Saturday, December 5, 2015

More Than I Can Say



                                  

For the first time in my life, I'm counting down the days before I leave Bangkok. The question of this week is which of us has changed the most?

It all began with the Skytrain and its comfortable, anonymous, rapid transit. Then came the MRT, with no sense of place at all. Now if you take a bus, or a riverboat, you can plainly see that Bangkok is being erased. A chaotic, wonderful, horizontal city is becoming a franchised, sterile, vertical one. When I saw the pseudo-colonial shopping mall (complete with Starbucks) that has replaced the dark sprawl of old ugly buildings that used to border Pak Khlong Talad's market, my heart splintered. 


Fifty new shopping malls are scheduled to be built in Bangkok over the next year. Since I arrived last month, at least two more market areas have been removed. Bring on the air-conditioned brave new world.

                               

5 comments:

Sherry said...

Somehow, I missed a whole section of posts. I'm reading to catch up. Interesting that what I was thinking from the FB postings while you were there was so along the lines of this post. The nature of the city is being erased. Cleaned of dirt and anything reminiscent of personality. Homogenized. Disinfected. Deprived of its' humanity. I can understand the loss.

angelasavage said...

I feel the same way, Janet. I never would've believed Bangkok could end up looking like just another city.

Janet Brown said...

It's spreading so quickly--why actually improve the city when you just tear it all down and replace it with shopping palaces?

Sherry said...

Seems to be a modern passion, not so much improvement as sterilization. Once it looks and feels like a hospital, they may regret removing what has made it distinctive...

Janet Brown said...

Not these bastards--they're military men. They like sterile--destroy it in order to save it.