8.13.2005

Satellite of Love?

The iPSTAR satellite, owned by Thailand’s Shin Corporation, was launched this week. The US$400 million project is being hyped as the world’s largest broadband satellite. Once iPSTAR is properly in orbit, it will provide millions of customers in over 20 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region with voice, data, video conferencing, and broadband Internet services.

But in case you think such a launch is all about high-tech wizardry and the marvels of modern science; think again. Before the launch, Shin Corp executives requested that all male guests in their private corporate viewing room remove their neckties, believing that the ties “would jinx the launch.” In fact, there was a slight glitch and the launch was postponed for two hours. And wouldn’t you know it, one of the guests in the Shin Corp crowd “remembered” that he was wearing a bow tie. After the tied-up Thai removed the offending bad luck piece, the satellite launch proceeded smoothly.

If the rest of the project goes as planned, ShinSat (the satellite arm of Shin Corp) will become the world’s largest commercial satellite operator. Much of iPSTAR’s bandwidth capacity is expected to be grabbed by the two major markets of China (25%) and India (15%). Shin Corporation was founded by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who still holds a 53% interest in the company. This fact has given fuel to critics who feel that Thaksin often uses his powerful position to influence or negotiate business deals with other countries in the region.

2 comments:

Jimbob said...

The western male has long known that nothing good can ever come of wearing a necktie ! So what is the significance in Thai culture of neckties and bad luck ?

Bangkok Bertha said...

I don't think that neckties have any historical significance as being bad luck in Thai culture, it's just that Thais are very superstitious. Some guy in the company probably went to a fortune teller (lots of people here do that) who told him to get rid of the ties or something like that.