HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Thailand Easy

Thailand 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 relationships.
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!