Category Archives: Bangkok

Sometimes Thailand is a little surreal.

A store at my favorite shopping mall, Terminal 21, has a hitler-esque, Ronald McDonald-like statue that people pose with, thinking it is cute. After the Israeli ambassador complained, the store owner put a mask on the statue. Now he looks like a terrorist/serial killer, hitler-esque, Ronald McDonald-like statue. You can see some pictures and commentary here.

Now it seems that poor Ronald has been made over into a buddha image and the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be investigating the statue.  A Bing translation of one article says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “will ask for complete details about it before” and “make notification to the place, knows the importance of Buddhism that is delicate, and the statue is not appropriate.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson also noted that the statues owners may not be aware of how offensive Thai Buddhists found the statue and requested “if anyone knows whether the statue is in place?” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will “coordinate to the Embassy in the country and will continue to strongly consider a quick fix.”

Somehow, I don’t think they will request a mask.

Only in Thailand.

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BNH Hospital

BNH Hospital (formerly British Nursing Home) is a well-respected, private hospital in Bangkok. It targets expats and is located within walking distance (about 3 blocks) of the Silom/Sala Daeng BTS/MRT interchange. As such it is a little bit farther away and harder for me to get, but another expat recommended an English speaking doctor there and so I went.

They are undergoing renovations right now, some things are not as pretty as others, but in general the facilities are nice looking. It is not a huge place and is built around a central courtyard which is nice.

The staff and nurses have a generally higher standard of English than some other private hospitals, although English abilities vary. Dr. Irene, the internist I spoke with was very good and willing to answer questions and give practical advice.

I found the same general problem with blood pressure machines and the question of what (if anything) to do if the cuff doesn’t fit, but Dr. Irene had her own stethoscope and blood pressure unit and took it manually herself. In addition, the nurse found a bigger cuff attachment for the regular machine that seemed better than some.

On a later visit, I was hospitalized for a few days and got to experience their hospital scrubs and standard of care. Unfortunately, Dr. Irene was away so I was left at the mercy of nurses and a visiting specialist who did not speak as much English. Like many Thai institutions, there were many times when it was not clear what was going on and it was hard to get answers.

However, I was generally satisfied with the standard of care. The nurses who took blood pressure used a cuff that (mostly) fit and the scrubs outfit that was provided more or less fit in the way of hospital clothes. In other words, it covered the pertinent parts, but was not particularly comfortable and tended to fall open or ride up without lots of attention. Not really a problem when you’re laying in bed and can put a sheet over you anyway, but somewhat nerve-wracking if you’re being carted around for x-rays.

The only possible size-related complaint I have is that when I was at Sukhumvit hospital the orderlies would come daily to change the sheets and suggest I take a shower. While I don’t really want people coming around telling me to take a shower, the benefit was that they provided a cover for my IV port and offered a sponge bath when they thought the IV was connected. Now I don’t particularly want a sponge bath if I can avoid it, but I’m not used to being hooked up to things and didn’t know what was allowed and what wasn’t. The Sukhumvit orderlies didn’t really speak any English, but we managed to make ourselves more or less understood. The BNH orderlies on the other hand, just didn’t say anything. I don’t know whether it was size or nationality based discrimination (they didn’t want to deal with a “fat farang”) or something more benign (miscommunication) but it would have been nice to get a little bit of clarification.

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