Friday, September 30, 2011

Buddha Swirls

The first time I saw these swirly decorations in Bangkok taxis, it brought me right back to my primary school days when we used to make handicrafts out of bendable pipe cleaners. Back then, we constructed all kinds of things out of them, including various creatures and human figures. These embellishments in the taxis, however, are sacred symbols that represent the Buddha's enlightenment. I wonder if the Thai monks who create these Buddhist insignias have as much fun making them as we did in school when we played with pipe cleaners.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

To the Rescue

Until recently, I had no idea what this sticker of a rescue worker walking away with a lifeless damsel in his arms is trying to represent. It turns out that this cartoony image is the logo for the Thai Volunteer Road Rescue Foundation. Truck drivers and cabbies that display this symbol on their vehicle should be commended for helping those involved in car accidents. And all this while, I was just thinking that Thai guys with this sticker are super creepy and morbid.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Plastic City

The general consensus in Thailand is that plastic is fantastic. In many ways, this synthetic material has become a symbol of modernization in this developing country. Never mind all those scientists warning us that plastic is detrimental to the environment and perhaps our health. Many street vendors who once wrapped their treats in banana leaves now use plastic bags, and the convenience stores here should get an award for contributing the most non-biodegradable materials to landfills. In Bangkok taxis, cabbies often protect parts of their car interiors in plastic. In this taxi, the driver even left his lucky charm in the original plastic sleeve that the seller had put it in.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anime Taxi

Anime and manga are big in Thailand. Anime is regularly screened on TV and it's common to see office workers on the bus flipping through manga comic books. Many Bangkok cabbies are also fans. Just take a look inside many taxis here and you'll find a host of manga and anime characters on the dashboard or in the back window. For many, it's a way to temporarily avoid deliberating on the realities of the daily grind. Some would rather be one of these characters, such as Doraemon, the blue robotic cat from the future who comes back to help others while teaching a lesson or two.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Baby Carriage

Many Bangkok cabbies have their own style when it comes to decorating their taxis. Some prefer to take a minimalist approach with a few talismans sitting on the dashboard. Other cabbies like to mix it up with an eclectic collection of religious and secular paraphernalia. Still others would rather create an environment based on a theme. Take, for example, this taxi which includes decorative elements from a baby nursery.