WHICH WAY TO GO?
One of Manit's favourite photographs
in this book shows a tuktuk driver staring at an elephant as it
ambles past him on the street. Manit has named this photograph 'Which
Way to Go?'
He says: "The elephant
is forced into the city because the forests, its natural habitat,
have been destroyed.
(Elephant owners bring their animals into Bangkok for people to
pass under their bellies for luck, in exchange for money.)
A similar fate forces the man to leave his rice field and migrate
here to drive a taxi for a living.
"I feel a personal connection
with them both, although I am a city person by birth, because the
same dehumanising forces are steamrolling over my society and way
I also have no alternative but to succumb to the onslaught."
At times his vision is darkly
humourous, as Bangkok is, seen with the horror-struck eyes of a
The marauding army of cars that march inexorably out from the dark
night, demonic eyes beaming at us.
The Ronald MacDonald rubber dolly grinning obscenely, vacuous yet
with evil intent. The plaster dinosaur with her prim handbags.
They make us feel hysterical.
But ah, to be hysterical.
To feel alive. Economically, socially, spiritually, Thailand is
going through her worst crisis in living memory, and Bangkok is
her hysterical heart, giggling insanely as the world collapses.
Bangkok, June 1999.