Tag: Bangkok

Soft Shell For BlackBerry Bold 9790 is “Okay”

I’m too lazy to search Bangkok’s malls and IT outlets for a cover for my second-hand BlackBerry Bold 9790. I use this device as a second cell phone, with a BIS package, particularly when I conduct outreach in the region. Anyway I ordered a soft shell via Lazada, an online sales platform. Took less then a week, before the item was delivered to my house.

Well packed, good box and soft shell was covered with plastic.
Well packed, good box and soft shell was covered with plastic.
The black shell has a smooth feel to it, and light. Texture feels slippery.
The black shell has a smooth feel to it, and light. Texture feels slippery.
Used it for about a week, and sometimes the BB9790 overheats. Most probably due to Bangkok's incredible summer and the casing traps heat.
Used it for about a week, and sometimes the BB9790 overheats. Most probably due to Bangkok’s incredible summer and the casing traps heat.
Accidentally dropped a few times, and its not bad, as it absorbed a bit of shock. Paid 298 Baht for it, which included the delivery.
Accidentally dropped a few times, and its not bad, as it absorbed a bit of shock. Paid 298 Baht for it, which included the delivery.
Soft shell doesn't add bulk to the device. So its 'okay' to buy if you have lose change to spare.
Soft shell doesn’t add bulk to the device. So its ‘okay’ to buy if you have lose change to spare.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Grand Delusion: A Road-Map To Nowhere

Thailand apparently has road-maps for everything under the sun. Road-maps for national harmony, road-maps for unity, road-maps for peace in conflict-torn south Thailand, road-maps for digital economy, and road-maps for solidifying power.

This “road-map” is of course debatable, something that politicians and right-wing factions widely abuse when they speak to their audience, to the unconvinced rural crowds or the applauding teary-eyed urban middle class. Road-maps, aye, so often mentioned by uniformed powers that at times the general public forgets to ask what is this so-called strategy all about. I, for one, am clueless.

Clueless, simply because there is no elaboration, no detailed explanation to such a plan, during the weekly rants on telly, and in public forums organized by patriots. Often enough, officials mouth what has been repeated a thousand times, almost to the point that they themselves believe in the delusions.

Let’s take housing in Bangkok as an example, and more specifically, permanent and temporary homes for the urban poor.

Bangkok’s local government, sort of a city hall system with its own governor, has been pretty silent about housing for the poor. No word about access to low cost housing, and silent about the increasing homelessness in the mega city, this heart of the land of smiles. And what of the residents of slums, squatting on land that clearly does not belong to them. In some areas, local and foreign residents of such crowded communities, and those wandering from one street to another,  are without access to the road-map.

The obvious absence of rights-based social programs for those who are in desperate need for housing is the only sure thing in this equation. Oh aye, and also the missing Bangkok governor; who seems to be frequently away from the limelight after the coup of 2014.

With the increasing speculation of an economic meltdown in the country, starting with Bangkok, people are genuinely concerned about their wages, their livelihood, their bowl of rice. Families are worried about their children’s education, their debts and their homes.

Such concerns are not solely affecting the working class and the dirt poor, as you may already know. An economic slowdown will surely affect the middle class, particularly when people are uncertain about their future despite their government’s weekly assurances of a road-map for socio-economic recovery. What does this plan envision, and how are communities involved in shaping their future? No one knows, and not many dare to ask the ruling junta. So how now? Oh hell, I’m still clueless.

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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The High Cost Of Wishing For Better Days

Strong winds, dreadfully cold temperature. Night time, in Bangkok. Its the “winter” season in most parts of Thailand. How bizarre, and how odd. That word, “winter” in this region. The chills forces me to walk further, past the narrow alleys and the dim lights almost hovering. No fog, but expecting the early morning mist much later.

Where are the others? The homeless. In this wretchedness one calls a city. They’re not dead, they couldn’t be dead, at least I hope not. The intense cold offers no comfort to those without shelter, even for the outreach worker who struggles to find them. The streets where they normally sleep at nights, they are not seen.

Easy now, there’s usually an explanation. For some reason, there’s logic behind this… Or not.

City hall commands the streets of Bangkok. Responsible for the city, them with their office monuments covered by walls and warmth. Yet they, these pesky officials, appear not to be interested in the struggles, nor radiate that caring aura that some people boast about. Responsibility. Aye, there’s no logic to that, nowadays.

Hallucination. The grand illusion of middle class empathy for those living on the streets. More like phantoms, shifting shadows, from one corner to another. I’ve seen through them, the supposedly mystery buried in the filth, on the streets and in the many polluted canals.

A question mark that lies in the night, now, with those howling whipping winds. Bangkok, a shrine of more troubles, in the months ahead. Could we expect the high cost of wishing for better days?

Bangkok Poverty

Source: bedlamfury

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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GrabTaxi’s ‘Speed, Safety and Certainty’ Approach in Thailand

The state of public transportation in Bangkok is often tarnished by the unavoidable presence of drivers who either would take a passenger to where its convenient for the person steering the vehicle or when the taxi meter is not used. Welcome to the troubling state of affairs of not only Bangkok but other cities in SouthEast Asia.

What started in Malaysia, has spawned to other countries in the region, as their enterprise model cleverly supplements the urban transportation industry, a synergy of internet, gadgetry and travel.

During a “Meet and Greet Wei Zhu” event in Bangkok, GrabTaxi’s chief technology officer outlined the fundamentals of the growing company, which relies on their app to efficiently link passengers with their taxis.

Wei Zhu
Wei Zhu

Wei Zhu gives an impression of safety, of travel monitoring via the app, and that one is able to get around without the hassle of negotiating with the driver to use the meter. GrabTaxi takes pride in their selling points of “Speed, Safety and Certainty“.

Though its obvious while user-friendly technology and effective supervision makes the service attractive, there are no guarantees that you may not end up with a moody driver who may just make your trip unbearable. However the plus point on the service, since the taxi is registered with GrabTaxi, is that lodging a complaint would be easier.

There’s also the 25-baht booking fee, on top of the metered fare, that one has to pay the moment you reach your destination. I don’t mind, depending on how far I go, transportation (when using the meter) via taxi is usually affordable, unless one gets caught in Bangkok’s notorious traffic.

The GrabTaxi app on my BlackBerry Passport looks amazing, compared to a tight, poorly aligned visual when one uses the BB Q10 or of a lesser OS. Its available in BlackBerry World, a free download. I recommend this app for those travelling in Bangkok and especially in Malaysia.

If you’re planning to travel in the city, check it out, download and then use it.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Screen Protector for BB Passport

The weekend, an off day for me, yet I managed to allow a friend to drag me across town. Our destination, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre in Bangkok. There was a computer fair, which was quite crowded. I tried in vain to avoid the multitude, and found myself facing a few women behind the table, diligently working their fingers on cellphones and even laptops. Screen protectors, affordable and custom-made. Showed my BlackBerry Passport, and inquired whether she could do one for me. She smiled, and said the magical words:

“80 baht ka” 

Okay, that’s done with. I’m happy with the quality, as I can’t depend on Bangkok for official BB accessories, particularly for my Passport. As for ordering it online, why pay for somewhat similar product at cut-throat rate (US$14.95)? Beats me.

BB_Passport

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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MBK, the graveyard for BlackBerrys

MBK center, not a place one would consider leisure shopping due to the almost endless stalls of goods, gears and gadgetry. Fourth floor, to the electronics, and waste no time in the pleasantries of pretence. The smell of hardware, mixed with the perfume of marketeer, seller, trafficker and vendor, and the arrival of sweaty buyers, locals and foreigners.

“How much is that?” I asked, pointing at the well-used BB 9900. The 30-something vendor smiled, hammering her fingers on the calculator. Then offers it to me, the smile still there on her face.

It highlights “9900”.

“9,900 baht for this?” My voice mocked a slight chocked tone.

“Original. Not second hand. Brand new.” She countered.

“Aaahh, interesting.” I replied.

Next vendor, 27 feet away. Same model, second hand.

“How much krub?” I asked.

“4,900 baht.” the male vendor said. “You like?”

“Yes I like but maybe later.” I answered with a smile.

OK, not many choices on the Bold models as I walked around the cluster of booths and small shop lots. Narrow pathway, but I take my time, a leisurely walk if only to maintain my stamina.

iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, and the whatevernots of tech pirated production that entrepreneurs can make, assemble and sell. Too many of these touch-screen apparatus, mostly beneath my interest. Shops also offer colourful casings, cables, power banks, tablets, electrical toys and CCTVs. Zooming away from these gadgets and focusing my sights on Blackberrys, on displays or left unattended somewhere in the stalls.

Blackberry Curve. 8530 series to be exact. Commonly found, mostly second-hand, though some sparkle with cheap-looking frames. Solid looking then some 9300 3G, 9350 and 8900. I took a peek at one glass counter, much to the surprise of an attractive Thai vendor. An obsolete 2nd-hand 9220 model, with a price tag: 900 baht. Next to it, a 8530 that cost 1100 baht.

Two hours later, I’m out of MBK. The only item I bought was a JM1 battery, at a cost of 400 baht, with a capacity of 1230 mAh. At least that’s what is stated on it.

Battery for BB Bold

Wouldn’t go shopping for a brand new BB in MBK, though the prices are fair for 2nd-hand ones. MBK is a museum of sort sort, for BBs, however the place never fails to leave a bleak feeling, as if I had just visited a graveyard, in this case, specifically for BB.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Tragedy of the Poor, Living in Societal Apathy

Sunday, hellishly humid and blisteringly hot. Bangkok. I’m in one of those random moods to explore places, away from anything that looks and feels elaborate in structure and decoration. The feet, thighs and lower back set in motion, and I’m off. Bangkok holds much for a traveller, particularly when one is away from the main roads and shopping malls. Life, as in many cities, begins in the older districts, where tourists would not venture, where the middle-class are conveniently absent.

Elderly man working

Elderly Thai man walks slowly to the roadside, in search for discarded wealth, at least to him. Bottles, recycled goods, a source of income for him, and many others like him, who wander the old streets in search for something to sell, to trade, in exchange for baht. Survival, in this city, is challenging for those without a stable income. High cost of living, in particular, the rent of a small flat or a hut in the slum. You’re expected to pay, whether to the landlord, gang or corrupted official, to stay, to live on the space we call land.

Elderly man recycle work

I see a decline of what’s left of empathy among the middle-class population of the metropolis. Aye, people seems to be quick to offer the coin, or two, to the street beggars. But that’s just about it, about the act of giving, a confinement of empathy. Passing loose change to the vagabond, the disabled homeless person in Bangkok is habitual in nature, almost an instinct to reach into the pocket to offer unused coins. Behaviours are still the same, as we walk by the bowing beggar, and within a heartbeat, we forget their faces and their existence.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Unconventional Review: RIP BlackBerry (at least in Thailand)

Just over a year ago, I bought a Blackberry Q10 in Bangkok. By then Thai-urban appetite for BB plunged, them preferring the comforts of Androids – freedom of limitless apps, fashionable designs, bigger hardware and interface, and touch-screen convenience are among the many reasons for the abandonment of the security of device. Fashion over encryption, style over the no-nonsense of BB.

In August, my Q10 fell, due to an unfortunate, terrible encounter. The small portion of the screen shattered, almost hair-line, though just enough to prevent me from reading anything on the screen. Repairs, aaah the problems started from that word.

BB Q10
My Blackberry Q10. RIP.

It has served me well, in three countries, during the course of my travel and work. Though the thought of its history left me deeply annoyed. Calls, emails, and DMs, tried them all to inquire about repairs. No such luck, as by then Bangkok moved away from BB’s influence. What about @BlackBerryHelp on Twitter? Forget it, sent several DMs, asking for location of a BB service centre in Malaysia, and all I got was evasive replies that left me fuming. So much for a progressive BB-service via Twitter.

Went to MBK, Fortune IT Mall, Terminal 21 then wandered into well-visited IT shopping havens, and the not-so-popular ones too. Nothing. The irritation of dependence, I guess; when I am completely at loss with the usage of other brands, and unable to shake off the BB10 obsession. The technician at the 4th flood in the Fortune IT Mall wasn’t much help, and the appearance of my BB left him appearing puzzled at perhaps an obsolete model. The so-called BB Centre at T21 was merely a lone cut-throat salesman trying to rid of his remaining stocks of Z10s and fake 500-baht battery. Aye, its within his business nature to attempt at ripping off a “tourist”.

OK, fine, so I adapt, somewhat. A second-hand Blackberry 9790 at a small stall in Rama 3 Central. Reminded me of a phone I once owned, a BB 9780, minus the touch-screen. Negotiating is an art in the countries I’ve visited, and my skills are less than proficient in Bangkok. So I called a friend, who managed to bargain from 3200 baht to about 2800 baht. Clone battery, a charging cable, a generic earplugs and hell yeah, the second-hand BB was mine. A wink, a hug and coffee was all I gave my friend, for her wondrous ability to tolerate my impatience.

My 'new' second-hand BB9790
My ‘new’ second-hand BB9790

I upgraded the OS to 7.1, and to my horror the BBM was without the BBM Channels and the Stickers. I could do without the Stickers (emotions), personally not my kind-of-thing to replace stickers with words, however I do have several micro-blogs in BBM Channels.

Not a good start with the 9790, and even now I am at loss of how the system prevents me from deleting the defective BBM and reinstalling the latest version applicable to my OS. Oh well, I’m already making notes of pricing for second-hand Q10s, when I return to Malaysia… unless BB Passport is released, hopefully soon; then I won’t be bursting my budget for the year.

Battery drain on the 9790 is incredible, so I uninstalled whatever apps I didn’t need. Encryption of device and memory card, wonderful. Emails via BB, fabulous and reliable. Local data plan for Blackberry Internet Service (BIS), costly though that’s within the budget.

Second-hand BBs (Bold versions) are quite good actually. Reboot the device, and you’re back in action – that is if you’re not fussy with a second-hand bruised model. As a traveller cum relief worker, I depend on sturdy phones, for report-writing, secured email environment, drafting blog-posts/articles and tweeting. I am bias, the Qwerty keyboard allows me to type quickly. Addition to incredible apps for recreational use or to keep one occupied in the loneliest moments, aha not for me.

Anyway, despite the BB hype years back in Bangkok, the reality is Blackberry is dead and buried in this city and most of the other neighbouring provinces, though still in usage by most people I know in the conflict-torn south of Thailand. BB is somewhat in subdued demand in Malaysia, while still holding strong, for now, in Indonesia. Oh hell, its practically useless in Cambodia, at least that’s what some locals tell me, preferring the Samsung or iPhone, or some suspicious-looking China-by-product of copy-and-paste R&D.

I think in this day and age of modernization, we move away from safety, preferring the comforts of apps, or half-baked security gibberish. Being a minimalist, I look for other aspects of life for nourishment, definitely not on social and “self-development” apps. The BB is useful for work, for my travels, allowing me that reliable tool to facilitate the adventure. For the moment, I’ll stick with the 9790, and will, as usual, try to push the device beyond its capacity and originality.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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สนุกคิด (ส์) สนุกอ่าน กิจกรรมท่องเที่ยวทั่วกรุง

Sanook Kidกรุงเทพมหานคร ขอเชิญน้องๆ หนูๆ ชาวกรุง มาสนุกสนานกับกิจกรรม “สนุกคิด(ส์) สนุกอ่าน” ตามโครงการรณรงค์ให้กรุงเทพมหานครเป็นมหานครแห่งการอ่าน โอบล้อมด้วยบรรยากาศเมืองจำลองของกรุงเทพมหานคร อาทิ เสาชิงช้า พระปรางค์วัดอรุณราชวราราม พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม รวมถึงมุมอ่านในบ้าน ภายใต้แนวคิด Read Around Bangkok อ่านได้ทุกที่ ทุกเวลา

ร่วมเพลิดเพลินไปกับสองพื้นที่แห่งความสนุก ได้แก่ กิจกรรมเวที และกิจกรรมอ่านในบ้าน พบกับเสวนาการอ่าน หนังสือทำมือ ละครนิทาน ประดิษฐ์การ์ดนิทานเพื่อผู้พิการทางสายตา

ชมการจัดแสดงหนังสือลอยน้ำในตู้ปลาและอ่างอาบน้ำสำหรับเด็ก พร้อมการแสดงต่างๆ อีกมากมาย สนุกยิ่งกว่าเพราะทุกท่านมีสิทธิ์ลุ้นรับของรางวัลพิเศษภายในงานด้วย มาร่วมเปิดโลกจินตนาการ “สนุกคิด(ส์) สนุกอ่าน” ได้ที่เซ็นทรัลเวิลด์ ชั้น 1 โซน E (Eden) และทางเชื่อม Sky walk ตั้งแต่วันที่ 20-22 เมษายนนี้

Moui

I'm not Geek, just a Thai internet addicted gal. Love to be surrounded by good heart people. Follow me on twitter : @moui or Facebook : PoomjitS

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รักษ์ช้าง หยุดค้างาช้าง

WWF ประเทศไทย และ TRAFFIC ร่วมจัดงานรณรงค์การหยุดค้างาช้างในประเทศไทย เพราะถือว่าเป็นการสนับสนุนให้มีการล่าช้างเพื่อเอางา กิจกรรมที่จัดขึ้นนี้ มีชื่อว่า “ไถ่ชีวิตช้างด้วยชื่อ ช่วยช้างแอฟริกา หยุดค้างาช้างในไทย” จัดขึ้นที่ลานอีเดน ศูนย์การค้าเซ็นทรัลเวิลด์ โดยมีการร่วมจัดทำช้างกระดาษขนาดใหญ่ที่สุดในประเทศไทย

elephant-paper-1

elephant-paper-2

elephant-paper-3

ภาพกิจกรรมการพับกระดาษเป็นรูปช้าง เพื่อไถ่ชีวิตช้าง

elephant-paper

แล้วคุณพร้อมจะร่วมลงชื่อเป็นอีกหนึ่งเสียง สู่เป้าหมาย 1,000,000 ชื่อ หรือยัง

ถ้าพร้อมกดที่ภาพช้างนี้ elephant

IMG_0312

Moui

I'm not Geek, just a Thai internet addicted gal. Love to be surrounded by good heart people. Follow me on twitter : @moui or Facebook : PoomjitS

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Thailand
This work by Moui is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Thailand.
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