Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Glimpses of Asia – October 15, 2015

October 15, 2015

Hat tip for these links to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack.


25 images of Thailand’s most beautiful temples by Daniel Nahabedian for the Matador network.

How Japan Has Perfected Hospitality Culture by Oliver Strand for the Wall Street Journal.   The Japanese are known for extreme hospitality.

‘Omotenashi’ comes up short on humility by Philip Brasor for Japan Times.   But is the hospitality’s purpose to make guests feel welcome or to manifest Japanese superiority?

Movie ‘Abat’ banned by Thai Culture Ministry by Terry Frederickson for the Bangkok Post.

Producer, monk question ban on Arbat by the Bangkok Post.  A controversial Thai movie, whose title is spelled two different ways in English, depicts a Buddhist monk who betrays his vows.

Shunga exhibition defies ‘pornography’ taboos to expose Japan to its erotic past by David Mcneil for The Independent.

Sisters separated 40 years ago in Korea reunited working in same US hospital from The Guardian.

Outrage in Vietnam over curtailing abortions by DPA for the Bangkok Post.

Thai bird singing contest draws thousands by World Bulletin News Desk.

Thailand voices disappointment over EU’s human rights criticism by AsiaOne in Singapore.

Glimpses of Asia – October 3, 2015

October 3, 2015

Hat tip for these links to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack and his friend Marty

Ghost Chili

Ghost Chili

World’s Hottest Chili (the Ghost Chili) is now being weaponized by the Indian Military

US elevates Thailand to best child labor category

Movie Vs. Reality: What It Actually Feels Like To Climb Mount Everest

The Most Frightening Food Found on Airplanes

[Thai] Government warns netizen protesters


More glimpses of Asia – September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015

Links from my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack and his friend Marty

Japan’s Yakuza: Inside the syndicate

Malaysia arrests eight in connection with Bangkok shrine bombing

Sumatran rhinos likely to become extinct, conservationists warn

Secret Missionaries and Smuggled Bibles: China’s Religious Boom

25 Of The Most Dangerous And Unusual Journeys To School In The World  [24 in Asia -M]

We’re All Mispronouncing Mount Everest’s Name  [Interesting trivia! Of course those of us who have lived/visited Nepal or Tibet, call it Sagarmatha or Chomolungma -M]


The passing scene – August 19, 2015

August 19, 2015

On the elementary structure of domination: The Bully’s Pulpit by David Graeber for The Baffler.

Schoolyard bullies typically believe they have a right and duty to punish and humiliate those who manifest vulnerability, fear or deviance, and they retroactively justify their actions by the inappropriate ways in which their victims resist, Graeber wrote; this reflects the structure of domination in the larger society.

Algorithms can be a digital star chamber by Frank Pasquale for Aeon.

An algorithm fed into a computer can determine whether you get a job, get credit or get insurance, or what kind.  Probably you don’t know about it.  Probably you can’t appeal the result because arbitrary assumptions processed through a computer are considered “objective.”

Climate Change Threatens Economic Development, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Says by Julia Glum for International Business Times.   (Hat tip to Hal Bauer)

We’ll see whether he puts the World Bank’s money where his mouth is.


Ink made from residue in dead smokers’ lungs

May 6, 2015

If this ad doesn’t make you want to quit smoking, nothing will.

Glimpses of Asia: the good, the bad, the odd

November 5, 2013







News from Asia: Links & comments 10/14/13

October 13, 2013

World Action Now on Fukushima by Harvey Wasserman for Common Dreams

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off the California Coast by Ann Werner for the Malibu Sharkbytes blog.  Hat tip to Mike Connelly for both these links.

The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the 2011 earthquake is still a danger not just to Japan and neighboring countries, but to the world.  The first link is to a video by nuclear journalist Harvey Wasserman, explaining the danger involved in removing damaged nuclear fuel rods.  It is like lifting 660-pound cigarettes from a crumpled pack, and hoping not to leak any tobacco.

But the rods can’t be left in place because the plant continues to leak radioactive water.  Bluefin tuna caught off California have traces of radioactive cesium, an element that does not occur in nature but only as part of nuclear reactions.  Cesium, however, is excreted from the body.  Much more dangerous is radioactive strontium, also present in the fuel rods, which accumulates in the bones.

Wasserman is circulating an on-line petition calling for the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to take over removal of the spent fuel rods.

Report: Chinese University Students Forced to Manufacture Playstation 4 in Foxconn plant by Eric Kain for Forbes.   Hat tip to “B Psycho” of Pyschopolitik.

Report: Chinese students forced to make PS4 for Foxconn by Samit Sarkar for Polygon.

In many Communist countries, high school and college students were required to put in compulsory labor on harvests and other necessary tasks.  Compulsory labor evidently is still a part of China’s Communist capitalism.

A Chinese newspaper reported that more than 1,000 students at Xi’an Technological University were required to put in two months work for Foxconn, the giant Chinese manufacturer of electronics components, as a condition to graduate.  It was called an internship, although students said they were not employed in their fields of study.  They were paid $262 a month, the same as other workers.

As “B Psycho” said, if there is a labor shortage, why not offer higher wages?

Chiang Mai locals shocked by ‘rude’ Chinese tourists by Amy Li for the South China Morning Post.

Manners lost in translation by the Bangkok Post.  Hat tip to Jack Clontz for both these links.

Millions of rich Chinese tourists visit Thailand each year, giving a boost to the country’s economy.  But the tourists aren’t always culturally sensitive, as indicated by these two newspaper articles about the behavior of Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai, a northern Thai city that was the scene of a popular Chinese movie comedy, “Lost in Thailand.”

Why Are Hundreds of Harvard Students Studying Ancient Chinese Philosophy? by Christine Gross-Loh for the Atlantic.  Hat tip to Jack Clontz.

Prof. Michael Pruett’s course in Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory is the third most popular undergraduate course at Harvard University, behind only Intro to Economics and Intro to Computer Science.

The classical Chinese philosophers teach the importance of good habits, self-awareness and the little things of life, and the unities of head and heart and of mind and body.  Some students say these teachings changed their lives.

The previous articles show that the Chinese don’t necessarily live up to the best values of their culture and traditions.  Then again, you could say the same of us Americans.

Images of a Thai artist

October 12, 2013


Surrealistic art is not my cup of tea.  I see plenty of irrationality in the world around me, and don’t seek it out in art.  But I like the images in these videos, which promote the book, Transcending Thai Realism: the Art of Somphong Adulyasarapan, by my e-mail pen pal Jack Clontz.   He is a hugely learned scholar and translator who lives in Bangkok, whom I got to know as a fellow member of the Bertrand Russell Society.

His book on Somphong can be ordered through the Museum of Contemporary Art (click on the link) in Bangkok.   The price of the book, 1,600 Thai baht, is about $52 in U.S. currency.

The passing scene: Links & comment 8/14/13

August 14, 2013

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets by Peter Maass of the New York Times.  Hat tip to Daniel Brandt.

The documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was the key figure in bringing Edward Snowden’s information before the public.  Glenn Greenwald is brave enough, but she was the one with the skills to evade the surveillance state.  She is like the heroine of some dystopian science fiction novel about a totalitarian state of the future.  This well-written, informative article is worth reading in its entirety.

Bandar Bush, ‘liberator of Syria’ by Pepe Escobar of Asia Times.

Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who at one time was so close to the Bush family that George W. Bush nicknamed him “Bandar Bush,” flew to Moscow to offer to buy huge amounts of Russian weapons if the Russian government would withdraw its support for the Assad regime in Syria.  As Pepe Escobar noted, this will never happen.  Vladimir Putin would never tolerate Syria being taken over by radical jihadists, whose next target undoubtedly would be Chechnia, less than 600 miles away.

Hague war crimes ruling threatens to undermine future prosecutions by Owen Bowcott of The Guardian.  Hat tip to Jack C.

Three Serbian generals were acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia because they did not give orders for the atrocities committed by troops under their command.

Buddhism’s ‘lords’ must be challenged by Sanitsuda Ekachai of the Bangkok Post.

An editorial writer said that the Theravada Buddhist clergy are governed by an autocratic system that tolerates corruption and misconduct but not dissent and reform.  Accountability is needed, she wrote; one starting point would be for Thais to only contribute to temples with transparent accounting systems.

Judge Says That Baby ‘Messiah’ Will Have to Change His Name Because He’s Not Jesus Christ by Hemant Mehta on Patheos.

I was surprised to learn that “Messiah” is one of the 1.000 most common first names for newborn male babies in the United States.  The Tennessee judge is out of line, but perhaps the parents could settle for naming their baby “Senator,” “Colonel,” “Professor” or “Doctor”.

Traffickers victimize Burma’s Rohingya refugees

August 13, 2013

This documentary by UK Channel 4 News is about victimization of Burma’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.  Living in camps along the Burma-Bangladesh border, they are offered passage to Malaysia by Thai smugglers.  Instead of being taken to Malaysia, they are imprisoned in camps along the Thai border with Malaysia and held for ransom.  If the ransom isn’t paid, they are sold as slave laborers to Thai fishermen.

The investigation led to a camp being raided by Thai officials and kidnap victims being freed.  It would be nice to think that this will be part of an ongoing crackdown and not just a one-time action to counteract bad publicity.