Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a friday night in bangkok.










while i was born and raised in nyc for most of my life, there was a short period of my childhood where i lived in alaska. (i've previously blogged about it HERE and HERE and HERE).

one of my friends recently went to alaska for vacation, and she visited my uncle's old supermarket, which has since been sold and is under new ownership. for some background, my uncle and father's family opened the first asian/korean supermarket in anchorage, alaska in the early 80's, and i currently still have relatives living there. spending a few years of my childhood in alaska was a great experience for me, and to this day i still love and appreciate nature and the outdoors. whether it was camping, skiing, fishing, bike riding, etc, i have countless enjoyable memories of my time in the state and of working at my uncle's store.

the two pictures below are of the counter area of the supermarket, one which was taken in the spring of 1994 on the day of my cousin's high school graduation, and the other just a few weeks ago by my friend. it's mind-boggling to see how much it's changed, i can't believe it. i haven't been back to alaska since i went for vacation in the summer of 1997, but i dream about it constantly and know that life will take me there again someday.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

i went to laos this past week for a few days in order to do a visa run.

laos' capital, vientiane, is about a ten hour bus ride from bangkok, and a round-trip ticket costs about $50. i arrived at the nongkai bus station near the thailand/laos border on wednesday morning at about 6am, and had crossed into laos and submitted my passport and visa documents at the thai embassy by 11am. i had to wait until 1pm the next day to pick up my passport, so i had plenty of time to do some sightseeing.

i spent most of the duration just wandering vientiane by foot and exploring as much as i could, and i just got a new camera so i took pictures galore as i meandered aimlessly. after i picked up my passport and new visa on thursday, i had almost until the evening to return to thailand to catch my bus from nongkai back to bangkok, so i decided to walk back to the thai/laos border. now, the point of the thai/laos border i was heading to is called "the friendship bridge," and it's about a good two hours walk to get there from vientiane. i was familiar with which direction the friendship bridge was located, but wasn't certain so i stopped a few locals along the way and asked about the route. each person told me it was too far to walk to, but i just smiled and said i'd be okay.

about an hour into my walk, i came across a stretch of embassies on this one particular road. when i spotted the japanese embassy, my heart immediately sank because i saw that the flag was at half-mast. my eyes started to water and as cars passed me by, i took a moment of silence for all the victims and those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. on a side note, it's interesting how the older i get, the more emotional and moved i become for particular things---i think i've finally somewhat become a man. so after my moment of silence, i decided to take a picture of the japanese embassy. at the very moment i had my camera aimed and ready to go, a motorcycle came and stopped right in front of me. now, this was pretty odd since i was the only person standing anywhere near the side of this busy road. i'm not sure which direction he came from, at what point he first saw me or how long he had been following me, but with my arms still holding my camera, i watched the young laotian guy hop off of his motorcycle and remove his helmet.

"where are you going?" he asked in english.
taken aback, i casually answered, "the thai/laos border," as i still gripped my camera.
"you're walking there? but it's too far."

at that point i was still concentrating on taking my picture, so i asked the guy to hold on a quick moment. after i put my camera down, i told him i had a lot of time and enjoy walking, and therefore i'd be alright until i reached the border. he persisted that it was too far to walk and then offered to take me there on his motorcycle, which then really threw me off. even though he seemed pretty sincere, i still wasn't too sure about this guy and his motives. since i look like such an obvious tourist, i was constantly bombarded with offers from tuk-tuk drivers since arriving in laos, and so i questioningly responded to the guy, "uh... sure okay. but, um, how much money do you want?" "it's free, i'll take you for free," he said.

since he said it was free and seemed pretty eager, i thought why not and hopped onto the backseat. the funny thing is that as he was driving, he kept turning his head to talk to me. i couldn't hear most of what he was saying with the loud wind and wanted to return his favor, so i told him that if it was okay with him, i'd like to stop somewhere and buy him a cool drink in order for us to converse. he said okay and we stopped at this old-school laotian store on the side of the thruway.

i bought us two soft drinks and we just shot the shit for about an hour as we watched cars and trucks pass by us on the dusty road. the guy's name was doh, and he was a 22 year old university student that's just two weeks shy from graduating. his english was also really good so we had no trouble understanding one another. at one point, the topic of religion came up and doh stated that he was a christian. this was surprising because the majority of laotians are buddhists. doh told me it was by chance that he was introduced to christianity nine months prior, and he seemed really content and happy about changing his faith. we talked about a wide range of topics before hopping back on his motorcycle and i felt extremely humbled and grateful for the experience. when we arrived at the friendship bridge, i thank him profusely and gave him a very small token of my appreciation with some american dollars. i would have loved to give him more, but unfortunately i have no money and couldn't afford to.

meeting doh was the best way to end my trip to laos, i couldn't have asked for anything better. i was planning to post a large amount of pictures up here from my laos excursion, but in the end, the following are the only ones that really matter.

thank you, doh.






Friday, March 25, 2011

here's an interesting profile on chloe sevigny that the awesome jay mcinerney wrote for the new yorker in 1994. new york was so much cooler in the 90's.

THANK YOU FOR THIS, mr. mcinerney.







(i thoroughly enjoyed jay mcinerney's article and it took it upon myself to produce these images to post on my blog with my digital subscription to the new yorker. all rights are reserved by the new yorker and will be removed upon request).
i feel so pent up. i need a good cry.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

i'm curently in vientiane, the capital of laos.

man, it sure is beautiful here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

i LOVE riding motosais in bangkok. motosais are motorcycle taxis that are fairly cheap, fast and really convenient. you can find them everywhere in the city and i especially enjoy taking them if i'm feeling down because they always put me in a great mood.

anyway, here's a video i shot yesterday. the video is of how i get from my soi (street) to one of the large nearby shopping districts of bangkok. unfortunately my video editing skills are non existent, so i'm unable to make it any more exciting.

i've tried filming my motosai experiences on other occasions as well, but it's difficult since i haven't mastered the craft of riding without gripping on for dear life with both hands. however, most of the native thai people i've seen on motosais are pros at it. among many things, i've seen thai people eating, texting, doing homework, reading and playing games on their electronic devices while on the backseat---i aspire to do one (if not all) of those things on the back of a motosai one day.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

we choose how people define us.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

i love the way thailand uses fluorescent lights---it totally reminds of dan flavin. stumbling onto what i sometimes consider as these little dan flavin art installations is awesome.




Monday, March 14, 2011

this is the top floor of a building down the soi, which in thai means something similar to a small side street. this is the first time i've ever seen people on that balcony. i love the silouettes.

i recently just moved to a small studio near chit lom in bangkok and this is the view from my balcony. i'm not sure if you can tell from the photos below, but that building is actually by a major highway (or something) and that's a huge billboard on its side. shit, i bet you long time ago, that was just a building in the jungle that was down the soi. now it's got a highway as a neighbor and is pimpin itself out to them. so many people have probably gone by that building by now as well. it's funny to think that the background noise went from a chorus of nature to the vast array of car, large truck, motorcycle and tuk tuk engine noises on a constant basis. i live on the fifth floor, and wonder what used to be at the exact point of where i'm currently sitting. probably a damn bird nest or some huge ass leaves.i hope the building stays there at least one more century. if that's the way it's going to outlast time and be a representative to the future, then i say go for it.

as for my place, it's small but cozy and a perfect fit for me right now in my life. i hope to make a lot of memories here. i'll write more about the room in detail another time.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

since i was a kid, i've always forced myself to read books until the very last page, no matter how much i didn't enjoy it or wanted to put it down midway.

starting about a year or so ago, i don't know if it's from laziness or because i'd prefer not to spend time on something i don't want to do, now i just stop reading a book if i'm still unsatisfied by the halfway point. i'm not sure if this is necessarily a good or bad thing though, and wonder if i should just force myself to complete it until the end. but then i think there are so many things to read and do in this world---why spend time on something that could possibly result in an additional, fruitless couple hundred pages?

hmmm, i'm still not sure about this one.

Friday, March 11, 2011

i ain't going to lie, sometimes i get the urge to just paint my toenails. i've done it twice before where i just do it and erase it right after, but i don't think i'm gonna find any 24hour duane reades in bangkok that carry a selection of nail polish removers. one of the main reasons why i even think about this shit is because my sisters used to do it all the time when i was a kid and it's no big deal to me. so what if the smell of nail polish remover reminds of being a kid and watching my sisters do it? actually, i don't remember if i ever watched them and am certain i never made myself obsessively study their technique or anything. i just always remember them painting them and all those products scattered around the house. you might be thinking, why the hell do i even own nail polish? to be honest i would never go and pay money for this sorta stuff. my friend judy gave it to me and it's from her work, so it has sentimental value. this urge is not an everyday thing, but pretty sporadic, actually. it's just when i'm alone, i feel like painting them. i guess the internet wasn't around back then as well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

nothing surprises me nowadays. actually, never mind that's not true. i can't believe the fact that it's actually fucking happening.

Monday, March 07, 2011

the colors of bangkok are so vivid.






so much can happen in a week. a suicide right here in bangkok. news from a friend in nyc that she's pregnant and expecting in september. doubt. sadness. feeling scared. it really helps put it into perspective though, and i'm grateful for everything in life. i learn something from everything anyway so what more could i ever ask for. it's funny because sometimes i like to ask people, "what are you looking forward to?" if they ask for further explanation, i ask what's that one awesome thing that's going to happen in the future? what's keeping you sane during your times of weakness? is it a special event or a birthday or a vacation that's coming in the near future? i'm always interested in people's answers and if they never thought about it, then they could possibly think of something that could help them when they're ready to yell "WHAT THE FUCK." it's funny though because every now and then they'll ask me after i ask them and today i thought, "i love that i continue to learn things and am able to use all of my experiences in many aspects of my life. that's enough to make me look forward to every new day when i wake up in the morning" i know, cheezy as hell, right? crazy thing is that it's true. on a daily basis, i have moments where i suddenly ask myself, "where the fuck am i? and what the hell am i doing here?" but i think in this case it's a good thing because i need to experience new things in my life. having gone through almost every major milestone of my life in nyc, i was in desperate need of change. all i ever met were people who left their hometown to try something new in nyc, my hometown. i needed my version of that too and finally feel like i'm living it. i'm constantly humbled by it all. i do miss my friends in nyc though. some of them were trying to possibly come here in april to visit me but those plans fell through. it's okay though, there's always technology. so for the past two months, i've been lucky enough to have stayed rent-free at a friend's vacant apartment as he traveled in europe. he's returning in a few days, so i've been searching for a new place to live. i found a few spots in one area of bangkok, but will finalize stuff in the next few days. i'm hoping to live in this place where my window is right next to a major highway within a busy area of bangkok. the building is pretty old, but it has its charm. it's alright though because i don't need to live in fancy accommodations, all i need is an air conditioner and some privacy and i'm good to go. we'll see how it goes. i've mentioned this before, but i'm a big believer in fate. without fate, there's no way all these crazy events can happen and somehow all get connected later on to produce an encounter that feels like it was just meant to be. i believe and it makes me happy. the current season is almost at the peak of summertime in thailand, and it is starting to get HOT. the humidity just coats my body and then the sweat starts dripping down my neck. after surviving korea's summer last year, i've learned to carry around an extra t-shirt whenever i go out. i walked around a lot the other day, and had to change into a different shirt twice. i arrived at my first destination with my shirt (shirt-a) drenched in sweat. its light color didn't help at all, and it was looking pretty bad. i changed into the extra shirt in my bag (shirt-b) and dried shirt-a. after arriving at my second destination, shirt-b was drenched in sweat, and when i say drenched i'm not talking a large ring around my collar, but almost wet to the point where it looks like someone pushed me into a swimming pool. shirt-a was dryer than shirt-b at that point, so i changed back into shirt-a. yuck, it's not the cleanest feeling. sweat really can smell when it's dried onto clothes and that was on top of the fact that i started sweating again after i left my second destination. i miss the cold weather sometimes, but am starting to get used to living in tropical weather. it's not as bad as i thought it would be. holy shit, i can't believe that this year is my tenth anniversary of graduating hs. time sure flies. everything's going to be okay.
delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete .period.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"A person who longs to leave the place where he lives is an unhappy person."

the unbearable lightness of being by milan kundera. page 26.

i just started reading this book and found this line to be so damn true.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

after hearing some tragic news just now, i feel this sudden sense of panic and loneliness. i never want to take anything for granted, life is too short and precious. i'm ready to commit and give it my all---i want to be in a stable and healthy relationship. i'm so tired of dating. i don't want to be alone anymore.

i need to get some air and walk around.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


dear friends,

i sent in a submission to a blog called BORN THIS WAY. you can check out my posting by clicking HERE.