This entry is from Ken’s blog, “Tokyo Life”
From Nirobi, in Africa, I took a plane to Thailand for a short vacation.
I spent a total of 60 hours in Bangkok and the surrounding area.
My impression of Asia is that the cities are comfortable to be in. There are plenty of developed cities in Africa, but to me they are not quite as comfortable as Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Tokyo. Of course there is the fact that I am Asian and I grew up in such surroundings, but I think it goes beyond that.
There are two points to Asian cities that I would like to bring up.
First, they are diverse.
The population is diverse, the food is diverse. There is a wide variety of options for shopping. If you want to purchase anything, there are expensive things, cheap things, cute things, fancy things, etc. There are back alleys next to a skyscrapers. Modern things, old things, obscene things, pretty things, etc. I feel that this diversity in products is not present in Africa. At the very least there is not in the town where I live now, nor is there in the cities that I have lived in in the Middle East.
The Economic Nobel Prize Laureate Amartya Sen once said “Prosperity is when there are many options,” and I believe that wholeheartedly.
Secondly, they are safe.
To put it in other words, the public order is preserved; however I think that that description is too simple. There is a laxness about these cities, and there is no need to constantly watch your surroundings. I think that this is something that even European cities do not have. There are cities where you can slowly walk the city streets while eating, where you can sit outside and drink some beer. Of course, there is crime, and there are certain neighborhoods where you need to be careful, but it is not to the same level as it is in Africa. This ease, this safe feeling, is comfortable.
My talk became a bit long, but in short, Bangkok was great fun.