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  • LIFESTYLE

    Retelling a great Lao-Thai tale

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 22/02/2016

    » Sinxay is a story which appears in slightly different versions with slightly different names in Mon, Thai, Lao and Khmer. The plot is a classic quest in which a hero prince is banished by the machinations of evil siblings, travels long through forest and mountain, defeats many fearsome enemies, and is eventually celebrated in a great homecoming. Old versions were written in verse for recitation at festivals. Key scenes were popular with artists painting temple murals. During the nationalist era in the 1940s, the great littérateur of Laos, Maha Sila Viravong, began a prose version in a conscious attempt to create a Lao national literature. More recently, Sinxay has been celebrated as a kind of national hero in Laos. In 2005, Khon Kaen municipality adopted Sinxay as symbol of the city, and characters from the tale sprouted on the peaks of the city's lamp posts.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Targeted billionaires

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 08/06/2018

    » When a rich man meets his maker, I pause for few moments, not to mourn his life but to wonder what becomes of his wealth. Of no use to him now, is it buried with him? Like the pharaohs, he intends for it to accompany him in his next life? Is it inherited by his son? To do what with?

  • LIFESTYLE

    Dan Brown with a Thai voice

    Life, Melalin Mahavongtrakul, Published on 05/03/2018

    » The Thai award-winning detective novel Kaholmahoratuek is that rare breed: a page-turner set in the 1940s that mixes poetry, history, murder and revenge. The book's appeal also lies with the writer's use of genre elements -- serial murders, cryptic clues and detective work -- in the vintage setting of old Bangkok where century-old temples, back alleys and local communities become grisly crime scenes.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Child victims

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 16/06/2017

    » Novels are supposedly fictional, imaginary. Similarities to persons and places are coincidental. Which is a legal way of saying: "Don't blame us" -- authors and publishers -- "for sticking it to actual people and/or places."

  • LIFESTYLE

    Books of secrets

    Life, Anchalee Kongrut, Published on 30/11/2016

    » Pintima Lertsomboon, a librarian at Thammasat University, remembered trying to work on Oct 14 in order to soothe the bereavement brought by news of the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol. Her task as librarian usually offers her peace of mind. She has been tasked to separate the cremation books out of 10,000 rare books in the library, putting them in their own category.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Bringing the birth stories to life

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 12/10/2015

    » The jataka tales or birth stories are the most vivid and accessible part of Buddhist teaching. The Buddha, once he gained the ability to recall his past lives, related all 550 of them to the monks in his following. In some lives, he was a king, some a hermit, some a pauper, and in a few an animal. The 10 longest of these tales became associated with his 10 last lives and with his attainment of the "perfections" that enabled him to be born as the historical Buddha. In this book, this Great Ten have been translated anew for the first time in over a century.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Preying on the rich

    Life, Published on 21/09/2015

    » If mythology is to be believed, Midas was the richest man in the world. But his wealth was a curse. Everything he touched turned to gold, including food. Back in time, emperors were decked out in jewels, which is why tomb raiders broke into pyramids and tombs.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Integration or disintegration

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 11/08/2017

    » One of the lesser-known activities of the European Union in this region is the funding of academic research designed to "help the EU and its member states make coherent and culturally relevant foreign policies" towards the region.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Bhutan’s spiritual heart

    Muse, Usnisa Sukhsvasti, Published on 19/12/2015

    » Kyichu Lhakhang is considered the spiritual heart of the Kingdom of Bhutan and its people. It is one of the most visited temples in Bhutan. It’s an essential pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, considered to be one and the same in blessings and sacredness as the most holy temple, Jokhang of Lhasa.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Charnvit in a nutshell

    Life, Chris Baker, Published on 09/11/2015

    » In 1973, Charnvit Kasetsiri became the first Thai historian to gain a doctorate from a top-flight American university and have his thesis published by the university press. In the official history of Thailand at the time, Sukhothai was described as the first Thai kingdom, a Golden Age which displayed everything good about Thai civilisation and Thai values. The role of the subsequent Ayutthaya period was to decline from this peak, so that the Bangkok era could be another great era of revival and resurgence. Charnvit's thesis quietly gnawed away the foundations of this national mythology by describing the rise of the Ayutthaya kingdom. He added a series of articles on Ayutthaya's growth into one of the great commercial powers of early modern Asia, and the cradle of the Thailand we know today. One of these articles began with a banner headline "Ayutthaya was the first major political, cultural and commercial center of the Thai". Goodbye Sukhothai.

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