Tag Archive for: mass media

Reporting live from Chiang Mai city in northern Thailand, after the royal announcement Thursday, October 13th that His Majesty King Rama IX has passed into immortality.

Watch the video below. You won’t believe what happens at 3:33! I was recording from my balcony when this happened:

“The death of the Thai king throws the country into turmoil”

warns The Economist

“Thailand as we knew it is now at an end” – from the Bangkok Post even.

It’s true, the world’s longest-reigning monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, passed on Thursday at 88 years old. He was a universally-loved leader, and revered as almost a god. With the utmost respect, I have been saddened by his passing, and I stand with Thailand and my Thai friends as they mourn this very sad time.

Please click here to read my formal announcement about the King.

This day has been coming for a long time, and many have speculated that it may plunge the country into chaos. But so far things are not so bad. There will of course be challenges in the succession process and as power is transferred, and this is the end of an era.

But don’t believe all the headlines. Especially the international (US) mainstream.

I mean no disrespect with my stunt here, and I apologize if I caused anyone momentary panic, but I mean only to call your attention to the fact that manipulation is everywhere, and illustrate with my own example.

Everything in Chiang Mai at least is fairly normal so far. There is a quiet respectful air of mourning. But as my colleague Simon Black astutely noted, “same same but different” as the Thai motto goes.

It’s mostly hyped-up rhetoric to get you to click. These old world newspapers and mainstream media organizations are dying a painful, slow death as the internet gradually, but inevitably, sweeps across the globe and transforms society.

They are losing their influence, and the old oligarchs (and new technocrats) who own these major “news” sites and media portals will do ANYTHING to stay in business, to keep the profits rolling in, to grab your attention.

Their very livelihoods, actually, depend upon dominating your attention.

They are distraction machines, really. Because if they don’t distract you from your real life, from your actual responsibilities, from what’s directly important to you, and the things you should be doing to take care of yourself, your family, and the people you care about — if they can’t distract you from that then they’ll go out of business.

Which is why you continually find them spreading alarmist, sensational, often one-sided stories, often outright propaganda — whether it’s for the state, for their affiliated organizations whose agendas they support, or simply in their biggest stockholder’s best interests.

And by the way America: you know your government made it legal to spread propaganda within US borders, to US citizens, through mass media — just before Independence Day 2013.

So don’t tell me it can’t happen in the U.S. Don’t be so foolish.

I want to tell you that a lot of what you see in the media — even on your Facebook feed or “trending” news — is manipulated, sensationalized, wildly exaggerated, or outright fabricated.

It’s called clickbait. And it’s important to know that you’re probably not immune to it.

And people can use our natural curiosity against us.

Like my man Ed Latimore, the pro heavyweight boxer who’s been dropping obscene amounts of TRUTH on Twitter recently said:

https://twitter.com/EdLatimore/status/776454488450330624

Especially the scared part. But I’ve been seeing a lot of all of the above lately.

Lots of fear-mongering and misinformation designed to keep you ignorant and powerless. Lots of manipulation, especially during this election cycle in America. The place is going mad.

But, just like here in Thailand right now, it’s not chaos in the streets — rather, it’s literal mental insanity that you’re letting the elites lead you into. (And America is suffering HARD right now from a mental health epidemic.)

And chances are, no matter who you elect President this year, there still won’t be utter chaos in the streets, nor a Hitler-like regime installed, or nuclear war apocalypse.

They’ll create a terrifying narrative out of almost thin air, repeat it a thousand times on every front page and every station, and eventually people believe it.

But, meanwhile here in Chiang Mai, with King Rama IX vacating the throne and a new King succeeding him, it is not the END of Thailand, the country is not in turmoil.

In fact, it’s still a stunningly beautiful spot to make your next vacation. I mean just go back and watch my video if you didn’t already.

I’ve seen so many people on social media panicking, spreading alarmist rumors. “Nightmare: My holiday is ruined,” said the Daily Mail! And yet, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the cows are grazing.

It’s laughable. I’d call it major exaggeration in this case, to stir up fear in people.

(If you want to follow the real situation, I recommend you find on-the-ground, local voices — here is my recommended Twitter shortlist.)

But see how easy it was for me to get your click with my alarmist headline?

You introduce a problem. Then you offer the solution.

Even if you have to create the problem.

And when you filter the happenings of over 7 billion people across the globe, looking for the very worst — the scariest  and most shocking events, the most violent, the most negative things imaginable — and broadcast that across the whole world as if it’s the norm, and repeat it over and over a thousand times, then you can easily start to deceive people into thinking the world is going to hell.

I’ve caught myself recently addicted to this distraction and fear porn and “political anxiety” as they’re calling it in America.

But the world they portray on the screen does not align with reality. And you need to know that.

Most of us, when we look outside the window, life is mostly pretty good.

That’s not to say there are no real news stories out there, but we are no longer dealing with journalism in the mainstream media, we are dealing with infotainment and, frankly, often indoctrination. Everybody wants you to think like they do, or think like they tell you to.

But be vigilant heroes, because most of the time others will coax you into nothing but FEAR or DESIRE.

There are real concerns out there in the world for sure, but it’s all about perspective.

Mostly you just need to DO YOU.

Don’t forget to go take a walk, talk to your neighbors, spend time in The Present with your family and loved ones, work on YOU, and listen to your inner voice for direction. Not the TV, or the newspaper, or Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, or even Huffington Post.

They all have a vested interest in keeping you distracted, fearful, misinformed, and worried about imaginary bogeymen.

2010 protests in Bangkok

The attached photo is actually from 2010 in Bangkok. I was in the heart of real protests and violence in Thailand in 2009 and 2010, when things did get hairy, but I also saw Thais come together afterwards in amazing cooperation

The real bogeyman is not in the headlines. He is not out there, coming for your job, or your life. You don’t need to hide your wife, or your kids.

The real bogeyman is usually yourself.

Most fears are imagined.

Start with the man in the mirror, and let everything else take care of itself.

If you’re ready to start working on yourself, developing a higher perspective, and occasionally hearing the REAL big-picture scoop from someone who’s been living outside the “Reality Distortion Field” for a while, traveling over 30 countries on 4 continents for the last 8 years, join me on the Hero’s Journey — just fill out the form below.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds! Marcus Garvey

Making a difference and having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Today I’d like to highlight someone who’s definitely living a thrilling life—making a huge difference in the world and serving a great example of how to choose the path less taken. Dwight Turner is a close friend whose passion is to help the less fortunate in any way he can, and he runs an organization here in Thailand called In Search Of Sanuk, where he promotes worthwhile humanitarian causes.

Sanuk is a Thai word roughly translated as fun or enjoyment. Sanuk, however, is much more. This value permeates Thai society giving people a jovial, lighthearted outlook on life. We combine this aspect of Thai culture with our goals to help needy people. To us, sanuk is a lifestyle. This lighthearted outlook naturally translates to those we’re trying to reach and becomes a powerful mechanism of hope and healing for all involved.

Dwight worked as an English teacher in Thailand for about two years off-and-on, and he was my only contact in Thailand when I first came out to Asia in 2008. We currently both live in central Bangkok, and Dwight spends the majority of his time promoting good causes and organizing mixers and fundraising events to raise money for charity projects around Bangkok and throughout the region. I do my best to help him promote his events, but he’s the mastermind—the real passion and drive to create change around here. He has worked with Burmese migrants, Balinese orphans, refugees, and much more. He’s the real deal.

Doing Good and Having a Blast at the Same Time

Together, Dwight and I host monthly Bangkok Tweetups—tech-centric Twitter meetups for charity. People get together to have some dinner and a few beers, meet interesting new folks (expats and locals) from around Bangkok, and a portion of what they spend on food & drinks goes to support In Search Of Sanuk projects in Thailand.

Ryan, Dwight & the Lub D staff

To recognize World Refugee Day on June 20th, Dwight hosted a Taste of Sri Lanka dinner at the Lub D hostel, attracting people from our Tweetups, from Facebook, and Couchsurfing. Everyone mixed and mingled, had some delicious food cooked by Tuan, the cook at the local refugee center, and proceeds went to support the medical needs of asylum seeking refugees.

And just recently, along with the good folks at Green Networking Days Bangkok, Dwight co-hosted a huge nightclub event at Fraser Suites called LUSH, Bangkok’s Green Night Out. There were over 250 people in attendance at this spectacular upscale rooftop bar, everyone danced and drank and enjoyed the DJ music, and we were able to raise 35,000 Baht (over $1000 US) for In Search Of Sanuk’s Urban Garden Project to put vegetable gardens in the Bangkok Refugee Center and slums.

 

Cody, Pom & Mint at LUSH

ISOS’ events allow people (especially young people and travelers) to do things they’d already want to do—get together with friends, go out dancing, grab dinner and drinks, or attend music & art events—and easily contribute to making a positive difference at the same time. I think this is a world-changing idea, and I know Dwight will leave a big impact on the world.

I’m sure there are people doing this elsewhere, but I’ve never witnessed someone so dedicated to empowering others to make a change. I’m excited that my lifestyle gives me the time to invest in travel, hanging out with friends like Dwight, and participating in good causes.

Announcement: My Charity Commitment

For a long time, I wanted to contribute to something like 1% for the Planet, Kiva.org, or local charities. When I visited Cambodia, I really felt compelled to contribute to causes in this region. One day I realized, ‘Hey I know Dwight personally, I trust him, and he’s committed his life to doing good for others!’ So I decided to work more closely with him. We’re making plans to travel to neighboring countries across Southeast Asia every three months and volunteer for good causes wherever we go. And starting this week, 5% of my business profits will go toward ISOS projects. Anyone who signs up for my consulting and services will help us make a difference.

Improving a Broken System

Sadly, the state of philanthropy and volunteerism in Thailand is pretty convoluted and decentralized. Dwight works painstakingly to get non-profit organizations and NGOs throughout Thailand collaborating with each other and to turn volunteer opportunities into something more organized than they already are, so that people can more easily contribute and make a difference.

When I’m in the US, watching mainstream media, it feels like there is a 24-hour-a-day bad news feed directly into your brain. There is the war in the Middle East, the ongoing argument over global warming, shrinking resources and a growing population. Watching the news makes people afraid and helpless. In the face of this negative hype, I think most folks tend to retreat from the “real world.” We look for ways to escape (me included): You go see the new Terminator movie. You go get a drink downtown with your friends. You play online games for hours on end. You do your job, you go home… But we ignore the genocide, hunger and poverty going on around the world. We even stay selectively ignorant about the issues in our own backyard. Like Dwight says in a recent post, maybe we are Over Entertained and Under Challenged:

Consider what avenues exist to discuss helping the less fortunate or marginalized in your community. What are they? Are you a part of the discussion? I fear so few of us are not even having these discussions. When they do occur, it happens in niches so isolated that they’re inaccessible to both other groups having similar discussions or people who are not members of these segmented communities.

It’s my passion to change this where I can.

LUSH mixer at Fraser Suites, Bangkok

In Search Of Sanuk makes it easy for anyone to get involved and support good causes by making it fun! If you want to volunteer, Dwight makes it easy, but if you want to make contributions without having to go out of your way or spend a lot of money, we also host mixer parties, art shows, donation drives, and other fun events in Bangkok to raise money (and awareness) for local charity projects. If you’re not in this part of the world, you can still show support by following the ISOS blog, connecting with Dwight on Twitter, signing up for our services, and helping us spread the word.

Dwight is a shining example that you can have fun and make a difference at the same time! He’s a selfless, hard-working guy who genuinely cares about making the world a better place. He understands that not everybody is able to or willing to make the same commitment, so he does his best to enable others to contribute in simple and fun ways. Bangkok wouldn’t be the same without him.

Photos by Sascha Steinhoff.