Bangkok is a huge, seething melting pot which is sinking into the flood plain. Yet this doesn't stop it from pulsating with life and energy.
This is Bangkok. It’s globalised and localised, everyone is plugged into something – Cosplay from Japan, pop from Korea, products from China, tourists from Australia, showtunes from America. Ultimately, it’s all now Thai. Massive electronic billboards advertise in Thai, in Chinese, in English, in Neon. Images of the King project onto the IMAX screen before the start of the film. Everyone stands to honour him. As Sci-fi author Philip K Dick wrote: ‘The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.’ The city is sinking into the flood plain. One day soon the roads will be rivers. But that hasn’t stopped the expansion. The exurban and suburban zones are nearly as dense as the city centre. Old and new structures competing for skyline. The elevated Skytrain connects them all. Down below the infrastructure sags. Most people wear hospital masks on the street, pulling them aside to slurp noodles or smoke a cigarette. Congestion is edging towards permanent gridlock. All the cars, buses, tuk-tuks, motorcycles, ferry boats, scooters and bicycles hardly move at all.