Last night (Thailand time), its capital city, Bangkok, has been struck by a deadly blast near one of its famous shrines, the Erawan shrine, in the centre of the city. 22 casualties have been reported, with the Thai Defense Minister claiming that the attack was targeted at foreigners, towards hurting the tourism industry. At the same time, the Royal Thai Army chief and deputy defence minister General Udomdej Sitabutr claimed that the attack did not match the hallmarks of the southern separatist insurgents. Bangkok has been the centrestage of political disturbances in recent years, but this has been seen to be the deadliest attack it's suffered in years, posing a challenge to the military-led administration.
Removing Fish From a Surreal Abandoned Shopping Mall. Thousands of carp, tilapia and catfish will be relocated to less absurd settings by Bangkok officials.
While on ISS, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured and tweeted a picture that captured night time picture of the Gulf of Thailand, including a vast area of green lights, distinct from the white, yellow and orange lights of adjacent cities. Reid wrote "Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea… " but others did know: it was many fishing boats with green fishing light attractors. [more inside]
There's a new trend in Bangkok where males have embraced what they believe to be Mexican gangster culture, by emulating what they see on television and YouTube.
Three random walks through eastern food markets: One in Bangkok, one in Taiwan and one in Delhi. [more inside]
Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
Bangkok is facing the worst floods it has seen in over 50 years. This nice little animated video helps you make sense of the overall situation and the possible impact (Thai audio, English subtitles)
It is 2007, and R.P. Salazar is living in Waco, Texas. His email username is rpsalazar. One day an email arrives addressed to another rpsalazar, meant for someone with the same initials and surname but a slightly different email address. He sends it along to the right person, an R.P. Salazar living in Bangkok. Before clicking Send he adds a p.s.: "How's the weather in Bangkok?" Before the end of 2007, Ruben Salazar and Rachel Salazar are married. Storycorps and NPR report the whole story. (The text is good, but the audio is even better. Click "Listen to the Story.")
Bangkok is on fire. A good collection of links on the conflict with many on-the-ground reports (may not work well in Firefox). Video of the assault on the red shirt encampment. Now the violence is spreading beyond the capital into the northern and northeastern provinces. Is Thailand heading for civil war?
Set up by Hasidic Jews as Community Centres, there are 3000+ Chabad Houses around the globe. The recent terror attack at the Centre in Mumbai took the lives of 9 people, including a Rabbi and his wife. The rescue (YT) was not without contention. You may also remember this Bangkok Rabbi from his interview in 1 Giant Leap.
Bangkok is under a state of emergency this week as approximately 300,000 anti-government protestors have seized control of government buildings. Thai PM Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency last Tuesday and resists calls for his resignation, offering instead a referendum, as the street fighting continues. Many are worried these protests will hurt Thailand's tourist industry, which makes up 6.5% of its GDP. While some express concern about mob rule, the motivations behind the protests are many: "All we are getting in Thailand is the same vicious circle of corrupt, power-hungry leaders. This system is not working."
If you've ever been to Bangkok you might've run into one of them and not even known it. They are a ubiquitous fixture on the bar scene and can be found in the Nana Plaza area. If you're asking yourself the same question that I was then this maybe your answer. Although they enjoy a certain amount of acceptance, they still have a long way to go to be recognized as full citizens with equal rights. Of course, this hasn't stopped them from staking their claim to the spotlight, and trying to become as much of the mainstream as they can. But, if you thought that they were pushovers, well then, think again. [previously mentioned here]
Elephant Polo. Alf Leif Erickson is the Captain of the American Screw Tuskers Elephant Polo team . Alf is a retired attorney and former law professor from Florida. This alone doesn't make much of a post, but, you guessed it, there more, sometimes NSFW, inside..... [more inside]
Bangkok artist Chris Coles has been called Thailand's Toulouse Lautrec. His neon colored potraits capture Bangkok's underside in a way that cuts right to the center of it's seamy heart. He even catches the city's dogs. The Bangkok Noir movement includes not only painting but literature also.
Seven bombs rock Bangkok as the New Year's countdown begins. At least two are dead. Is it related to the recent coup? Some photos here.
Coupfilter: State of emergency declared in Thailand after troops move in. According to Reuters the army are now 'in control'.
Two girls, three wheels, 10,000 miles travelled: their epic overland adventure from Bangkok to Brighton comes to a successful end. Previously discussed here. The two girls (women, really) and their pink tuk tuk arrived home in Brighton on September 3rd. Many were skeptical that they would be able to make it; at least one poster seemed to be putting down a monetary wager against their success. Perhaps now is the time to stand by that bet and donate some money to the charity they are raising money for? People interested in the details of their journey should check out their blog; more than just a log of their daily activities, they add some interesting details regarding the culture and history of some of the places they visited. They aren't the first to have made a ridiculously long journey in a tuk tuk; a german couple drove around Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe last year (although there were apparently some ferries involved). Tuk tuk appreciation appears to be wide-spread in England; a "motorised rickshaw service" recently started up with compressed natural gas vehicles.
Two girls, three wheels, 10,000 miles: an epic overland adventure from Bangkok to Brighton. Two women are about to embark on a very long and very uncomfortable voyage: driving a "tuk tuk" from Thailand to Britain to raise £50,000 for the mental health charity Mind.
One of Thailand's most revered shrines destroyed. Bangkok's most popular religious site -- the shrine to the four-headed Hindu god Brahma at the Erawan corner (ศาลพระพรหม) -- was smashed to pieces early Tuesday by a hammer-wielding mentally-ill Thai Muslim man. In the context of Thailand's current political instability, the disaster is seen by many in this deeply spiritual country as a terrible omen.
Ron Morris' 2bangkok.com (and related sites) is the news from Bangkok covered like nowhere else. It has a beautiful, strange, odd and interesting collection of photographs from Bangkok, his story of Black May, translations of Thai language newspaper stories, news on the latest infrastructure projects (like the Mega Bridge or the world's highest open air restaurant) . Plus photos from the latest events, like the King's birthday, or old time, like the trams from the 1960s.
As the world meets in Bangkok to discuss responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic (wow, even Richard Gere thinks it's important!), these very effective public service ads (1, 2, 3 all .mpg files) from the Stephen Lewis Foundation bring the epidemic down (or up) to an emotional level.
Thailand launches national "Bust-Boosting" campaign - "In an almost surreal scene, rows of women in shorts and T-shirts massaged and squeezed their breasts in front of the crowd of officials, media and onlookers on a busy Bangkok street....The health ministry said the idea was to show Thai women that there was another, more natural way, of boosting their breast size than plastic surgery. ...Cosmetic surgery is an extremely popular and lucrative business in Thailand....Bangkok is renowned for its inexpensive, but not always reliable, plastic surgeons." (via BBC) Here's a history of the slogan "We must, we must, we must increase our bust"
Kat's Window on Thailand Kat's slice-of-life articles on what it is really like to live in Thailand. (Kat writes her weekly column for the Bangkok Post.)
Thai company employs Spider-man to deliver cooking gas. Marvel sez: "use monkey suits because monkeys don't have intellectual property rights." 'Nuff Said?