Tribal Trappings – Asian Ethnic Art, Artifacts, Textiles and Folk Art Tribal Trappings – Thoughts about Thailand, Chiang Mai, things tribal including textiles, ethnographica and folk art <data:blog.pageTitle/>

Monday, May 31, 2010

Watt's Up?

The LA Times has a recent piece on the current status of Watt's Towers. This masterpiece of idiosyncratic urban art and architecture is once again threatened, but this time by neglect. Cuts in the city's arts budget have reduced not only the open days to three, but the hours and salary of a worker hired to make repairs; the long-time curator is taking early retirement due to funds cuts. Yet people from all over the world make pilgrimages here just to see the Towers. Why is it that there is always money to make war, but not for art?

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reds Take Flight From Bangkok

I know it's now old news, but I couldn't resist posting this wonderful photo taken by Geoff Costley during the Red Shirt Occupation. Happy Vapor Trails!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May you live in interesting times

How can one resist using this ancient curse when watching one's chosen home country dissolve into chaos? The photos from Bangkok are dire, as from a modern Hell, and now it's 'coming to a theater near you'! Of course, the Red Shirts were born here (San Kamphaeng/Chiang Mai), home of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra; in fact, just down the road from where we live. Why wouldn't they bring it home? But isn't it considered rather unintelligent to 'crap' in your own backyard? Is it not enough to put the world's media spotlight on your cause by trying to destroy the capital of your country?

Another cliche comes to mind: "How to win friends and influence people" - I can definitely say that it is not by using these tactics. Many around here (Thais and foreigners alike) have been suffering from Red Shirt Fatigue: plummeting tourism figures; lackluster economic growth; an uncertain future; reduced income; price hikes; loss of employment, etc. So, now with Chiang Mai having been a sanctuary of sorts from the chaos in Bangkok, we find ourselves also having to deal with their antics, including the ubiquitous burning of tires. Do we really need to enhance our reputation for air pollution?!?

For those interested in the thorny political particulars here in the 'Rose of the North' check out Chiang Mai Mail's page on Facebook for photos, comments and tweets. Thai Visa's minute-by-minute accounts from Bangkok have also been a very helpful way to keep up with events, especially if you know your way around Bangkok.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Any excuse for a party!

Those of you following Thailand's political events will enjoy the CNN ireports of a friend of ours going by the nom de guerre 'Kozzli'. He's making daily, or almost daily, forays into the Red-Shirt encampment in the middle of the high rent retail district Rajprasong in Bangkok to bring us the very latest in the two month old saga of Those Who Eat Som Tam vs Those Who Do Not (watch his videos to find out...). It's an age-old saga of the disenfranchised 'Have Nots' taking on the 'Haves'- in Thailand better understood as New Money vs Old Money- with the Have Nots staking a claim to the color red and the Haves in yellow. (A new 'multicolor' is further muddying the water and strengthening the side of the Haves.) Kozzli does a great job of humanizing the new Bane of Bangkok. Even without scratch n' sniff one can smell the piles of durian baking in the sun, feel the closeness of the heat and humidity, and not help but move to the rhythm of 'mowlam', the music of Isaan. In his videos grandmas cook, kids are kids, and rabbits nibble. Check them out at CNN/ireports.

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