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Top of the pops

These five singers have captured the hearts and ears of the region 1. Thongchai McIntyre The eldest of this month’s Top 5,  51-year-old Thongchai ‘Bird’ McIntyre is one of Thailand’s most successful singers of all time. Having sold over 20m albums since his debut in 1986, Bird’s staying power is comparable to that of Madonna’s.


An interview with Tim Sakhorn

Born in 1968, Tim Sakhorn is perhaps the most famous Khmer Krom activist alive today. He was granted political asylum in Sweden in July 2009. How does it feel to be reordained? Do you wish you were re-ordained in Cambodia? I am very happy to be a monk again because it has been my way


Please mind the gap

Business degrees are a big industry in the Kingdom, but not every degree means business. “Years ago, the MBA was a good idea…” Zak Buttell, a Chulalongkorn graduate and former Wall Street financial consultant, tells me over Thai iced coffee at a highly affluent street front café a block or two off Bangkok’s Victory Monument.


Meeting the material world

During recent years, the Buddhist faith appears to have witnessed a few casualties along an increasingly bumpy path to enlightenment. Headlines documenting monk-related incidents have peppered regional media, and their prevalence seems to be rising. From “Buddhist monk arrested for rape of British tourist” to “Monks arrested for throwing rowdy drug and alcohol party”, newspapers


Peace gets a fighting chance

A Bangkok resident since 2002, the founding chairman of the International Peace Foundation is committed to spreading his peaceful message around the wider world. Uwe Morawetz is a man on a mission – he wants to make the world a better, more fulfilling place. He freely admits he’s a dreamer but, as anyone who has


Made in India

Cambodia’s small but influential Indian community feels comfortable in a country that shares its history and maybe its future with their motherland. The history between India and Cambodia goes back to ancient times. The influence of the world’s second most populous country on the Kingdom is visible from the Hindu-style temples of Angkor Wat to


When the well runs dry

With clean water increasingly hard to come by, the fight for fresh water threatens to plunge Southeast Asia into chaos. Despite its precipitous rainfall, Southeast Asia is far from immune from the water conflicts that many believe will become the hallmark of 21st century geopolitics. Since the Second World War, none of the earth’s precious


Ageing Thais seek shelter

As the traditional structures of Thai family life are gradually eroded, a number of initiatives in Chiang Mai are helping the elderly cope with old age and loneliness. In a room with strips of dried bamboo lying across a grey floor, Kham Bang Kattivong, 70, is busy weaving a basket that will support her and


Ink Incorporated: Thai tattoos

Two new books examine the ancient and contested art of Thailand’s tattoo masters It provides protection from accidents, bullets and wrongdoing; can win popularity and affection and is part of an ancient tradition rooted in the confluence of Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Sak Yant tattoo art dates back to Angkorian times, between the