Archive for August, 2006

Dream

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In a city dominated by either mega hotels or budget guesthouses, last night Vikram Chatwal’s Dream Hotel (Sukhumvit 15) joined Bangkok’s short list of boutique hotels (e.g., The Davis, Eugenia, Reflections).

Vikram Chatwal’s famous “Hautel Couture” brand only operates in a few cities worldwide. The only other Dream Hotel is in New York, and the fact that Chatwal chose Bangkok as his next destination is another sign the city may be moving up from the B-list as a world-class destination.

Like the Dream Hotel in NY, this one dons decadent rooms with a fetish theme, which was particularly apparent at the opening party where showrooms were strewn with models half naked or tied up. (Incidentally, it is also where Tata Young shot her latest controversial music video El Nin Yo)

Small yet luxurious rooms start at 129USD during the promotion.

Where’s the love?

“Foreign husbands pay off for Thais” –The Nation

Perhaps in response to the negative press that foreign men have been getting in Thailand lately (everyone knows Karr is just one of many “undesireables” hiding out in the Kingdom), a recent study, as reported in The Nation, is praising cross-cultural marriages between Thai women and foreign men in Isaan, saying they pay off.

The study says most of the women intentionally seek out foreign husbands, and talks a lot about the financial and status advantages: money and a steady income (often the husband’s foreign pension), greater social status and respect from villagers, expensive homes and fancy weddings.

But there is almost no mention of love and no mention of the barriers faced (cultural, language, expectations). While this study praises the marriages, The Nation has also said that most marriages to foreigners break up in a few years.

But maybe I’m being too critical. I guess the study is trying to point out what everyone knows: that in many cases, each side gets what they want. The husbands were not interviewed, but I’m guessing if they were they’d say they benefited from the relationships as well: the old man gets a young woman and a young woman gets money and the status it can buy. I guess this is enough.
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tops supermarket – silom complex

i’ve got to give it props. at first glance, it looks mildly pathetic, hidden in some far off corner in the basement of silom complex. but for it’s size, the ready to eat selection is pretty decent.

seriously. it’s i actually fancy it more than the emporium/paragon gourmet market or the central food hall at chidlom.

the supermarket-y stuff is all pretty standard, plus it’s got like the standard better cuts of meat you find at the aforementioned, and a pathetic little import foods corner. but the hilight of it is the area right infront the checkout stands. there’s a bunch of little stands with ready to eat food from a bunch of restaurants.

there’s a little mexican stand, by el charro. beef chimichangas for B45 each. and they give you fresh salsa and nachos with it. usually when you but el charro stuff it’s pre-packed and located in the chilled foods section. the stand makes it much nicer because of the little perks.

they have a novotel stand, which is pretty standard, good selection of pastries for only B20 after 8pm. love the little fruit tartlets and cherry danish pastry.

also, a vietnamese/pho stand, another cake thing. i forget. was obsessing over delicious fruits. cherries, kiwis, mangosteens.

basically, i like the supermarket, it’s small and i can do my rounds fairly quickly, get in and out fast, and have a decent selection of already prepared foods. though the prepared foods by tops itself sucks.

good for city living, convenient, the bts is linked right into silom complex too.

raberd

a friend at the newspaper forwarded this to me:

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Police explosive experts Thursday defused a powerful bomb hidden in a car near the residence of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and charged an army lieutenant in an alleged plot against the Thai leader, police and officials said.

“powerful bomb” as opposed to a non powerful bomb?
maybe “powerful” because it was near the residence?
and not actually in the residence?

either way. i don’t think killing square face is the way to go. there’s still others in his party. and the khunying who is the puppet master anyway.

but the bombing thing really freaks me out. makes me think of the three southern provinces. so far it’s been contained within those three provinces. what’s stopping them from dropping big ones in the middle of bangkok? seriously yo. it’s not like the military has power over them. it’s as if they’ve elected to stay within the three provinces. i dunno. these are just questions that i have frmo just reading the paper and hearing stuff on the news.

new airport.

was invited to go see the suvarnabhumi airport. honestly, it just looks like an airport. i don’t understand why they made us go see where the catered meals were prepared or crew cabin buldings are. was more interested in the terminal. and a grand terminal it was.

was giggling during the tour because it was so thai. we have the largest floor area in the world. the tallest air traffic tower in the world.

largest. biggest. tallest. widest. whatever. the only “est” that mattered, i didn’t hear. “best”. i’d settle for best system over everything else.

the road to the airport is insane. it bottle necks. and then they way they designed it, you have to drive around the airport. this is because they want everybody to bask and view in the glory of the airport. it’s so silly. i was getting all hissy fitty at the impracticalness. can’t imagine when it’s fully functioning, how much of a bitch it would be to drive around the fucking thing. they should just make a road that cuts right through to it.

oh man. as a taxpayer, i was breaking a sweat. and the streetlamps. there’s one every meter. every meter! can you imagine! they could have one every ten meters and it’d still be too much. mr. streetlamp company, i know you’re a rich bastard.

there are good parts though.

the short term parking building is set up similar to the way lax is. right in front. looks convenient. that’s a plus. and the other thing that i thought was good was that the bts will pull in right into the novotel there. kinda reminds me of the subway station under the osaka hilton. and that’s one cool subway.

the thing that was most amusing to me was this patriotism, and pride in the workforce at the airport. people were actually proud to be part of it. it really isn’t something you can quantify, as a thai, you do understand it in an abstract way. but was there with a couple of expat analysts from a consulting firm, and i know the pride of ‘what is suvarnabhumi’ isn’t something they can make sense of.

it still makes me shake my head, how people are still trying to build a city around the fucking airport. please. of course the issue’s more complex than the face value, so and so buying land around the airport a few years earlier.

bleh.

A Confession, or Everyone’s 15 Minutes of Fame?

Despite the fact that Thailand is unfortunately an infamous refuge for paedophiles and other criminals, I couldn’t believe it when I heard a man in Bangkok was arrested for the 10 year-old murder of JonBenet Ramsey. My second thought was “I hope the FBI doesn’t leave this investigation to the Thai police.”

His name is John Mark Karr and he lived at The Blooms on Soi Sribamphen Yen-Arkard off Sathorn, and taught English at one of the international schools (no one has revealed which one). Despite his confession to Immigration Police, a cloud of suspicion looms over whether the confession is a hoax; in my opinion, a desperate attempt by everyone to get their 15 minutes of fame.

First of all, who arrests a paedophile-murderer and then hands him the microphone like a celebrity for a global press conference? If there was anyone desperate enough for fame or notoriety, clearly confessing to a violent crime in Thailand is the way to get it.

And it’s not just Karr. Immigration Police LTG Suwat Tumrongsiskul, pulling out all the stops to make his department look good, beamed in the spotlight, smiling and laughing through the press conference. After telling everyone Karr was arrested for first degree murder, he admitted he didn’t know what “first degree murder” meant or its difference from second degree murder.
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To better understand the hype this case received in the States, consider some of its oddities:
JonBenet appears as a bizarre “child-woman,” provocatively dressed and caked in makeup at the age of 2 by her multimillionaire parents obsessed with freakish child beauty pagents. On Christmas Day, they find a ransom note asking for the exact amount of the father’s Christmas bonus in return for their daughter. But a week later, the parents find their daughter strangled and raped in their basement; she is in the house the whole time. The parents refuse to cooperate with investigators, and they, and even their older son, become the prime suspects. But for 10 years, a break was never made.

Gooooooooooooooooood Push.

Bangkok, Thailand never ceases to bore me. The people who run this country are entertaining in so many ways. Mainly their laws, policies, and constant need to push moral values in a need to contain their youth. Its like they’re constantly trying to create a facade of the general populace.

Simply put, their logic is dumbfounded.

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai cultural watchdogs have banned a line of condoms whose name translates as “Good Penetration,” saying the suggestive label could draw youngsters into having sex earlier, newspapers reported Tuesday.
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