Hoo boy, this is a bad picture. But if you’re either a frequent reader of this site or a resident of certain urban areas, you’ll recognize it nevertheless: It’s the Xiaomi Mi scooter used by BIRD as its the base platform for its “mobility solution”. I saw it at a Xiaomi-specific store in Kuala Lumpur. We might consider Xiaomi and the other Chinese home-market brands like it a sort of weird cheapo unobtanium primarily sourced through Massdrop and Alibaba, but in Asia they have stores that are as big and as diverse as the ones operated by Apple. The Samsung store I saw was even more impressive; they’re wayyyyy ahead of what you can get here.
Speaking of Samsung, and of Korea in general: During my twelve-hour layover at Incheon two weeks ago, Danger Girl and I took a “temple culture tour” offered by the South Korean government in cooperation with the airport authorities. We didn’t have to get our passports stamped or anything like that; we were simply released into the wild through customs control without so much as a single question asked and told to meet a bus operator in 90 minutes. The bus took us to some temples. These temples were, by and large, ground-up reconstructions of temples that had existed a long time ago. I was mildly upset by this. Where’s the “authenticity” in a brand-new temple designed to look like an old one? I’ll write a bit more about this in the future, but in the meantime here’s a fascinating essay on the differing ways that East and West regard concepts like “originality” and “copying”.
For some all-original, uncopied content, click the jump.
At TTAC, I wrote about kapchai.