Friday, December 11, 2009

Tropical Christmas act II: tradition and trend - Bangkok, Thailand

The shopping malls have installed the trees. Plastic on iron, and an idea of a fir. Thousands are hanging around these fake woods: compact cameras, reflex, lenses and tripods. You can open Facebook and key "Bangkok" in. Hundreds of profiles, pages of photos: Thais, expats and tourists alike, smiling, pensive or even bored, dynamically posing in front of cones of floss. 
But at the opposite end there's an untouched corner, the shrines of Buddha and of a proud Ganesh. Layers of people lit incense sticks, join their palms, meditate, pray, a few minutes later they awake and leave. Two mass rituals a few meters apart. The sequences are repeated, endlessly reproduced. But we can't be mistaken, a deep difference divide them: the difference that there is between tradition and trend.

Photo: family with toys in front of a Christmas tree, Griffith & Griffith, Philadelphia, 1897.

No comments: