Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Flying Sporran’s Bangkok Diary June 7 2012.

A short update on an incident earlier this year when a young Irish teacher overreacted and suffered the consequences after taking his six-year-old daughter's balloons onto the Bangkok Sky Train. Also a guide for readers on what not to take on to the city's mass transit system.

Good heavens what is this I see before me? – balloons on the sky train bobbing along behind a group of Thais at Ekamai BTS station. Are they trying to sneak on to do battle with the train system’s notorious security guards.

No they are attached to a pretty Thai woman.

But could she then be one of the new 21st century gladiators come to challenge the authorities and do battle against insurmountable odds in Thailand’s new  mass transit amphitheatre?

No, thank god. She was blissfully aware of an incident earlier this year when an Irish teacher took a thorough beating  requiring hospital treatment, after becoming angry when he was told to hand over the balloons he was carrying for his six year old daughter.

In this recent case security guards leapt into action after they saw the photographer snapping away at the lady who incidentally was carrying gas filled balloons. The photographer says she would have got through had he not been so enthusiastic to record the scene.

She apparently did raise her voice and was certainly miffed. But thankfully she did not kick a rubbish bin.

A reader sent me this picture presumably to remind people what they can not do on Bangkok's sky train.

I guess it can also serve as a guide as to what and who guards can attack.

So they can go for roller skates, hamburgers and drinks, Scottish terriers, unaccompanied bicycles and balloons, people throwing confetti, arsonists, smokers, men sitting down to masterbate, Chinese coolies and or judges, photographers (poster take note) and men carrying their wives' shopping bags.

Well that's not bad for starters. Anybody spotted anything else one cannot do on the sky train?


  1. You forgot the "no urinating" or taking the piss regulations. BTS is a typical LRT system, no toilets as passengers do not stay on for long and the operator would be peed off cleaning them. MRT had other aims but they were in and out and moved around 7 times in the design of the MRT which really took the piss

  2. So no bobsledding or shopping on the train...but by the looks of it taking a pee or a dump might be ok....buffalo and horses look ok too.

  3. I should have taken a picture just about a week ago!

    2 bikers with helmet and mountain bikes at Siam Station entering the skytrain toward Sukhumvit!

  4. Whilst I appreciate that what the Guards did was wrong - in defence of the BTS operators most of these floating Balloons are not filled with the more expensive Helium Gas, but are in fact filled with a very highly flamable Hydrogen Gas which upon contact with a heat source can turn the balloons into an instant fireball. Just a warning for anyone who buys their children a floating balloon from a market or street vendor or from someone who does not use Helium. Keep in mind, these balloons are floating just above peoples heads and will often ignite hair when they explode and they explode very easily. So good on the BTS as a company to bann Balloons as imagine what would happen if a number of these exploded together inside a packed train carriage, it could be disasterous.

  5. Awesome...looks like sex is allowed also...I know what I'll be doin all next weekend.

  6. BTS in Bangkok looks a lot safer than BST in Map Ta Phut!Hydrogen filled balloons don't need safe work permits either!I bet the guards at BTS do a much better job than the plant supervisors at BST!At leaast they seem to walk the area checking on things!

  7. The whimsical meanderings of the elf 'n safety brigade concerned about conflagrations on the BTS occasioned by exploding balloons probably owe more to their vivid imaginations than to the actualite. In my ten year association with Thailand during which I have attended any number of gatherings, public and private, where the venue has been festooned in balloons, I have yet to witness this spontaneous pyrotechnical display that so alarms the anxious among us.
    Perhaps I've just been lucky or maybe it's simply a neurotic fantasy of the farang keen to maintain tonsorial elegance in the most adverse of circumstances.

  8. Dark sides slant for banning of balloons also sounds a little like the explanation to the Hindenburg Disaster!!!! Are you sure about hydrogen being the gas in these balloons? Seems a little unfeasible to me, but, I could be wrong.
    Anyway...I took a trip to the local zoo the other day and low and behold.....NO BALLOONS ALLOWED!

  9. To answer our critics, we have been running a balloon decoration business in Thailand for more than 7 years now and can assure you we know our industry.

    If in doubt, ask to see the cyclinder that the balloon seller used, if it is not a long typical cyclinder marked helium, and more resembles your home bbq gas cyclinder, then it is most certainly hydrogen.

    But don't take my word for it, buy one of these balloons, let it float up to a heat source such as a hot light bulb and enjoy.

    We could sell through our business a lot more balloons if we used Hydrogen, but for the safety of our clients and their children we only use Helium.

    The average cost for gas alone these days to fill a helium balloon is about 20 baht, not including balloon or labour etc.

    Good indicator that if you are buying a balloon for 5, 10 or 15 baht, chances are it is hydrogen.

    But again, don't take our professional advice, try it out for yourself if you dare...

  10. Much as I share Westerby's distain for some of the more lunatic Elfen Safety regs in the supposed developed countries, I also remember the Great Danish Bangkok Balloon Bollock-Up of 2006. Unfortunately, the original photos of burnt Great Danes are not yet found:
    New Hurt foreigner - Kom Chad Luek, October 10, 2006

    This Denmark foreigner was bombed and burned by more than 30 toy balloons that he bought back to his room in the hotel. He was treated at Huachiew Hospital.

    Balloons Sent Four Danes to Hospital

    On the night between Sunday and Monday four Danish students rushed to hospital after a nice evening out on Khao San Road.

    By Morten Perregaard
    On night in Bangkok ended very unfortunately for four Danish students on a study tour in Thailand.
    At 2.30 AM, early Monday morning, the Nation Police Call Center received a phone call that a blast had occurred at Royal Hotel Bangkok, room 124.
    The four students had bought around 30 balloons after spending a nice evening at Khao San Road.
    When they arrived at the hotel the balloons went up to the ceiling. That caused a blast with sparkling fire when the balloons hit a heated lamp, because the balloons were filled with hydrogen instead of helium. The four students suffered 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burn on their back, hands and breast.
    Two of the students are now discharged from the hospital while the two remaining Danes will spend another week or two at Vashira Hospital in Bangkok.
    The four Danes are among a group of around 30 students from the Engineering College in Aarhus. UNQUOTE
    This video also gives some idea of what just 9 balloons can do:

  11. In light of the Santika Pub disaster, perhaps BTS might want to picture also NO FIREWORKS.

    I was once approached by a BTS platform security guard and told not to drink water out of a bottle, despite being well back from the platform edge.

  12. A nice apology will be accepted.

    Thanks Sunovabeach - what a great video, we will surely use this in our business to demonstrate just how dangerous these things are.

    Please, next time you buy a balloon for your kids, think about this, it could save your children.