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Modernization and Its Discontents: Contemporary Thai Writing

November 2016

november-2016-modernization-and-its-discontents-contemporary-thai-writing-pinaree-sanpitak-big-blue
Image: Pinaree Sanpitak, Image: Big Blue, 2007, acrylic modeling paste and dried flowers on canvas 63 x 87 in. (160 x 220 cm). Courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

Image: Pinaree Sanpitak, Image: Big Blue, 2007, acrylic modeling paste and dried flowers on canvas 63 x 87 in. (160 x 220 cm). Courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.


This month we bring you prose and poetry from Thailand, a country mourning its beloved king while grappling with accelerated development. From the teeming chaos of Bangkok to the deceptive serenity of the provinces, from temples to traffic jams, the writing here delivers a nuanced portrait of Thai culture and society. Win Lyovarin’s exasperated working man offers a mordant vocabulary lesson for urbanites. Poet Phu Kradat gives voice to the people of rural Isan. Chart Korbjitti’s monks in training haven’t a prayer, and Uthis Haemamool’s amnesiac temple worker recognizes the false side of true belief. At the poles of responsible parenting, Sri Daoruang’s heartsick mother treasures her sickly son, while Duanwad Pimwana’s battling couple abandon their boy to the neighborhood. Prabda Yoon’s sage passes judgment from a park bench. Guest editor Mui Poopoksakul talks with the revered editor and “encyclopedia of Thai literature” Suchart Sawasdsri and provides an illuminating introduction.

Modernization and Its Discontents: Contemporary Thai Writing
By Mui Poopoksakul
Thai literature has had a long tradition of delivering social critique and promoting activism.
Monopoly
By Duanwad Pimwana
You poor thing, with parents like these.
Translated from Thai by Mui Poopoksakul
MultimediaMultilingual
Life’s Lexicon: Everyman’s Bangkok Edition
By Win Lyovarin
Traffic Jam: a free gift that comes with the purchase of every car.
Translated from Thai by Peter Montalbano
Untitled: #13 and #14
By Phu Kradat
Screaming midnight thoughts plunge down to still
Translated from Thai by Peter Montalbano
Interview with Suchart Sawasdsri
By Mui Poopoksakul
The latest coup has fractured artists into three groups.
Translated from Thai by the author
Light Splash Sound
By Uthis Haemamool
“Well, damn! Eats the temple’s food, then disses the Buddha!”
Translated from Thai by Peter Montalbano
Multilingual
Ei Ploang
By Prabda Yoon
People I’ve told about him all thought that Ei Ploang was my imaginary friend.
Translated from Thai by Mui Poopoksakul
Tanoo
By Sri Daoruang
I am a mother who has no choices.
Translated from Thai by Susan F. Kepner
An Essay on Prayers
By Chart Korbjitti
We had to learn the prayers by heart to save our own skin.
Translated from Thai by Mui Poopoksakul
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