The Nation

City water-pistol fight set to enter Guinness Records

As Thais nationwide celebrated Thai New Year, Songkran, yesterday, Bangkok's Central World Shopping Plaza claimed success in beating a Spanish record for the world's largest water pistol fight.

In September 2007, in Spain, 2,671 participants set the record for the largest water pistol fight which lasted five minutes. Yesterday in Bangkok, Central World and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) organisers gathered 3,471 participants in the Guinness World Record Songkran Festival 2011 and fired water pistols at each other non-stop for ten minutes, doubling the record.At Bangkok City Hall, BMA Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra led city officials and public members in a ceremony where 10 senior monks chanted and people offered alms to 184 monks at 7am at the Lan Khon Meuang Plaza. At 8.15am, Sukhumbhand attended a ceremony to ask for blessings from elderly people including legendary actor Sombat Methanee. In the evening, the plaza hosted a light and sound show, musical concert, cultural show, and a trade fair for goods from Bangkok's 50 districts.At nearby Khao San Road, following the morning merit-making and a 24-strong Thai traditional dance show, a Songkran parade marched to Rajdamnoen Avenue, then turned in front of Wat Bovornniwet and back to Khao San Road. Thais and foreigners took part in the water-splashing celebration amid security provided by 150 police, before the water war was stopped at 10.30pm.PM Abhisit Vejjajiva offered a Songkran wish for Thais to be happy and safe, while also urging motorists to drive carefully during this period, notorious for road accidents. The premier is taking a holiday vacation with his family on the Samui Island until April 16.Elsewhere, similar Songkran celebrations with merit making and water-splashing fun were organised.In Chiang Mai, provincial governor Panadda Diskul led the public to make merit, offering alms to 99 monks at the Tha Phae Gate. The sacred Phra Buddhasihing image was paraded around the inner city area in the afternoon for people to pour water on it for good luck. Air Asia, which uses Chiang Mai as its aviation hub for domestic flights, co-hosted Songkran activities including the "Devi Songkran" beauty pageant contest from April 13-14, and planned to invite the winner, runners-up, and the "media darling" popularity contestant to work with the airline as crew members. In Chon Buri, the Suan Nongnuch Pattaya hosted a merit-making event where 19 elephants, mahouts and their families as well as visitors offered dried food alms to nine monks, before launching a grand Songkran parade of flower floats, beauty presenters, 40 elephants and traditional music. In Khon Kaen, 1,000 Buddhists offered alms to 184 monks near the Kaen Nakhon Lake yesterday morning and poured water on the province's sacred Buddha images for good luck. The Nakhon Khon Kaen Municipality officials handed out 2,000 young decorative plants with auspicious names to merit-makers as the city prepared to plant 840,000 trees as merit for His Majesty the King. However, the Songkran atmosphere at the flood-hit southern provinces wasn't as joyful. Surat Thani's Phunphin district's Ban Laem Yang residents - whose 700 homes remain submerged in floodwater for over two weeks now - had no water to splash at each other. The clean water available was so limited it was kept for only drinking and using.

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