North Korean Waitresses entertain customers at the Pyongyang Restaurant in Jakarta
North Korea, starved of foreign currency by sanctions has long been thought to run a shadowy empire of legitimate and not so legitimate businesses through a mysterious agency, Bureau 39. On the legitimate side of things, an increasing number of restaurants run by North Korean embassies are popping up in Southeast Asia which earn hard currency for the government. The food, if you are wondering, is quite nice and very similar to other Korean food you may have had. The waitresses are very pleasant and seem to be professionally trained singers. They live in rooms above the restaurant.
Stopped into a new, for me, club the other day – Masberto which serves up noise, sweat, and intensity seven days a week – proving once again that Indonesia is where the punk scene is still relevant. If you like punk music or just punks – check it out. I haven’t really done justice to it here so please do check out the excellent piece by my friends Maria Bakkalopulo, an ethno-musicologist(which must be one of the coolest job titles in the world), and Ayumi Nakanishi, a great photographer who have been studying Punks here in depth.
The BBC has done an excellent special report on what it means to be without internet. A category which includes much of the developing world. In Indonesia, public internet shops like the one above provide access to the world online for those that cannot afford computers, but Indonesian’s are increasingly getting online using only mobile phones. You can see the BBC report here.
Evening in Jakarta – a man operating a mobile kids’ ride heads home after a day of entertaining children.
The Thai Military are another major player in Thailand’s ongoing political conflict. The Thai military overthrew the government of Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006, sparking 4 years of almost constant turmoil. Civilian rule was restored in 2007, and the military has mostly stayed on the sidelines trying to restore order without overtly taking sides. Please click here for more images
The Thai middle class and cultural and business elite are another group that has taken center stage in the ongoing political conflict in Thailand. They support the current government and are largely pro-monarchy and fiercely opposed to Thaksin and his political allies. Please click here for more images.
Thailand’s 4 year political upheaval seems like it never really ends – just carries on with different players taking the lead for a time. At the moment the leading player is a group of largely rural Thais who form the “Red Shirts” who are demanding that the current government step down to allow for new elections. The “Red Shirts” are the largest voting block in Thailand and have been closely allied with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was deposed by a military coup in 2006 and is currently in exile facing corruption charges. please click here for more pictures
The tropical environment so quickly reasserts itself over man made structure. Here are a couple images from an ongoing series exploring that theme
Officials in West Java have finally decided to use Indonesia’s controversial Anti-Pornography law to prosecute four women who police say were dancing indecently at a bar in Bandung. The over four hundred page law leaves alot of room for police and prosecutors to decide when the law has been broken.
Acehnese schoolgirls walk through the grounds of Banda Aceh’s main mosque Thursday Oct. 8, 2009 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.(Photo/Ed Wray)
Acehnese Schoolgirls walk through the grounds of Banda Aceh’s main Mosque on the way home from their schoolAcehnese schoolgirls walk through the grounds of Banda Aceh’s Grand Mosque on their way home from school. Shariah Laws being proposed by Aceh’s government, including stoning to death for the crime of adultry, have raised eyebrows among Indonesian government officials as well many citizens who oppose the strict enforcement of Islamic law. Please click here for more pictures.