Saturday, August 30, 2008

Armpit Problems in Southeast Asia

During the screening of "My Magic" by the Singaporean director Eric Khoo, I felt a very sharp pain in my armpit. I hate to say it, but, I kind of felt like I was having a premature heart attack. Post screening I expressed my feeling of discomfort to my friend Jordan. Much to my surprise I realized that he experienced a sharp pain in his pits as well. Several others including professors and industry professionals who overheard our conversation chimed in with similar stories of armpit pain. We put our stories and symptoms together and concluded that we all similarly have inflamed sweat axillary glands due to moisture being trapped in our hair follicles. Gross! The humidity is intense out in these parts, I am selfishly glad that others share in my discomfort.

PS. Go check out Eric Khoo's new film when it gets distributed in the US. The film is about an alcoholic magician that has to take care of his only child. Its very sweet and special.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My apartment is weird

There was a local concert in the park outside of my Walk up. Transvestites sang some odd Chinese Anthem. A big crowd gathered, they may have been the most non-expressive crowd that I have ever witnessed. They clapped for the performers post performance as if they were watching a bad comedian. At one point I, the only white person, was put on the spot. The performers said something to me in Chinese, but I don't really know what, something about a boyfriend and me being cute. Photos attached.

Much love,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kim Tian food

The most exciting thing about my new apartment is that I live directly above tiny hawker food stalls. Right below me is a delicious Muslim/Indian Restaurant, several fresh squeezed juice stalls, and multiple noodle shops. The Chinese Restaurant downstairs has live frogs that will eventually be cooked, I think about freeing one of these sweet little toads every single day. From a distance it looked as though one local stall was selling "Poo buns", I took a closer look and realized they were actually selling "Pao buns". Bummer! My new local restaurants and home is on Kim Tian Road, a short distance away from the Tiong Bahru MRT station. I love my new access to delicious eats for midnight snacks when drowned in work, or after a late night out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My new Friend Nate

I have a new friend named Nate. Nate is French. You can tell that he is French because he makes big gestures with his hands to express himself. Nate's father was a baker at the famous French pastry shop "Fauchon". When Nate was 8 years old his Dad was asked to open up his own pastry shop in Tokyo. Japanese people love Paris, but, usually after Japanese people come back from Paris they get really depressed. They get depressed because Paris tends to be really dirty and smelly and the people there aren't very friendly to Japanese tourists. So, Nate and his family moved to Tokyo, where France could come to Japan. Nate's dad recently went through a mid life crisis and stopped baking beautiful cakes. Rather, he decided to start up his own line of lingerie (I imagine his lingerie to look like his beautifully decorated cakes). He tests his bras out on his wife and Nate's older sister.

The biggest joy in the world is sharing good friends with good friends. I look forward to collecting as many as possible.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pet Burial Grounds in Singapore

Some pet owners go beyond urns and niches: they pay hundreds of dollars for Buddhist monks to chant prayers during urn placement ceremonies or for memorial services. More information on Singaporean pet burial grounds at:

Baby whale mistakes a yacht for its mum

According to the Singapore Straights times...

"In Sydney, an abandoned baby humpback whale has apparently mistaken a moored yacht for its mother.

'The calf has spent the last day or so in Pittwater and we believe it has been nuzzling up to a moored vessel in an attempt to find milk,' Mr Chris McIntosh, local manager for the New South Wales state national parks service, said yesterday.

Experts say the baby whale cannot survive more than a few days without milk provided by its mother.

Rescuers tried to wing the yacht out to sea, in an attempt to lure the calf into deeper waters and away from Pittwater, which is north of Sydney Harbour."

169th World Photography day in Kathmandu!

Nepalese Photojournalists dressed up as cameras during a rally yesterday to mark the 169th world photography day. They forgot their actual cameras at home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barack Roll

copy and paste link

This was brought to my attention by Andy Doro. Barack is such a smooth dancer.

10 Things

Today as I was getting coffee, I envisioned myself on a formal sit down interview with a pressing CNN news journalist. The question: "What do you like most about living in South East Asia?"

My response (not in any particular order and without the numberings)

1. Wearing flat shoes and being of average height.
2. Spicy foods
3. Sweet foods
4. Weird foods with bouncy textures
5. Old people exercising in the morning
6. Complete order/Complete chaos
7. An appreciation for rich colors along with a faded green tea color
8. Tropical flora and fauna
9. Shamans and fortune tellers
10. Tradition


Apparently in China its cool to dye your dog different colors. Above are images that I took at a Shanghai pet shop of a rainbow dyed dog and a bushy eyebrow dyed dog (slight resemblance to Grouch Marx, maybe?). I personally think this pet-owner freedom of expression is pretty awesome. My sincerest apologies to all animal activists reading this "blogspot". But, seriously, whoa.



Monday, August 18, 2008


A Celebration of the Morning, Lumphini

My favorite parts of cities are their parks. In parks you gain access to people at peace, without work and in leisure, in others' company or alone. In a park there are no pretentions, they welcome the old, the young, and the crazy.

I've been going to Lumphini park in Bangkok for the past 4 years. Its the most beautiful, and alive place that I've ever frequented. Every morning around 7:00 am elders fill the park and sip tea with comrades, some practice tai chi in yellow jumpsuits, others dance in groups to 70's disco music, some sing karaoke under tropical fauna, and others do yoga with a teacher that shouts out instructions through a megaphone. At times stray 5 foot long iguanas will intercept your walk as they pass by you on their way to the nearest pond. Old men say hi to me, the Farong (foreigner), as I make a lap around them. A man gyrates vigorously and my immediate impulse is to laugh, a look closer at his face and not his moving body and I see a man deep in meditation. I feel bad for laughing. Everyone has their morning quirks, in fact everyone has quirks and that is what makes each person so great.

Two Umbrellas on Telephone Wires

Thai Contemporary Art

The colors and repetitive images just suck me in and then hold me there. Treasures to find in the smallest details.

Just to name a few, above are some pieces by Navin's Sala, Ralf Tooten, and Preyawit Nilachulaka. You can find many of Bangkok's galleries within the Silom Galleria on Surasak Road, a short distance away from Pat Pong.

The Most Amazing Gift

My mother and I were browsing through "loft" (a Japanese chain, chachka shop) in Bangkok, when I came across the possibly most ridiculous gift I have ever seen...miniature animal key chains that you can photoshop your face inside of! Sounds complicated, eh? Well, we had to purchase some for my Pops. Attached you will find images of my mother and I morphed into these little animal people. When a "loft" employee was making my little animal person come to life, he photoshoped my face to half look like a Thai baby! I stopped him. I believe the name of this odd but cute product is called a "Shalark".

If you would like to purchase one, and you can translate this Japanese website, please visit:

Bangkok's Chinatown/Sign City

Feel free to impart your own translations/ New Yorker captions (but, please, nothing about psychologists).


Walk outside and you are covered in sweat. The grit of the city rubs right off onto your clothes. Women hold hands with other women who might actually be men that have recently removed certain parts. Smells of raw fish, fresh spices, car exhaust and lotus flowers. Colors blindingly bright. Devour foods that are so spicy that you cry and sweat, but, this particular sweat cools you off. It's never felt so good and so raw to feel so fucking hot. Sweet smiles from beautiful women, looks of fear from white men who have just bedded those same women for money. Buy a fresh squeezed watermelon juice from a street vendor, the vendor touches you gently and tells you how absolutely beautiful you are. Some people have Paris, I've got Bangkok.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

South Korea's Fake Funerals

In order to decrease their record suicide rates, South Korea has developed a fear tactic/program that is aimed at helping its citizens better appreciate their lives. This program of betterment and appreciation involves staging individuals' fake deaths! In this program people are encouraged to write their last will and testament, read their wills aloud and eventually get buried alive!

for more information and photographs see:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

1. Translation of the word "foreigner" to Mandarin: Lao Wai:
literal English translation "Old Outsider"
2. Translation of the word "foreigner" to Cantonese: Gui Lao:
literal English translation "White Ghost"

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Mangostin

This little purple fruit baby is the most delicious fruit. It is commonly found throughout the tropics of South East Asia. Peel the skin away and behold tender and slimy sections. The Mangostin is actually handled like an orange. There are seeds inside each section, but they are soft enough to chew and then swallow. Sweet and twangy deliciousness.

luang prabang, Laos

Sunday, August 10, 2008