Bangkok. An Electrifying City.
Bangkok is thrumming outside—loud, colorful, moved by a rock-around-the-clock ethos—but we begin with a polite “Hello!” at the front door. An attentive glance through the windows of a striking pair of glasses meets our gaze. Sihabutr Xoomsai quickly runs his fingers through his tousled locks, almost bashfully, and then waves us in with a sweeping gesture: “Come on in. Something to drink?” This is manifestly the home of someone who likes art and architecture, masculine coolness, and the air of stylish nonchalance. With its glass elements, steel structures, and exposed brick walls, the home of “Tenn,” as friends, colleagues, and associates of the filmmaker and journalist call him, could easily be in the Hollywood Hills.
Having noticed our sidelong glance into the open garage, the grinning Tenn stays put, casually leaning against the wall with crossed arms. “I seem to have a thing for
Indeed, his story doesn’t sound crazy at all. There’s an irresistible logic to it. Born in Bangkok in August 1970, he attended high school in the United States and later studied filmmaking there. Not quite twenty at the time, Tenn was in Bangkok over the summer when one of his father’s friends stopped by for a visit, but not alone—he had come in a
Pause. Reflect. Enjoy. Then Tenn hops up with a slap of the thighs and says, “Should we head out? I’m really excited.” The reason for his excitement is down below in the entryway. White, electric, powerful: the
The trip is turbulent and explosive, bewildering and captivating—the Southeast Asian metropolis overwhelms us with impressions. Old temples sprout like rare flowers between concrete and asphalt; single-story blocks with crumbling stucco facades huddle around modern skyscrapers; scents and colors of psychedelic intensity draw us into a maelstrom of sensations. The electric
The white 911 SWB and the yellow 993 GT2, which came along for the swim through the vivid sea of lights, seem a bit winded by the frenetic rhythm of the big city and appear to be sending a message. “Hey,” they grouse with panting boxer drums and whistling turbochargers. “As soon as you get out into the dust of the long haul, up north or down south, away from the city, you and your electric motors stand no chance against our furious engines. The roads of Thailand are good, but you can’t just refuel like we can …” Tenn seems not to be listening. He considers. “Perhaps that’s the magic of electric cars. You want to strike out into the unknown again, rediscover everything, start over from scratch. Techno instead of rock ‘n’ roll, but with the same punch. With incredibly powerful emotions. I’m a fan.”
It’s time to keep driving; there’s no question about that. Bangkok has us in its grip. The white car whispers away, sailing through the dusk into a city of dazzling lights. It transforms into incandescent energy for the elapse of a quick sprint. Tenn shakes his head in wonder. “This car is a such a good fit for this city, with its contrasts between traditional temples and stark modernity. The
Das Treffen 2019
Notwithstanding the now nearly one thousand visitors and 380 cars — at Das Treffen 4 a few weeks ago in Bangkok, the family character of the event was still much in evidence. And organizer Tenn aims to continue growing: “There are a lot more
By Ben Winter
Photos by Stefan Bogner