Tom Vater

Tom Vater

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

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Posts tagged politics

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’ […]

When tattoo culture meets politics – Tamil Nadu – Nikkei Asian Review

Usually a matter of choice, Indian state takes political tattoos to new level. Check out my new feature, with Laure Siegel, on one of India’s enduring personality cults. For decades, the followers of six times state minister and recently deceased Jayalalithaa Jayaram, have been wearing their political idol’s face on their skins, acquired in mass […]

Indian theater activists see rise in political risks – The Nikkei Asian Review

My latest story with Laure Siegel on government censorship and the arts in India, focusing on theater on Mumbai and Delhi. MUMBAI/NEW DELHI — “First they come for the movies. Then for the books. Theater will be the last to be hit, but the clamp-down is coming,” said Anish Victor, a founder of Rafiki, a […]

Hell in our Time – The Rohingya of Sittwe

Here’s an account of my visit to Sittwe, home of many Rohingya, in August 2012. This is not a particularly hands-on story, nor did it involve any courage on my part. Better reportages on the same subject have surfaced in the media in recent days. But as Sittwe is now sealed off and as no […]

Thai Hardcore Bands Are Risking Prison Just To Thrash – Interview in Noisey/Vice

I was recently interviewed for an article on Thailand’s punk rock scene for Noisey/Vice. Read the full story Thai Hardcore Bands Are Risking Prison Just To Thrash by April Welsh here.

Kathmandu Reloaded!

I have just published a feature in the Friday supplement of The Rising Nepal, one of the country’s Eng;ish language newspapers. Why? Well, The Rising Nepal helped me start my career in 1997. The paper graciously offered me the use of a typewriter and I hammered out a series of feature stories on Nepali culture […]

Who owns the 21st Century?

Every day, we appear to be moving a little closer to a state of affairs where governments could become obsolete. Large parts of the world have always been ruled by people who don’t really qualify as governments, but in recent years, perfectly respectable rulers have also shown signs (not for the first time) that they […]

Chuwit Kamolvisit – Thailand’s Political Lone Ranger speaks out…again

“In the morning, when I wake up, I drink a coffee and I read the paper. What is today’s bullshit, today’s lie? I never believe anything that’s written in the papers, they’re like cartoons. They’re entertainment. They don’t tell the truth.” Former massage parlour kingpin Chuwit Kamolvisit says Thailand’s political establishment remains as hypocritical and […]

Tom Vater reports for the Southeast Asia Globe: Postcard from a War Zone

The conflict between the Thai government and the Red Shirts – the former backed by a lose interest group that includes the military, royalists, part of the capital’s business community and right-wing fringe elements, commonly known as the Yellow Shirts, the latter a growing and motley collection of often paid supporters of fugitive former Prime […]

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