Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

One night in Bangkok

One_Night_In_BangkokImagine this scenario: a man travels to Bangkok on vacation. One night, after too much drinking and debauchery, he tries to get back to his hotel, but with all that alcohol he has consumed he loses his way. Unable to get his bearings, he sits down on a pushcart outside a busy 7-11 and passageway between two busy Soi (Thai for street) and passes out. A few good Samaritans try to wake him up but he is too drunk and unreceptive. At one point he rolls off the cart and continues to sleep; perhaps he is even dreaming that he is back at his hotel room.

In the meantime, he’s become the subject of many curious onlookers who are coming in and out of the 7-11 as well as customers stopping in at Jimmy Wong’s tattoo shop next door. A few take photos which will be uploaded and plastered on blogs and websites the next day.

The man eventually sleeps off whatever amount of alcohol he did consume, regains his bearings and makes it back to his hotel. He probably thinks nothing of the ordeal or maybe he is just too embarrassed about it and tries to forget about it.

A few weeks later, back at home he’s surfing the Internet and comes across one of the photos that someone had taken of him passed out near the 7-11 in Bangkok.

These days, such events are much more prevalent thanks to digital cameras, cellular phones with cameras and now even Apple iPods with video capability. Everyone can be a photographer and everyone can be subject to paparazzi. You don’t have to be passed out on the street either; it can be as innocuous as picking your nose or scratching your butt in a comical way that will be a hit on someone’s blog or Facebook profile.

Although you can’t control what photos someone might snap of you and upload to their blogs one has to be careful what they blog about, one also has to be careful what kind of photos and videos they upload on blogs or social networking sites like Facebook.

In cities like Seoul, citizens walk around with digital cameras and video cameras to capture people doing illegal acts like motorists driving in the bus lane or people littering. And whenever there is an accident, a fight, fracas, or any other criminal act, the event is immediately captured by amateur photographers and videographers. These images may or may not be uploaded to someone’s blog or YouTube but if they are controversial enough there’s a good chance that they will.

Not long ago in Seoul, some drunken expats made fools of themselves singing and dancing on a crowded subway that was captured by someone with a video camera and then later uploaded to YouTube. It created quite the outrage and even made it to the nightly news in Korea.

It doesn’t have to be something controversial or even criminal for Big Brother, or in this case many little Big Brothers watching you and ready to document something embarrassing or perhaps something you don’t want too many people to know about (like that tattoo you have on your arm). To be sure, you never know who is out there with a camera or iPod ready to catch you in the act on a Jpeg or Mpeg/Avi file.


  1. Jeffrey, you’re so absolutely right about this topic. Once it is post somewhere on the webs, it is there almost forever.

  2. Yikes! There’s that saying to, “dance as though no one is looking,” but as you so aptly point out, plenty of people are not only looking, they may very well be videotaping you!

    Btw, I’ve wandered to your blog via NaBloPoMo, so it’s my first time here.

    Nice to meet you! 🙂

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