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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Foreign Relations

“Foreign Relations” was delivered to the editorial desk the other day. With the sub-title “A comic guide to Thai Ladies” the concept looked attractive, even though the funereal black cover did not. Ostensibly written by Barry Sandal, the back cover promises “This guide reveals the behind the scenes reality of frolicking with the (sic) Thai lady.”
The book is obviously self-published and has no ISBN number, but claims all rights and is printed in Chiang Mai. The author, Barry Sandal, is even more secretive; however, he also illustrated the book and gives us a sketch or three of himself. Chiang Mai inhabitants may recognize him!
The format and layout is different from most others. There is a heading such as “Taking One Back Home”, followed by a pencil sketch of the takeaway goods, a few paragraphs of verbal warnings and then some Thai sayings at the bottom, with a literal translation and then colloquial meaning. Some of these are very interesting such as “Kha Min Kap Puun” which is translated as “Turmeric and Plaster” but means “Completely incompatible”.
At the end of the book, there are maps of likely places where one can find the fun-bunnies and even street maps for centers such as Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket (but not for his Chiang Mai as there is only Loi Kroh Road).
The next chapter is entitled “Things To Say To Get Your Way”, though if one believes all the previous chapters, it ain’t too difficult to get one’s wicked ways! This covers flattering and food, two of the main interests of the young lovelies. There are also some more small sub-sections which cover negotiations from “How much” to “Can you go lower” and then “I have very little money”. These are not Five Star tourists!
The ‘Foreword’ (but given as ‘Forward’) says it all. “This book is written for the male traveler out to have a good time. My goal is to help you have as much fun as you can while keeping you out of the pitfalls of mistaking great casual sex with eternal love. Read on and prepare to fulfill your most extreme desires. Keep in mind that this book is not about ALL Thai women. It is written about the ones who want to find YOU!”
If all tourists were to follow this book, the Hillary column would have to close, being made up of tales of woe from those who did not follow Mr Sandal’s advice which on page 8 includes:
1. Don’t fall in love!
2. Don’t buy them a house.
3. Don’t buy them a car.
Unfortunately, we all know that this advice will not be followed, but at least Barry Sandal can say, “I told you so!” and Hillary will concur.
An amusing little book, but not one that will be remembered as one of the great treatises of life in Thailand’s seedy side. There was no price indicated in the review copy, but I would imagine it will have an RRP between B. 250-350. An inexpensive chuckle and probably a good Xmas present for some of your male friends ‘back home’.