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Saturday, December 02, 2006


Festival in Mahasarakham—and the noise...

My friend told me that I was lucky, my visit to Mahasarakham coincided with the Chinese opera festival. There would be performances each night for a week.

If you've been following my blog you know that my tolerance of noisy festivals is low after my time in Cambodia. I suspect that I might have heard just a little too much Chinese opera as well as other types of music broadcast very loudly and usually distorted.

One night I passed the festival site and saw that there were many street stalls. This I always enjoy, so I decided to check it out. The festival predominantly consisted of stalls in the street. There was a stage, where they were singing Mowlam, the music of north-east Thailand, not Chinese opera. While Mowlam may not be my favourite music, it certainly wasn't loud. And most of the action was in the street.

I enjoy the challenge of capturing the atmosphere of such festivals in my photos. A technique I use for candid shots of night markets and festivals is to wear my camera around my neck, the flash off, a small tripod attached, not for the camera to stand on but for me to hold it steady. I have a remote in my left hand. I stand still and click the remote without looking at the LCD or viewfinder. Such shots are always a little blurred. I'm trying to capture the atmosphere, not the detail. Usually the subject is not aware of the photo being taken so they don't pose. Thais don't usually object to being photographed but they love to pose.

I enjoyed the festival and returned several times.

More of my festival photos can be found on my photo page.


On the subject of noise, so far, since returning to Thailand, I have only once been subjected to noise that was too loud to be comfortable. This was on the bus trip to Khon Kaen. They insist on showing a movie. It was a Hollywood action movie dubbed in Thai. I dislike action movies and I dislike movies dubbed in Thai. I suspect that the studios that do this dubbing have only about four actors to provide all the voices. And you get the same voices every movie. While you don't have to watch it, the audio can not be avoided. Efficient speakers are mounted at regular intervals throughout the bus. I think I need to start a campaign to provide headphones. I have acquired earplugs since arriving in Bangkok. They were sent from Australia. I could not find any in Cambodia and one of my friends in Bangkok said he'd not seen them here either. They were about five percent effective. Most of the noise would not be blocked. Fortunately, after that movie finished they did not show another and the rest of the journey was peaceful.


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