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Flour power in Patong at Songkran tames the law

Events: World's Wickedest Waterfight, April 12

Monday, April 7, 2008
THE BEST FUN during Songkran on Phuket is in Patong the night before Songkran. As with so many things, Patong just cannot wait to enjoy itself.

So the fun in Fun Town starts from sundown on April 12, well in advance of everywhere else. If you don't mind getting wet, it's a great place to be, just once in your life.

Water may be precious, but then so is fun. In many places, especially Patong, pure, innocent fun is rare.

Songkran is valued as sanuk by everyone to the point where the normal business of the night is suspended.

To venture into the beer bars on the night before Songkran is to enter into the spirit of a special event when the bar business is less important than innocent enjoyment.

Mind you, we did once see a ladyboy, dressed in a full length gown and made up for that night's cabaret show, threaten to scratch out the eyes and remove other useless items from anyone who so much as pointed a watergun in her direction.

She made her way from one end of Soi Gonzo to the other, repeating her threat. It was two minutes of unbelievable tension. Even the biggest and most boyish shooters were suddenly not so brave. She made it, dry.

If the government is really keen on banning large waterguns, what will they do about the firetruck that last year shot great spurts of water over happy crowds in Soi Bangla? Hopefully, nothing.

Crusty old spoilsports, usually people who have forgotten what it's like to play innocently, call each year for World's Wickedest Waterfight to be banned.

Yet these days it is relatively safe on the roads over Songkran, at least on Phuket if not Thailang generally, thanks to repeated public education campaigns and an increased police presence.

A couple of Songkrans recently have been even safer on the roads statistically than during the rest of the year.

People are not so stupid as to endanger lives by dousing motorcyclists unexpectedly, are they? Well, that's the hope in 2008.

On Songkran Day, the fun continues in Patong and just about everywhere on Phuket. The same goes for the whole of Thailand.

Iced water is absolutely essential, which means there's always the chance of cubes of ice being shoved down your neck.

Look out too for bucketsful of ice-cold water dumped from three-storey buildings. It's surprisingly powerful stuff from that height.

Daubs of flour administered to cheeks are also fun and a chance for waterfight combatants to get to know each other at close quarters.

And it's always a delight when the traditional respect that once accompanied Songkran is shown to elders, with just a tiny amount of water being applied. It still happens in quieter places, and it's nice.

As for the rest, well the grumps who want Songkran waterplay banned really don't stand a chance. These unsociable types must spend the entire day inside, grumbling.

The second worst place to be on Songkran Day is in the slowly moving gridlock of cars that circle popular places such as Saphan Hin in Phuket City.

Even worse is to be in a car where the airconditioning has failed and to wind down the windows means taking in bucketfulls of water along with gulps of air.

At sundown on Phuket on Songkran Day, the whole thing stops.

We have seen farang visitors at sunset out looking for fun with waterguns, surprised that the best day out they have had since they were 10 years old has suddenly come to an end.

In Patong, it's back to work.

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Wednesday July 17, 2019
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