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Book Review: by Lang Reid
Easy by Ken Klein (and distributed by him) states that it is a guide to
travel, language, retirement and relationships. That’s a huge coverage for a
book that is only around 130 pages, but at B. 225 on the shelf at Bookazine
did not represent much of a financial risk.
In the introduction to the book he mentions “clashes of logic and reason as
Thai and Western concepts compete for space in my framework of thinking.
What the people of each culture easily accept is different.”
Author Klein writes that the book is an attempt to help newcomers and
potential retirees try and make sense of life in Thailand. In the
introduction for these groups he mentions “Mai pen lie” which he says is
much more than a phrase, it is more like a Thai mantra.
He devotes one chapter to getting around and counsels the foreigner not to
drive himself. The ever-present motorcycle problem is insurmountable in Ken
Klein’s eyes, for first time visitors at least, but he does admit that he
drives himself in his upcountry village.
The next section deals with Thai history, something that even the Thais are
not all that conversant with, I am afraid. He begins with Bangkok and then
ventures up-country, giving brief potted histories of the areas, as well as
things to do and other local attractions.
These sections I found most interesting, and though these days being
considered an “old hand” there were enlightening facts for me as well. The
lead up to, and the meeting of Phaulcon with the king, for example.
Travel guides to Thailand do overload the bookshelves, with some obviously
cribbed from others. This book does not, as apart from the historical and
geographic references, much is recounted from the author’s personal
experiences in Thailand. In particular the sections on retirement and
He deals with retirement in a very practical way, explaining (yet again)
that Thailand has a different culture, but is one that fits relaxation,
which the retiree should be doing. He also gives figures on how much it
costs to live in some selected areas, and introduces the reader to some who
are doing it.
I did enjoy the chapter where he introduces the “nirvanic trance” adopted at
times, and where he writes that “… When it comes to many things, they don’t
think the same was as a westerner, they don’t connect to the future in the
same way, and for us, this can be frustrating.”
In the section on relationships, author Klein points out that for most Thai
women, the home village has magnetic properties, and whilst the foreigner
may wish for Pattaya and Phuket, these are “amusement parks set up to appeal
to foreigners and the Thai people there do their best to accommodate.” He
also patiently explains the differences between Thai ladies and bar girls,
though he admits successful relationships can be found from either
sub-group. “I know of many lovely Thai ladies who have married millionaires
and gone off to live in Switzerland. It’s a great alternative to poverty and
being unwanted.” The queue forms here, ladies!
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