Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bangkok - Changing and Staying the Same

Thailand is, and is not, changing.

That is my impression after a three-day trip to Bangkok to celebrate a friends 50th.  My first trip to Thailand was in 1986 and I've been going back every one-to-three years since.  This was my first time to Thailand in almost exactly two years when I was doing on-the-ground research for Inside Corporate ASEAN. My list of publications can be found here:

Changing.  Bangkok for the first time feels like a real, first-world cosmopolitan city.  In the past it has always stuck me as a sprawling city in a developing country.  This time the night drive into the city from the airport yielded an urbane skyline, fast expressways and drivers that (mostly) stayed in their lanes. Later in the weekend a crowded BTS and fashionable shopping mall added to this feeling. Dinner, drinks and a terrace view of a concrete jungle reinforced it.

Staying the Same.  However in some ways Bangkok has not changed.

  1. Traffic is still dreadful. It took 1.25 hours to go a few kilometers on a rainy Friday night.   
  2. Politics remains rumour-driven.  My host informed me a few hours after I arrived that he received an SMS/Text stating that there will be a military coup in a few days. (another friend said this is not a rare message to receive)
  3. Thais continue to start interesting consumer products. This is the country that gave us Red Bull.  
The last point is actually the purpose of this post.

The product is called G&G Body Deodorant.  It is for both underarms and feet. Basically a combination of Sure and Odor Eaters.

From a chemist's standpoint this combination may be very logical.  However from my consumer mindset it seems odd. Something that is meant to be spread on my feet does not seem like something that is also meant to spread on my armpits.

It was the only option at the supermarket so I gave it a try.  After a few days in a not-so-hot-Bangkok I found that it worked well.

At least for my upper body.  I still have not tried it on my feet.

The second picture is also from the trip.  It shows the King of Thailand getting haircut from his mother.  In Thailand virtually every retail business and office has a picture of the the king or other members of the royal family centrally displayed.  This was hanging at the Nonglingchee barber shop I tried. Very appropriate.

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