Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Bangkok bounces back

January 1, 2011

Bulletin: My heartfelt thanks to all of you who voted for Twenty reasons Barack Obama stinks in the 3QuarksDaily.com 2010 Prize in Politics. Your support made the piece the top vote-getter in the competition, helping it to advance to the final round. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t select Twenty reasons Barack Obama stinks as one of the three prize winners. In this case, I’ll defer to the wisdom of crowds.

Let me also take this moment to wish you and your loved ones a happy new year. I hope you find all you seek and more in 2011. And I hope you’ll keep stopping by here to read and comment on what I have to say.

Walking through CentralWorld Mall in Bangkok, you’d never suspect that the place had been torched in May by anti-government protests. There are few hints left of the thousands of the demonstrators that occupied the city’s main shopping district for two months and the crackdown that cleared them, events that left at least 90 people dead.

By every measure, Bangkok has returned to normal. Despite two months of virtual urban warfare, tourist arrivals will top last year’s total by a wide margin. Yet all is not well in Thailand. As I reported for Asia Times from the Thai capital, the rift between supporters and opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, dating back to the 2006 coup that deposed him, and the underlying social and economic issues haven’t healed. With elections due within a year, Thailand may well see more fireworks.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

Medical care goes global

March 3, 2010

As America’s meandering healthcare debate takes another turn, look beyond Washington, way beyond. Thousands of Americans every year go overseas for medical treatment that’s often cheaper, more advanced and more attentive than what’s available in the US. Although medical tourism specialists are moving into Central America to be closer to the US market, the epicenter of the global medical travel phenomenon remains Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital. Bumrungrad turned to international patients in the wake of the 1997 Asian economic crisis that began in Thailand, and the current global recession, which dramatically slowed growth in medical travel, hit the hospital in the midst of a US$57 million construction and renovation project focused on the international market. In Bangkok, I interviewed Bumrungrad’s CEO Mack Banner for Asia Times about how Bumrungrad got to the top of the medical tourism pyramid and how it plans to stay there. While politicians fiddle and patients get burned, Americans’ best bet for affordable, quality medical care right now is in Bangkok.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.


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