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At Yasothon Rocket Festival, Isaan (North East Thailand). In a tent, a hushed awe surrounds this huge, closed wooden cylinder - painted and strapped to wooden pole. It has just been blessed by monks. It's the biggest firework I've ever seen. And probably the biggest rocket this lad has seen, judging by his intense expression.

It was saved until late in the competition, fired long after we left the festival. A local politician had the honour of lighting the touch paper. According to one national newspaper the next day, it flipped to a horizontal trajectory after just a few metres lift. It then terrorised the crowds as it hurtled through the countryside for about a mile before exploding into a mango tree, narrowly missing houses on the way. The politician left in a hurry with a lot of humiliation unexpectedly heaped on him that day.

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