Hanoi’s turtle trouble..

25 01 2016

Australia’s ABC reports:

A giant turtle considered sacred in Vietnam and venerated as a symbol of the country’s independence struggle has died, according to state media.

The turtle’s death prompted an outpouring of grief and stoked fears it boded ill for an upcoming Communist leadership handover.

The reptile, a critically endangered Swinhoe’s softshell turtle occupies a key mythological role in Vietnam, and in the past the turtle generally surfaced only rarely, with its sightings deemed auspicious.

Full story here

 





Meet the “fake Muji”

16 01 2016

 

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Japanese people surprised to find that “popular Japanese store” Meiso doesn’t exist in Japan





The fallout

19 08 2015

While the tragedy of the Erawan bombing is still unfolded, it hasn’t taken long for investigations to take on a typically Thai bizarre twist after model and soap opera star Sunny Burns, originally from Australia, was held up online as a dead ringer for the main suspect.

He responded by going in to the police to clear his name – complete with instagram post from the cop shop – and uttering the immortal alibi: “I woudn’t have worn that, I’m a fashion blogger.”

Police used CCTV footage to corroborate his claim to innocence, that at that time he was on his way to the “muscle lab” (aka, gym).





On the Thai internet

3 08 2015

Two Thai social media favourites of the minute,  both bearing a universal message for our age. Above, an adorable but cocky boyfriend warns of the dangers of smartphone addiction in a video called “So you just gonna ignore me?” and below “Street Nude, Global Warming”, a Facebook page in which artist Ronnachai Kunsiri strips off in nature to highlight the threats to Thailand’s various ecosystems from global warming.

Also, this beautifully edited and oddly moving advertisement, currently screening on the Skytrain:





The rocket festival

26 07 2015

My travels in the Thai Northeast would take me close to the provinces home to the infamous Rocket Festival. I was sadly (or luckily) out of season though for the chaos. It is worth noting that in addition to this video, there is another video on youtube where you can watch someone losing an arm to the rockets…





Justice for Joco

17 07 2015

In one of these bizarre, only-in Thailand turns of events this week, protesters converged on a Bangkok television station (ineffectually, but where else to protest?) to protest the revenge-attack eating of a dog in the country’s Northern province of Sakhon Nakorn. The attack, subject of a recent report by Channel Three, took place after a villager’s beloved husky dog, Joco, escaped and slaughtered 38 ducks in a neighbouring village.

The duck owners struck back the next night, allegedly dognapping, killing and eating the pet. I hadn’t known that Thai eat dogs, a specialty of that province.

On hearing the news, the Thai Huskies Association and “animal rights activists” led by a soap opera star sprung into action, protesting for “justice for Joco” although some online commentators were quick to point out their double standards; where was the concern for the rights of the ducks? And furthermore, given the cruelty of keeping a husky in a tropical climate, shouldn’t they be looking a bit closer to home before taking the moral high ground on animal welfare?

This was brought to home forcefully when I stumbled on to Bangkok’s (and surely the world’s first) late night gay dog cafe this week. Silom Soi 4’s former gay bar One Night Only, which used to have topless male models and a stripper pole, has now morphed into a living room-like space where patrons can sip a coffee, read quietly in the comic corner or pet the two huge Siberian huskies, three labradors or resident Afghan hound. Although the dogs certainly looked healthy, loved and well-cared for, the Afghan was passed out under a sofa desperately trying to sleep and the huskies lay for the most part with the faces pressed against one of several fans, trying to keep cool.





Asia’s sexiest….

21 06 2015

Over the weekend, with some friends, talk turned to the latest internet sensation in the Far East, Taiwan’s
sexy beancurd seller, above, who has been burning up hearts online over the last week. The hot-blue-collar-worker-plucked-from-anonymity-to-become-a-sex-symbol seems to have a particular resonance in Asia. This is just the latest case in a string that includes Sexy beancurd Seller’s compatriot Ms Fried Chicken who parlayed a video of deep frying a chicken steak into a softporn bikini-modelling career in Taipei, to Bangkok’s mototaxi-model.

There have also been hot Japanese war correspondents, dashing English teachers, a handsome Filipino KFC store manager and a suave Malaysian immigration official (apparently) who have burst out of anonymonity to become short-lived lust objects.

The most unlikely story of all, though, I had missed. It is that of ‘Brother Sharp’, dubbed China’s most handsome beggar, who was hounded by paparazzi after his movie-star-like looks were revealed to the general public, went into a mental institution and then emerged to walk in Guangzhou Fashion Week and be reunited with his family, mysteriously losing his looks along the way.

And that is to say nothing of his fellow PRC citizen, Most Fashionable Homeless Person in History.








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