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

Cross-cultural onomatopoeia

My friend and fellow scrivener Steve Van Beek lives in the area currently cordoned off by the security forces—right there in the middle of both the political heat and Bangkok’s worst heat wave in years. He’s waiting to see whether a repairman can get through to fix his ailing air-conditioner.

In passing, Steve also tells me the expression “to be on the fritz” dates from the very outset of the 20th century, and probably derives from the sound of … Read more

Hey, but we’re living in a Golden Age

Here’s something from a collection I call “Leary’s Laws.”

“Things are always going to get worse, and we just have to take what friggin’ solace we can from that. What it means, we’re always living in a golden age, at least looking back from any time in the future.”

(Leary, in Yawn: A Thriller, by Collin Piprell)

So go ahead and take what solace you can from that. You might also want to stock up on canned … Read more

Apocalypses on all sides

Me again. It seems Thailand is having its own little Apocalypse, back there where you folks are now. What with the Red Shirts, and the Yellow Shirts and the Multi-colors and one thing and another. The past few days have seen the hopes of all right-thinking people taking a roller-coaster ride. Meanwhile, it’s plain to see some other people believe it’s to their advantage to have civil society explode into real strife, and to heck with the good of the … Read more

Apocalyptic cosmophobia

Jack, here. Looking back at the earlier exchange (22 April 2010) between Collin, S. Tsow and “Osho”—and then looking at Collin’s notion (today) that the iPad will end human existence as we’ve known it—I reckon the following is apropos.

Apocalyptic cosmophobia.

Just roll that one around on your tongue. A genuine cocktail party conversation stopper. DAVE BERRY HAS PROBABLY ALREADY USED IT TO NAME A NEW ROCK BAND.

Apocalyptic cosmophobia may first have been used to refer to popular readings … Read more

From absent presence to omnipresence: “I am my iPhone” (local DTAC slogan) to “We are my iPad”

In Thailand, the iPad mostly remains a rumor of digital utopia on the other side of the world. But travelers to those distant parts are beginning to arrive back here with their über-gadgets.

And they are harbingers of epidemic social change. These carriers of the current Digital Grail—and soon, I suspect, they’ll include everybody in the world with a few hundred dollars to spend—behave as though they carry new-born children, and they’re prone to dropping these items on the … Read more

Heroes of the Revolution

This is Khun Kik, my hairdresser, who is a Vidal Sassoon graduate and way beyond the means of your average freelance writer, starving variety. She is also quite lovely, as is Miss Da, her assistant, on the left. These ladies are the first Heroines of This Revolution we’re teetering on the brink of  here in Bangkok.  But the wounds on Kik’s face are not from rumbling with the Red Shirts. No, she was walking up some stairs hand in hand … Read more