Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys

BNH Hospital, Bangkok

VT Talk BNH Thai Cliches 13-0205 title

Keynote talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith on ‘Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys’ to an audience of new arrival expatriates in Bangkok. The event is hosted by BNH and held in BNH Hospital.

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #culture #events #expatriates #medical tourism #popularculture #streetlife #talks #Thailand 

Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys

BNH Hospital, Bangkok

VT Talk BNH Thai Cliches 13-0205 title

Keynote talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith on ‘Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys’ to an audience of new arrival expatriates in Bangkok. The event is hosted by BNH and held in BNH Hospital.

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #culture #events #expatriates #medical tourism #popularculture #streetlife #talks #Thailand 

Bangkok’s Street Food Future

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand

Panel discussion on the future of streetfood in Bangok, after the city authorities start moving it out of some parts of the city

7pm, Wednesday 17th May 2017

An apparently misreported comment from a Bangkok city government official set off a storm of protest recently, when he was quote as saying all street food would be banned in the capital. The government has rushed to reassure roadside gourmands that this is not true – Bangkok is in fact planning an international street food festival. But street food vendors have been moved from some city centre areas, and the authorities say they will enforce stricter hygiene, and try to clear pavements where they are blocked, leaving lingering anxiety over the future of the quintessentially Bangkok cuisine.

The need to clear pavements and ensure food safety are legitimate concerns – but the BMA’s record of cultural sensitivity and flexibiity in enforcing its edicts is not encouraging. There are disagreements too over what defines ‘street food’ – some of the finest examples are produced in shophouses, open to the street.

Speakers:
Chawadee Nualkhair is the author of “Thailand’s Best Street Food” and writes the blog Bangkok Glutton.

Piyaluck Nakayodhin is the publisher of “Street Food: 39 Great Places Under 100 Bahts”.

Philip Cornwel-Smith, a freelance writer and editor specializing in culture and travel, is the author of “Very Thai. Everyday Popular Culture”.

David Thompson is a celebrity chef who has run several successful restaurants in Australia, UK and Thailand, including the Nahm restaurant in Bangkok, and is the author of “Thai Street Food”, a collection of this favorite 100 recipes of the street.

Join us for what promises to be an invigorating discussion with some of the city’s greatest street food afficionados.

Members: free, Non-members 450thb, Thai journalists and Students with VALID ID: 150thb

Posted in: Blog, Events, Media,

Tags: #Bangkok #culture #events #FCCT #food #streetlife #Thailand #tourism #tradition 

Waterfront Cities of the World: Bangkok

In this Canadian documentary about Bangkok, Philip Cornwel-Smith is interviewed about transportation, as he is filmed taking six moves of transit as the quickest route across town.

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Media,

Tags: #Bangkok #Canadian #culture #documentaries #French #international #interviews #Thailand #tourism #transport 

Soroptimists Bangkok talk

Very Thai Thai: How Pop Became Heritage:

Philip gave a talk to the Soroptimists Bangkok at the Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel. The monochrome theme marked the mourning period for King Bhumibol.

Posted in: Blog,

Tags: #culture #events #popularculture #Thai language #Thailand #tradition 

Finding Bangkok’s Creative Edge

A Very Thai live event in Bangkok’s ‘new’ old town.
by Philip Cornwel-Smith

Finding Bangkok’s Creative Edge

Bangkok experienced a new kind of festival over the middle weekend of February – an “ideas festival”. BangkokEdge combined diverse threads into an unusual mix: literary talks, city forums, lifestyle workshops, outdoor films, food trucks and big-name Thai singers. In this downcast period, thousands of Bangkokians relished the intelligent entertainment and cultural sophistication in a scene dominated by lowbrow commercial pop. It was such a success that BangkokEdge 2 is being planned for next year.

The festival’s name reflects its progressive tone. The talks had real substance, with edge. Hyeonseo Lee relived her escape from North Korea. Jung Chang spoke about the bans on her memoir Wild Swans and biography of Mao. Duangrit Bunnag’s provocative vision for a creative city, Bangkok Manifesto, drew cheers from a hall packed with young Thais. Panels discussed the threats to rivers and communities, the geo-poltitics of the new Asia, changes in Burma, and whether Bangkok really is a gay paradise or not.

Bangkok Manifesto

Duangrit Bunnag announcing his ‘Bangkok Manifesto’ at Bangkok Edge

There was a focus on contemporary culture too. Edge is located is in the historic old city, on a riverside that is reviving into a creative district. The bands (headlined by Hugo, Palmy, Ornaree, Lek Greasy Cafe) were indy. We got to hear Kevin Kwan discuss his hi-so hit Crazy Rich Asians; thriller novelists John Burdett and Christopher Moore debate the rise of Bangkok Noir; and Veraporn Nitiprapha dissect her SEAWrite-winning novel ‘Blind Earthworm in a Labyrinth’.

Veeraporn Jung Chang_1

SEAWrite Award-winning author Veeraporn Nitiprapha, and Jung Chang, bestselling author of ‘Wild Swans’

A panel called ‘Bangkok’s Leading Edge’ explored Thai subcultures with three leading Thai creatives [disclosure: I was moderator]. Graffiti artist Alex Face spoke on street art, director Kongdej Jaturanrasmee on indie films, and nightlife impresario Pongsuang ‘Note’ Kunprasop on the rise of Thai fashion sense as seen from the DJ booth at his Dudesweet party nights.

Bangkok Leading Edge_1

Alex Face describing his graffiti with film director Kongdej Jaturanrasmee and Dudesweet party organiser Pongsuang ‘Note’ Kunprasop, moderated by Philip Cornwel-Smith

The festival founder, Mom Ratchawang Narisa Chakrabongse, comes from a literary background, as the publisher of River Books. She wanted to launch a writers festival in Bangkok, but the format hasn’t taken off here, despite a couple of low-key attempts like two WordPlay festivals at the Neilson Hays Library. The secret to BangkokEdge is that she conceived it not as “literary” but as an “ideas festival”.

Ideas do matter in Thai society, but it has traditionally been an oral culture, less focused on the written word. Even in the modern era that remains largely true. Historically, Thai books tended to be manuals: how-to guides in ritual, medical, farming, or some other practical need. Manuals still rule Bangkok bookshelves today, whether business, education, language, cookery, decor or guidebooks. The other historical format was graphic. The murals, banners and illustrated folding books of scripture and epic poems were essentially panel cartoons – and illustration still flourishes in comics, travelogues, cute indy pocketbooks and social media.

The festival format was also styled to appeal to Thai ways. “We staged Bangkok Edge as a ‘contemporary temple fair’,” says Narisa. “Many things are going on at the same time, so people can browse around and choose what appeals to them. Some may go for the talk, others for the music, or the films, or for the food. We have lots of things to nourish different interests.”

HugoPalmy

Pop stars Hugo and Palmy headlined at Bangkok Edge

Veterans of film, arts and literary festivals are familiar with the fact that you can’t see all the talks, workshops, and other events. This was frustrating to some, but is unavoidable if a festival is to have diversity and buzz. Most of the Thai language programs were strung in a series at one venue. In the end, several sessions ended up bilingual. No matter: the talks and concerts have been uploaded to YouTube.

Among workshops on book design with Xavier Comas and crowdfunding with Jay Montonn, were cooking demonstrations. Chef Bo of Bo.lan and Err explained the essentials of Thai curry paste, while Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne, authors of ‘The Burma Cookbook’, demonstrated piquant recipes from Myanmar.

Burma Cookbook

Morrison Polkinghorne and Robert Carmack of Globetrotting Gourmet food tours demonstrated recipes from ‘The Burma Cookbook’

In between talks and workshops, festival-goers could mill around the site and grab lunch, drinks or snacks from the many food trucks and vendor carts set up along Maharat Road and in the MuseumSiam grounds. There were also stalls selling books, clothing, design items and ecological products in the vein of Bangkok’s pop-up market phenomenon.

A “chill pass” (B500 for the weekend) gave access to relax in the riverside grounds and beer garden of Chakrabongse Palace, with tours to the house being a hot ticket. To mark the fact that Saturday was Valentines Day, a live chat session on the music stage covered stories about how couples met, hosted by Hana Tassanawalai, wife of Hugo Chakrabongse.

The organisers had expected a few thousand visitors, figuring it was an untested concept, located in the old town, and would appeal to niche groups. The response was astonishing. The first day 17,000 people turned up, plus 12,000 on the Sunday. Evidently Bangkok relished having such an event.

“I just love that there’s a festival specially about my own city,” said Somporn, 27, who attended sessions on gentrification and about the river. Many gave feedback that they were especially pleased to have a festival about their city, where they could hear independent experts talk about issues that matter to them, and have the chance to question the speakers.

This runaway success encouraged the organisers to plan BangkokEdge2 on 4-5 February 2017. It will be held at the same venues, and with even more attractions planned for the weekend. Like its logo bridging Bangkok’s old and new skylines, the festival straddled the tensions between traditional and contemporary. Now with its own dedicated annual festival, Bangkok has another way to keep its edge.

This article was first posted in Bangkok 101 magazine’s website.

 

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #Bangkok #culture #e-magazine #events #exhibitions #music #popularculture 

Pop Culture talk at Bangkok Edge Festival

Layout 2

Thailand’s first ‘Ideas Festival’, Bangkok Edge, will feature talks, workshops, music, film, tours and an exhibition, along with food and other entertainment on Feb 13-14, 2016.

On Feb 14 at 1-2pm, Very Thai author Philip Cornwel-Smith will host one of the panel discussions, ‘Where is Bangkok’s Leading Edge‘, with three Thai figures who are moving the culture forward. the talk will be at the Rachini School venue in the Tha Tien festival enclave.

Philip will look at how Thai trends emerge, become hip and then get accepted into the mainstream.

Pongsuang ‘Note’ Kunprasop the founder of Dudesweet nightlife theme party phenomenon will discuss changing fashion in the context of music.

Kongdej Jaturanrassmee, the film director of Tang Wong and Snap, among other acclaimed films, will look at the situation of art film in Thailand.

Alex Face, one of Thailand’s most prominent graffiti artists, gives his take on creating artistic space in public view.

 

http://www.bangkokedge.com

https://www.facebook.com/bangkokedge/?fref=ts

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #academic #art #Bangkok #culture #events #fashion #film #graffiti #music #nightlife #talks 

Bangkok Edge festival schedule

Here is the full schedule of Bangkok Edge, Thailand’s first Ideas Festival.

Among all the talks and events, look out for Very Thai author Philip Cornwel-Smith, who will head a panel on the ‘leading edge’ of Bangkok’s popular culture on Sunday Feb 14 at 1-pm.

Leaflet1 music eng sat-eng sun-eng

For details see:

http://www.bangkokedge.com

https://www.facebook.com/bangkokedge/?fref=ts

 

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #academic #Bangkok #culture #events #festivals #international #music #talks #Thailand 

Exhibiting the Overlooked

 

Embracing Thai Popular Culture as Heritage

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 2.11.14 PM

National Museum Volunteers Lecture series talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith about how popular culture artefacts have eventually come to be displayed, exhibited and treated as a serious aspect of Thai culture.

At the National Museum on Thursday morning of Nov 26, 2016, following a talk by Steve Van Beek on Thailand’s water culture.

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #academic #culture #events #musuems #popularculture #talks #Thailand 

Podcast about Very Thai by TalkTravelAsia

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.24.41 PM

 

‘Very Thai’ continues to spark media coverage. The latest is a podcast on TalkTravelAsia. The podcast is an interview with author Philip Cornwel-Smith by journalist Trevor Ranges and Scott Coates, who was co-founder of the bespoke travel agency Smiling Albino.

The podcast is available through the following channels:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/talktravelasia/talk-travel-asia-episode-28-very-thai-with-philip-cornwel-smith

iTunes: https://soundcloud.com/talktravelasia/talk-travel-asia-episode-28-very-thai-with-philip-cornwel-smith

TalkTravelAsia website: http://talktravelasia.com/2015/07/15/episode-28-very-thailand-with-philip-cornwel-smith/

Twitter: @TalkTravelAsia

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Posted in: about the book, Blog, Events, Media,

Tags: #Bangkok #culture #interviews #podcast #Thailand #website 

TCDC: Very Thai Cultural Filters

How Hybrids Preserve and Project a Sense of Thainess

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https://youtu.be/Kfp32Km69xU

My talk on the cultural filters involved in Thai design is now viewable online at You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfp32Km69xU&feature=youtu.be

As part of the TCDC exhibition ‘hello World’, Philip Cornwel-Smith gives a talk today at TCDC on 8 March 2014. Called ’Very Thai Cultural Filters: How Hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess’, the talk goes into the ways that Thais are selective about what they import and adapt into hybrids.

Various Thai values, tastes and taboos act as filters to let in only part of the import while screening out aspects that don’t suit. This leads the talk to consider what cultural filters are needed in order to create designs, products and services that can appeal to the outside world while projecting a sense of Thainess. This means looking at what aspects of Thainess appeal (or not) to outsiders and how Thais might go about the tricky task of filtering their own cultural traits so that everyone benefits.

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Media,

Tags: #culture #design #events #tcdc #Thailand #video 

TBEX Asia Preview Talk: Shrines of Ratchaprasong

Talk about Thai beliefs in Hindu gods and the spirit world at Gaysorn, in a preview of the TBEX Asia Travel Bloggers Conference.

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An advance party of travel bloggers from the US did a preview trip to Bangkok on Feb 22, 2015. The city will host the first Asian edition of the world’s biggest travel blogging conference, TBEX Asia on October 15-18, 2015. Philip gave a talk to the bloggers about the famous Hindu shrines located around the Ratchaprasong Intersection where Gaysorn is located. The bloggers later visited the shrines, now with some background knowledge to understand the dynamics of the shrines, which are an internationally-famous draw for tourists, especially Asians.

Philip will give further talks as part of the TBEX Asia conference.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.44.53 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.45.14 PM

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #Bangkok #blogs #culture #streetlife #Thailand #tourism #tradition 

Talk to IDEA Group

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Philip Cornwel-Smith gave a talk to the IDEA Group, an informal gathering of expatriates who regularly meet to discuss topics about Thailand with a guest speaker. Philip spoke on the topic ‘Very Thai, Very Volatile: 20 years of change in Popular Culture’.

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #academic #culture #popularculture #talks #Thailand 

Bangkok creativity profile for Culture 360°

A roundup of Bangkok’s art and creative scene, with one of the quotes from yours truly. Thanks for doing this David Fernández, we need more coverage for Bangkok’s arts to flourish. The article’s done for the Asia Europe Foundation, which could explain why the title sounds like bureaucratic filing system category: ‘By people / In cities: Bangkok | city profile’. File Bangkok under ‘Creative’.

http://culture360.asef.org/category/magazine/profiles/

By people : In cities | Bangkok | city profile | culture360.asef.org | culture360.asef.org

Culture 360 Creative Bkk slide

 

Posted in: Blog,

Tags: #academic #art #BACC #Bangkok #culture #design #e-magazine #exhibitions #features #interviews #tcdc #website 

Thrilled to BITS

 

Staying true to type. BITS MMXIV – Bangkok International Typographic Symposium is happening on November 15 & 16 at BACC, plus a workshop day on the 14th. Speakers from local and international foundries tackle letterform issues from glyphs and the digital landscape to femininity in printing and typography as social activism.

Get inside the loop – go along.

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BITS MMXIV International Conference
15 – 16 November 2014
BACC

—————

15 November 2014

Wee Viraporn
10.00 -11.30 am.

“Reflecting myself, according to others, through type”

To compare my relationship with type to a person, it is like having a very good friend. He’s been around me since before I became an art student. Even though we haven’t become best friends or business partners, he has always been there for me whenever I need help or need someone to play with.

In this experimental project, I will ask this friend to help me with expressing myself, according to how other friends see me.

—–

Catherine Dixon
11.30 -12.30 am.

“Hands-on: typography as social activism”

With more and more of modern daily life now managed for us digitally, so a converse fascination with the analogue in typography and lettering practice has grown, especially in relation to letterpress printing. So great is current designerly enthusiasm for such hands-on approaches that many educational institutions are now seeking to reinstate letterpress technologies alongside their digital contemporaries. This talk explores the social potential of engaging with typography in this hands-on way, from both a UK educational perspective and beyond – featured projects including a workshop in a Brazilian slum where an old press is helping to build community, and the vibrant political activism evident in design studios in Buenos Aires and Barcelona.

—–

Julius Hon-Man Hui
2.00 – 3.00 pm.

“In between the East & West: Dalton Maag’s Chinese type design”

Those are challenging years to people at Dalton Maag – they have been worked out giant size font projects that cover almost all the scripts in the world, notably the Nokia Pure, HP Simplified and Intel Sans.

Chinese is one of the most challenging scrips for DaMa people – huge character set, complex structure, loose system, a completely different aesthetic to western type, and lot of different industrial standard to fulfil.

Font developer and Chinese script project lead Julius Hui will share DaMa’s experience in tackling Chinese script’s design problems, including many the many perspective of Latin-Chinese matching, which should be the very first time to most BITS audience.

—–

Danh Hong
3.00 – 4.00 pm.

“Khmer UI font for Small Device”

UI font is designed to reduce the overall body height of text, and allow Khmer to have descender and ascender-lines closer to other scripts. It also allows their use in UI components where vertical space is a premium.

—–

Bruno Maag
4.00 – 5.00 pm.

“Type in a digital landscape”

The presentation explores how the tone of voice of a typeface can be expressed in a medium that has broad parameters, asks how technology hinders or assists the reproduction of fonts, and asks if fonts can be responsive.

The discussion topics are set against a background of Bruno Maag’s experience creating fonts for digital usage as far back as 1995, and Dalton Maag’s more recent experience working on projects with Ubuntu, Nokia, Intel and HP.

—————

16 November 2014

Roger Black
10.30 – 11.30 am.

“Your type is your brand”

Business people still think tat their products and services are their brands. A little industrial design, a little packaging, and the brand emerges. But in the new information economy, services are digital, and products are displayed on flat screens, with type. Customer experience becomes user experience. Content is king. So that makes design . . . queen?

Considering the amount of interaction with customers that involves fonts, it’s a wonder that more enterprises have not invested in unique typefaces. Custom fonts. Most still make do with the great number of typefaces available in the analog world. It’s possible to create an individual look in print, on products, in stores and advertising, but only a fraction of the the fonts are available as web fonts. So we see a lot of Georgia and Verdana . . . and Arial.

Roger Black talks about some of the history of type branding. He recounts case studies in publication design, where a particular voice and personality has been achieved through a typeface or typographical style. He shows examples of custom fonts used for an entire brand—from the logotype to the digital UI. And finally he takes up the issue of Unicode type branding, where the design has to combine glyphs for Latin, CKJ, Hindic, Arabic and the so-called minority scripts.

A brand, it’s been said, is what people think of you when you are not there. Black shows how type branding can endure.

—–

Thanarat Vachiruckul
11.30 -12.30 am.

“From user to producer”

Although, trial and error experience is an old story that have been told many times over in type design field. This version will be slightly different in his own right. From choosing and applying fonts to the layout to designing and publishing his own fonts worldwide; the story of a Thai type designer who utilizes research and knowledge in creating fonts and turning them into a full-time business as a partner of Katatrad Foundry. The stuffs along the way are always more interesting than the outcome.

—–

Georg Seifert
2.00 – 3.00 pm.

“Why does Glyphs support Thai?”

The story why I started making Glyphs, why it was easy to support Asian languages and what I learned on the way.

—–

Piyaluk Benjadol
3.00 – 4.00 pm.

“The Story of Yaw Ying (ญ): How Learning Alphabet relates to Thai Femininity Discourses?” แกะรอย ญ หญิง: การเรียนรู้ตัวอักษรสัมพันธ์กับวาทกรรมความเป็นเพศหญิงของไทยอย่างไร?

This design research explores 114-year history of one letter out of 44 Thai alphabets, Yaw Ying (ญ), in pre-school alphabet primers as the main visual resources. As a language learning tool before we can read, write, or speak, we become familiar with each letter by memorizing its shape, the sound of its pronunciation, its accompanying word, and the image illustrating the meaning of the word. Occasionally, the rhyming words are attached in order to make them easy to be learned by rote. The relations between texts and images, as verbal and non-verbal codes, in these Yaw Ying (ญ) learning tools lead us to understand how these design artifacts construct the meaning of women through their visual representations. The in-depth investigations of Yaw Ying (ญ) primer pages along with other graphic design works, such as posters, book covers, and advertisements, reveal patterns of paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations of visual languages representing social discourses about Thai women. Considering this design research as a case study, its process of visual deconstruction can be used as a model for designers, design curators, or design educators to understand how other design artifacts contextually related to cultural and social issues.

—–

David Carson
4.00 – 5.00 pm.

“Trusting Your Own Intuition”

How to be truly original and deliver your best work while having fun doing it. Where to find an inspiration and how to convert it into your work. This lecture is a fly over tour through out personal archive of his own work. David will share his experience on how to push yourself to the limit and still make the work enjoyable. He will unveil the work process that delivers the visual sensation that we all know. The audience will get to hear the in depth explanation on why things look the they way they are.

 

 

Posted in: Blog,

Tags: #academic #BACC #book #culture #design #events #international #Thailand 

Thaipography

“To loop or not to loop? That is the question typographers face when making a new Thai font. It’s a design decision, but one that twangs a tension in Thai identity.”

My article in the November issue of TheMagazine by the Bangkok Post covers the surprisingly controversial topic of typography in Thailand. On newsstands now.

Thaipography image by Anuthin

here&now-issue11-adjusted layout

Posted in: Blog,

Tags: #culture #design #magazine #Thailand #tradition 

Morlam goes Mainstream?

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Isaan’s pop-folk music has broken the barriers of class, language and ethnicity to become a staple of Bangkok arty parties and a ‘discovery’ on the international World Music scene.

I cover the cultural shift of morlam in Very Thai. Meanwhile, this infectiously rhythmic regional music has become the subject of a major new exhibition at the Jim Thompson Art Centre in Bangkok.

Here’s a major article about the exhibition in the Bangkok Post:
Morlam’s Mass Movement

http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/music/441917/molam-mass-movement

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog,

Tags: #Bangkok #culture #exhibitions #Isaan #jimthompson #music #newspaper #Thailand 

Creative Bangkok 2014

Creative Bangkok logo

Very Thai Thai: How Pop Became Heritage

Philip Cornwel-Smith will speak at the Creative Bangkok international symposium on October 15.

His talk will look at how streetlife, everyday pop and even some cultural taboos have gone mainstream and even become regarded as heritage. The Creative Bangkok event runs Oct 12-17 with 50 talks, 10 workshops, 6 creative team challenges, and related events. Philip will  speak on Oct 15, the day focusing on Creativity in Tourism and Heritage. So the talk will be held at MuseumSiam in the old town at 1.30pm.

Other speakers are from Google, Nasa, Walt Disney, Le Cordon Bleu, duPont, Cirque du Soleil and dozens of other Thai and international companies and organisations.

http://creativebangkok.org

Creative Bangkok Speakers

 

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #Bangkok #culture #design #international #talks 

20 Years of ThaiThai

Phases in Thai Popular Culture 1994-2014

20 Years of Thai Thai talk title

Philip Cornwel-Smith will give a talk on July 1 at Thammasat University to the students of its to the International Programme. Very Thai is one of their set texts. The talk will be a variation on the phases of Thai popular culture that Philip has witnessed during the past two decades in Bangkok.

 

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #academic #Bangkok #book #culture #international #talks 

Fah Thai

Bangkok’s Evolving Pop Culture

Fah Thai is the inflight magazine of the boutique carrier Bangkok Airways. This feature appeared in its section called The guide: Thailand in the May/June 2014 issue.

FahThai_May_June_2014

A twenty-year veteran of Thailand, Philip Cornwel-Smith recently released the second edition of Very Thai, a celebration of Thai pop, retro, street and folk culture. The re-release covers the many cultural changes that have swept through Thailand since the first book hit store shelves to considerable success nearly a decade ago.

Through vivid photographs, sharply rendered illustrations and insightful observations, the author pinpoints some of the biggest changes he’s witnessed over the years. One of the most dramatic changes, Cornwel-Smith notes, is the way politics has come to infuse daily life in Thailand, from fashion to soap operas.

The new edition features more than 200 striking images and four original chapters, including a fascinating exploration of the rise and global popularity of the retro ‘Thai Thai’ culture. “Magical tattoos, herbal whisky, Morlam folk music and street food have evolved from low-status taboo into mainstream trends with export appeal,” the author says. What’s more, Cornwel-Smith notes, is that Thai pop culture itself, long dismissed by traditionalists as urban trivia, has acquired social legitimacy and is regularly celebrated int eh media, at museums and at galleries in Thailand and elsewhere.

Most intriguing is his in-depth exploration and explication of quirky Thai icons, historical events and traditions, including the Japanese motor-rickshaw’s transformation into the tuk-tuk, rock’s morphing into festive farm music, the colour-coding of weekdays, floral truck bolts, taxi altars and drinks in bags.

And yet it’s the youth of Thailand that continues to astound the author: “Thais have become the world’s leading users of social media, intensifying their culture of personal networks and relishing online freedom.”

 

Fah Thai is the Bangkok Airways inflight magazine

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #Bangkok #book #culture #design #features #international #magazine #tourism 

Thai blog on TCDC talk goes viral

The talk ‘Very Thai Cultural Filters: How Hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess’ by Philip Cornwel-Smith at TCDC on March 8 2014 sparked the Thai blogger GeekJuggler to write a post that then went viral.

Geek Juggler was animated by the idea that it is socially easier for non-Thais to do Thai-style design than for Thai designers, whose creativity is constrained by social pressures and taboos about secular use of forms related to Thai beliefs. He and most of the chat thread responders seemed to regard this as probably true and a sad situation in which it is hard to reconcile tradition and modernity. Many in the chat thread reposted the review to other blogs.

Geek Juggler “วิถีแบบไทยๆ” กับคำตอบว่าทำไมความคิดใหม่ๆ ถึงเกิดขึ้นได้ยากบนแผ่นดินนี้

GeekJuggler: Deconstruction is desecration?

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reposted to Pornjeds blog

reposted to Kaebmoo blog

reposted to Zero The Zero blog

reposted to High Lizard blog

reposted to Fukaze blog

reposted to Rand’s Random Blog

reposted to Supawit Wannapila blog

reposted to Nattster blog

reposted to Futurizing blog

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #blogs #culture #design #events #reviews #talks 

Geek Juggler

Review of TCDC talk ‘Very Thai Cultural Filters’

“วิถีแบบไทยๆ” กับคำตอบว่าทำไมความคิดใหม่ๆ ถึงเกิดขึ้นได้ยากบนแผ่นดินนี้ – %22GeekJuggler%22 ‘s Hiding Place

The blogger Geek Juggler gave a positive response in his Thai-language blog to my talk ‘Very Thai: Cultural Filters’ at TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Centre) in Bangkok on 8 March 2014. The 80-seat venue was booked out . The blogger took up aspects of the talk to expand upon with his own views, focusing on the cultural factors that make it socially difficult for Thai designers to filter out aspects of their culture that won’t appeal to outsiders, while foreign designers of Thai-style things have more social freedom to deconstruct and reinterpret Thai traits for contemporary designs.

https://geekjuggler.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/deconstruct-is-descrete/

NZZ docu PCS Basil Norn Len DSC05399 copy

Posted in: Blog,

Tags: #blogs #culture #design #events #talks #website 

TCDC talk: What are Thai Cultural Filters?

‘Very Thai Cultural Filters: How Hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess’

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As part of the TCDC exhibition ‘hello World’, Philip Cornwel-Smith gives a talk today at TCDC on March 8 2014. Called ‘Very Thai Cultural Filters: How Hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess’, the talk goes into the ways that Thais are selective about what they import and adapt into hybrids.

Various Thai values, tastes and taboos act as filters to let in only part of the import while screening out aspects that don’t suit. This leads the talk to consider what cultural filters are needed in order to create designs, products and services that can appeal to the outside world while projecting a sense of Thainess. This means looking at what aspects of Thainess appeal (or not) to outsiders and how Thais might go about the tricky task of filtering their own cultural traits so that everyone benefits.

http://www.tcdc.or.th/calendar/detail.php?ID=17826&lang=en

See the talk here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfp32Km69xU&feature=youtu.be

TCDC - “Very Thai Cultural Filters- How hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess” Talk_Page_1TCDC - “Very Thai Cultural Filters- How hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess” Talk b_Page_1TCDC - “Very Thai Cultural Filters- How hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess” Talk b_Page_2

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #culture #design #talks #tcdc #tradition 

20 Years of Thai Thai

Phases in Thai Popular Culture 1994-2014

20 Years of Thai Thai talk title

Philip Cornwel-Smith will give a talk on 6 March 2014 at The National Museum for the National Museum Volunteers’ postponed Lecture Series. The talk was about the phases of Thai popular culture that Philip has witnessed during the past two decades in Bangkok.

 

Posted in: Events,

Tags: #academic #Bangkok #culture #events #talks #Thailand 

Phakinee ภคินี ดอกไม้งาม

Thainess Made of Other Things

By 

http://www.phakinee.com/thainess-made-of-other-things/

Phakinee 2014-06-29 at 21.33.30 Phakinee 2014-06-29 at 21.33.51 Phakinee 2014-06-29 at 21.34.01

Bangkok. Philip Cornwel-Smith is giving a talk about “Very Thai Cultural Filters: How hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess” this Saturday, 8 March, at Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) at the Emporium.  I am sorry to miss it since I am going abroad tomorrow. Cornwel-Smith is the author of Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture which I have recommended ever in Bangkok von innen since I came across it for the first time.

In his now famous book, Cornwel-Smith tries, among great other reading material, to explain the way how very ordinary things can acquire and produce a common sense of “Thainess” in Thailand. You might get answers to the question how everyday goods and services can be imbued with a marketable “Thai” character during his talk on Saturday,

Quoted from the advance notice:

Thai culture has for centuries been highly porous to outside influence, yet Philip shows how Thais have maintained their culture by localising imports in distinct ways. This can be done through applying traditional materials, techniques and decoration, or by keeping the import’s form whilst replacing its original philosophy with one that resonates to Thais. Instead of direct copying, inventions from elsewhere have been riffed into hybrids that involve a shift in meaning. Thais have even turned Thai-foreign hybrids into icons of Thainess to be reprojected abroad as symbols of the country.Cultural filters that make Thai consumption of imports selective draw from instinctive cultural values. Now that Thailand faces increased global competition, the challenge is to create cultural filters that select aspects of Thainess appropriate to outside consumers.

In short, this talk is going to be about international mainstream and how to impose a Thai identity on it.

I offer a personal view on this subject or perhaps, as I probably should put it more accurately, a comment.

During history, people in Siam at times quickly lost their heads, if they were not mainstream. Still today, some may spend 18 years or more in prison and may loose everything they have including their social recognition), if they are not mainstream.

It is only my personal feeling as a foreigner, that this fact might add to various forms of  “typical” Thai behaviour (with strong foreign elements in it), that most of us would regard as outdated? Or, in some cases, even regard as undignified?

For instance, I do not believe that, 68 years after Nazi-Germany has been buried in the abyss of history, any of us youngsters under the age of 60 is capable to imagine, how a person feels while being forced by strong social constraints to stand to attention twice a day in public while listening to the national anthem which everybody is forced to hear on every public place in the country. A practice, which has been introduced in a time, when European fascist leaders’ personality cult was widely seen as a great role model für Siam.

Possibly apart from devout Christians, most Europeans also can hardly imagine how it feels to seriously “wai” a spirit house in which a strong spirit is known to stay. And very few of us can imagine to cringe in front of persons which are not more human than we are. Finally, how does it feel sharing a great love with all my friends and family for cheaply-produced plastic items that everybody simply “has to have” just to be socially recognized? Do you know? I don’t.

All these “typical” Thai habits have a very strong froreign taste, they are no typical Thai specialties or inventions, despite the fact that some people like to think so.

As for me, for instance, I simply cannot imagine how it feels to stand to attention in public places like a pillar of salt, having to listen to some extremely old-fashioned sounds, which do not really represent my favourite music style and, above all, looking statesmanlike while doing so. This is just because I never did so and I will probably never do.

However, recently at the beginning of my fourth decade of Thailand-experience, I actually started to ask myself once, how I could actually love my own country without having to stand to attention twice a day and moreover, sadly, not even having a king anymore in my country who would be like a father to me? The answer was: I love my country, for instance, precisely for the fact that I am not being urged to stand to attention at any place or to crawl in front of anyone or listening to any music that other people want to put on me.

What I can imagine, however, is this: How a schoolboy would feel if he is the only one in his class without an amulet (or any other fetish) around his neck, or a yellow (or any other) bracelet around his wrist with some magic or special formula printed on it. A magic or a formula which at the same time would be propagated in school, on TV, on public places, just everywhere.

I can imagine the feelings of such a schoolboy, because I might have been this boy myself if I had been born in Thailand. Simply because, as a matter of fact, I am medically allergic to many things, like raw hazelnuts (fortunately I can eat them after they are once heated up for cakes and chocolate…), jackfruit, cantaloupes, latex, and some pollen.

Moreover, I have been also socially allergic to things that “everybody has to do” since I was a lttle boy.

In my fifth class in school, there was a teacher who even wrote this into my school report, of course without any serious consequences except some raised eyebrows in the family. But what would have happened in a mainstream Thai school? Can we rule out that they would not have tried to beat out such a socially unacceptable behavior from me at an early time?

Enough. Please do not miss Philip Cornwel-Smith on Saturday, 8 March at the TCDC, 6th Floor The Emporium Shopping Complex, 622 Sukhumvit 24, Bangkok 10110. If his talks on Saturday are only half as interesting as his writings, it has to be a great lecture.

The talk “Very Thai Cultural Filters: How hybrids preserve and project a sense of Thainess” starts at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but it is recommended to register for a seat at the Online Reservation System or at TCDC Information Counter, phone (02) 664 84 48, ext. 213, 214.

 

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #book #culture #design #German #reviews #talks #tcdc 

Angela Savage: Writers Ask Writers

Writers Ask Writers: Tools of the trade

Posted on 27/11/2013

By angelasavage

http://angelasavage.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/writers-ask-writers-tools-of-the-trade/

I’ve developed a passion for Western Australian fiction, this year reading Simone Lazaroo’s The Australian Fiancé, Julienne Van Loon’s Harmless, and the second novels in crime series by David Whish-Wilson and Felicity Young. On my TBR pile, I have Fractured by Dawn Barker and Elemental by Amanda Curtin. I’m also keen to get hold of Sara Foster’s Beneath the Shadows, described by one reviewer as showing ‘a quiet, non-violent mystery can pack a lot of punch’. Dawn, Amanda and Sara are part of a collective of writers in WA, together with Emma Chapman, Natasha Lester and Annabel Smith, who have a monthly discussion via their blogs on a question about the writing life.

I was inspired by their posts on being another author for a day to write my own version. This month, I’m delighted to be their guest blogger as their Writers Ask Writers series considers tools of the trade: What do you need to have around you in order to be able to write? Certain music? Special notebooks? Apps? Books? Pens?

Their questions made me realise that my writing tools are so basic, they’re almost quaint. I write my first draft using a notebook. Not a notebook computer, but a genuine, old school, tree-killing notebook. I write with a pen. Or pencil. Even a texta will do and, at a push, a lip liner. I’m not fussed.

My preferred notebook is the Marbig A5 ‘Colour Hide’, vertical spiral bound with a cardboard pocket at the front. I also love Chinese-made notebooks with nonsensical English phrases on the cover like ‘Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year’ and ‘I know that I’m too young to be in love, but I know that I like you much.’

But if I forget my notebook, I’ll scribble notes on whatever scraps of paper I can find—receipts, envelops, train tickets, business cards.

These simple tools suit my style. I’m not a planner. Writing for me involves a lot of what Marele Day calls ‘research in the imagination’ and Barry Maitland calls ‘mulling’; I think of it as percolating a story. An idea for a snatch of dialogue, a metaphor, a character’s distinguishing feature can come at any moment, and the less rigid my writing needs, the easier it is to capture inspiration when it strikes.

My Jayne Keeney PI crime fiction series are set in Thailand in the late-1990s. Among my essential reference materials are several books on Thai language, and Very Thai by Philip Cornwel-Smith, a guide to everyday popular culture in Thailand. I rely on old travel guides to help me recreate the period, as well as journals I’ve kept of the years when I’ve lived in or travelled to Thailand.

Of course, I’m not so old school that I don’t do online research. I transfer my handwritten notes on to my Macbook Pro (aka ‘The Preciousss’) and use the internet to check facts, maps and geographic features.

But secondary sources only ever get you so far, and in my experience, to make a setting come alive, you need to do fieldwork. This leads me to my other important tool of the trade: my passport.

I’ve posted herehere and here about the value of scouting locations for my stories. That my commitment to fieldwork requires me to spend time in exotic tropical destinations is just one of many ways I suffer for my art.

Now read about what these other authors say about their tools of the trade:

‘One of the best things about writing is that it doesn’t require many tools,’ writes Dawn Barker, before making want to go out in search of the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus.
Emma Chapman‘s tools of the trade help her focus and include an intriguing ‘inspiration board’…
Amanda Curtin loves all forms of stationery, though not as much as her late cat Daisy, who ‘once famously ate all the post-it notes off the side of a manuscript.’
Sara Foster‘s writer’s toolbox turns out to be more extensive than she first imagined. I concur with her on the writer’s most precious tool of all.
Natasha Lester‘s enthusiasm for the writer’s software Scrivener borders on evangelical, though she also pines for a waterproof notebook for those ideas that come in the shower.
Annabel Smith shares my love of note taking. Using the kind of notebooks favoured by Hemingway makes her feel ‘part of a great and noble tradition’, though I wonder what Hemingway would make of her other tools like Evernote and Scrivener.

Collectively, these writers go through a hell of a lot of herbal tea and Lindt chocolate. What about you? Are there certain things you need to have around you in order to write — or to read for that matter? What are your tools of the trade?

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

Peaceful Societies

Cockfighting in Rural Thailand
http://www.peacefulsocieties.org/NAR13/130912thai.html

Last week, a young American posted on his travel blog numerous pictures, a video, and an interesting narrative describing a cockfight he attended in rural Thailand. Bradley, who describes himself as “a 25 year old dude from California,” lives and teaches English in the rural northeastern part of the country.
He explains that he was at first hesitant when he was invited by a couple of his colleagues to attend the cockfight with them. His narrative of the events at the fight gives his perceptions of cockfighting and the ways the Thai react to such violence. His description, photos, and video portray the scene quite effectively.
The facility, called “the farm,” consists of a large, metal-roofed structure housing a rink which is surrounded by four rows of concentric, stadiumstyle seats. Fluorescent lighting above the main pit adds to the clean, wholesome impression of the place. A restaurant is on the premises, and beer and alcoholic beverages are available. Bradley indicates that there are four smaller side pits on the periphery of the main arena.

(more…)

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #culture #features #international 

Lonely Planet Thorn Tree

Thorn Tree Forums

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?newPost=true&messageID=21135166&

 

Has anyone read the book Very Thai: Everyday Pop Culture?

DCAdventurer

Feb 11, 2013 9:22 AM Posts: 1

Hey all,

I’m organizing a group trip to Thailand May 18-29 for travelers from the Washington DC Area. I try to choose a book, fiction preferred, for all of our trips, so that we can pass the time while traveling and enjoy a book discussion during our trips.

I couldn’t find any novels written by Thais that are in English that seemed appropriate as a first-time introduction to read and discuss during a vacation in Thailand. I’m thinking of choosing the non-fiction Very Thai: Everyday Pop Culture since it has great reviews and explains lots of fun things you will see in Thailand.

Have any of you read this book and is it an appropriate/fun read during a trip to Thailand with a group book discussion?

Thanks,

Nejla Routsong

Organizer, DC Global Adventurers

 

PhiMeow

Feb 11, 2013 1:03 PM Posts: 3,560

Sorry I have not.

However, have a look at this thread. Although it’s about books to read in general, there are quite a few gems in there regarding fiction in/about/ Thailand and SE Asia.

The one I just finished is a steampunk short story set in a future Thailand called Windup Girl.

Happy reading!

 

Krest

Feb 11, 2013 3:26 PM Posts: 412

By some strange coincidence I met the author Philip Cornwel-Smith last Wednesday, and watched a presentation on the subject of his book.

He was interesting and engaging, its surprising just how much of Thai culture is imported from overseas. or is even a fairly recent invention. Thai things that were not invented till the mid 20th century include Pad Thai, using the greeting sawatdee and also the use of the wai as a greeting.

His book is about to be printed as an updated edition, the new version will be ready in approx one month and contains lots of updates. Worth getting, but also worth holding off for the new edition.

 

Mike_N

Feb 12, 2013 2:59 AM
Posts: 233

I’ve got the book, it is interesting and will explain the inevitable WTFs when you get to the country (like “oh, money does grow on trees, or why toilet paper is on the table and not where it belongs) but I don’t think it is the sort of book you discuss before getting here

 

homrsickalien

Feb 12, 2013 5:23 AM Posts: 63

it’s good for sure, I’d also definitely recommend Robert Cooper’s culture shock: Thailand and Alex Kerr’s Bangkok found

 

PleistoceneMegaFauna

Feb 12, 2013 5:29 PM Posts: 540

It’s one of the best books on Thailand. It may be the best book on popular culture that you would run into on a trip. Enjoyable and written with affection for the country.

 

deeral

Feb 12, 2013 6:40 PM Posts: 873

IMO If not the best book it is certainly one of the best books on modern Thai culture in the English language; well informed and well researched with some references and a bibliography.

There are a lot of those who post on TT who really could do with reading it before they post.

My only criticisms are that it is published in an annoyingly small typeface and that it hasn’t to my knowledge had an updated edition published.

 

Krest

Feb 12, 2013 6:43 PM Posts: 412

The author addressed this when I met him last week. he said the new version coming out in a month will have a larger typeface.

 

deeral

Feb 12, 2013 11:42 PM Posts: 873

He may well sell me another copy then!

 

I’m the author of Very Thai. Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you enjoy it.

The 2nd Edition of Very Thai is now out. I launched it at London’s 1st Southeast Asian Arts Festival in October.

It is 64 pages bigger, with four extra chapters (in a new section called Thaianess) and has over 200 new photos (out of nearly 600 pictures in total). I heavily rewrote it to cover the massive changes in Thailand in recent years.

This December you’ll start to see reviews and interviews coming out about the book. I’ll also be doing some talks, mainly in Bangkok. The next one will be at the National Museum, but it just got postponed due to the political rallies.

And yes, deeral, we increased the font size!

If you are interested in the subject, I’m about to relaunch the verythai.comwebsite, which will also have feeds from the #verythai hashtag threads on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And there is a Facebook page on the book at Facebook.com/VeryThaiBook. So you can interact about the book, post your own pictures and hear about upcoming events.

 

Yes-bought it last week, I’m reading the second edition right now – I noticed the font size – better,

I still believe it is the best book on vernacular Thai culture and a must for anyone visiting, living in or in any way interested in Thailand. As you say there have been massive changes in Thailand over the last decade – and I’m hoping your book has kept pace

Are you speaking anywhere near Chonburi? – please PM me if you are or would like a gig.

So done the Facebook, twitter etc….where’s my T-shirt???

 

Thai Culture books ?

by johna37

Lp’ers book recommendations for Thai culture plz…
I have some general knowledge and nit noi language skills..

What top FIVE social things have you learnt that are distinctly Thai ?

Lost in translation

1

the two most important:

  1. anything a thai wants you to do is part of thai culture
  2. anything a thai doesn’t want to do, is not part of thai culture

joking aside, the basic are well know, don’t violate the head or air space above it.

visiting a wat/house of worship, dress as you would visiting you own house of worship.

the rest is basic courtesy you were raised on, hopefully, i was. respect elders, don’t argue, talk back and basically treat people like you want to be treated.

rule to survive…………you are a guest, don’t attempt to change anything, it is their house/country.

2

2 years ago

Very Thai – Philip Cornwel-Smith and John Goss – 2005
ISBN 974 9863 00 3

Probably the standard for any EL commentary on Thai culture.
I would like to think there is a new edition on the way

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #book #culture #reviews #tourism 

Bangkok 101 (2nd Ed review)

The Return of Very Thai

It’s over seven years since Very Thai, an encyclopedic guide to everyday culture, reshaped the way outsiders look at Thailand’s colourful brand of the mundane.

Bangkok 101 Return of VT 2014-06-29 at 23.54.46 Bangkok 101 Return of VT 2014-06-29 at 23.55.09

http://www.bangkok101.com/the-return-of-very-thai-river-books/

From whisky drinking etiquette to the truth about pink tissues and the inspiration for Thai truck bolts (the flower petal), this was the book that revealed the hidden logic and structure in Thailand’s freewheeling street life. That became the go-to gift for expats looking to enlighten visiting loved ones. That turned long stints in the toilet into a crash course in Thai pop academia. That, above all, captured that elusive Very Thai-ness that even those of us who live here struggle to put our fingers on.

Now, hot on the heels of the spin-off exhibition, which runs until early December in front of Zen Department store, a new edition of the candy-hued best-seller is on its way. What can we expect? Sixty four more pages, for starters, says its author, long-time resident and cultural historian Philip Cornwel-Smith. “We wanted to increase the type font and the size, which was always a bit small,” he says speaking to us at Bangkok 101 HQ. “The book is also being translated into other languages, and German is a much longer language than English, so we’ve given most chapters an extra page.”

However, the new edition is not just more spacious and easier on the eye. Rather, it’s a top-to-bottom overhaul that, as well as featuring lots of new photographs, brings Very Thai kicking and screaming into the here and now, where it belongs. “This is a genuinely new edition,” he says, “I’ve not just added in little bits and pieces. In some cases I’ve had to completely rework the chapters or rewrite large chunks of them.”

Unmistakable in the original book was the sense that this is a society in rapid transition. “In one dizzying spasm,” he wrote, “Thailand is experiencing the forces that took a century to transform the West.” During our conversation, he cites the rise of digital media, a movement towards authentic tourism and a more intrusive tabloid media as just a few examples of the cultural shifts that have taken place since its release. “Also, some of the more folky adaptations of tradition are giving way to just plain modern things,” he says.

The new edition reflects these changes but not at the expense of the old case studies. “A lot of the research for the original was done at the turn of the millennium,” he says. “So that’s over a decade of change – of extraordinary change. I wanted to reflect that transformation in the book, not just simply change the data.”

He’s also opted not to lop out topics that are fading away or nearing obsolescence. Why? Because even they, Cornwel-Smith explains, have their usefulness, offer us a conduit, a prism through which modernisation and social change can be viewed.

For example, the chapter on pleng phua chiwit (Songs for Life), a socially-consciousfolk-music movement that now seems littlemore than a quaint reminder of the deeplypoliticised and bloody seventies, has beenkept in. “Now it’s a vehicle for talking aboutpolitical changes over the past seven years,”he says, “as like much of the country themovement got split between the red and theyellow shirts.”

For other topics, the only thing that has really changed is their social context. “Thai tattoos, for example, used to be something that was looked down on and a bit improper,” he says. “But it’s been ungraded in the public perception… nowadays every second celebrity has a haa taew tattoo on her shoulder and the pronouncements are about foreigners who don’t understand traditional Thai heritage getting them.”

Changes in public perceptions of the motorcycle taxi driver are another phenomenon he singles out (“they have become a bit like the tuk-tuk – cultural emblems, safe for public consumption”). So, too, is Thailand’s beach culture, which has changed so radically that he now sees the chapter on it as a “barometer of social change”.

As well as tracing all these and many other cultural shifts, the new edition also includes an afterword by Thai visual culture pundit Pracha Suweeranont. “In the first edition we didn’t have one because there wasn’t really a question to be answered. But having looked at it over a long time, I can see certain traits and trends.” In it, Suweeranont apparently explains how Very Thai helped him, a native, look at vernacular culture in a fresh way.

During our meeting, Cornwel-Smith touches on many subjects: over-reaction to moral panics by the Ministry of Culture (“I think there is a legitimate concern that some things might be swept away in a rush to modernity”); the flattening effect of digital technology; the explosion of interest in street food. But one theme overarches them all: change.

This begs a question: has Thailand’s breakneck development washed away any of the grittiness, the allure that first led him to start writing about the place? “Short answer: yes,” he says. But he, a trained historian, also calls for long-range perspective. “I’m sure people would have given the same answer when all this western stuff was brought in by the aristocracy a hundred years ago: those awful, mutton-sleeved blouses, etc.”

“When I first released the book back in 2005, somebody said “You do realise that all this stuff will disappear? However, we shouldn’t forget that a lot of the things that we take as being traditional Thai are actually imports from other countries in the past – that Thailand has a way of making modern things its own.” In other words, the topics may transform, but the Kingdom’s ability to assimilate foreign influence in a unique and curious way – that elusive Very Thai-ness – is here to stay.

The new edition of Very Thai will be published in early December by River Books. Meanwhile, the exhibition continues in front of Zen Department Store until December 6.

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #Bangkok #book #culture #e-magazine #magazine #reviews #Thailand #tourism 

Culture Ministry: Office of Contemporary Art

นิทรรศการภาพถ่าย “VERY THAI”

 

VTZ CULTURE MINISTRY 2014-06-29 at 23.48.55

http://www.ocac.go.th/calendar-detail-471.html

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #art #Bangkok #blogs #culture #exhibitions #photography #Thai language 

ArtBangkok

VERY THAI : Everyday Popular Culture

by  on OCTOBER 15, 2012

http://www.artbangkok.com/?p=8320

ArtBangkok 2014-06-29 at 21.30.54

นิทรรศการภาพถ่าย “VERY THAI” ที่ได้แรงบันดาลใจจากหนังสือขายดี “VERY THAI: Everyday Popular Culture” จัดแสดงภาพสวยๆ สะท้อนวิถีชีวิตในสังคมไทย ผ่านเลนส์ของช่างภาพชื่อดัง

 

นิทรรศการภาพถ่าย “VERY THAI” จัดแสดงตั้งแต่วันนี้-6 ธ.ค.นี้ ที่ ZEN Outdoor Arena ศูนย์การค้า CentralWorld ชมฟรี

จัดโดยสำนักพิมพ์ River Books, Serindia Gallery และ ZEN

รายละเอียดเพิ่มเติมเว็บไซต์ : http://www.facebook.com/ZENMegaStore

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #art #Bangkok #blogs #book #culture #exhibitions #Thai language 

Planet Asia Podcast Series

Thai Culture & Quirks: Phillip Cornwell-Smith, author of Very Thai

<iframe src=”http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/1694329/url/http%253A%252F%252Fsmilingalbino.podbean.com%252Fe%252Fthai-culture-quirks-phillip-cornwell-smith-author-of-very-thai%252F/initByJs/1/auto/1″ width=”100%” height=”100″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>

http://smilingalbino.podbean.com/e/thai-culture-quirks-phillip-cornwell-smith-author-of-very-thai/

Planet Asia podcast 2014-06-29

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #culture #interviews #podcast #Thailand 

Flickr Groups

Very Thai

One picture/day. Inspired by Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith & John Goss

https://www.flickr.com/groups/verythai/

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 23.37.22 Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 23.37.34 Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 23.37.46 Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 23.37.54 Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 23.38.04 Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 23.38.14

Posted in: Blog, Media, Photography, Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #international #photography #reviews 

Mundo Exchange

Books and Readings for Mundo’s Thailand Interns, Friends, Visitors and Travelers

Books and Information on All Things Thai

 

http://mundoexchange.org/2010/10/books-readings-for-thailand-volunteers-and-travelers/

Mundo Exchange volunteers and interns in Thailand have created a list of books and reading about Thailand and Thai culture. Some of the works included are fiction, others are about history, the arts, and the cultural ways of this Thai society. Travelers, tourists and armchair anthropologists may enjoy some of these writings. Our goal is to include more, so if you want to recommend other Thai related readings let us know at info@mundoexchange.org. Enjoy they reads! (*Other books and readings, not listed here, will be available for Mundo Exchange volunteers during your cross-cultural training and orientation.)

Thai Culture:

Very Thai by Philip Cornwel-Smith, 2005

An endlessly entertaining book full of photo essays explaining the simple yet fascinating quirks of modern Thai culture: from toilet paper napkins to ghost stories, and from drinks in a plastic bag to temple carnivals, this book brilliantly sheds light on the everyday popular culture in Thailand that is so mystifying to its visitors.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #academic #blogs #book #culture #international #reviews #website 

Kit: Creative Thailand

Sukjai Keu Thai Tae (Happiness is the True Thainess)

by Patcharin Pattanaboonpaiboon

TCDC Kit VT intv 101201001 sml TCDC Kit VT intv 101201002 sml
Kit is the magazine of TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Centre), Thailand

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #design #interviews #magazine #tcdc #Thai language #Thailand 

Proxy: Chumnai (Wounded)

Scorched copy of Very Thai an exhibit in a mixed-media art installation at Chat Room Gallery, RCA Block D, Bangkok.

18 June-30 July 2010

10-0618 Proxy fire art 7421 adj PCS smlproxy

Very Thai book featured as an exhibit in this exhibition of found materials that survived the fires and crackdown of 19 May 2010 at Ratchaprasong and Siam Square. The semi-charred copy of very Thai was found in a shop in the gutted Siam Theatre complex by Chat Room gallery owner Jeff Gompertz, who curated it in his segment of the Proxy show called ‘Body Doubles’, in which objects that survived the fires and were damaged by the flames and smoke – including that scorched copy of Very Thai alongside showroom dummies, melted signs and  the Siam Theatre’s vintage 7″ vinyl single of the Thai anthems –  act as stand-ins for the people damaged by the incident.

Review from CNNTravel

Proxy CNN rev aProxy CNN rev b

http://travel.cnn.com/bangkok/life/proxy-reflections-aftermath-637654

PDF of review: Proxy: Reflections in the aftermath | CNN Travel 2
(more…)

Posted in: Events,

Tags: #art #Bangkok #book #culture #events #exhibitions 

Chiang Mai University

Very Thai เวรี่ไทย

 

http://photoartcmu.com/sites/default/files/medifoto.pdf

I don’t have a date of this exhibition and posting. If you know, please contact me. Thanks.

CMU VT show 2014-06-30 at 00.13.50 CMU VT show 2014-06-30 at 00.13.56
CMU VT show 2014-06-30 at 00.14.02 CMU VT show 2014-06-30 at 00.14.09

การวิพากษ์ถึงความล้มเหลวและความผิดพลาดของคนอื่นคงเป็นเรื่องสนุกสําหรับปถุชนคน ทั่วไป คล้ายกับคนในอดีตชอบดูถูกคนอื่นถูกลงโทษ ถูกตัดคอประหารชีวิตในที่สาธารณะ ณ จัตุรัส กลางเมือง ถือเป็นความบันเทิงของคนในยุคนั้น

ผู้ที่มีสิทธิ์วิพากษ์คนอื่นได้ น่าจะเป็นคนที่มีความประพฤติและจิตใจอยู่เหนือกว่าคนที่เขา วิพากษ์ เช่น ไม่เคยทําผิดเลย ไม่เคยล้มเหลว ไม่เคยโกหกตอแหล หรือเคยน้อยที่สุด ผลงานชิ้นนี้ต้องการนําเสนอให้ความผิดพลาดเป็นครู เพราะ ขึ้นชื่อว่า “คน” คนเรามันพลาดกันได้ ตัว ข้าพเจ้าเองก็เคยพลาดตั้งหลายอย่าง “กิ้งกือยังสะดุดเท้าตัวเอง”

ภาพบรรยากาศภายในนิทรรศการ

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #academic #art #book #culture #exhibitions #Thai language #Thailand 

ArchmaniaC :: BLESS ME, I’m in CRISIS!

posted on 06 May 2010 14:48 by archmania  in What-a-Life

http://archmania.exteen.com/20100506/the-very-thai-1

 

Archmania 2014-06-29 at 23.16.15 Archmania 2014-06-29 at 23.16.26 Archmania 2014-06-29 at 23.16.35 Archmania 2014-06-29 at 23.16.47 Archmania 2014-06-29 at 23.16.58

โอ้ยยยย

โมโหวววว์ โกรธาาาาาาาา

อยากจะปี๊ดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดดด!

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เฮ้อ…

เมื่อไหร่จะมีฟังก์ชั่นกดแล้วมีเสียงกรี๊ด -*-

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.

ช่างเถอะ…คงได้แต่บ่นกระปอดกระแปดไปอย่างนั้นแหละ

เหนื่อยใจ… แต่เดี๋ยวก็จะผ่านไป

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เคยเห็นเพื่่อนถือ Text book ของฝรั่งชื่อ “The Very Thai” เป็นรวมภาพถ่ายองค์ประกอบต่างๆ ที่เค้าเห็นว่า เนี่ย…ไท๊ยไทย…ไม่มีที่อื่นแล้ว เช่น รถตุ๊กๆ  ไรงี้….

ไม่เคยอ่านหรอก แต่จริงๆ แล้วมันยังมีมิติอื่นๆ นอกจากที่จะเห็นได้ด้วยเลนส์กล้องอีกเยอะที่เป็น Very Thai..ในสายตาคน “ไทยแท้ๆ”อย่างเราๆ ท่านๆ

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1. สติกเกอร์กู้ภัย อุ้มหญิง แก้ผ้า

พยายามหารูปในเน็ตแต่ไม่ยักกะมี ทั้งที่เราเห็นออกจะง่ายตามท้ายรถกระบะ รถตู้ และรถกู้ภัย!

ที่เห็น บ่อยๆ แบบนี้

เอ่อ……

ผู้หญิงที่อุ้มน่ะ..ตายไปแล้วป่ะ …มาสลบคออ่อนแบบนี้

แล้วมันจะอุ้มได้เหรอคะเธอ ท่านี้อ่ะ -..-‘

มัน very Thai ตรงที่คงดูเท่มากนะ แมนสุดๆ …..อุ้มหญิงสาวหมดสติ ช่วยชีวิต

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แล้ว หลังจากนั้นล่ะ?

 

อัน นี้ก็เห็นบ่อย

ผู้หญิงโป้เปลือยถอดน้ำเจี็ยกคาขาขวา…  เห็นหน่มน้มอูมๆ จากด้านหลัง

-..-‘ ที่ช่วยตามรูปบน นี่มันหวังผลที่รูปล่างชิมิ?

แสดงว่าชายไทย…. ชอบแบบวับแวม…(จะฮัดช่าอ่ะ แต่เห็นเต็มๆ แล้วไม่ตื่นเต้น….แต่ยังยืนยันนะว่าต้องฮัดช่า!)

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นี่ลงทุน วาดเองเลยนะ…คงนึกกันออก ไอ้สติกเกอร์ 2 รูปนี้..

ตามมาติดๆ คงไม่พ้นสติกเกอร์รูกระสุน …

ไม่รู้ว่าฝรั่ง ญี่ปุ่น ชาติอื่นๆ ฮิตติดลมบนอย่างเราหรือเปล่า

VERY THAI

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2. แก้ปัญหายากด้วยวิธีง่าย!

เทพเนอะ…พี่ไทย… ทำเรื่องยากให้เป็นเรื่องง่าย! ถือว่าต้องใช้ควยามฉลาดเฉพาะตัวในการเลือกวิธีแก้ปัญหา

แล้วมัน Very Thai ตรงไหน? ที่ไหนๆ เค้าก็คิดอย่างงี้

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คือเง๊…. บ้านเราอ่ะ แก้ปัญหาโลกแตกด้วยการปอกกล้วย!

เช่น… หวยใต้ดิน…(การพนันเป็นสิ่งผิด) .. มันผิดชิมิ…แก้ปัญหาก็ไม่ได้ ยังไงก็ยังเล่นหวยอยู่ดี…งั้นงัดเอาขึ้นมาไว้บนดินซะ…นี่งายยยยย….. ประเทศชาติไทยก็จะมีแต่เรื่องที่ถูกต้องงงงงงง

เช่น… บุหรี่ เป็นอันตรายต่อสุขภาพและส่งผลต่อชีวิตผู้อื่น….ก็ใส่รูปฟันเหลือง ปอดแตกซะ……

เช่น… ห้ามดื่มเกินวันละสองขวด และโปรดอ่านสลากก่อนดื่มทุกครั้ง…..พูดจบใน 0.03 วินาที -..-‘

เช่น… ยุบสภา.. ตามใจคนประท้วง..เพราะกลัวคนดีเดือดร้อน -..-‘…อ่า….เรื่องนี้ ผ่านไปละกัน -..-‘

VERY THAI

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3. สื่อสารกันด้วยป้าย

ให้ตาย……. อ่านไม่ออกไม่นับเข้าพวกนะคะคู๊ณณณณ

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รถคันนี้สีชมพูดอกบาน เย็นปลูกที่เชียงใหม่

บ้านนี้ไม่มีคนชื่อ ส ห ล ว ฮ ฏ ไปหาที่อื่นเถอะค่ะพี่ผีแม่หม้าย

ที่หมาเยี่ยว คนห้ามเยี่ยว

สงบ สันติ อหิงสา ยุบสภา (ตู้มมมมมมม! สงบกันมากกกก)

VERY THAI

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4. หยวนๆ

ไม่ใช่สกุลเงินจีนนะคะคู๊ณณณณ  หมายถึง หยวนๆ อ่ะๆ ยังไงก้ได้

จะประนีประณอมกันไปไหน? บางทีอะไรมันก็ต้องชัดบ้าง เช่น ภาระงาน

มีที่ไหนวะ…ปฏิคม…มานั่ง ทำโปสเตอร์ มานั่งตัดตัวหนังสือโฟมติดเวที -..-‘  (ส่วนตัวและอันนี้)

คือ… งานมันชิ้นใหญ่แบ่งเป็นหลายส่วน หมายความว่า จะมารวมหัวกันทำไม่ได้ เดี่ยวจะไม่เสร็จ

แต่เพราะแบ่งกันไม่ชัด แล้วทุกคน ก็เลยต้องทำทุกงาน แล้วงานก็เลยซ้ำซ้อน แล้วคนก็เหนื่อยหลายที แล้วสุดท้ายก็ไม่มีอะไรเป็นระบบ

น่าเบื่อมากกกก…..

VERY THAI

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พยายามมากที่จะจัดให้ได้ 5 ข้อ

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5. นิสัยขั้นกว่า

แบบนี้ไง…

“การดำรงบทบาทเป็นผู้นำที่ต้อง ตัดสินใจนั้นน่าหนักใจ แต่การดำรงบทบาทเป็นผู้ตามของผู้นำที่ไม่ตัดสินใจนั้นน่าหนักใจกว่า”

“การ ทำตัวให้เป็นคนดีน่ารักนั้นดี แต่การทำตัวให้เป็นคนดีน่ารักโดยไม่เด่นนั้นดีกว่า”

“ข้าราชการที่ ซื่อสัตย์สุจริตนั้นเป็นที่พึงประสงค์ของผู้ใหญ่ แต่ข้าราชการที่ซื่อสัตย์เฉพาะกับผู้ใหญ่นั้นน่าพึงประสงค์กว่า”

“การ เรียนในมหาวิทยาลัยที่ใดก็มาตรฐานเดียวกันทั้งนั้น…แต่ถ้ามหาวิทยาลัยของ รัฐก็จะได้งานทำง่ายกว่า” (อ้าว)…

VERY THAI

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.

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จบ และ….

ซื่อๆ ….

เบื่อๆ เลยเขียนเล่นซะเลย

.

หงุด หงิดๆ

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #book #culture #Thai language #Thailand 

New Mandala

A classic popular culture blog

By Andrew Walker – 23 October 2009

‘…the fabulous book, Very Thai, by Phillip Cornwel-Smith which explains all those wonderful and wacky details that make Thai pop culture so interesting and so much fun.’

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #academic #blogs #book #culture #endorsements #international #reviews 

Shiryu

Very Thai วิถีความเป็นไทยที่แฝงอยู่ในชีวิตประจำวัน

http://visut2005.blogspot.com/2009/11/very-thai.html

Shiryu 2014-06-29 at 23.29.03
Print Print

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #book #culture #design #reviews #Thai language 

Computer Arts

Thai Colour

Interview with Philip Cornwel-Smith

VT Computer Arts intv PCS a 1290 copyVT Computer Arts intv PCS b 1289

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #culture #design #interviews #magazine #Thai language #Thailand 

Thesis about translation in Very Thai

Translation Methods for Thai Cultural Words and Phrases in Non-Fiction

Case study: Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture

by Miss Mingkwan Charoennitniyom

Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Academic Year 2009

VT CM transliteration thesis copyVT CM thesis 002 copy VT CM thesis 003 copy

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #academic #book #culture #features #interviews #reviews #Thai language #Thailand #tradition 

Life in Phana

Very Thai

11 June 2009

http://phanathailife.typepad.com/thai-life-phana/2009/06/a-book-which-gives-me-particular-pleasure-especially-when-i-am-far-from—thailand-as-now-is-very-thai-by-philip-cor.html

 Life in Phana 2014-06-29 at 21.41.03 Life in Phana 2014-06-29 at 21.41.13 Life in Phana 2014-06-29 at 21.41.21 Life in Phana 2014-06-29 at 21.41.33

    A book which gives me particular pleasure, especially when I am far from Thailand as now, is Very Thai by Philip Cornwel-Smith. I have a hardback copy here and a paperback version in Phana. I have actually bought about five copies altogether, but envious friends and relations have taken the others. On the whole I am pleased to let them have a book which I enjoy so much.

 

    Very Thai is one of those books you can dip into anywhere and always find something interesting. The topics are all familiar to anyone who has been in Thailand even for a fairly short time with their eyes open, but Cornwel-Smith always has an informed take on every subject and he makes good use of knowledgeable Thai experts who add native authenticity and depth to his own observations. For example, we all notice the gaudy decorations on trucks, tuk-tuks and songthaews, but Cornwel-Smith reveals the traditional and even mythical origins of the designs. He points out that “Looking beautiful may be important but meaning matters as much. With spirits underwriting any accident, drivers pay extra premiums for divine protection through décor. Chassis metalwork plays shrine, cabins act as altar, talisman-shaped bolts physically hold the trailer together.”

    Cornwel-Smith reports what he sees and digs down beneath the surface to cast new light on everyday objects and customs. He touches on some topics that come up on the Bangkok Post letters page (Soi Animals, Street Vendors, Motorcy Taxis, Hanging Wires) but he observes without whingeing. His mission is to explain and not to criticise or make cross-cultural comparisons. He certainly touches on things which are not normally regarded (especially by Thai officialdom ie Thai Tourist Authority) as ‘culture’. So we have the McDonalds clown wai-ing, the sniff kiss, the beckoning lady, whisky mixer tables, and so on. What this wonderful book does above all else is to celebrate what makes Thailand so unique, what makes it such a joy to live in, what makes it so different despite the seeming universality of shopping malls, expressways, and high-rise buildings.

    And the photographs are a delight. The only thing I have against them is that I didn’t take them myself. I wish I had. Maybe if I had, I would have included these next four pictures, which illustrate a couple of things which give me and many people in Isan a lot of pleasure.

Very Thai

Everyday Popular Culture

Philip Cornwel-Smith

Photographs: John Goss

River Books

Bangkok 2005

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #culture #reviews #Thailand 

UsedTravelBooks

Book Review: Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture

Apr 2009

By Shawn Gowans

http://www.usedtravelbooks.com.au/book-review-very-thai-everyday-popular-culture-by-philip-cornwel-smith.html

As a professional bookseller I have had around 15,000 books pass through my hands over the last few years. Out of all those books there are just a couple that I found too precious to part with. The one book I will never ever sell is “Very Thai” a lovely hardcover book explaining all the unexplainable facets of Thai popular culture from men dressed as ladies to tuk tuk art to the ingenious use of plastic blue pipes to those tiny tiny pink tissues they give you at streetside food stalls. It is a celebration of everything that makes Thailand wonderful. And more importantly, it is a detailed snapshop of Thai culture at 2005. For instance that ‘legal services’ shopfront shown in the first photo below is no longer there.

There are more glamorous subjects but my favourite chapter is the one covering Blue PVC pipes and Hanging Electrical Wires…

Uniting the Thai architecture, roads and vistas, two things snag they eye: hanging wires and the blue PVC pipe. You can’t miss these contributions to probably the world’s most cluttered streestcape. Wires old, new and redundant tangle our surroundings in brutal, slashing lines or whimsical knots, severed ends swinging like electic eels at head-height. Defying the logic and memory as to what connects what, cables tangle into garlands several dozen thick. Blue pipes meander over teak house, temple and waterfall. The eye may bypass them to dwell on beautiful details behind, but the camera doesn’t lie. Taking a wire-free photograph defies all but the deftest lensman. the most photographed sight in Thailand is the hanging wire.

Published 2005 by River Books Thailand. 256 pages. Alas we don’t have a copy to spare but last time I looked there are revised 2009 paperback editions in stock at Asia Books

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #endorsements #international #reviews 

Asian Wall Street Journal (interview)

A Hidden Oasis in Bangkok

Amid urban bustle, a lush compound offers gardens, traditional architecture

By Stan Sesser

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 16.42.27 Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 16.42.39 Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 16.46.10
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123810984499552801

Buried in the fashionable Sukhumvit district of this bustling city, amid the high-rise buildings, bumper-to-bumper traffic and pulsating nightlife, sit 1.5 acres from an earlier era.

Wood and stone paths lead over a big pond and through a virtual jungle of ferns, trees and orchids. Surrounded by ponds and gardens are nine hardwood houses, some on stilts, all bearing the soaring peaked roofs and extensive wooden decks that are Thailand’s cultural signature. With their impeccably polished dark wood, the houses look as if they’ve sprouted from the ground.

They’re also very rare. Commonplace a few decades ago, these contemplative, lushly landscaped plots of land that once housed the city’s elite have all but disappeared, replaced with sleek high-rises so upscale a couple of them offer a swimming pool for each unit. An official of the Siam Society, which keeps tabs on Thai history and culture, says the only other compound he knew of in the Sukhumvit district was recently sold and torn down after its owner died. (more…)

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #Bangkok #culture #international #newspaper 

Baan Jochim Phuket

Ya Dom: The Thai Nasal Inhaler

By Mark Jochim, Jan 2009

http://baanjochim.com/?p=1342

Visitors to Thailand are sometimes taken aback by seeing so many people constantly sniffing from small plastic canisters. Occasionally, one even sees Thais walking along with two of these inhalers stuck in their nostrils at the same time. This isn’t a case of the entire population suffering from nasal congestion, nor are people participating in some strange kind of a mass drug high. What you are seeing is a popular form of samun phrai (สมุนพราย), or traditional herbal medicine, known as yaa dom (ยาดม), which literally means medicinal inhaler. The most common of all Thai accessories, one can find these for sale next to cash registers in pharmacies and convenience stores throughout the Kingdom. Millions of Thais sniff yaa dom inhalers to clear congestion from pollution, mask odors, and make their nose feel cool. The little white nozzle plugs into both the nose and the national psyche.

The inhalers come in various shapes and sizes, from more commercial brands, such as Poy Sian, to more traditional versions featuring actual herbs. The latter were once more prominent in the provinces, but are now becoming increasingly popular in Bangkok. The roots of yaa dom, along with other traditional Thai medicine, can be traced back 2,500 years to the time of Gautama Buddha and Shivago Komaraphat, the physician for the original Buddhist order of monks and knows and known as the “father” doctor of Thai medicine.

According to writer Philip Cornwel-Smith, in his book Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture, “Fashion, tradition and hypochondria may play a part, but a breathing problem exists. They way the Thai now live traumatizes the nasal passages, causes constant chills and dulls the immune system. Constant ducking in and out of ice-cold air-conditioning isn’t the sole culprit; millions wake up wind-dried from sleeping through the gusts of a fan. Then throughout the day, stress-induced over-breathing gets the chairbound urbanite panting through his mouth. Respiratory illness is gagging Thailand. The capital’s fumes and cement dust permeate the Central Plains, while smoke from burning forest and fields choke Northern valleys throughout the hot season.”

It’s also important to remember how important scent is in the Thai subconcious. “Perfume powers the culture, from tangy shrimp paste and aromatic jasmine rice to the floral water tincture nam yaa uthai. Scent’s ability to transport the mind has religious uses, as with incense, garlands and nam ob, a pungent, powdery liquid used in rites as well as grooming. Constant bathing and clothes washing ensures one’s personal bouquet makes the ‘sniff kiss‘ a mutual pleasure. ‘If you do smell, you have the chance of having it pointed out to you,” Kat’s column in The Nation points out. But there is a popular remedy: “Mentholated” powders leave your body feeling like one gigantic breath mint for hours.’

According to Wit Sukhsamran, a practitioner of traditional Thai medicine there aren’t any addictive ingredients in the inhalers, although there are some specific physiological effects which could lead to addiction. “The combination of camphor and menthol can have an effervescent effect, which can lead to an addiction among some users. Since the membrane between the nasal passage and brain is thin, it allows for quick absorption and nourishment of the brain. So, it’s a more immediate effect. It is also this phenomenon that results in [unwholesome] acts, such as sniffing glue, becoming so addictive among users.” Yaa dom works by stimulating nerve endings, which allows improved blood flow, which subsequently counters conditions of fatigue, nasal congestion, nausea, and vertigo.

Royal Thai mandated yaa dom inhalant mixtures are taught at the temple of Wat Pho in Bangkok, while literally thousands of other forms, in addition to commercial brands, can be found throughout the country. There are probably as many versions as there are practitioners of herbal medicine and healers. Broadly speaking, there are chemical-based or herbal forms of commercial yaa dom available on the market. The Poy Sian brand is a popular form of chemical-based yaa dom, featuring a mix of the oils of broneol, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol.

Of the commercial herbal inhalers, Jarungjit is a popular brand, featuring pommelo and several other herbs, which are ground together. The most popular ingredients in homemade mixtures or those produced in rural areas, are various chopped herbs. A common form includes a base of black pepper, camphor oil, citrus peel/pommelo, cloves, and mace. These are commonly packaged in a small jar or glass bottle.

So while at first glance it could easily be assumed that the widespread use of yaa dom is a kind of society-wide addiction, it might be more accurate to conclude that its popularity is due to a combination of factors: a long-held cultural tradition (traditional Thai medicine); a counter to rapid industrialization (its use for countering foul urban smells, such as those generated by pollution); along with a fashionable consumer-driven trend towards “health consciousness”.

To learn more about Thai herbal medicine, a fabulous resource is the website for Tao Mountain.

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #culture #reviews 

Thai Visa

‘Must Have’ Books on Thailand and Thai Culture

Post by Desi

I’m here permanently (unless something strange happens). But like others here, I have friends visiting as well as moving to Thailand for work.

Before I moved to BKK, I knew about the Bangkok Guide because I was a member of this forum before arrival (googled to find out the best place to learn about living in Thailand and this was it). I bought other books on the advice of this forum.

A group of my friends/work colleagues (three families + a single) are arriving in the spring for work. They do not utilize the internet (as far as I know), so I wanted to compile a reading list from those on the ground.

This is the list so far…

101 Thai Forms

A Child of the Northeast, by Kampoon Boontawee

Atomised

Bangkok, by William Warren

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett

Bangkok Inside Out, by Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharette

Bangkok Blondes

Bangkok Haunts, by John Burdett

Bangkok People, by James Eckardt

Bangkok Tattoo, by John Burdett

Bangkok Then and Now, by Steve Van Beck

Buddha in the Landscape

Culture Shock Thailand, by Robert Cooper

Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand, by Kenny Yee and Catherine Gordon

Elephants in Thai life and legend

Firm Plus Focus on your Health

Four Reigns, by Kukrit Pramoj

Genders and Sexualities in Modern Thailand

Good Food Guide Bangkok, by Roseline NgCheong-Lum

Heart Words, by Christopher Moore

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Knofs Thailand (guidebook)

Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys, Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand, by Peter A Jackson/Gerard Sullivan

Letters from Thailand by Botan

Lonely Planet Bangkok

Losing the Plot, by Chuck Wow

Money Number One, by Neil Hutchison

Monsoon Country, by Pira Sudham

My Thai Girl and I, by Andrew Hicks

Phra Farang, by Phra Peter Pannapadipo

Private Dancer, by Stephen Leather

Reflections on Thai Culture, William J. Klausner

Siam Mapped, by Thongchai Winichakul

Siam Smiles, by Hugh Watson

Spiritual Abodes of Thailand, Barry Broman and William Warren

Thai Hawker Food, by Clive Wing

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Thailand Confidential, by Jerry Hopkins

Thailand Fever

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women’s group)

The “Falcon of Siam”

The Spirit Houses of Thailand, by Peter Reichart and Pathawee Khongkhunthian

Vatch’s Thai Kitchen

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Who am ‘I’ in Thai?, by Voravudhi Chirasombutti and Anthony Diller

Working with the Thais’, by Henry Holmes

World Food Thailand, the Food and the Lifestyle, by Judy Williams

For moving to Thailand (BKK as a base), these are my top picks to get into the flow of the country quickly…

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women’s group)

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Cornwel-Smith

Working with the Thais’, by Henry Holmes

Agree? Disagree? More to add?

And even though I haven’t read either, I believe Thailand Fever or Private Dancer would also be advised (?)

All, thank you for your help (and please keep them coming). I’m not sure about my friends, but my bookshelf is going to get quite full…

https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/217017-must-have-books-on-thailand-and-thai-culture/?page=2

 

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

This book rocks! Easily in the top 3 books to pick up if moving to Thailand. I don’t know what the other two are. Seems to be hard to get a hold of these days. MAKE THE EFFORT

[note: it’s still easy to get hold of. The poster was writing while a new printing was being done.]

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

Virtual Tourist

Thai literature or literature about Thailand

http://forum.virtualtourist.com/Bangkok-1445238-6-3476604/Thai-literature-or-literature-about-Thailand.html

 

By schmechi Jun 8, 2009 at 7:04 AM

I’ll stay in Bangkok and Phuket next turn of the year and I wonder wether you can recommend me some Thai literature (or literature about Thailand) to get into the mood for my holidays…

Btw I’m talking about prose literature, not travel books… For example I’d recommend everybody visiting Vienna to read Stefan Zweig’s “World of Yesterday”…

 

Re: Thai literature or literature about Thailand

By Tina-Perth Jun 9, 2009 at 2:57 AM

Hi, there is a book which I really like called “Very Thai” – Everyday popular culture, written by Philip Cornwel-Smith. It explains a lot of things you may wonder about when you get to Thailand.

 Take a look here; http://www.verythai.com/

 Enjoy your trip!

 

Re: Thai literature or literature about Thailand

By aberacadabra Jun 10, 2009 at 1:24 AM

Bangkok Inside Out by Daniel Ziv.
 Very Thai by Cornwel-Smith is excellent.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

Travel Happy

Thailand Writers:
Phil Cornwel-Smith, author of Very Thai

BY  on 28 April 2008

TRAVEL HAPPY INTV 2014-06-29 at 23.59.42 TRAVEL HAPPY INTV 2014-06-29 at 23.59.52 TRAVEL HAPPY INTV 2014-06-30 at 00.00.07

http://travelhappy.info/thailand/thailand-writers-phil-cornwel-smith-author-of-very-thai-everyday-popular-culture/

In the first of Travelhappy’s Thailand Writers series, Philip Cornwel-Smith, author of the bestselling Very Thai, a guide to understanding everyday street life in Thailand, describes why he loves the Land of Smiles

 

Name
Philip Cornwel-Smith

Age
42

Nationality
British

Time in Thailand
14 years

What brought you here?
A backpacker bored with touring, I studied meditation and massage before staying in Bangkok with an ex-Time Out pal. Within four days, I was hired as founding editor of Bangkok’s first city magazine, Metro. A typical Thai tale of reinvention.

What do you most love about the place?
Unpredictability. Flexibility. Vibrant streetlife. General pleasantness. Tolerant acceptance of human nature.

Where do you live in Thailand? Why did you choose to live there?
At a house opposite where I first stayed, in a close-knit central soi dubbed Sesame Street, though it can evoke Melrose Place.


Phil Cornwel-Smith

What irks you?
Obstacles to people flourishing: impunity, censorship, monopolies, philistinism, the education system.

Thailand is the Land of Smiles. Discuss.
The plural doesn’t mean uniform happiness; there are different smiles for every emotion and motive. To learn Italian you begin with gestures; here you must learn how to smile.

Cultural recommendations (ie getting over culture shock)
Learn how to smile.

Explain the passion and idea behind your latest book in 100 words
Exoticised presentations of Thai culture ill-prepare visitors for reality. Thai streetlife fascinates, but goes mostly unexplained. In ‘Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture’ I identified patterns amid the chaos, investigating things like grooming and ghosts, blind bands and truck art, which intrigue outsiders, and which Thais often overlook as familiar or déclassé. Happily I hit a zeitgeist. Thais increasingly find inspiration from street culture as they develop a new pop aesthetic in movies, advertising, design. ‘Very Thai’ captures a transitional phase when traditions still affect how Thais express modernity. My next book spotlights the emergent creative culture.
Buy from Amazon
Very Thai – Philip Cornwel-Smith

Buy from Amazon.co.uk Buy from Amazon.com

See all books by Philip Cornwel-Smith at
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com


Favourite hangout
A circuit of places depending on people, event or scene.

Favourite bar
Any indy bar with mis-matched furniture.

Favourite restaurant
Many. Frequent standby: Greyhound Café.

Favourite Thai getaway
Koh Samet, and festivals in Isan or Lanna.

Favourite Thai meal
Spiced herbal soups like tom yum or tom khlong, crab fried rice, stir-fried bitter gourd vines, grilled squid with seafood sauce, char-grilled pork dipped in jaew, and any laab with aromatic leaves.

Hidden gem
Community events unpublicised in English. Serendipity or sleuthing required.

Books published
Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture (2005).
Time Out Bangkok guidebook (3 edns).

Travel Happy is a travel website

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #e-magazine #international #interviews #Thailand #tourism 

Bloggang

Design+Culture

http://www.bloggang.com/viewdiary.php?id=a-wild-sheep-chase&month=04-2008&date=16&group=1&gblog=120

– – – ดีไซน์ +คัลเจอร์ ความหมายและเบื้องลึกของงานออกแบบ – – – 

ดีไซน์+คัลเจอร์ ประชา สุวีรานนท์ เขียน
สำนักพิมพ์ฟ้าเดียวกัน พิมพ์ ( 2551 ราคา 300 บาท)

เป็นหนังสือที่พออ่านถึงบทสุดท้ายแล้ว ต้องร้องว่า เฮ้ย อย่าเพิ่งจบ ยังอยากอ่านอีก
( คาดว่าคงมีเล่ม 2 เพราะคุณประชา สุวีรานนท์ยังเขียนคอลัมน์ชื่อเดียวกับหนังสืออยู่ในมติชนสุดสัปดาห์)

หนังสือเล่มนี้คือ ” การสามารถย้อนกลับมาอ่านให้แตกว่า งานดีไซน์หนึ่งๆ มีรากที่มาอย่างไร ถูกหยิบใช้เละส่งผลสะเทือนอย่างไร จึงไม่ใช่อะไรนอกจากการอ่านประวัติศาสตร์ที่ถูกบันทึกไว้อย่างลุ่มลึก แยบคาย ทว่าอาจตรงไปตรงมา และปราศจากการครอบงำเสียยิ่งกว่าการอ่านตำราประวัติศาสตร์วัฒนธรรมฉบับทางการก็ได้” ( จากย่อหน้าสุดท้ายของคำนำสำนักพิมพ์)

ถึงแม้นชื่อหนังสือจะมีคำว่าดีไซน์ แต่มันไม่ใช่หนังสือที่จะทำให้คุณดีไซน์เก่งๆ หรือข้อมูลทางโปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์ แต่มันคือสิ่งที่อยู่ลึกลงไปในงานดีไซน์ บางที่สิ่งที่อยู่รอบๆ ตัวเรา ( ซึ่งล้วนแล้วแต่เป็นผลผลิตของงานออกแบบ) มันบอกว่า เราเป็นใคร หรือเรารสนิยมแบบไหน ตัวอย่างง่ายๆ เช่นหลายคนคงเลือกตัดสินใจซื้อข้าวของเครื่องใช้ต่างๆ เพราะการออกแบบอันแสนเก๋ไก๋ของมัน บางบทในหนังสือเล่มนี้มันอธิบายว่าการดีไซน์มันเข้าไปอยู่ในระดับจิตสำนึกได้อย่างไร แต่หนังสือเล่มนี้ก็ยังไม่หยุดอยู่แค่นั้น ตัวอย่างเช่นในบทที่ว่าด้วยเก้าอี้ ชื่อตอนความสบายกับความ(โม)เดิร์น คุณประชานำเสนอว่ามีงานวิจัยของอาจารย์ทางสถาปัตยกรรมแห่งมหาวิทยาลัย ยู.ซี.เบิร์กลีย์ ชิ้นหนึ่งบอกว่าการนั่งเก้าอี้เป็นผลผลิตของตะวันตก และยังเป็นเครื่องหมายทางชนชั้น เช่นเก้าอี้แบ่งแยกความแตกต่างระหว่างเจ้ากับสามัญชนหรือแบ่งแยกเจ้านายกับลูกน้อง และการนั่งเก้าอี้แบบมีพนักพิงที่เรานั่งกันมาจนทุกวันนี้ เป็นความผิดพลาดอันมหันต์ในเชิงสรีรศาสตร์ของวัฒนธรรมตะวันตกด้วย เพื่อความถูกต้องทางสุขภาพ เราควรยกเลิการนั่งเก้าอี้แบบตะวันตกหันมาสนใจการนั่งกับพื้น และผ่อนคลายกล้ามเนื้อหลังด้วยเก้าอี้นอนแทน ( โอ นี่มันตะวันออกชัดๆ การนั่งกับพื้น แต่อ่านถึงบทนี้แล้วก็สะท้อนใจเราต้องรอให้ฝรั่งมาบอกว่าที่คุณทำน่ะมันเป็นผลผลิตที่ผิดพลาดของวัฒนธรรมบ้านชั้นนะ)


บทที่ตัวเองชอบมากที่สุด น่าจะเป็น สำนึก มุมมอง และอุดมการณ์ของแผนที่ ที่คนเขียนร่ายยาวตั้งแต่งานดีไซน์แผนที่ชิ้นคลาสสิกของลอนดอนอันเดอร์กราวด์ มาจนถึงงานศิลปะของ
วิชญ์ พิมพ์กาญจนพงศ์ If there is No corruption ที่ใช้แผนผังระบบเครือข่ายรถไฟฟ้าของกรุงเทพมหานครมาเทียบเคียงกับงานศิลปะของตัวเอง และบท ภูมิศาสตร์ของความรู้สึก ทั้งสองบทนี้พูดถึงวาทกรรมเชิงพื้นที่ที่ปรากฏอยู่ในแผนที่อย่างหฤหรรษ์ เพราะแผนที่ทั้งหมดที่ถูกยกมาอ้างถึงในบทแรก ไม่ได้เป็นแผนที่ที่ช่วยหาพิกัดถูกต้อง แต่มันคำนึงถึงความสวยงามอย่างมากด้วย ตัวอย่างเช่นเส้นบางเส้นในแผนที่ของลอนดอนอันเดอร์กราวด์ แทนที่จะเป็นเส้นโค้งตามความเป็นจริงแต่เพื่อความสวยงามมันถูกทำให้กลายเป็นเส้นตรง หรือร่นระยะทางบางเส้นเพื่อให้สวยงามมากยิ่งขึ้น ซึ่งคนลอนดอน“รับได้” กับความไม่ถูกต้องตรงนี้ แต่พอนำหลักการนี้มาใช้กับแผนที่นิวยอร์กซี้ตี้ ซับเวย์กลับล้มเหลวอย่างสิ้นเชิง คนนิวยอร์กประท้วงแผนที่ฉบับนี้อย่างฉับพลันทันใด อะไรที่ทำให้คนลอนดอนรับได้ และอะไรที่ทำให้คนนิวยอร์กรับไม่ได้ คุณประชาให้ภาพไว้อย่างสนุกสนาน

ส่วนบทภูมิศาสตร์ของความรู้สึกนั้น มันคือการบอกว่าการเขียนแผนที่ ต้องมีอุดมการณ์การสร้างชาติมารองรับด้วย บทนี้คุณประชาใช้แผนที่อุปมามาแสดงตัวอย่าง ( คือแผนที่ที่มีการตกแต่ง ดัดแปลง หรือบิดเบือนรูปทรงจนกระทั่งกลายเป็นคน สัตว์ สิ่งของ) อุปมาที่ใกล้ตัวที่สุดคือ “ขวานทอง” เป็นอุปมาที่ที่ช่วยสร้างภาพของประเทศซึ่งเป็นพื้นที่มีขอบเขต เขตแดนขึ้นในใจเราทำให้กลายเป็น“รูปร่างหน้าตาของชาติ” ในสำนึกของชาวไทยมาเนิ่นนาน นั่นคือแผนที่กลายเป็นอุดมการณ์การสร้างชาติที่เป็นรูปธรรมนั่นเอง (อันนี้แค่การเริ่มต้นบทนะคะ ยังสนุกขนาดนี้)

อีกบทที่ชอบมากคือบทที่พูดถึงหนังสือ Very Thai ซึ่งเป็นหนังสือที่เขียนโดย ฟิลิป คอร์นเวล สมิท และถ่ายภาพโดย จอห์น กอสส์ ฝรั่งสองคนที่มาใช้ชีวิตในเมืองไทยมากว่าสิบปีแล้ว หนังสือเล่มนี้บอกว่า มอเตอร์ไซค์รับจ้าง ถุงพลาสติกใส่น้ำดื่ม ลูกกรง เหล็กดัดและปลักขิก ฯลฯ ต่างหากที่เป็นเอกลักษณ์ของคนไทย วิถีชีวิตที่อยู่ตามตรอก ซอก ซอย ตึกแถวและสวนจตุจักร อาจจะ Very Thai มากกว่าสิ่งที่อยู่ในวัดวาอาราม หรือพระราชวัง Very Thai ไม่ยึดติดที่มาหรือรากเหง้า ไม่สนใจว่าสิ่งกำเนิดจะเป็นภูมิปัญญาหรือความมักง่าย ลอกเลียนหรือสร้างใหม่ อิมพอร์ตหรือไพเรต มันอาจจะเป็นประดิษฐกรรมของคนไทยที่ใช้ประกาศฐานันดรใหม่และปลีกตัวออกห่างจากประเพณี อาจจะเกิดจากการหยิบฉวยอะไรก็ได้ไม่ว่าจะเป็นแฟชั่น เพลงป๊อป ลัทธิบูชาผู้คน ฯลฯ หรือคุณประชาใช้ประโยคภาษาอังกฤษ อธิบาย Very Thai ว่า essence lies not in invention but transformation ทำให้คิดถึงสิ่งที่เคยได้คุยกับวิชญ์ พิมพ์กาญจนพงศ์ วิชญ์อธิบายความเป็นคนไทยว่า ถ้ามีการตัดถนนแล้วไปเจออุโมงค์ คนญี่ปุ่นหรือฝรั่งอาจจะขุดอุโมงค์ใต้ดิน ทำทางเจาะทะลุผ่านอุโมงค์ไปจนได้ แต่คนไทยจะไม่ทำอย่างนั้น คนไทยจะเดินอ้อม แล้วหันกลับมาบอกเพื่อนๆ ว่าไม่ต้องขุด อ้อมไปทางนี้ก็ได้ ซึ่งพออ้อมไปแล้วอาจไปชนกำแพงก็ได้นะ แต่คนไทยก็ขออ้อมไว้ก่อน -อันนี้เป็นความสนุกของวิธีคิดของคนไทยแบบหนึ่ง

 ดีไซน์+คัลเจอร์ พยายามจะบอกเราว่าในการทำงานสร้างสรรค์นั้น วิธีคิด วิธีมองโลกที่อยู่เบื้องหลังย่อมมีความสำคัญอย่างยิ่งยวด สำคัญเสียยิ่งกว่าการรู้เทคนิควิธีการที่ดี หรือการเข้าถึงเทคโนโลยีที่พร้อมสรรพเพียงใด” (จากหลังปกของหนังสือ)

จริงๆ แล้วหนังสือเล่มนี้มันสนุกทุกบทเลย มันทำให้เรารู้สึกว่าทุกอย่างล้วนถูก Construct ขึ้น เพราะฉะนั้นถ้าเราจะมองหาความหมายของสิ่งเหล่านั้นเราควรจะ Deconstruct มันเสียก่อน

และมันทำให้เราสำนึกว่า แผนที่ รูปภาพ ไอคอนต่างๆ เสื้อยืด กราฟิก
โลโก เก้าอี้ แปรงสีฟัน รถถัง บลา บลา บลา มีคัลเจอร์ของคนทำและอุดมการณ์ของคนในประเทศที่ใช้สิ่งของเหล่านั้น ซุกซ่อนอยู่เสมอๆ

Comment No.1
พี่เข้ามาทักทายจ้า
โดย: อินทรีทองคำ  วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:10:58:05 น.
Comment No.2
โอ๊ะ พี่อินทรีฯ หายไปนานเลย
กลับมาแล้ว ดีใจๆ
โดย: grappa IP: 58.9.204.214 วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:12:11:59 น.
Comment No.3
เมื่อวันที่ไปดูแสงศตวรรษ
เจอบล็อกเกอร์คนนึงถือหนังสือเล่มนี้มาด้วย
และคนข้างๆ บล็อกเกอร์คนนั้นก็บอกว่า
พี่แอมอ่านเล่มนี้สิๆ
ก็เลยบอกไปว่า อ่านอยู่ในมติชนสุดสัปดาห์จ้ะ
^^
โดย: I am just fine^^  วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:15:53:29 น.
Comment No.4
อ่านรีวิวแล้วอยากอ่านโดยฉับพลันค่ะ หุๆๆ

สงกรานต์ไปไหนมาหรือเปล่าคะพี่? 

โดย: สาวไกด์ใจซื่อ  วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:18:08:47 น.
Comment No.5
อ่านแล้วนึกถึงอาจารย์แสงอรุณเลยค่ะ

Happy belated Songkran’s Dayนะคะ

โดย: haiku  วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:18:16:59 น.
Comment No.6
 น่าอ่านๆๆๆ
โดย: แพนด้ามหาภัย  วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:19:29:10 น.
Comment No.7
เป็นหนังสือที่พออ่านถึงบทสุดท้ายแล้ว ต้องร้องว่า เฮ้ย อย่าเพิ่งจบ ยังอยากอ่านอีก

^
^

เด็ดนักล่ะคะประโยคนี้ อ่านหนังสือแล้วอยากให้มี
ความรู้สึกอย่างนี้บ่อยๆ เพราะถ้ามีเมื่อไหร่
หมายถึงว่าอ่านหนังสือเรื่องนี้ได้อินสุดๆ เลยนะคะ 

โดย: JewNid   วันที่: 16 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:22:59:28 น.
Comment No.8
อ่านจบแล้วเช่นกันครับ

ชอบมากๆๆๆ

เอาไปขึ้นหิ้งคู่กับหนังสือ แล่เนื้อเถือหนัง มาสเตอร์พีซของคุณประชาอีกเล่มนึงได้เลย

โดย: ฟ้าดิน  วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:3:51:52 น.
Comment No.9
อ่านอย่างช้าๆ คืบคลานไปทีละบท
โดย: visuallyyours IP: 58.8.101.203 วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:6:57:15 น.
Comment No.10
ง่า พี่แป็ดต้องชอบจริงๆนะเนี่ย

อยากที่เขียนในบล๊อกแหละค่ะ ว่าชื่นชมข้อมูลและเรื่องราวที่มาร้อยเรียงกัน แต่ว่าพอรวมๆแล้วว่ามันขาดเสน่ห์ไปนิด ซึ่งมันอาจจะเป็นเพราะว่าเรื่องที่คุณประชาเขียนมันเป็นเรื่องที่ส่วนตัวพอมีข้อมูลอยู่แล้วไม่รู้ เลยพยายามจะหาส่วนอื่นมากกว่าในงานเขียนที่เกี่ยวกับดีไซน์

แต่ดีใจอ่ะพี่ที่หนังสือขายดี(ไปอ่านในเวบสนพ.มา)

โดย: DropAtearInMyWineGlass  วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:7:30:24 น.
Comment No.11
อ่า จะมีตามร้านเช่ามั้ยครับเนี่ย
(อยากอ่าน แต่ขี้เกียจซื้อ ฮา)
สงสัยต้องขอยืมจากอายซะแล้ว 
โดย: getterTu  วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:7:49:52 น.
Comment No.12
– DropAtearInMyWineGlass

ข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับงานดีไซน์ พี่เฉยๆ นะ มันหาอ่านที่ไหนก็ได้
แต่จะตื่นเต้นตรงที่แกใช้ทฤษฎีมาวิเคราะห์ ราวกับว่าไม่มีทฤษฏี คือแกใช้ทฤษฎีได้เนียนมากน่ะ

โดย: grappa IP: 58.9.186.229 วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:8:41:40 น.
Comment No.13
มาแอบอ่านรีวิว
โดย: Untrue  วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:13:00:47 น.
Comment No.14
ขี้เกียจอัพบล็อกด้วยแหละครับ กลับมาก็เหนื่อย
โดย: pick IP: 202.41.167.246 วันที่: 17 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:20:38:12 น.
Comment No.15
ฟ้าเมืองไทย ผมหยิบๆวางๆมาอยู่หลายฉบับแล้วครับ ชอบแอบคิดว่า

“มันจะหนักไปสำหรับเราไหมนิ .”

โดย: เด็กผู้ชายที่ไม่เตะบอลตอนกลางวัน (kanapo ) วันที่: 18 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:0:20:06 น.
Comment No.16
สำนักพิมพ์ชื่อ “ฟ้าเดียวกัน” จ้า
โดย: grappa IP: 58.9.189.64 วันที่: 18 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:7:10:47 น.
Comment No.17
แวะมาทักทาย…
โดย: kiimujii  วันที่: 19 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:10:58:52 น.
Comment No.18
ผมก็ชอบเล่มนี้มากๆ
เหมือนกันครับพี่
ได้มาปุ๊บอ่านรวดเดียวจบเลย

โดย: จี้ IP: 125.25.40.111 วันที่: 19 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:18:56:25 น.
Comment No.19
– จี้
เมื่อไหร่จะอัพบล็อก คิดถึงบล็อกจี้มากๆ เลยนะ 
โดย: grappa IP: 58.9.197.238 วันที่: 19 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:21:57:58 น.
Comment No.20
หนังสือน่าสนใจอีกแล้ว 

แต่เดี๋ยวนี้ขี้เกียจอ่านหนังสือจริงๆ รู้สึกหมดพลังงาน

ปล. ไปแล้วชอบไหมคะ อยากมีห้องสมุดแบบนั้นมั่งอ่ะ

โดย: rebel IP: 203.155.129.130 วันที่: 21 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:8:19:44 น.
Comment No.21
อ่านที่เขียนแล้วน่าอ่านค่ะ ชอบที่เค้าบอกว่า “มอเตอร์ไซค์รับจ้าง ถุงพลาสติกใส่น้ำดื่ม ลูกกรง เหล็กดัดและปลักขิก ฯลฯ ต่างหากที่เป็นเอกลักษณ์ของคนไทย”

จริงๆน่ะคิดถึงชาดำเย็นในถุงพลาสติกทุกวันนี้ใช้ zip bag ใส่กับข้าวยังคิดเลยกลับบ้านคราวหน้าจะพกเอาถุงพลาสติกใส่แกงกลับมา

โดย: Special Ed.  วันที่: 22 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:0:01:19 น.
Comment No.22
รูปบนหัวบล็อกท่านได้แต่ใดมา น่ารักแต๊ๆ

อ่า..ร้านอยู่จ.สุโขทัยค่ะพี่ แหะๆ

ข้าวเกรียบปากหม้ออร่อยสุดๆ ค่ะ เชียร์ๆ 

โดย: สาวไกด์ใจซื่อ  วันที่: 22 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:10:57:01 น.
Comment No.23
เป็นภาพจากงาน แฟต เฟสติวัลที่เชียงใหม่เจ้า
โดย: grappa  วันที่: 22 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:13:36:30 น.
Comment No.24
รูปหัวบล็อกแนวมาก 
โดย: merveillesxx  วันที่: 22 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:17:32:29 น.
Comment No.25
อ่าน ” สำนึก มุมมอง และอุดมการณ์ของแผนที่ ” ในมติชนสุดฯ ชอบเหมือนกันค่ะ

ส่วนคอลัมน์เดียวกันในเล่มอื่นๆ ได้แต่เปิดผ่านๆ แหะๆ 

โดย: Mutation  วันที่: 22 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:22:25:21 น.
Comment No.26
อยากอ่านนิยายไทย พี่พล็อตทันสมัย ไม่ได้ดูเป็นละครหลังข่าวเท่าไหร่
^
^
นิยายพล็อตทันสมัยมากเล่มล่าสุดที่อ่าน คือ “เรียลลิตี้โชว์ ไฮโซปลอดสารพิษ” ของคุณชาครียา สนพ. พิมพ์คำค่ะ

ถ้าแนวรักอ่านแล้วสบายใจ ก็ต้อง “ฝากฟ้าเคียงดิน” ของคุณ yayoi ค่ายแจ่มใส (มีอีกเรื่องที่น่าจะชวนยิ้มพอกัน แต่ยังไม่ได้อ่าน เลยไม่กล้าแนะนำ)

แต่เอาแบบเขียนดีและไม่น้ำเน่าชัวร์
เล่มล่าสุดของคุณดวงตะวัน “ณ ที่ดาวพราวพร่างรัก” ก็น่าสนนะพี่


แนะนำคนอื่นดิบดี แต่ตัวเองหันกลับไปอ่านนิยายป้าวลัย 

โดย: ยาคูลท์   วันที่: 23 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:10:07:49 น.
Comment No.27
ไว้จะไปหามาอ่านมั่งครับ น่าอ่านจัง

ที่บ้านมีแล่เนื้อเถือหนังทั้งเล่ม 1 และ 2
เล่ม 1 อ่านตั้งแต่ตอนเด็กๆ ย่อยยากแต่อ่านสนุกมาก ตื่นตาตื่นใจมากสมัยนั้น

โดย: เอกเช้า IP: 124.122.152.136 วันที่: 23 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:22:21:09 น.
Comment No.28
แวะมาเยี่ยมเยีนยน ครับพี่
โดย: Travis IP: 125.24.223.67 วันที่: 24 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:2:14:52 น.
Comment No.29
หนังสือน่าอ่านดีจังครับ
ชอบหนังสือแนวนี้แต่หาอ่านยากจัง

ว่าแต่ที่ไหนมีขายบ้างครับเนี่ย

แวะมาทักทายนะครับ

โดย: experimental  วันที่: 28 เมษายน 2551 เวลา:9:10:33 น.
Comment No.30
แพงไปหน่อย บ้านจนอ่ะ 200 ก็พอแย้ววววววววววววววววว
โดย: ชอบน่ะ IP: 125.25.40.80 วันที่: 4 พฤษภาคม 2551 เวลา:14:41:18 น.

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #book #culture #design #reviews #Thai language 

Nujai

 Very Thai by Jai

ธันวาคม 24, 2007 โดย nujai

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 19.59.46 Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 20.00.00

http://nujai.wordpress.com/2007/12/24/very-thai-by-jai/

PDF: Very Thai by Jai | Nujai’s Weblog

เคยเปิดดูหนังสือเรื่อง Very Thai : everyday popular culture
ผลงานการเขียนของ Philip Cornwel-Smith  และผลงานการถ่ายภาพโดย John Goss

ความยาวของหนังสือ 256 หน้า พิมพ์ด้วยกระดาษอาร์ตมัน 4 สีทั้งหมด
จริงๆ ใจอยากได้มาครอบครองเหมือนกัน
แต่ราคาเหยียบพัน ทำให้เอาได้แค่แอบเปิดของคนอื่น และยืนอ่านที่ร้าน B2S

หากใครมีโอกาสไปร้านหนังสือก็อยากให้ลองไปดูหนังสือเล่มนี้
ภาพก็สวยดี ไม่ถึงสวยเวอร์ แต่ก็สวยระดับช่างภาพ
และแม้จะเป็นภาษาอังกฤษทั้งหมด ตั้งแต่ชื่อเรื่องจนกระทั่งคำลงท้าย
แต่ก็เป็นภาษาอังกฤษที่ไม่ยากจนเกินไป
ใครไม่ถนัดยืนอ่าน แบบว่ากลัวคนขายเพ่นกบาล
ก็ให้แอบเปิดดูภาพ ก็พอจะเดาได้ว่าเขาต้องการจะสื่อถึงอะไร

ฝรั่งมาเมืองไทย แล้วเขาเจออะไรบ้าง…ใจคิดว่าเขาอยากจะบอกแบบนี้
เมื่อเขาเห็นเขาก็คิดว่านี่แหละ โคตรไทยเลย หรือ very thai แต๊ๆ น้อ

ใคร ๆ ก็มักจะพูดว่า เราจะชินกับสิ่งที่เราเห็นและเป็นอยู่
แต่คนที่เขาไม่เคยเห็นและเคยเป็น เขาจะไม่ชินและไม่เป็นในสิ่งที่ไม่เคยเป็นมาก่อน
ฝรั่งก็เหมือนกัน มาบ้านเราเขาเห็นอะไรที่ไม่เคยเห็น
เขาก็งง นี่อะไร และทำไมเป็นเช่นนั้น
หยิบเก็บเป็นเรื่องราว เอาไปขายเป็นหนังสือเป็นเล่มหน้าปึ้ก ขายดีเสียด้วย

Philip Cornwel-Smith มาเจอวินมอเตอร์ไซด์บ้านเราใส่เสื้อกั๊กสีส้ม สีเขียวสะท้อนแสง
ด้านหลังใส่เบอร์ ใส่ชื่อร้านผู้สนับสนุน หรือแม้แต่ชื่อสส. สว. เขาก็เก็บเอาไปเขียน และถ่ายภาพประกอบ

เมืองไทยยังมีมีรูปลิเก มีมวยไทย มีทิชชูสีชมพูที่หาดูที่ไหนไม่ได้
(หนก่อนใจไปเห็นที่กัมพูชา แต่ว่าเป็นสีชมพูแบบม้วนอยู่ในส้วมเฉยเลย แต่ยังไม่เคยแบบเป็นแผ่น)
เหยือกพลาสติกใส่น้ำหวาน เขียนแปะชื่อบอกว่า ชาเขียว ชานมเย็น นมเย็น กาแฟเย็น
เขาก็ไม่เคยเห็นที่ไหน นอกจากประเทศไทย
ศาลพระภูมิ ตุ๊กๆ แท็กซี่ติดอะไรไม่รู้ในรถสารพัด จำพวกพระ ยันต์ และลายอักขระที่บอกว่าขลัง…
รถเข็นขายของปากซอย ห้อยกระทะ หม้อ ข้างผนังและกำแพง … เพียบ …
เนี่ยแหละ ของแบบไทยๆ ที่คนไทยเอง เห็นเป็นเรื่องเคยชิน

วันนี้ใจไปเห็นของไทยๆ เหมือนกัน มันชินตา แต่ฝรั่งมาเห็นก็คงว่าแปลกดี
ใจไปซื้อส้มตำร้านป้าในซอยแล้วพบว่าแกบูชาเจ้าที่ บูชาสิ่งศักดิ์สิทธิ์ อะไรก็ตามแต่

โดยปกติเรามักเห็น จานพลาสติกสีชมพู มีข้าวใส่ถ้วยเล็ก กับข้าว ของหวาน
อาจจะมีผลไม้ และน้ำแดงใส่หลอดปักไว้ให้เจ้าใช่ไหมละ

โอ้…มีธูปด้วย 3 ดอกด้วยลืมไป ประมาณว่าจุดบอก มาทานอาหารด้วยนะเจ้า

ร้านป้าแกมาแปลก ไม่ยักกะเป็นแบบที่ใครๆ เขาทำกัน
ป้าแกเอาธูปปักบนมะลอกอลูกเบ้อเร่อ
ข้างๆ มีขวดยาคูลท์อยู่ด้วย แล้วก็เอาทั้งหมดวางบนหลังตู้ใส่มะละกอสับของแก

ใจเห็น ใจก็สงสัย เป็นคนไทยนี่แหละ แต่งง … ทำไมถึงเป็นมะละกอกับยาคูลท์
หรือว่าเจ้าแทนนี้ชอบแบบนี้…เอามือถือขึ้นมาถ่ายรูปก่อน แล้วก็ถามป้าแกซะเลย
แกหันมายิ้มแล้วก็ไม่บอกอะไร เงียบ ใจเลยเงียบ ไม่รู้จะทำยังไงต่อ
ทำเอาใจงงๆ … ไม่บอกใจจะรู้ไหมเนี่ย…
พอไม่รู้ก็เลยสงสัย แกก็ไม่ตอบ แต่ใจคิดว่าแกคงตอบไม่ได้…
ให้เดาก็คงประมาณว่า มีอะไรก็บูชาเจ้าไปแบบนั้น…เป็นไงละ very thai ไหม?

ว่าแต่…ถามแล้วเอาแต่ยิ้ม นี่ very thai ไหมนะ???

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #culture #reviews #Thai language #Thailand 

Schvoong

**** (four stars)

7 Jul 2007

http://www.shvoong.com/books/1630580-Very Thai

So you think the term “Thai logic” is an oxymoron? Perplexed by the tiny PINK tissues at local eateries? Can’t think of any reasons why older Thai women (“khun naai”) just loooove to wear retina-searing Thai silk outfits and shellack their hair into unmoving, frightening tower of ‘do?

You can stop scratching your head. Read “Very Thai” by Philip Cornwel-Smith. A longtime expat of Thailand, he has written an exhaustive record (and explanations) of Thai idiosyncracies that make the people charming, lovable and yes, sometimes frustrating and illogical.

Why do Thais “sniff kiss”? For those who don’t know what this is, a “sniff kiss” isn’t really a kiss per se. Instead of planting a wet one on their beloved’s cheek or lips, the Thais basically just come close enough to sniff your cheek. This is a deep sign of affection that foreigners find “weird”.

It’s actually not weird at all, and here Cornwel-Smith displayed his genius of observation and understanding of the culture. Thais value cleanliness very much, so if someone dares to come close enough to actually take in your scent into his/her nostrils, that means you are very hygienic and thus truly desirable~!!

That is just a small sample of what amazing tidbits of pricelss information Cornwel-Smith has in his book. Beautiful colored photographs (by John Goss) help to illustrate the points and make this book a must-have for any foreigner (either just visiting or a longtime expat) who gets confused by “Thai ways”.

Review is also available at Street Smart Sukhumvit at http://streetsmartsukhumvit.multiply.com/reviews/item/6

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

Street Smart Sukhumvit

**** (four stars)

7 Jul 2007

http://streetsmartsukhumvit.multiply.com/reviews/item/6

So you think the term “Thai logic” is an oxymoron? Perplexed by the tiny PINK tissues at local eateries? Can’t think of any reasons why older Thai women (“khun naai”) just loooove to wear retina-searing Thai silk outfits and shellack their hair into unmoving, frightening tower of ‘do?

You can stop scratching your head. Read “Very Thai” by Philip Cornwel-Smith. A longtime expat of Thailand, he has written an exhaustive record (and explanations) of Thai idiosyncracies that make the people charming, lovable and yes, sometimes frustrating and illogical.

Why do Thais “sniff kiss”? For those who don’t know what this is, a “sniff kiss” isn’t really a kiss per se. Instead of planting a wet one on their beloved’s cheek or lips, the Thais basically just come close enough to sniff your cheek. This is a deep sign of affection that foreigners find “weird”.

It’s actually not weird at all, and here Cornwel-Smith displayed his genius of observation and understanding of the culture. Thais value cleanliness very much, so if someone dares to come close enough to actually take in your scent into his/her nostrils, that means you are very hygienic and thus truly desirable~!!

That is just a small sample of what amazing tidbits of pricelss information Cornwel-Smith has in his book. Beautiful colored photographs (by John Goss) help to illustrate the points and make this book a must-have for any foreigner (either just visiting or a longtime expat) who gets confused by “Thai ways”.

Review is also available at schvoong.com at http://www.shvoong.com/books/1630580-Very Thai

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

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…)

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #culture #features #international #newspaper 

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

Very 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. 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 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.

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 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, 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

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.

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

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…)

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #culture #international #interviews #newspaper #Thailand 

Japan Times, Donald Richie (Top 3 Books)

TOP 3 BOOKS OF 2005: What did you read about Asia this year?

VERY THAI by Philip Cornwel-Smith and John Goss (River Books)

By Donald Richie

This is a brilliant book-length photo-essay on Thai popular culture that gives hundreds of examples of the Thai way of doing things. As Alex Kerr says in his preface, this culture “seems an informal, free-wheeling place, even at times chaotic. But the more time you spend here, the more you realize that there is an internal logic and symbolism invisibly ordering everything.

 

Donald Richie was an authority on Japanese film and culture and Asian culture, lived partly in Chiang Mai, and is the late author of The Image Factory, The Inland Sea, and  Tokyo: A View of the City

 

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #international #Japan #newspaper #reviews 

Natalie Bennett: Philobiblon

Book Review: Very Thai – Everyday Popular Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith

 By Natalie Bennett (now leader of the UK Green Party)

 

VT Natalie Bennett Philobiblon a VT Natalie Bennett Philobiblon b

View as PDF: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/12/11/135518.php

New arrivals in Bangkok are easy to spot; after a day or two in the city they’ve got a dazed, bemused look, and move slowly, hesitantly. This Bangkokitis is an extreme form of the culture shock that many tourists experience in foreign lands.

There are two factors that make it particularly acute in the Thai capital. First, so much of the environment seems familiar – glass-and-steel office blocks, modern cars, familiar fast food restaurants. Yet it is also so foreign. Underneath the office blog might stand a baby elephant, its owner begging for funds. Amidst the modern cars zip scores of death-defying motorcycle taxis, their riders’ bright jackets clashing with the mini-skirts of the high-heel-shod women perched precariously side-saddle behind them. Then they’ll be the shrine on the corner thronged with fortune-tellers.

Bangkok is where east meets west, modern meets traditional, the past meets the future. And while often they’ll stand in stark opposition, they’ll also blend to produce astonishing new hybrids.

The visitor who seeks easy answers might turn to a guidebook, and for some of the more obvious sights get a sentence of two of explanation. Or they might turn to a scholarly historical study, explaining temples and sculptures. But Philip Cornwel-Smith’s Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture is the first book that I know of to try to explain Thailand as it is today.

This is a prodigiously illustrated (by the photographer John Goss) text, accessible, but informative enough that even people who’ve lived in Thailand for decades will find plenty they didn’t know.
Of course I was aware, having lived in Thailand for almost five years, that trucks were usually heavily decorated, particularly in their upper parts. But I didn’t know that these works were designed to placate the journey spirit, Mae Yanang, or that each cab represented the sacred Mount Meru. The frequent inclusion of Western film stars in these images in no way interferes with this.

But it might take the first-time visitor a while to notice these, being too distracted by more disconcerting sights, such as the kathoeys (lady-boys) who can be seen at work and play around the capital without the locals batting an eyelid. (I used to live in the African rag-trade district of Bangkok, Pratunam. A kathoey was an otherwise entirely ordinary staff member on one of the stalls. When Africa met Asia at work, there was frequently some cultural confusion.)

Cornwel-Smith explains the understanding of gender and sexuality – so different from the West’s – that underlies the phenomenon:

Thais make a distinction between gender – a public identity to be kept riab roi (proper) – and sexuality, which remains undiscussed, unrestrained. Thai society tends to regard sexual urges – at least for males – as natural and requiring plentiful, but private outlets. Hence polygamy, once banned, resurfaced through minor wives and the fancifully themed playgrounds of the sex industry. With women’s virginity still a commodity to be guarded, kathoey have offered a non-disruptive outlet for single males.”

This acceptance has helped to encourage Thailand as a destination for medical tourism of a specific king – gender-reassignment surgery. Up to 1,000 operations are thought to have been done on foreigners each year. And many kathoeys have taken up the practice.

Yet after centuries of a place in Thai society, new conflicts have emerged. Following the recent morality crackdown by the Shinawatra government, the rights of kathoeys have become a political issue, Cornwel-Smith reports, quoting Thanyaporn Anyasri, 2002 “Miss Queen of the Universe”, who said: “I want to be the world’s first transexual prime minister so I can legislate laws that promote homosexual people’s equality.” He then quotes a representative of a Buddhist foundation saying that since every person has gone through innumerable reincarnations they are likely to be kathoeys at some point in the future, so should think about equality now.

After contemplating all of that, the first-time visitor might need a drink and a nice meal. If they’re very brave, that might include the “prawns of the air” (grasshoppers), deep-fried whole and sold from street stalls, and some Red Bull – one of the few Thai traditions to really make it big inter (internationally). Cornwel-Smith will explain too why there might be tiny pink tissues on table, and for afters a pudding so sweet it will set your teeth on edge.

Many more aspects of Bangkok, from the skin-tight police uniforms (the government was keeping up with Western fashion in the Sixties, but then got left behind) to the numbers of dogs roaming the streets. There are also sections on Thai music, festivals, decor, gardens and much more.

If you’re the sort of visitor to Thailand who just wants to swan down Khao San Road and then lie on the beaches, you won’t need to buy Very Thai. But if you want some great stories to tell about the country – not just accounts of what you’ve seen but explanations for the curiosities and complexities – then this is an essential book.

Declaration of interest: The author used to commission writing from me when he was editor of Metro (then Thailand’s answer to Time Out) and I was a writer there. Online from that time I have an article about Khunying Supatra Masdit (billed by some as most-likely to be Thailand’s first female prime minister) and a piece about the Maldives. They’re not the paradise you think.

 

This review was also published at Blogcriticshttp://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/12/11/135518.php

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #culture #gay #international #reviews 

Street Corner Siam at Siam Society

Street Corner Siam: Exploring Thai Popular Culture

A  talk at Siam Society on 15 September 2005 by Philip Cornwel-Smith

The author will give an insight into the value of everyday contemporary things in building a more inclusive, up-to-date picture of Thai culture, society and history. Exploring his passion for all things Thai, Philip Cornwel-Smith  traces the origins of what you find in the street, the home, the shop and the bar and on TV.

Admission B150, or free to Siam Society Members.

VT Nation SiamSoc talk 05-0828

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #academic #Bangkok #culture #events #SiamSociety #talks 

The Nation (preview)

Something Very Thai

Preview of a talk at Siam Society on 15 September 2005 by Philip Cornwel-Smith on ‘Street Corner Siam: Exploring Thai Popular Culture’

VT Nation SiamSoc talk 05-0828

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #academic #Bangkok #culture #events #newspaper #talks 

‘Bangkok, Bangkok: A Documentation’

About Photography Bar Gallery, Bangkok

A documentation of art exhibitions by Bangkok based artists in Barcelona and Brussels.

25 June – 28 August 2005

Installation by Prapon Kumjim, with montage including images from Very Thai. A copy of Very Thai was also displayed as an exhibit on the table in the exhibition.

 

VT Bkk Bkk exhib001 copyVT Bkk Bkk exhib002 copy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #art #Bangkok #culture #international #Thailand 

Asienhaus

Thailand: Abfall

Große Ziele – Kleine Realität

05-2-034 Asienhaus.de

34_________________________________________________________________Thailand: Abfall_______

südostasien 2/05

hailand produziert laut Welt bank jährlich rund 14,2 Millionen Tonnen Verbraucher- und

Industriemüll mit stetig steigender Tendenz. Die Recyclingrate beträgt

laut Aussagen der Regierung elf Pro-

zent, während sie beispielsweise in

Korea, Singapur und Japan bei 30 bis

50 Prozent liegt. Rechnet man jedoch

informelle Wege der Müllverarbeitung,

welche in Thailand eine große Bedeu-

tung spielen heraus, so kommt man

sogar nur auf eine Recyclingrate von

drei Prozent.1

Betrachtet man die Zusam-

mensetzung städtischen Mülls, der

in Phitsanulok beispielsweise zu 45

bis 50 Prozent aus wieder verwertba-

ren Materialien, zu 30 bis 35 Prozent

aus Biomüll und nur zu 20 Prozent

aus nicht wieder verwertbaren Mate-

rialien besteht2, so wird deutlich,

dass theoretisch ein großes Poten-

zial zur Müllreduktion und -auf-

bereitung in Thailand besteht. Dabei

darf der wirtschaftliche Nutzen durch

gesenkte Ausgaben für Abfallent-

sorgung und die Wiederverwendung

von Ressourcen nicht unterschätzt

werden.

Dementsprechend hat sich

die Regierung große Ziele gesetzt

und möchte im Rahmen des neunten

nationalen Wirtschafts- und Sozia-

lentwicklungsplanes (2003 bis 2008)

die Müllproduktion halbieren und die

Recyclingrate auf 30 Prozent anhe-

ben.3 Praktisch steckt die Umsetzung

aber häufig noch in den Kinderschu-

hen und staatliche Programme fehlen

völlig oder werden nur mangelhaft

implementiert.

Informelle Wege

des Recycling

Das Gros des Recyclingpro-

zesses übernimmt derzeit ein infor-

meller Sektor, dessen verschiedene

aufeinander aufbauenden Ebenen

sehr gut organisiert sind. Vom Müll-

sammler auf lokaler Ebene bis hin

zum überregionalen Recycling-

Privatunternehmer legt der Abfall

häufig einen langen Weg mit vielen

Zwischenstationen zurück und sichert

so zahlreichen Personen — zumin-

dest mehr oder weniger — den Le-

bensunterhalt. Je nach regionalem

Kontext sind verschiedene Ausprä-

gungen vorzufinden, wobei vor allem

zwischen städtischen und ländlichen

Regionen zu unterscheiden ist.

In städtischen Regionen, in

denen eine Müllabholung organisiert

ist, kommen meist früh morgens, vor

der offiziellen Müllabfuhr, Abfallsamm-

ler — auch »khon geb khaya« ge-

nannt, die die Abfalltonnen nach ver-

kauf- und brauchbaren Dingen

durchsuchen.1 Sie sind sehr arm, und

das Einkommen aus der Müllsuche

(oft weniger als monatlich 60 Euro

pro Familie) reicht meist kaum zum

Überleben. Da sie die gesamten

Mülltonnen durchwühlen, kommen

sie häufig in Kontakt mit giftigen Ab-

fällen und sind so einem hohen Ge-

sundheitsrisiko ausgesetzt. Zusam-

men mit Müllsammlern, die die letzten

Reste auf den Mülldeponien durch-

wühlen, nehmen sie eine sehr niedri-

ge soziale Position ein.

Weiterhin gibt es auch noch

»saleng«, die der Bevölkerung den

Müll abkaufen. Meist sind sie mit pe-

dalbetriebenen Dreirädern unterwegs

— in Bangkok gibt es immer häufiger

auch motorisierte Versionen — und

kündigen sich mit ihrer charakteristi-

schen Hupe den Bewohnern an. Sie

stehen eine Stufe höher in der Hierar-

chie als »khon geb khaya«, da sie

den Abfall nicht nehmen oder steh-

len, sondern Handel damit betreiben.

Sie kaufen wieder verwertbaren Müll,

wie beispielsweise Glas, Papier,

Plastik, Metall und Elektronik von der

Bevölkerung und verkaufen ihn dann

mit etwa fünf Baht (0,10 Euro) Profit

pro Kilo an Müllsammelstellen oder

Recycling-Shops weiter. Diese trans-

portieren den Abfall dann gebündelt

und in großen Mengen weiter an Re-

cycling-Fabriken. »Saleng« können

ein annehmbares Leben führen, wie

das Beispiel des 23-jährigen Nattha-

phon aus Phitsanulok zeigt.1 Als sein

Vater in Rente geht, gibt er seinen

Job in der BMW-Fabrik auf, um in das

Müllgeschäft einzusteigen, in dem

auch schon seine zwei Brüder und

seine Mutter tätig sind. Mit seinem

Müllsammeldreirad kann er täglich

etwa 500 Baht (zehn Euro) verdienen.

Seine Mutter, die einen Pick-up be-

sitzt, bringt es sogar auf das Doppel-

te.

Häufig sortieren auch die An-

gestellten der offiziellen Müllabfuhr

den Abfall als privaten Nebenver-

dienst. Während der Inhalt der Abfall-

tonnen auf der Ladefläche des Trucks

Große Ziele — kleine Realität

Das Abfallmanagement in Thailand

steckt noch in den Kinderschuhen

von Manuela Volkmann

Thailand produziert laut Weltbank jährlich rund 14,2 Millionen Tonnen Ver-

braucher- und Industriemüll mit stetig steigender Tendenz — theoretisch

ein großes Potenzial zur Müllreduktion und -aufbereitung. Dementspre-

chend hat sich die Regierung große Ziele gesetzt.

Die Autorin ist Sozialgeographin.

T

_______Thailand: Abfall__________________________________________________________________35

südostasien 2/05

entleert wird, sortieren sie den wieder

verwertbaren Müll aus und verkaufen

ihn nach Arbeitsende in Recycling-

Shops. Über ein vierköpfiges Müllab-

fuhrteam in Bangkok wird berichtet,

dass jedes Teammitglied so monat-

lich sein Gehalt um 5.000 bis 7.000

Baht (100 bis 140 Euro) anheben kann

— bemerkenswert bei einem Grund-

gehalt von 4.000 Baht (80 Euro).4

In den Recycling-Fabriken wird

der Müll weiter sortiert, zerkleinert, ge-

presst und gebündelt. Fischsaucen-

flaschen gehen zurück an die Fisch-

saucenfabriken, Whiskyflaschen zu-

rück in die Brennereien. Eisen, Stahl

und Glas wird an entsprechende Un-

ternehmen verkauft. Holz wird an

Schreiner veräußert, und die Säure von

Altbatterien findet bei der Behandlung

von Abwasser Verwendung.

Auf dem Land gestaltet sich

die Müllverarbeitung etwas anders.

Essensreste werden meist an die

Tiere verfüttert und der restliche or-

ganische Müll wird kompostiert oder

als Brennstoff getrocknet. Da größ-

tenteils aber keine organisierte Müll-

abholung existiert und auch »saleng«

und »khon geb khaya« seltener anzu-

treffen sind, ist es übliche Praxis, den

gesamten Abfall zu vergraben oder

im eigenen Garten zu verbrennen.

Die daraus resultierenden Gesund-

heitsrisiken und Umweltprobleme

sind offensichtlich.5

Ambivalenter Status

des Abfallbusiness

Obwohl zahlreiche Men-

schen ihren Lebensunterhalt im Müll-

geschäft verdienen und die öffentli-

chen Verwaltungen, die eigentlich für

den Müll zuständig sind, ohne diesen

informellen, privaten Sektor völlig

aufgeschmissen wären, handelt es

sich dabei um klassische niedrig ein-

gestufte und wenig geachtete Jobs.

Dies ist auch ein Grund da-

für, dass zahlreiche Antimüll-Kam-

pagnen bisher gescheitert sind oder

wenig erfolgreich waren. Der Aufruf zur

Mithilfe bei Säuberungsaktionen ver-

hallt oft im Winde, da die Ausübung

einer solchen Tätigkeit zu dem viel ge-

fürchteten Gesichtsverlust führen kann.

Mit den wenig geschätzten Müll-

sammlern möchte sich niemand auf

eine Stufe stellen. Die Bevölkerung auf

Haushaltsebene dazu zu bringen, sich

mit ihrem Müll zu beschäftigen und

ihn zu sortieren, stellt somit schon ei-

ne sehr schwere Aufgabe dar.

Nicht-Regierungsorgani-

sationen (NGOs) hingegen sehen die

»saleng« als ein sehr positives sozia-

les Glied in der Abfallbeseitigungsket-

te an und setzen sich für eine höhere

Wertschätzungen dieser Personen in

der Gesellschaft ein. Schließlich bie-

tet das Müllgeschäft zahlreichen ar-

men Bevölkerungsgruppen ein Aus-

kommen und sie könnten eine be-

deutende Rolle in der Aufklärungs-

und Erziehungsarbeit bezüglich Um-

welt- und Abfallentsorgungsbewusst-

sein einnehmen.1

Immer mehr

Wohlstandsmüll

Umweltschutz ist — nicht nur

— in Thailand meist ein wunder

Punkt, da die Wirtschaftspraxis und

Politik stark auf Entwicklung und we-

niger auf ihre Kosten fixiert sind.

Doch der Weg in die Moderne bringt

nicht nur Positives.

Einstellungen und kulturelle

Zielvorstellungen wie Sauberkeit,

Schönheit und Schicklichkeit mutie-

ren inzwischen häufig so weit, dass

alte Dinge von guter Qualität einfach

abgelegt werden zugunsten neuer

glänzender Ersatzgüter. So wird, wie

in vielen anderen Gesellschaften

auch ein Maß für Reichtum das,

was man sich leisten kann wegzuwer-

fen!1

War es in der Vergangenheit

üblich biologisch abbaubare Verpak-

kungsmaterialien wie Schilfkörbe,

Holzboxen und Bananenblätter zu

verwenden, so werden diese schein-

bar überkommenen »unentwickelten«

Materialien immer stärker durch

Symbole des modernen Lebens er-

setzt. Plastiktüte und Styroporverpak-

kung lassen grüßen!

Das kunstvolle übermäßige

Verpacken ist nicht wegzudenkender

Teil der thailändischen Shoppingreali-

tät und der Schriftsteller Anon Na-

kornthab resümiert: »Buy ten buns,

get eleven bags«.1 Alles, mag es

auch noch so klein sein, wird in eine

Plastiktüte verpackt. Dies geht so

weit, dass man auch Getränke aus

Dosen oder Flaschen in Plastiktüten

abfüllt, nur damit man Eiswürfel hin-

zufügen und ein praktisches tragba-

res gekühltes Getränk zu sich neh-

men kann. Lehnt man beim Einkauf

schließlich die zehnte Plastiktüte ab,

erntet man ungläubige Blicke, und

der Chef von 7-Eleven Thailand

glaubt, dass es noch Jahre brauchen

werde, bis thailändische Kunden

überhaupt die Frage eines Verkäufers

akzeptieren werden, ob sie denn eine

Tasche bräuchten.

Plastiktüten sind ein wirkli-

ches Problem, da sie nicht zu den

Plastiksorten zählen, die wiederver-

wertet werden können und einen

Großteil des Restmülls bilden. Die

Reduzierung der Verwendung der all-

gegenwärtigen Plastiktüten dürfte

demnach eine der größten Heraus-

forderungen sein, da Konsum- und

Verhaltensmuster im Kern dafür ge-

ändert werden müssen.

Müllsammelstelle in Ban Muanjia, Provinz Mahasarakham

36_________________________________________________________________Thailand: Abfall_______

südostasien 2/05

Und wohin mit

dem Restmüll?

Der Restmüll — der in der

Realität immer noch stark mit recy-

clebaren Materialien durchsetzt ist —

wird nach wie vor oft lokal vergraben

oder verbrannt, landet auf Mülldepo-

nien oder endet in einer Müllverbren-

nungsanlage.

Bei den Mülldeponien han-

delt es sich aber überwiegend um

ungesicherte Deponien — natürliche

Mulden oder ausgebaggerte Erdlö-

cher, die nicht extra abgedichtet sind.

Der hohe Anteil organischen Materi-

als ist verantwortlich dafür, dass De-

poniesickerwasser und Faulgas ge-

bildet wird. Ersteres beinhaltet meist

Schwermetalle und Pestizidrückstän-

de und verseucht das Grundwasser

in erheblichem Maße. Das Faulgas,

das vor allem aus Methan besteht, ist

ein sehr wirkungsvolles Treibhaus-

gas. Von offenen Deponien kann es

ungehindert in die Atmosphäre ent-

weichen und Müllhalden bilden welt-

weit die drittgrößte Methangasquelle

und tragen entsprechend stark zum

Treibhauseffekt bei.

Kontraproduktive

Scheinlösungen —

Müllverbrennungs-

anlagen

Die ersten thailändischen

Müllverbrennungsanlagen in Bang-

kok, Phuket und auf Ko Samui wur-

den als Fortschritt in der Müllentsor-

gung gefeiert. Man erhoffte sich posi-

tive Effekte durch finanzielle Gewinne

und Stromproduktion. Doch man

kann nicht sagen, dass daraus eine

Erfolgsstory wurde.

Der Bau der Anlagen war

sehr teuer, und in Phuket beispiels-

weise wurden für den Bau der Anlage

zahlreiche Mangrovenwälder abge-

holzt und Umweltauflagen missach-

tet. Außerdem ist fraglich, was sich

die Planer bei der Konstruktion

dachten, denn die Anlagen auf Ko

Samui und in Phuket sind völlig

überdimensioniert und werden nur

alle zwei bis drei Tage in Betrieb ge-

nommen, wenn sich genug Müll an-

gesammelt hat, um die Mindestka-

pazitätsgrenze zu überschreiten. So

schlucken die Anlagen mehr Geld als

Müll und belasten die Steuerzahler

erheblich durch die laufenden Kos-

ten, welche nicht gedeckt werden

können.

Doch damit nicht genug. In

Untersuchungen wurde weiterhin

nachgewiesen, dass die Anlagen

wahre Giftschleudern sind. Der Ver-

brennungsprozess entlässt bestimm-

te Toxine und Schwermetalle in Kon-

zentrationen in die Umwelt, die die

zulässigen Grenzwerte um ein Vielfa-

ches überschreiten. Trotzdem halten

die Regierung und natürlich die Be-

treiber der Müllverbrennungsanlagen

nach wie vor daran fest, dass diese

die einzige Lösung für Thailands Müll

seien.3

Umweltschutzorganisationen

wie Greenpeace fordern die Regie-

rung hingegen dazu auf, stärker in

umweltfreundliche Abfallmanage-

mentstrategien zu investieren und die

Müllreduktion, -trennung und das Re-

cycling voranzutreiben.6 Für die Müll-

verbrennungsanlagen sind dies keine

rosigen Aussichten. Schließlich arbei-

ten sie jetzt schon unausgelastet. Wie

soll das dann bei noch weniger Müll

werden?

Vorherrschende

Abfallpolitik

Die Müllverbrennungsanla-

gen sind ein Beispiel für häufig vor-

kommende wenig durchdachte,

kurzfristige End-of-the-pipe-Strate-

gien, die langfristig keine wirklichen

Veränderungen erwarten lassen. Es

geht um die Abwicklung der anfallen-

den Müllberge. Doch nicht nur eine

möglichst umweltverträgliche Beseiti-

gung von Abfällen, sondern eine

grundlegende Müllreduktion im Sinne

der Zielhierarchie Vermeidung, Ver-

wertung und Beseitigung sollte an-

gestrebt werden.

Der Durch- und Umsetzung

dieses Leitbildes stehen aber zahl-

reiche Hindernisse entgegen, die

aus der vorherrschenden Verwal-

tungs- und Planungsstruktur resultie-

ren. Der Entscheidungsprozess ist

nach wie vor stark zentralisiert, was

kosteneffiziente, flexible und innova-

tive Ansätze vonseiten der Kommu-

nen und Gemeinden nicht gerade

unterstützt. Ein effektives, nachhalti-

ges Müllmanagement kann jedoch

nicht top-down realisiert werden,

sondern die verschiedensten Akteu-

re und die Bevölkerung müssen in

den Planungsprozess einbezogen

werden. Zentral sind dabei auch die

Kooperation beteiligter Fachressorts

und die Zusammenarbeit benach-

barter Kommunen und Gemeinden.

Gerade für kleinere Städte, bei de-

nen die Wirtschaftlichkeit einer eige-

nen Abfallinfrastruktur fraglich ist,

können sich so Synergieeffekte er-

geben.

Lösungsansätze

Projekte zum integrierten

Abfallmanagement und der Mülltren-

nung in Thailand sind nicht zu ver-

gleichen mit vorherrschenden Syste-

men in Industrieländern, wo die Be-

völkerung den Müll trennen muss und

für dessen Abholung bezahlt. Viel-

mehr lehnen sich die Programme an

das profitgeleitete informelle Müll-

sammlersystem an, das der Bevölke-

rung schon vertraut ist.

Ein Beispiel für den Versuch

eines umfassenden städtischen Ab-

fallmanagements ist die Stadt Phitsa-

nulok, die sich intensiv mit der Be-

kämpfung der Abfallberge auseinan-

dersetzt. 1999 wurde dort auch das

»Solid Waste Management Program-

me for Phitsanulok« mit Hilfe der GTZ

gestartet.2

Für das Abfallmanagement

auf Haushaltsebene gibt es hier zwei

Hauptstrategien. Zum einen soll die

Bevölkerung durch den zu erwarten-

den Erlös aus dem Verkauf wieder

verwertbarer Materialien zur Mülltren-

nung animiert werden. Hierbei kom-

men verschiedene Modelle zum Ein-

satz. Märkte, bei denen private

Händler den Haushalten den Müll ab-

kaufen, werden veranstaltet, oder es

gibt Kleinunternehmer in der Ge-

meinde, die sozusagen als Mittel-

männer zwischen den Abfallhändlern

und den Haushalten fungieren. Ein

auch auf der Ebene lokaler und priva-

ter Gruppen sehr beliebter Ansatz ist

der der Recycle-Bank, der weiter un-

ten beschrieben wird.2

Die zweite wichtige Strategie

ist die Kompostierung. Organische

Abfälle bilden einen großen Teil im

Gesamtmüll und sollten genutzt wer-

den. Sie können dann zum Beispiel

im eigenen Garten verwendet werden

und chemischen Dünger ersetzen

oder für drei bis vier Baht pro Kilo

verkauft werden. Oft wird die Kom-

postierung auch auf Gemeindeebene

oder im Rahmen von Haushaltszu-

_______Thailand: Abfall__________________________________________________________________37

südostasien 2/05

sammenschlüssen gemeinsam

durchgeführt.2

Durch diese Maßnahmen

konnte das Müllaufkommen reduziert

werden, was in der Folge eine ge-

senkte Abholfrequenz nach sich zog.

Die Müllflotte von Phitsanulok konnte

von 28 auf 16 Fahrzeuge und die

Ausgaben um eine Million Baht pro

Jahr reduziert werden. Für die Haus-

halte ergeben sich positive Effekte

durch das Zusatzeinkommen und ei-

ne saubere Müllbeseitigung, da die

oft übel riechenden Bioabfälle nicht

mehr zwischen dem Restmüll in der

Mülltonne lagern.2

Doch viel stärker als im

Rahmen geförderter zwischenstaatli-

cher Programme der Entwicklungs-

zusammenarbeit oder vonseiten der

Stadtverwaltungen gibt es Initiativen

von lokalen Akteuren und NGOs, die

sich in kleinerem Umfang um eine

Verbesserung der Situation bemühen.

So zum Beispiel die NGO

Greenway Thailand, die sich im inter-

nationalen Jugend- und Kulturaus-

tausch engagiert. In ihrem Programm

nehmen Umweltprojekte eine wichti-

ge Rolle ein, und es wird versucht auf

lokaler Ebene, meist in kleinen Dör-

fern im ländlichen Raum, einen inte-

grierten Ansatz durchzusetzen.

Ein wichtiger Pfeiler dabei ist

die Aufklärungs- und Bildungsarbeit.

Diese erfolgt zum einen in den umlie-

genden Schulen, zum anderen gehen

die Freiwilligen direkt in die Häuser

der Dorfbewohner. Mithilfe gezeich-

neter Informationstafeln versuchen

sie über die Gefahren der Verbren-

nung von Plastik, mögliche Profite

durch Mülltrennung und die Vorteile

einer sauberen Umwelt zu informie-

ren. Von den Kindern und Jugendli-

chen erhofft man sich dabei, dass sie

als Multiplikatoren auf die Dorfbevöl-

kerung wirken.

Als zweiten wichtigen Punkt

baut Greenway auch eine Recyclin-

ginfrastruktur auf. Wichtigstes Instru-

ment dabei sind die Recycle-Banken,

die sich meist an Schulen befinden,

aber auch in Dörfern aufgebaut wer-

den können. Diese Bank imitiert das

System einer monetären Bank mit

dem Unterschied, dass die Einzah-

lungen aus Müll bestehen. Den Kin-

dern und Jugendlichen oder den

Dorfbewohnern werden entspre-

chend dem gültigen Müllpreis Punkte

auf einem Sparbuch gutgeschrieben.

Diese können dann in einem weiteren

Schritt in Form von Waren wie zum

Beispiel Schreib- oder Spielsachen,

Nahrungsmittel oder Hausrat einge-

tauscht werden.

Ein wesentliches Problem

der Umwelt- und Mülltrennungspro-

jekte ist, wie schon zuvor beschrie-

ben, auch hier die Tatsache, dass die

Bevölkerung Abfall mit einem niede-

ren Status assoziiert. Die Kinder, Ju-

gendlichen und Dorfbewohner über-

haupt zu einer Mitarbeit zu motivieren

ist das größte Problem. Deswegen

wird versucht prominente Einheimi-

sche in die Arbeit zu involvieren um

eine höhere Akzeptanz zu erreichen.

Aufklärungskampagnen und

Bildungsarbeit, die auch vom öffentli-

chen Sektor forciert werden sollten,

gekoppelt mit einem integrierten, par-

tizipativen Ansatz sind ein äußerst

wichtiger Grundstein für ein erfolgrei-

ches Müllmanagement. Erste Schritte

sind vielerorts in Thailand getan,

doch größtenteils handelt es sich da-

bei um gut gemeinte Einzelprojekte,

denen es noch an der Vernetzung

und Kooperation über die lokale oder

kommunale Ebene hinaus mangelt.

Denn was nutzt einer Stadt ein schö-

nes Abfallmanagement, wenn sie

täglich von vielen Besuchern und

Pendlern aus dem Umland frequen-

tiert wird, die alle ihre alt gewohnte

Entsorgungsmentalität importieren?

!

Literatur

1) Cornwel-Smith, P. 2005: Trash Recyclers.

Freelance gleaners make the most of rub-

bish. In: Kerr, A.: Very Thai. Everyday Po-

pular Culture. Bangkok, S. 67-69.

2) Hantrakul, S. und W. Schöll 2002: Challen-

ges for Thai Municipal Governments in

Modern Service Delivery: Solid Waste Ma-

nagement in Phitsanulok. In: Nelson, Mi-

chael (Hrsg.): Thai Politics: Local and

Global Perspectives. Bangkok (= KPI Ye-

arbook 2).

3) Akao, H.E. 2000: Double Standards of

Environmental Behavior. URL: http://www.

no-burn.org/ggm/gmcrep-th.html (Stand

10.04.2005).

4) Asian Labour News 2004: Thailand: A day

in the life of a garbage truck team. URL:

http://www.asianlabour.org/archives/00120

7.php (Stand 10.04.2005).

5) Energy Research Institute 2000: Thailand

energy strategy and policy. URL:

http://www.teenet.chula.ac.th/plan/ph3-

estrategy.asp (Stand 10.04.2005).

6) http://www.greanpeacesoutheastasia.org/

en/pr/pr_tx/pr_tx_20040108.html (Stand

10.04.2005).

Recycle-Bank in Betrieb: Huamo School in Ban Huamo, Provinz Mahasarakham

 

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #culture #features #German #international 

‘Bangkok, Bangkok’ (Brussels)

Kunsten Festival des Arts, De Markten, Brussels

6-28 May 2005

Installation by Prapon Kumjim, with montage including images from Very Thai. A copy of Very Thai was also displayed as an exhibit on the table in the exhibition.

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05-0506 Kunsten Fest catalogue BkBk 01 05-0506 Kunsten Fest catalogue BkBk 2 05-0506 Kunsten Fest catalogue BkBk 3 05-0506 Kunsten Fest catalogue BkBk 4 05-0506 Kunsten Fest catalogue BkBk 5

FROM ASIAN ART ARCHIVE:

Bangkok Bangkok: De Markten, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts in Brussel | Asia Art Archive

‘Bangkok, Bangkok’ is an exhibition which sketches out the contours of an incomplete and imperfect city. The Asian metropolis is known as a gateway or transit zone for travellers in South East Asia, but Bangkok is rarely their end destination. Eight Thai artists brought together in Brussels are using cinema, photography and video either live or online to evoke the decline and renaissance of this international city, with humour and sarcasm. The artists will each be giving their personal vision of the many changes that have disfigured Bangkok but celebrating its chaotic charm at the same time.

Thailand began to suffer from economical turbulence since the mid 1990s. Its urban landscape changed drastically due to economic breakdown. Urban ghosts emerged and remained as incurable scars of the city. A “self-organized” city dreamed up by William Lim, a Singaporean architect, as a post-modem city, Bangkok takes its charm from its chaotic disorganisation, its accessibility to both local and overseas visitors. Rarely a destination in itself for visitors, Bangkok enjoys its status as a gateway, and a transit zone for those who want to mooch around the Southeast Asian Countries. The city lacks of completeness and perfection. We all have something to complain about, from the sewer system and the streets, to the sky train and the authority that runs it.

‘Bangkok, Bangkok’ is an attempt to introduce contemporary art by Bangkok-based artists whose work deals with this city, people, lifestyle, mentality, from various approaches. As citizens of this city, and witnesses to its fast paced growth, collapse, and revival, young artists portray their point of view towards such changes. They investigate the urban condition and lifestyles in the city and its surrounding area through photography, video and film imbued with humour, satire and critique. They also seek proximity and interaction with Brussels audiences by working with local people.

The exhibition consists of two parts: urban landscape and cultural landscape. In the section on urban landscape, images of Bangkok from the economic crisis to the present day will be represented by photography in Manit Sriwanichpoom’s Dream Interruptus and in his publication, Bangkok in Black and White. Manit, who began his career as a photojournalist, has always been interested in social and political issues at both local and international level. This series is one of his most important if obscure works, though it is overshadowed by his famous Pink Man photographic series. For its part, Vanchit Jibby Yunibandhu’s video work shows us images of the city from different viewpoints. About Bangkok that I think I know deals with her personal experience with the city whilst also embodying an attempt to re-orientate herself after the rapid changes of the last ten years. In stark contrast to Vanchits work, in ‘If there is no corruption’ Wit Pimkanchanapong creates a pseudo-Bangkok Metropolitan subway system to pour critique and satire on the existing system and its mass transport infrastructure in this megacity, as well as its urban planning, and administration. Kamol Phaosavasdi, on the other hand, explores Bangkok urban situation differently. He juxtaposes rush hour of Bangkok by using video installation with other real time ambient of his exhibition in Bangkok, ‘Here and Now’, with the recreated fluxes of unknown scripts. In his ‘techno temple’, Kamol juxtaposed the time based video of three images, turning Bangkok chaotic atmosphere into a temple.

Kornkrit Jianpinidnan, a young fashion photographer, will present a wide range of portraits of Bangkok’s younger generation, both Bangkokian and expatriates, in their most intimate moments. Kornkrit asked them to call him up when they were ready to be photographed. The idea was to capture the point of transition between the public and the private, as decided by each individual, and to highlight the sense of alienation. Prapon Kumjim will work with Brussels audiences to complete their projects, which they began in Bangkok. Prapon Kumjim is a lens-based artist who explores his nomadic experience and our media-centred society in an attempt to blur the divide between art and film. As part of his cultural interaction project, he will ask people from Brussels to take pictures of their everyday activities. Prapon will finally re-photograph and edit these as in a storyboard format. Thasnai, on the other hand, approaches the community in a different way. As an artist actively taking part in a social, anthropological and research-based project, his works explore cultural misinterpretation and its idiosyncrasy, creating an interesting dialogue between the different cities in the world and their perception of Thailand. The project in Brussels will address the idea of cultural translation and their perception of each nation/ narration from multi-cultural background.

To sum up with both part of the show, Vasan Sittikhet, a social oriented artist, and performance artist, will perform the puppet show parodying the political situation in Thailand. This project will be an interesting metaphor for audience, to rethink about what’s really going on behind the land of smiles.

 

Curator: Grithiya Gaweewong

Artists: Manit SRIWANICHPOOM(มานิต ศรีวานิชภูมิ)Wit PIMKANCHANAPONG(วิชญ์ พิมพ์กาญจนพงศ์)Jibby YUNIBANDHU,Kornkrit JIANPINIDNAN(กรกฤช เจียรพินิจนันท์)Prapon KUMJIM(ประพล คำจิ่ม)Thasnai SETHASEREEGridthiya GAWEEWONG(กฤติยา กาวีวงศ์)

 

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #art #Bangkok #culture #events #exhibitions #international 

‘Bangkok, Bangkok’ (Barcelona)

La Capella Gallery, Barcelona

Installation by Prapon Kumjim, with montage including images from Very Thai. A copy of Very Thai was also displayed as an exhibit on the table in the exhibition.

8 Feb – 10 April 2005

Opening: 8 Feb 2004, 7pm (Barcelona time)
- with AboutTV live! from Barcelona under sub-channel: Bangkok, Bangkok at La Capella, Barcelona 


Watch the interview with participating artists and curator in archived section. More information will be added during the whole month of February. 

The project is part of a cultural exchange program between Bangkok and Barcelona.

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FROM ASIAN ART ARCHIVE:

 

Bangkok, Bangkok | Asia Art Archive

Bangkok, Bangkok is an exhibition of contemporary art and films by Bangkok-based artists. It is the first chapter inRoundabout Encounter, an exchange program between Bangkok and Barcelona, initiated by Marti Peran, the program director for this project on behalf of the city of Barcelona, in collaboration with Rirkrit Tiravanija, a renowned New-York based Thai artist. The initiative resulted in many layers of networking in both local and international contexts. The present catalogue includes artist biographies.

Curators: Klaomard Yipintsoi, Grithiya Gaweewong, Marti Peran

A Tale of Two Cities: Bangkom & Barcelona – Klaomard YIPINTSOI

Idea of Barcelona… With Art in the Background – Marti PERAN

Bangkok, Bangkok – Gridthiya GAWEEWONG(กฤติยา กาวีวงศ์)

Artists: Manit SRIWANICHPOOM(มานิต ศรีวานิชภูมิ)Wit PIMKANCHANAPONG(วิชญ์ พิมพ์กาญจนพงศ์)Jibby YUNIBANDHU,Kornkrit JIANPINIDNAN(กรกฤช เจียรพินิจนันท์)Prapon KUMJIM(ประพล คำจิ่ม)Thasnai SETHASEREEGridthiya GAWEEWONG(กฤติยา กาวีวงศ์)

Images from Very Thai used in the isntallation by Prapon Kumjim. A copyt of Very Thai displayed as an exhibit on the table in the exhibition.

Posted in: Events,

Tags: #art #Bangkok #culture #events #exhibitions #international 

Asian Wall Street Journal (review)

Pop Goes Thai Culture

Two Odes to the Unsung Aspects of the `Land of Smiles’

By Jennifer Gampell, in Personal Journal

VT AWSJ article B 2863 crop
BANGKOK — What gives Thailand its groove–and will continue to do so despite the recent tsunami devastation–is never obvious from the photos of glittery temples and palm-treed beaches endemic to tourist brochures and coffee-table books. Nor does the sleazy bargirl lens through which the expatriate hack novelists perceive the country reflect a true image. Between these two mythic extremes lie all the fascinating quirks of everyday Thai life; the disparate yet omnipresent phenomena like street vendors, beauty pageants and 7-11 stores that are virtually invisible to guidebook writers. (more…)

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #international #newspaper #reviews 

City Life

Tom Yum! Hot Pot

Stirring Up Bangkok’s most flavourful
events/spots for January 2005

By Stirling Silliphant & Chris Otchy

VT City Life 05-0101a VT City Life 05-0101b

RIO GRANDE 
Brazilian madness erupts on Feb 26, when the Carnival from Rio de Janeiro pitches up at Shera1 Jan 2005
ton Grande Sukhumvit. Eat, drink, and be Latin with the self-professed “happiest Brazilian group in Asia!” After cocktails and a buffet dinner, samba dancers jiggle for the crowd, paying homage to four of the main Samba styles from Rio. A night of overindulgence in food and drunken gyrations to make the Romans proud…

Carnival from Rio de Janeiro Feb 26 at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 6.30pm-1am. B2000/person. Contact Ana Lasavanich (09-812 0899, lasavanich@hotmail.com)

 (more…)

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #book #culture #Lanna #reviews #Thailand #tourism