Official Name: The Kingdom of Thailand (Until 1939, Thailand was known as Siam.)
National Athem: Phleng Chat Thai (National Anthem of Thailand) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8DCAPsGtkA] Every day at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., the Thai national anthem is played on every television and radio station and in every public place. No matter what they are doing, every Thai person stops, stands, and honors the king and the Thai flag.
Flag: The flag of Thailand was adopted in 1917, making it one of the world’s older flags. The colors are symbolic: Red represents the blood spilled by Thais to maintain the country’s independence. (Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation never to be colonized by a Western power—a fact that makes them understandably proud.) White stands for purity, and also for Buddhism—the country’s predominant religion. Blue represents the Thai monarchy; blue is Thailand’s national color.
The Country: https://www.google.com/maps/place/thailand/
Chiang Rai is the northernmost province in Thailand. It is part of the “Golden Triangle,” one of Asia’s largest opium-producing areas.
Thailand has more than 1,430 islands. Thailand has a tropical climate, with the southern part of the country being especially hot. The government is a constitutional monarchy which means it has a King but the prime minister and parliament rule the country. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are the most important sectors of the economy.
Time and Weather in Chiang Rai, Thailand: Chiang Rai is 12 hours ahead of the time on the East Coast of the United States. https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/thailand/chiang-rai
Area: 198,117 square mile
Capital: Bangkok is Thailand’s capital and its most populous city with over 10 million.
Population: About 68 million (that’s about the populations of California and Texas combined—it’s the 20th most populous country in the world.)
Official Language: Thai [https://thaiexchange.wikispaces.com/Learn+to+Speak+Thai]
Money: the Baht
Depending on the current exchange rate, one US dollar is equal to about 35 Baht.
Music of Thailand: https://thaiexchange.wikispaces.com/Music+of+Thailand
Interesting Facts about Thailand:
• The elephant is Thailand’s national elephant. Interestingly, the shape of Thailand resembles the head and trunk of an elephant.
• A form of kickboxing, Muay Thai, is Thailand’s national sport.
• Siamese cats originated in Thailand. The Thai people call them Wichian Mat.
• People are usually addressed by their title and their given (first) name (Mr. Terry rather than Mr. Waisner). Nicknames are also common. Perhaps both facts are due to the length of the family names.
• Feet are considered unclean. Therefore, never point your feet at anyone or touch someone with your feet. Also, don’t use your feet to move something.
• Never touch anyone’s head or pass anything over it. Doing so would disrespect the person’s head.
• It is considered disrespectful to cross your legs in the presence of older people.
• When entering a Thai house, never step on the threshold. Thais believe a spirit lives in the threshold.
• Out of respect, take off your shoes before entering a person’s home.
Thailand’s Hill Tribes: Chiang Rai Children’s Home ministers to children from five of the six of Thailand’s hill tribe minorities, the Akha, the Hmong, the Lisu, the Lahu, and the Yao. Only the Karen tribe is not represented. Learn more about these different tribes: http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/hilltribes.html.
Children’s Day in Thailand, January 14, 2017: Children’s Day is annual celebrated in Thailand on the second Saturday of January. Families celebrate their children by going to various street festivals.
Some of what Terry and Debbie Waisner love about Thailand:
• The friendliness of the people. “They’re super friendly and easy to get along with,” Terry says. “Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles.” Talking about Thailand certainly brings smiles to Terry and Debbie’s faces.
• Their patriotism—the respect they have for their flag, king, and country. “At 8 a.m. they raise their flag on a pole,” Terry explains. “Every kid is at attention. If they’re driving down the road, they stop their cars, get out of the car, and stand at attention beside their cars.”
• The Chiang Rai Children’s Home. “The best compliment people give us is when they say, ‘It doesn’t feel like an institution,’ Terry and Debbie say. “It doesn’t! It feels like a real home!”
• The Chiang Rai children. There’s no feeling like stepping into the home and having a crowd of delighted children run to greet and hug you. “We’re the people who keep coming back.”
• Seeing the children grow strong and take their places in society. “We hear stories about David’s latest success,” Debbie says. “Or we stop in a store and we see people working who used to be children at the home.”
• Pastor Suphot. He is the Thai pastor and leader who has been the force behind the founding and the success of the Chiang Rai Children’s Home. Pastor Suphot is a man of excellence, a man of integrity, and a kind-hearted, loving, compassionate individual and professional,” Terry says. “Suphot has a great passion for the children,” he continues. “Everything is a result of his vision, his energy, and his passion. We’ve had the joy of being along for the ride.”
Thai food is increasingly well known and popular around the world. Common dishes include spicy curries with rice or noodles. Here are some simple dishes you can try making at home.
Thai Pancakes (Kanom Kroke)
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tempura flour
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 375º.
Pour batter thinly into greased muffin tins (the thickness of pancakes, not muffins).
Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Black Beans in Coconut Milk (Tua Dum Gang Buawd)
1 can black beans
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium pot, heat all ingredients except for black beans to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for a few minutes.
Add black beans to the pot and heat again to boiling.
Taste it, adding more sugar and/or salt as desired.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Red Curry Chicken
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 cup sliced halved zucchini
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Stirfry the chicken in oil in a large skillet.
Mix in the curry paste and vegetables.
Cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the coconut milk. Add mixture to pan.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring, for one minute.
Stir in cilantro just before serving over hot rice.
Thai Table Rules
• To be polite, leave a little food on your plate to show that you have stopped eating only because you are full. Or, your host may fear that you did not get enough to eat and are still hungry.
• It is not polite to ask for seconds or to take the last food.
• Although sticky rice is eaten with the fingers, licking your fingers is considered rude!
• Don’t worry about not knowing how to use chopsticks; Thai people use silverware except for eating noodles.
• If invited to a Thai home, take a gift. Good choices include fruit, chocolate, or flowers. Wrap the gift in gold or yellow paper, as these are considered royal colors.