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Book Review: by Lang Reid
Gor’s Thailand Life
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
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.
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