Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bangkok Chinatown

I last came to Bangkok in 1991. Then, there were rumours of an imminent coup. A few days later, the then Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan appeared on state television to deny the rumours. Soon after his assurance, Chatichai was deposed. That was February 1991. Coup leader General Suchinda Kraprayoon made himself the new Prime Minister without democractic elections although he promised one earlier. Public protests took to the streets ending with a blood bath after Suchinda brought the tanks to the capital.
The King intervened in May the same year to bring in fresh elections bringing democracy to Thailand and Chuan Leekpai as Prime Minister in 1992.
Fast forward 14 years, and another coup happened on 19 Sep 2006. This time deposing Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (first elected in Jan 2001). Here we go all over again!

In the aftermath of the coup, the military junta has tried digging out skeletons out of Thaksin's closet. One of them is the much criticised new airport of Bangkok, alleging heavy corruption and shoddy workmanship. I can't comment on the shoddiness, but surely there seems to be lots of heavy metal. Whoever decided and designed the place must love heavy metal!

As a trained civil engineer, it all looked structurally very over-designed.

Enough of those grey iron. This beautiful orchids are taken at the hotel. Thailand has in recent years, become the biggest orchid exporter in the world.

This is Bangkok Chinatown. We stayed in the hotel opposite called Chinatown Hotel. :)
In case you are wondering, the billboard is depicting a giant shark fin!!!

We were hungry after a hard day's work, so we head for the street stalls. No shark fins served!

We had some tea and coffee, watching the world go by.

This mug is really cool! Years ago, it used to be very fashionable in Singapore. It is basically a tin mug with hand crafted patterns.

This stall sells sweet gingko soup.

One full bowl. They are very filling and yummy!

Dusk in Chinatown.

And the night life thickened

Traditional Chinese Medicine Shop

A religious artifact shop

Night Market

This little boy was wanting me to snap his pix. So I did.

The white flowers are jasmine. An Indian influence.
These dollar bills are real!!!
They are hanged as decoration in the reception of the massage parlour where we went.

Pictures of the King and Queen are everywhere.
The people has very high regards for their King.
The mobile phone sales girl shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't care if Thanksin is in power or the military. And when I added that she only liked the King, she corrected me by saying she loves the King.

It was late, and time to retire to the hotel.

Look at the building on the left, it looks like preserved vegetables!!!

Lovely old Peugeot

Captured this lotus pots amid the noise and haste of the city.
It grows up beautiful despite starting in muddy waters.
Traditional Chinese Temple
For those of you who are not familiar, Chinese Temple goers pray to Taoist dieties and also Buddha. Thai temple goers pray only to Buddha.

A local talk shop

This fruit stall managed to get some shop space in between two parking lots! :)

Chinatown skyscraper! :)

Pawn shop

Buddhist amulets
I can feel the vibrations amongst them.
Some stronger than others.
Some hardly any vibes.
The seller asked me if I can tell which is real and which is not.
I told him I couldn't.

This is a display in the airport.
Kind of a tug-of-war between good and evil with the judge in the middle.

I guess this is the good side.

Erhem, any guess which side is this?

This is the figurine in the middle.
I guess he is the aribitrator of peace.
Much like what the King did after each military coup.

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