Is Thailand as deadly for millennials to travel in as we have been told?

Thailand attracts millions of visitors every year with its tropical beaches and bright blue seas, most recently it has been one of the main destinations for millennials to visit whilst on gap years and adventures.

However, there is a darker side to this beautiful country that causes thousands of deaths to young backpackers each year…or so we have been told.

There have been multiple recorded British National deaths in Thailand. Amongst foreigners to die, British nationals are the highest ranking, there have been 101 Brits out of 625 tourist deaths in Thailand from 2009 to 2018.

But Thailand seems to be getting an increase in coverage of tourist dying from mainstream news coverage such as The Sun, The Independent and many more, than other countries with similar if not higher numbers of tourists dying.

Some areas of Thailand such as Koh Tao, located in the province of Surat Thani, get more media coverage than other areas being branded ‘Death Island’ by some media organisations. But it isn’t actually one of the most dangerous places in Thailand for tourists to go to.

The province with the highest tourist death rate in Thailand is Phuket with 181 compared to Koh Tao’s province Surat Thani with just 65 deaths. So why is it getting more attention when it is clearly not the ‘most dangerous’ place to be?

Map 1

Using a website called Farang Deaths which tracks every foreign death of an EU citizen in Thailand, I worked out that only 24%of the foreign deaths on the island from 2009 to present were ages 1-30.

Only ¼ of the deaths are of millennials so this shows that millennials shouldn’t be scaremongered by the press into thinking that they are the ones being targeted in Thailand. The graph below shows the gaping difference between tourist millennials and all tourists deaths.

Map 2

Only 11.2%of those deaths of millennials were murders or unknown, many self-caused in road accidents or falling. Out of the 153 deaths of millennials from 2009 only 19 were murders or unknown.

Map 3

Other tourist destinations such as Cambodia do not suffer the same problem with negative media coverage, but you actually have a higher chance of dying there than in Thailand.

After looking at Thailand’s tourist arrivals per year and comparing it to Cambodia’s using the number of tourists that had died, I discovered that in Thailand in 2017 there was a 1 in 91,300 chance of dying whereas in Cambodia in 2017 there was a 1 in 66,400 chance of dying.

 

Considering how much higher the chance of dying is in Cambodia it is still a very known problem that some of the deaths are not documented or reported on. According to a report from United States Departments Bureau of diplomatic security that “Even when victims are successful in identifying the correct office, police routinely charged a filing fee, resulting in many crimes going unreported and official crime statistics being artificially low.”

We are being told the numbers of how many people are dying without taking into account how many people are visiting Thailand. Tourist numbers have risen to 35.6million in 2017 compared to Cambodia’s 5.31 million.

It seems like more people die in Thailand but only as more tourists visit per year so the number is higher, but the chances are much lower than you first assume.

Other common gap year or travelling destinations such as India had 245 tourist deaths in Goa alone from 2005-2017 and other destinations such as Australia have 300 plus deaths every year at an increasing rate up to 2015 with 361 deaths.

If you want to be extra safe then below is a map of the numbers of deaths in the provinces in Thailand so you can travel wherever you feel most comfortable.

Map 4

So, don’t let what you see in mainstream media stop you from travelling to places like these, just do your research and keep safe everywhere.

 

A Royal Relax

With a very special royal wedding just around the corner, I felt it would be a perfect time to visit the location of this event in Windsor. Now, although I wasn’t there at the time of the wedding itself I had a relaxing and recharging break after a long term.

I visited Sir Christopher Wren Hotel and Spa in the heart of Windsor located just by the river which means the view you get with dinner is indescribable.

windsor1.jpg

I stayed here for two nights, from the moment I arrived I spotted their cocktail menu and just couldn’t resist. They had a wide range of classic cocktails ranging from martinis to mojitos and not too expensive either (from just £8) especially during their happy hour from 5 – 7 every night! After sitting in their bar for a few hours I moved onto trying their food and I was swept off my feet at what I was served.

We were first given a free appetiser, which they told me they do every night to try out new dishes and although I might have embarrassed myself in front of the waiter downing my shot of juice thinking it was alcoholic, I’m certain I am definitely not the only person to have done that.

 

The first night I had their chargrilled burger with smoked cheese and bacon which was delicious. Then on the second and sadly final night, I had the spring duck pancakes which was possibly the best meal I have ever eaten, which was just amplified by their homemade fresh hoisin sauce.

Now, of course, I didn’t just eat on this break, I visited the spa at the hotel and had the full body massage, as well as the Aurabsolu Glow Power Boost with Jasmine Absolute and after lounging around in the spa itself between treatments I had never felt better.

First, I had the full body massage which lasted 55 minutes and after suffering from a bad back for almost three months I was relieved to be able to move without aching all the time. The facial really woke up my skin which had lost its brightness after a long stressful term.

 

I can say with certainty that I will be going back here and hopefully sooner rather than later because I already feel the need for another break like this!

The Frankensteins

Frankenstein is one of the most famous and influential novels of all time, and this year marks the 200thanniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which she wrote in 1818 when she was 20. At the time Shelley had to publish her novel anonymously, which was not uncommon for female authors at this time as they were not as accepted by the public.

Shelley’s inspiration for this legendary novel was very close to home, her husband’s fascination with galvanism, a method of creating electricity using chemicals, was what ignited her imagination for this story. Mary Shelley was married to Percy Bysshe Shelley, known to be one of the most well-known romantic poets as well as being regarded as one of the most influential lyric poets. Percy wrote a preface on Mary’s novel when first released, as she published it anonymously. Due to this preface in the novel, many thought Percy had written it himself, apart from those who suspected that it was in fact written by a ‘newbie’ of the writer world.

When Mary Shelley unleashed Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus upon the world in 1818, she couldn’t have realised the impact this novel would have at shaping the modern-day film and theatre scene.

I could just list to you films that are influenced by this novel, but that would be more of a novel in itself, so instead I will just share with you those that I feel are most significant or insignificant in some cases. Frankenstein has been a staple of cinema since the early days of silent movies. The first direct screen adaptation of Frankenstein was made in 1910 in the USA and since then there have been to many more, an honourable mention being The Bride of Frankenstein made by Universal in 1935, which is a film all if not most people have at least heard of. Unlike other adaptations like Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, which got shocking reviews being called ‘one of the worst sci-fi movies ever made’ by TV Guide with a 3.4/10-star rating from Imdb, it’s possible Shelley’s turning in her grave at the thought of her beloved novel being used for this.

The Frankenstein story has been the basis for countless other films and elements of this legendary novel are scattered across today’s film landscape, a few of these being Ex-Machina, The Addams Family and Avengers. Films like these are known as twin films – they cover the same theme or plot but Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has allowed these films to expand from this. Each of them has been able to create their own spin on this classic, whether it be sci-fi, action, comedies and there are even more adaptations out there.

One of the latest releases based on this novel was Victor Frankenstein, directed by Paul McGuigan in 2015, starring Daniel Radcliffe. Although the title gives the impression that this film will follow the plot of the novel, it does not. According to Collider, the movie’s plot, when first announced by 20th Century Fox back in 2014 said: “James McAvoy is Victor Von Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe stars as Igor in a unique, never-before-seen twist on Mary Shelley’s classic 19th-century novel. Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Victor Von Frankenstein and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man—and the legend—we know today.”

Shelley’s themes are also featured in the franchise of Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner create Ultron, a robot, in an attempt to keep the peace in the world, however, like the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this backfired and the man-made creation set out on a destructive quest to end humanity. Once they decide to build this machine, Tony Stark is consumed with an intense passion, paralleling Victor Frankenstein’s portrayal seen in the majority of the depictions seen on our screens. Also, in this film, much like Frankenstein’s monster, Ultron begins to question and interpret its own purpose.

Although it is clear that Avengers: Age of Ultron was influenced by Shelley’s piece, Ex-Machina offers a more traditional reflection of the novel. This film is like an updated futuristic interpretation of Frankenstein replacing the creature, a reanimated human, for an artificial intelligence in the form of a robot.  Although the film is presented as more of a sci-fi thriller, it covers some key topics that not many films are brave enough to reflect. They compare Shelley’s pursuit of knowledge to the extent of pushing the boundaries just too far.

Nick Groom, of Exeter University, sometimes referred to as the “Prof of Goth” said: “[Shelley’s] reputation has been overtaken by the films, which have oversimplified these questions in ways that don’t really reflect the sophistication of her novel”. This could be argued with cases such as I, Frankenstein, which received a lot of bad reviews from film critics, being called “I-Not-Good” by The Guardian.

While many variations of the Frankenstein film do stray away from the original, some do try to follow the plot faithfully. Kenneth Branagh did this with his 1994 film Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. However, this film did change the ending bringing the creatures’ bride to life and also giving her Elizabeth’s head and memories, a choice that made the film like marmite to its viewers – you either love it or hate it.

The first stage adaptations in 1823 were what introduced the ‘sidekick’ character of Fritz, who is known more commonly known as Igor. I would say that the stage version, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in 2011 at the National Theatre, is one of the truest representations of Frankenstein. Both actors won the Olivier Award and the London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for their respective performances. Although all these adaptations differ in setting and sometimes even plot, they all reflect the key messages from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Is it possible to create a human-like  creature with appearance and personality successfully or will chaos always follow? It is clear that although published 200 years ago Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a timeless classic with limitless possibilities.
Top 5 Frankenstein films

  1. Frankenstein 1931

Frank 1931 poster

This version of Frankenstein is the best according to most reviews, which is clearly seen as it is still highly respected by the film industry even though it is one of the oldest out of the bunch.

  1. Bride of Frankenstein 1935bride of frank

This film is a sequel to the 1931 release of Frankenstein and, although clearly different with the introduction of a new character the Bride of Frankenstein, it still holds up the storyline prior to her creation, which satisfied audiences and critics still consider it to be a masterpiece in the film even now.

  1. Young Frankenstein 1974

young frank poster

Although this film is a mockery of what other Frankenstein films have been, in some sense it is a tribute to how much this story is known worldwide, receiving great reviews from critics with 93% on rotten tomatoes.

  1. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 1994

mary shelleys frank poster

This is said to be one of the most accurate films out of the bunch, which could actually be the case with Robert De Niro’s portrayal of the monster is more human-like than most other versions, which is definitely more accurate to Shelley’s vision than the total monsters associated with Frankenstein in most films today.

  1. The Curse of Frankenstein 1957

curse-of-frankenstein

The well-known industry of Hammer Films created this version. Sir Christopher Lee’s performance in this legendary film was what most critics say made it so memorable. He created a more menacing and terrifying character than had been seen previously with the versions made in the 30s.

 

Cyclists Are Traffic Too

By the age of five on average, we can ride a bike, whilst learning there are many times that you fall off and sob uncontrollably to your mother that you’ve “broken your leg”, when in fact it was just a scrape. On average, every year at least 3 people are killed by cyclists. In this modern world of equality and rights for all, there is a major flaw in the laws of today, if a loved one or yourself were injured or killed by a cyclist, you could be at risk of receiving little to no justice. We are aware that a bike can cause the rider harm but, if a rider can be hurt then so can a passer-by. So why does it seem that we, as a society, are so dismissive that a bike can seriously injure a non-rider. Killed by a car? Manslaughter. Killed by a cyclist?…

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, dangerous cycling incidents can only be heard in a Magistrates Court with a charge from £1000 to £2500. But there are no laws that cover incidents which caused a death or injury, so why are we following and not adapting laws that are far too old. These laws are finally being looked at and possibly changed by the government, but only following a tragic incident.

In February 2016, in East London, mother of two Kim Briggs was struck down and killed by a cyclist riding an illegal bike. Charlie Alliston, who was aged 18 at the time of the incident was riding a fixed gear bike built for track use, that had no front brake. He was cleared of the more serious offence of manslaughter but charged in September of causing bodily harm by “wanton and furious driving”, and was sentenced to 18 months in a youth offenders’ institution. It is concerning to think that even the law can’t protect us from harm.

kim

Matthew Briggs, who is the widower of Kim Briggs, has since been campaigning to get these laws updated and changed. I interviewed Mr Briggs on what he thinks about the lack of laws he told me that he believes “the law should cover every eventuality, no matter how rare”. However, some still view it as not an important enough issue due to the rarity. Matthew Bond, vice-president of the cycling club at the University of Essex says this incident “has been used to whip up a lot of anti-cycling rhetoric”. In some sense, it has done this but there if there were no dangerous cyclists then incidents, like what happened to Kim Briggs and more wouldn’t have occurred and these laws wouldn’t need to be put into place. It’s easy enough to say that not all cyclist are dangerous drivers, but neither are all car owners’ bad drivers but there is still a law put into place for the drivers and everyone else’s safety. Especially now as there are bikes that have engines giving them the ability to go even faster than ever, which is a speed that can easily kill.

From 2007-2015, there have been 17 deaths caused by cyclists, although this is not a big number it means that 17 deaths received little to no justice for what happened to them. If some bikes now have the ability to get to such speeds, just as fast as the average speed of a car then surely, they should be covered under the laws that restrict drivers in order to make them safer on the road. If a cyclist on one of these bikes is riding at 30mph in a 20mph zone, then what is there to ensure that they and those around them are safe. Some believe that a good implication onto cyclists to ensure safety could be a number plate system for bikes that travel on the road.

Especially as riding bikes are now a select few jobs; Deliveroo is a takeaway app that employs predominantly cyclists to deliver food to homes from an array of high street restaurants. One of their riders (or roo’s as they call them!) Daniel Barnes who rides his bike every day and works most days, and he says from what I’ve seen it would be a great idea to have a number plate system. “I’ve witnessed many cyclists’ most days speed through roads squeezing past traffic and through red lights”. So, this way there would be the possibility that those cyclists who do behave in such manner either get repercussions to their dangerous driving or stop out of fear of getting caught.

There are a few remedies currently being considered by the government by editing the Road Traffic Act to cover more than just ‘mechanical vehicles’ or a more serious offence to be added into the law of ‘death by dangerous cycling’. If these laws aren’t introduced soon then who knows what could happen when bikes can become more advanced and faster, all we know for now is that something has to be done.

Special Thanks to Matthew Briggs for his input into this piece. 

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

Cake

225g unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

finely grated zest from 1 lemon

225g self-raising flour

 

For the drizzle topping

Juice 1½ lemons

85g caster sugar

 

How to make

  1. Heat your oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  2. Beat together 225g softened unsalted butter
  3. 225g caster sugar until pale and creamyLemon Drizzle_Ella 1
  4. Add 4 eggs, one at a time then slowly mix it through
  5. Sift in 225g flour
  6. Add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon andmixuntil
  7. Line a tin with greaseproof paper,
  8. Then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon or spatula.
  9. Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  10. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle.Lemon Drizzle_Ella 5.jpg
  11. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp and crunchy topping.
  12. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve.lemon-drizzle_ella-71.jpg

 

Note: You can use any tin you wish, loaf tin, cake tin. The type of tin you use may affect the baking time.

 

Cheating: The Social Norm?

Cheating has become more prevalent throughout recent years, especially through the media and social media.

Social Media: 

Having social media, myself I have witnessed people mock those who have been cheated on, laughing that the cheater is “so sly” or “savage”. People who write things like this publicly clearly cannot be aware of the hurt that cheating can cause.

What kind of world do we live in that making fun of someone’s heartbreak acceptable and deemed as funny? These tweets are prime example of how people have begun to glamourise and normalise cheating.

I am in no way defending the initial tweet of the girl who exposed someone’s phone number without their permission, as this is also wrong. However, if people wanted to ‘rebel’ against her actions they could have done it in many other ways that did not praise a cheater and hurt someone who is already in pain.

In 2017 1 out of 3 men and women admitted to cheating on their partner, compared to 2001 1 out of 5 men and women admitted to cheating on their partner.

The Media – Television: 

I feel peoples lack of empathy has been fuelled by the media. Rubicon has recently released an advert called ‘fruity fling’ that comes across as if it is promoting infidelity in a cartoon.

In this advert, the female water has had affairs with multiple fruits to make the ‘children’ water and fruit drinks.

This is an advert that is seen by children all around the nation who are seeing the breaking of trust between a husband and wife as comedy, laughing that the person who has been cheated on is a ‘fool’ for only just realising.

The fact that this is in a cartoon makes it no less influential on people’s opinions on this topic and i find this upsetting that such a major brand should use such a hurtful theme to promote their new drink.

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 20.56.11

 

The Media – Celebrities: 

Unfortunately, some people who are in the lime light also promote cheating as the norm, one case i stumbled upon is something Amber Rose, someone who has been cheated on said in an interview.

Not only is this a harsh and very wrong judgement on men but it also suggests that it is ‘ok’ if you don’t find out because that means he loves you, which is an awful suggestion to make to thousands of her influential fans that look up to her and take her opinions to heart. 

Overall, i believe that from looking at this article and points similar on other pages, it is clear to see that the world is normalising cheating more and more. It could be partially due to the mass use of technology, along with technological determinism that we see these opinions so often on our screens that it has started to really influence the way we live in society.

 

Animal Crossing App Review

There has been plenty of anticipation for Nintendo’s latest app release ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’. Animal Crossing was originally released on Nintendo’s portable devices in early 2001 and was a craze for practically every child that had a Nintendo DS. By looking at the name of the app I’m sure you might gather that this is not in the original setting of you moving into a new town, but you arrive at a campsite. It also features most of the original characters as well as some new friends you can make along the way.

The essence of the game is taking life slowly, be it fishing and collecting peaches or strolling around the various areas. But, the slow-paced life is what fails this app; there is not much to do apart from using your supplies you earnt from fishing and gathering to create furniture in order to make more friends, which after about an hour gets very tedious.

In-app purchases were long ago accepted as the way we can have apps for free. When Nintendo tried to charge an extra fee for the full access to Super Mario Bros the public did not react well, which is probably why this app is free.

You can speed up the process of some things, but only for a cost. Nintendo has introduced a new feature called leaf tickets which you can earn by completing tasks or buying them. This new feature is quite unsettling, considering this games target audience is children and it frequently advertises that you can purchase these tickets.

Nonetheless, the app is still enjoyable due to its relaxing nature. Both of which are the original games best feature. This game is probably more suited for very young children to play here and there on their parents’ phones. The game is definitely not as big a trend as first predicted when the release was announced.

Should you be friends with your ex?

After recent studies done by Oakland University, researchers Justin Mogilski and Lisa Welling have finally answered the question that’s been on everyone’s mind at least once in their life.

The study itself was looking at whether there was a correlation between ‘dark personality traits’ – such as psychopathic tendencies, narcissism and duplicity – and wanting to still be involved with your ex-partner.

The study interviewed 860 people on the reasons they stayed involved with their exes, they were then surveyed to see if they had any dark personality traits.

Just_Friends_Galore

Dr. Tony Ferretti, who is a narcissism expert said that the people with dark personality traits tend to stay friends with their exes because they know their exes “weaknesses and vulnerabilities which makes them feel like they have power and control”

The results were that, the subjects found to have dark personality traits were more likely to stay close with their exes for ‘practical and sexual reasons’.

So next time you think about messaging your ex, think of this article and whether you should be their friend.

‘Annabelle: Creation’ Review

In Annabelle: Creation we see the origin of the famous Annabelle doll that we have seen in two previous Conjuring films. We join Samuel Mullins, the doll maker and his wife Esther and their daughter Annabelle. After an unfortunate accident killing Annabelle, the couple grieve the loss so badly they barely leave their farmhouse. Another accident caused Esther to be bedridden with a china mask covering half her face. They welcome a nun and a group of girl orphans into their home who of course open every sinister locked door in their new home, leading to an array of terrifying events.

The series of these films that are produced and directed by James Wan are uniquely clever and a thrilling old-fashioned horror.

Due to this high expectation, I had I was confused and somewhat disappointed when I saw that this film was to be about the creation of the doll when in the previous Annabelle film, we saw the doll getting possessed by Annabelle Higgins. However, my doubts were lifted after watching this film as they tied the two films together perfectly, and in my opinion, it made the previous Annabelle film even better.

Things that are fundamental to the majority of peoples’ childhoods are always seen as a great element of a horror. Ranging from clowns that are meant to make kids scream with laughter causing actual screams, to dolls that we loved to take care of, taking care 😉 of us.

Annabelle: Creation has just excited me more and more about the next upcoming releases of The Conjuring 2 featuring the demonic nun and the possible development of The Crooked Man film.