Page 3 is the opening page of BK Magazine. It's pretty well-known in Bangkok for being one of the few satirical voices in mainstream media. Sometimes I write them. Sometimes my boss writes them. Sometimes my boss rewrites the ones I’ve written. Here are a few which I’m most happy with.
Published in BK Magazine, 29 Apr 2017
Hokkaido-born dessert cafes form coalition to govern post-electon Thailand
Bangkok—Thailand’s electoral impasse may finally have found a resolution, as a group of dessert cafes from Hokkaido have announced a coalition large enough to claim a parliamentary majority.
Ringo Apple Pie, Gram Pancakes, Croquant Chou and maker of chocolate-filled fish-shaped croissants Croissant Taiyaki have brokered an 11th-hour deal with the Election Commission to overturn the popular vote of Mar 24 and run the country instead of any of the balloted political parties.
A spokesman for the group explained: “Thais have made pretty clear these last few years that flaky pastry, creamy cheese fillings and wobbly stacks of souffle pancakes are a better reflection of their aspirations than politics. Reds, yellows, pro-democracy, pro-military—we can finally put these labels aside and unite under buttery baked treats."
The Election Commission, which has come under fire since Mar 24 for widespread irregularities at polling stations and unclear methodology, has welcomed the move.
“The new constitution was always designed to allow for an outsider PM, we just never expected it would come from a group of Hokkaido-born dessert specialists,” explained EC chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong. “Honestly, at this point, their offer is about as close to what people actually voted for as the other options on our table.”
The Hokkaido confectioners easily secured the needed support of at least two-thirds of MPs and senators under Section 272 of the charter, better known as the "outsider prime minister" rule, with Bangkok’s waring political factions quick to concede defeat.
“Civil liberties are at an all-time low, our economy’s down the toilet, and the new constitution has proved dodgier than a Chiang Mai zipline operator. Having Hokkaido’s no. 1 makers of sweet baked treats in charge can’t screw up the country any worse than the junta did,” said one Future Forward party member.
When asked what policies the bakeries have planned for Thailand, the dessert makers made no concrete promises. “We just think the country needs a really good Japanese bakery at its head for a few years,” said the spokesperson. “When a matcha soft serve specialist comes along, we’ll consider stepping down.”
But the Hokkaido Group has met with some small opposition. Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal was captured at BTS Siam on Friday, silently reading an Uncle Tetsu cheesecake recipe, in what many are seeing as a symbolic act of defiance.
Pheu Thai, meanwhile, were said to be in talks with Sapporo-based buttermilk biscuit creators Rokkatei, in a bid to establish a proxy bakery in time for the 2023 elections.
Published in BK Magazine, 5 Feb 2016
Following rift with Democrats, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra leaves the BMA to join Korean kitchen-based theater performance Cookin’ Nanta.
In a move that has stunned Thailand’s political pundits, the troubled Bangkok governor has renounced his position with City Hall to take up a life on the road with Korea’s smash culinary theater performance which blends electrifying dance acts and acrobatics with live cooking performances.
M.R. Sukhumbhand made the shock announcement following a widely publicized rift with Democrat leader Abhisit “Mark” Vejjajiva, which has seen Bangkok’s governor avoiding Mark’s phone calls and hiding out in Portugal.
“It’s a new challenge all right,” the baby-faced governor said about the dramatic U-turn in his career. “But I never had much trouble making people laugh governing a city of, what is it, 11 million? So doing it in front of an audience of 1,000 should be a doddle.”
Keen traveler Sukhumbhand also said he’s looking forward to touring with the sell-out comedy show. With 12 countries lined up for the 2016 calendar year, it will mean a less hectic travel schedule than he kept while governing Bangkok.
Cookin’ Nanta’s head choreographer, Dae Ho Kim, held a press conference Thursday to confirm the decision. “We’ve been eyeing Sukhumbhand for some time now. He’s cheeky, he’s lovable, and we just know he’ll fit right in with the world of Korean comedy theater.”
Brushing off criticism that Sukhumbhand might not be right for the role given past controversies during his time at the BMA, he said, “It’s easy to hold local authorities accountable for failures of the administrations before them. I don’t see how Sukhumbhand’s management of Bangkok flooding or traffic congestion in any way reflects badly on his ability to julienne cucumbers in perfect harmony with four other performers before belting out perfect samil nori rhythm with the heel of his knife.”
However, Kim did admit to some early problems working with the novice performer. “When I tried to contact him to see how he’s getting on with the choreography, all I got was a statement from his spokesperson telling me Sukhumbhand was not available for to meet with me due to an unexpected overseas trip.”
When asked for comment, City Hall released this statement about the move: “For the past seven years M.R. Sukhumbhand has served the city well, but if the governor feels his talents will be better used on the stage, wowing audiences through exhilarating, perfectly-timed live cooking demonstrations, we wish him all the best.”
Published in BK Magazine, 18 Dec 2015
WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?
Last week, you were reminded sharing the wrong thing on Facebook can land you in the military slammer. In a city where we really, really like to hit that like button, that should make you nervous. Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re an educated, upper-middle-class, pro-harmony citizen with nothing to fear. But here are some pointers to avoid any misunderstandings and unwanted Attitude Adjustment sessions:
Show off your handmade pottery purchases from Map Weekend Fest 2: Lost in Christmas Moment
It happens once a year and once a year only: the greatest collection of food stalls, little leather accessories and homespun earthenware this city has ever known. So get out there and start Instagramming your every purchase immediately. Your friends are dying to know how much disposable income you’ve got.
Show disdain for mass running and cycling events
So for the first time ever, you had to walk to the motorcy’ stand on Ruamrudee because the one nearer your office on Wireless Road was closed. If you’d been out there cycling with the rest of us you wouldn’t have been in that mess. So sign up for whatever Run with Hello Kitty or Run in Traditional Thai Dress event is coming soon. We’re warning you: people who don’t like to do the same thing as thousands of other people are not normal.
Share pics of your various boho outfits from Wonderfruit
Clearly, this festival is not about the music lineup. Which of you has ever heard of Elektro Guzzi, Heartthrob, Goldroom or Papercutz? None of you, that’s who. And what’s the point of spending B8,000 on the perfect ethnic ensemble from Soda if the only people who get to see it are the two dozen other Wonderfruit attendees? Thank you, social media, you just made Wonderfruit worth the money.
Share infographics about public park funding
Infographics are so 2010 floods (damn you, Yingluck!). No one likes infographics anymore. Instead, share a GIF of goats singing “Joy to the World”—now that Facebook finally does GIFs. Or if you really must share an infographic, how about something about the rice pledging scheme? Those never get old.
Tweet about your opening night tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
You got them; your friends didn’t. And that, we’re sure you’ll agree, is something they want to have rubbed in their noses on a public forum. Preferably with plot spoilers. “Wow, sucks that Luke had to die like that.”
Tweet with an undercurrent of dry British humor
Everyone knows that sarcasm just doesn’t work in writing. In fact, we’ve tried jokes about the right to assembly in 140 characters or less on Tinder, and they were met with just as much enthusiasm as the British ambassador’s own sardonic intervention: relations were downgraded to icy cold with no hope of a rapprochement in sight.
Published in BK Magazine, 27 Nov, 2015
1. Why did chief economic strategist Somkid Jatusripitak travel to Japan this month?
a) He’s planning to open a tea house on Ekkamai and wanted to try this amazing strain of umami-tasting gyokuro he’d read about in Lucky Peach.
b) Because Bangkok is buying so much Kobe that there’s a surplus of Thai-French stuff he needs to shift.
c) It was Japan Adult Expo 2015 week in Tokyo, and he’s a massive Nami Hoshino fan.
d) To dodge being questioned about what a good job he’s doing with the economy.
2. Why did Fahai TV station get taken off the air?
a) The level of production was so bad it was making the programs on Peace TV look good.
b) The owner’s second cousin once went to dinner with Thaksin’s niece.
c) The viewing figures are so low that the government didn’t think anyone would notice.
d) Pol Gen Sereepisut Temeeyaves alledgedly used it to air seditious speeches about the army. Which no one can actually prove, since no one has ever watched Fahai TV.
3. What threw Bangkok’s cultured middle class into a frenzy earlier this month?
a) News that Japanese popsanova queen Lisa Ono’s performance at River Jazz Festival has been canceled.
b) News that parliament was to debate spending B500 million a year on TCDC’s collection of 32,000 coffee table books.
c) News that the Bark Yard wasn’t actually a park, just a lawn, a cafe and a couple of shoe shops.
d) News that there is over 300 calories in Dean & DeLuca’s Iced Matcha Red Bean Latte.
4. What threatens to discredit the army’s fight against corruption?
a) The unqualified exoneration of themselves by themselves in the Rajabhakti Park project.
b) The announcement that the public don’t get to see the account keeping in the Rajabhakti Park project.
c) Gen Udomdej’s earlier assertions that their had been kickbacks in the Rajabhakti Park project.
d) All of the above.
Published in BK Magazine, 30 Oct 2015
We know that keeping up with regional politics can be tough when you’ve got a Halloween costume to plan. That’s why this week we’re here to remind you that that on Nov 8 our friends across the border in Myanmar—you know, the ones who clean our homes, wait in our restaurants and take the blame for our crimes—are having their first free elections for nearly 50 years.
And there are some who say the whole thing’s a sham; a ruse; that the generals are never going to relinquish power to an official elected by the people for the people. Well, if that’s the case, we hope our band of charter-drafting heroes are taking notes: no elected prime minister; the most popular candidate crippled; one-quarter of the seats in parliament automatically going to old men in army uniforms—this is exactly what Thailand's democratic charter needs.
Yes, it seems like the days when Burma might have looked to Thailand for tips on becoming a democracy are seriously numbered. In fact, on a recent trip to Yangon we picked up on a whole lot more things we could learn from our neighbors. To save our city officials the all-expense trip, here are our observations:
Look after old things.
We know. They’re crumbly, there’s no air-con and most old buildings don’t even have supercar parking. But tourists really, really love this stuff. They want our architecture to remind them of when they were in charge—even in Thailand, where they never actually were in charge to begin with.
Copy Brooklyn’s food, not just it’s decor.
Have you tried the food at Port Autonony, Yangon’s number-one dangly light-bulb Williamsburg-referencing restaurant? It’s delicious. Which definitely can’t be said of the grub at our own Casa Lapin or Karmakamet.
Men in Dresses.
What’s wrong with a bit of national costume? And we don’t just mean on National Costume Day and for your wedding. Thais should dress like Thais just for the heck of it. Now we just need to figure out what our national costume is, since it got banned then reinvented to death by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram.
Khao Gaeng Served in Bowls.
When did Thais get all selfish and start ordering their lunch curry toppings all vomited into a single plate. Yuck. In Myanmar, everything stays in its own little plate, which all get piled onto the table, which all get shared, and much more joy is had by all.
In Myanmar, there seems to be an impromptu bookshop or stall at every street corner. You can even spot locals holding and reading the damn things. How is that a good thing? It creates a thriving market for secondhand copies of Burmese Days for visitors whose Kindles can’t get Wi-Fi connections over the single digital gateway. And who needs Facebook when you’ve got Orwell?
Published in BK Magazine, 16 Oct 2016
Bangkok celebrities deny drinking cheap local beer out of choice.
A group of 24 Bangkok celebrities accused of drinking a low-priced, locally brewed beer have come forward to defend themselves against the allegations, which they say result from a misunderstood social media campaign for which they were each paid handsomely.
“This is really embarrassing,” said Tipatra “Ya Ying Yaya” Krailassuwan. “Since I was a student I haven’t touched anything cheaper than Gold Label. Oh, and there was this point in, like, 2007 when I was all about the Grey Goose. But Thai beer?! No way.”
The shots in question show each of the celebrities holding the beer to the camera, logo clearly visible, accompanied by captions like “let’s make a party together.”
“I thought I’d made those pics look so unsubtle that anyone would get that it was done purely for the cash,” said Tanakorn “DJ Boomie” Royboon, whose photograph of him downing the beer in a neon wifebeater and pair of Aviator shades at nighttime went viral after it was posted last week.
So far, the beer company has yet to publicly exonerate the celebrities of drinking their product for anything other than money. However, the fact that seven of the accused celebrities have actually appeared in promotional campaigns on the brand’s website adds credibility to their version of events. “Really, I don’t even know why I need to defend myself. It’s so obvious I’m in their pocket,” said DJ Boomie.
A high-profile distributor of wildly expensive American craft beers has also come forward in the celebs’ defence, saying that public misunderstanding about the images could be seriously damaging for its brand.
“If the public begins thinking it’s OK for even rich celebrities to go to a bar and pay B80 instead of B280 for a beer, then we’re screwed,” said Darron Bartle, co-founder of Chug Supply Co.
Several of the celebrities risk losing long-term social media contracts with luxury brands if it’s revealed they did in fact drink cheap local beer and not get paid for it.
Published in BK Magazine, 9 Oct 2015
This Oct 14, join Bangkok’s artisanal charter drafters at the Slow Constitution Outdoor Market Fest.
To celebrate the announcement of the new 200-member National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), who will take over the job of drafting Thailand’s new constitution from the disbanded National Reform Council, the government has announced a one-day slow-life market to help get the public involved in the charter-drafting process.
Taking place this Wed Oct 14, on the anniversary of the 1973 Thai Popular Uprising, NRSA x Casa Lapin’s Slow Constitution Outdoor Market Fest promises to educate urban Bangkok on constitution handicrafts with a series of fun workshops.
“The public will get to learn firsthand the slow approach to returning a country to democracy,” said govt. spokesperson Gen. Anan Ruamchat, while sipping on a flat white and making ink line drawings of cats on window sills. “There’s a simple pleasure that comes from taking one’s time, and we want to show the public that that’s of true of democracy as it is of growing your own cactus garden.”
The day will feature a series of workshops led by 10 of the NRSA’s top artisanal charter-drafting craftspeople. Visitors are invited to try drafting their very own constitutions on hand-pressed Japanese paper, which they can take home and put to a referendum with their families.
All workshops will take place in a homey, garden vibe with music from popular local indie artists like Pillow Wave, The Library Twins and Analogue Dolphin. As well as constitution workshops, you can expect all your favorite food trucks for homemade, organic refreshments, along with stalls selling the best locally produced arts and crafts.
On top of all this, at 2pm, guest speaker Buangrit Dunnag will be giving a seminar on “charter drafting and the design economy: why it makes sense to be slow.” (Earlybird tickets B900 at TCDC and Candide Books.)
The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free Slow Constitution indigo tie-dye tote bag and pillowcase.
Published in BK Magazine, 28 Aug 2015
Let's Open the Bag for Make Safe Together!
Issued at Bangkok at 16:30 hrs. (GMT+7) on August 28, 2015, by the Ministry of Tourism Happiness
Terrorists, come joining the new bag inspectors at every BTS and MRT station and experience the unprecedented friendliness of Thai hospitality and spirit of the Land of Smiles.
With the increase threat of the terrorist attack in Bangkok, we like to invite all foreigners with the bomb to make a bag check when entering the BTS and MRT. We welcome in your cooperation at this heightened security time.*
From now until the end of September, our staffs will be ready to greet you with cold toilets and complimentary lotus garlands to make sure you feel pampered from the moment you go to make a bag check together. Foreigners who are not terrorists are also happy to enjoy a new bag stop, but we kindly ask that you don’t take too much of inspectors’ time.
We also like to inform you that for each bomb that confiscate after inspection, you can redeem value up to B100,000 at Suvarnabhumi after make a free ride to the airport courtesy of Royal Thai Police. Additional B500 gift vouchers exclusively for terrorists when shopping over B10,000 at the airport.
Let’s Open the Bag for Make Safe Together! is part of a new campaign headed by the Ministry of Thailand, Tourism and Tuk Tuks. On behalf of the campaign, spokesman Maj. Gen Anan Ruamchat, said: “We want to make every tourist feel happy and blessed with a wonderful holiday in Thailand. Please come visit again and experience friendliness and kindness and smiles that Thai always provide. Just don’t go to Pattaya. Or Phi Phi. Or anywhere down south, actually.”
As part of the MTTTT’s renewing efforts to make a safety destination in Thailand, terrorists visiting the Kingdom can also enjoy indefinite free stays at Bangkok Hilton. To apply, visit Lumpini Police Station.
*Please note that bag checks are entirely voluntary.