Unemployed Blacksmiths and Novelists Support Group

It was all foretold in Finnegans Wake. It could have been, anyway.

There’s just no end to human ingenuity. Now you don’t even have to buy an e-book reader to suffer Internet interconnectivity. Ubimark has developed a way for readers to evoke Web connections from a print book by way of cellphone camera and browser. Have a look at the following item (short article & video), “Putting the Web inside the printed book.”

Ubimark, iPads and Vooks Read more

Digital dementia rools, OK!

Last night at a Japanese restaurant, here in Bangkok, where you place order on an elaborate digital tablet at your table and wait to be served by giant robots. As though this weren’t enough, already, once in a while sprightly music breaks out and these outlandish machines dance furiously up and down the aisles getting in the way if you have to go for a piss. Dementia rools, OK!


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Some dimensions are darker than others

There are rogues, and there are rogues. There follow reports of close encounters with two very different species of actor in the current Thai political maelstrom:

Hobnobbing with the Ronin.

Squeakish-clean candidate for office.

Useful additions to the many perspectives on the troubles?  Colorful, anyway.… Read more

Beyond “Demo-Crazy”

“Looking at Thailand, indeed looking at several other Asian countries, it would be easy to conclude that democracy has served us poorly. In Thailand, we now often refer to our own political system as ‘Demo-Crazy’ to reflect our apparent fondness for demonstrations… But in thinking about the future of Asia, one is reminded that political and social developments are just as important as economic development.” (Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij)

In today’s Bangkok Post (Bridging income gapsRead more

Cry havoc

Photos by the lovely Ms. Plug

Bangkok remains relatively calm. Misleadingly so, perhaps. Forget about lavish tides of good sense in the coming days, if not years—not that we had to wade through much of it in the past, here or anywhere, come to that. Dourness rools, OK!

The beast of unreason has been let slip, and it’s time for civil folk to look askance at strangers in the street, to avoid the shadows and to watch their asses. But Read more

Mourning after

It’s a glorious morning in Bangkok, one so far unmarred by columns of smoke or rattle of gunfire. The Bangkok Post has run A NATION MOURNS as its front-page headline. I’d be interested to know what it is people believe we should be mourning, at this point.

One candidate: the fact that—Thai or otherwise—we’re human, all too bloody human. It’s really sad to see how reliably, everywhere and throughout history, demogogues are able to lead crowds of nice people into … Read more

Starving writers & gouty moguls

New penance for starving writers: black-pepper oatmeal cookies (from Scotland, culinary capital of the universe). I have them with sencha tea.

My companion du jour says they aren’t sweet, aren’t delicious and are way too expensive (only available at Villa, in Bangkok). Neither has she any use for hair shirts or unheated garrets.

Actually, in Bangkok all garrets are unheated, at least by human design. Same goes for the penthouses, for that matter. What do starving writers and gouty moguls … Read more

Dei ex machina and laid-back hi-so hysteria

It’s been hard to focus on work, what with the pace of events, the phone calls and the temptation to check the Twitter and e-mail universe every minute or so for breaking news.

Yesterday I also kept finding myself drawn to the roof of our apartment building for a panoramic view of events. (These photos were taken by the lovely Ms. Plug, a downstairs neighbor and freelance photographer who joined me.) What with the spotter plane soaring around the Baiyoke … Read more

Thailand expat diaspora? Premature skedaddling

The gloomier prognostications regarding the prevailing civil disorder in Bangkok have missed the mark, it seems. Though things do still look a tad bleak.

How bleak? That depends on who you talk to. It seems the US Embassy is offering to help repatriate families of expat residents. Not the Fall of Saigon, just yet, but it bespeaks unease in some quarters.

An old friend and long-term Bangkok resident just told me how he’s been thinking about Phnom Penh, and how Read more