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Bangkok Then and Now
News Items
These articles, a few of the book's 100+ items, appeared in the pages of the 1900 and 1901 editions of the Bangkok Times, the leading newspaper of the day:
One evening a short time ago, the Manager of the Paknam railway was returning to Paknam on a trolley. Near the second bridge out from Bangkok, the trolley bumped into and was stopped by an obstruction on the line. It was dark, of course, but the Manager proceeded to investigate the matter and found the obstruction down the bank washing a bad wound on his head. It was a policeman who had gone to sleep on the line.
An advertisement: For Sale. Light Singapore-made Victoria carriage in good condition with strong black Siamese pony and harness. The asking price is 700 baht.
A couple of Europeans, both in an inebriated condition, caused quite a stir at the top of Oriental Avenue last evening. They were showing their affection for one another by a free use of a walking stick and an umbrella.
Bangplasoi in Chon Buri is excited over a tale about a tiger. It seems that on the 9th instant, a man and his wife and child were walking into the town from their home some 500 sen [20 km.] away in the jungle. They had got to the Bangplasoi hill when the woman disappeared. She had fallen behind and the man sat down and waited until he began to get alarmed. He went to investigate and found blood leading from the road along a jungle path. That scared him and he cleared out for Bangplasoi with his child as quickly as possible. Four men who were out hunting rabbits on the hill next day, startled a tiger close to the very spot where the woman was last seen. The animal roared and then bolted. Since then, the people of Bangplasoi have been afraid to go near the place. Evil-minded people are saying that the lady may have eloped and that the presence of the tiger the next day was only a coincidence.
On the north side of Klong Number 5 in Klong Rangsit district, 30 buffaloes belonging to one cultivator were stolen on the 15th of last month. The gang of thieves numbered some 13 men, most of them riding ponies. The buffaloes were grazing about 10 sen [400 meters] from the owner's house. A herd of elephants proved something of an obstacle in the way of the thieves, but they succeeded in getting past and the owner of the buffaloes failed to catch them up. These cattle robberies in the Klong Rangsit district are far too frequent and it is high time the Department responsible took more effective steps to make the robber's trade less ridiculously easy.
The newcomer has not been in Bangkok very long before he is struck with the very loose manner in which the traffic in the town is conducted. In places of the size and importance of Bangkok where sidewalks for foot passengers are an unknown quantity, regulations for the control of the vehicular traffic are an absolute necessity. In taking a walk, say, along New Road, one is at a loss to know which way to turn in order to effectively dodge the rikshas and gharries [horse-drawn taxis] or probably a couple of galloping ponies, to say nothing of the "Bangkok Express", the local tram. With the rapid improvement of Bangkok perhaps it is not too much to hope that some means of regulating the traffic will follow. The sooner the better.
The police have at last taken action against the women who prowl about New Road at night from Bush Lane [Captain Bush Lane] to New Klong Road [i.e. New Road from approximately the Central Post Office to the bridge crossing Klong Padung Krung Kasem] accosting passers-by. The Chief Inspector sent out a number of his men last night and they arrested four women and a man who were taken before the magistrates today. There should be no difficulty in putting a stop to this practice in Bangkok.
A steam organ is, we understand, being procured by Mr. Tilleke to play to his customers in the Oriental Hotel at meal times.
An elephant has been causing trouble in the City again though on this occasion it seems to have been the fault of his driver. It was being driven along Rajani Road [paralleling Klong Lawd] and opposite the Ministry of Public Works it met a riksha. The driver of the elephant said the riksha puller abused him as he passed and he is alleged to have ordered his elephant to turn and attack the Chinaman. Anyhow, that is what the elephant did, squeezing the man with his trunk. Of course, the animal must have acted carefully and, one would think, without anger otherwise there would have been very little Chinaman left and apparently the man was not seriously injured
 
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