Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Southeast Asian surprises

Most Thai men enter the monastery for a period of two weeks to three months
Thailand was the only southeast Asian country not colonised
Thais only use chopsticks to eat noodle soups or other noodle dishes

More booms were dropped in Cambodia during the secret US bombimg campaign of 1969-73 than were dropped by all sides during the whole World War II
Within Vietnam, 102 living languages are spoken

Few Thais speak Lao, but most Laos speak Thai because the only TV worth watching is imported from Thailand
Laos is the most bombed country in the history of bombs
Malaysia has 9 sultans who take turns every five years to be the nation's king

In staid old Singapore, pubs can open all night and the goverment has legalised prostitution
Chewing gum is allowed in Singapore - as long as you get a prescription
Singapore used to be a full 120 square kilometres smaller. Hills have been lopped and monumental amounts of material imported to expand the island. It's still growing
Singapore is one of the lightning capitals of the world -struck, on average, 180 days a year
Singapore is the most expensive country in the world in which to buy a car

Brunei is one of the most effective welfare states in the world, with no income tax, free health care and a whole range of benefits for its citizens
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world
The most popular sports in Philippines are basketball and cockfighting
The Philippines is the world's biggest producer of coconuts