Saturday, October 17, 2009

Form Over Function In Phi Phi

Yesterday I took a nice day-trip to Ko Phi Phi (Pee-Pee Island). It’s been completely redeveloped since the tsunami in 2004. The island is still very beautiful. It’s a collection of six small islands actually, all beautiful. The development, not so much.

Re: our subject, form over function, which is the rule in Thailand. As in: prostitution is illegal, the law says no way, no where, no how, it’s “against Thai culture.” But everywhere you go, from the big centers of tourism to the smallest rural cities that never see a foreigner, it’s readily available and all the way out in the open.

Another small example, Phi Phi style:

I was sitting, waiting for my boat, having a lemonade, really, a lemonade, and at the table nearest to me there were four indeterminate foreigners having a meal. Some kind of mixed group of Europeans, I think, they were all speaking English with different accents. A young woman asked the wait staff for black pepper, and the guy brought over the pepper mill. She tried without success to get pepper out of it, and finally disassembled it to verify that, yes indeed, there was no pepper inside.

She got the beautiful, wooden peppermill (form), but she got no pepper (function).

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