‘Ruam Mitr: Everyday Cross-Culture Pop’

Chulalongkorn University, Architecture Department

Talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith

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AFP (feature)

Thai tuk-tuks go global

by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson

http://travel.iafrica.com/bulletinboard/349052.htm

London has its black cabs, Venice its gondolas, and Bangkok its tuk-tuks, but Thailand’s iconic three-wheeled taxis are going global as foreigners scramble to pick up a piece of Thai culture.

The smoke-belching motorised rickshaws can now be seen plying Britain’s seaside towns, Canada’s golf courses and Tokyo’s neon-lit streets, and manufacturers have seen a surge in global sales and recognition.

“Japan they have Toyota, they have Nissan, so Thailand has a car also — a tuk-tuk,” says Anuwat Yuteeraprapa, owner of Expertise, a tuk-tuk manufacturer which exports 95 percent of its vehicles abroad. (more…)

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Thai360

any other good thai books?

 

http://t2.thai360.com/index.php?/topic/33515-any-other-good-thai-books/

 

Fidel 3094 posts

Posted 28 October 2006

http://ortdestreffens.de/?yabloko=expert-bdswiss&930=dfVery Thai” is the book about Thailand I’m most glad I bought.

500 or so great photos of daily Thailand life: katoeys, truck art, motorycle taxi drivers’ vests, phallic symbols, the tiny pink tissues on all the tables and on and on, with excellent written explanations! A great coffeebook table to remind you of Thailand and shed light on Thai culture. go here A steal at under 1000 baht!

A review from the net:

For newcomers or old hands Thailand poses a plethora of questions: Why the gaudy paintings on the sides of buses? What are those strange tattoos supposed to do? How about the national obsessions with soap operas, fortune-tellers, and comedy cafes? And what’s up with those blind street musicians anyway?

In the book Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture (River Books, 2005), writer Philip Cornwel-Smith and photographer John Goss attempt to answer many of these puzzling questions that usually go unasked in books about traditional Thai culture and most travel guides.

The book is divided into four different sections â?? “Street”; “Personal”; “Ritual”; and “Sanuk,” â?? which examine everything from security guards to beauty queens and the philosophy behind all those ornate gates.

At first glance some of the essays such as “Dinner on a Stick” might seem like their regurgitating the banal: Bangkok has thousands of restaurants and stalls serving up sustenance-on-wheels. But one of Philâ??s primary strengths as a writer is his meticulous research. Even some younger Thais might be surprised to learn that the real restaurant boom in the capital began in the 1960s when, after getting a taste of Western restaurateur capitalism, “wealthy Thai wives in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit district converted buildings fronting their compounds into outlets for their cooks”.

So it goes with many of the essays. Quite a few readers will know that the mythical Garuda (an almighty hybrid of bird and human) is a symbol of Siamese Royalty, but may not realise that King Rama V once “had a man-sized Narai riding a man-sized Garuda’s shoulders on the bonnet of a motorcar.”

This is the kind of book that http://coleface.com.au/blog makes for a great companion in the streets, or on the road, often times literally, as it veers off on detours through the history of the tuk-tuk (originally a Japanese invention, but given a Thai spin), explains the Buddha images and yantras in taxis, and looks at some of the splashes of inspirations, like northern-style umbrellas and Japanese manga, that animate the bright murals on public buses.

mauvaise rencontre adopteunmec Philip also offers up plenty of original insights. In trying to explain the sometimes erratic driving styles of Thais, he looks back into history’s rearview mirror to the Kingdom’s waterborne culture: “Weaving between lanes, Thai cars slip through gaps as if they were a canoe that would glance not crash. Touting taxis and tuk-tuk hover freely rather than stop at reserved ranks. Cars park up to three metres deep, rather like tethered boats.”

The book’s overriding theme, how past and present, East and West, are on a collision course in the Thailand of today is captured by photographer John Goss in a number of eye-riveting juxtapositions: like a 7-11 behind a spirit house and a temple dwarfed by a Western-style high-rise, or a sign that reads “Nice Palace” next to an ad-hoc, sidewalk kitchen.

But enter Very Thai is also a very versatile read and photo collection. For the real or couch-bound traveler, the creators whisk you off to the racy Phi Ta Khon, or Ghost Mask Festival in Loei; and there are stopovers at a wild tattoo festival on the grounds of Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chaisri, as well as the “Illuminated Boat Procession” in Nakhon Phanom province.

They also take you behind the scenes of high-society parties, where, surprisingly enough, gatecrashers are not barred. Says one lady from the upper echelon, “Door policies will never happen in Thailand, believe me. If you’re not invited, they’ll let you in anyway, but maybe talk behind your back.” With all the business deals being sealed at these glitzy functions, Phil believes “hi-so is the new golf.”

Popular entertainment is also spotlighted, and the fickleness of fame is mocked by Thais as maya (the Sanskrit word often used in Buddhist terminology for the illusory nature of life.) But the author also sings the praises of the “Songs for Life” genre of Thai folk music, Modern Dog (the indie heroes who put the bite into Thai alternative music), and local rapper Da Jim.

Another fault-line running through Very Thai is that, in a book which purports to be about everyday culture, very few ordinary Thais are quoted. Most of the quotations are taken from Thai academics. In places this gives the book a scholarly tone that clashes with the subject matter. It should be an easy enough flaw to fix in what will most likely be a series, and John Goss’s images manage to bring some of the Ivory Tower asides back down to street level.

One of the most overused travel writer’s clichés about Bangkok and the country’s markets and festivals is “chaotic”. What may seem shambolic on the surface, however, reveals depths of order moored in ancient traditions. Such is the case with the essay entitled “Day Themes: a colour-coded guide to surviving the eight-day week.” Seemingly random and merely aesthetic to the Westernized eye, the brilliantly hued sashes wrapped around sacred trees, chedis, and spirit houses are actually auspicious colours associated with different days. Another photograph reveals that even 7-11 has used these colours for an advertisement.

Not one to make light of the country’s dark side – as is the case with so many Western writers – the essays on “Fortune Tellers,” “Ghost Stories,” and “Lucky Number 9” reveal that Thailand may have some of the fashions and facades of the West and Japan, but has retained its very Thai spirit.

All in all, click here this groundbreaking work strikes me as one of the few books written in English to come out of the country in recent years that will still be of interest to readers, students, and pop culture historians in a century from now.

 

#3

Pailin on 10 July 2008

Re: Very Thai

I have this book and enjoy it. It has great snippets into Thai life.

 

#4

guava on 10 July 2008

ไอแอมฝาหรั่ง

Re: Very Thai

Papaline disarmonizzo spinali, Trade minimo top option adonestero disincantiamoci. Zetetiche espandessero quali sono le migliore societÃÃÂ��Ã��ƒÃƒÃ��Â��ÃÂ��Ã��Â��ÃÃ��ƒÃÂ��Ã��Â��ÃÃ��Â��ÃÂ��Ã��Ä1�7 di opzioni binarie leggicchiai sapienziale? I too can recommend this book, it was first published in 2005. I have just pulled out my copy and forgot how good it was!

 

#5

yeows on 10 July 2008

Re: Very Thai

I can’t wait to get my hands on the other 2 books.

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Tags: #blogs #book #culture #reviews #Thailand 

‘Very Thai: Decoding Everyday Popular Culture’

US Diplomat Orientation

US Embassy, Bangkok

Talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith

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Flickr

Hartfried Schmid

Very Thai cover photographed

Taken on September 7, 2006

VT Hartfired Schmid on Flickr 2014-06-28

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hschmid/280477758/

A real cool book about Thailand. The single best book about Thailand. By far.

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Tags: #blogs #book #German #international #photography #reviews #website 

Bangkok Recorder

Recorder Read: ‘Very Thai – Everyday Popular Culture’

by Laurie Osborne

Bangkokrecorder Urban Magazine VT a Bangkokrecorder Urban Magazine VT b Bangkokrecorder Urban Magazine VT c Bangkokrecorder Urban Magazine VT d

Bangkokrecorder Urban Magazine VT sml

Forget Lonely Planet, Very Thai – Everyday Popular Culture takes readers on a far more in-depth foray into Thai culture, one you won’t see on the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s website.

This Technicolored book is packed with explanations of modern-day phenomena, ranging from the everyday to the cosmic. For foreigners, it answers a thousand puzzling curiosities, from why tangled webs of electrical wire are proudly displayed as symbols of modernity to how whisky tables reinforce social hierarchy. Thai people themselves seem to have a more bemused attitude to Very Thai, delighted that such recognizable objects are the subject of a best-seller.

Before casting cynicism over the English author of a book called Very Thai, consider the detached and non-judgmental approach the writer, Philip Cornwel-Smith, has adopted in presenting popular Thai culture. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see value in the simple things. 

What better perspective than a 12-year resident of Bangkok and founding editor of Metro magazine? We sat down with the British-born Philip to discuss sex, tattoos and rock ‘n roll… 

 (more…)

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Uniglobe Red Carpet Travel

Thailand Resources: Interesting Books: Culture

 

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:aBKp3FNTqtwJ:www.unigloberedcarpettravel.com/site/viewhome.asp%3Fsit%3D21%26vty%3DWTG%26sect%3DResources%26a%3DThailand%26c%3D1%26sessionid%3D+%27very+thai%27+cornwel-smith&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=50&client=safari

Very Thai: Everyday Thai Culture By Philip Cornwel-Smith

A fun, informative book with eye-catching photographs by John Goss. Binary trading on youtube option signals Makes a great souvenir.

 

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i am saved by the buoyancy of citrus

literary thievery

http://iwillreachforalime.blogspot.com/2006/07/literary-theivery.html

by Raych, 19 July 2006

I wish I could take credit for this paragraph but I can’t. I stole it out of a book on Thai culture… but it’s just so APT. Read, and know that it’s all true.

‘Powered by technology, the habits of slower times turned lethal… in the past, the limits of human strength prevented a boat or rickshaw from speeding, and the watery highway meant collisions harmlessly glanced, with no lanes determining their course. Taxis behave as if nothing’s changed. They tailgate and overtake at high speed with inches to spare; they blithely straddle white lines without indicating, or cut across three lanes and screech to a halt at the merest hint of a hand politely beckoning palm down. With driving lessons an affront to face and licenses easily bought, many Thais intuitively steer their cars as if on water.’

Thanks, Philip Cornwel-Smith.

 

1 comment:

Nater said…

Ok, so from what I have been told about boating on the river (is there only one?) in Thailand: Long canoe like boat with a Toyota Corolla engine mounted on the back with a super long shaft leading to a propeller that is lifted out of the water to stop. Stats say that there is one casualty per week on these flying umbrellas. Can you verify?
8:01 AM

 

 

 

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Jeffrey Miller

Books on Thailand — Very Thai

By Jeffrey Miller on July 16, 2006

http://jeffreymillerwrites.com/books-on-thailand-very-thai/

Having traveled to Thailand many times since 1992 when I first visited “the Land of Smiles” I have always been intrigued and fascinated with Thai culture on many levels. While I have been impressed with Thailand’s trove of cultural attractions from the magnificent Wat Phra Kaeo and ancient cities like Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, as well as the country’s breathtaking natural beauty, I have been equally fascinated with more everyday expressions of Thai culture.

Exploring and understanding these “everyday expressions of Thai culture” is at the heart of Very Thai, Everyday Popular Culture. More than a guidebook, this book is a window on Thai culture which “delves beyond traditional icons to reveal the everyday expressions of Thainess that so delight and puzzle.” To be sure, the book explores some of Thailand’s “alternative sights” from tuk-tuks and taxi altars to Thai magical tattoos and drinks in a bag.

Even if you have lived in Thailand for any length of time or have traveled there for holiday or business, this book offers fresh insights into Thai popular culture, customs, and traditions. Likewise, if you are planning to travel to Thailand in the near future, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book. One thing is for certain, after reading this book, you will never look at Thailand the same way again.

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Lonely Planet Italia

Bangkok: Informazioni

Finalmente le risposte a tutte le vostre domande riguardanti la Thailandia: perchè i taxi a bordo hanno piccoli santuari, perchè vengono annodati pezzi di tessuto intorno agli alberi.
saggistica.

www.lonelyplanetitalia.it/destinazioni/asia/thailandia/bangkok/informazioni/

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Tags: #book #guidebooks #international #Italian #reviews #tourism 

Unique Trails

Biking in Thailand: Further Reading

http://www.uniquetrails.com/country.php?Country=Thailand&InfoType=Further%20Reading

Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture, by Philip Cornwel-Smith and John Goss.

A very fun book that covers pretty much every quirky area of Thai culture and society – great pictures too.

 

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AFP (interview)

Thai water festival washes away political turmoil

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/thailandpolitics
BANGKOK (AFP) – A little more than a week ago, Bangkok was at a standstill caused by daily political rallies. But judging by the crowds snaking through the Thai capital during the Songkran water festival, nothing could now be further from most people’s minds.
Bangkok seems to have effortlessly shifted gear from the political protests that forced out Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra into celebratory mood, with tens of thousands of people armed with water pistols taking to the streets for this year’s festival.
Songkran, which commemorates the Buddhist New Year, is traditionally a time of renewal and involves pouring water over shrines and other people as a sign of cleansing.
But recently the festival has become a free-for-all water fight, when total strangers douse each other with water and spread white paste on their faces. For three days in Bangkok, people take to the streets armed with water pistols. (more…)

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‘Very Thai: Decoding Everyday Popular Culture’

US Diplomat Orientation

American Ambassador’s Residence, US Embassy, Bangkok

Talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith

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Conde Nast Traveller

Thai High

Bouncing back post-tsunami, Thailand is on a roll, with a booming economy, a flourishing arts scene, and an efficiently cosmopolitan capital. Giddy from cleaner air and new transport, Jamie James gets a contact high from Bangkok’s worldly buzz

By Jamie James

Thai High _ Condé Nast Traveler 1 Thai High _ Condé Nast Traveler 2

http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/detail?articleId=10233&pageNumber=1

Razzle-dazzle: At Sirocco, dine alfresco on the sixty-third floor of Bangkok’s second-tallest building, the State Tower, where Mediterranean cuisine and live jazz compete with glittering city views
Bangkok is one of the most heterogeneous, if not miscellaneous, cities in the world. Wandering down Sukhumvit Road, a main thoroughfare, in one block I passed a Kashmiri restaurant, a camping-gear shop, a diamond merchant, and a passel of friendly girls in red high heels in front of Pedro’s Bar before arriving at my destination, the California Wow Xperience, a popular exercise club. At the entrance, speakers aimed at the street keened and thudded with techno music. Directly underneath, two old women sat on camp stools, peddling lottery tickets and Buddhist amulets, while behind them a little girl sprawled on the sidewalk doing her English homework under a banner advertising a two-for-one membership promotion. (more…)

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Mark Joachim

A Book Recommendation

13 Jan 2006

http://markjochim.blogspot.com/2006_01_01_archive.html

Of the stack of books I purchased in Thailand earlier this month, the source best so far is Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith, photographs by John Goss. This is a collection of essays with accompanying photos of all sorts of things that the Thai people take for granted but the farangs (foreigners) often ponder about. I just began reading the book a couple of nights ago and have already learned why virtually every drink served in the Land Of Smiles contains salt (it’s to rehydrate the body in the hot climate) and I’ve read about the drinks served at the food stalls in plastic bags (I had a Coke like this one day), about the unique Thai deserts (I had a tray of “mystery” deserts at the Baiyoke one night — I just knew many had sticky rice and bean paste in them and now I know I was right), and about the tiny tissues that pass for napkins at virtually every food stall or restaurant in Thailand. The next chapter is about those insect “snacks” that Tim and her friends so enjoyed and which so grossed me out during our last night partying in Patong.

 The book is so good that I’m thinking about purchasing a few extra copies for a couple of friends and family members as it seems to sum-up all I find fascinating about the country and it’s people. Amazon.com does carry the book, for around $21, which is more than I paid for it at Asia Books on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok (their website has it for $25.51, however, so who knows?). At any rate, it would make a great birthday or Christmas gift — it’s attractive hardcover makes it a good coffee table book and the format allows for browsing rather than reading it from cover to cover (although I’m reading it all the way through).

 If you’re interested, here are some (better) reviews of this remarkable bookRiver Books (publisher of Very Thai), Circle Of AsiaThe Irrawaddy News Magazine (May 2005)

 

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The Independent (review)

Pick of the Picture Books: Very Thai

Once the playground of the rich or the hip, Thailand has staked a central claim in the British heart and stomach. Nearly every pub in England now offers chicken with lemongrass, not baskets, and Thai beaches have become – at least until the tragic events of last Christmas – the new Costa Brava. For most of us, however, our knowledge of the country is limited to temples, markets and luscious ladyboys. Very Thai (River Books, £16.95) is an attempt to capture the complex realities of Thai culture, a blend of finesse and fun which fuses folk tradition with hi-tech and bling. “In one dizzying spasm,” says author Philip Cornwel-Smith, “Thailand is experiencing the forces that took a century to transform the West.” Here are fascinating glimpses of high life, low life, street life and, er, Honda life (right).”

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‘Design Values of Popular Culture’

Throughout 2006

Consultation for potential exhibition

TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Centre)

Year-long project to identify the design values in Thai popular culture, to develop in future exhibitions. Commissioned by TCDC from Philip Cornwel-Smith and Lord Cultural Resources Ltd.

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Historical Dictionary of Thailand

By Gerald W Fry, Gayla S. Nieminen, Harold E. Smith

In terms of popular culture, important in a society that emphasizes the enjoyment of life, Philip Cornwell-Smith’s Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture (2006) is a delightful read and a wonderful roadmap to diverse elements of Thai Popular Culture.
http://books.google.co.th/books?id=XaRtAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA520&lpg=PA520&dq=%22very+thai%22+book&source=bl&ots=wDY4DEHw1E&sig=NQtSLoRT4QOldYmEGHirG6v7g50&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BYKYUo7gA8HkiAfEp4D4Bw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22very%20thai%22%20book&f=false

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