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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Quotes to Know in Thailand

This week’s book was dropped off at the office with a query to see if the paper wanted some quotes from “Pattaya Patty”. That decision is certainly not mine to make, but since the book eventually landed up on the reviewer’s desk, I thought it would be only fair to make the book the subject of this week’s review.
Written by ex-pat Tony Crossley, who is the author of many books including Condos in Thailand Your Rights, The Butterfly Circus, and The Farang Wife, and now Quotes to Know in Thailand (ISBN 978-611-90190-1-0, Tighe Books, Banglamung, 2009).
It is a slim volume of 175 pages (A5) with quotes by, and about, various subjects, some of which are very relevant to our lives in Thailand such as Bar girls, Face, For Farang, Politics, Prostitution, Sex Trade and Winning and Losing. Other subjects covered include America and Americans, Conservatism, Patriotism and even Writing, of which author Crossley has done much and has given the reader a quote from himself being, “Writing can tell little about a subject but much about the author.” One salient fact about the author being that every so often he declines to ascribe a quote to himself A.J. Crossley but hides behind the initials A.J.C. I’m sorry Tony, but your subterfuge has been revealed, your cover is broken.
In his introduction, Tony Crossley explores the cultural divide between East and West and writes, “Thai ways often confuse us Westerners, but some of the quotes herein, originally stated with no thought at all to Thailand, suggest that the Thai-Western equation is not so different in real terms than sometimes seems.” To back up this statement he quotes, “Every woman wants a mink in the wardrobe, a jaguar in her garage, a tiger in bed and a jackass to pay for it all.” This was not from one of our better educated ladies of the night, but from the enfant terrible Paris Hilton.
One of his better original quotes in the Lifestyle section goes, “When we wake up in the morning we have two choices. Go back to sleep and dream, or get up and chase the dream.”
I particularly enjoyed the quote from George Bernard Shaw in the Patriotism section. “Patriotism is your conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it.” A truer word has rarely been spoken. Especially apt for the SE Asian readers.
In this country, also known as the Land of Smiles, where a smile takes many different forms, inexplicable and not understandable for the new ex-pat, this quote from Herman Melville explains it all so well, “A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.”
One annoying feature to my mind, in what is otherwise a book of smiles is the repetition of some of the quotes. Sure they can fit in more than one category, but I believe author Crossley should have been brave and only selected one, but that is a small complaint.
The book is available at many bookstores including DK Books at B. 395. A New Year gift perhaps?