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Book Review

Book Review: by Ann Nongsue

Farang, the Sequel

He’s done it again. After penning the best selling “Farang, Thailand through the eyes of an ex-pat,” Dr. Iain Corness’s long awaited follow up “Farang, the Sequel - Another look at Thailand through the eyes of an ex-pat” (IBSN: 978-1-905379-63-7, Maverick House 2009) has finally been released.
The good doctor has an uncanny way of capturing the realities of life in Thailand - both as the expat viewing it all, but also with an inside knowledge of the Thai perspective. The length of time he has spent here truly shows in his ability to dissect some of the aspects of living in Thailand and present them in a way that will have even long time residents occasionally thinking, “Hmm, I didn’t know that.”
But of course, just like the first “Farang”, Dr Iain writes with a light-hearted wit that elicited more than one outright chuckle from this reviewer. Many of the chuckles come from his unique way of expressing things long time residents have all experienced. Such as the security guards at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, about whom Doc wrote, “The new lot wear khaki, complete with Scotland Yard chequered caps, lanyards, boots, intercoms and whistles. Be found transgressing and you will be given a severe whistling.”
In the section on toilets, he also brings up something I suppose all males (and perhaps some females) think about when visiting a bar’s unisex restroom urinal: “I must say I enjoy seeing how many ice cubes I can melt with one bladderful…”
Once again, the relatively short stories, most 4 to 5 pages each, keeps the book moving at a fast pace making this a definite page-turner, but also one that can be put down, then resumed without feeling like you’ve lost your place and need to reread the previous chapter to get caught up.
Along with the humor, there are also some very valuable lessons about Thai culture, such as the chapter titled, “The price of Thai virginity”. Thai folk are very clever about how to deal with transgressors, especially those who try to get out of paying for their crime. Read it and you will see what I mean.
And especially all you “Jims” out there, read the chapter on “Base jumping without a parachute”.
Although the book has great appeal for ex-pats in Thailand, it doesn’t end there. The book is also a must read for anyone thinking of visiting Thailand, but more than that, the book has universal appeal as demonstrated by the first volume, which is now available in French and German and selling well in both France and Germany. Ann predicts “The Sequel” will do just as well.
At B. 495 on the Bookazine shelves this is not an expensive book for being such a good read. You will learn more about the ‘real’ Thailand than you will from any tourist guide, and often with dollops of humor. (Ed’s note: it’s almost worth the cover price just to see the photo of the “ugliest ladyboy the world has ever clapped eyes on.” It’s in the photo section in the center of the book. Have a look.)