Thailand’s White Temple, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)
Located near the city of Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)—known outside Thailand as the “White Temple”—stands as an unusual and beautiful mix of traditional Thai architecture and modern-day science fiction memorabilia. It was designed by painter-turned-architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, one of Thailand’s most renowned architects, who set out to create one of the most elegant temples in Chiang Rai.
The temple’s white color symbolizes purity; its glittering glass signifies the teachings of the Buddah; and the moat filled with outreaching arms represents desire. Detailed sculptures of skulls, demons and severed heads are also scattered around the premises. Perhaps most interestingly, a mural inside with images of Batman, Superman, and even the alien from Predator tell a modern-day story of Buddha.
Construction on Wat Rong Khun began in 1996 and is expected to finish in 2070, long after Kositpipat has passed. Plans include nine buildings built on an area of about 3 acres, and though it is a work in progress, the temple attracts an increasingly large number of visitors every year—many of whom share their visit to the temple on Instagram.
“Orbiting the New World”With his exploration and reconnaissance ship having safely entered into low orbit around the planet, Simon Reynolds floats into the observation deck to take a better look at humankind’s new home.
The lush landscape rolls by quickly, and the familiar Earth-like features of savannas, oceans, beaches, mountains, forests, rivers… it all helps calm Simon’s worries about the mass exodus from Earth and the subsequent re-habitation to take place over the next 50 years. Everyone will love this new world.
To make it fit for human life, though, a quick and painless culling of the native population will have to take place; preferably before the media back home learn of the planet and begin calling the new world a “name” (it’s always harder to get away with the necessary genocide if the bleeding hearts back home can have a catchy name to call the natives). Such things are best done quickly, and aren’t usually fit for public consumption.
Most just don’t have the stomach for the realities of the situation, is all.
Soon after Simon’s strategically targeted cleansing implantations (such as infecting the main sources of drinking water, the soil the crops are grown in, and the animals that the natives interact with the most), the planet will be blanketed with carefully refined Earth-diseases that the natives have no natural antibodies for— and after a few years, the indigenous human-like population of the new world will be down to a manageable level and Simon and the Intergalactic Settlement Company can begin building the first settlements and outposts without worrying about the inconvenience of a native reprisal.
It’s all standard operating procedure, of course, to prevent trouble down the road. If they’re lucky enough to eliminate the natives entirely, that’d be great, but Simon knows it’s more likely that they’ll have to engage in an aggressive media campaign that downplays the genocide-y aspects of the cleansing and focuses mostly on the necessity of preparing a foreign planet’s environment for future human settlements.
The only real problem Simon can see is a somewhat obvious one: while the untouched virgin beauty of the undeveloped planet seems nice in theory, modern humans don’t actually like things quite this “rustic”. They’ll have to clear many of these forests and green valleys that look so beautiful from the cozy view of an orbiting spaceship if the Earthlings are gonna have the infrastructure they’ve become accustomed to.
It may be rough at first, but after several generations of hard work and intensive modernizing of the new world’s natural environment, Simon knows in his heart that any remaining natives will have the good sense to be thankful for all of this.
In the end, it’s all for the best.
(Thank you to the amazingly talented Samantha of Other-side-of-the-universe.com for giffing this for me!)
“There Ain’t No Laws in Space”
Did you ever know that there ain’t no laws in space?
You could lure your enemy to the moon, and shoot them in the face.
If the police try to hassle ya, tell ‘em they got no jurisdiction!
They have no right to interfere with your murderous predilection
So blow up a hospital on Venus, or rob a bank on Mars
Run over Jupiter’s orphans while driving stolen cars
If there’s no laws to stop ya, then it must be quite alright!
No need to hide your fiendish crimes each and every night.
And even God will be proud that you found this loophole
His rules only apply to Earth, so don’t worry about your soul
With a sly wink and a nod, God will look the other way
Just stay forever in outer space, and you’ll never have to pay.
(Thank you to the incredibly talented Samantha of Other-side-of-the-universe.com for helping me GIF this! GO FOLLOW HER)
Celebrating I.M. Pei’s 96th Birthday
Today, famed architect I.M. Pei turns 96. Born in Guangzhou, China, Pei came to the United States in 1935 to pursue higher education. He graduated from MIT with his Bachelors in Architecture in 1940 and from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1946.
Pei’s work is distinctly modernist with cubist tones and often features distinctive sweeping reflective glass facades. He is perhaps best known for the glass and steel pyramid at the Museé du Louvre in Paris, France—a controversial project completed in 1989 that has since become one of the most iconic modern buildings in France.
For more photos from I.M. Pei’s greatest works, check out their location pages below:
- Pyramide du Louvre - Paris, France
- John F. Kennedy Library Presidential Library and Museum - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
- Luce Memorial Chapel (路思義教堂) - Tunghai, Taiwan
- Bank of China Tower (中銀大廈) - Hong Kong
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum - Cleveland, Ohio, USA
- Suzhou Museum (苏州博物馆)- Suzhou, China
- 5th Avenue Apple Store - New York City, New York, USA
- Miho Museum - Kyoto, Japan
- Fountain Place - Dallas, Texas, USA