very thai

March 23, 2008

very thai.jpg

What does Thailand mean to you? White beaches, mouth-burning curries, ladyboys, muai thai or thai silks?

The sweet guesthouse we stayed at was such a quiet haven from the madness of Bangkok streets, with lots of personal touches like woven slippers for every guest and a living room with a little library. It was there that I saw this fantastic book, and liked it so much I picked up a copy at Suvarnabhumi. 60 short essays on different aspects of cultural life in Thailand today are accompanied by colourful illustrating pictures.

It helped to explain lots of the street life we saw around us, including motorcyle taxis (and their team uniform jackets), dinner on a stick, poodle bushes and potted gardens at bus stops. It was extra interesting, both from the book and real life, to see what Thailand and Malaysia have in common (drinks in bags, tiny pink (non-absorbent) tissues, roadside fortune tellers, datins/khunyings, blind bands, fairy lights galore…) as well as how they differ (insect snacks, tuk-tuks, both they do, we don’t).

So, same-same, but still very different… and very Thai.

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3 Responses to “very thai”

  1. M Says:

    Oh! Is there a Malaysian version? would love to get one for Drew …

  2. sunburn Says:

    Wouldn’t that be cool? Maybe here’s a gap in the market 🙂 I vote the following for inclusion: Mamak, ta pau food (in pink plastic bags), Ah Bengs and Mat Rocks. What would you add?

  3. M Says:

    The roti man (very favourite childhood memory); carrot cake – which is not a cake and not made from carrot (inspired by your pasar malam entry); same school uniforms throughout the country (!); the smell of rotting oil palm fruits on the Kota Tinggi to JB highway …

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