Luk Thung, Thai Funk, and Sita Sings The Blues

Initial experiences with my chosen field site in one word: Revelation.

Luk Thung, or literally translated to child of the fields, is the genre of Thai music I will be auto-ethnographically investigating, along with some of its relating and neighbouring genres. For lack of a better description, let’s call it Thai folk music, however I’ll later get into why I believe it’s far more than that.

You’re probably thinking, why the hell would someone choose to investigate Thai folk music? Sita Sings The Blues, that’s why. However, please don’t be mistake – I despised the film. I wholly and openly accept there was probably a deep and well thought out plot beneath the madness, however my brain simply couldn’t handle the visual mess the film presented, destroying any opportunity to enjoy – or even understand – the film. There was just one element that saved it for me, one element that could even be enjoyed if one shut their eyes (ขอบคุณพระเจ้า), and that’s the soundtrack of Annette Hanshaw.

(Peep a taste of the film and Annette Hanshaw’s work)

I’d like to think I’m a wide listener of music as a whole, and this film’s score only widened that listening scope. Although Hanshaw is American, AND the music she produced for SSTB has some strong Western influece, it’s the sound she birthed for this film that inspired my research. My ears sent thanks for the warm production pairing beautifully with the bright, angelic vocals, and it’s impossible to not love plentiful use of the sitar.

Enough drooling, now some inspiration had formed. I searched high and low for the genre I wanted to look at, until I finally landed in South-East Asia. The epiphany came while listening to the record of one of my favourite bands in the world – Khruangbin. They actually genre themselves as Thai Funk, which isn’t exactly Luk Thung, but there’s some undeniable links there.

(Enjoy them on this funky number via Night Time Stories)

For the sake of a flowing research process, I’ll be limiting my field sites (as the scope of the genre is rather broad) to some of the sub-genres of Luk Thung that are a little more niche, and contain some interesting links to my own personal tastes.

My main focus will be a record, or compilation, called The Sound of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz and Molam in Thailand 1954-1975. It’s more-or-less a mixtape of traditional Luk Thung, along with some groovy variations, some a little more jazzy, and some with a psych-rock edge you’d otherwise find on a Pink Floyd track.

I was able to give the compilation a thorough rinsing as my Sunday mornings are traditionally spent by putting on an album and listening through as I nurse a hangover or make a big breakfast, which is exactly what I did.

What’s interesting is my own pre-research interpretation of the sound of the songs (obviously not the lyrical interpretation as I don’t speak Thai) somewhat matched the supposed meaning of the music, which is hardship, pain even. It’s the music of the working people, those in the farm, or the field (child of the field)… and I felt that! Or at least something along those lines. I found it incredible that music with such beauty in the loud, high-pitched vocals can carry such a melancholy meaning.

This is something I look forward to investigating further through my auto ethnographic research, because:

  1. The music rules
  2. The music rules
  3. I want to know more about Luk Thung and the craziness in its history and meaning.

Stay tuned Thai jazzers…





My Analysed Lolita Experience Through Autoethnography

virginia hodgkinson

This blog post will basically be me analysing my previous blog post here about my first interaction with lolita fashion. You can read it here! At first glance, lolita fashion could be considered just another weird but wonderful Japanese clothing trend that has started to become popular in other parts of the world. This was also my preconceived belief on what lolita fashion was. However, through more research, I came to discover that lolita fashion holds a lot more meaning than just another fashion style, as it can be seen as a representation for societal issues such as the resistance to the uniform Japanese culture and the way in which the female body is often sexualised.

26320 Japanese Lolitas (X)

Lolita fashion originated from a style of fashion called ‘doll fashion’ which peaked in the late 1980s and that Lolita serves as a way in which one can

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Theres never enough makeup: Independent Digital Asia Auto-ethnography (Part 2)


I previously did a blog post about my Independent Digital Asia Auto-ethnography, which was to be based on the Asian Beauty industry and my journey to view what it was like. I have done more research these past few weeks and  started to understand the East Asian beauty industry a little more through auto-ethnography, autobiography, and ethnography.

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If you read my last blog post, you know I’m conducting auto-ethnographic research on Buddhist meditation practices. My initial account discussed my previous experiences with yoga/meditation, and the differences between the Buddhist forms and the mindfulness-only forms. Since this initial account I have been trying to understand the topic in relation to my own cultural framework – and how this impacts my investigation.

I acknowledge that I am conducting this investigation from a privileged position – I am white, living in Australia, with no ties to Buddhism at all. Through further research I have discovered that many people believe Western meditation is a form of cultural appropriation, because Buddhism has been “widely appropriated and pacified” by an audience which broadly fits in the context of Orientalism (Blakkarly 2014). Meditation in the West is generally quite removed from its religious background – most people practicing meditation are not learning the…

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Style cannot be bought.

Something which has been a huge inspiration for myself is the way Japanese people wear their clothes, what they  wear and how they tend to piece it all of it together.

Im not talking about Geisha girls or the trend of Cosplay, what really has influenced me was the street style of the east, what clothes were considered trendy among the youth of Japan.


Me in a Harajuku store; 2015.


When I took my first holiday to JP in 2015 clothing was something I was semi interested in, having an interest in buying different Adidas branded sneakers, purchasing a few branded tees but overall my style was still finding it own with little variance in what I wore.\

Going through my the holiday wafting from store to store, seeing the sites and the cities I would eventually see more styles, textures, outfits which I hadn’t seen before and simply realised just how extravagant the outfits I saw where, every corner of a the city there would be an outfit which looked as if it was thought out, pieced together intricately where every item had meaning.


I like to look back on this photo from my visit to a temple in Kyoto named: Fushimi Inari Taisha. One of Japan’s most visited tourist locations where there are many many shrines dedicated to the Inari, a God of Rice.



Although It is ultimately subjective but if you are looking at the photo you see the visual difference in the aesthetics of each outfit worn by me and my photo bomber.


Very casual look with a relaxed fit. Nothing over the top with the t-shirt and pants being monotone (black & white), with some Old Skool Vans.

Not too much variation in colour that particularly catches the eye.

Person who I assume was a Japanese native:

Colour coordinating the outfit, using colours of brown, beige and navy blue but coordinating them in a way that appears to be formal but would still be acceptable in a casual ‘street’ setting. Not only further accessorising with his shoulder bag, headwear and jacket in hand to but the way he pieces it together makes it seem as if it was created through a process of trail and error.

This attention to detail is what I was exposed too by being in Japan, seeing this outfit, analysing it and thinking about how it was put together. Comparing what I imagined was to be the thought process behind and comparing it to that of your own ideas and thoughts opens your mind to a new level of creativity and self expression and in turn, you grow and your sense develops, becoming more refined.

Each piece of clothing is so different from what tends to be worn casually but is pieced together to have a distinguishable aesthetic. A revamped street style.

I had not realised it at the time of initially viewing the image years ago but upon writing this piece I can gladly say that this was a key moment in my life and for my studies, an auto ethnographic epiphany has occurred . The realisation that I was unconsciously analysing aspects of another culture and relaying it upon my own thoughts and ideas to change the way I saw the world and what I liked.

Fast forward two years from my first trip and you can see an example of how I have been influenced by  different styles, wanting to wear different colours, shapes and looks was reflected in my choice of purchase.

This is all heavily important to me as I use this kind of inspiration to curate my own ideas that end up being represented as clothes I design and sell under the brand name Grown Ass Kid.

Analysing my Narrated Experience

Zoe Majstorovic

When analysing my narrated experience in the third blog post I realised I tended to ramble on a bit too much. I was so focused on talking about my history with Digital Asia instead of talking about my topic and products I plan to use in this assessment.

Drawing on the Ellis et al work, I explored the characteristics of an autobiography and ethnography. I explained my own personal history of Digital Asia, even though I rambled on for a while. Although I talked about my own personal experience, I don’t still live through those experiences. I almost tried to more document the experience I’ve had instead of living throughout the account. Yet I explored the ethnography by talking about the values and beliefs my friend and I had towards the Thai culture. Nin helped me to better understand and respect her culture, unlike most of the people in our…

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Autoethnographic Experience with the Digital Asia

Zoe Majstorovic

Coming into this subject I had no idea what to expect. I have heard of others that had done this subject yet I was still conflicted about what to expect. Just by reading the title of the subject I understood what I was in for. I have been doing BCM classes for the past three years. The titles of the subject are always straight to the point and most of the time, easy to grasp.

I have an older sister, Mia, whom did this subject not too long ago. She instructed me the basics of this subject and if I was ever confused to talk to Chris or look at her blog posts. Yet time has passed and I have somewhat grasped my own knowledge of this subject.

When it comes to the concept of digital Asia, I really had a lack of education and knowledge. This isn’t something that…

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T-pop: my story so far – again

Kelsey O'Brien BCM320 Digital Asia

Following on from my last post, here I’ll focus on my cultural framework and how it is structuring my investigation into T-pop.

Chang (2007, p. 10) says that the writing style of autoethnography varies, falling somewhere on the continuum between “realist” description, “impressionist” caricature and analytical description, and “confessional” self-exposure. I’ve had immense difficulties with how I should approach this research, but as I said last week, I am a writer, and so despite warnings that narrative autoethnographies are the hardest form to accomplish, this is what I went for, attempting to use narrative techniques like first person, direct thought and description to convey how I’d decided on my topic. Perhaps the first paragraph of direct thought would serve as a hook to my autoethnographic story.

However, autoethnography has faced criticism as a methodology for being ‘self-indulgent, narcissistic, introspective, and individualised’ (Sparkes 2000, cited in Brown 2014 p…

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K-pop and a Researcher’s Cultural Framework

Not Spelt With a K

For this project, I want to draw my attention to writing ‘aesthetic and evocative thick descriptions of personal and interpersonal experience’ (Ellis et al. 2012). In terms of who I am in relation to this research, I am fairly separate from the project. If I wasn’t taking Digital Asia as an elective, I wouldn’t have any interest in this project. However: I am a university student who knows the importance of expanding knowledge.  

My personal experiences within K-pop are limited – I know a few names of popular K-pop groups and that it’s extremely popular. I have also picked up a few things regarding how the idols are ‘trained’. But my project focuses on K-pop fans, and I don’t know anything about fan culture in South Korea.

However, my understanding of fanbases and Western ‘stan’ (stalker/fan) culture aren’t limited at all. Twitter is a popular tool for stan culture…

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Curry Kitchen… an autoethnographic update!

Emily Bowen


I have been on my curry making endeavour for about 3 weeks now, throughout this time I have made from scratch Butter Chicken, Sri Lankan Salmon Curry and a Moroccan Lamb Meatball Curry and all of them have been yum!

It has been great getting to cook a family meal from scratch every week but it has been eye opening (or closing considering the amount of onions used in these dishes). Because of the fact that I have only ever eaten Westernised curries before this experience, I was under the impression that each curry would come out a vibrant and smooth texture. Little did I know that most curry sauces we are served in restaurants or out of a jar have been pulsated in a blender to within an inch of their lives before meat is added and the dish is served. To keep up with our daily intake of…

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