", however, there are different views among the authorities and lawyers. So far, the authorities have calculated the year of integration from the point in time when the cohabitation ended - in many cases this could mean that the year of integration was already partially over when the application was submitted. Now, at least for Berlin-Brandenburg, the Higher Administrative Court has decided that the year of integration is a real "extension", that is, the year of integration only begins with the authorities' knowledge. In practice, it will therefore work as follows in Berlin and Brandenburg in the future:

If the immigration authorities learn of the end of the cohabitation, the residence permit for spouses will be revoked and a new, independent residence permit for one year for integration and maintenance of livelihoods will be issued. After the end of this year, livelihoods must generally be secured. In many cases, this means that after a separation or a death you have more time to build your own secure life in Germany.

We would be happy to advise you on your individual situation. Lawyer Tanja Schramm

The last farewell: Helmut Kremser

The family above all and the many friends and acquaintances said their last farewell to Helmut Kremser on May 16. He died on April 10th at the age of only 62. The burial took place in the New St. Michael Cemetery at Gottlieb-Dunkel-Strasse 29 in 12099 Berlin-Tempelhof (Mariendorf).

It was a very moving ceremony. In the fully occupied chapel, the speaker drew the many family and professional stages of his life. Before that, there were some pieces of music, the kind that Helmut liked and also liked to sing herself: Rock'n'Roll. And his life was a bit like that too. There was already a detailed obituary in the May issue. This post follows the Buddhist Thai tradition of the 100 days after the burial.

Helmut Kremser was a photographer and reporter for FARANG magazine for many years. Our Mister Big, as we lovingly called him. He was very hardworking, open-hearted, straightforward, warm and very popular. That was also the opinion of the many Thai women and farangs from the Berlin Thai community who had come to the funeral. We will never forget you, Helmut!

Yours, Mathias Heinrich, on behalf of all employees of the FARANG magazine

After the urn, Helmut Kremser's 3 children from his first marriage follow from the right.

Tina and Olli are deeply shaken. You had made several trips to Thailand with Helmut and Otti.

With a heavy heart, Klaus Güssau leads the crowd of mourners to the grave site. Next to it Mae Eo.

Ingrid and Bovorn are clearly marked by the loss of a very good person.

Helmut's last life partner Ott with her daughter, first Mrozek on the right and then Jump from Siam Park.

Helmut's daughter Tanja, with whom he was on vacation in Thailand.

Helmut's daughter Bianca says goodbye. On the right his son, who is cut out of his face.

Helmut's last life partner Ott says goodbye.

His children, from left: daughter-in-law, son and Bianca and Tanja.

The line of people who want to say their last farewell to Helmut Kremser is really long.

Mae Maew liked him very much, then Mae Eo and Klaus Güssau with the yellow rose.

Dim was married to Helmut for more than 20 years.

Ott or Otti has been with Helmut for the past few years.

Helmut Kremser's children say goodbye, deeply moved.

In front Yad jeweler, behind Jump and his wife Peaw, also Rene von Ice, 3rd from left

Peter P. from FARANG magazine and Dimmy from Butterfly.

Martin Kammers from FARANG magazine. Right Helmut's son.

Farewell to Helmut Kremser in Ottie's apartment on Müllerstrasse. The abbot from Wat Buddhavihara.

5 years Apais Thai massage

I've known Apai for many years. Formerly from the Djantschai massage by Nalee and Ronald. She was always something special, funny, smart, a little mysterious and charming too. Now Apai celebrated 5 years of the existence of its own Thai massage. This is located in Wichertstr. 70, very close to Schönhauser Allee in Berlin-Prenzleuer Berg. A good area. There was a good day with close friends and employees. With buffet. Our new photographer Christian Nitzsche enjoyed the friendly Thai women and Apai.

Apais Thai massage
Wichertstrasse 70 in 10439 Berlin
Tel. +49 (0) 30 700 33 479
Mon. to Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The history of Siam and Thailand (10)


After the 1988 elections, General Chatichai Choonhavan, the only son of Field Marshal Phin Choonhavan (we met him earlier in our series!) Was elected the 23rd Prime Minister of Thailand as leader of the Chart Thai Party. His government improved relations with Cambodia and Laos, and in particular trade with these countries was expanded. The government of King Norodom Sihanouk in Cambodia was supported by the Thai side after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in December 1978, because Thailand naturally had the well-founded fear that the Vietnamese wanted to establish themselves in Cambodia in the long term. Although they were glad that the unspeakable regime of Pol Pot was in decline due to the invasion of the Vietnamese, there was still the fear that Cambodia could now belong entirely to Vietnam's sphere of influence and that Thailand would no longer have any influence in the long run.

General Chatichai Choonhavan

The Chatichai government dedicated itself in particular to various infrastructure projects. The expansion of the telecommunications network by the Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT), the so-called "Three Million Telephone Project", the development of the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand (the provinces of Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan, Rayong) and the Start of building a mass transport system in the greater Bangkok area, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA).

On April 23, 1991 the military struck again, the coup d'état of 1991 by Generals Sunthorn Kongsompong, Suchinda Kraprayoon, Isarapong Nunpakdee and Air Marshal Kaset Rojanarin replaced the civilian government of Chatichai. Suchinda immediately wanted to replace the 1978 constitution with a new charter. The National Peacekeeping Council (NPKC), as the putschist group called itself, replaced the previous two-chamber national assembly with a new, one-chamber national assembly of 292 soldiers and their supporters in the 1991 document. The National Assembly was led by Ukrit Mongkolnavin, who together with the new 24th Prime Minister of Thailand, Anand Panyarachun, appointed on March 7, 1991. He had a very good reputation because he was respected on all sides. The king was kind to him, the bureaucrats and businessmen liked him. In addition, he had never been involved in any financial scandals. The people and the international community in Bangkok liked him too. After Anand was appointed prime minister, he immediately opposed various measures taken by the junta, in particular calling for the imprisoned Chatichai to be released immediately.

Anand Panyarachun

The draft of a new constitution now became a bitter feud between the military and their opponents. The military naturally wanted to strengthen their own position and therefore advocated strengthening the Senate set up by the NPKC, which should rule the elected National Assembly! The State Council should be enlarged and a possibility should be created that even unelected officials could be admitted to the cabinet. For example, an active military could have legally become Prime Minister. On November 19, 1991, there was a large demonstration against the new draft constitution at Sanam Luang, this demonstration was the largest protest since 1976. The new 1991 constitution was adopted despite the protests, but the protests continued.

Throughout Anand's reign, he had constant clashes with the military. The government was made up of very good and capable people with very impressive résumés and careers. Many observers of the political scene in Thailand, such as the president of the famous Thailand Development Research Institute, but also the well-known daily Thai Rath, described Anand's cabinet as the most impressive that Thailand has ever had! The steady hand of Prem in the background as a member of the State Council and advisor could clearly be seen and thanks to a good, efficient financial policy, Anand was able to quickly gain a great deal of trust from foreign investors.

The government concentrated particularly on the areas of education, public health, exports, agriculture, industry, the environment and improving living conditions, and could therefore count on widespread approval from the population. In a survey carried out in the Bangkok area in late July 1991, 61% of those questioned stated that they considered this government to be much more honest than any of its predecessors! The most important fiscal measure was the conversion of the previous tax system from the so-called trade tax to value added tax (VAT = Value Added Tax), a very modern and efficient tax system. Likewise, normal Thai people have now been allowed to invest abroad for the first time, with prior approval from the Bank of Thailand. Foreign banks could now open branches in Thailand or take a capital stake in Thai banks. In addition, the bureaucratic effort involved in acquiring a license to open a factory has been greatly simplified. The allocation quotas for textiles and tapioca were made more transparent for the first time. Transparent award conditions have been created in the energy sector.

In order to strengthen the purchasing power in the country, all civil servants received a 23% wage increase, the state employees a 20% wage increase and the state-fixed minimum wages were increased by 15%. For the fiscal year 1992 an additional 6 billion baht was earmarked, which should be spent on village development programs in poorer areas and the funds should be administered by the villages themselves.

Other important achievements of the Anand government were:

- The establishment of the new ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA),

- Effective anti AIDS / HIV programs,

- Electricity market reform with the introduction of independent producers

- the beginning of a 10 year liberalization and privatization of the EGAT (Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand). Here, however, the Saha-Union Group, previously run by Anand, won a tender to build a new coal-fired power plant.

- Awarded a multi-billion baht concession to Telecom Asia (now True Corporation Public Company Limited, a communications conglomerate and part of the Charoen Pokphand Group) to build and operate 2 million telephone cables in Bangkok.

- Discontinuation of the so-called Hopewell project to build an elevated railway or elevated railway in the Bangkok area.

The Anand government also cut a very good figure in the field of foreign policy. Relations with China and Japan improved, and Thailand played an important role in the pacification process in Cambodia. This also included improving relations with Vietnam. Only the policy towards the Burmese military junta was criticized as being too soft.

In domestic politics, conflicts with the military quickly returned, because when the military asked for 56 million baht for new weapons, Anand refused. In a high-profile speech to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, whose conference was just taking place in Bangkok, he said: "Military power is no longer a guarantee of national security. No nation can feel safe as long as its citizens are free to express their political beliefs, be robbed and have no chance of living a better and more meaningful life. " The speech was a declaration of war to the military!

There were further conflicts over human rights issues. The junta wanted to set up a separate rural development program for the rural population, in contrast to the government's development program. According to the NPKC program, 1.2 million Thai people from their previous places of residence in forests that they have lived in for generations should now be relocated to new villages. The military immediately put the program into practice, only no new houses had been built and no new farmland was available. The land previously inhabited by the farmers was sold to large cooperatives, which were now supposed to cultivate the land and get more out of the land. Protests rose against this, but the rural protesters were simply arrested and detained.

In the elections of March 22, 1992 Anand lost the office of Prime Minister and General Suchinda Kraprayoon took office as the 25th Prime Minister, in a government supported by the Rassadom, Samakkeee Dhamma, Social Action, Thai Citizen and Chart Thai parties. Protests broke out immediately after he took office on April 7, 1992. They led to a general ban on going out and the deployment of troops in Bangkok. Events were heading for another bloody finale, a time that will become known in Thai history as the Black May of 1992.

General Suchinda Kraprayoon

On May 17, 1992, the interior minister of the new government ordered the provincial governors to prevent people from traveling to Bangkok if it was clear that they wanted to take part in demonstrations in Bangkok. Suchinda wanted to fire the governor of Bangkok because he allegedly supported the demonstrations. In order not to leave a place for the demonstrators to demonstrate, the army quickly organized a so-called anti-drought music festival in the army auditorium. Radio stations were instructed not to play records from artists who openly supported the demonstrators. Nevertheless, the demonstration was the largest since the collapse of the Thanom regime in 1973. At the height of the demonstration, there were around 200,000 people on the Sanam Luang and adjacent streets.

About 100 protesters and 21 police officers were injured in these clashes. At around midnight on May 18, two fire engines were on fire and things were now threatening to get completely out of control. Over 700 members of the army joined the police and fought with the police at Saphan Phan Fa against the demonstrators. At 00:30, Suchinda declared the right of exception (state emergency), according to which it was illegal to gather more than 10 people. The government tried to convince people to go home, but the hospitals around the battlefield were filling up with wounded people, including the first four people shot dead during the night. Chamlong stayed near the bridge and the Democracy Monument. Around 4 a.m., members of the army began firing M16 rifles at the 40,000 protesters. At 5:30 am, the army began firing again at the crowds. The army was now bringing more and more personnel into the city, but the groups of demonstrators also increased significantly and this was now happening throughout the city. In the early afternoon of May 18, Suchinda accused his opponent Chamlong of publicly inciting violence and justified the use of weapons against the protesters. A short time later, troops flying over the city in helicopters, firing non-stop into the air, arrested Chamlong. The protests did not decrease, however, and after the army secured the Saphan Phan Fa and the Democracy Monument, the protests moved to the grounds of Ramkhamhaeng University in Hua Mak, Bang Kapi district of Bangkok. On the evening of May 19, 1992, around 50,000 people were gathered on the campus of the university.

On the morning of May 20, 1992, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn spoke to the population on television and asked them to stop the violence. This appeal was repeated throughout the day, followed by a similar appeal by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on the evening of the same day. At 9:30 p.m., a televised address was given by King Rama IX. along with Suchinda and Chamlong, where he asked them both to end their confrontation and to come to an agreement in parliament. Following the televised address, Suchinda dismissed Chamlong and pronounced an amnesty for all protesters. He also promised to support a bill to elect the prime minister. Chamlong then asked the protesters to disperse, which they did.

The outbreak of violence left 52 dead, hundreds injured and many people disappeared without a trace, never reappearing. 3,500 had been arrested, hundreds of them women and children. Many were mistreated, beaten, exposed to the blazing sun without protection, doused with gasoline and threatened with alleged execution.

The incidents were investigated in detail by a special committee and a fact-finding committee, headed by Sophon Rattanakorn, of the House of Representatives, which then concluded that Suchinda wanted to suppress the protests in any case by force. Even the names of the members of the army who were responsible for the brutal violence were made public. One suspects even today among Thai historians that the still secret report of the Fact Finding Committee of the Ministry of Defense under the direction of General Pichit Kullawanit contains even more explosive facts.

The events of Black May are still very much present in the consciousness of the Thai people, and protests have never gotten so out of control since then!

Suchinda now had to resign and a new Prime Minister was appointed by royal order. Dr. Volker Wangemann

New Thailand book from Heller Verlag

Exclusively at FARANG!

From the book "Happy in Thailand" by Ursula Spraul-Doring, HELLER VERLAG, available in bookshops and at
from mid-September 2014!
ISBN 978-3-929-403-38-1, 272 pages, 12.90 euros
eBook: ISBN 978-3-929-403-58-9, 10.99 euros

Author Ursula Spraul-Doring and publisher Klaus Heller

A full life

Sabine from Braunschweig gave up her career as marketing director to run a home school in the jungle of southern Thailand.

"Kapong" - I kind of like the word. A place name. Somewhere in Thailand. None of my friends, not even Uwe, who knows the country, has ever heard of it. The place cannot be found in the world atlas either. "Who is still looking at an atlas?" I have to be laughed at. "Internet, Google Earth, is hip today." - Yes, of course, I know too. And that's where I find it. In the south of Thailand, only two fingers' breadth from the sea. At the height of Khuk Khak, but with no direct road connection to the coast.

"Kapong", I let the word melt in my mouth. Somehow suits me: broken - got it - Kapong. In Kapong I will start another life.

I was a career woman, working as a marketing director for large food companies for 25 years. A grueling job, but I enjoyed it. I traveled the world a lot, looked after customers in England, Turkey, Russia and Sweden. I was also used a lot in the USA. I got involved in my respective company, gave my best, and was successful.

Still, I asked myself more and more what meaning this work gave my life. Did anyone ever get happier when I developed a new type of chocolate or when they saw my latest commercial that skillfully seduced them into consuming even more sweets? Yes, I made good money and money is always an incentive. Of course I liked having a nice apartment, going shopping, using that money to buy the season's fashion, always looking chic, driving a great car. But should that be all? Couldn't I use my skills and experience to help people who, like me, were not fortunate enough to grow up in the security of an intact family, in an environment that nurtured their talents?

During a sabbatical year in 2004, I went on a trek in Nepal. There, in the loneliness of the mountains, it became clear to me what I wanted: to help children, poor, disadvantaged children, to break the cycle of poverty. Yes, that would be a great thing: To consciously bring about a new phase of life, do something completely different, something that would give my life a new purpose. Something that I could be passionate about again.

And here in southern Thailand, in Kapong, I found the place. Before I committed to accepting the position of director of the home school, I worked for four months as a volunteer to get to know the facility.

Yaowawit, 90 kilometers from the tourist island of Phuket, was founded in May 2006 by the philanthropist Philipp Graf von Hardenberg. After the devastating tsunami disaster in December 2004, he wanted to help the orphans and half-orphans in the long term. Later children were added who were abandoned or abused by their parents. Quite a few have experienced alcohol and drug abuse. Many are struggling with trauma that is just as severe as those who experienced the tsunami.

There are currently 120 girls and boys between the ages of four and 18 living in Yaowawit, as well as around 40 teachers and other permanent staff. The children are looked after around the clock by specialist teachers, supervisors and international volunteers who do their gap year in Yaowawit after graduating from high school or do an internship during their studies.

The children in Yaowawit not only receive the school education provided for in the Thai curriculum, but also English lessons and practical training, for example in agriculture or the hotel industry.

I liked the concept of the school from the start, and the environment was and is terrific. The buildings of the school and the houses are in the middle of the hilly jungle, a lush jungle with huge trees in every conceivable shade of green. In the morning, when the tropical sun allows the moisture of the night to evaporate, mist rises from the valleys - a fairytale atmosphere. In this wonderful natural setting, the children receive a first-class, future-oriented and practice-oriented education, social values ​​should be imparted to them and, last but not least, they should be given a secure home.

In the four months that I worked here as a volunteer, I soon realized that this concept was by no means a reality, there was still a lot missing. So I was all the more excited to be involved in putting this concept into practice. It was a task that challenged me. So I volunteered as a project manager for some pocket money - money should be insignificant for this phase of life.

My areas of work are diverse. Actually, I should not only be an expert in organizational development, team management, education and marketing, but also in business, fundraising, logistics, hotel and agriculture.

The school has around 25 hectares of land. The founders planned that the school would one day be self-supporting. We should therefore use the land for agriculture, grow rice, vegetables and fruits in order to produce food for the students and to generate income. The students should also be introduced to the basics of agriculture. This branch gives me a lot of headache. I am completely dependent on Thai employees, I am only slowly finding out why our palm oil harvest brings in much less than that of our neighbors, why projects drag on endlessly, where money is embezzled, where only a little and where a little more is cheated .

Likewise, our small hotel, which consists of six comfortable guest rooms, should not only give our students the opportunity to acquire practical skills in the hotel industry. Rather, the income and donations from the guests should help to cover the costs of the school.

We are still a long way from the school being self-sustaining. That is why we are still dependent on sponsors and child mentors. Immediately after the tsunami it was a little easier, generous donations were made for tsunami orphans. Therefore, it is now a matter of making our school and home concept viable on our own, without large donations, and to be recognized as a successful model in Thailand.

I am pleased that we are now receiving support for our concept and implementation from educated Thais and from various universities. And not just because the Thai Crown Princess Maha Sakri Sirindhorn opened our school and named it Yaowawit.

The intellectual and educated Thais would like more projects like Yaowawit, which stand on their own two feet and support themselves through the use of their resources and means. However, the attitude of the masses changes only slowly, because traditionally the Thais prefer to support the local temple and the monks than long-term aid projects.

So the fundraising, the search for sponsors for our school, still takes place mainly at the German companies in Bangkok. Three years ago, I would never have believed that I would have fun fundraising. Should I become a beggar even if it's for a good cause?

And today these fundraising trips to Bangkok are not just a welcome change from the tranquil life in the seclusion of the home school. They take me to areas where I feel at home. Negotiating in the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce or making contacts with universities, giving interviews for newspapers or arranging television appointments, that's me. If I can present our home school and its concept to German or international companies so well that the responsible company representatives are happy to use the money in the pot for social affairs, then I'll travel back to Kapong with a sense of achievement.

And, between us, I also enjoy having a European dinner every now and then after living in the jungle or being invited to a cultural event.

A more difficult task is to find suitable teachers who not only find our concept good in theory, but who can also implement it. Thai teachers are used to having students memorize their books and repeating in chorus what they say to them, but not to having them think critically and ask questions. According to our concept, the students should think independently, work out the results themselves, use their imagination and learn how to communicate correctly and analyze things. All of these are foreign words in Thailand. Students are raised according to a certain norm rather than engaging in and promoting their talents.

We don't want to be an elite school in the sense that the students later migrate to Bangkok and look for a job in the big city. We want to develop their skills further and train them in such a way that they can use them in their immediate or wider environment, for example in the hotel or catering trade in the holiday resort of Khao Lak, not too far from here. The entire tourism industry also offers a wide range of job opportunities.

Of course, we are especially happy when Yaowawit students get a scholarship and study. June is currently studying in Holland and Praire spent six months in Australia and now has a well-paying job in a large hotel in Khao Lak. Without Yaowawit and her godparents, they would never have made it this far.

Finding suitable carers for the children is not that easy either. Thais are very loving with children.But by nature they are not used to playing with the little ones or promoting their creativity, checking their homework or praising them. Thais can also establish a loving relationship with children from their own family much more easily than with strangers. We must therefore contribute a great deal to the training of these supervisors. To make matters worse, this task has a lower priority in the hierarchy than that of the teacher. To resolve this conflict, we do not call the caregivers mother, father, uncle or aunt, but parent teachers. As a teacher, you will receive more respect, both from the children and from your colleagues.

Our home school is now seven years old. Renovations would be appropriate in many corners. Thais don't mind if this ceiling becomes moldy or that door rots. That is why the employees rarely report the grievances. Besides, nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news. And when we find out about the grievances, it is often difficult to find craftsmen to mend them. Thais are motivated to build something new, but maintenance is not their thing.

And then there are the volunteers, the volunteers. They come after high school or university, some are older and use a break between two jobs for a new experience. They want to use their skills, assert themselves in a strange environment, experience something. We need these volunteers, and many of them do really great jobs. The problem is that they often have no idea about the country and the people and think that their own standards of values ​​are also correct in Thailand. Many volunteers learn quickly, adapt well, contribute meaningfully, and help get the numerous jobs done. You build close relationships with the children and staff so that they lose their shyness and speak English all day. We would like to have good people for at least six months, because for a shorter period of time, familiarization is more work than help for us. And if the volunteers come to me with their personal problems, their lovesickness or their self-discovery crisis, if they need a mother and not a boss, then I would like to double my working hours and capacity. But unfortunately that is not possible.

Every day I see new hurdles that have to be removed in order to realize the vision for a groundbreaking school. Sometimes I have doubts as to whether I can do justice to these diverse tasks, whether I am not expecting too much here, whether I am really doing something meaningful. Yes, sometimes there are moments when I think it is no longer possible. For example, when the gap between European and Asian thinking becomes too big.

End of this excerpt, another story in the next issue

First Thai deacon in Germany

Inthira Lawan (56) from Thailand has been working as a deacon in Germany since June 1, 2014. After the 2004 tsunami, she came to Germany for the first time, decided to start over and attended the Fritzlar Christian Educational Center. After three years she was baptized, began distance learning theology in Bangkok and completed internships in various Christian communities in Germany.

In 2013 Inthira Lawant went back to Thailand to complete her bachelor's degree there (see photo).

Inthira Lawant

The association SAISAMPAN e.V., which has been active in Germany for 25 years, takes Christian responsibility for the Thai women and their families living in Germany. The association offered Ms. Lawan a position as a deacon at the beginning of 2014. The term comes from the Greek and means helper, literally: "someone who walks through the dust". Today we would say visiting service, our streets are no longer dusty. Because it is only women who should be cared for, a woman was the first choice for this service and not a man. Inthira Lawan can discuss things with her compatriots from woman to woman that would otherwise not be possible.

Inthira Lawan's area of ​​responsibility will consist of an intensive visiting service, the establishment of new Saisampan groups in various locations, the writing of devotions, sermons and a Bible course in Thai. Berlin is at the top of the planning list for the establishment of a Saisampan group. Ms. Lawan looks forward to every inquiry at 05305-93 02 02 or by email: [email protected]

The Bangkok bus system

A report / photos by Reinald Vogt with the help of Dr. V. Wangemann

After introducing Bangkok's elevated railway system to our readers (FARANG issues 09 and 10/2012), I now want to introduce the Thai capital's bus system, which carries the bulk of the city's public transport. The normal tourist in Bangkok only uses the Sky Train or the subway that I have introduced. On the other hand, the visitor hardly dares to venture into the conventional city buses, although a trip on a city bus is an unforgettable experience.

In order to relieve our readers of the fear of using the buses, the extensive system should now be presented in more detail. The system is operated by the BMTA (Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, in Thai: Ong Gan Khon Song Muan Tschon Krung Thep, "body of the bus traffic of the public in Bangkok"), which has its headquarters in 131 Thanon Thian Ruam Mitra in Bangkok's Khet Huai Khwang has. The BMTA operates a network in the capital and in the neighboring provinces of Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon (a separate article will appear in our FARANG for the translation of the names of the Thai provinces!).

The line network in the Greater Bangkok Metropolis comprises 118 lines, and in 2009 (newer figures are unfortunately not available!) The company owned a fleet of 3,526 buses (for comparison: BVG in Berlin in 2012 1,290 buses). This shows the enormous importance of the bus network for Bangkok. However, even the actual urban area of ​​Bangkok with 1,569 km² is much larger than that of Berlin (891.8 km²), not to mention the considerably larger population. In addition, the city buses in Bangkok go much further into the neighboring provinces than the comparable city buses in Berlin, which only go insignificantly into the state of Brandenburg.

The BMTA was founded on October 1st, 1976 as a state-owned company under the control of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Once, as so often, private companies had shown themselves to be completely incapable of operating sensible bus services, the state had to set up a company that would operate bus services efficiently and well. The daily transport performance is 3 million people. Most routes are operated from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., only a few routes are operated 24 hours a day. In addition to the already mentioned 3,526 own buses of the BMTA, there are also 3,485 private buses that drive as contractors for the BMTA and 1,113 minibuses, also under contract with the BMTA.

The bus network is divided into 8 zones, these are:

Zone 1 north
with the midpoints Rangsit and Bang Khen and with 18 lines,

Zone 2 Upper East
with Bang Kapi and Minburi, 20 lines,

Zone 3 lower east
with Samrong and Samut Prakan, 13 lines,

Zone 4 south-central
with Khlong Toei and Sathu Pradit, with 17 lines,

Zone 5 southwest
with Dao Khanong and Phra Pradaeng, with 19 lines,

Zone 6 west
with Bang Khae and Thonburi, 21 lines,

Zone 7 northwest
with Nonthaburi and Bang Sue, with 20 lines as well

Zone 8 central
with Huai Khwang and Lat Phrao, with 15 lines.

The difference between the number of lines and the total number results from the fact that the latter count also includes reinforcement lines and extra lines with the same line number but a different line layout. Typical examples are lines with the prefix d (Ko), which corresponds to the German A and the prefix - (Kho), which corresponds to the German B. At night there are only 12 lines in total, so very few for this huge city. From 22:00 a night surcharge of 1.5 THB must be paid on all bus routes. Of course, such a large bus network not only requires a large number of buses, but also a corresponding number of bus depots.

If you take the bus in Bangkok you can of course immediately see the significant differences to Berlin. The traffic in the city is grueling and so as a passenger in a bus you sometimes ask yourself how this bus traffic actually works in this chaos? In Berlin, the bus drivers are usually relieved on the route, i.e. a bus driver takes over the bus from the relieved colleague and continues to drive, of course in one-man operation. In Bangkok almost all buses drive with two people in the bus, one with the driver and one with the conductor, a profession that has unfortunately died out in Berlin since May 1st, 1981. The conductor collects the fare from the customer and there are no transfer tickets, i.e. you have to buy a new ticket on each line. No large banknotes are exchanged on the bus, i.e. the person willing to drive has to pay the fare fairly well!

Due to the immense traffic jams in the city, normal operation usually runs in such a way that the crew takes over the bus at a bus depot and delivers it there again at the end of duty, i.e. there are no transfers on the route. According to the duty roster, the crew must approach the final stops of the served line in a certain number of times, only then is the duty over. At the terminal stops there are ticket booths where the conductors settle the income for each tour, which is immediately acknowledged. This serves to minimize the amount of money that is carried with you. Since the drivers, in addition to their normal salary, also work partly on a commission basis, it happens again and again that buses on the same line overtake each other, on the one hand to collect more fare, but on the other hand also to reach the final stops faster and thus the service faster to end.

Of course, under the given circumstances, there are of course no posted timetables or printed timetable books. You wait patiently on the roadside for a bus, and it will come at some point. Nobody gets upset about possible delays, of course everyone knows the chronic traffic jams in the city (2/3 of all cars registered in Thailand drive in the greater Bangkok area!) And the waiting time is bridged with the Asian calm that we Germans in particular would want. Why get upset about a delayed bus? Life is too short to be annoyed about unimportant things and you can't change the situation anyway, so stay calm. Only impatient tourists in Bangkok get nervous who think that everything has to work as perfectly as it does in their home country!

Bus types and tariffs

Now let's take a look at the buses used in Bangkok and familiarize ourselves with the tariff system. There are different types of buses in Bangkok, which differ not only in color, but also in the bus used and the fare. Let's start with the many cream-red buses, none of which have air conditioning. They have fans in the ceiling and open windows, the fare is very low at 7 THB and about half of the bus routes with these red buses can even be used freely by the poor Thai population to help them socially. These buses, like the white and green buses, are to be retired in the near future and replaced by fully air-conditioned buses. Since these white and green buses are operated by private companies commissioned by the BMTA, their fare is a little higher at 8 THB. These buses are also not air-conditioned. Parallel to the lines served by the cream-red or white-green buses, the tourist repeatedly sees small green minibuses, driven by private companies, very small and uncomfortable. They often drive very risky, there are a lot of accidents with these buses and even Thai advise against using these buses. The routes very often deviate from those of the normal line or the final stop of the normal line is not approached despite the identical line number. For this reason, extreme caution is advised when using it!

We now turn to the air-conditioned buses. First of all, there are the cream-blue EURO I buses, where the fare, depending on the route, is usually between 10 and 12 THB. Then follow the orange-colored buses of the type EURO II, which are now very common, of course with a very well-functioning air conditioning system that cools the inside temperature down to 16-18 degrees when the outside temperature is well over 30 degrees. In contrast to German means of transport, the air conditioning works perfectly! There are also white-green-blue NGV buses that run on gas and of course also have air conditioning. As an exception, namely without a conductor, there are also the pink and white microbuses. They only run in the city and only have a few seats. A standard THB 20 per trip is due here, the ticket can only be bought with matching coins at a machine next to the driver.

Let us now take a look at the types of buses from the various manufacturers used in Bangkok. The non-air-conditioned buses are built by Daewoo, Hino, Isuzu and Mitsubishi Fuso. But they are looking towards their end. The air-conditioned buses come from Daewoo, Hino, Ikarus, Isuzu, King Long, MAN SE, Mercedes-Benz and Sunlong. In other words, a wide variety of types that will delight the heart of every bus lover.

This is how you drive the bus

A few more tips on using the buses: On the street you either stand on the sidewalk or on the lane. You wave your hand, because the bus only stops when someone wants to get out or when the driver clearly notices himself, there are no compulsory stops. Inside the bus, you either press a stop request button (it is displayed to the driver!) Or you make yourself known to the conductor. For some time now there have also been coupons in advance sales that can be redeemed for tickets on the bus. The tickets are to be kept during the journey, as controls often take place. The destinations and bus routes are mostly only labeled in Thai, only very few buses have signs in Latin script. It is therefore highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the route and destination before driving. There is a very good bus map for 50 THB, which you can get in all good relevant bookstores. With a good city map, the map of the bus network, you can confidently entrust yourself to the buses. You shouldn't let greedy taxi drivers take your money from you, who, by the way, contrary to existing Thai laws, do not want to turn on the taximeter and insist on negotiating fares. Also the recommendations of many hotels that it is better not to use the bus are only due to the fact that even the hotel employees do not know how to get from A to B by bus. They do not know the bus numbers, the bus routes or their route or destination. But if you are a little adventurous, can read and understand a city map and a network of routes, then nothing stands in the way of a bus trip. It is much cheaper than a taxi and you are in the middle of the Thai people. As a Farang you are often marveled at using a bus, but here you can also experience very authentic Thailand up close.

My next article will then deal with the ships on the Chao Phraya or the canals of Bangkok, which are also part of the Bangkok transport system.

Ehm Apassala in the Butterfly

On August 22nd, the well-known Luck Tung and Morlam singer Ehm Apassala created a good Thai atmosphere in Dimmy's Butterfl. All the guests were ecstatic, as these photos reveal. The Thai star from Roi-Et was not for the first time in Berlin, already in 2009 and in 2012 Ehm gave club concerts in the capital, at that time in the Scorpion and also in the Butterfly.

Happy Birthday, Mama Maew!

Dimmy, the fairy godmother from Berlin's Thai music café Butterfly, asked me via Facebook whether I, as a FARANG photographer, would not like to come to Mama Maew's birthday party on August 16. I ... well, I can't say no ... it's Mama Maew's party, even though it was my first day after our Thailand vacation back in Germany.

In any case, the Butterfly was well attended, many guests had come to celebrate her 65th with Mama Maew. Food & drinks in abundance as always. Around midnight, Toi & the Butterfly crew sang the birthday anthem. Toi (formerly the R.C.A. boss in Berlin-Neukölln) was especially fond of her as a loyal R.C.A. regular. And now all the guests sang along and brought the best wishes to the birthday child, which of course the FARANG team would like to join in and say Happy Birthday (!) To our Mama Maew once again Peter Phetkhieo

In Bai Tong: Happy Birthday, Hajo!

There is always something going on in Mangkorn's small Thai restaurant Bai Tong in Berlin. It is located at Rehberge underground station on Schöningstrasse. A small terrace with late afternoon sun. The food was delicious, the prices were low. And in the evening it often gets really lively. Thai women are the reason. When your Thai massages close, you can bring the day to a happy end here. Sometimes with the karaoke microphone in hand.

On August 10th, the Bai Tong Hajo celebrated his special day.This is the tall Farang in a lime green polo shirt. Of course, his Linda, her sister Thong, Ning from the TAF travel agency with a nice husband, Kitta von Werner, DJ Nong and many other guests. It was a fine party that probably continued in a Thai music café. Incidentally, Linda and Hajo once ran the hip Thai restaurant "Parichad" on Scharnweber Strasse, just around the corner. M.H.

The Big Buddha on Phuket

Anyone who, like me, is on Phuket a lot and looks around will see a gigantic, white Buddha statue in the mountains from most places on the island. It is called the Big Buddha and is one of the most important and greatest attractions on the Thai holiday island.

Already on the way to the Big Buddha there is a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. As a self-driver I was of course flexible and could enjoy the beautiful view. At the top of the mountain Nakkerd Hill, from which one has an impressive 360 ​​° view, is Phuket's landmark. The imposing marble statue is 45 meters high and has a diameter of 25 meters at the base. The Buddha itself is already finished, only the base and the floor area are still being built. The Buddha is completely tiled with this same white marble. The construction is financed almost exclusively from donations. A nice way to donate some money is to buy (approx. 300 baht / 7 euros) small slabs of white marble on which you can leave your name and possibly a message. These plates are later used to decorate parts of the Buddha and the complex. In this way I have already financed a number of records on the Big Buddha over the years. If that doesn't make good karma.

The Big Buddha Phuket can be visited in its entirety. Admission is free. Appropriate clothing should be worn. Anyone wearing a dress that is too short or other clothing that is too revealing can borrow a scarf. In addition to the Big Buddha, there is also a large golden Buddha and several haunted houses with impressive views. The way to the Big Buddha is lined with small bells that hang in the trees and create a fascinating sound experience. In the entrance area there is a small exhibition that tells the story of the Buddha with many photos. In addition, there are almost always some monks present to bless visitors. One can enter the Buddha inside, pray together with the monks or just linger. There are many smaller ones around the Big Buddha, including the golden big Buddha.

I think everyone who visits Phuket should also visit the Big Buddha and enjoy the view of Phuket. Peter Phetkhieo

Mahabodhi Temple & Ganga River

In the footsteps of the Buddha (end)

In today's, also the last part, we accompany the Berlin pilgrim friends to Bodhgaya to the Mahabodhi temple and on the holy river Ganga.

Mahabodhi temple

The Mahabodhi Temple (Maha = large, bodhi = awakening) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. It is a 55 m high brick building from the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. The outer facade comprises seven steps and is adorned with numerous statues of Buddha. The frieze that runs around the base of the temple on three sides shows 85 sandstone Buddhas. Inside the temple there is a gilded statue of the meditating Buddha. On the north side of the temple extends the Jewel Path (Chankramanar), which consists of 19 stone lotus blossoms, which mark the path where, according to tradition, Buddha practiced walking meditation in the second week after his Bodhi experience. On the west side of the pyramid-shaped large stupa is the holy Mahabodhi (Bodhi tree). During the Sunga period, an open pavilion with stone pillars was built around the Bodhi tree and the diamond throne was laid out.

The older part of the temple is made of sandstone. In 625 the temple and the original Mahabodhi tree fell victim to destruction during a campaign by the Bengali king Shashanka. A little later, the younger part of the temple was rebuilt from coarse granite. After some destruction, the temple had to be fundamentally restored and rebuilt several times. For centuries the temple in Bodhgaya was one of the great Buddhist pilgrimage destinations, which was visited by monks from all countries.

On July 7, 2013, strangers carried out a multiple bomb attack on the Mahabodhi temple complex, a monastery school and other targets in Bodhgaya, which was little visited that day. Two monks were injured. In August 2013, the Indian Ministry of the Interior responded to a request by the government of Bihar to provide special units of the Indian Federal Police (CISF) to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Mahabodhi Temple is the only religious site in India that is protected by special units of the federal police. In November 2013, the Indian government agency, the National Investigation Agency, announced that the Islamist terrorist group Indian Mujahedeen was responsible for the attack.

The sacred river Ganga

A must for every pilgrim, a boat trip on the Ganga to get an idea of ​​the many temples on the banks of the Ganges and the more than 100 ghats (the stairs leading into the water on the bank). For thousands of