It is dangerous to blow smoke directly into your infant’s face.
Question: What is your favorite kind of bird?
Bloom from Bangkok, Thailand:
“Eagle? Why? Or maybe duck.”
“What it for?”
–Can’t tell you. Top secret.
“errrrrg. Ok. Can I have the duck with the green head? The one that people hunt. And Labrador have to go get it in the water.”
“Seems like you have a lot of free time.”
Brian from Chicago, Illinois:
“Probably a penguin or an owl.”
Cole from Hoboken, New Jersey:
“Kingfisher or morning grosbeak.”
Moin from Dhaka, Bangladesh:
“Hard to say. I don’t really like pigeons.”
“The Krakatoa! …They look and act cool.”
–That is a volcano…
“It’s a bird too…”
–Not according to my Google search, but I’ll take it. (*turns out he was thinking of a Kakatua)
PJ from Baltimore, Maryland:
–Yes. Bird. Favorite?
“I don’t know if I’ve given enough thought to this answer. So I’ll say Oriole.”
Will from Syracuse, NY and Baltimore, MD:
“That blue sucker. It’s goofy as shit and I love it.”
*see Bonus Video for… video.
Linnea from Gothenburg, Sweden:
“hmm.. maybe a swan.”
Dan from Columbo, Sri Lanka:
“Depends how drunk I am.”
Ilaria from Leidschendam-Voorburg, Netherlands
“A duck? Yes. They are cute.”
If you pick 10 random Thais, according to statistics, nearly 9.5 of them will tell you they are Buddhist. Thai Buddhism is considered to be a branch of Theravada Buddhism, however it incorporates elements of animism, mysticism, and even the belief in earth-dwelling ghosts. To most Thais, the presence of spirits on earth is unquestionable. Although not entirely a cultural faux pas, talking about ghosts and spirits isn’t the most popular topic of conversation. Many people here believe that spirits are everywhere. Every home, school, restaurant, 7/11, girly bar, dance club, and dive shop you walk into in Thailand, you will be able to find a spirit house, or san phra phum. When an individual encroaches on a property to establish a home or business, he is displacing the spirits who have been occupying that land, to which spirit houses serve as a new home. The steps of these mini ghost condos are often adorned with offerings of food, flowers, and drink (often red Fanta™, presumably because no animate being likes red Fanta™). While the notion of ghosts and wandering spirits are generally laughed off and dismissed as crazy-talk in America, the situation is much different here. I have Thai friends and students who tell me, with very serious tone and expression, that they have seen ghosts. When the subject comes to conversation around my university, people often talk of one particular building as being haunted. I lived in this building for about six months and never saw anything that resembled a floating white bed sheet with eyeholes, but I know at least one person who has. The building has a history peppered with stories of tragic suicides—students who had succumbed to the pressure of family, teachers, and society in a culture where “saving face” can sometimes lead to pent-up emotions.
It’s chilling sometimes to consider the topic of ghosts and think about the difference in attitude that Americans and Thais (maybe even Westerners and Asians) hold—someone is right.
I sit and shine this green lazer (‘lazer’ looks cooler than ‘laser’) into the sky from my friend’s apartment on the 10th floor of a building in Bangkok. Little do I know, I just triggered a series of events that have tens of people scrambling, excited to finally prove the skeptics wrong. They are receiving contact from another world, another intelligent civilization. How can this signal be decoded? Is it encrypted? Who created and transmitted this beam of light? What are they trying to say? Are they peaceful? What do they look like? Does the capability to interact with them even exist? Is this simply some drunk kid playing with a ฿500 laser pointer that his friend bought off of a little old lady with a basket full of novelty toys on Khaosan Road?