Southeast Asia Weird

17 05 2017


In just about the least horrifying news out of Indonesia this week (scroll up) , the decomposing body of a “sea monster” washed up on one of its beaches. It is, most likely, the carcass of a whale.


Meanwhile Bangkok experienced a new food fad, with a bakery in Pathum Thani gaining online fame for this adorable/creepy dog-shaped coconut puddings. Can’t wait to eat on of these puppies…literally.


And finally in Singapore, a new “vending machine” for luxury cars opened in the form of an arrestingly designed showroom where with the flick of a switch you can “select” the car you want to test.

Cultural centre: Bangkok to Sao Paulo

6 05 2017


Thailand’s Creative and Design Centre (TCDC ), whose exhibitions I have really enjoyed in the past, has reopened in a much larger new premises by the river along the Charoen Krung. It is now housed in a building attached to the brutal 1930s old General Post Office. The centre will spearhead a cultural rennaissance of one of Bangkok’s oldest neighbourhoods, already home to galleries Speedy Mama and Soy Sauce factory and some interesting street art, and to be joined later this month by a massive new warehouse cultural development spearheaded by architect Duangrit Bunnag. He successfully helmed the Jam Factory project on the other side of the river.

In Sao Paulo meanwhile, the Japan House opened this weekend, part of a next generation push by the Japanese government to expand its “soft power” around the globe. Brazil’s centre was the first to open, highlighting the strong links created by generations of Japanese immigration to Brazil and more lately, Brazilian immigration to Japan. The cultural centre opened with an installation by artist Azuma Makoto who sent 30 cyclists through the city to pass out flowers to “spread beauty” and mark the centre’s opening.

BKK ruins

19 04 2017


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With swathes of central Bangkok facing the wrecking ball, its a good time to discover the urbex photography of Dax Ward, who has documented the ruins of Bangkok’s ghost skyscrapers, train and aeroplane graveyards and sites like this abandoned Cape Crusader-themed nightclub on Pattaya’s ‘Soi Batman’.


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BKK fashion moment

19 04 2017


From Tossapol Boonk Boonyatanapiwat.

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New Interpretation of the Paradoxical World

8 04 2017

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Currently on show at Bangkok’s Nova gallery,  Narissara Pianwimungsa’s New Interpretation of the Paradoxical World.

Dusit Thani bites the dust; Bangkok closes for renovation

9 03 2017


A Bangkok landmark, the modernist Dusit Thani flagship hotel in Silom, will be demolished next year according to an announcement from its owners earlier this week. Its site will become a large mall, office and hotel development. The Dusit Thani leaves behind the Indra Regent in Pratunam, behind an unlovely tangle of telephone wires, as perhaps the last of the great Bangkok modernist hotels (with the prickly facade of the Srifueang building, just down from the Dusit Thani on Rama IV, as another notable 1960s tower).

Hopefully these buildings will survive the massive construction going on around the Thai capital. Across Rama IV boulevard, by Lumphini park, the site currently occupied by a carnival funfair will soon become a massive city-within-a-city mixed use development, much like Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills or Midtown. It is to be called Bangkok City One. Meanwhile, the old Robinson’s department store across from the Dusit Thani on Saladaeng has also been empty for some time, awaiting flashy redevelopment plans.

And as if that is not enough, the vast and glittering ICON SIAM mall will open riverside later this year, complete with Takashimaya department store, museum, condos and perhaps a privately funded skytrain extension, while blueprints have been drawn up for a massive Bangkok Mall, to be the city’s biggest, topped with a water park in Bangna.

Exactly where this flush of construction money is coming from, and why this is all happening now, is a bit of a mystery to me but for better or worse, Bangkok in 2021 will seem quite different from the city we know now.


6 03 2017


Gene Kasidit stars in this fashion shoot for “Surround” magazine, photographed at an incredible neo-baroque (and very Bangkok ) hair salon called “77th studio”. I’m tempted to book in for a cut.