I love Bangkok for many reasons but one of the things I hate the most about the city is that the pedestrians’ rights are being ignored and violated heavily. However, when I get back from DC this month, there are some obvious changes on my neighbour’s streets in Phra Khanong area that make me feel welcoming. One is the installations of anti-motorcycle barriers and the other is the reorganising of street vendors.
Bangkok is quite infamous for its traffic but it doesn’t really bother me that much as long as public transport is still running reliably. So often that I rather walk unless it’s too hot, humid, or raining. But it is also often when you walk on the pavement and have to give ways to motorcycles. They illegally make a cheap short cut on the footpath—pedestrians’ footpaths—to avoid traffic on their roads where they are supposed to be. I find it is extremely unfair.
This is why I’m glad to see those anti-motorcycle barriers popping up on Sukhumvit Road around Phra Khanong Station. They are called ‘S-guard’, apparently. Even though I don’t think they will completely eradicate the behavior, at least, it’s a start to discourage bikers to evade walkways.
To a more controversial issue—street vendors. It has been somewhat a win-win to both vendors and customers. Optimising public space for micro business is not uncommon in Thailand. Bangkok’s street-food scene is one of the best in the world. And I couldn’t agree more. But when Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced they were going to clear up the streets, there were some outcries about banning the unique Thai vendor culture.
On the very first night back in Phra Khanong, I am disoriented to find that half the vendors disappear from the street. There are only stalls on the building side of the pavement. But further down, those missing vendors are grouped together in small open area in front of a building that hasn’t been commercially utilised for years. It’s a relieve to see that my favourites noodles vendor is still there.
Personally, I like to have good footpaths to stroll on. At the same time I don’t mind getting something to eat there as well. These changes seem to be a practical compromise for me. And Phra Khanong is fortunate that is working. This might not be the case in other areas as some reports say.
One of my definite to-do lists when I was back in Bangkok last December was to pay respect to the late King. The main reason wasn’t for the sake of myself paying the respect but to see the people and their activities around it.
Totally, it took about six hours that day to eventually get into the Grand Palace for ten minutes to pay the homage to HM’s body. Most of that time was just a wait in Sanam Luang, outside the Grand Palace. That would be enough for me to get a glimpse of the mourning environment.
Looking back in 2016, I have spent time around six months each in Washington DC and Bangkok, going back and forth. Things I have learnt from it were life as a migrant bird seemed to be the pattern now and these physical traveling weren’t as intense as the inner journey I’ve had.
Continuing from August 2015, I was in DC until March. Those eight months shook my mental state into identity crisis and self-doubts. The biggest one would be why I keep running into an uncertainty like that again and again. That created a quest for me to try to comprehend it.
At the same time, work-wise, I was pleased to see the last video I produced at the last job in Bangkok in 2015 was finally published. It was another video I pushed through, using live action to convey messages of a report on Thailand’s education system.
It was planned when I finished the contract job in DC by the end of March to be able to get to Bangkok by the time of Thai New Year celebration. And I party so as if there was no next year.
There have been some concerns, as always with decencies of water fight, the fatality of the road tolls, and this year, Southeast Asia is facing a severe drought. That would be that the killer, which bring the festival down.
Nonetheless, I go out all three days to the three major spots in Bangkok: Silom, Royal City Avenue, and Khao Sarn Road. I play with pano in iPhone that gives a jiggering effect when panning the phone around with lots of moving people. It portrays the wild scene nicely, I find. Click each image to see the details of deform humans. Continue reading Songkran Like No Next One→
This is the final post of the series. Out to Space has come to year twelve. And most posts of the year are what I’ve been looking back in those years of the blog. Why am I doing this? Not only because it reveals to me why I blog but also gives some directions where it could go next.