Newley Purnell's home on the web since 2001

Month: June 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

The best — and only — Thai food in Beaufort, SC

Back in January, as you might recall, my little brother C penned a guest post here at called “Top five restaurants in Beaufort, South Carolina.”

C is a serious foodie, and unlike his older brother, he’s spent a lot of time in SC over the past several years.

Though it didn’t make his list, I wanted to point out that our sleepy seaside town (pop. in 2000: 12,950) now boasts…a Thai restaurant. ((Side note: The globalization of sushi is well documented. But what about the globalization of Thai food?))

The curiously named Yes! Thai Indeed restaurant has been earning some positive reviews of late. (Not only does the restaurant have a Web site, but they even have their menu (PDF link) and guest book online.)

Will Yes! Thai Indeed make C’s 2010 round-up of Top 5 Beaufort restaurants? Only time will tell.

Unrelated train stories in today’s Bangkok Post


Here’s a cell phone pic of today’s Bangkok Post front page, which features two train stories. Glancing at the paper might give you the impression that the articles are related, but they’re not.

The headline, “Train services return to normal,” refers to the recent strike by Thailand’s train workers. As the headline says, service is scheduled to resume today.

The image, caption, and second article, however, refer to Monday’s Metro crash in Washington, DC that killed nine people and injured many more. Two trains collided on the city’s red line.

(As it happens, Thai trains may be running again. But service along DC’s red line is, understandably, still “severely impacted.“)

The Economist on the state of Thai politics

A story in the current Economist sums up the political landscape in Thailand.

Discussed here are PM Abhisit, the red shirts, the yellow shirts (and the PAD’s new political party), and the insurgency in Thailand’s south. Worth a read.

More on H1N1 in Thailand — the atmosphere in Bangkok, and how to follow H1N1 developments

A quick note about H1N1 here in Thailand. Infections continue to spread — the Nation newspaper tells today us that there are now 518 confirmed cases, up from just 16 last week. And the Bangkok Post has a breakdown by location within Thailand.

Nevertheless, here in Bangkok — as you might imagine — life continues as usual.

On Tuesday I spent some time talk to people on the street about H1N1. No one was concerned. One woman selling grilled meat told me she wasn’t afraid of H1N1 at all. A motorcycle taxi driver said that he wasn’t worried, even though he has a small child in school. A woman selling lottery tickets told me that she had no fear of H1N1, and besides, she doesn’t eat pork anyway, having switched to fish recently because it’s healthier. (There were — and apparently continue to be — misconceptions that H1N1 can be contracted by eating pork.)

For further H1N1 news, I suggest consulting the following:

You can also follow me on Twitter, as I’ve been relaying some H1N1 news there periodically.

H1N1 spreads in Thailand

H1N1 infections in Thailand have increased markedly over the past few days. Confirmed cases are now at 310, up from just 16 last week.

Here are three recent stories:

  • Nation: “Confirmed Type-A (H1N1) flu cases rise to 310

    The confirmed case of Type-A (H1N1) influenza cases in Thailand has risen to 310, Deputy Public Health Minister Manit Nopamornbodi announced Tuesday.

    He said the Public Health Ministry will Tuesday hold a meeting of doctors nationwide to make preparations to cope with the more outbreaks.

    Despite the increase of the cases, Manit pleaded the public not to panic.

  • Bangkok Post: “109 new flu cases

    The number of A(H1N1) influenza cases in Thailand had risen to 310 after 109 new cases were reported on Tuesday, Public Health permanent secretary Prat Boonyavongvirot said.

    Dr Prat said the Ministry of Public Health will now hold a press conference on the H1N1 outbreak everday at around 11am to prevent any misleading information.

    He said the number of H1N1 flu cases would likely increase, but it was not unusual since other countries also encountered the same problem.

  • And earlier today, there was this story in the Bangkok Post: “Officials muzzled on H1N1

    The Public Health Ministry is asking provincial health and hospital chiefs not to speak to the media about influenza A (H1N1) cases in an effort to calm disquiet over the extent of the spread of the virus.

    Ministry spokesman Suphan Sithamma said a letter was being sent to senior health figures warning them not to say anything about the number of flu cases and details about the patients. All information was to be filtered through health authorities in Bangkok.

    The ministry’s hush-hush order came as the number of flu cases passed the 200 mark and experts expected it to rise further.

David Carradine’s death — a few thoughts on media coverage

A few thoughts about David Carradine’s death and the subsequent media coverage:

  • The image supposedly showing Carradine’s body in his hotel room
    As theories about the cause of Carradine’s death evolved from suicide to auto-erotic asphyxiation, a key element in the public’s perception of the case, it seems, was the surfacing of a photo that supposedly shows Carradine’s body in his hotel room. In the image, which is digitally altered to obscure the face and much of the body, a man is shown hanging in a closet, with his hands bound above his head.

    Thai tabloid newspaper Thai Rath published the image two days after Carradine was found dead, and many assume the photo is authentic. (I will not link to it here.) Others, however, aren’t so sure about the image’s provenance. As Andrew at the Thai media blog Bangkok Bugle points out:

    The upmarket Nai Lert Park hotel where Carradine’s body was found is refusing to confirm or deny if the image depicts one of their suites. Thai Rath remains equally silent about its sources, as does the Royal Thai Police about whether this image is genuine.

    Thailand’s most popular newspaper has been branded “sick” and “sensationalist” for its decision to publish the pictures on Saturday, however to those in Thailand their coverage is nothing out of the ordinary. Yesterday’s front page, for example, showed blood-spattered bodies from the latest terror attack in the south of the Kingdom.

    Regardless of this particular photo’s authenticity, there’s a bigger issue here: Thai Rath and other newspapers in Thailand are known for their graphic coverage. As Patrick Winn noted last month in GlobalPost:

    Each morning, Thailand’s newspaper racks offer a gallery of gore.

    Few days pass without a corpse, face-down and blood-soaked, appearing on Thai newspapers’ front pages. Equally common are accident scenes, with unlucky drivers spilling lifelessly from their totaled cars.

  • Backlash in the Thai English language media
    There’s been some backlash in the Thai English-language papers. On Wednesday, the Nation ran this opinion piece, called “Sorry, David, if we are denying you peace.” The author explains the paper’s approach to covering the story. And yesterday’s Bangkok Post has this item, “Shocking pix need a call for moral outrage.”
  • International coverage
    News of Carradine’s death has made headlines the world over, not just in Thailand, of course. Al Tompkins has a post at the journalism site PoynterOnline called “Why You Shouldn’t Publish Alleged Carradine Death Photos.” An excerpt:

    Thai Rath, a newspaper in Thailand, has published a front-page photo of what it says is David Carradine’s body hanging by ropes in a hotel closet. The actor was found dead in a Bangkok hotel last week.

    No doubt, the grisly photo, as well as an autopsy photo that’s been surfacing across the Web, will generate lots of traffic.

    But they’re not news.

    It’s right to wonder whether they’re authentic, but even if they are, I can’t imagine a legitimate reason to publish them.

  • New details and the ongoing investigation
    Meanwhile, details about Carradine’s death are still emerging: A forensics expert hired by the actor’s family has now examined Carradine’s body in the US. As the AP recently reported, the expert says Carradine’s death was not a suicide, though he cautioned that a final cause of death can’t be determined at this point. The results of ongoing Thai forensics tests should be known in a matter of weeks.

David Carradine: update from Bangkok

Here’s the latest on “Kung Fu” and “Kill Bill” star David Carradine’s death here in Bangkok:

  • Thai newspaper Thai Rath has published an image that allegedly shows Carradine dead in his hotel room. The photo supposedly shows Carradine naked, hung in a closet with his hands bound above his head. (Interest in the image spiked last weekend: a search for “David Carradine death photo” debuted on the Google Trends list of most-searched-for phrases on Saturday.)
  • Carradine’s family is upset about the publication of the image, and they’ve said they may pursue legal action if other outlets run the photo. Carradine’s family has also said they want the FBI to investigate the case. Thai police say the FBI can “observe” the investigation.
  • Regarding the publication of the image, the Bangkok Post has this story: “Carradine family upset by Thailand

    The family of the late actor David Carradine have launched strong anti-Thailand criticism touched off by the death of the TV and movie star.

    They are “profoundly disturbed” by publication of a forensics photo in a Bangkok newspaper, claim that the Thai pathologist is incompetent, want to go around the Thai police with FBI investigators – and threaten to sue any Thai media printing additional photos of Carradine after his death.

More on Carradine’s death in Bangkok

AP: “Thai police: Carradine death may be accidental

BANGKOK (AP) — The body of American actor David Carradine, best known for the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu,” was found in a hotel room closet with a rope tied to his neck and genitals, and his death may have been accidental suffocation, Thai police said Friday.

The 72-year-old actor’s body was discovered Thursday in his luxury suite at Bangkok’s Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel. Police initially said they suspected suicide, though Carradine’s associates had questioned that theory.

David Carradine dies in Bangkok

Actor David Carradine, best known for his role on the 1970’s TV series “Kung Fu,” was found dead here in Bangkok today. Police have said that he was found hung in his hotel room.

In addition to starring in “Kung Fu” and in many Hollywood movies, Carradine had a notable part as “Bill” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” volumes 1 and 2. The 72-year-old was in Bangkok shooting a new film.

Here’re some news stories:

AP/NPR: “Actor David Carradine Found Dead In Bangkok

BBC: “Kung Fu star Carradine found dead “David Carradine: RIP

Nation: “David Carradine found dead in Bangkok

The iPod-ification of Khao San Road

I was in downtown Bangkok’s Banglamphoo district yesterday afternoon, and I figured I’d drop by Khao San Road to see how it’s looking these days. You may remember that I penned a New York Times travel story in 2007 about how Khao San Road, long a gathering spot for backpackers, has become increasingly upscale.

I hadn’t visited the area in about six months, and at first, everything seemed normal: There were vendors selling offbeat T-shirts, various travelers were drinking beer at outdoor cafes, and a young woman was sitting on a curb, getting her hair braided.

But then I saw this, which I must admit took me by surprise:

Yes, that’s a recently-opened iStudio shop — a Mac re-seller — on Khao San Road. I went inside, and can report that the shop sells the full range of Apple gear: routers, desktops, laptops, iPods, and even the iPhone. Here’s another pic:

I also noticed, further down the street, that in addition to pirated music CDs, which have been available on Khaosan Road for many years, there’s now at least one vendor selling bootlegged computer software.

And then there’s this:

There were at least two stalls where vendors were selling movies and music that could be downloaded directly to iPods, mobile phones, or computers. You can see, here, that the sign says “Music & Movie — Load to iPod.” (For the record, this practice may not be particularly new. And it may not be unique to Bangkok: A friend in the know tells me that this downloading service has been available in Phnom Penh for some time.)

So these new, digital offerings — the iPod-ifcation of Khaosan Road, if you will — means that if you’re a backpacker and you want to upgrade your aging iPod, let’s say, or even purchase a new iPhone, you can do so at one end of the street. Then you can wander a few hundred meters down the road and load the device up with pirated flicks and tunes. And there you go: You’re set for the rest of your journey.

Depending on your perspective, I imagine this is either scary, surprising (or not), or totally cool. Maybe it’s some combination of all of those.

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