#Bangkok and the God of Modernity

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Bangkok is where I first encountered the God of Modernity. It’s an effigy that offers its past for the sake of the future.

The city thrives with a sense of ironic juxtaposition: a bustling metropolis commercialized by remnants of history. I cross not only the spiritual abyss but a roadside and couple of tuktuks.

IMG_9638My trip last November 2012 made evident my fascination with how progress and preservation can co-exist. I’m both amazed and afraid of this symbiotic relationship.

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Here is a curator who encloses Buddha behind velvet ropes.

IMG_1708It is where visitors kneel down, not to pray, but to take pictures with SLR cameras and iPhones.

I see monks quietly passing by, donning white earphones that drape across their orange robes.

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Around me is a metropolis residing at the footsteps of the temple with roadside altars that are conveniently placed by street corners and shopping malls.

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I know that everything has a tradeoff: What do we give up in order to move forward? Conversely, how do we hold on without feeling backwards? Overall, how do we retain authenticity in the end?

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What was once a remote Chinese trading port has flourished into a flytrap of tourists seeking for escape and adventure. Back then it was the merchant who commoditized the city. Now, it is I, the traveler who brokers experience. I reform history with my iPhone.

Part 1 of my Bangkok Series. Photos by Maica Facundo
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