Putting the humanity into history Graphic novel The King Of Bangkok captures a generation of Thai politics

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language
Putting the humanity into history  Graphic novel The King Of Bangkok captures a generation of Thai politics

The King Of Bangkok The King Of Bangkok

The King Of Bangkok is a graphic novel that tells the story of Thai politics over a generation from 1982 to 2012 from the angle of a trio of northeastern villagers drawn to Bangkok. The book aims to subvert more conventional accounts by using fiction rather than “history”, by leading with pictures rather than words, and by focusing on ordinary people rather than generals, tycoons and politicians.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

In 1982, Nok (Bird) arrives in Bangkok from Udon, one of many teenagers who made this journey in the late 20th century. He soon hooks up with Hong (Swan), a fellow northeasterner but more flamboyant, who becomes his leader through their new lives. Nok works in scrappy jobs, gets cheated, spends time as a beggar, and learns to cope with city folks’ prejudice about northeastern migrants. From 1985 the economy lifts on the export boom. Nok and Hong start to make more money and glimpse a better future. They start to enjoy the city, including bars and girls. Nok buys a motorbike, but crashes on travelling back to Udon.

While recuperating, he reconnects to the village and his peasant father, is ordained as a monk for a time, and meets Gai (Chicken). They marry, and she becomes pregnant. He leaves again to earn the means to support his new family. The economy is now at the peak of the boom. Nok joins Hong working on construction projects in the South. He earns good money, but becomes hooked by the constant desire for more and also ya ba (methamphetamine). In the 1997 economic crash, he loses his job and his health, his father dies, and Gai threatens to leave him. Rock bottom.

Global Tech News Daily

Nok survives. As the economy lifts after the millennium, these three birds are back in Bangkok. Nok and Hong become motorcycle taxi drivers. Nok likes the flexibility that allows him to commute back to Udon, keep the farm going, and connect his son to their roots. Gai works in retail. Their livelihood modestly improves, and their aspirations soar. They imagine sending their son to university. They benefit materially from the policies of Thaksin Shinawatra and are entranced by his promise of even better and fairer lives in the future. “Finally somebody had noticed we existed.” They campaign for Thaksin’s re-election in 2005.

They are confused and angered when Thaksin is ejected in 2006. As well brought-up royalists, they are puzzled by the opposition between King Bhumibol and Thaksin, which appears in national politics. They have learned by now that they have to fight for their aspirations. Hong leads Nok into attempts to organise the motorcycle taxi drivers, and then into the Red Shirt movement. In May-June 2010, they are at the eye of the storm in the siege of Ratchaprasong. Caught by sniper fire, Hong is killed and Nok is blinded when a bullet lodges in his brain. When Thaksin walks away from the movement in 2012, Nok says: “The bullet took my sight. Thaksin’s betrayal shattered my whole being.”

Putting the humanity into history  Graphic novel The King Of Bangkok captures a generation of Thai politics

Global Tech News Daily

The King Of Bangkok By Claudio Sopranzetti, Sara Fabbri and Chiara Natalucci University of Toronto Press 1,154 baht Available at Asia Books

Blindness and sight are the book’s axis. The Thai version is titled Ta Sawang, “Eyes Clear And Bright”, the Red Shirt slogan about the coming of political awareness. Each of the five chapters has a preface from the time after Nok is blinded. He relearns the city through his other senses — the cacophony of noise, the smells, the touch of people helping him or bumping him aside, and the anointment of rain. He reflects on the city through memory, recalling his early excitement at its contrast to the village, and his later doubts about its dangers. He concludes: “I had to lose my sight to understand I was just a pawn.” In the last few pages, he is visualised inside a box of glass. In the final pages he imagines shattering this glass to recover some simple things — the smell of ripe rice, a friend’s laughter, his wife’s gentle strength, and his son’s future.

The graphics are mostly drawn in greyscale, with washes of pastel colours, especially blue, creating a somewhat downbeat atmosphere throughout. Pink appears to stress the crises in Nok’s life, the motorcycle crash, his rock-bottom point in the South, and the blinding. Red signals the promise but also the danger of politics, which brew in the background through the early chapters, then takes centre stage in the finale, highlighting the excitement and solidarity of the Red Shirts, and then the blood of the final tragedy.

Sara Fabbri’s drawings are busy and energetic. Most pages are crowded full. The figures are almost always in movement. Thailand was utterly transformed in the period covered by the story. The graphic style conveys this pace, and its disorienting impact.

Apart from the three birds, the main character in the story is Bangkok. In the booming 1980s, a naked Nok is shown sitting among the chaos of new construction rising from the alluvial mud towards the sky. Elsewhere Bangkok is imagined as “an octopus that swallows everything”, and sections of the overhead expressways are drawn as the coils of a concrete octopus.

This is a story but not a story. The preface announces that it is “based on real events” reconstructed through “hundreds of hours of interviews and 10 years of anthropological research”, and that every frame of the visuals is based on an archive of over 5,000 images culled from Thailand’s libraries and archives. Claudio Sopranzetti wrote his Harvard doctoral thesis after being embedded with Bangkok’s motorcycle taxi drivers through the climax of the Red Shirt movement.

Conventional history writing often fails to convey how history impacts the lives of ordinary people and how little people have their part in big events. By its focus on the three central characters and by the capacity of pictures to portray warm humanity, this book does a better job. Until the 2010 climax, the political narrative is sketched in the background. The focus is on Nok, Hong and Gai, three birds in the winds of change. They struggle, bicker, curse, misbehave, make mistakes and tell jokes about themselves. Gai evolves from a bit part into a questioning participant in the politics and anchor of the family. She is also the character most beautifully and sympathetically drawn.

The ending is controversial. Rebels who accept defeat and quit the field are a conservative’s dream. In fact, as the politics have moved beyond the generation covered by this book, the torch has been passed on, and there is a new story to tell. This book is a triumph.

News Related


Ten Hag in Man Utd Zoom cull as Pogba leaves WhatsApp group

© PA Images Erik ten Hag is likely to be the next manager of Manchester United Erik ten Hag will reportedly hold one-to-one Zoom meetings with every member of the ... Read more »

Twitter eyes deal With Musk as soon as Monday

© Motivate Publishing Billionaire Elon Musk Receives Axel Springer Award Twitter is in the final stretch of negotiations about a $43bn sale to Elon Musk that could rank as one ... Read more »

Catarina Macario will 'be a big-time player for this national team,' a US soccer star said of her 22-year-old club teammate

© AP Photo/Aaron Doster Catarina Macario. AP Photo/Aaron Doster Catarina Macario has already earned several call-ups and caps with the US Women’s National Team. Superstar midfielder Lindsey Horan says her ... Read more »

Dwyane Wade on If He Will Ever Come Out of Retirement

© Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. Dwyane Wade is not Tom Brady! The former NBA superstar appears on Monday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and shares his true feelings about coming ... Read more »

MSI wins three iF DESIGN awards for two motherboards and a laptop

© Provided by Dot Esports MSI has won three iF DESIGN awards for its innovative products. The iF DESIGN awards are an annual event held since 1953 and currently judge ... Read more »

UAE: MBRU Researchers make first novel gene discovery

© Provided by Khaleej Times The first novel gene discovery in the UAE has been made by researchers at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University Of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU). ... Read more »

'Princess Bride' star Cary Elwes bitten by rattlesnake, airlifted to hospital

Cary Elwes was airlifted to the hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake at his home.  The “Princess Bride” actor was doing yard work at his Los Angeles-area home over ... Read more »

Michael Jordan's dream NASCAR race turned into a nightmare on Talladega's wild final lap

© Sean Gardner/Getty Images Bubba Wallace wrecks on the final lap at Talladega. Sean Gardner/Getty Images Both Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing drivers had a shot to win at Talladega. Both ... Read more »

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS Review: The Future Is Now, Old Man

© Motor1.com 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS Review With up to 350 miles of range and a huge Hyperscreen inside, the Mercedes EQS is a plush rival to Porsche, Tesla, and Lucid. ... Read more »

Player at Apex boot camp reportedly tests positive for COVID ahead of Stockholm LAN

© Provided by Dot Esports A pro player preparing for the largest tournament in Apex Legends esports to date reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 today after attending an in-person boot ... Read more »

Sharjah’s GDP surges 4.8% to Dh130.5b on thriving non-oil sector

© Provided by Khaleej Times Flag Island in Sharjah Emirate. Data shows that Sharjah’s trading sector was the most significant contributor to GDP at 23.8 per cent. — Supplied photo ... Read more »

Jubail Island: Abu Dhabi mega project progresses with $136m ADIB financing

Work on the Jubail Island mega project is set to progress further after Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) provided a Dh500 million ($136m) Sharia-compliant financing facility for its development and ... Read more »

Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian Support His Pal Jon Stewart as He Accepts Mark Twain Prize

Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian stepped out for quite the special occasion over the weekend.  On Sunday, the couple was spotted in the audience at the Kennedy Center in Washington, ... Read more »

Ashley Graham Shows Her 'New Tummy' With Stretch Marks After Giving Birth to Twins

© Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images Ashley Graham has a lot of gratitude for her body! On Sunday, the 34-year-old model, who gave birth to twin boys in January, shared ... Read more »

Bus connection for Dubai Expo metro station launches in May

A new bus service will next month connect Dubai South with Expo 2020 metro station. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority said it is working in partnership with the private sector ... Read more »

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 nearing $300 million earned in global sales

© Provided by Dot Esports Sonic the Hedgehog 2 began to open in cinemas earlier this month. And now, it’s already gained nearly $300 million, surpassing the earnings of the ... Read more »

Amazon's new helix-shaped headquarters approved by Virginia county

© Uncredited Amazon announced the plans for the 106-metre tower in Arlington County last year and it will be the centrepiece of its latest construction project. AP Arlington County, located ... Read more »

UAE’s Damac Group to invest $100m in metaverse project

© Motivate Publishing damac metaverse UAE-based Damac Group, the parent company of property development company Damac Properties, has announced plans to enter the metaverse. Damac plans to invest up to ... Read more »

Sharjah’s economy grew 4.8% in 2021 as non-oil sector rebounded

Sharjah’s gross domestic product grew 4.8 per cent in 2021 as the emirate’s non-oil sector drove its recovery from coronavirus-induced headwinds. The emirate registered Dh130.5 billion ($35.5bn) in GDP earnings ... Read more »

Eid Al Fitr celebrations to make debut at UK's Edgbaston cricket stadium

Celebrations marking the end of Ramadan will take place for the first time this year at Edgbaston cricket stadium in Birmingham. The Eid Al Fitr event will be held for ... Read more »

Chelsea join race for Man City star Mahrez

© PA Images Mahrez-scores-for-Manchester-City Chelsea are reportedly interested in Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez, who is about to enter the final year of his contract at the Etihad. The Algerian ... Read more »

How to unlock the Ice Axe in Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone

© Provided by Dot Esports After being added to the game several months ago, the Ice Axe melee weapon is now finally unlockable with an in-game challenge in Call of ... Read more »

'90 Day Fiancé': Guillermo Gets Upset at Kara Calling Him a 'Toddler' Due to Their Age Difference

© TLC Guillermo is not here for his fiancée, Kara, making fun of their age difference. On Sunday’s episode of 90 Day Fiancé, 23-year-old Guillermo got upset when 29-year-old Kara ... Read more »

'90 Day Fiancé': Bilal Tests Shaeeda's Loyalty and It Completely Backfires

© TLC Bilal’s “prank” on his fiancée, Shaeeda, definitely didn’t go the way he hoped on Sunday’s episode of 90 Day Fiancé. Bilal welcomed Shaeeda, who’s from Trinidad and Tobago, to ... Read more »

Sova nerfs to Shock Dart and Owl Drone coming to VALORANT in Patch 4.08

© Provided by Dot Esports A handful of Sova nerfs are reportedly heading to VALORANT in Patch 4.08, according to early access footage that has been released by some of ... Read more »

Man Utd firm up Ten Hag budget as they reject Rangnick claim

© PA Images Erik ten Hag walks across the pitch ahead of an Eredivisie game Man Utd will not be looking to overhaul the squad this summer under new manager ... Read more »

Dubai issues more than 18,013 e-Trader licences since initiative began in 2017

© MOHAMMED SALEM The UAE’s e-commerce market is forecast to increase 60 per cent to more than $8 billion by 2025 from 2021. Reuters Dubai government issued more than 18,013 ... Read more »

Twitter shares rise 4.5% on reports it could accept Elon Musk’s bid

© David Paul Morris Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California. Bloomberg Twitter shares jumped more than 4 per cent in the pre-market trading on Monday on the reports that the ... Read more »

Ben Affleck's Rep Reacts to 'Selling Sunset' Star Emma Hernan Saying He Reached Out to Her on Raya

Ben Affleck “may or may not have” asked Selling Sunset star Emma Hernan to “grab … coffee a few times.” That’s the claim the luxury real estate agent made in the ... Read more »

Abu Dhabi Police can sell vehicles at auction if traffic fines exceed Dh7,000

© BESA A car is towed by Mawaqif attendants from the parking lot opposite the Park Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National Motorists in Abu Dhabi who ... Read more »

Faisal Al Ketbi hails teamwork after Jiu-Jitsu President’s Cup hat-trick

© Provided by The National Faisal Al Ketbi of Bani Yas (white) in the men’s final of the PresidentÕs Cup Jiu-Jitsu. Chris Whiteoak / The National Faisal Al Ketbi led ... Read more »

Everton write to PGMOL after Gordon penalty shout vs Liverpool

© PA Images Anthony Gordon collides with Fabinho Everton have asked the Professional Game Match Officials Board to explain some of the refereeing in their 2-0 derby defeat to Liverpool. The PA ... Read more »

Dubai issues 18,013 e-Trader licences to date

© Provided by Khaleej Times Of the total licences issued in past five years, 13,671 are professional and 4,342 are commercial. — File photo Dubai on Monday disclosed that it ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton was lapped by archrival Max Verstappen on one of the most humiliating weekends of his F1 career

© Lars Baron – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton is lapped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Lars ... Read more »

Tottenham ‘approach’ out-of-contract Juve man, player ‘not rushing future’

© PA Images Paulo Dybala celebrates a win with Alvaro Morata and Dusan Vlahovic Tottenham have reportedly made their move for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, who is out of contract ... Read more »

Tyson Fury 'definitely won't' retire, crossover clash with Francis Ngannou possible - Arum

© Nick Potts Britain’s Tyson Fury celebrates after beating Britain’s Dillian Whyte to win their WBC heavyweight title boxing fight at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (Nick ... Read more »

Oman to split sovereign wealth fund into two portfolios

© Motivate Publishing Oman Oman will split its wealth fund, one of the smallest managers of state capital in the Gulf, into two units overseeing local and foreign assets. The ... Read more »

Brigitte Macron's style in office: 36 images charting French first lady's fashion

Brigitte Macron’s style is undeniably Parisian. Blazers, slim-fit trousers and skinny jeans, oversized scarves and Breton tops are staples of her casual wardrobe. For formal engagements in her role as ... Read more »

Dubai Food Festival is Back!

© UAEMoments Dubai Food Festival is Back! Are you excited for Dubai’s most exciting culinary offerings! Then get ready because Dubai Food Festival (DFF) is Back! Find out more about this annual gastronomic ... Read more »

UAE and Indonesia export credit agencies team up to boost bilateral trade

© BAY ISMOYO Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The reinsurance agreement with the UAE focuses on trade and project financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. AFP Etihad Credit Insurance, ... Read more »