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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Windy Nags

A couple of years back I reviewed a funny little book called Broken Guts, written by a semi-retired chap, Dr Anthony Aikman. He is involved with a “bamboo clinic” for Hill Tribe people, and as part of that, he is involved in the Bamboo Watch Foundation for Hill Tribe children with HIV/AIDS or orphaned through the disease.
Andrew Preston of the Bamboo Watch Foundation describes the author, and his book, with complete candor. “Doctor, author, humanitarian, linguist, traveler, raconteur and equestrian. This dotty little book is not only a fun-reflection upon his love of horses, but also allows us to peek into his paddock, where we find him grazing on modesty, humor and gentle humility.” Having met Dr. Anthony Aikman, I concur with the description. He is a member of the “old school”.
His Windy Nags is a collection of equine tales (not ‘tails’) and commences with a warning from author Anthony. “A word of caution when you are describing your equine exploits to Thai friends. Pronounce ‘mah’ (horse) correctly. ‘Mah’ also means dog, and while you assume they picture you riding the range on Black Beauty - they may be imagining you parading the pavement on top of the pet poodle.” He also cautions confusing ‘yah mah’ (horse medicine) with ‘yah bah’ (crazy pills).
Anthony Aikman has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. “Before acquiring nag of your dreams - consider where it will live. Nags, being slightly larger than pet hamsters will not easily fit into your sitting room.” And another, “Horses love grass. I mean the green stuff in the field - not the other you sieve and puff.” He also cautions on the feedstock you supply, as many items, such as Marmite, baked beans, chips or any other tidbits dogs love to gobble will produce prodigious ‘wind’. Author Anthony also writes on how to purchase your nag, and how to avoid the ones that are best headed for the glue factory.
The book is a combination of line drawings and hand-written text, all done by the author. Somewhat daunting at first, but you get used to it.
So how much does book cost? It is almost an “up to you” as Thai people so often say, but a guide is given at the back of the book. You contact Dr. Aikman on [email protected] .org and take it from there. You can get the publication as book or CD. Send not less than GBP 10, euro 5 or USD 20 to the Bamboo Watch Foundation and your book will be dispatched via registered post within 28 days. Somehow I was a little disappointed at the ‘registered post’ delivery. I had fully expected it would be coming by Pony Express!
It is a quaint little book which will afford you some smiles, and incidentally put some smiles on the faces of the HIV/AIDS children who are helped by the foundation. And that, unfortunately, is 216 youngsters between the ages of five and nineteen. I do not often promote a charity in this column, but I am today. For under B. 600, you are helping an unfortunate and oft ignored group in the society.