AIDS activist Mechai “Mr. Condom” Viravaidya discusses several “out-of-the-box” methods for promoting condom distribution and safe-sex practices in his native Thailand. Khun Mechai is the founder of the Population and Development Association and promotes having safe sex since sex in natural and absinence is difficult for most of the population. He shares his ideas such as the “Cops and Rubbers” program where the police force is recruited to help save people on the streets and back seats. His humor about sex makes it possible to bring this traditionally taboo topic out into the open in Thailand.
About this video:
Mechai Viravaidya was recently awarded the 2007 Gates Award for Global Health on behalf of The Population and Community Development Association (PDA), the organization he founded in 1974. For over 30 years, PDA has helped improve lives and strengthen communities in Thailand through HIV prevention and family planning programs that have become international models. The programs developed by Viravaidya and PDA led to a dramatic reduction in new HIV infections in Thailand, from 143,000 in 1991 to 21,000 in 2003.
Using a nationwide network of village-based volunteers, PDA empowers women to plan their pregnancies, giving both mothers and children the opportunity to live healthier lives. PDA’s comprehensive approach to poverty reduction also addresses income generation, water resource development, sanitation projects, environmental conservation, and promotion of gender equality and democracy.
Today, PDA’s 600 employees and more than 12,000 volunteers work in 18 regional development centers and branch offices throughout Thailand. Through its international training program, PDA has trained 2,900 people from 50 countries in innovative approaches to HIV prevention, family planning, adolescent reproductive health and other issues.
This poignant video features a woman describing her life from childhood and her inability to get an education because she had to take care of her younger siblings and do housework. She never learned to read and write and because she was a girl, she was denied the chance for education.
Now, a mother herself, she wishes that both her sons and daughters will have a chance to get good educations.
This video is from the Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT) and highlights some of the wonderful natural beauty of Thailand. It also encouraged everyone to “Keep Thailand Beautiful” so that we can all continue to enjoy Thailand’s beautiful flora and fauna for many generations to come.
Old Vespas are commonly used in the Yaowarat (China Town) and Pahurat (Little India) areas of Bangkok. They are useful as delivery vehicles because they can carry large, bulky and heavy loads while zig-zagging through traffic. Unlike modern motorbikes that are more commonly used for transportation these days, Vespas have a low center of gravity which makes them ideal for hauling these heavy loads without losing balance. The space in front of the ride provides additional space for placing items between the rider’s legs. If you are in Yaowarat or Pahurat, keep your eyes out for Vespas as they are zooming around. You’ll be surprised the size of the loads that they carry around!
This holiday season, I’ll be buying some of the adorable Limited Edition Prints and 2011 Calendars for sale from S CAD (Soi Cat and Dog Foundation). The images of different real-life dogs at SCAD Center are humorous and cheerful. For any animal lover, these will surely be a delight. Order some prints, calendars, or cards today and the all the money will go towards the animals at SCAD.
SCAD helps the many homeless cats and dogs on Bangkok’s streets. These animals are called soi dogs and soi cats because “soi” is the Thai word for “street.” Since Thailand is a Buddhist country, the people do not believe in killing animals, but many times the soi dogs and cats can suffer from disease and injuries that can be worse than death. SCAD rescues some of these animals and tries to rehome as many as possible. In addition, they work to provide education about proper pet care and also run sterilization projects. Support the good work done by SCAD by purchasing some of the lovely artwork done by Tul or by giving a donation today!!
Illustrious illustrator and writer of Childrens books in both Thai and in English, Tul, has carried off awards presented for Best Children’s Picture Book at the last two annual Book Fairs. Educated in Thailand, Singapore and the USA, Tul is now a prolific and respected creator of educational children’s books based on animal characters. Tul credits his own SCAD Soi dog, Sesame (December) as the inspiration for his latest book “Ses and Me” which is hot off the press this month!
While visiting a Por Peang center in the Khon Kaen area, I had a delicious drink. It was a glass of Dok Unchun, Butterfly Pea, drink. This particular drink wasso refreshing with a sweetness from natural cane sugar and a twist of lime. All the ingredients for the drink was grown at the center, which was the rural farm of a retired 80 year old school teacher.
Som Tum Jumrung is a som tum, or spicy papaya salad, that is made from local vegetables and ingredients that have been selected for its quality. Above all, everything is grown by the local people and made by the local people. This makes it a very healthy dish with no chemicals and natural ingredients. If I have a chance, I want to try eating Som Tum Jumrung and compare it to the typical Som Tum street vendors I normally frequent in Bangkok.
During the past weekend, I ventured out of Bangkok to the rural area surrounding Khon Kaen in the Northeastern, or Isaan, region of Thailand. I participated in a three-day workshop organized by the small, rural community hospital in Ubonratana. The major focus of the workshop was to show how Sufficiency Economy philosophy (เศรษฐกิจพอเพียง) can be applied to agriculture. It is called precision agriculture, or เกษตรประณีต, in which the focus is growing many crops, primarily for consumption and use by the household, instead of only one cash crop.
We visited several farmers who used this concept to grow several crops and support their families with great success. These crops can be used first for consumption, second for sharing with friends and neighbors and lastly for sale. In that way, families can reduce their household expenses and eat healthier by growing a variety of crops that they can use for food (ผักปลอดสาร), herbal medicines as well as generate income. The alternative is to grow a single cash crop and then buy everything that the household needs.
This video from www.porpeanglife.com explains precision agriculture in a very visual and simple way. In essence, it is a way to reduce risk by diversification.
Eating your fruits and veggies will help you have a long and healthy life. Especially if you grew those fruits and veggies yourself in your garden without the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals. This video shows an elderly couple still enjoying their veggies, despite some difficulty in chewing, and their por peang lifestyle.
The type of lifestyle promoted by sufficiency economy, or porpeang, focuses on sharing and building communities. In this short video, different characters and situations are shown where sharing and looking out for one another is beneficial for everyone. This video has characters that have the Thai alphabet on the shirt and is like saying “Mr. A” and “Mr. B” to give the examples. Very simple concept and this video makes it easy to understand and see the impact when it goes from the small, community scale to a grand, national scale.