Arts & Culture

All posts in the Arts & Culture category

‘Whose reality is it?’ Jirawut’s new exhibition asks #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 19, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

‘Whose reality is it?’ Jirawut’s new exhibition asks

Feb 19. 2020
By The Nation

Filmmaker-video artist Jirawut Ueasungkomsate deploys virtual-reality and augmented-reality technology to examine the situation of urban refugees in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, in the exhibition “I am not allowed to live in your reality”, which continues until March 1 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, daily except Monday from 10am to 9pm.

Jirawut says some 6,500 “refugees” live in Thailand’s urban areas, a tiny fraction of the urban population, but they endure sadness and pain, their tragic stories largely hidden from the general public.

They face a high risk of arrest because of their unsettled legal status and the attitude of some law enforcers, he says. Ours is a society in which ignorance can foster hatred of “otherness” and turn ambiguity into prejudice.

He feels it is essential to think about their predicament and discuss an empathetic response, especially amid global shifts for populations under threat.

Jirawut seeks to explore the concepts of existence and non-existence, of the visible and the invisible. What does it take to acknowledge the existence of another human being – an interpretation of the law, a certain race attitude, the human connection?

Jirawut was born in Bangkok in 1986 and has a master’s degree in experimental film from England’s Kingston University. He obtained his BA in archaeology and anthropology at Silpakorn University as well as a BTEC HNC in fine arts from Kensington and Chelsea College.

His work has been exhibited in Britain, Japan and Thailand, including “This is not a Political Act”, seen at the WTF Bar and Gallery in Bangkok in 2016.

Jirawut is a lecturer in documentary and media production at

Book World: Five new thrillers and mysteries to help escape reality – or see it in another light #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 19, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Book World: Five new thrillers and mysteries to help escape reality – or see it in another light

Feb 18. 2020
Trouble Is What I Do
Photo by: Mulholland — HANDOUT

Trouble Is What I Do Photo by: Mulholland — HANDOUT
By Special To The Washington Post · Richard Lipez · ENTERTAINMENT, BOOKWORLD

Thriller roundup — As the winter chill sets in, it’s a perfect time to cozy up with books that will give you a whole other kind of shiver. Here are five of the best new and upcoming thrillers and mysteries that deliver action, suspense and intrigue – all the way to that very last twist.


By Ian Rankin (Little, Brown)

This techno-action-thriller with its ripped-from-today’s headlines plot was actually first released in Britain back in 1990. An early effort by the author of the esteemed Inspector Rebus mysteries, “Westwind” is about a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe and the United Kingdom, and “how the USA is going to pull up its drawbridge and let everyone outside the moat rot.” A secret counterplot to the ensuing “complete chaos” is uncovered by British communications-satellite techy Martin Hepton after a U.S. space shuttle crashes and burns. Deadly perfidy is everywhere, while Russia is “just sitting back and enjoying the bloody show.” Uncanny.

The Burn

By Kathleen Kent (Mulholland)

This deeply satisfying follow-up to last year’s Edgar-nominated “The Dime” has Dallas Police narcotics detective Betty Rhyzyk messed up with PTSD, the result of her captivity and grotesque torture in the series debut. Her fed-up girlfriend, Jackie, tells her to move out. Betty’s cranky supervisor grounds her, too, but that’s no obstacle for this obsessive, borderline unstable, fascinating, Brooklyn-born seeker of truth as she tangles with the Sinaloan drug cartel and the gnawing likelihood that a fellow police officer is bent. Raymond Chandler praised Dashiell Hammett for taking crime fiction out of the drawing rooms and into the streets. With Betty Rhyzyk, Kathleen Kent brings those mean streets to life as excitingly as anybody has in years.

Trouble Is What I Do

By Walter Mosley (Mulholland, available Feb. 25)

Walter Mosley’s sixth Leonid McGill P.I. novel is so short, it almost seems like a throwaway. It’s not. This gifted raconteur of the African American experience has produced an absorbing noir beauty of a tale about a 94-year-old Mississippi blues man, aptly named Philip “Catfish” Worry, bent on a good deed that could get him killed. He hires McGill to inform the daughter of a billionaire white racist that the bigot is actually Catfish’s offspring from a long-ago affair. Part of McGill’s fee will be a bottle of 147-year-old bourbon that “was so smooth that I imagined a green snake slithering across an emerald lawn” – a fitting description for the entire novel.

The Last Passenger: A Charles Lenox Mystery

By Charles Finch (Minotaur)

No mystery writer except perhaps Anne Perry is as successful as Charles Finch at evoking the atmosphere of Victorian London – and not just the physical fragrances and stenches but the sociopolitical ones, too. In this 13th Charles Lenox mystery, the dapper, inquisitive young amateur investigator assists Scotland Yard in its inquiries into an unidentified man who turns up dead on a train in Paddington Station. Peculiarly, the labels have been snipped out of his jacket and trousers. It’s 1855, and social conflicts in both England and the United States soon emerge as disturbing factors in the crime. It’s a dandy plot, and it unfolds with Finch’s signature drollery. A visiting American detective tells Lenox he only eats brown bread and milk. Lenox’s pal Lady Jane Grey asks, “Is he four?”


Pretty Things Photo by: Random House — HANDOUT

Pretty Things Photo by: Random House — HANDOUT

Pretty Things

By Janelle Brown (Random House, available April 21)

It’s “Dynasty” meets Patricia Highsmith in Janelle Brown’s crazy-family potboiler. If this turbulent saga about a mother-daughter-con man grifter team preying on the least nice people in the economic one percent were a Netflix series, viewers would spend a lot of time yelling at the screen: “Don’t believe him! Can’t you see he’s a manipulative jerk?” Rich, emotionally unstable Vanessa Liebling has a huge following as an “Instagram fashion influencer.” Nina Ross was an art history major who took up the only vocation her education apparently prepared her for: theft. Duplicity abounds when two messed-up clans collide, and Brown’s final multiple twists are doozies.

Lipez writes the Don Strachey PI novels under the name Richard Stevenson. “Killer Reunion” is the latest.

Book World: Gish Jen’s ‘The Resisters’ reminds us of the importance of standing up for what’s right #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 19, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Book World: Gish Jen’s ‘The Resisters’ reminds us of the importance of standing up for what’s right

Feb 18. 2020
The Resisters
Photo by: Knopf — HANDOUT

The Resisters Photo by: Knopf — HANDOUT
By The Washington Post · Diana Abu-Jaber · ENTERTAINMENT, BOOKWORLD 

‘The Resisters” By Gish Jen Knopf. 320 pp. $26.95. —

There’s a darkness to dystopia: it’s embedded in the very word- the opposite of a utopia, a world gone wrong. The magic of Gish Jen’s latest novel, “The Resisters,” is that, amid a dark and cautionary tale, there’s a story also filled with electricity and humor – and baseball. At its heart, the novel is about the act of resistance and its attendant forces of courage and hope.

Set in AutoAmerica – in a future world of surveillance and melted polar caps – people are divided into two categories. The Netted have angel-fair skin and live and work in protected areas on higher ground, while the marginalized, multiracial Surplus live on houseboats or swamplands; their only employment is to “consume.” Our narrator, Grant, a former college professor, describes himself as “coppertoned,” and his wife, Eleanor, a lawyer and activist, is “spy-eyed.” These young parents are increasingly impressed when their young daughter Gwen begins to fling her stuffed animals with surprising force and accuracy across the house. “They shot out,” Grant says, “never so much as grazing the doorframe.”

As she grows older, Gwen becomes an extraordinary pitcher. Her best friend, Ondi, is also a talented player; together, they’re important members of a scrappy team called the Lookouts, part of the Underground Baseball League that Eleanor and Grant helped organize. Surplus teams can play only on toxic, contaminated land. To play on safer, unsanctioned ground, the Lookouts must hack their tracking microchips to evade detection by government drones.

In many ways, this book is about feistiness and not buckling under cruel and unjust bureaucracies. Grant and Eleanor are thoughtful mavericks, working to subvert a soulless system while trying to raise a fierce and powerful daughter. These characters wrestle with conundrums that will feel urgent to many readers, such as how to teach children to be fearless yet not reckless, to be responsible yet independent, to stand up for what’s right without becoming imprisoned or imperiled along the way.

These dilemmas impact Gwen directly, because the sport that has given her so much joy and freedom also brings her trouble. Ondi is a strong player but not as magically gifted as Gwen. Ondi’s subordinate position sets in motion a series of events fueled by both loyalty and jealousy that will test the limits of their friendship and their faith in themselves.

Gwen is eventually recruited to play for Net University – to join, in effect, the privileged Netted world. This invitation, of course, poses serious ethical questions in that it requires turning her back on her Surplus community, yet it offers a life-changing transformation not only to Gwen but to her parents, as well. Eleanor, an attorney for the Surplus, was once arrested and tortured for her activism, and her family has remained under constant scrutiny. When a government agent – who appears in the guise of a kindly old lady – starts to pay visits to the family, a sense of foreboding closes in around them.

“The Resisters” is in many ways an extended study on the dangers of willed ignorance and inaction. The story feels only a few clicks removed from our current situation: Climate change has resulted in a partial water-world, and Alexa is now self-aware, offering advice not only on the weather but also on issues of propriety, relationships and moral quandaries. Many readers will recognize with a shudder their own lives in this potential world to come.

Written in Jen’s clear, assured style and delivered from Grant’s slyly ironic perspective, “The Resisters” will captivate readers. Rippling with action, suspense and lovingly detailed baseball play-by-plays, there’s a sense throughout the book of both celebration and danger. There are a few plot point workarounds to maintain Grant’s first-person perspective – including an overly convenient listening device. But the story retains its intimacy and human generosity, even as it’s told against a backdrop of dreadful things to come. This novel’s great gift to readers is its rich and multifaceted characters. Through them, we learn both the cost and the necessity of standing up and speaking out.

Abu-Jaber is the author of “Birds of Paradise” and “Origin.” Her most recent book is the culinary memoir “Life Without a Recipe.”

Gallery 36 to hold ‘Jardin Botanique’ exhibition of artist Fuanglada #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 16, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Gallery 36 to hold ‘Jardin Botanique’ exhibition of artist Fuanglada

Feb 16. 2020
By The Nation

The Gallery 36 at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G is hosting “Jardin Botanique”, a solo exhibition by textile designer and watercolour artist, Fuanglada Verdillon.

Fuanglada studied Fine Art at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Surat Thani Vocational College, before going on to graduate in Fashion and Textile Design at Rajamangala University of Technology, Phra Nakhon. She worked in the textile industry, from clothing to fashion design and carpet design.

In 2014, Fuanglada decided to make her dreams a reality. To live and share her passion for exquisite textiles, she started painting elements and creating designs for her brand JANFIVE Studio. Today, the young and successful Thai designer creates bags, scarfs and paintings that sell worldwide. In her Bangkok studio, she produces designs inspired by travels around the world.

At The Gallery 36, her exhibition will take visitors on an artist’s journey through nature and culture of five sources of inspiration; the charm of Ming pottery; the colours of Tunisia; the energy of Sicilia; the deep blues of the Andaman Sea; and the memory of tropical rainforests.

“Jardin Botanique” will premier 24 of her original first edition paintings and prints on silk and canvas.

The preview day for “Jardin Botanique” by Fuanglada Verdillon will be held on Saturday (February 15) from 5pm to 8pm at The Gallery on the 36th floor of Pullman Bangkok Hotel G.

The exhibition will continue until April 30, 2020. Entry is free

Japan plans to apply for UNESCO heritage for sake brewing #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 9, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Japan plans to apply for UNESCO heritage for sake brewing

Feb 08. 2020
By Syndication Washington Post, Japan News-Yomiuri 

The Japanese government has decided to apply to have Japanese sake listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, with the aim of boosting name recognition and brand power as part of efforts to expand overseas exports.

The government expects to file the application in early 2020s.

In April, the Cultural Affairs Agency will set up a team of a dozen or so officials to prepare the application. They plan to visit breweries across the nation and exchange opinions with master sake brewers, known as toji. These conversations will contribute to their study of the range of brewing processes and techniques to be covered by the UNESCO application, and of ways to support branding.

The UNESCO listing process starts with the government making a decision in consultation with the Council for Cultural Affairs, then a proposal is submitted. UNESCO’s intergovernmental committee then decides whether it will be approved for inclusion on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

It remains to be seen how the government will create momentum aimed at earning registration and protect the technology of sake brewing.

Prior to submitting the application, the government is considering designating techniques, such as temperature control, essential for sake brewing as important intangible cultural assets based on the Protection of Cultural Properties Law.

The government is also considering recognizing master brewers as living national treasures and providing them with subsidies.

Exports of Japanese agricultural products and foodstuffs, including Japanese sake, have been on the rise. With the inclusion of washoku on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013, it has become popular the world over and overseas demand has been increasing.

Japan’s exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs reached ¥906.8 billion in 2018, marking a record high for the sixth consecutive year.

Riding this trend, sake exports in 2018 increased 19% from the previous year to about ¥22.2 billion, the ninth straight year of increase and a tripling in 10 years. According to the National Tax Agency, more than half of the nation’s breweries have exported sake.

Though the market share of sake among the world’s alcoholic beverages remains low, it is possible to significantly increase exports through brand strategies and other means, according to the agency.

The agency will establish an export promotion office in its Liquor Tax and Industry Division in July.

There is a precedent for brewing methods being listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Mongolia’s traditional technique of making airag liquor, made of fermented mare’s milk and listed in 2019, is one such example.

Book World: Why are Gen X women such a mess? A new book explores the many possible reasons. #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 8, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Book World: Why are Gen X women such a mess? A new book explores the many possible reasons.

Feb 08. 2020
Why We Can't Sleep
Photo by: Grove/Atlantic — HANDOUT

Why We Can’t Sleep Photo by: Grove/Atlantic — HANDOUT
By Special To The Washington Post · Jennifer Reese · ENTERTAINMENT

Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis By Ada Calhoun. Grove/Atlantic. 288 pp. $26.99

In her early 40s, Ada Calhoun found herself racked with doubt about past and future decisions. Despite a long marriage and professional success as a journalist and author of the book “Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give,” she lay awake at night worrying about credit card debt and evaporating job opportunities. She had heavy periods and crying jags. There was a sketchy mammogram and she was gaining weight. Her response to her image on her smartphone, even after putting on makeup and changing filters: “Still house of horrors.”

“I knew I felt lousy, but I didn’t yet fully understand why,” she writes in the introduction to her new book “Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis.” As the title suggests, the book is her attempt to answer that question.

Actually, it’s pretty clear from the introduction why Calhoun was feeling lousy. The real mystery: Were other Gen X women – those born between 1965 and 1980 – brooding over this same constellation of problems? And what cultural, economic and biological factors might undergird the malaise?

Calhoun interviewed hundreds of middle-class American women and plumbed the literature of midlife, from Gail Sheehy’s classic “Passages” to Darcey Steinke’s 2019 “Flash Count Diary.” She spoke to gynecologists, economists, sociologists and a “small army of therapists” to contextualize what she learned.

The resulting book is a sprint through everything – and I mean everything – that is bothering Generation X women, from irritation with slacker husbands and endless nagging email threads about school bake sales to fears of ending up in a cardboard box on the street. It’s a remarkably slender and breezy book, given the sheer quantity and variety of existential dread Calhoun has managed to funnel into its pages. If you aren’t having trouble sleeping already, you may start to after you’ve read a few chapters.

(BEGIN ITAL)[Elizabeth Wurtzel was right all along](END ITAL)

The anecdotal evidence Calhoun marshals for widespread Gen X unhappiness is abundant and depressing, if not scientific. Using only their first names and sometimes no names at all, Calhoun introduces us to a blur of agitated women in their 40s, most of whom we meet for a paragraph or two. There’s a woman who regularly pays a babysitter so that she can go to a movie theater and cry. A fed-up single mother smashes her son’s iPad with a hammer. A Silicon Valley executive worries she’ll lose her edge if people see her and think “Oh look, here comes the dowdy middle-aged woman.”An unmarried aerobics instructor muses, as she loads her boombox and gear into the car every week, “(BEGIN ITAL)Will I never have a man to help me?(END ITAL)”

Everyone in this book wonders whether she’d be happier if she’d chosen a different path. Everyone feels slightly – sometime desperately – disappointed in herself and in her life, no matter how it might look to an outsider.

Why is this? Calhoun offers a plethora of explanations. To start with, there was the divorce and instability of many 1970s and 1980s childhoods, which made Gen Xers fearful of both marriage and ending a marriage, even a bad one. Calhoun calls up invidious role models of the era that many of us “still keep in our psychic filing cabinet” like the foxy briefcase-carrying, bacon-frying blond woman in the 1980 Enjoli perfume ad who suggested women could, with no apparent effort, do it all. A lot of Gen Xers entered the workforce when the job market was soft, and now they find themselves sandwiched between two more populous demographic cohorts – the boomers, who haven’t retired, and cute, energetic millennials, who sometimes seem to have an edge with employers.

Gen Xers (along with a few older millennials) – are also the last group who remember the world before the it went online and, Calhoun argues, we “have no natural immunity to the Internet.” Gen Xers spend more time on social media than boomers or millennials and are vulnerable to its toxic effects. As Calhoun writes: “In our mothers’ and grandmothers’ eras, phones and mirrors sensibly sat on tables or hung on walls. But Generation X women noticed their first wrinkles in a zoomable smartphone camera.”

Throw in some hormonal mayhem, and it’s no wonder the women in the book feel blue. The trouble is, there are far too many of them. Reading “Why We Can’t Sleep” is like attending a party where the hostess didn’t want to leave anyone off the list: It’s noisy, crowded and everyone remains a stranger. And they’re all complaining. There are guests whose complaints we would benefit from hearing more about and others who shouldn’t be here at all.

In the book’s last chapters, Calhoun unveils her personal remedies for at least some midlife woes: She began hanging out with female friends, treating her perimenopausal symptoms with hormone therapy, and spending less time on social media. She stopped being so hard on herself. She touts the value of laughter. The advice is common-sensical, a little corny and hardly a panacea for the multitude of problems she’s spent the previous 200 pages describing.

But the final chapter is the most accessible and engaging in the book. Calhoun’s ambitious wide-angle shot of Gen X midlife malaise is blurry and overwhelming. Paradoxically, when she zeroes in on a specific woman with a first and last name, a strong voice, and a textured backstory – herself – that larger picture starts to come into focus.

Book World: Paul Krugman battles conservative ‘zombies’ #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 8, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Book World: Paul Krugman battles conservative ‘zombies’

Feb 07. 2020
Arguing with Zombies
Photo by: Norton — HANDOUT

Arguing with Zombies Photo by: Norton — HANDOUT
By Special To The Washington Post · Stephanie Mehta · BOOKWORLD

Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future By Paul Krugman Norton. 444 pp. $29.95

A U.S. president with slipping approval ratings moves to shore up his conservative bona fides by pledging to reform a crucial government safety net program. He and his surrogates breathlessly insist that the current system is in crisis. Broadcast news outlets provide little in the way of context and economic analysis of the claims.

Sounds a lot like President Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but as Paul Krugman reminds us in his new book, “Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future,” conservatives’ use of misleading or inaccurate information to justify cuts to assistance and entitlement programs dates back years, most notably to George W. Bush’s failed 2004 effort to privatize Social Security.

Loyal readers of Krugman’s twice-weekly column in the New York Times will not be surprised by the central themes of the book, which includes and expands on his Times writings. He forcefully and repeatedly contends that Republican lawmakers are carrying water for corporations and the wealthiest Americans by rolling back regulations and cutting taxes for the rich on the basis of the fake or “zombie” theory that what’s good for the 1 percent is good for everybody. (In Krugman’s vivid language, zombie ideas are those “that should have been killed by contrary evidence, but instead keep shambling along, eating people’s brains.”)

Still, the book is a revelation. It showcases the range of Krugman’s intellect – he can toggle authoritatively from climate change and the Green New Deal to the Maastricht Treaty and currency crises – and his gift for clear, accessible writing. He neatly mixes pop cultural references and economic data; one column calling for 1950s-era tax policies (back then the marginal tax rate on top incomes was more than 90 percent) is whimsically titled “The Twinkie Manifesto.”

But Krugman’s real superpower may be his longevity. He began contributing to the Times in 2000, and he has chronicled numerous economic policies and proposals that have been promoted or propped up by zombie claims. He opens his book with a chapter on the push to privatize Social Security – by turning it over to financial services companies – with a series of columns showing that, contrary to Bush administration reports, the program is highly functional. He proceeds to dismantle other corporate and conservative talking points in vogue over the years: The Trump tax cut will pay for itself! (In fact, federal tax receipts on corporate income have plunged, and the budget deficit is now more than $1 trillion.) Government needs to be more fiscally responsible! (See aforementioned tax cut, which didn’t come with concomitant spending cuts.) A disciple of John Maynard Keynes, Krugman eviscerates lawmakers in the United States for wringing their hands, post-financial crisis, over budget deficits caused by stimulus spending, which actually keep an economy from ruinous contraction. Without, say, unemployment benefits, families cut their spending, which in turn hurts vendors of goods and services.

Taken together, all these arguments with zombies reveal much about the electorate and the Republican Party of today. Krugman writes: “I see Trump not as a departure from the past so much as the culmination of where movement conservatism” – an elitist dogma wrapped in populist rhetoric – “has been taking us for decades.”

Krugman doesn’t shy from calling out the mean-spiritedness that underlies much of the conservative agenda. One new essay is titled “The Cruelty Caucus.” Indeed, there’s little economic rationale for cutting food stamps for work-eligible adults, as the Trump administration has; Krugman notes that the United States actually spends very little helping low-income Americans. Nor is there a financial rationale for opting out of Medicaid expansion, as 14 states have. “Refusing free money that would help the poor is something else – it’s cruelty for its own sake,” Krugman writes.

The book is unexpectedly light on the topic of trade, for which he won what he calls the “Swedish thingie.” (Krugman won his Nobel Prize for an analysis of trade patterns.) In the introduction to his 13-page chapter on trade wars, Krugman notes that “international trade and international trade policy aren’t as important as people think they are,” as if to justify the glossing over of what’s (not) to come. But I would have loved more insight into his thinking on the flavor of free trade that has become commonplace among liberal elites in business, even as the rise of populists on the left and the right has exposed the shortcomings of globalization.

Krugman’s critics on the right will surely take issue with his writings on Trump’s economic policies by pointing to record-high stock prices and the 11-year expansion of the U.S. gross domestic product. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to quibble with Krugman’s underlying message that the current system is hurting the poor to the benefit of the rich and corporations. According to the Census Bureau, a key index that measures the gap between the wealthiest and poorest Americans is the highest it has been in 50 years.

The problem is so acute that some businesses – the very beneficiaries of many of Trump’s policies – have proactively embraced the notion of inclusive capitalism, essentially acknowledging that the system is broken if it doesn’t work for everyone. Companies such as Bank of America are voluntarily raising their minimum wages; others, such as Mastercard, are enhancing their retirement plans. The Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of some of the country’s biggest corporations, last year adopted a new statement of purpose, acknowledging that Americans are struggling, and modernizing its principles to invest in employees and support the communities where its members operate.

Krugman probably wouldn’t object to these measures, but he might offer another suggestion. Corporations have entire teams dedicated to finding ways to reduce their payments to the federal government. Maybe in addition to being more benevolent to their workers, they could just pay their taxes.

India to share treasures of its Northeast with Bangkok this month #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 7, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

India to share treasures of its Northeast with Bangkok this month

Feb 07. 2020

The Indian Embassy is hosting the Northeast India Festival at an open-air site at Bangkok’s Central World shopping mall on February 22-23.

India’s Northeast is the closest to Thailand geographically, culturally and even linguistically, with a language called Tai spoken in some parts of the region.

The eight states of the region are noted for their amazing wildlife, flora, mountains, Buddhist temples, folk forms, textiles, tea and cuisine.

All these will be on display at the festival, which Indian Ambassador Suchitra Durai describes as “a holistic presentation of the region”.

This second annual festival in Bangkok will be bigger than the last, with more participants and policymakers, more interactive zones and more people-to-people sessions.

These include morning meetings of academics, business executives and tourism operators at the Centara Grand Hotel and cultural events in the evenings.

The latter will include colourful folk dances like the Bhihu, Wangala and Naga dances, as well as performances by popular rock bands Papon and Thailand’s Slot Machine.

Alongside food stalls will be others exhibiting handicrafts, textiles and famous Assam tea, fashion shows by well-known designers from the Northeast and greetings from 50 university students enjoying an exchange visit.

India’s “Act East” policy makes the Northeast its gateway to Southeast Asia. Thailand is the first country outside India to host such a major regional event from India.

Book World: Arthur Phillips shows that choosing a leader was no easier 400 years ago #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 5, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Book World: Arthur Phillips shows that choosing a leader was no easier 400 years ago

Feb 05. 2020

“The King at the Edge of the World” by Arthur Phillips. MUST CREDIT: Random House
By The Washington Post · Ron Charles · BOOKWORLD 

“The King at the Edge of the World” By Arthur Phillips Random House. 288 pp. $27 —- Centuries from now, when our amphibian descendants look back at this contentious era, they may have trouble understanding what exactly we were arguing about.

I first realized this when I was teaching high school and saw my students struggling to fathom the theological disputes of the Reformation. To most of those smart but unchurched adolescents, the distinction between, say, being saved by grace or saved by works seemed obscure – and, in any case, a thin excuse to butcher fellow Christians in the name of divine love.

Nobody has ever satirized our fixation on such immaterial differences better than Jonathan Swift. In the first voyage of “Gulliver’s Travels,” the tiny people of Lilliput are locked in a ferocious battle with the tiny people of a neighboring island who insist – against all decency! – on breaking their boiled eggs on the big end instead of the little end. We are creatures, Swift suggests, more enamored of certainty than reason.

Arthur Phillips explores this human tendency and much more in his rich historical novel “The King at the Edge of the World.” A former “Jeopardy!” champion, Phillips has always been interested in the search for truth – and the strange dynamics of that quest. His first novel, “Prague,” begins with a group of young travelers sitting in a Hungarian cafe playing a game: Each person makes four “apparently sincere statements,” only one of which is actually true. Whoever fools the greatest number of players wins.

Now, with his signature wry humor, Phillips has recast that idle game in the tense world of early 17th-century European politics. As Queen Elizabeth lies dying, everyone is making “apparently sincere statements,” almost none of which are actually true. Whoever fools the greatest number of players wins.

The novel opens around 1600, when England has enjoyed a long period of domestic respite from sectarian turmoil. During her shrewd rule, Elizabeth has managed to keep the country Protestant and repel the attacks of Roman Catholics. But now that she’s about to receive her heavenly reward – without leaving an heir – England risks slipping back into spiritual chaos with all its attendant bloodshed. Unfortunately, to speak or even to think of the queen’s eventual death is an act of treason, which makes planning for a successor terribly inconvenient. But her counselors have secretly identified the best candidate: the King of Scotland, Elizabeth’s cousin, James VI. The fact that James is obsessed with witches and may be sleeping with a pretty young man is troublesome, but not a dealbreaker. What really worries the royal advisers in London is that James may be a covert Catholic – a tool of Rome playing the long game to wrest England back to popish abomination.

All this historical and theological detail is not so much the content of the novel as its premise, which sets the bar for entry fairly high. But Phillips is a terrifically engaging teacher, and he’s devised the perfect guide. The protagonist of “The King at the Edge of the World” is Mahmoud Ezzedine, a Muslim physician who knows nothing of Britain or the incomprehensible intricacies of its “false religion.” As the novel begins, Ezzedine is sent to accompany the ambassador of the Ottoman sultan on a diplomatic mission to Queen Elizabeth. It’s a dismal assignment to a cold and ignorant land, but Ezzedine is a faithful servant and assumes he’ll soon return to his loving wife and son.

Those travel plans get rather dramatically revised once the good doctor arrives in court, which is sad for him but wonderful for us. Endlessly detained and passed off from one host to another, Ezzedine is an ingenious foil for exploring the treacherous territory of Elizabethan England. He’s essentially a Turkish Gulliver, continually astonished by the strange ways of these backward people who treat him with such condescension even while depending on his medical knowledge.

Phillips laces Ezzedine’s sojourn in England with melancholy wit, but the novel’s real energy comes from its exploration of two related industries that flourished under Queen Elizabeth: theater and spycraft. While Shakespeare’s men and his competitors are playing their many parts upon the stage, a vast network of spies is acting out across Europe. And as the queen’s death grows imminent, spooks of every denomination are desperate to determine the true nature of King James’ faith.

The Turkish physician would seem a ludicrous candidate for the leading role in this treacherous drama. After all, despite his best efforts to pay attention, the distinctions between Catholics and Protestants strike him as minuscule. But clandestine forces in Her Majesty’s service believe Ezzedine could be the perfect spy to lodge in James’s dank castle on the edge of the world. All he has to do is diagnose – with scientific certainty! – whether the Scottish king is infected with the “damnably contagious” disease of Roman Catholicism.

It’s an absurd assignment, of course, but no different from other plots and counterplots of the era. And, in fact, not so different from the challenges we face in our own hyper-political times, struggling to discern the hearts of candidates who are far from ideal. What values do they really hold dear? Which philanderer truly abhors abortion? Which representative addicted to lobbyists’ bribes will really pass campaign finance reforms? Could a senator who has called someone a dangerous kook later become that dangerous kook’s most rabid sycophant?

We may have better science than the Renaissance, but we still have no medicine or magic capable of divining our leaders’ souls. And yet now, as then, the fate of the realm depends upon such knowledge.

Mary Higgins Clark, spinner of best-selling suspenseful yarns, dies at 92 #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published February 1, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Mary Higgins Clark, spinner of best-selling suspenseful yarns, dies at 92

Feb 01. 2020
By The Washington Post · Emily Langer · NATIONAL, BOOKWORLD, OBITUARIES 
Mary Higgins Clark, who as a widowed mother of five in her 40s began a long reign as one of the most successful crime writers of all time, pouring out novel after novel about resilient women befallen by unnatural deaths, disappearances and wicked criminal deeds, died Jan. 31 in Naples, Florida. She was 92.

Her death was announced on her website and by her publisher, Simon and Schuster. The cause was not immediately available.

Known to her legions of fans as the “queen of suspense,” Clark was an almost instant sensation with the publication in 1975 of her first thriller, “Where Are the Children?” The story centered on a mother who, not for the first time, must prove her innocence when her children go missing.

Clark, who until then had struggled alone to support her family, described herself in that moment as a “prospector stumbling on a vein of gold.”

Her output included dozens of novels that sold tens of millions of copies in hard copy, in paperback and in translation. Few if any critics placed her writing in the category of high literature. But Clark had discovered a crowd-pleasing – and profitable – formula for fictional crime.

After selling her first book for $3,000, she collected $1.5 million, including paperback rights, for her second novel, “A Stranger Is Watching” (1977), about a kidnapping in New York City’s Grand Central Station.

In 2000, after increasingly generous advances over the years, Simon and Schuster awarded Clark a $64 million contract for five books. The deal made her, per volume, the highest paid female writer in the world, the New York Times reported.

Her books were practically guaranteed to be page-turners from their covers, which often were emblazoned with the words MARY HIGGINS CLARK in type larger than the font used for their shuddersome titles.

They included “The Cradle Will Fall” (1980), about a sinister obstetrician-gynecologist; “Loves Music, Loves to Dance” (1991), about a killer who stalks the personal ads; “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1995), about a plastic surgeon who modifies his patients’ faces to resemble the visage of a murdered woman; and “Daddy’s Gone A Hunting” (2013), a dark tale of family secrets.

In addition to her novels, Clark wrote short stories, children’s books and a memoir, “Kitchen Privileges,” that recounted a life marked by hardship, including the loss at a young age of her father and the deaths of two brothers. Like many of her fictional heroines, she overcame adversity with plucky self-reliance.

A typical Mary Higgins Clark protagonist was a self-possessed, professional woman whose life, through no fault of her own, was struck by evil.

“My people are never looking for trouble,” the author once told the Times. “The example I use is this: a young woman is in a see-through blouse and a black leather miniskirt and walks along Ninth Avenue at three in the morning. Something happens to her, you say, ‘My goodness, that is terrible.’

“On the other hand, if you take the same young woman, and she’s in her home, and she looks at her watch and says, ‘Oh gosh, it’s time to pick up the baby from Mother’s,’ and she gets in the car and at the end of the driveway, from the floor of the back seat someone says, ‘Don’t turn right, dear. Turn left,’ then she is your sister or your daughter and you become emotionally involved in it. I write about nice people whose lives are in danger.”

Her narratives, while not often lauded for their subtlety, were highly readable.

“Elizabeth began to shiver uncontrollably at the image she could not banish from her mind,” Clark wrote in “Weep No More, My Lady” (1987). “Leila’s beautiful body, wrapped in the white satin pajamas, her long red hair cascading behind her, plummeting forty stories to the concrete courtyard. . . . If I had stayed with her, Elizabeth thought, it never would have happened. . . .”

Clark extensively researched the topics addressed in her fiction. She attended murder trials and confirmed medical terminology with doctors. Attempting to describe a New England murder, she contacted the Coast Guard to determine precisely where a body might wash ashore if it were dumped in the waters off Cape Cod.

Many of her plotlines were inspired by crimes recounted in the news. Once, she told The Washington Post, she heard a broadcast in Chicago about a man who had hidden in a couple’s attic for a month. When eventually he ambushed the woman, he repeated to her the conversations he overheard in the bedroom she shared with her husband.

“Imagine the terror of that – a man who comes in and out of the attic and eavesdrops,” she said. “Such a marvelous idea!”

Clark, who was Catholic, abstained from the gory and the risque, a decision that was said to have resulted in TV and movie deals that were less lucrative than those obtained by thriller writers who did not similarly restrain themselves. On the printed page, however, her stories were blockbusters.

“You want to be number one,” Clark once told the Boston Globe, recalling her purchase of “Carolina Moon,” a Nora Roberts suspenseful romance that had been behind her own book on the paperback bestseller chart. “Then she bumped me. That copy could have put her over the top!”

Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins was born Dec. 24, 1927, in the New York City borough of the Bronx. Her father, an Irish immigrant, owned and operated a bar and grill that catered to the local Irish-American community. He struggled during the Depression and died in his sleep one day while Mary was at church.

His widow took in boarders, offering them “kitchen privileges,” a phrase Clark resurrected years later for her memoir. One of three children, Clark outlived both her brothers: Joseph died of meningitis while serving in the Navy during World War II, and John died after slipping down a flight of stairs when he was in his 40s.

As a teenager, Mary worked as a telephone operator at a hotel where she said she listened in on the conversations of a then-unknown playwright, Tennessee Williams. She went to secretarial school before joining a friend as a stewardess with Pan American World Airways. After a year of flights to Europe, Africa and Asia, she came home and was married in 1949 to Warren Clark, a longtime acquaintance.

While raising their children, she nurtured an interest in writing and endured the disappointment of rejection slips before selling her first story, “Stowaway,” in 1956 to Extension magazine for $100. Its protagonist was a flight attendant who discovers a member of the Czech underground hidden on her plane.

Clark’s husband died in 1964 after suffering from a chronic heart ailment that had made life insurance unattainable. To support her family, Clark began writing radio copy. A program called “Portrait of a Patriot” led her to write her first book, a historical novel about George Washington titled “Aspire to the Heavens” (1969). She said that booksellers contributed to its poor sales by mistakenly shelving it in the religion section.

Undeterred and seeking inspiration for her next effort, she perused her own book collection and realized that a large portion of her library consisted of suspense novels. Stealing time to write in the early-mornings before her children awoke, she produced another manuscript that became “Where Are the Children?”

“An old house perched near the sea, a beautiful woman pursued by a ghoulish murderer with a one-track mind, an ominous storm that wipes out all connection to the outside world: The classic elements of Gothic fiction are alive and kicking in Mary Higgins Clark’s very first thriller,” mystery reviewer Maureen Corrigan once wrote in The Post. “What’s also evident is Clark’s determination to renovate the time-honored but creaky Gothic formula and give its heroines something more to do than shiver and swoon.”

Clark’s financial success allowed her to return to school and receive, in 1979, a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University in New York. She had several homes, including an apartment near Central Park that was noticeably similar to the abode of a regular character in her fiction, the former cleaning lady Alvirah who wins the lottery.

In one book, Alvirah is poisoned and would have died if not for the intervention of Clark’s daughter Carol Higgins Clark, who typed her mother’s manuscripts and became a mystery writer. Together they wrote books including the holiday-themed mysteries “Deck the Halls” (2000) and “Dashing Through the Snow” (2008).

Clark’s second marriage, to lawyer Raymond Ploetz, was annulled. In 1996, she married John Conheeney, a retired Merrill Lynch executive. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

Clark, a former president of the Mystery Writers of America, found that her genre offered reassurance amid the precariousness of life.

“We all hang by a thread, and there are many things we cannot choose about our lives. It’s how we react to the inevitable that counts,” she once told an interviewer. “At the end of a suspense novel or a mystery the problem is solved, the culprit is punished, satisfaction has been taken for the victim’s life. And I think there is a sense of harmony that we too often don’t find in life.”

%d bloggers like this: