Newley Purnell's home on the web since 2001

Month: August 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

Bangkok Protests: Audio Slide Show

Here’s a 1 minute, 42-second audio slide show I just created after spending a few hours snapping photos and recording audio at the site of massive anti-government protests here in Bangkok today.

Protesters are rallying against Thailand’s Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej. The protests has been organized by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which accuses Samak of being a proxy for ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra. People at the event who I talked to said they want Samak to resign, and they want Thaksin — who has fled to England — to return to Thailand to face corruption charges.

For more information on the situation, you can search Google News.

Update 1: Those of you reading this via my rss feed will need to click through to view the audio slide show on my site.

Update 2: Here’s my newest audio slide show about the protests, from Tues. Sept. 2.

Bangkok Protests

AP: “Protesters lay siege to Thai television station”

Bloomberg: “Thai Protesters Storm TV Station in Bid to Oust Samak”

Reuters: “Thai PM says losing patience with anti-govt protests”

And Bangkok Pundit is live-blogging the protests.

The Economist on Medical Tourism — and a New Blog from the NYT

Living here in Bangkok, where legions of medical tourists can be seen at the city’s private hospitals, this Economist article resounded with me: “Globalisation and health: Importing competition”:

Health care has long seemed one of the most local of all industries. Yet beneath the bandages, globalisation is thriving. The outsourcing of record keeping and the reading of X-rays is already a multi-billion-dollar business. The recruitment of doctors and nurses from the developing world by rich countries is also common, if controversial. The next growth area for the industry is the flow of patients in the other direction—known as “medical tourism”—which is on the threshold of a dramatic boom.

Tens of millions of middle-class Americans are uninsured or underinsured and soaring health costs are pushing them and cost-conscious employers and insurers to look abroad for savings. At the same time the best hospitals in Asia and Latin America now rival or surpass many hospitals in the rich world for safety and quality. On one estimate, Americans can save 85% by shopping around and the number who will travel for care is due to rocket from under 1m last year to 10m by 2012—by which time it will deprive American hospitals of some $160 billion of annual business.

(Emphasis mine.)

Link via Ideas, a promising new blog from editors at the New York Times‘s Week in Review section. From their description:

This is a blog for Web-browsing omnivores. It features brief posts on the most interesting ideas we’ve come across lately from any realm, in the course of educating ourselves as generalist editors — article links primarily, but pictures, video and audio too.

I like the format — quick posts with links to external Web sites (as opposed to links merely to internal material). I’m reminded of The Wall Street Journal‘s Informed Reader, which, unfortunately, met its demise in February.

What I’ve Been Reading

From the world’s greatest journeys to blogging geekery to funny accents, here’s a list of some material I’ve been enjoying online over the past months but haven’t had time to link to until now:

— Wanderlust: GOOD magazine “maps out history’s greatest journeys, from Magellan to Kerouac”

— World Hum interview: “Paul Theroux: Invisible Man on a Ghost Train”

— “25+ Tools for a Road Trip 2.0”

— ReadWriteWeb: “The Future of Blogging Revealed”

— 10, “15 Journalists’ outstanding personal sites”

— Merlin Mann: “What Makes for a Good Blog?”

— Chris Brogan: “A Sample Blogging Workflow”

Audio recording and radio journalism:
— The Freesound Project: “a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds”

— “Remote Recording Survival Guide”

Just for Fun:
“Can You Guess Where My Accent is From?”

“Average Athlete vs Olympic Athlete”

— “Bacilos – Sin Verguenza,” a post about an album from one of my favorite bands. (Aside: Best track from this album — with silly lip syncing fan vid: “Pasos de Gigante.”)

Where We Do What We Do: pics of work spaces. And nothing more.

Maya Angelou on Adversity

Maya Angelou on adversity:

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

(Via Kottke.)

Messi’s Argentina Advance in Olympics

Speaking of football (soccer), here’s a New York Times interactive feature called “An Argentine Advance.” It’s about Argentina’s pint-sized playmaker Lionel Messi (Wikipedia page, highlights on YouTube) and his team’s dominant performance at the Olympics yesterday. The masterful Argentines beat rivals Brazil 3-0 (match report here) to book their place in Saturday’s final against Nigeria. Messi, who plays his club football at FC Barcelona, figured in all three goals.

Yahoo English Premier League Fantasy Football

If you’d like to join our annual Yahoo English Premier League Fantasy Football (soccer) group, you can find more info on the game here. It’s free. And entertaining.

If you’re interested, email me (newley [at] and I’ll give you our group name and password. The deadline to compete in the first week is…before today’s fixtures kick off. You can participate after today, but you’ll miss out on the first week’s points. (Which, given the length of the season, isn’t entirely important.)

As ever, we’ve got a geographically diverse group of participants, with folks from the US, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the UK joining in the fun.

Hello from Saigon

Followers of my dispatches on Twitter will know that my brother C and I have been in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the surrounding area all of this week. I have many things to say about this great city. I really love it. And I shall be sharing some images of people, sights, and (most of all) food next week.

We return to Bangkok tomorrow (Fri.) afternoon local time, so if there are any of you in this neck of the woods who’d like to meet up, please email me: newley [at]

“Journalist seeking paycheck? Try India”

Journalist seeking paycheck? Try India: As U.S. newsrooms shrivel, India’s are booming. And they’re hiring, not firing reporters and editors.

If ever there was a time to take pity on America’s journalists, this would be it.

The U.S. news industry is bleeding jobs. According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 2,400 journalists left newspaper newsrooms last year, either through layoffs or buyouts, leaving the industry with its smallest workforce since 1984. Circulation and revenue are falling across the country, as are share prices: Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper publisher, is seeing its stock trade at around one-third its value a year ago; the New York Times Co. is down 45 percent. Classified advertising revenues have dropped 30 percent over the last two years and the last quarter was one of the industry’s worst ever.

Just how bad can it get? The American Journalism Review’s Charles Layton recently concluded that “we may begin seeing, pretty soon, big American cities with no daily newspaper.”

So, what’s an underemployed journalist to do? Some move on to academia or cross over to the dark side of public relations. But a few forward-thinking souls are heading to a land where journalism jobs not only aren’t disappearing, but are more plentiful by the day: India.

(Thanks to A for the link.)

President Bush’s Bangkok Speech

President Bush’s foreign policy speech here in Bangkok this morning focused on China and Myanmar.

Wall Street Journal:

U.S. President George W. Bush expressed his concern about the fate of political dissidents in China and his determination to bring an end to the “tyranny” of the military regime in Myanmar a day before he is expected to attend the opening of the Olympic Games in China.

In the speech delivered Thursday in the Thai capital, Mr. Bush stressed that the stability and prosperity of Asia require the strong involvement of both China and the U.S. to ensure that the region sustains its role as an important growth engine for the global economy.

He also emphasized the U.S.’s economic engagement in the Asian-Pacific region, touting bilateral free-trade pacts with Singapore, Australia and South Korea while signaling Washington’s commitment to pursue similar trade talks with Malaysia and Thailand. Mr. Bush urged China to do more to help achieve a successful outcome to the stalled Doha round of talks at the World Trade Organization to improve access to member countries’ markets.

New York Times:

On the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing, President Bush said Thursday that he had “deep concerns” about basic freedoms in China and criticized the detention of dissidents and believers, even as he praised the extraordinary gains China has made since he first visited more than three decades ago.

Mr. Bush’s remarks in Bangkok, part of a speech on Asia, distilled and recast previous statements critical of China’s record on human rights. But delivered only hours before his departure for Beijing on Thursday evening, they represented a rebuke to China’s leaders, though a measured one.

Washington Post:

President Bush on Thursday used some of his bluntest language to date on human rights in China, saying in a speech here before he flew to Beijing for the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony that “America stands in firm opposition” to China’s detention of political dissidents and religious activists.

Reuters video on YouTube: “Bush faces China balancing act”

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