Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Archive for Thailand

Wat Bang Phra – Thailand’s Tattoo Temple Revisited

Back in March, I guided a group of visitors to Thailand to the annual Wai Khru (Respect your teacher) at Wat Bang Phra temple, an hour west of Bangkok, the largest event celebrating all things sak yant, Thailand’s spirit tattoos, in the country. Great group, wonderful day. Thanks to Where Sidewalks End and Ian Ord. […]

Some of my best recent stories in the Nikkei Asian Review

From a punk rock collective in Borneo to European proto-colonies and ethnic minorities in India, rock stars and a circus from Cambodia, the scourge of development in Laos, female motorcycle taxi drivers in Thailand, Japanese entrepreneurs in France and my eye witness reports of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the Asian Nikkei Review has published some […]

The Tom Vater Collection at the British Library to be digitally preserved

This recording is part of the Tom Vater Collection (C799) at the British Library. A longer extract has been published on The Moken: sea gypsies of the Andaman Sea (Topic Records TSCD919, 2001).  The full collection also includes recordings from India, Laos and Cambodia. It will be digitally preserved as part of the Unlocking our […]

Owner of the Map – Power, politics & motorcycle taxis in Thailand at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, April 18th

My partner in crime and journalism, Laure Siegel, will be part of a panel on Bangkok’s motorcycle taxi industry on April 18th at the city’s Foreign Correspondents Club, following our story, published last year in the Nikkei Asian Review, on women pushing into this hard and very male profession. Link to our story: Bangkok’s ‘motorcycle […]

The next best thing to a sacred tattoo – Sacred Skin

The holidays are almost upon us, we’ve burnt another year into oblivion. The end of the year is a great time to focus the mind and spend some moments in silent contemplation. A Sak Yant, a sacred tattoo from Thailand, certainly helps. Many ancient Thai tattoos are in fact diagrams designed for meditation. But if […]

The Bangkok Publishing House in The Daily Telegraph

I recently reviewed the quite unique Bangkok Publishing House in The Daily Telegraph. The Bangkok Publishing Residence is a unique property, a one-off, and a very personable hotel experience. The building started as a row of 1960s shophouses, though most of the walls and floors have been removed, creating a beautifully open ground-floor space that’s […]

Ralf Tooten talks Bangkok Noir

German photographer Ralf Tooten talks to me about his best selling photo book Bangkok Noir at sibylle.life. Read the interview here. Photograph by Laure Siegel.

Bangkok’s Chinatown at heart of heritage battle in The Nikkei Asian Review

Activists take on government over plans to transform culturally-rich area. My latest on the continued cultural impoverishment of Bangkok with Laure Siegel in The Nikkei Asian Review this week. BANGKOK — It is Friday night and Soi Nana is ablaze with lights. Most of the shop houses that line this 400-meter-long road in Bangkok’s Chinatown […]

The Death of Bangkok’s Amazing Streetfood in The Daily Telegraph

My thoughts on the imminent demise of Bangkok’s incredibly varied, often delicious and pretty cheap streetfood in today’s Daily Telegraph. “Since the May 2014 military coup, Bangkok has been gradually changing from a chaotic, bustling happy-go-lucky south-east Asian capital with a hedonistic bent into an increasingly drab and orderly bargain basement version of Singapore,” said […]

Bangkok’s ‘motorcycle mamas’ roar into men’s world – in the Nikkei Asian Review

My latest article with Laure Siegel in the Nikkei Asian Review looks at how women enter the motorcycle taxi workforce in Bangkok, a traditionally male bastion. With fewer and fewer job opportunities for unskilled Thai women, riding a motorcycle taxi remains one profession that promises a degree of independence and freedom. Read Bangkok’s ‘motorcycle mamas’ […]

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