Where do we go from here?

In what follows, I propose a speculative chronology of developments over the coming months as we try to maintain our social distancing. The items and the order in which they appear are off the top of my head. 

From this website.

I welcome suggested revisions or additions. This post could evolve together with actual developments out there in the real world.

  • people begin looking notably dishevelled, unkept, a consequence of having spouses cut their hair or else having to do
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Trade your freedoms for security? Social-cultural triage

medical triage

‘Triage,’ a common dilemma, is more and more presenting a terrible moral choice in this time of pandemic COVID-19. When medical facilities and staff are utterly overwhelmed, medical staff must decide, on the basis of various criteria, who lives and who dies. 

social-cultural triage

Perhaps that expression can be usefully applied to another dilemma, one that is characteristic of a modern world increasingly shaped by digital technology in service to the politics of fear. Here’s an example of … Read more

Learning to walk (again)

Back in the day, I was the fastest pedestrian in Bangkok. If someone passed me on the pavement, I assumed they were either from Korea or else on the run from the police.

But these days I get schoolgirls in bobby sox and buckle shoes  zipping past me while drowned in their smartphones. This suggests three hypotheses:

 

1. I’m slowing with age.

2. A younger generation of Thais are walking faster.

3. I’ve learned to live more in the … Read more

Space invaders (2057): Windows on our future

The great escape (failed). As you drive south on the Rama II expressway out of Bangkok, you approach wooded patches and scenic hills in the distance. Not that you can see them. Rows of gigantic billboards line the road to demand your attention, blocking out the natural attractions, what might have been visual relief from life in the big city.

Who erected these billboards, and why? Who did they consult before doing this; who didn’t they consult? And why?

 … Read more

Space invaders

Space invaders (2019)

Soft drinks giant PepsiCo has consulted with a Russian space startup offering brands the chance to project their logos into the night skies via low-orbit satellites.

                              “Pepsi considers space billboards to project logo across night sky using satellites

                                          (The Independent)

No problem, eh? Just part of a global campaign to erode our private spaces and our private choices to vanishing point. More and more, without so much as a by-your-leave, commercial interests invade … Read more

Best of all worlds

 

Best of all worlds. MOM, Genesis 2.0, and Resurrections are topping bestseller lists worldwide for the third month in a row. Mobs are rioting in the streets of major cities everywhere, demanding the author cough up Kill Cade, the fourth novel in the MAGIC CIRCLE series. Hollywood agents are climbing in the windows, groupies clamor at the door. Sara won’t talk to me. It’s amazing.

Yeah. And all this is happening in a near-adjacent parallel universe where the internet … Read more

Diverse yet complementary writing experiences

Canadian writers night. The Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently co-hosted an event  where five Thailand-based Canadian writers were invited to speak.

I’d like to thank Jen Mechhayai, Rose Swagemakers, Waranya Boonsaner and the others at the Thai-Canadian Chamber, and Scott Murray from Dragonart Media, who so kindly organized this evening. It was also a pleasure to hear Marisha Wojciechowska, Natalie Glebova, Christopher G. Moore and Bjorn Turmann present their work and what turned out to be their nicely complementary thoughts … Read more

Big Data sees all, knows all

Branded. Here’s something I reported on Facebook a couple of days ago. Based on my internet habits and tastes, FB’s algorithms had decided I was an aging proto-hipster who snored. So  I should be a sucker for ‘soft-leather sandals,’ right? Not to mention a mini-CPAP device that would end my snoring forever. 

And what happens, I asked, should I decide to run for PM in Canada? The media, soon in possession of Big Data knowledge products regarding yours truly, would … Read more

One born every minute: Wherein Melrose rips Bangkok right off

Bangkok currently lies enshrouded in a great cloud of fine particulate matter. Hey, but listen to what an Andromedan named Melrose had to say about pollution back in the 1990s, back in the days of leaded gas and black-belching city buses. Chacun à son gout, eh? The following originally appeared in the Bangkok Post Sunday section, and was later collected in Bangkok Old Hand (Bangkok: Post Books, 1993).

One born every minute

As most of you already know, the … Read more

Writerly occupational hazard: Mental DDOSs

DDOS: Distributed denial of service. Shutting down an internet server by launching an attack from a number of sources to overwhelm the targeted system with data.

Exposure to the internet amounts to an effective DDOS on your brain.

There’s too much information out there, and the filters — both in terms of search engine devices and user self-discipline — just aren’t up to the task. It appears we humans are hardwired to be seduced by all the supposed opportunities for … Read more