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 

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 

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 

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 

Very Thai, Very Volatile

20 Years of Change in Popular Culture

Illustrated talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith,
author of Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture

at Bar Luna, below Casa Luna, Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud, Bali +62-361-971 605

29 September, 7.30pm-9pm, free entry

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 10.50.20 PM

Bangkok-based British writer Philip Cornwel-Smith will give an illustrated talk about the dramatic transformations in Thailand he has witnessed as author/editor of Bangkok Metro magazine, Time Out Bangkok guidebook, and the influential bestselling book Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture (www.verythai.com). Instead of the sensational oriental clichés, he views Thai ways through the lens of its hybrid pop, social tensions and quirky urban culture. There’ll be time at the end to discuss how Thailand’s transformation compares to Bali.

Recent upheavals in Thailand have brought world attention to new stories as ordinary people express themselves and as Bangkok went chic and became the most visited city on the planet. The tropical rural idyll has urbanized and globalised, and taboo things gone mainstream, from yaa dong tonic whisky to magical tattoos. Yet everyday life in Thailand continues to beguile with its wacky hybrids, sense of fun, and unexpected quirks.

A resident of 20-years, Philip Cornwel-Smith has had an insider vantage point to see these changes. His book Very Thai, now in an updated and expanded 2nd edition, has become to the go-to reference and style guide on Thai popular culture.

Very Thai is published by River Books. Copies will be on sale, which Philip can sign.

verythai.com has full details and streams social media by followers of the book using #verythai on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

Philip can be contacted via verythai.com , phone +62-821-4444 2022

barluna-Banner_coffee

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Events, Uncategorized,

Tags: #events #Indonesia #international #talks #Thailand 

Very Thai talk in Bali

Philip Cornwel-Smith to speak in fringe event around Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2014

Ubud writer fest 2014

The author of Very Thai will talk about the book and the current situation of Thai popular culture in Bar Luna at Casa Luna, Jalan Raya Ubud, in the cultural centre of Ubud on the Indonesian island of Bali. The talk will be on September 29 at 7.30pm and copies of Very Thai will be available for sale and signature. The talk is behind held by the organisers of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which starts a few days later on Oct 1-5.

For festival details see http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #book #events #Indonesia #international #talks 

Very Thai given by TCDC to speakers at Creativities Unfold 2014 symposium

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Nine top design gurus receive the book as a welcome gift by TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Centre) at the 2014 edition of its Annual Symposium Creativities Unfold on 30-31 August 2014. The speakers were:

Patricia Moore (Moore Design Associates),
Koichiro Tanaka (Uniqlo’s global digital campaign creative),
Jan Chipchase (Studio Radio Durans),
Jinhyun Jeon (senses design expert),
Daan Roosegaarde (Studio Roosegaarde),
Edward Barber (Barber Ogersby, designers of 2012 Olympic torch),
Koert van Mensvoort (Next Nature Network),
Krating Poonpol (Disrupt University),
Patrick Waterhouse (editor, Colors magazine)

“Out of all the conferences I’ve been to over 15 years this is the best, most useful welcome gift I’ve received,” remarked Jan Chipchase, who endorsed the book as “A must-read for any trend or research agency that wants their team to better understand Thailand.”

Very Thai has also been presented by TCDC to speakers at some earlier Creativities Unfolds symposiums.

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #Bangkok #design #endorsements #events #international 

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 

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 

Good Reads

Good Reads: Very Thai thread

 

www.goodreads.com/book/show/951616.Very_Thai

 

Michelle on Jul 26, 2011

rated it 4 of 5 stars

A far cry from most travel books’ “formal” culture debriefing, this book will show you what you will likely actually see and do in Thailand – through the pop and street culture. It had me ahh-ing in understanding at times and giggling madly at others (especially the section on those ridiculously flimsy tissue napkins that we Westerners seem to need 10 of to wipe the green curry off our faces…)

 

Kevin on Apr 23, 2013

rated it 5 of 5 stars

A friend marched me over to Asia Books after eating lunch one day at SUDA on Sukhumvit 14. He told me I must read it. More than that he said, I must buy it. I did. I am glad I did. I now know what a Garuda is, among other things. And just like that yellow sports car I once owned, I see them everywhere. Great pop culture education for anyone visiting or living in Thailand. Perfect for the coffee table as you will want to re-read it from time to time. Philip Cornwel-Smith should be listed as a Thai national treasure by the Thailand Ministry of Culture. Don’t look for that to happen anytime soon, but look for VERY THAI in your your local bookshop if, for some reason, you are living in Thailand or have an interest in Thailand and don’t own it already.

 

Somporn Karam on Oct 09, 2013

rated it 5 of 5 stars

It kind of Postmodern guide book that you should read before making your journey to Thailand! It’s about everyday Thai pop and streetlife stories with the fresh perspective. This book is now fully updated and expanded into a new 2nd Edition.

 

Sarah on Aug 01, 2009

rated it 5 of 5 stars

Quite simply the best book you’ll ever read about Thailand. It clears up the mystery surrounding almost every quirk of Thai contemporary culture – why are the napkins always pink, the water pipes blue and why yellow is always worn on Mondays. And explains the main complicated superstitions and beliefs from spirit houses to amulets. There’s also the quirks that ex-pats come to love – motorbike taxis and drinks in bags. All with lush brightly coloured photography. You can live in Thailand for years and never know the truth behind many of these oddities of daily life – especially as ask a Thai person and you’ll get a vague answer as it’s difficult for them to answer the question ‘Why?’

 

Alexis on Dec 13, 2011

rated it 5 of 5 stars

coffee table-ish book with informative stuff about Thai pop culture. I actually really liked this book and it made me sort of home-sick for Thailand.

 

Robert Oct 14, 2009

rated it 3 of 5 stars

A great post-trip read, this one explains a number of interesting cultural things we observed.

 

Johan De Herdt on Sep 09, 2010

rated it 5 of 5 stars

Read it during my first months in Bangkok. It clarified a lot.

 

Jason Sikora on Jun 04, 2008

rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone interested in Thailand

A fantastic and original look into the real and current culture of a wonderful country. This is not your average look at traditional Thai culture, but rather a series of top-notch articles looking at the many curious aspects of Thailand one notices while there. It really answers the questions many visitors have. It makes for a very enjoyable read.

 

Megan on May 29, 2011

rated it 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely amazing book about Thai street and pop culture. Worth every penny.

 

Sarah Hughes on Oct 17, 2009

rated it 5 of 5 stars

you absolutely must have this book if you’re ever planning to visit Thailand

 

rated it 5 of 5 stars
We are planning a trip to Thailand and this book seemed like a good way to learn some useful things before we go. It is usually the popular culture in non-Western countries that is most puzzling when you visit, and this book seems to cover most aspects of Thai everyday life and ways. It is too bulky to take with us, but has beautiful full-color pictures, and I have the feeling will be a good reference source and souvenir when we return.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #book #international #reviews 

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 

Amazon.co.uk

2nd edition reviews

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Very-Thai-Everyday-Popular-Culture/dp/6167339376/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385709898&sr=8-1&keywords=VERY+THAI

 

informative and pretty

By Doc B on 6 Aug 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It gave bite sized cultural insights that really enhanced my trip. I have advised many friends to get it for their trips as I don’t want to lend and lose my copy!

 

Very Thai Everyday Popular Culture… book

By mauza on 9 April 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars

Having been to Thailand a couple of times I saw this book when leaving Thai international Airport but didn’t purchase it at the time. It is the best honest factual book on Thai culture I have ever seen. Do recommend it for a memento or as a insight to travelling there…

 

1st edition review

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Very-Thai-Everyday-Popular-Culture/dp/9749863003/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1385722479&sr=8-4&keywords=VERY+THAI+hardcover

 

Amazing book full of photos with great written insights

By N. Reith on 30 Dec 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars

I’m a student of Thai Studies and language at Leeds University, and have lived in Thailand previously for over 4 years as an English teacher, backpacker and a student.

If you have ever been in Thailand for a length of time and fallen in love with the country, like myself, then this book is perfect for you. The authors have lived and worked in Thailand for very long periods of time and have great insights into the nuances of Thai culture, from ladyboys to folded napkins, sniff kisses to Buddha amulets, the authors have compiled beautiful pictures with insightful writings.

Great for learning about Thai culture and bringing back great memories. The only negative is the price, however it is hardback, with beautifully printed pages full of photos.

If you’ve never been to Thailand, and you are thinking of buying this book, it will give you a much broader knowledge of Thai culture than many guide books provide, thus setting you up for your trip to Thailand with a greater idea about how Thais live and act, and why.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #book #international #reviews #website 

A Woman Learning Thai… and some men too ;-)

Very Thai Photo Exhibition: Bangkok

By  • October 1, 2012

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as PDF: A Woman Learning Thai… and some men too ;-)Very Thai Photo Exhibition: Bangkok | Women Learn Thai

http://womenlearnthai.com/index.php/very-thai-photo-exhibition-bangkok/#ixzz362CEpoTn

Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture…

As a tourist to Thailand I enjoyed experiencing a country so very different from where I was living at the time, Brunei Darussalam. Being able to buy booze without leaving the country was also an attraction.

But when I finally moved to Thailand I switched from a carefree tourist mindset to expat mode. The country around me, previously a kaleidyscope of sounds, smells, and clashing colours, started to come into focus.

Along with the focus came questions. Like, why do Thai taxis have those dangly bits hanging from their mirrors? And why do beggars crawl face first along the sidewalk? And why are Thai police uniforms so darn tight?

When I asked other expats their answer was always the illuminating (not) “I dunno”. Being me, I needed more, so I started my own search into the why’s of Thailand. Hit and miss, the answers to a few Thai quirks are discussed in posts on WLT.

Then I found Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture, by Philip Cornwel-Smith. Very Thai answered many of my “why” questions, and some I hadn’t thought of yet. And now I hear there’s a Very Bangkok in the works. Excellent!

These days, when a new expat breezes into Thailand, I don’t arrive at their housewarming party with the obligatory bottle of wine and chocolates. I gift them with a copy of Very Thai instead.

Very Thai Photo Exhibition…

On Sunday I jumped into a taxi to view the Very Thai Exhibition in front of ZEN in Bangkok.

You really can’t miss it as the presentation is well placed.

It’s a small exhibition with larger than life-sized photos from Very Thai.

I wasn’t the only one curious, a stream of viewers kept popping in front of my camera.

Many found it easy to walk along the exhibition slowly, savoring the eyecandy as they went.

This photo was my favourite eyecandy of all.

While there it came to me that the photos from the exhibition would be the perfect backdrop for smartphone snappers in Thailand. Because, except for in grocery stores (where it’s off-limits to take photos of veggies) you’ll find people posing in front of just about anything. And I still don’t know why that is.

To get all the lastest news about Very Bangkok and Very Thai, follow Philip on Facebook at VeryThaiBook or on twitter @verybangkok, or bookmark his website: Very Thai.

Sidenote: the editor of Very Thai is Alex Kerr. You might remember the review I wrote of Alex’s excellent Bangkok Found awhile back. And seriously, if you want to know more about Thailand, you couldn’t go wrong with both Very Thai and Bangkok Found on your bookshelf.

 

10 Responses to “ Very Thai Photo Exhibition: Bangkok ”

  1. Disclaimer: The last photo has been doctored. The lovely Thai lass generously posed in front of a different set of photos but I felt driven to move her back a bit (all the way to the beginning of the exhibition).

  2. Danyelle Franciosa Oct 2nd, 2012 at 6:29 am

    That was extremely beautiful and great photo exhibition in Bangkok. The place are great and good for relaxation. Thanks a lot for sharing this!

  3. Thanks for stopping by Danyelle 🙂 The exhibitions is so colourful and fun, I’m expecting to see photos on FB with different people posing in front of the posters.

  4. Love that exhibition! I have not yet read the book, though I really REALLY would love to get my hands on a copy. I plan to buy one when we visit again.
    Another book with great photos is Bangkok Inside Out by Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharett, but I think it is out of print. It caused a stir with Thailand’s Ministry of Culture with the photos of some of the sex workers in the red-light district.
    Amy recently posted…Modifying food choices even furtherMy Profile

  5. Hi Amy. It if you enjoyed Bangkok Inside Out, you are going to be blown away by Very Thai. Philip has a passion for hunting down the tiny details of the popular culture and history of Thailand and it shows in the book. You can get Very Thai on amazon.com but if that’s what’ll take you to get back here, even for a visit, then I’m all for it 🙂
    Catherine recently posted…Thai Navy Dances Gangnam Style: Youtube SensationsMy Profile

  6. Catherine – Thailand has many strange ways and many unanswered questions including the one shown in your bottom photo. Why do Thai women make the Thai two finger salute when posing for photos and what does it mean? I tried to answer that one myself a couple of years back and came to the conclusion it dated back to Siam’s war with Burma in 1767 and their(Siam’s) soldiers index and middle fingers used to draw a bow. If taken prisoner the Burmese would cut them off. However, right or wrong there’s still many answers to Thais strange quirks I’d like to know.

    Nice post.
    Martyn recently posted…The Sea Side 2 Restaurant in Udon ThaniMy Profile

  7. Thanks Martyn. I remember when you wrote the article about the two fingered salute. When I went to Burma early this year I took a photo of a Burmese girl who gave the same. As soon as I pointed my camera at her, just like the gal in the photo above, she whipped out those two fingers. So perhaps it’s doesn’t have anything to do with Burma vrs Thailand? Or… it could be that she knows nothing of the history behind the finger salute. An unsolved mystery.

  8. Catherine – Perhaps the Burmese archers made the same sign back to the Siamese. Here’s the link to the post;

    http://www.thaisabai.org/2009/09/the-thai-two-finger-salute/
    Martyn recently posted…The Sea Side 2 Restaurant in Udon ThaniMy Profile

  9. Martyn, that could be it. Back then armies fought mostly close together (unlike now). So both sides taunting each other makes sense. I need to reread Very Thai to see if there was a mention anywhere (it’s been years).
    Catherine Wentworth recently posted…Review: Language Learning LogMy Profile

  10. I bought this book as a present for my parents on my first stay in Thailand. Disappointingly, they never gave it more than a cursory look. Such a shame as I think it still holds up as one of the best insights into Thai culture available in printed form. Your idea of using it as a housewarming gift, Cat, is a magnificent one too. Here’s hoping Very Bangkok is out by the time I make my next trip!

    Also if anyone’s still reading this thread, Alex Kerr is the author of a couple of excellent books on Japanese culture (Lost Japan is one, the other slips my mind just now (maybe it’s called Dogs and Demons… not sure). Highly recommended if Japanese culture interests you.

Posted in: Blog, Events, Reviews,

Tags: #Bangkok #blogs #book #events #exhibitions #international #reviews #Thailand 

Globetrotting Gourmet

Review by Robert Carmack

http://globetrottinggourmet.com/books/all.htm

This is an insightful look into one of our favorite destinations. Brand new and profusely illustrated, its written by Philip Cornwel-Smith, an English expat with many years’ residence in this Kingdom of Smiles. Indeed, Very Thai is so good, it’s already heading into translation. Highly recommended.

– Robert Carmack, Globetrotting Gourmet, author of Thai Cooking & The Burma Cookbook

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #international #reviews #tourism 

Footprint guide to Thailand

VT Footprint review

“Brilliant excavation of the intricacies of Thai popular culture rendered in a chatty, down to earth style. Some nice photography as well.”

— Andrew Spooner

Posted in: Reviews,

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

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.

 

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

The Independent (feature)

Bangkok: Real Thai tranquillity

Escape the heat and noise of Bangkok with a trip around the city’s green hideaways, says Andrew Spooner

 

It’s early on a bright tropical Thai Sunday morning and I‘m standing at what many Thais consider to be the centre of Bangkok: Victory Monument. It is here – where a dramatic single-pronged monument rises out of the swirling cacophony of buses, tuk-tuks, mini-vans, noodle stalls and thousands of rushing Thais – that Bangkok reaches its fierce crescendo.

Even during the so-called winter season – which runs from now until March, with temperatures averaging 26C – Bangkok’s sensory overload of noise, rush and heat can be unbearable. Burning concrete, brain-melting humidity and the constant fumes of traffic coagulate into one long exhausting throb. So what do visitors do when the Thai capital overwhelms? Most take the easy way out, get back to their hotel rooms and switch on the air conditioning. (more…)

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #Bangkok #features #international #interviews 

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 

Travel Canada

Books

2009

http://www2.canada.com/topics/travel/guides/lp.html?destination=thailand&category=books

Very Thai: Everyday Thai Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith

A fun, informative book with eye-catching photographs by John Goss. Makes a great souvenir.

 

Posted in: Reviews,

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

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

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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 

National Geographic Traveller

Places of a Lifetime

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/places-of-a-lifetime/bangkok-books.html

A must-have for anyone interested in scratching beneath the surface of modern Thai culture and its origins. For almost every question about modern Bangkok, the answer is here.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #book #international #magazine #reviews #tourism 

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 

Vagabonding

The Trouble With ‘Smile When You’re Lying’

thread post by Caron Dann

16 Jan 2008

To find out about Thai popular culture, read Very Thai by long-time expatriate Bangkok resident Philip Cornwel-Smith.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

Live Arts Bangkok

Wayang Buku

Performance by Fahmi Fadzil using Very Thai as one of his book puppets.

Held at MR Kukrit Pramoj House, Bangkok. Curated by Tang Fu Kuen.

Fahmi Fadzil performs Wayang Buku at LIB

Fahmi Fadzil performs Wayang Buku at LIB

07-0818-Live arts Bkk DSC02912

 

Azmyl Yunor and Fahmi Fadzil developed Wayang Buku in 2006 as a means to investigate the performance and performativity of books.

Each book represents a character in a version of traditional Malay puppet theatre, in a performance that works on multiple levels. Each static book cover represents one of the static images of a shadow puppet character from a classical epic like the Ramayana or Mahabharata. Then the interaction of the covers-as-characters provides another layer of interpretation onto the traditional story. Like a traditional dalang puppet-master, Fahmi both narrates the story and voices the characters as he manipulates the books so that their covers resemble the moving shadow puppets. The book covers are not shown in shadow, but visible to the audience in the same way as shadow puppets are often performed in front of a screen so that their coloured decoration is visible to the audience.

Fahmi chose Very Thai to represent the Tree of Life character, what the Thais call Kalapapruek, due to the multiple images in its cover design.

The production was staged by the curator/dramaturg Tang Fu Kuen in the sala pavilion built by the late author, performer and statesman MR Kukrit Pramoj in his home for the staging of khon masked dance of the Ramayana epic – a suitable location of this reinterpretation of traditional Southeast Asian performance.

Posted in: Blog, Events,

Tags: #Bangkok #events #international #Malaysia #Performance #tradition 

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 

Flickr

Hartfried Schmid

Very Thai cover photographed

Taken on September 7, 2006

VT Hartfired Schmid on Flickr 2014-06-28

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

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

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

i am saved by the buoyancy of citrus

literary thievery

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

by Raych, 19 July 2006

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

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

Thanks, Philip Cornwel-Smith.

 

1 comment:

Nater said…

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

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #book #international #reviews 

Jeffrey Miller

Books on Thailand — Very Thai

By Jeffrey Miller on July 16, 2006

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

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

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

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

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

Lonely Planet Italia

Bangkok: Informazioni

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

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

Posted in: Reviews, Uncategorized,

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

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 

Conde Nast Traveller

Thai High

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

By Jamie James

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

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

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

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #features #international #magazine #Thailand #tourism 

Mark Joachim

A Book Recommendation

13 Jan 2006

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

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

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

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

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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

The Independent (review)

Pick of the Picture Books: Very Thai

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

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #book #international #newspaper #reviews 

Historical Dictionary of Thailand

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

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

Posted in: Reviews,

Tags: #book #international #reviews #website 

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 

Fodors

Fodors Forums: Very Thai

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=27&tid=34669559

By tanuki

29 Aug 2005

A wonderful book is “Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture,” by Philip Cornwel-Smith and with 500 photographs by John Goss. I picked up a copy in the gift shop of the National Museum in Bangkok, but it is available on Amazon.com. The pictures are incredibly evocative, and there are essays on everything from vendors to transportation to soi animals to alphabet tables to fortune tellers to monk baskets to soap operas to temple fairs. Rough Guide says “Answers and insights aplenty in this erudite, sumptuously photographed guide to contemporary Thai culture.” The book is a manageable size.

 

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

Tags: #blogs #guidebooks #international #reviews #tourism 

‘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 

GayThailand.de

Buchtipps

Ein Muss für alle Thailand-Fans: Der grandiose Foto/Text-Band “Very Thai” widmet sich der Alltagskultur im Land des Lächelns

By Christian Scheuß

Was ist typisch Deutsch? Als Deutscher muss man da wahrscheinlich länger überlegen, weil das Typische so alltäglich um einen herum steht und stattfindet, dass man es für nicht mehr besonders erwähnenswert hält. Würde man einen Thailänder, der hier zu Besuch ist, dasselbe fragen, würde er sicher auf ganz viele Dinge zeigen.
In einen fremden Kulturkreis einzutauchen, heißt den Blick zu weiten. Der Autor Philip Cornwel-Smith und der Fotograf John Goss – beide Amerikaner – haben diesen Blick bei ihren ersten Besuchen in Thailand gehabt und nun das aus ihrer Sicht besonders Thailändische in Wort und Bild festgehalten. Herausgekommen ist ein buntes wie grandioses Kaleidoskop des Alltags im Land des Lächelns. (more…)

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Tags: #book #gay #German #international #reviews #website 

‘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 

The Irrawaddy

What Makes Thais Tick?

Cornwel-Smith provides some entertaining insights

By Bertil Lintner

A crash course in cultural orientation is the first introduction to Thailand that American Peace Corps volunteers get when they arrive in the kingdom. High-society ladies of noble standing teach them that Thai girls are very shy and conservative.
They spend their entire adolescence cooking food, cleaning their houses, and, for relaxation, painting umbrellas. Every young woman is a virgin until she gets married to a hardworking man, who is deeply devoted to traditional Asian family values. The reality confronting the young Americans when they arrive in a small village in the Northeast, therefore, comes as a shock. Half the teenage girls are either single mothers or pregnant, and their boyfriends have escaped their responsibilities and fled to Bangkok. Every married adult, man or woman, seems to be having an affair with somebody else. Family relations in rural Thailand can, in fact, be even more confused and bewildering than in America’s inner cities.

(more…)

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Tags: #book #international #magazine #reviews 

Svenska Dagbladet

New book about Thailand behind the façade

by Bertil Lintner

VT SvenskaDag 002 copy

Superficially, Thailand may appear more Westernised than most other countries in Asia. Jeans, T-shirts, Coca-Cola and hamburger joints belong to the youth culture here, like English football and American pop music. But there’s something very Thai behind the façade not only in the indigenous culture but also in the way in which the Thais absorb outside influences. All those phenomena are explained splendidly in a new book, Very Thai: Everyday Popular Thai Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith, a Bangkok-based English journalist. Beauty contests, astrology, taxi altars, belief in ghosts and spirits are all put in their proper context in this very readable book.

Svenska Dagbladet is a Swedish newspaper

Bertil Lintner 
is the author of Blood Brothers: Crime, Business and Politics in Asia;Burma in Revolt; Great Leader, Dear Leader: Demystifying North Korea Under the Kim Clan

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Tags: #book #international #newspaper 

Time Magazine (Asia)

The Thais That Bind

A new, encyclopedic book relishes Thailand’s embrace of all things un-Thai

By Andrew RC Marshall (Pullitzer-Prize winning journalist and author of The Trouser People)

VTW Time article 7842The publication of Very Thai, a unique guide to Thai pop and folk culture, coincides with the country’s biggest debate about national identity in more than half a century. In the World War II era, the military Phibunsongkhram regime rallied under the slogan “Thailand for the Thais.” Today, the country seems mesmerized again by nationalism. Schools and colleges have been ordered by the Ministry of Education to display the flag more prominently and play the national anthem at a higher volume.
(more…)

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The Australian

Bangkok inside out

Andrew RC Marshall shares his 10 top tips for an intimate view of Thailand’s city of angels

 

VT Australian 001 crop VT Australian 002 copy

ALL THE ANSWERS: Why do Thai truck drivers hang pictures of Al Pacino on their mud flaps? Where did the fume-belching tuk-tuk originate? What exactly is a sniff kiss? And why are Thais such terrible drivers? You’ll find the answers and much more in Very Thai (River Books, 2004) by long-time Bangkok resident Philip Cornwel-Smith. An absorbing guide to popular culture, Very Thai shines a loving light on the minutiae of everyday life. A chapter on names explains that Thais are often called Frog, Pig or Ant to confuse evil spirits, or choose memorable nicknames such as Man-U, Nokia, and even God. The book is equally fun and authoritative on subjects as diverse as bulletproof tattoos, high-society hairdos, beetle fighting, folk music, soap operas and the all-consuming Thai concept of sanuk – fun.

 

Andrew RC Marshall is a Pullitzer Prize-winning journalist for  Reuters, who previously wrote for Time and is the author of The Trouser People.

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‘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.

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

Travel Indochina

Recommended Reading

http://www.travelindochina.co.uk/NewsFeature.asp?NewsFeatureID=46

Jan 2005

 

This fantastic read delves behind the façade of Thai culture and explains why the Thais do what they do, say what they say, watch what they watch, and are who they are. And Very Thai does so in such an engaging fashion that it is hard to put down. Well researched and accompanied by 500 quirky photos, Very Thai is an essential for anyone navigating Thai life. Whether you are curious about the origins of the tuk-tuk, the bouffants preferred by those in the social pages, ladyboy culture or the thousands of superstitions observed in the Land of Smiles, Very Thai will give you the answer, along with several laughs and poignant insight.

 

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

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…)

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FCCT Dateline Bangkok

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand magazine

Books Section: Very Thai

By Vaudine England

VT FCCT dateline_4th_2004 cover VT FCCT dateline_4th_2004 review

Perhaps the publishing sensation of 2004, this book promises, and delivers, a fascinating exploration of Everyday Popular Culture in Thailand. Written by Philip Cornwel- Smith, and photographed by John Goss, this book is a revelation of all those things we thought we’d never understand.
The launch of the book, published by River Books, was just as imaginative and fun as the book. It was held at the Jim Thompson House, where the forecourt was covered in classic Thai street food stalls. Guests were treated to drinks in plastic bags with straws (yes, even the beer and the wine). Author Cornwel-Smith set the tone by wearing a bright orange motorbike taxi man’s jacket. And Miss Jumbo Queen was there to add to the fun.
Once readers delve into the book, they will find a cornucopia of delights. Ever wondered why Thai restaurants offer such tiny, pink paper napkins? The answer is here. Ever puzzled over why the Lady-Boy phenomenon seems so Very Thai? Then read on. (more…)

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Tags: #Bangkok #international #magazine #reviews #Thailand 

Rough Guide to Thailand

Books: Culture & Society

By Lucy Ridout

“Why do Thais decant their soft drinks into plastic bags, and what lies behind their penchant for Neoclassical architecture? Answers and insights aplenty in this erudite, sumptuously photographed guide to contemporary Thai culture.”

Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

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