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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Hooked on Thailand

As a small boy, I once went out fishing with my father. I caught a very small fish and cried for it. I never went fishing again. So perhaps it was dangerous of the publishers to send me Peter Jaggs’ new book Hooked on Thailand (ISBN 978-616-90393-2-7, Heaven Lake Press, 2009).
The book is a collection of farang antics, loosely interspersed with fishing tales, with author Peter Jaggs saying that he had been a fisherman all his life, right from playing truant at school, to dropping a line while upcountry with his latest paramour. He does have a mature eye, however, and notes one of the differences that occur with relocation. “Unfortunately, a year in Pattaya had turned an upcountry early riser into a lazy bargirl who never saw the light of day until mid-morning now, unless she really had to.” Many will agree.
The book covers six months of a holiday here, with a bar girl as the companion, along with several fishing rods and assorted hooks, lines and sinkers, which almost describes his relationship with the young lady, but he managed to safely extract himself at the end - or perhaps she did!
How Thai girls deal with their boyfriend’s infidelity is very clearly given, and fortunately, the ‘other party’ for this tale was a fishing girl, who obviously had left her mark on Jaggs’ subconscious.
The vignette on the ‘free’ avian flu vaccine I did enjoy, and with the number of ‘cheap charlies’ that seem to abound in Pattaya I can imagine that this is quite true. In fact, many of the vignettes were very funny, but spoiled by the gratuitous sex, in my opinion.
Many of the chapters rely on old line of the ‘stupid’ foreigner who thinks he is better than the uneducated Thai girl, but in the end the foreigner has to bow down to the collective wisdom of the Thai society. I did tend to find this a little repetitive.
With around 50 percent of the book relating to bar girls and copious quantities of Tiger beer, neither of which are my favored pursuits these days, this book was going to struggle to keep my attention, and since I have already shown my aversion to fishing, the vagaries of size four hooks and sliding float rigs on short rods holds no interest either.
However, it is written in an amusing way, and if you are a fisherman who sinks several gallons of Tiger beer in the company of 19 year old bar girls from Isaan, waking every morning with a hangover, you will find this small book very enjoyable.
Despite the plethora of the ‘stupid farang and Thai bar girl’ books, at least with Hooked on Thailand, you learn of places to go fishing and the names of some of the fish and the native birds in Isaan, and the names and descriptions of all the fried bugs so beloved by the Isaan ladies. There are some good stories amongst the pages, but I think I would have better enjoyed just the fishing exploits.
On sale at Bookazine for B. 495.