I was not on assignment. Here in Thailand the obligation to stay at home has not yet been taken and you can freely walk and travel. But bars, clubs, discos and many restaurants are already closed and the city of Pattaya is deserted and dark as it has never been in the past 50 years. No tourist ventures into the streets. Last night, wearing a mask, glasses, gloves and camera, I went out to see with my own eyes. Spectral. A reflection on how much an economy based solely on a single business, tourism, can collapse dramatically overnight. Is it appropriate to rethink the economic structure of certain places?
HONG KONG. THIS IS NOT A PLACE
SEOUL. THE CLUBBING TRIBE.
In Seoul everything has a price. Everything has a time and everything has a dimension. The dimension of work, study and the dimension of fun. Of clubs. Of the night. Where the price to detach from the rhythms of the city is to get lost in the streets and nightclubs. Without more memory. The solitude of a bottle of beer, a hundred cigarettes. The light of a cellphone. And then ready to dive again in the bars and nightclubs. Looking for a parallel life. Or maybe just to survive.
LIKAY. THE GLITTERING FAMILY
ลิเก What is Likay? Likay it is a glittering dream. It's life, death, music, and all the joy and sadness combined. Likay it is a traditional Thai dance theater. The actors sing, recite and improvise. With their colorful makeup sometimes they are princes kings and warriors. They speak of past stories and epic battles. Extraordinary costumes and precious stones make this incredible show more magic. It is not the classical theater, is a popular theater did for fun. I followed these extraordinary actors who have allowed me to learn about their art and love this piece of thailand little known to foreigners. They are a big family.
POSSESSED BY THEYR SACRED TATTOOS. SAK YANT WAI KRU CEREMONY.
A quick preview after a very very long day. Each year over 10,000 people gather at Wat Bang Phra, a large Buddhist temple about an hour outside Bangkok to recharge the magic of their sacred Sak Yant tattoos. Thousands of devoted have gathered to renew the powers of their tattoos at the Wai Kru, and for some, the power overcomes them. Sitting cross-legged under the hot sun they enter a trance called Khong Khuen and become their tattoos — the Tiger, Crocodile, Old Man, or Hanuman the Hindu monkey god.
FAREWELL TO THE KING.
Bangkok. State funeral for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 1927 - 2016. Five days, two cameras, three nights, so much rain, stifling hot, so much sun, umbrellas, raincoats, blacks, shoes, foot pain. Being with the people.
THE LAST STAND
It's five o'clock in the morning. Nobody sleeps in the fort. There are those who stands guard. Portable radios on. They are arriving. Old people and children know that today is not a day like any other. Today they are coming to destroy their homes. Today someone will come to harm. Bad for the heart and too bad for the soul. These people live under siege for too long. They are calm, but beneath the skin I can feel their nervousness. Their eyes tell me everything, we do not need to speak. We hug and we salute and then everyone is ready to do its duty. My is to document. Take pictures. But I can not be impartial. I am one of them, I feel like a citizen of Pom Mahakan. We wait. Silence, then the sun. Then the noise of many trucks. Many people who arrive in uniform, come in... there are many, like ants. Destroy, carry away, load rubble. Reduce the houses to ashes. Nothing will be as before, I can read on the faces of the people. They feel defeated, I know. All the strength and all the energy spending in recent years, too many years, always in the hope of being able to remain in peace. Peace. Let them alone, please. I want to scream to the bureaucrats. If this world was on the side of the good people and the weaks, their battle they would already have won. But this world it does not do anything of the weak, the poor.
KAREN TIBES. THEIR JOURNEY TO PEACE
Coming soon: my long-term project to discover the Karen tribes who have fled in the mountains north of Thailand. An ancient people coming from Mongolia through Tibet, China and Burma.
WHEN A NATION TURNS IN BLACK AND WHITE
I dedicate these photos to all the Thai people, their strength and their courage, Their devotion and their joy, Their pain and their memory, Their past and their future. Because "A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people". Mahatma Gandhi
Thailand is famous for its colors. But what happened here is really extraordinary. An entire nation mourning its King and is tinged with black. Blacks clothes, black and white television and black Internet. Black bands on the uniforms of those who, having to work can not wear the clothes of mourning. Even the cities are darker. Every day thousands of people line up to visit the resting place of the dead king. So many people that seem to never end.
GROWING SOUTH KOREAN PROTESTS DEMAND PRESIDENT PARK'S RESIGNATION
More than one million of protesters have gathered in South Korea's Seoul for the fourth in a weekly series of demonstrations aimed at forcing President Park Geun-Hye to resign over a corruption scandal. Saturday's (12-19 november) protest came as Park's approval ratings plunged with prosecutors planning to interview her, making her the first sitting South Korean president to be questioned in a criminal case. The scandal centres on Park's shadowy confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is accused of using her ties with the president to coerce local firms to donate millions of dollars to non-profit foundations that Choi then used for personal gain. -aljazeera-
IN THE FIELDS WITH BUFFALO
A journey to discover the Asian Water Buffalo and people who raise them in the Golden Triangle. Today fewer communities take care of raising the water buffalo. At least here in Thailand. The breeding of the buffalo is for meat which, however, is mainly sold to Laos merchants. The few remaining communities, breed water buffalo as they did a thousand years ago. Follow them is an extraordinary adventure.
LIVING BEHIND THE WALL. THE PEOPLE OF MAHAKAN FORT.
For over 300 years the Mahakan people live behind the big wall. Located in the heart of the city, The Fort is one of the last two forts remained intact. In this little hidden paradise, closed between the mighty walls and the river is a community that for more than six generations takes care of this special place. For many years, however, they have to fight for their own survival. The city administration's plan to transform their space in a public park is taking life. In recent months many homes have already been demolished. But the community does not want to give up, they wants to fight in order to stay. It would be a shame to miss this magical place. "Community leader Tawatchai Woramahakun told they would not leave the homes they have lived in for several decades. He said the residents did not object to the city’s plan but would like a community model for the fort where they are allowed to take part in managing and conserving the fort as a tourist attraction." Is a piece of Bangkok history about to disappear?
PIRATES IN THE INDONESIAN SUNDA ISLANDS
Indonesia. Sunda Islands . Among the hundreds of islands that make up this archipelago, there are dozens of small shabby villages. Tin roofs and walls of paper and wood. They call them "Fishermen Villages" but they are not. Sure they are fishermen, traders and sailors, but once they were pirates and sometimes they still. Should be approached with caution, they are accustomed to tourism, which is becoming more mass in these parts, but that is why they want to maintain their privacy. Far away from habits that are being imposed by force on their culture. Poor people , tough life, villages who live in close contact with the deadly Komodo dragons, dozens of children have grown up from sand, sun and sea wind.
Free as a birds.