Posts Tagged 'bangkok'

Cosplay in Thailand

Super cute girl with glasses

(Cute turquoise and pink girl: (Apparently the slightly crooked teeth she has is considered a super cute beauty feature is Japan! It is kind of cute, isn’t it?)

One interesting Japanese fashion that has caught on amongst young people in Thailand is cosplay. Cosplay is where people dress up like their favorite characters from anime or manga, or just archetypal characters like schoolgirls and cat maids. Siam Paragon recently had a cosplay festival. I was really amazed at all the great costumes and models that were there. It was really a visual feast for photographers!

cute cosplay schoolgirl

beautiful traditional costume

cute cosplayer

cute green haired girl

cool cosplay

wounded samurai!

beautiful girl

bangkok fashion challenge, solved with nerdiness

If one had to name the top fashion complaint of female expats in Thailand, I’m sure #1 would be the difficulty of finding flattering clothes in Western sizes. (#2 would surely be the difficulty of finding a hairdresser that can cut curly/wavy hair).

I’m 5’5, which means that every top made for a Thai woman barely goes past my navel. I’m not particularly big, but I seriously missed my calling as a booty model for rap videos. In a country where most women barely top 5’2 in heels and are as flat in front as in the back, the clothes are designed to give volume and curves to silhouettes with none. If I wear that shit, I look like a giant balloon.

What is a girl to do?

Unless you want to wear export jeans from MBK for every occasion, the solution is Pratunam. Now I shop around for a dress that I find flattering at Pratunam, Bangkok’s wholesale clothes market, and buy it in EVERY SINGLE COLOR, at wholesale prices. Dresses are the best thing to wear for nerdy girls, because one dress in an entire outfit, not as hot as wearing pants, and somehow they make people think you put in some special effort, even though you took all of 1 minute to get dressed.

What are your Bangkok fashion tips?

5 easy ways to improve the Bangkok Film Festival

Dear Bangkok Film Festival organizers,

I love film festivals, but it seems like you’ve made it as difficult as possible to enjoy and even attend this year’s film festival. Here’s how you could make it better next year:

1) Simplify your web site. Make the information I care about: the schedule and description of movies, ticket prices, theatre location, which showings have directors in attendance easy to find. Right now, your flash freezes my browser and it’s almost impossible to find the information I want. I don’t care about flash animations of high-society Thai people, hit counters, boring press releases or ads and neither will most festival-goers.

2) Improve your online schedule. Make an online HTML schedule, where the user can click on the movie title and get a popup window with all the details inside.

Right now, to decide which movies I want to see, here’s what I need to do:

  • download a pdf schedule with the times, locations and only titles of the movies
  • take each movie title and google it myself to see if I’m interested in it, one by one.

This process is so annoying that I almost gave up and didn’t attend.

EVEN BETTER: If you want to step into 2009, make a little “my film festival” app, where I can make and save my own personalized schedule of all the movies I want to see, and share it with my friends. You could easily use this to show people some ads from your sponsors, sign up people to a mailing list for next year’s festival, and find out which movies are popular.

Right now I have to write this down on paper by hand, and that’s so 1985.

3) Better signs at the theatre: Please put some signs telling me where I can buy tickets and how the ticketing works, like “buy coupons here”, and “redeem coupons for real tickets here”. I stood in line for 10 minutes just to be told I had to stand in another line to buy an individual ticket (not a book of 6 coupons, which then still need to be redeemed for tickets). It’s a big confusing mess.

4) Please have enough programs. People love movie festivals because they can see a lot of movies in a short time they wouldn’t normally see. You want people to see lots of movies, because you’ll make more money. If I come to see one movie, chances are I am interested in seeing more than one. When I tried to get a program with all the movies, there were already none left, despite it being 2 pm.

5) Hang up descriptions of all the movies where people can easily see them. When you ran out of programs, the only alternative to find out about your movies was to stand at the counter looking at one binder of movie descriptions with a long line of people forming behind me. Not cool.

People love movie festivals, please make it easier for us to come see your movies!

acclimate: a cool new mag for expat women in bangkok

Finally, someone has figured out that expat women in Thailand are a market worth catering to:

Acclimate Magazine

I really like their mission statement:

Acclimate gets it. We understand the struggle, because we’ve experienced it ourselves. We address the issues of identity loss and readjustment, while helping expatriate women find their own passions and their own best life in Bangkok. We offer inspirational stories from women in our community who have managed to find their way through unbelievable trials. And we never forget about the small stuff that makes life just a little easier, like where to get a great haircut, or where to go for the best foot massage.

last night: photozero photojournalism expo at raindogs

Last night Raindogs was hosting Photozero, a photojournalism conference, with presentations by the journalists. I nominally showed up to watch my friend DJ but I got quite caught up in the presentations.

Jason P. Howe, with no journalism training whatsoever and no Spanish, decided that he wanted to document the armed conflict in Columbia. So he would just hitchike into people’s camps, try to befriend the various sides, and take pictures. He said that people were quite nice to him, because he wasn’t a professional journalist, just a normal person, and they let him stay with them in their camps for long periods of time. Also, he found out his Columbian girlfriend was a professional assassin and Hollywood is now making a movie about his life. I was quite inspired by this guy and his kick-ass spirit of “just do it”.

Then Nick Nostitz presented some photos about the red. vs. yellow shirt conflict in Thailand. It was quite powerful to see the images, and realize that all this stuff had been happening while I was buying friend chicken on my soi.

The strongest pictures, the ones who left me completely speechless, were “A Fragile Peace” by Paula Bronstein, who has been documenting Afghanistan for 8 years.

Audience member: “How was it for you as a woman photographer in Afghanistan? Did you find that the people you were photographing were more difficult with you because you were a woman? Or did they just ignore that because you were a member of the press?”

Paula: “No, they were more difficult with me because I am a woman. And I was more difficult with them.”

You can see some examples of Paula’s photography here.

one night in kanchanaburi

I’ve been feeling bummed out about Thailand lately, between it being the cold season and everyone dropping the ball on democracy, so I needed to be reminded of what is awesome about this country, and what better place for that than the country fair?

There was juvenile violence:

You think cocks don’t grow on trees? But they do:

There was an exhibit on “thai days of olde” whose purpose was to evoke nostalgia for the agricultural past, when really Thailand has more of an agricultural present. A student a dressed up in traditional working class farmer clothes showed me how to mill rice. A crowd gathered, because nothing is more entertaining for Thai people than watching foreigners do Thai traditional things.

The best part was when a real farmer stepped out of the crowd, took the basket thing from her, said “little sister, here is how you do it”, and showed the student-actor the proper way to do it.

student dressed like a farmer, milling rice

What is better than a guy with a big sword? Two guys with big swords! (This was an exhibit from a film company)

When you see the driving in Bangkok, you might be surprised to find out that you have to take lessons to get a permit, but you do:

This carnie just didn’t give a shit. He was smoking a cigarette next to a young kid and filling up a giant balloon with air.

I am missing some of the best parts of the fair, including foot massages, underaged disco/bumper cars, banana candies, thai bbq, python exhibit, motorcycle stunts and breakdancing bootleg dvds.

If you have a chance to go to a country fair in Thailand, you should go!

thai government dissolved

The current Thai government has been dissolved by the courts.

There was a busload of soldiers at the ministry of Finance. They were all squatting together on the grass, eating fried rice out of styrofoam containers, their riot gear abandoned on the sidewalk next to them.

In the last coup, people used the tanks and soldiers as scenery to film music videos. Soldiers let pretty girls hold their guns and take pictures with them. The army general had to issue a decree telling people to take the coup more seriously.

What is best and what is worst about Thailand is that it is so human. Life here has a human scale, people touch you, people talk about food, about how good they look, about dating, about their family and each other. At home it seems like everyone wants to talk about vegan footwear, pretentious theories and dog sweaters. But Thailand’s humanity is also what plagues it with corruption and nepotism. In particular, it seems unable to reach an equilibrium between the rich and the poor, which leads to constant political instability. There have been 17 coups in Thailand since it became a democracy.


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