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  • LIFESTYLE

    There's a time and place

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 25/12/2016

    » Merry Christmas! Today is a doubly auspicious day, for Christmas falls on a Sunday only once in seven years. Even in Buddhist Thailand, Christmas is a time for celebrations and for immersing one's self in the spirit of the season.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Petal compositions

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 18/12/2016

    » The recent "Dok Mai Haeng Rachan" exhibition at Siam Paragon was a most fitting tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. And no floral arrangement could have lived up to the theme of the exhibition, literally meaning "the King's flowers", better than a photo of the late King in full regalia surrounded by a sea of dried flowers.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Turns for the better

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 11/12/2016

    » Unlike the Philippines, which is battered by no less than 24 typhoons a year, Thailand is hardly hit by typhoons. Thais, therefore, did not know what to expect when Typhoon Gay hit the Gulf of Thailand on Nov 3, 1989. With gale-force winds of 120kph, it killed 529 people, including fishermen and offshore oil rig workers, and rendered 160,000 homeless in the southern provinces of Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Worthy of a name

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 04/12/2016

    » Piya Chalermglin, PhD, intrepid plant explorer and extraordinary researcher at the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, recently retired. He spent 20 years of his career surveying the country's plant genetic resources, particularly Magnoliales, which includes the custard apple family Annonaceae and the magnolia family Magnoliaceae. In the process, he earned the distinction of having discovered 17 species new to science, joining the likes of famous botanist Carl Linnaeus and other plant explorers who immortalised their names by inspiring the names of some plants.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Ginger up

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 27/11/2016

    » Regular reader Paul Schiller sent me a photo of a plant growing in a flower pot at his summer home in Khao Lak, Phangnga province. "Do you know this small beauty?" he asked. The plant was a cluster of lance-shaped bright green leaves, with a terminal pendant inflorescence hanging from each stem. What's attractive about the plant was the unusual inflorescence, which comprised of showy, widely spaced purple bracts. From the base of each bract emerged the long, tube-like pedicel of a small yellow flower. The plant's stems and leaves are those characteristically belonging to members of the ginger family.

  • LIFESTYLE

    All I need is the air that I breathe

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 20/11/2016

    » 'Please introduce air plant farms in the Bangkok area," an email I received recently requested. I am sure there are hobbyists growing air plants in their gardens or balconies, but because of high land prices, I doubt it if there are plant nurseries in Bangkok. Be that as it may, I went to my favourite haunt, the Chatuchak midweek market, last Wednesday to ask around.

  • LIFESTYLE

    From the ground up

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 13/11/2016

    » Last week's column about a sick bodhi tree in the yard of a temple in Tucson, Arizona, reminded me of a letter from Murray Thomas last April seeking advice on the cultural requirements of the edible creeper Piper sarmentosum, known in Thai as cha plu.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Don’t leave it in distress

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 06/11/2016

    » Deeporne Beardsley wrote from Tucson, Arizona, to say that she and her husband are volunteers in a local university hydroponics greenhouse. “Today, the abbot of Wat Buddhametta, Ajarn Saraut, showed me two potted bodhi trees and asked why the leaves of one were turning yellow,” she wrote.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Oasis in the concrete jungle

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 30/10/2016

    » It rained hard in the wee hours of the morning that day I went to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital two weeks ago. As I walked past the Department of Laboratory Medicine building, a sudden burst of sound filled the air. I stopped to look and listen, and was mesmerised by what I saw.

  • LIFESTYLE

    The strength of the land

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 23/10/2016

    » I once wrote an article about His Majesty the King's Royal Project for an information and policy studies institute in London, which commissioned me to write about development issues in this part of the world.

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