Turning away from the politics, the Xanga fundraiser, and all that serious stuff, I just wanted to share with you two pictures of Bangkok taken the past few days. This isn’t a particularly pretty city, but these two pictures do manage to capture the city’s nicer side.
Taken by visiting Singaporean friend David Chein (follow him on Instagram at davidchein), this is a view of Lumphini Park taken from the Dusit Thani Hotel. On the left side you see the Silom Skytrain line running past the headquarters of the Thai Red Cross. In the distance are the upscale hotels and offices in the Ratchadamri neighborhood. In the foreground is the statue of King Rama VI, which sits at the corner of Rama IV and Ratchadamri Roads. We have had strong winds the past few days so very little haze.
Late yesterday afternoon, I took this picture of Terminal 21, a mall, office tower, and service apartment complex located at the corner of Asoke and Sukhumvit Roads. With the setting sun behind it, the building took on a glow that looks just like a computer illustration. It was a real photo, though!
Pictures like this remind me that while Bangkok can be a bit scruffy sometimes, there is still beauty to be found.
The other day while in a Bangkok department store, I noticed this odd pairing of shops: Playboy Intimates is located adjacent to the Hello Kitty boutique. In face, about half of this floor sells lingerie and a quarter of it is the children’s toy department. I’m certainly not a prude but at the same time I have to wonder what messages are received by young children, especially girls, about self-image.
In the aftermath of the May political protests and the two days of rioting and fires that followed, certain parts of the city showed the scars of this violence, despite efforts by business and civic leaders to clean up and put on a fresh face. One area in particular where these scars still showed was the shops in the eastern section of Siam Square, a popular shopping destination in the heart of Bangkok. Until just a few weeks ago – more than two months after the protests – this sign from a skin care clinic remained unreplaced.
I saw it while walking from the Siam Skytrain station and found it very evocative of the Buddhist teaching that everything is impermanent, our beauty as well as our bodies.
Just a week or so ago, I passed by again and noticed that the clinic has put a new sign up and is, it seems, back in business. In this most Buddhist of countries, you can once again test the precepts of your faith and see if beauty can be made permanent.