Category Archives: Events

Other Contexts of Passion Play

Surrounded by street vendors
Surrounded

There were so much more than just Passion Play performance in Iztapalapa. They could not run such the extravaganza without supports from other teams. To name the least, there were police, Red Cross, volunteers, etc. Their contributions multiplied my fascination for the event.

Before getting there, I was told to be cautious in the crowd. But nothing really happened to me. Until I decided to take a shortcut across the town and got lost in a local neighbourhood without any sight of other visitors or a police line up. (That was when you relied on Google Map too much.) The looks of the residents weren’t so welcoming. Then I realised it was a dead end. I turned back, scooted out, and found my way back in the crowd.

That was a just small alarm compared to what happened next in my head. I was lost again. But this time was inside the route barricades, where the performances flowed along. Obviously, I wasn’t authorised. 

I had gatecrashed a parade once in Sydney Chinese New Year event, stayed in the barrier for a while and got some good shots. Until a staff had caught me and politely escorted me out. But this one could have been a very different story for many reasons.

My legs were heavy, my bladder was full, my skin was toasted, and most of all, my stress went up to the clear blue sky. I needed a break but had to keep moving on, taking photos (it was an exceptional photo opp after all), and hoping no one noticed that I wasn’t supposed to be in there. Until there was an exit.

What kept me going in there was the experience in photographing big events like Sydney Mardi Gras. And I acted professionally. Actually, I missed the thrill and the excitement since I hadn’t done anything like that for a decade. It could have been less stressful if I got prepared for it. 

It took around eight hours in the borough when I decided to stop taking photos. By that time, my energy was drained out by the heat, the crowd, and especially, the adrenaline in my brain. Being a solo traveller and not speaking Spanish didn’t help. However, in the end, it was such an experience that I hadn’t had for a long time.

Passion Play in Iztapalapa

It was Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebration in Mexico. I was aware of it but didn’t realise how significant it was until got my feet there. Since it was at the right time, I had to be in the right place. That was Iztapalapa to see the largest and the most elaborate Passion Play in Mexico. I had no idea what to expect and it turned to be my most intense photography shoot in recent years.

Crucifixion of Jesus
Crucifixion of Jesus in Iztapalapa

With a little time for background research and not many online resources in English, I took a plunge and caught the Metro to the borough in the morning of Good Friday. The day was the peak of the reenactment for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Although my knowledge of Catholicism was very limited, the vibe made me immersed in it. It was apparent how much dedication put into their faith. My eyes were even wet at some point. It was the first time I experienced Christianity like this.

The performance spread along the designated route around the borough. It was hard to keep track of what was going on. The best approach for me was just to go along with the flow. It caused some anxiety during the photo shoot. I might talk about it later.

But the event wasn’t just about the performance. I also enjoyed seeing its ecosystem–how others related to it. That will be in the next post.

The Pride and the Heat

It’s the first year in DC that I stay until late spring in June. And I feel obliged to check out Capital Pride.

I skip all the parties and the parade. Unfortunately, I missed the Equality March due to time conflict with my regular Sunday gym class. (Obviously, that’s my priority.) The only event I go is the Festival.

But I stay there for about two hours because the heat and humidity is just too unbearable. Although I find some similarities and differences with Sydney Mardi Gras, it is too much to dig deep into it. Besides, the event doesn’t really engage to stay until my volunteer shift starts at 7.30 pm. So, I just log on the volunteer portal and cancel it. They could live without me.

It’s the first LGBT celebration since I left Sydney. My takeaway is that I have moved on. It doesn’t get me excited and having fun with discovering and sharing it like I took photos of Fair Day event for the first time ten years ago.

In fact, I have been over this scene for a long time. My last engagement with Mardi Gras was in 2010 when I got a rooftop spot to shoot the whole parade. However, I consider my early works on LGBT exposed myself to the world and I am grateful for that. That could be the main reason for my feeling of obligation for the Pride this year.

A Talk at Korat

A classmate of mine at Thammasat University who teaches at Suranaree University of Technology asks in the Class private group on Facebook if anyone of us wants to be a panel in a career talk for the students. I put my hands up for a number of reasons.

First, obviously, it is an opportunity to share my experiences to the students. There are too many aspects to talk about my career when tracing back when I was in event management business, hospitality in Australia and back here in Bangkok as a World Bank employee.

Secondly, it is interesting to see a rough picture of a university outside centralised Bangkok. The university is located in Nakon Ratchasima or Korat province, the gateway to the northeast of Thailand.

Most of all, I actually have not caught up with many of my friends since I moved back to Thailand. In fact, for some, we have not met since the graduation, including the organiser. It will be good to have a mini class reunion. Looking at the panels as ordered in the poster:

  1. Nat Sumanatemeya, one of the best underwater photographers in Thailand
  2. Paranee Techawatanasomboon, Co General Director, True Digital Content and Media
  3. Piyawan Sangtong, Marketing Communication Manager, True Digital Plus Co., Ltd.
  4. Chawida Watinchai, Senior Reporter, Thai News Network
  5. Patra Sangdanuch, Author, PatraBooks
  6. Anna Bunchai, Author, Likit Rak See Kram
  7. Me
  8. Sommai Lertularn, Screenwriter, Before Valentine
  9. Arnon Dangsirisangtong, Flight Attendence, Thai Airways International

The talk will be held on 8 April, 1-4 pm at Auditorium Floor 4, Library Resources and Educational Media Center.

Will post about the trip and talk later.

Mardi Gras Parade 2010

Mardi Gras Parade 2010 from ApostrophePong on Vimeo.

I was not planning to take any photos for Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras this year (2010) but the night before the parade, the producer told me they could get me an access to the rooftop of Oxford Hotel and I could do whatever I want up there. I could not resist the temptation to create a classic time lapse of the Mardi Gras Parade.

It was shot manually frame by frame therefore the time ratio was intentionally various on what happened on the street. For instance, The clean up in the last few seconds in the video actually took as much the same time as the parade itself.

Music “Fast Forward (Flowchart Remix)” by Lali Puna