Bangkok – (insert choice) Capital

I’ve found it interesting to note, in my time here, that many Thai people don’t read. It’s not such an uncommon thing since all countries have a large portion of the population that either don’t like to read or simply cannot. Back home it was normal to see many people catching the train reading, something that I’ve not seen much of here.

It was with much surprise then, that I read an article in the Bangkok Post saying that Bangkok want’s to be the book capital of the world in 2008. Luckily for them they have some time before the decision of the UNESCO is made, but I can’t see how this time will be sufficient to change the attitude of the many Bangkokians who refuse to or cannot read. It will take a dramatic change of attitudes to achieve what they are hoping for.

I’m curious though, should attempts succeed and Bangkok be named book capital of the world 2008, what exactly would the benefits of this be? ‘Bangkok – book capital of the world’ definitely doesn’t hold as much prestige as ‘fashion capital of south east asia’ and at least that title lasts longer than a year (I would hope).

6 Comments so far

  1. him (unregistered) on September 20th, 2005 @ 5:13 pm

    I think it’s about time that Bangkok tried to be the “Most Bangkokian City 2006”, because it might actually succeed at it.

    The thought that Bangkok could be “Book Capital” ahead of such places as New York, London, Paris, Rome makes me shudder.

    Perhaps Asia Books are sponsoring it?

  2. Dan (unregistered) on September 20th, 2005 @ 11:14 pm

    I read that too…
    are you reading Thai papers now Ben??

    There are also big plans for a Bangkok Central Library too.

  3. Ben Harris (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 11:46 am

    Yeah, but the english language ones. I’m all for a library, god nows they could use a good one here!

  4. ts (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 7:06 pm

    thais, as a general population, don’t read.

    that is beyond cartoon books.

    but it is improving. they are certainly not ready to be a book capital — maybe a book hub though.

  5. aurix (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

    the tendency to proclaim, or the obsession with proclaiming, Bangkok as the capital of this and that is the most interesting aspect of all these efforts. i wonder what lies beneath all this, the cultural/social/economic rationale….etc.

  6. him (unregistered) on September 24th, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

    “i wonder what lies beneath all this, the cultural/social/economic rationale….etc”

    At a guess, a basic desperation to make the world see bangkok as something other than a city built on prostitution?

    I’m not being negative, or even judgemental – hey, I live there, but that really is the only thing you ever hear of the city. Either that, or some moronic westerner getting locked up for drug smuggling. Bangkok is truly the place that westerners pass through, to somewhere else.

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