Inside Klong Toei
The name conjure’s up images of a sordid and slum-filled part of Bangkok with ramshackle tin-shacks and sanitation not much different from a 3rd world hell-hole in Africa.
Just before I left the subway carriage a brutish and chunky looking farang made stupid and condescending comments about the pronunciation of the station itself when the announcement that we’d arrived. Klong Toei being said in a distinct and emphasised manner. Sighing at the lowly standards that the new-wave of farang seem to be setting I exited, glad that the swarthy and greasy looking fellow was not leaving the carriage also.
Although I was not naive enough to believe that there would be a sprawling shanty town at the door way, as I ascended from the bowels of Bangkok on the elevator I did wonder if there’d be an element of that at least.
On the street outside I saw it was as I’d reckoned, working class buildings of three to four stories lined a main road running north-east to south-west. In the background were the ever-present skyscrapers, a notable one being the imposing Lumphini Tower.
A part of me was still curious about the slum-factor this district was supposedly known for and I turned left, following the road to where an expressway roared overhead.
(I later learned that the actual slum was just under a mile to the east and I was on the fringes of the 'slum zone' at where the MRT is).
Dismissing that direction I turned around and headed back in the direction of the MRT, a young farang with the look of the Norse about him just exited and I could tell he was out to explore like I was.
Emboldened that it was not just myself that set’s out on roving adventures I continued past the MRT and into the Klong Toei district further.
I discretely fired off a few shots and footage of him once he was a safe distance away.
The road traffic here is steady and brisk enough but in rush-hour I cannot say the standard, expect it to be near a standstill.
An ice machine with a small work-crew grafting like trojans. They dump in the great block of ice, it slices the thing into ice of a fine ‘slush’ composition, which is packed into bags. The Thai’s work it like a machine and themselves like a well-oiled mechanism. They’ve been doing this all day so far I reckon, but still they carry on. The heat might be pounding but the Thais have work to do!
Further down I go and get to the gates of the Monopoly building. It’s yellow too, and is probably where the trend started for this area. Some vendors are selling food and seem happy and cheery enough. The constant traffic blasting in and out of the gates makes filming and picturing a bit hairy but after a few close-calls all is well.
There’s plenty of old cars here, rough and ready, but still in action and serviceable from what I can tell.
As I explore further down the main road I notice a green fence to my left, it’s got spaces in it that reveals a small slum in Klong Toei. It’s not like the sprawling and crowded slums that occasionally get shown on the Thai TV/ This one is on a verdant green wasteland.
I looks as though, at one time, the area was under some development, possibly just prior to the 1997 crash.
In the background are some cheap and cheerful white apartments, perhaps one day they’ll be the slum people living there as well?
One thing that impresses me about the Thai people is there ability to innovate their surroundings. They take this and that to make use of in their dwellings.
Here’s is one such example that has ,made use of the felled trees
Something showing that a Thai can be comfortable in a barn, shack, house or a palace.
This shack showing humble status yet with the status symbol of a car outside.
In this picture we see a greater status symbol. A mercedes Benz while in the background is the lowliest of dwellings looking on.
I encounter a strange swarthy farang afterwards asking for directions. He’s got a docile-looking farang girl with him.
I snap off a shot of him, he can go into the ‘farang collection’ I’m putting together (with identity’s screened of course!)
I didn't have time or the location but there's a charity foundation that hangs out to the eastwards called 'The Mercy Centre' which takes care of kids who've had the misfortune of being afflicted with deadly diseases and disibility's.