Sunday, June 18, 2006

Thai Population Control

I just saw a woman on a motorcycle zipping at a good clip down a major road here in Chiang Rai, her very young child (3-4 y.o.) clutching the back of her blouse to stay on the bike. Neither were wearing helmets. Oh, and the woman was driving with one hand, because with her other hand she was talking on her cell phone.

I had just read the other day how effective the Thai population control effort has been. But really, I had no idea.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Who Let the Monks In?

Dr. S used to go to a lot of tech trade shows. Over the years, he's experienced a handful of what are known in techie circles as "perfect geek moments": an object of high-tech lust presented by a bodacious booth bimbo. Occasionally, revealing costumes are involved.

Just a block away from SardonicLabs Asia Regional Services HQ (aka SARS HQ), there is a five-story high-tech store (tukcom) that is more or less a permanent trade show. It's one of the most popular stores in town. All the major consumer tech vendors (Apple included) have presence there, and each day they one or two of them does a product preso on the main floor. Today it was Samsung's turn: five teenaged girls, in their underwear and high heels, danced and sang songs about Samsung's latest cell phones.

That's how the locals serve up perfect geek moments. But the real reason Dr. S has more or less taken up residence in tukcom has to do with what's served up in their basement: an air-conditioned (big deal here) "food court" featuring about a dozen vendors who prepare your selection to order and never charge more than 80 cents.

As I left tukcom just now, I was passed at the entrance by two Buddhist monks, a rare sight in this town. As I saw them enter the building and pass the area where the next team of teenaged girls (a singing duo from Nokia in white miniskirts) was preparing to go on, I just couldn't keep myself from singing (albeit at a faint, polite-Asian volume), Who let the monks in? Who, who who, who-who?