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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Gor’s Thailand Life

I was tempted to entitle this week’s review as the most frightening book I had read all year, but on reflection I would say it is the book with the most potential to be scary!
Gor’s Thailand Life (ISBN 978-974-7310-09-2, Bamboo Sinfonia Publishing, 2007) was written by Panrit “Gor” Daoruang, who at one stage in his teenage life was billed as Thailand’s most famous teenager, having his own column “Gor’s World” in the Bangkok Post when he was just 16 years old. Five years on, he went from fast becoming Thailand’s most infamous teenager to graduating into adulthood in a Thai prison.
The text is by Gor himself, in diary format, though English expression and some editing was done by his English teacher Richard Barrow and again by publisher Derek Sharron.
His diary chronicles his life, or rather lifestyle, as he slowly ages (I deliberately refrain from using the words ‘grows up’), with the agony of first love, and then his second, third and fourth, etc. It also shows the effect that the electronic media have had on girl-boy relationships in Thailand, where they can (and do) spend countless hours on the phone between midnight and 8 a.m.
For leisure and pleasure, the by now 15 year old Gor rides around Bangkok with his mates on their motorcycles. Of course they do not wear helmets and of course they buy cheap whisky at the convenience stores, plus cigarettes. All of which Gor acknowledges are against the law, but who’s to know? Certainly not his parents, as they go to bed early after working all day and get up early to return to work to earn enough money to keep their son in petrol, mobile phones, motorcycles, cigarettes and booze. They never seem to hear, or worry, that their 15 year old is rolling in past midnight, reeking of whisky.
As young teenagers Gor and his mates all pile in busses and go to Pattaya for a weekend holiday. Here they can indulge themselves in whisky, women and song, and the odd ya ba (amphetamines), as do all of his ilk.
And of course there are the unplanned pregnancies and motorcycle crashes blamed on bad karma, which can be changed by repainting the offending machine and getting the local monk to bless it. Oh, if only life were that simple, but that’s Gor’s life.
At B. 395, it is a cheap read, and one that all parents should use as their guide and reason for child supervision. Teenagers do not have self-discipline (none of us did), but if we were lucky, our parents looked after us and set the standards for us. Gor’s (and O’s, Benz’s, Phong’s and all his other teenage friends) parents did not. The fact that Gor is the only one in prison can either be put down to (bad) luck, or understaffing in the police force, to put not too fine a slant on it.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go towards an educational fund for Gor’s daughter Nong Grace. Let us hope that this will give her a better future than her father.