May 27, 2018

Do Thai People Love Their Dogs?

Photo Courtesy: Angela Sevin

Thai people love their pets. Many Thais even dress and pamper their dogs as if they are children.

Most developing and developed countries will have dog catchers to go around collecting street dogs and putting them in cages and even euthanize them putting them to sleep. In Thailand, dogs without homes live mostly peacefully on the streets and are usually fed by the non-owners in the areas and they are also attended to in Thai temples by monks but they are not normally put to sleep. The general view of Thai people is that putting stray dogs to sleep is far crueler than letting them live on the streets or in a Thai Buddhist temple as strays.

Dog accessory shops that sell dog clothes are all over Bangkok and there are even dog hotels just like one in Chongnonsee called Doggiedoo that caters recreational activities such as swimming pool, dog grooming, and dog training.

The affection of Thais for dogs extends to even providing handicapped dogs with wheelchairs for mobility. The disabled dog on wheels in a You Tube video looks in many ways just the same as dogs that are fully capable.

Owning a Dog in Thailand

Thailand is generally a pet-friendly place but for expat families renting condos or apartments in Bangkok, having a dog is something that must be clear with landlords. As a general rule, condos and apartments will not take dogs of any kind. Practically, expat dog owners are likely to rent detached houses with big back yards in the outskirts of the city, conducive to dogs especially large breed dogs.

Thai-western families relocating back to Thailand with their dogs will need to acquire Identity and Health Certificate which state the dog’s age, breed, sex, distinct markings, name and address of owner or kennel, should be filled out and signed by a registered Vet from the originating country before arriving to Bangkok as per instruction by the Agricultural Regulatory Division and the Department of Livestock Development.

Apart from the documents, the dogs will need to be vaccinated with rabies vaccines – 15 days before departure, Leptospirosis, Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus – 21 days before departure and vaccine for Kennel cough if the dog has been living in a kennel prior to the relocation. The Vaccination Certificates must be presented upon arrival and Thai regulations also direct dogs brought to Bangkok should be quarantined for at least 30 days for further testing and observation for possible diseases.

Thai Teen Phony Fashion

Korean fashion has been the flavor of the month. Previously, trendy Thai teens sported fake braces.

Prickly glue-on eyelashes popular among Korean divas also inspired the phony eyelashes sprinkled with glitters among Thai teens. And there’s cosmetic contact lens called “Big Eye” in Thailand that offers girls’ pikachu – sized fantasy eyes which suggest teeny cuteness. “Big Eye” contact lenses make the pupils look like large black saucers similar to Japanese anime comics like Pikachu, the big eyed animated character in Pokémon creatures from Japan Pokémon media franchise collection.

But with each new Korean fashion craze comes Thai government official warnings that the new craze may blind, disfigure or even life threatening. Some Thai authorities have also cast Korean fashion invasion to Thai market as overtly sexual, superficial and a threat to Thai culture. “Big Eye” contact lenses have been linked to eye infections, injuries and the risk of blindness.

 Real or phony, teens will be teens and they will always be hip so it is always a good idea for parents to keep up with the trend and get familiar with the latest teen fashion trends.


Burmese Migrants, Pregnancies and Abortions

Burma is in the news for its increasing openness with regard to politics and business issues. But what about human rights for the masses? Burma, along with Thailand and Southeast Asia as a whole, have a very restrictive policies with regard to abortion rights. These anti-abortion laws in the country of Burmese workers have had a devastating effect.

Since 2002 a large increase in Burmese immigrants has entered Thailand to escape many human rights violations by the military regime. However, Burmese families working in Thailand cannot obtain Thai citizenship, even for their children who are born in Thailand.

In 2002, the Thai Labor Ministry issued a regulation stating that female foreign workers would be given a medical checkup and those found to be pregnant would not have their licenses to work in Thailand renewed. While this regulation was later reversed following protests from human rights groups, many women report that they continue to be dismissed by their employers if they become pregnant. The practical result of these policies has led, some argue, to an increase in abortions.

Abortion is actually illegal in both Thailand and Burma according to Thailand Lawyers. Nevertheless, many women, in the absence of qualified medical assistance resort to traditional methods to induce abortions which can seriously damage their health.  In Thailand, abortion is only legal if the pregnancy threatens the life of the woman and pregnancies that resulted from rape, according to Thailand Criminal Attorneys.

If anything, unwanted pregnancies and abortions have significant impacts to families as it can lead to divorce in Thailand and many personal problems.


Special Schools in Thailand for Children with Special Needs

Western families with special children who may have academic hurdles to overcome require special schools  for their kids’ special learning needs. Children who may be more academically challenged for various reasons like kids with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD) or those with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Special children medical experts highly recommend that where possible it is often beneficial for your child with special needs to attend conventional or mainstream schools to capitalize on inclusion, participations and socializations with other kids.

There is range of options available in finding a school in Thailand that can cater to your child’s special needs, including government schools with Thai system, private schools with international system and special schools run by non-profit organizations.

One special school is Acorn to Oaks Centre located at Sukhumvit 21, Bangkok. The center uses English as medium of communication for the evaluation of your child’s development, providing support and learning with trained teachers, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists and educational psychologists.

Refer to our list of international schools here for mainstream schools.


Public Breastfeeding in Thai Culture

The Time magazine’s cover “Are you mom enough” showing a photo of a celebrity mom breastfeeding her son has stirred uproar among international readers. Critics assert the cover went too far. Breastfeeding is normally recommended for babies from birth up to 2 years old. However, the celebrity mom’s son in the Time’s cover was 3 years old at the time of the photo.

The Time magazine’s cover mom argued, mothers may choose to practice what’s known as “attachment parenting”, a school of thought where breastfeeding continues beyond 2 years of age.

And just when Time magazine breastfeeding cover controversy sparkled heated debate, photos of two moms posed in military uniforms breastfeeding their babies were recently posted on the internet for an awareness campaign to promote world breastfeeding week in August and to encourage moms to breastfeed in public, added fuel to the fire.

Many issues surrounding breastfeeding include whether it is fitting to nurse a child in public. Some societies believe that mothers should breastfeed behind closed doors although it is perfectly acceptable for others.

In Thailand, there is no Thai law that prohibits Thai or Expat moms to breastfeed their babies in public but Thailand’s culture normally requires modesty in public affairs.

Thai mothers in the upcountry sides breastfeed in the open but they are discreet by covering their breast with a towel or cloth so as not to offend the public. Just like in the west, mothers may breastfeed as much as their baby wants provided it is done somewhat discreet.

Breastfeeding is regarded as the healthiest option for babies in Thailand, there are actually malls and establishments in Bangkok that have a breastfeeding rooms for nursing moms!

Finding International School for Thai-Western Children in Thailand

Searching for the right international school for Thai-western kids is rarely easy. You will be flooded with information on the internet about programs and policies but you really still need to personally visit more than one school and gather more reliable information about the school before making decisions. After all, few things are more important for your child than their education.

Quality international schools can be costly in Thailand as can often be at par with other leading international schools in the world. Normally, English language is the medium of instruction but some schools also offer other language classes like German, Mandarin or Nihongo.

There are 37 international schools registered with the Association of International Schools. Pursuant to Thai law, international schools must be accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education.

However, international schools can also be accredited by the European Council of International Schools but if you are considering an American school for your children, American schools should be accredited by one of four national accredited agencies such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges so that credits and certificates can be transferred to your child in the United States.

International schools following the British or Australian system do not always apply for accreditation if they offer internationally recognized examinations, such as the International Baccalaureate or the International General Certificate of Education (IGCE).

Here’s a good list of schools that offer International Curriculums for your reference: