Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

McSued

McDonald's turned 50 this year. And, like many 50-year-olds, Ronald is in the thick of a midlife crisis. Yet, in contrast with the pencil-pushing, righteous-living ways of many who feel the urge to indulge their inner adolescents, McDonald's has gotten all the play out of the way. The Happy Meal lifestyle couldn't last forever, much as the joy that comes from shoving a Big Mac down your craw and following it with a haystack of fries turns inevitably bilious and dyspeptic. So now McDonald's is on a bit of a health kick, pushing salads and apple slices instead of slobbery sandwiches and snotty apple pies. Deprived of the interior tick of mortality that often occasions a Porsche-buying spree, McDonald's found an unusual motivation for its revamp: the one-two punch of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Morgan Spurlock's garish science-project of a documentary, Super Size Me . After Schlosser exposed horrifying facts about the fast-food industry (there's poo in the meat, dawg!) and...

The Killed Fields

SIEM REAP, Cambodia -- Nearly all visitors to Cambodia come to see the ancient temples of Angkor -- the tree-strangled Ta Prohm, the exquisite Banteay Srei, and the majestic symmetry of Angkor Wat itself, among countless others. But not far from the ruins lies a memorial to a less glorious part of Cambodia's past: the Cambodian Landmine Museum, Prevention, and Rehabilitation Center , run by local de-miner Aki Ra. After banging down an unpaved road not far from the Angkor complex, my motorcycle taxi pulls up in front of a sign decorated with painted drawings of pineapple mines and trip-wired booby traps. The land-mine museum is set in a residential area full of napping elders, squabbling chickens, and dusty, beaming children -- a rather odd backdrop, I think, until I realize that Ra and his wife, Hourt, have transformed their own home into a compound full of defused weaponry. When I arrive, the museum's founder is lying on a hammock with his chubby son. A placid man in a Cambodian army...

Disarming Photos

What power lies in a picture? Flat, boxed in a frame, a mere snap in time, skeptics may say. But, for at least three artists in a new, Washington, DC, exhibition, photography offers the sweeping power of protest -- dynamic, fully dimensional -- captured in the smallest and simplest of human moments. “We Could Be Heroes” is the latest exhibition at the gallery Transformer, a shoebox of a space wedged into a gentrifying neighborhood east of Dupont Circle -- and into a city not nationally known for its arts scene. The brainchild of gallery co-directors Jayme McLellan and Victoria Reis, Transformer showcases the work of emerging artists; “Heroes” is, however, one of the first overtly political shows the gallery has produced. Featuring the work of three photojournalists and four artists working in video, painting, sculpture, and drawings, “Heroes” grapples with the brutality of genocide and political inaction in the face of epic violence, and it puts vibrant, horrified, and numb real-life...

Silence Over Rwanda

It was a familiar sight: a photograph of a drawn, ashen-faced man standing next to rows of skulls. He looked liked many of the tourists who stand at Cambodia's Choeung Ek killing field, dazed and staring at the rows of bones, craniums stoved in by machetes and clubs and garden hoes. But the man was no tourist. His powerful shoulders gave away his military past; the down-turned eyes hinted at horrors witnessed and never forgotten. The photograph was a publicity still for a film; the man in the photo is retired lieutenant general Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian who presided over the doomed UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, a ragtag outfit deprived of the mandate to fulfill any part of its moniker. The world can't get enough of Rwanda these days, some 10 years too late. Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire is the latest film to tackle the horrific events that resulted in the deaths of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days. Hotel Rwanda is the flip negative of the...

Red-Light Theater District

The theater at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh is buzzing, even on this sticky Sunday night. Hordes of young people are pulling up on their motorcycles or chatting on cell phones -- the kind of crowd I've seen at free rock concerts by the city's riverfront. The young people are here to see a much more sobering performance tonight: a modern Cambodian play called A Wounded Life . Looking down at my program, I meet the sad gaze of the play's heroine, Poeu, an innocent country girl whose family is deceived into selling her into prostitution. Written four years ago, the play was the result of a collaboration between three playwrights -- and even more activist groups and funders. Local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have long struggled against Cambodia's insidious sex industry-- one that helped fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country and drew or coerced tens of thousands of women and girls into prostitution. What better way to inform the public...

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