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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

More Living Thai Ways

This week’s book, More Living Thai Ways is even called ‘Part II’ (ISBN 974-9985-49-4, Bangkok Book House 2006), and since I have not read Part 1, I think I started the review somewhere behind the eight ball.
The book has been written by Michael Keller, and the front cover promises “dos and don’ts and short stories” and is split into 24 self-contained chapters. Unfortunately, the publishers have not included any notes about the author, nor anything about ‘Part 1’, so I was very much in the dark before beginning the read. However, the photograph on the front cover with the monkey and the beer can was very appealing. As long as you aren’t an ecologist or belong to a Save the Apes group.
The book begins with a third person description of the tsunami and its effects and attendant horrors after it hit Khao Lak on December 26, 2004. Most readers would be conversant with this disaster, but there are some new aspects made available to the reader.
The second chapter reverts to a first hand account by ‘Farang Joseph’ of his first trip to Thailand and brings in the inevitable encounter with a lady of the second category, dossing down in a flop house in Patpong, and more. Much of this seemed anecdotal, and considering he had two very good friends in Pattaya, they surely would have helped find more suitable Bangkok accommodation, one feels.
Author Keller does take his readers through various aspects of Thailand, and these are definitely tourist oriented, such as Khantoke dinners in Chiang Mai and Hill Tribe shows. All the usual tourist fare, from which residents will run a mile (or is that 8/5ths of a kilometer?).
Around half way through the book, it does seem to turn into just another list of places to go, things to buy, things to do tourist style handbook, though the chapter on the visa run to Laos was certainly edifying, though Michael Keller does seem to have more than just a bad luck spell. It would seem that he should research his destinations better, as all the traps he fell into are really quite well known. Or maybe he is just using literary license to help us be more aware.
Continuing with the lists, the item on transportation could again be lifted from any tourist handbook or publication, and unfortunately, with the ways things are at present, some of the information is now incorrect. Ah well, we live in an ever-changing world.
I found the changing from third person, to first person confusing at first and aggravating later. Apart from an all pervading love of adjectives, Michael Keller can string a story together quite well, but I would have liked him to either give us his personal vignettes, or give us a group of items narrated by others. But not both. And while I am carping, the chapter on ‘shopping’ was almost an unadulterated advert for Foodland stores. However, at B. 395, it does do as promised, giving the reader “dos and don’ts and short stories”, so perhaps I should end this review there.