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  • LIFE

    Respected Southeast Asian history scholar, Michael Vickery, dies

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 07/07/2017

    » With the death of Michael Vickery in Battambang, Cambodia last Thursday, Southeast Asian history lost a giant.

  • LIFE

    From the field to the protest

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 21/09/2015

    » The Thai music known as luk thung (son of the field) is difficult to define because it borrows from everywhere and evolves over time. To the ear, however, it is unmistakable. That's a result of its two dominant rhythms, one from Thai folk music, the other from Latin America and an undercurrent of melancholy from the genre's archetypal song about the country boy far from home thinking of the village and the girl back there. Ethnomusicologist James Mitchell defines it simply as "Thailand's most popular music".

  • LIFE

    Benjarong in detail

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 05/01/2018

    » Benjarong is the brightly coloured porcelain made in China for the Thai market which enjoyed a peak of popularity in the 19th century. Dawn Rooney sets out to provide "a single reference source for Bencharong ... the book I wish had been available when I first became interested in this little-known form of ceramic art 20 years ago".

  • LIFE

    How Bangkok came to be

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 03/11/2017

    » In 1963, Edward Van Roy arrived in Thailand to work on a survey of hilltribes. This was a golden era of anthropology with an emphasis on ethnicity and villages. Since his retirement from the UN in 1997, Van Roy has been tramping round the localities of old Bangkok, peering into the temples and shrines, rooting out the memories of the remaining old residents, and ransacking libraries for memoirs and histories.

  • LIFE

    The loud (but lost) American

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 30/01/2012

    » In print, the name of Jim Thompson is rarely far away from the word "legend". The outline of his life is well known. He arrived in Bangkok at the tail end of the Second World War as part of the proto-CIA. He gained a reputation as a host, bon viveur, aesthete and art collector. He started a glamorous silk business, that still bears his name, and built a house that remains a major tourist attraction. He disappeared off the face of the earth in 1967, providing the mystery which is essential for any good legend.

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