Dubai is set to embark on a cultural journey as the realisation of UN Studio's Museum of Middle East Modern Art begins, the Ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced this week. It will be the first museum of its kind in Dubai and will be located on the banks of Khor Dubai in Culture Village.
The futuristic, elegant form created by UN Studio's design is sleek and bold in its massing leaning over passers-by as though it were the bow of an enormous ship. Dubai Properties Group are to develop the Museum's design which was commissioned by His Highness Sheik Mohammed following the establishment of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and the launch of Khor Dubai which is designed to celebrate cultural diversity in the UAE. In addition to the Museum the UAD 50 billion Culture Village will hold 40 million sq ft of land and will include an amphitheatre, an exhibition hall and smaller museums.
World Architecture News
Monday, June 30, 2008
A local instant-noodle manufacturer has denied claims it is re-introducing a failed product to capitalise on a topical but controversial issue. A spokeswoman for Sodomee™ said: "It is just a coincidence. We are revitalizing some of the products and Sodomee™ happens to be one of them".
"We however, will not deny that we hope to get free advertising on the airwaves again. Many of our pretty newscasters mispronounced the OTHER word as So-doh-me, thus giving us free mileage previously".
Here's a few great Thai TV ads, selling light bulbs with evil spirits, selling ceiling tiles with a gecko love tragedy, and selling beer with life's wonderful moments. The Thai advertising industry really is a marvel.
Thai Ad for Light Bulbs
A Gecko Love Story
A Trio of Thai Ads for Cheers Beer
Sunday, June 29, 2008
With all the money rolling into the Middle East, Saudi Arabia can probably build anything it wants, and perhaps to compete with the amazing constructions in Dubai, they will soon build a new cultural center that dwarfs anything else in the world.
In competition with some of the world’s greatest architects, Snøhetta has won the competition about designing Saudi Arabia’s new Cultural Center. Saudi Aramco – the world’s largest oil company – is the client.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz set the cornerstone for the Cultural Center which will house a museum, library, theater, cinema and more. The building reflects the history of oil in Saudi Arabia and is different from the country’s architectonic traditions with its abstract and spectacular form.
Along with five other internationally know architect offices, Snøhetta participated in the competition and was chosen in preference to famous names as Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas.
Saudi Arabia Cultural Center
Asia Times Online is one of the few websites that cover Asian politics in any depth, especially after the sad demise of Far Eastern Economic Review and Asia Week. AT is highly opinionated, and often anti-American, but it's a good read if you can handle the complexity and insiderness about the whole thing.
But it sometimes reads way too wonky and probably loses many casual readers, who want something more accessible along with the heavy political coverage. And so I welcome their latest weekly columnist, who has been working at Asian Sex Gazette for five years, and launches with a look at the recent winner of the Pattaya Miss Transvestite contest. There's no much new in the story, but it's sensitive and shows that William Sparrow does his research and background interviews.
And it was Nong Noeng's comments on Thailand's mandatory conscription for males - based on a lottery and sexuality at birth - that brought down the house during the Miss Tiffany question-and-answer section. Asked "whether she would be happy to join as a man", she drew guffaws and applause by responding: "Last year, I went to register as a soldier but my figure had changed, so the government did not let me. We are beautiful - so we don't need to be soldiers."
In fact, the government seems to agree. In March, Thailand adjusted its military law that had said transvestites were too "mentally disturbed" to serve to less harsh wording that recognizes their status and exempts them from service. And just this week, British newspaper The Telegraph reported that a Thai school had built a "transvestite toilet" after 200 students said they considered themselves to be transgender.
Such young people should listen to Nong Noeng: "Everything is up to the individual themselves. Me and women like me can be good or bad examples. I want to say to young people that if you want or feel you need to live this type of lifestyle, then you need to be good to yourself and those around you. This will help family, friends and society accept you for what you are."
Nong Noeng has won her competition and women and men like her share the victory. Nong Noeng, and also Thai society, are helping to define and accept alternative sexualities at home and across the world. For this, she should be celebrated - just as Thailand does - as a woman willing to push the limits of gender rights, equality and, ultimately, freedom.
William Sparrow has been an occasional contributor to Asia Times Online and now joins Asia Times Online with a weekly column. Sparrow is editor in chief of Asian Sex Gazette and has reported on sex in Asia for over five years. To contact him send question or comments to Letters@atimes.com.
Asia Times Online Column by William Sparrow
It's Sunday afternoon here in San Francisco and I can hear the noise and music coming from the LBGT celebration in Civic Center Plaza, which is just a few blocks from my place. No, I'm not going to bother to go over there, but in honor of the day, here's an amusing video clip from the great Prelinger Achives.
YouTube Clip on Perversion for Profit
Posted by Carl Parkes on Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Since I call myself FriskoDude, and an old friend has the website thedude.com, there's a cosmic connection, but now it seems, somebody in Bangkok has started his own church of the dudeness. As reported by Absolutely Bangkok, another fine dude, I'm sure.
We, the people of Thailand, have a prophet living amongst us. Or never heard of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude? It’s a church that employs a fine-tuned version of Taoism and principles from the movie The Big Lebowski, a crime caper about a philosophical middle-aged slacker who goes by the name The Dude.
Journalist Oliver Benjamin, the church’s 40-year-old American founder, is the very same Oliver Benjamin who liveth amongst us an earthly existence in Thailand and preaches The Tao of the Dude. Benjamin’s the jolly Messiah of that very church that ordains even you as a Dudeist Priest. All you have to do is apply online.
If your brain is not that able anymore to absorb real depths and complex issues after all these years in Thailand, Benjamin’s Dudeism is for you. Enlighten up, as prophet Benjamin tells us, this self-declared “religion-starter.”
Benjamin who? What church?! Dudeism?!?
In the Beginning was the Word and a Benjamin who was a tourist who became an aspiring novelist, then an editor, musician and the father finally of Dudeism. He had set foot in Thailand in the early 90s. Three novels never got published, a modest writing career paid the bills.
He then saw the light. “Of course, the only thing I’m really proud of is Dudeism,” Benjamin tells absolutely. “We’ve got almost 25,000 ordained ministers in the year and a half since going online. It’s a lot of fun.”
A religion, fun?
As a Dudeist Priest of Benjamin’s Church of the Latter-Day “you could preside over a wedding, a funeral, a bris, a baptism or even a pet-spaying ceremony with pride and authority,” the lebowskian guardian of fulfillment-through-insouciance told the Wall Street Journal.
You as a Bangkokian by free choice know that to find uncommon characters in Bangkok is rather common. But there’s a profound difference between the plain weird and the sophisticated weird. And Benjamin’s a resident of Chiang Mai for that; a “creative nut” who gave the world not only Dudeism, but an ingenious Thai script named Fon Tok as well. A font, says Benjamin, that “smells like lemongrass and looks like rice noodles.”
Monday, June 16, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Oh, the pain the misery. Now checking my email at the Arribas Juntos computer center here in the Mission, and received a message from Dell that my computer delivery has been delayed a week. Sheesh. And I thought I was getting a good deal at $650, then noticed an ad in last week's Sunday Chronicle that the same model is now selling for $599. Yeah, it's 3GB of ram, not MB. The new printer, optical mouse, and stereo system is all plugged in and ready to go....just waiting for Dell to get its act together.........
Posted by Carl Parkes on Thursday, June 12, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Hello, everyone. An update. Several readers have pointed out that my old Dell laptop should still work without a battery as along as it's plugged into the wall. Yes, I know that is logical, but it doesn't work with this laptop, and not sure the reason why. The old goat just seems to have some serious problems, so I'm sending it out to pasture.
A few days ago, I ordered a new laptop from Dell, called an Inspiron, whatever that means. For $650, the laptop has Intel Dual Core chip set, 3MB of ram, 250GB hard drive, webcam, etc., so it's a high end laptop....plus they threw in a choice of external colors, so it's coming in ruby red. Very sexy.
I also ordered a optical mouse and a printer/scanner/fax machine at $59, so I should be set up with broadband sometime in the middle of next week.
I rarely spend much money on toys, so this is all great fun for me. Sorry about all the delays, but computer problems are a fact of life for all of us. My other hope is to cannibalize my old laptop, take out the hard drive, and take off the thousands of images that I've been using on this website/blog. Did I ever back that stuff up? Nah, I'm a lazy bastard just like everyone else out there.
So that's the update. Next post will probably be my return to blogging.
Posted by Carl Parkes on Thursday, June 05, 2008