Bangkok is proud to be hosting the 1st annual Asian Martial Arts Games! It's pretty much like the olympics with countries from the area coming and competing in various events. The only event I've been to see is the Muay Thai which is taking place down the street at the National Stadium. We walked in about half an hour before it started so we got to walk around and explore the grounds. The fights weren't the same as the ones I saw at the Lumphini stadium some months ago. Here there were all kinds of officials and people in uniform and even though we were in the front row of the stands, we were still fairly far from the action. Also, instead of having a rowdy "3rd class" section that was shouting and gambling, we had Student Sections. High-school kids would come in droves and occupy large sections of the crowd. It was neat because the all sat together with their different groups in their different uniforms. Every now and then between fights, the PA announcer would say something like "Hello Jawatana High!!" and then that school would scream as loud as they could, and then the announcer would move on to the next school and get a good screaming contest going. There were also lots of screams whenever a Thai national competed. One thing that I'm glad was the same was the crazy snake charmer music during the fights. It makes it so much better.
Since it's the first ever Asian Martial Arts Games, the committee of course had to come up with a mascot. They came up with this guy:
His name is Hanuman which is a character from Ramayana, a great Asian epic. This is from the official site "Hanuman is a white, creamy, super monkey and considers it as the God of the ape which has every kind of fighting skill with strong determination of great success. Being the Mighty Ape, “Hanuman” often shares in the traditional flower festival as a gesture of warm welcome and inspires friendship and unity for all the Asian peoples." It's really neat that the committee chose to hold the games in Thailand with all the political turmoil and the recent disaster of the ASEAN summit a few months ago. Thailand's had some troubles recently so for them to host the games is something postive and maybe a vote of confidence form its neighbors.
I'm gonna try to get out of work early tomorrow to go watch the gold medal Muay Thai matches. I might be able to but I don't think it's gonna happen. I have lots to do in the coming days because next Monday I'm taking a week vacation to Vietnam. I'm pretty excited. I've been asking around about what to see/do there and if anyone out there has any suggestions, I'm all ears.