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
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.