Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Sanctuary Of Truth

It's amazing what one can accomplish when one puts one's mind to it. So the saying goes. One man is Thai billionaire Lek Viriyaphan. He decided there needed to be a monumental wooden sanctuary to combat the prevalent themes of the Cold War. Why not?

The building was started in 1981 and is scheduled for completion in 2025 or when the world is devoid of wood, whichever comes first. No joke (OK, a little...), the place is big, 105 meters high.

The postcard view.

It is, indeed, completely constructed with wood and carvings cover most areas. Thematically, the carvings explore ancient themes of Hindu and Buddhist culture, telling stories related to knowledge, philosophy, responsibility and limiting sugar intake. Maybe not that last one.

The building is divided into four massive halls, a bit like a symmetrical cathedral. The carvings are impressive, especially the quantity. There's an art history term that comes to mind, horror vacui.

Outside, workers are still busy carving more figures, so many, they're piling up (the sculptures, not the workers).

Carving away.
A little nod to tourism. You can get dressed up like a royal Thai and have a throne pic taken, complete with your entourage. When business is slow, check the cell phone. And the hair.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Random Images From A Village In Thailand

Any more random and a theme might emerge.

Big pig.

Tomb marking. Sponsored shrine doll, stuck in a tree.

Going gold with the ride.

Deteriorating dozer. Dozing water buffalo.

Caged bird.

Concrete animals

Dashboard diorama.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Shape Shifting At Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden

Beyond getting abused at Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, you might be turned into something non-human. What's a lizard head punishment after you've been sawed in half? Here are some of the examples of potential transformations awaiting you, should you wander down the path of vices, etc...

Hello Rabbit, nice to see you again.

Going small (bird), getting big (elephant).

Hell is for lizard aliens.

Croc and mouse.
Impressive, turned into a crustacean. If nothing else, the workmanship at the Hell Garden is top notch.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Going Down To Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden

The real attraction at Wang Saen Suk is the section in the back that has many, many scenes depicting what will happen to you should you stray from a clean, pious life. Welcome to Buddhist Hell, baby. From the looks of the installation, there's plenty of room for everyone.

The welcome party. The big peeps are Nai Ngean and Nang Thong. They did horrible things like violating the five precepts of Buddhism and immoral sexual acts. You can guess which one got to play the whore. Hint: it's tradition. And the pregnant stomach.

Moving on. Sexual infidelity is a favorite topic. You sleep with someone other than your spouse, you're going to get some painful groin action.
This is a tourist attraction for the whole family? Yes!

Sometimes, it's not clear what you've done. Here, you've violated the Buddhist precept of "killing and the mind without loving-kindness." What? Murder? Being mean? No matter, they hack your chest, beat you senseless and dump your body for the birds to eat. Oh, and by then you may have a pig or lizard head. Let's just say you're not going to be handed a warning.

Back to abusing women, no torture unused. A boob job for the promiscuous, a torso tuck with a giant vice for seeking an abortion. Which sort of seems like the punishment is the same as the crime. Details, details...

One of the funnier punishments, getting your face shoved to your stomach. And then walked like a dog.

The face is a good punching bag, full of pained expressions and blood. When in doubt, shove a foot on it.

Or go for a massive tongue pull, complete with a menacing tool. Nasty.

Monday, 19 February 2018

A Visit To Wang Saen Suk Monastery Garden

About an hour or so outside Bangkok is a pleasant enough Buddhist monastery and expansive garden, complete with many life-sized dioramas depicting Buddhist mythology and many other of life's joys. And then there's the Hell section.

More on Hell in the next couple of posts.

The undercard to the main Hell section of the complex is enjoyable, a succession of interesting Buddhist scenes.

A typical area, for prayer.

Marching blue-haired monks. Looking a little Disney-like.

About as shallow a grave as possible.

Relaxing in the sun. Aggressive alligator.

The mood is starting to change, getting a bit angry. Could Hell be far away? Stay tuned.....

Friday, 16 February 2018

Happy Chinese New Year From Kuala Lumpur!

Chinese New Year is huge in Malaysia. Of course it is, with ethnic Chinese making up more than 20% of the country's population. Let's celebrate! Where? The usual, the malls!

Just like at Christmas, best to head indoors to the big spaces, the malls, for the best decorations. Nothing disappointing about these displays.

Your typical mall. A little teaser to the main atrium extravaganza.

Oh yea. Groups of blossoming trees, rides, red lanterns everywhere. A stage. It's on. Well, not enough to get people away from their hand phones. The detail is amazing, over-flowing with elaborate flowers, all of it fake. Except this guy, he's real. Still on a phone!

Everybody can be a star in front of the giant video background on the stage.

Pose time, make sure you strike one that works. Options.

Did we mention the detail? Wow!

Birds are good, gotta include some birds. Perhaps included to amp the Feng Shui.

Now, don't forget you're in a mall and the purpose of these displays is to get you to feel great about your shopping experience. If you need a little reminding, commerce is lurking around the corner.

The displays go beyond over the top default decorations. Why not throw some history, a little genre scene in there? Here's a scene of ye olde farmstead, complete with drying peppers and laying chickens. Kid is optional. More posing.

So what year is it, anyway? The dog, which is for sale.