Ahead of her debut Bangkok concert on Feb 28, Japanese-American singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata opens up to BK about the inspiration behind her heart-wrenching ballads and her plans for the future.

Where do you normally get your inspiration from when composing a song?
I get inspired by relationships—not only my own, but also those that I experience around me. I’m fascinated by the subtleties of how we all relate to one another in different situations. I long for us all to connect authentically and without fear and to love freely. And when we don’t, I feel compelled to understand why.

What’s your favorite song to perform live?
I really love performing “Sunday Afternoon.” It’s the kind of song that becomes really epic as it progresses and showcases the chemistry the band has on stage. It’s an anthem of sorts that starts reflectively and ends with a passionate self-declaration to not feel pain anymore, but it’s so obvious that one does.

Where does the intimacy and intensity of your lyrics come from?
Being vulnerable comes naturally to me when I’m writing. I think some of this is sourced from my own experiences and at times I am just a channel for emotions we all universally feel.

Why did you choose to launch the record label Frankenfish?
It was the right move for me to go out on my own. I spent many years on major labels and while there were many advantages, at the end of the day, it took four years each time to get a record out. That’s a lifetime for someone who wants to make music. You can’t move onto the next expression if something is held up like that. I realized that I’d rather take the chance on my own and at least know that any success, failure or delay was a result of something I was involved with. It was about taking control of my destiny.

What was the inspiration behind your latest EP, Heavyweight?  
Heavyweight is a collection of songs that are mostly a bit darker and more piano based. I worked on them just after recording Chesapeake (2011) and they fill that void of heartbreak and work together well as their own piece. The strings are stirring and beautiful and the final song, “Keep Going,” is a kind of mantra for us all to find strength in one another. It was an unusual song for me to write—it’s somber, but positive. The title track is a play on words. I was intrigued by the idea of a heavyweight boxing champion and the idea that two people could endlessly try to love one another, but only ever come out fighting.

With your complex and emotional sound, how do you channel these emotions when you perform?
I try to stay open to the night and feed off of the crowd. I use whatever energy I’ve got from the day, whether it’s stress or sadness or excitement, as the fuel to perform. I don’t have to go into the same place I was when I wrote the song, but I do have to fully connect with where I am in the moment.

What do you expect people to feel when listening to your music?
I couldn’t say. I just know that I’m always moved myself when I see that the audience is moved. I think part of the way I stay vulnerable in my songs is down to being very focused on the emotion I’m expressing and not entering into thoughts about how it will affect others. I don’t think about it much. If I can saturate myself in something that’s very true for me, I figure it will resonate with others somehow. We are all unique, but not so different.

What’s the hardest song that you’ve ever written?
I would say the hardest was actually also the easiest. “Elephants” was lyrically the easiest for me—the words came very fast while I was running down a mountain.  However, it took me six months to figure out the right chords and music to go with it. It was almost like a poem and I didn’t know how to frame it. Eventually, it all came together.

What’s next for 2013?
I’m loving my trips to Asia and would like to come back soon. I’m also planning a solo/duo tour of the States for June, as well as finalizing some work on a covers EP. I’d like to hibernate for a bit at some point and start sketching out songs for the next record. My wishlist is endless; I’m always working on something.

Rachael Yamagata will be performing at Thailand Cultural Center (Ratchadaphisek Rd., 02-262-3456. MRT Thailand Cultural Center) on Feb 28, 7pm. Tickets are B1,500-2,000 from Thaiticketmajor.



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From underground movement to new fitness routine, Parkour Generations Asia brings urban acrobatics to all.

Developed from military obstacle course training in France, parkour, aka free running, is all about getting around on foot while avoiding obstacles through running and jumping great distances—and heights. Curious? Parkour Generations Asia will be demonstrating their skills at the Bukruk opening party on Feb 16.

Launched in March 2012, Parkour Generations Asia is also the first to offer indoor parkour classes in Thailand. Having expanded from Europe and America, the collective of parkour trainers run classes for children and adults, and also provide professional performers for movies and commercials. The coaching team is led by Stephane Vigroux, one of the pioneers of the sport who trained with the sport’s founder David Belle from the age of 16. Classes are 90 minutes and cover both indoor and outdoor parkour. The schedule is as follows: Monday indoor at the Capital Club (Sukhumvit Soi 24) 7:30-9pm; Tuesday outdoor at Benjakiti Park 6-7:30pm and 7-8:30pm; and Monday youth indoor at The Capital Club 10-11am. Class fees are B500 for drop-in, B3,500 for ten classes and B6,000 for 20 classes.
10/95-97 Sukhumvit Soi 13, Sukhumvit Rd., 081-001-2390


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Police General Sereepisut Taem, 64

One-time commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, Sereepisut is widely known for not shying away from a tough fight. He battled communists in Nakhon Panom during the 1970s, forced Chonburi’s notorious crime boss into exile, and busted Newin’s Bhumjaithai Party for vote-buying. After being removed from office by Samak Sundaravej, during the pro-Thaksin politician’s premiership, Sereepisut returns to the political arena as a candidate. As an ex-top-cop, Sereepisut claims voting for him will put the entire police force as governor of Bangkok and that he’ll crack down on crime syndicates and corruption.

M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, 60

Bangkok’s last governor, a democrat, was elected in January 2009 and just resigned on January 9, 2013. He was preceded by another democrat, Apirak Kosayothin, who was forced to resign amid allegations of corruption surrounding the purchase of fire trucks (a contract initiated by the previous governor, Samak Sundaravej). Even in the democrat camp, there’s little praise for Sukhumbhand’s first term. But “Khunchai” is now brimming with ideas: a skywalk at Wongwianyai station to Saphan Taksin, reduced BTS fees on the new line extensions (On Nut to Bearing and Saphan Taksin to Bangwa), cheap housing for BMA officers, yet more CCTVs, etc.

Mettha Temchamnarn, 64

Ex-actor turned independant politician, army captain Mettha Temchamnarn ran in the general election in 1983, the governor election in 2004 and again in 2008. Mettha claims Bangkokians need to elect an independent candidate who can work with the current PM, and says his focus will be on the poor. He wants to surround Bangkok with rice fields where people can harvest and sell their rice to the government. He’d also like to build proper housing along the canals and make Thonburi a separate province.

Suharit Siamwala, 46

Better known as DJ Suharit, he was one of the first candidates to confirm his running through his Twitter account. This electronic DJ and wacky fashion icon (think Lady Gaga, only way before Lady Gaga) was formerly the managing director of his family’s stationery and office equipment business, DHA Siamwalla Ltd. As a musician and fashion enthusiast, Suharit’s campaign focuses on serious matters as well as creative ones. His policies include changing the education system in Bangkok’s schools which he believes needs to abolish exams and focus on the learning curve of each child. Then there’s his 50 districts policy to make every district in Bangkok special, building more family venues like sports and art centers.

Police General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, 57

He graduated top of his class at the Police Cadet Academy and was also the first of his graduation to make it to major-general, at the age of 40. He was only recently announced as Pheu Thai’s candidate after a long wait where Sudarat Keyuraphan was rumored to get the party’s nod. (In the last election, Sudarat got 500,000 votes while Sukhumbhand got 1 million). Pongsapat has yet to formally outline his plan for the city but has been bragging about his track record on the Narcotics Control Board, meaning security will probably be at the core of his campaign.Who will

Waranchai Chokchana

He ran for Bangkok’s governor election for the first time back in 1990. But Waranchai used to work as a civil servant back in 1976 before quitting his job in 1986 to run for senator, which was the stepping stone to his involvement in Bangkok’s politics. Having worked in the BMA, Waranchai has been in many political parties like Thai Rak Thai and the Democrats. Waranchai is now running this year as an independent candidate. Waranchai’s policy focuses on the implementation and development of public transportation to help decrease the traffic. Other policies include reducing the city’s garbage and pollution as well as cleaning out stalls.

Kosit Suvinitjit

He is a former CEO of Media of Medias company and Spring News channel. Besides being involved in the media industry, he was an advisor to many ministers. He is running as an independent candidate because, he claims, party candidates can not fix the problems and political issues we face, as they are the source of these problems. Under the concept “24-hour Bangkok,” Kosit would launch four policies to deal with our problems instantly: reducing traffic by putting more road signs, developing the education system (especially raising the standard of provincial schools), preparing for AEC culturally and economically, and providing 24-hour services for safety.

Bangkok vote for in the 2013 Governor Election



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Wannasingh Prasertkul

28, TV host, musician and writer

“I haven’t reached a final decision as we’re not into the election season yet. Some policies from other candidates have not yet been revealed. I’m interested in Suharit Siamwala joining the election. Normally, only people who work in serious professions jump to the election, but he’s totally from another side. I think that if there’s no other candidate that is more interesting, I will go for Suharit. But my experience working with the governor’s team is that the position itself is not all about making changes. It’s more like serving Bangkokians. I think the governor can’t effect significant changes because we’re just one city. Don’t forget there are another 76 provinces in Thailand.”

Winyu Wongsurawat

27, executive director of www.SpokeDark.tv 

“This time around it’s quite hard to decide, I admit. Most of Bangkok survived the flood in 2011 under Sukhumbhand Paribatra, but, on the other hand, the futsal stadium thing was very embarrassing. In general, progress seems to be slow. If Sukhumbhand gets another term, will we see things move along faster? I like the way Suharit is trying to educate and inform people about the governor’s duties and the city’s budget. Usually we don’t hear candidates talking about this. Some of his ideas I find quite unrealistic, though. We’ll have to see how far he can take them. And then there are other candidates who haven’t announced their campaign officially yet, so maybe it’s not the time to decide. Let’s hear the candidates talk more concretely about improving  Bangkok’s schools, taking more interest in public health, managing traffic more efficiently, and reducing pollution.”

Pongprom Yamarat

39, Big Trees Project founder, architect at Be Our Friend Studio

“I’m not sure who to vote for but I’ll definitely go to vote. Voting for a governor is important. Consider if Bangkok wants to become a mega city, like London, Singapore, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, New York, they are all like a country in a country. We need a governor that has global vision with local insights, moving towards the future with sustainability in mind. What we don’t have is the right person, someone who can see the potential of the city, with the appetite to push it forward with world-class education, sustainable development, better IT, green living and happiness. Bangkok is among the least green cities in the world with only three square meters per person.”

Leena Jungjunja

53, business owner, candidate for Bangkok governor in 2008

“I’m not going to vote for anyone; there isn’t one candidate that I feel deserves my vote. I’m not sleeping on my right to vote, I’m just choosing not to vote since there isn’t any good and honest candidate. The governor is supposed to fix problems, help with the cleanliness of the city, help prevent disasters like flooding, but in my opinion all these candidates are either dishonest or corrupt. Look at the problems we had years ago, the dirtiness of some of the canals… Despite what people say about cleaning up the city, our canals still stink. If there are only cheaters and false promises, nothing is going to change and get better in the long run, so why should I vote for any of them?”

Vip Buraphadeja

39, Editor of Happening magazine    

“I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I feel more interested in candidates that are not backed by political parties. I think some of the major problems in Bangkok stem from these political parties being too divided, like when the flood happened, stirring up squabbling between the government and the BMA. I think a governor who isn’t supported by political parties would help keep our city together, but, of course, that person has to be bold and brave enough to make tough decisions, which would be easier for a governor who doesn’t have to worry too much about politics.”

Natee Aekwijitr (Oui Buddha Bless)

33, singer  

“I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for yet, but I definitely think voting for a new governor is really important. Personally, to get my vote, that person has to be honest above everything else. Honesty comes first. Even though you can’t tell if they’re really honest, (you can tell a lot about someone through their background and policies). Second would be the ability to develop something new for the good of the country.”

Van Rohitratana

29, chef at Escapade on Phra Athit

“I’m voting for Suharit. I love his style and the way he thinks. Long ago, I had a chance to learn that in his office there’s a sign saying something like “in this world there are more boxes for you to tear open,” which is true. I love the fact that he has got two personas: one as a DJ with so much energy, another as a man devoted to his work and a loving father. I believe that he’s a family man, kind and a really nice guy. He’s like an ordinary guy who cares about our country, and is definitely against corruption. He dares to do things and make things happen, as you can see from his work as a DJ. People thought that he was joking when he said he was going to run for governor, but obviously he’s really doing it. He won’t spend millions making banners so people vote for him, he’s just a simple guy. I believe his policies and ideas will help make our lives better; he’ll implement things that will blow us away.

Kanya Leenutapong

23, actress/post-graduate student

“I don’t know who I’m voting for yet, but I do know Bangkok is suffering from increased cars, more traffic and countless other problems. The governor must be a leader and an asset to the city. But to get my vote, they’ll need to demonstrate clichéd yet important qualities like being knowledgeable, honest, to stand up against corruption and be willing to work to achieve solutions rather than be all talk. I want someone who can find new approaches to solving problems and who uses the budget efficiently.”

Vasu Virajsilp

40, architect at VaSLab

“I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for, but I definitely think it’s important to vote, and as a Thai citizen, I will use my right to vote for sure. I would love to have a governor who envisions art as an important part for the city. To me, art beautifies people’s hearts to have better values and to be less materialistic. I would also like a governor who truly supports projects to enhance the sustainability of our urban environment. For example, a park acts as a node for bringing together the community, creating a healthy lifestyle and social or cultural activities.”

Rungroj Thainiyom

24, Paralympics gold medalist in table tennis

“I’m voting for M.R. Sukumbhand because I’ve seen how he is as Bangkok’s governor and I think he’s capable of bringing change to the capital. If he’s re-elected, I feel that he’ll be able to do things that allow Bangkok to move forward and help fix its problems.” 

Bangkok’s Candidates for the 2013 Governor Election


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A little styling goes a long way, and here are our picks of the best hair waxes.

Catwalk Session Series by Tigi 

Texture: A mixture of clay and wax
Effect: Slightly shiny, not too sticky, average hold and easy to wash out
Look: Minimal style or slick back
Price: B724

Lee Stafford Messed Up Wax

Texture: Clay-like
Effect: Matte look, very sticky, super firm hold even if you sweat but slightly hard to wash out
Look: Ideal for spiky hair, quiff or Mohawk
Price: B450

Osis Flex Wax

Texture: Creamy
Effect: Matte look, not too sticky, firm hold and easy to wash
Look: Perfect for shaggy hair or a bed-head look
Price: B685

Gatsby Moving Rubber (Green)

Texture: Waxy and rubbery
Effect: Wet look, not too sticky, free-style hold (adds more volume and hold but doesn’t make your hair hard so that you can still play around with your hairstyle) and easy to wash
Look: Natural look with added volume
Price: B295

L’Oreal Indestructible Sculpting Wax

Texture: Rubbery
Effect: Matte look, sticky, firm hold that lasts all day but is hard to wash out
Look: Adds texture and is great for spiky edges
Price: B229


Gatsby. Watson, 2/F, Central Silom, Silom Rd., 02-231-3333. BTS Sala Daeng.
Lee Stafford and L’Oreal. Boots, G/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-690-1000. BTS Siam.
Osis. To B 1 Hair Station, Siam Square Soi 2, Rama 1 Rd., 081-966-1023. BTS Siam.
Tigi. Order online at www.strawberrynet.com


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Make sure your phone never runs out of battery again with these power bank chargers.

1.) Elecom 1800 mAh One Port USB charge Self-charge: 4 hours Smartphone charges: One time Price: B680 <CHEAP>

2.) Gum Plus Universal 4,400 mAh One Port USB charge Self-charge: 4 hours Smartphone charges: 3.5 times Price: B2,990

3.) Luxa2 P1 7,000 mAh Dual port USB charge Self-charge: 8 hours Smartphone charges: 3.5 times Price: B3,290

4.) Panasonic 5,400 mAh One port USB charge Self-charge: 2 hours Smartphone charges: 2 times Price: B2,190 <PICK>

5.) Xtreme Mac Incharge Boost 2,300 mAh One port USB charge Self-charge: 3 hours Smartphone charges: 1.5 times Price: B2,090

Where to buy them in Bangkok

Elecom. Order online at www.symbolsofstyle.com
Gum Plus. Order online at www.gadgetandplay.com
Luxa2, Panasonic, Xtreme Mac. 3/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-690-1000. BTS Siam.


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1.) Pick a Theme, Any Theme

For a sense of occasion, there’s nothing quite like a theme to help you sort out how to decorate your place, pick your drinks and encourage your guests to dress up. Poon Panichewa, owner of Meeting Room-The Asian Gastro and PR manager for various fashion brands, says, “Dress codes work for small parties, but forget those beach or cowboy themes, this year is all about something easy but requiring creativity, such as salary man, hip-hop on the beach or choom thang sieng thong (luk toong).” See #14, page 10, for places to rent the perfect costume. Here are our top theme ideas:
• Prohibition Chic. Every one else is doing it, so why can’t you? Inspired by the period from 1920-1933 when alcohol was banned throughout the United States, it’s the era of debauched drinking dens (speakeasies) and the Jazz Age—think Boardwalk Empire and The Great Gatsby when it comes to the dress code. Prohibition-era cocktails are all about making homemade moonshine palatable but for something a bit more elevated try the Sidecar with Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice, in a 3-2-1 ratio.
• Naughty Nineties & Noughties. Why is it Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan get to have all the trashy fun? This party theme is all about the atrocious pop we love (even better if it’s from the 90s and early 2000s), wearing very little clothes and behaving very badly. Email events@asia-city.co.th and we’ll even tell you where to get male strippers if you promise you’re not the Department of Special Investigations. Drinks? A big bowl of sweet boozy punch to get everyone trashed ASAP.
• Luk Toong. Maft Sai’s Isaan funk has become the obligatory soundtrack for every hip party in town. Head to his molam mecca of a shop on Sukhumvit Soi 51 to stock up on ZudRangMa compilation records, or do your own crate digging for rare luk toong vinyl in China Town or Mae Mai Pleang Thai (G/F MBK, Rama 1 Rd., 02-898-0500/-2. www.maemaiplengthai.com). Order Isaan (try Somtam Jaykee, page 8), hand out pah kao ma to your guests and bring out the chilled rice wine. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger, right?

2.) Cue Up the Perfect Playlist


Neon Tiger (Child’s Play)
• “Dear New York” (original mix) by Firebeatz & Schella
• “Sidewinder” (original mix) by AC Slater
• “Epic” (original mix) by Sandro Silva & Quintino
• “Analogital” (Hard Rock Sofa Remix) by Marco V  
• “Must Be The Feeling” (South Central Remix) by Nero


Note Pongsuang (Dudesweet)
• “Wait & See” by Holy Ghost!
• “Tribulations” by LCD Soundsystem
• “Take a Walk“ by Passion Pit
• “Bad Girls” by M.I.A.
• “Wild World” by Mr. Big

Club Circuit

DJ Tony Preeda (gCircuit)
• “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix) by Gotye feat. Kimbra
• “Dirty Thinking” (Mateo Cortes Yes Remix) by Miguel Picasso, Kristen Deva
• “Feed The Fire” (Jesse Garcia Club Remix) by Katherine Ellis, The Studiopunks
• Let’s Have A Kiki (Nick Bertossi Big Room mix) by Scissor Sisters

3.) See the Green Fairy

Absinthe is a serious alcoholic beverage made from the grand wormwood plant and mixtures of herbs which gained popularity during the 19th century amongst Bohemian intellectuals. It’s sometimes called The Green Fairy for its green color and high alcohol content of up to 70%, which gives it a hallucinogenic quality. There’s more to it than gobbling shots, though, so here’s the proper way to drink it:
• Get yourself a bottle of absinthe (real absinthe has wormwood infusion)
• Make sure you have a perforated spoon, sugar cube and cold water
• Place the spoon with the sugar cube on it on the absinthe glass and pour about 6oz of cold water on the sugar cube until the absinthe starts fade in color
• Use the spoon to dissolve the sugar cube into the absinthe
• Drink slowly to savor the taste

4.) Carve Balls

The coolest thing in bartending is to serve single malt whiskies with fist-sized balls of ice in them. While the nec plus ultra is to chop the ball out of a block of ice, you can also just use simple balloons filled with water and chuck them in the freezer. Make sure you clean out the balloons first—they’re not really designed to contain food. The advantage of an iceball over icecubes is that it melts more slowly, allowing your whiskey to keep cool without getting watered down too quickly.

5.) Get Into the Fold

For some extra table style, try folding your paper napkins into this lotus shape. It’s not very difficult but it looks pretty fab.

6.) Sit Back and Relax

Can’t even be bothered with replating a food delivery? Get these guys to come in and handle the whole thing.
• I Do Catering
6 Soi Ari Samphan 9, Rama 6 Rd., 02-279-4980. www.ido-catering.com.
These guys organize everything, from event planning down to menu preparation, be it a high tea or a BBQ party.
• Greyhound Catering
27/1 Sukhumvit 53, 02-252-3403/-5. www.greyhoundcafe.co.th.
Trendy and dependable, Greyhound caters to all occasions with an offering of different packages (cocktails, food-in-the-box, buffet).
• White Cafe Catering
207 Ladprao 115, Bangkapi, 02-734-0514/1331/0906. www.whitecafecatering.com
Run and owned by Benya Nadakwang, who’s been cooking for more than 25 years and is now behind the edgy White Cafe in Thonglor, these guys are experts in modern Thai food but can also do plenty of fusion options.

7.) Order In

Can’t afford the catering? Dial F.O.O.D. and watch your problems disappear.

• Somtam Jay Kee
137/1-2, Soi Polo, Rama 4 Rd., 02-251-2272.
Nothing spells party quite like a sumptuous Isaan feast. Order their specialties: fried chicken and a variety of somtam, of course.
• Food By Phone
02-663-4663. www.foodbyphone.com
Log on to their website where you’ll be spoiled for choice with an enormous selection of food from various city restaurants, categorized by type, from Mediterranean to Isaan and vegetarian.
• Zabbver
02-655-6000, www.zabbver.com
The only company that delivers baan-baan dishes from old-favorites, like Rad Na Jae Fai, Guay Jub Nai Lek and Pad Thai Thip Samai, direct to your door. Regular members (from B2,500) get to order between 10am-10pm, while premium members (from B15,000) get a 24-hour service. Charges are deducted from member fees.
• Food Panda
02-643-5336, www.foodpanda.co.th
Food Panda delivers from over 100 restaurants, from Pizzazo Bistro and Masala Art to Joke Mee Please. Enter your sub-district, see what’s available in your area and get your cash ready.
• ChefsXP
1767, www.chefsxp.com
What’s so good about ChefsXP is that they have an expansive list of tasty restaurants and they consistently charge lower mark-up prices than the other competitors (and it’s only B60 for delivery to all areas).

8.) Say it with Flowers

Nothing says special occasion like flowers (yes, really). Fill that space with lilies, birds of paradise or roses. Here are our picks of the top florists.
• Ruern Boossaba. 16 Sukhumvit Soi 21, Wattana, 02-661-7767/8, 085-199-2904.
• Close to Nature. 2/F, CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-269-9992.
• Atelier. 1/F, The Okura Prestigue Bangkok, Ploenchit Rd., 02-687-9000.

9.) Serve Them a Proper Drink

If you’re afraid that your homemade cocktails could spell disaster or cause serious brain damage, why not hire a bartender for the night? We asked around and found out that reputable bartenders normally expect around B1,500 per night. But if you want to surprise your guests with a celebrity bartender, prepare to splash out a lot more cash. We spoke to Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn, co-owner of Roof by Muse and a mixologist for Diagio’s premium liquors, who said, “If you want to hire a celebrity bartender, expect to pay at least B25,000 for a night. But if they’re professional, but not yet a celebrity, rates should be around B3,000.” And of course, you could always go to a bartending school like Bartender Course School (02-653-9373), which offers cocktail-making courses as well as bartending moves.

10.) Play, Drink, Repeat

We’ve played all the following games and lived to regret it. Enjoy.

Beer Pong

You need: plastic cups, a big table, ping pong balls.
1. Set up ten beer-filled plastic cups in a triangle on each end of the table.
2. Split into two teams. One member of each team takes turns bouncing a ping-pong ball into the other team’s cups.
3. You get the ball in a cup, the other team has to drink the contents.
Drunken Jenga
You need: a Jenga (a bunch of wooden blocks of identical size). Get it at Toys-R-Us (6/F, CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-613-1400).
1. Prepare a shot of vodka (or any other liquor of your choice).
2. Play the game as you normally would.
3. Whoever topples the tower, takes the tipple.
You need: a Stab-A-Pirate (also from Toys-R-Us).
1. Prepare a shot of booze.
2. Take turns stabbing the barrel.
3. Whoever gets the pirate, drink the shot.
Warning: this one gets you drunk pretty fast.
Never Have I Ever
You need: honest friends.
1. A group of players sit together in a circle with one starting the game by saying what they’ve never done.
2. Anyone that has done what the first person has not must drink.
3. The game continues around the circle, but if no one takes a drink, the person who said “they have never...” must drink.

11.) Champagne Sabering

Surprise your guests by showing that you can saber a bottle of champers just like the top bartenders. Read the following tips from Cha Cha, bartender at The St. Regis Bar—carefully now, so that no one loses an eye.  
• What kind of champagne? At the moment we use Domain Chandon Sparkling but when we have special requests or events we use Moet Chandon.
• What type of bottle? The bottle has to be made of good quality materials because the cheap ones will make the glass shatter.
• Which part of the bottle do you saber? The neck of the bottle, at the spot where the seam of the bottle meets the head of the bottle. It’s the weakest point.
• Any special techniques? Chill the bottle upside down. It must be extremely cold. Take off the foil from around the neck. Unscrew the wire cage over the cork and bottle head. Hold the bottle at 45 degrees and slide hard at the neck of the bottle. The high pressure inside the bottle will force the cork to fly off.
• Does the length of the saber matter? No. Some people use short swords. It depends on one’s proficiency.
• How do you make the champagne foam fizzle out? Shake the bottle slightly before sabering.

12.) Get Laid

Is your party full of singles just itching to hook up but too shy to do the work? Here’s how to socially lubricate them.

• 7 minutes in Heaven
​You’ll need one bottle and lots of people. Just hope they’re good kissers.
​1. Gather around in a circle.
​2. One person starts the game by spinning a bottle twice until the bottle stops pointing at ​two people of the opposite sex.
​3. The two chosen spend seven minutes in a closet (or a room) to do, um, whatever they please.
​4. Once they’re out they get to spin the bottle for the next two.
• Strip Twister
​You’ll need the Twister (try Toys R’ Us) game and an equal number of men and women.
​1. Determine a penalty for players who’ve lost all their clothing and split into men’s and women’s teams.
​2. Two players play in each round as a teammate spins for their partner.
​3. When a player fails to move to a spot, that player removes one piece of clothing and is replaced by a teammate.
​4. Play continues till there’s one player left with only one piece of clothing. Others without clothes can continue after the predetermined penalty is applied.
• Flip, Sip or Strip
​Trust us, this game is simple and no matter what, you’ll end up either drunk or naked.
​1. Three or more players take turns flipping a coin and guess if it’s head or tails.
​2. If they guess correctly, they pass the coin to the next player, if they guess wrong, they either take a shot or remove a piece of clothing. The real fun part is you can’t choose the same option twice in a row.
• Suck and Blow
​The name says it all, a quick and easy way to break the ice with the opposite sex.
​1. Five to six players gather around in circle switching positions between men and women.
2. One player starts the game by holding a card to their mouth by sucking in air and passes the card to the next player by blowing out.
​2. The game continues until someone drops the card (meaning you’ll get some lip action), that person then takes a drink.

13.) Harness the Powerof Science

Bas Petchpradit, mixologist at WOOBAR,
W Bangkok, gives us an easy recipe for a molecular cocktail you can make yourself.
Jasmine Martini Jelly
• What you need: Gin 400ml, syrup 40ml, two drops of jasmine flower extract, five packs of gelatin.
1 Pour all of the gelatin into water and add two drops of jasmine flower extract.
2 Once the gelatin starts to soften, separate the gin into two parts, one 90ml and one 410 ml.
3 Pour the 90ml gin into a bowl before placing it above a pot of boiling water to allow it to heat up.
4 Mix together the heated gin with the rest of the gin, syrup and gelatin in a mold, add some fruits for more flavors and put in the fridge until it turns jelly-like.

14.)  Look the Part

Ditch your elegant evening wear and dress the part for the festive party with our picks of the best costume shops around town.

Dreambox Costume
What: Fancy, super heroes and movie characters.
Highlight: An array of international and superhero costumes.
Price: Rent starts from B300, deposit from B150.
Where: Soi Preedeepanomyong 26, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-715-3547. www.dreamboxcostume.com
PR Fancy
What: Fancy, international, superheroes and movie icons.
Highlight: Wide range of fancy costumes that come with countless complimenting accessories.
Price: Rent starts from B700 for three-day rental, B1,000 deposit.
Where: 488 Soi Petchburi 18, Petchburi Rd., 02-656-5831. BTS Ratchathewi.
What: Fancy and international costumes.
Highlight: Retro and international costumes that are all about the details.
Price: Rental starts from B400 for three-day rental, deposit from B300.
Where: Twin Condo (next to Asia Hotel), Happy Land 2 Rd., 081-617-1277.
Grandview Fashion
What: Fancy, international, night dresses, pretty costumes.
Highlight: Sequined costumes; they even have ones that’ll turn you into a promo pretty.  
Price: Rent starts from B1,500, deposit from B1,500.
Where: Between Soi Ladprao 85-87, Ladprao Rd., 02-538-8325.
M Shop
What: Fancy costumes
Highlight: A wide range of bodysuits.
Price: Rental starts from B500, deposit from B300.
Where: 1096 Petchburi Soi 37, Petchburi Rd., 086-062-3084.

15.) Get Rid Of Your Bad Red Wine

You can’t prevent your guests from bringing bad wine to your party. But at least you can turn it into something drinkable. Make sangria.
• What you need: A bottle of red wine, peach syrup, strawberry, green apple, apple juice, watermelon, and lime juice.
• How to: Dice all choppable fruits and throw a handful of each into a big bowl with red wine. Add syrup, apple juice and some lime juice, according to taste. Leave it in the fridge for around two hours. When serving, always place the sangria bowl on ice so that it’s chilled even without ice. Top with a splash of ginger ale to add some fizz.

16.) Screw Doing the Dishes

1 Chopsticks and plastic forks, B60 each from Daiso (Try Siam Square Soi 3, 02-654-6303) 2 Compostable bagasse sugarcane plates, B32/10 pieces, 3 cups, B25/10 cups from Gourmet Market (Try G/F, Siam Paragon, 02-690-1234) 4 Paper napkins: yellow, B99/50 pieces; green, B69/30 pieces; red, B74/30 pieces from IKEA (Mega Bangna, 02-708-7999)

17.) And Screw Cleaning Up For That Matter

Don’t ruin your delicate hands, hire a third party to do the job.

482 Soi Sainamthip, Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02-743-1250. www.coit.co.th.
With half a century experience and branches in the US, Canada and Thailand, they can de-soil anything from curtains and Persian carpets to sofas and cushions. They normally visit your place before quoting the price which falls between B8,000-B20,000.
Cleaning 24
67 Soi Huamark 9, Huamark, Bangkapi, 081-347-4863, 02-732-1700. www.cleaning24.co.th
These guys can make your place look new again within a day. The professional team will clean everything from the floor to the ceiling. Prices roughly start from B50 per sq meter.
Four Hands Maintenance
46/82 Moo 12, Nuanphaka Village, Nuanchan Rd., 02-510-2571, 02-944-6362. www.fourhandscleaning.com.
Four hands are surely better than two when it comes to cleaning. With all-round cleaning services, they send a cleaning crew equipped with high-quality machines to wipe away every trace of grime. Prices start from B3,000.


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As the 29th Thailand International Motor Expo kicks into gear (Nov 29 - Dec 10), we round up the newest models most likely to be announced at the show.

1.) All new Honda Accord  (70% likely*)

*just about time for a model change
• Four-cylinder 16-Valve DOHC i-VTEC® engine 2.0L cc 185hp
• Six-speed manual or automatic transmission with sport mode
• Navigation system and push start function
• From approximately B1.26 million

2.) Honda Amaze (Brio sedan)  (100% likely*)

*just a matter of time before it launches
• Four cylinder 16-Valve DOHC i-VTEC® engine 1.2L 89hp
• Five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission
• From approximately B430,000

3.) Toyota Etios  (40% likely*)

*rumored to hit Thailand soon
• four-cylinder 16-Valve DOHC engine 1.5L 90hp
• Five-speed manual transmission
• From approximately B370,000

4.) Mazda CX-5  (60% likely*)

*rumored as a response to the CRV, Fortuner and Captiva
• SKYACTIV-G DOHC 4-cylinder engine 2.0L 155hp
• Six-speed manual or automatic transmission
• Navigation system and push start function
• From approximately B1 million

5.) Mazda 6  (70% likely*)

*long overdue for Thailand
• 16 valve DOHC 4-cylinder engine 2.5L 170hp
• Six-speed manual or five-speed sport transmission with manual-shift mode
• Navigation system and push start function
• From approximately B1million

6.) Ford Territory  (100% likely*)

*confirmed by Ford
• Six-cylinder 24 valve VG Turbo Intercooler 2.7L 190hp
• Six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode
• Touch screen DVD player
• Available for B2,999,000

29th Thailand International Motor Expo

Nov 29-Dec 10, Impact Arena Challenger Building 1-3, Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. Tickets B100. www.motorexpo.co.th/2012
Impact Arena, 99 Popular Rd., Muang Thong Thani, 02-833-4455. www.impact.co.th


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With all the outdoor festivals coming up, set up camp with our picks of the best freestanding* tents.

1.) Travelmart Nature Plus

The Extra Space
Two-door waterproof tent for two
Size: 135m tall, 205x150cm space, 3.5kg
Price: B1,750

2.) Coleman Touring Dome

The Classic
One-door waterproof tent for two
Size: 100cm tall, 210x120cm space, 4.4kg
Price: B5,400

3.) Kelty Grand Mesa 2

The Lightweight Double
One-door waterproof tent for two
Size: 111cm tall, 208x111cm space, 2.1kg
Price: B7,800

4.) Karana Zenith 3

The Budget Pick
Two-door waterproof tent for three
Size: 150cm tall, 210x210cm space, 6kg
Price: B3,400

5.) Exped Southern Cross

The Hermes of Tents
  Two door waterproof tent for two
Size: 105cm tall, 220x125cm space, 2.5kg
Price: B15,900

Where to Buy Them in Bangkok

*A freestanding tent is one that does not require stakes to stand up and can be moved around after setup.
Coleman. Thailand Outdoor Shop, Sukhumvit Soi 101/1. 02-393-9397. BTS Punnawithi.
Exped & Karana. 2/F, Amarin Plaza, Ploenchit Rd., 081-634-6350. BTS Chidlom.
Kelty. Order online at www.thaihiking.com
Travelmart. Order online at www.e-travelmart.com

Where to Camp this Cool Season

Phu Kradueng National Park, Loei

Entry fee B100. Camping fee B90. Tent B225. 042-871-333, 042-871-458, www.dnp.go.th
After its annual closure due to environmental and safety measures during the rainy season, Phu Kradueng National Park is now welcoming back visitors to experience its virgin forests and red maple leaves. The national park limits visitor numbers to 5,000 people per day so you might want to call ahead. It’s a 3-4 hour hike to camp but it’s well worth the effort.

Khun Sathan National Park, Nan

Entry fee B100. Camping fee B90. Tent B225. 054-701-121, 054-305-585, 087-173-9549.
It’s that time of year when the mountains in the North turn pink as the nang phaya seua krong flowers, aka Thai sakura, bloom in the chilly weather, creating a spectacular landscape. One top spot to see it all is Khun Sathan National Park in Nan’s Na Noi District. Check with the national park office for a precise bloom forecast prior to your visit so that you don’t miss out. There are limited spaces for camping, too.

Pang Oong, Mae Hong Son

Camping fee B100. Tent fee B300.
Part of the SUPPORT Foundation’s Pang Tong Royal Project, Pang Oong is a dream destination for those seeking to enjoy the valley’s morning mist. As it’s not a national park, visitors who wish to stay overnight must register their name with the SUPPORT Foundation in Mae Hong Son (053-611-244, 085-618-3303) in advance. Visitor numbers are limited to 500 so do call ahead.


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Chatuchak has a new neighbor, JJ Green, which offers a similarly affordable selection of shops in a more manicured environment.

JJ Green, the new open-air mall next to Chatuchak, is set to have its grand opening next month. It’s 150 stores on 21 rai are all air-conditioned, and despite being around since May the foot traffic is still pretty low, offering an experience that’s a lot more civilized than the JJ zoo. Here, we round up a few shops you might want to check out.

Inspire Way

With its rugged and raw vibe, Inspire Way is all about the outdoor man. Wooden barrels are used to stock manga-printed t-shirts (from B190); the owner’s self-designed colorful leather boat shoes for men and women evoke yachting weekends (men B2,250, women B1,800); while Australia’s Billie canvas slip-ons and Chiang Mai’s Rubber Killer bags (made from recycled tyres, from B350) bring a touch of eco-warrior style. Products get updated fast, so you can expect rare imports to hit their shelves before they hit the malls. Open daily 10am-8pm. www.facebook.com/pages/Inspire-Way/249268355146040?fref=ts, 081-690-9359.

Pixie Dust

Pixie Dust is all about the stripes, whether it’s on men’s plain-colored t-shirts, polos or women’s tops and dresses. This studio-like shop focuses on simple design in safe tones like white, grey and navy: think casual pieces like long sleeve tops with a playful touch like a printed collar; a light, breathable, striped blazer; or knee-length dresses with hidden details like camouflaged pockets. The stripes, too, are jazzed up: they’re sometimes big and bold or printed with small details you might not even spot at first glance. T-shirts starts from B200, polos from B300 and dresses from B590. Open 11am-8pm Mon-Fri and 10am-7pm on weekends.

Mix & More

Judging from the random items in the window display, from acrylic saxophones to baby dolls, you’ve entered a zakka shop, those Japanese stores where the objects are curated according to the owner’s whimsy. You’ll find stationery, small gifts, printed t-shirts and lots of Japanese collectibles, from cartoon-themed pencils, figurines and toys, to children’s novels and snacks. T-shirts starts from B250 and stationery from B160. Open daily 11am-7pm.

Bellezza by Worarad

Bellezza’s green décor is home to women’s clothing and accessories focused on a sweet, girly palette of pastel tones. Jerseys, printed tops, understated candy-colored dresses share the space with unique necklaces and bracelets. Each piece is tailored and designed by the owner, Worarad, who also designed some of the necklaces herself. Tops starts from B500, accessories from B350 and dresses from B1,390. Open daily 10am-8pm.


Don’t let the doodles and drawings of animals on Mama’s windows fool you; this is no scrapbook emporium, children’s toy shop or pet store. Instead, Mama does handmade gifts and accessories, from bird-shaped bottle openers to animal block puzzle pieces. The themes are all animal-related, down to their own t-shirt designs with cuddly creatures like bears, dogs, lions and cats. Thankfully, their animal prints and cute cartoon graphics are contemporary enough to steer clear of utter cheesy cuteness. Prices start from B290 for t-shirts and B20 for gifts and accessories. Open Tue-Sun 10:30am-8pm. www.facebook.com/rtna.mama, 083-151-6060.


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