After 70 years of rule and a long illness, King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on Thursday. He has witnessed 19 coup attempts and a multitude of electoral swings. Educated in Switzerland, the king was fond of arts and deeply interested in the welfare of his subjects, whom he supported through various Royal Projects. These are celebrated by various UN agencies, as Thailand has become a ‘development success‘ during his rule.
I love birds – as a child, I used to spend hours and hours studying bird encyclopedias and trying to recognize them as I see them. Birds used to be my favorite subjects for drawing, especially orioles, nightingales and pigeons. So a two-day stay in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, made me really regret I did not have a proper camera to take photos of all the interesting birds there. There is a huge park right in the center of the city, and birds there seem to really feel free to go about their business regardless of tourists. For identifying the species, I used Peter Ericsson′s very informative database of birds in Thailand.
Let′s start with water birds, of whom little egret is probably the most gracious. Continue reading
With the aim to balance out very unequal distribution of articles about development cooperation between EU15 and EU13, Minority Rights Group took our group of ten to get first-hand experience reporting in Southeast Asia. What we learned, however, had to do more with our journalistic methods than with EU development aid and cooperation.
February marked the tenth year since I started working as a foreign desk journalist at a small but prominent Lithuanian newspaper (which no longer exists). During those years as a staff writer and later as a freelancer I entirely depended, like many colleagues from our region, on other organisations to fund any reporting missions abroad, or used personal travels for reporting. There was a time when Lithuanian media did not even have a permanent correspondent in Brussels. Already low budgets for reporting in Central and Eastern Europe have been further cropped since the economic crisis and austerity hit its media sector.
For this and other reasons the unique access to an enhanced-security village in Kaeng Krachan national park already provided fresh ideas for several stories. On the other hand, following many of the journalistic principles in a traditional community amidst tension (ethnic Karen living in the national park face increasing restrictions on their agricultural activity and foraging in the name of forest preservation) was challenging. For instance, it is always better to be alone with the source (and translator) in a safe space, but I had read in advance not to mess with the local hierarchies of Thailand’s mountain peoples, and did not dare to object when one of the village headmen invited himself to an interview with a local worker. Continue reading
The Equal Times published my article on press freedom in Thailand (also available in French and Spanish).
“I tell other colleagues, ‘Hey, you are a journalist. You should be brave!’” says Chutima Sidasathian, whom I had a chance to meet thanks to Minority Rights Group, the organizers of a training I attended in Bangkok and Kaeng Krachan national park. There were many more interesting things she said, but it would have inflated my article way beyond the word limit, and it her story has already been reported on, too. On the other hand, I couldn’t find any information about Rangsee Limpichotikul in English. He wrote about the case of Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen, a.k.a. Billy, who was detained last year and went missing ever since.
It is always inspiring to see
Some of my friends are posting and discussing this article about living light and decluttering. It’s an interesting mental exercise to do. I have moved apartments so many times that I can certainly see the benefits of living light. Gradually getting rid of my books is on my agenda.
At the same time, there are certain limitations for traveling/ living light. Continue reading