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XI No.7 - Sunday September 16 - Saturday September 29, 2012


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Book Review: by Lang Reid
 

Angels of Pattaya

A confused title to this week’s book review, with Angels of Pattaya (ISBN 978-1-908518-09-5, Maverick House, 2012) not really the sole province of Pattaya’s angels, but also shared by Bangkok and Phuket, and countless “Thai” venues throughout the country. In fact 75 percent of the first interviews are with girls from anywhere but Pattaya.

The concept of the book is to reveal the inner thoughts of the Thai bar girls, or those in the flesh trade in its many different forms from massage parlors, go-go dancers, service girls from the bars and freelancers who find their marks in the discos.

All the interviewees have the same story - pregnant early, abusive “husband” who runs away, the children are raised by their grandparents, and the girl sends B. 5,000 every month to her mother to look after the children. Most do not want to return to village life (and their children) but want to stay in Bangkok or Pattaya where the life is more exciting.

The ones who are drug addicts have the standard ‘drug excuses’ and they are only involved in prostitution because life has been so hard for them. The readers may have sympathy for some of the girls interviewed, but it would be misplaced with the addicts.

Money is for all of them, their god, and undoubtedly they can make money in amounts far greater than they could working as maids or in factories. Even in the massage parlors, the masseuse gets B. 500 from each customer and then solicits for tips on top. They admit to four or five men a day, which means they potentially are bringing in up to B. 60,000 plus tips each month. Who would want to work in a factory, even with the new basic wage of B. 300 a day?

The pervading feeling as you read the book is just how shallow these girls are. They are really not the stereotype of the abused young girl forced to run away from home and unable to earn enough money any other way. These girls are in it for the money. “This is what I do,” is said more than once.

Wise words from one, “I hope farang read this book. I want to tell them if they want to meet a Thai lady for a girlfriend or wife, better you go to a nice place and meet different kind of girl. But that other girl maybe do not want sex right away. Wait, tell the girl okay, just for the movie or eating dinner. If only want sex, okay, then girl from bar is better. We work for money, not for love.”

It has often been said that every newbie to Thailand should read Stephen Leather’s “Private Dancer” to get an idea of the wholesale sex business and those who work within it. Angels of Pattaya with its collection of stories, which quite frankly become boring with the repetition, should probably be added to the newbie’s list. Literary voyeurism might describe this better.
A slim volume and the RRP is B. 460, so less than most of the girls “short time” charges.


Headgame Solutions for Golf

Golf seems to be the universal pastime for expats all over the world. There are beautiful golf courses in the area, and there are many driving ranges for the golfer to practice his swing. Here in Thailand, Tom Gingerich has produced an e-book, Headgame Solutions for Golf, which has the promise that it can cut strokes from your rounds, by tuning up your mind. “If you could knock a few strokes off your score by changing what you are thinking on a golf course, wouldn’t you do it?” writes Gingerich, following up with, “There are numerous testimonials from professional golfers praising the benefits of developing an effective state of mind on the course.” Of course, when the mind is in turmoil, you can expect to be adding strokes. Just ask the Tiger.

Chapter 2 briefly touches on the various chapters of the book, and the relationship of each to the score at the end of the day. Motivation is the opening subject and why the golfer must understand his or her motivation for playing the game in the first place.

Chapter 3 covers the first tee and why you duff that opener, after wonderful drives on the practice tee all week. You can teach yourself how to mentally prepare yourself to hit good drives.

Chapter 4 helps you develop a pre-shot routine, warming up the mind as well as the body.

Chapter 5 covers Improving Concentration to be able to overcome different distractions experienced on a round. (Select an ugly caddy, perhaps?)

Chapter 6 introduces visualization techniques. If you can see the ball in the cup in your mind, the more likely it is that you can actually accomplish it.

Chapter 7 delves into Fear and Anxiety. Surely every amateur golfer has heard the joke of playing against a professional who has to give the amateur two “gotchas” start and loses the round experiencing the anxiety of waiting for the second “gotcha”! Author Gingerich tells the reader just how to keep fear and anxiety in check.

Chapter 8 deals with anger management, after observing more than one golfer wrap his 2 iron around a tree! The game can be beautiful, but it can also drive you to drink with the suppressed anger on the course. Mainly your own! He expounds on techniques that will be looked at, not only to help manage anger, but also to use it at times as fuel for better play. Now that’s a real bonus!

Chapter 9 deals with Confidence. Undoubtedly, the quietly confident golfer will return better cards at the end of the round. Again this is a learned response, which has its origins between the ears. Just as there is a ‘sweet’ zone in the club head, there is a ‘sweet’ zone in your head as well.

It retails at USD 5.99 and available through e-book retailers. With the information available in this e-book, it is well worth the money (B. 180 at current exchange rates), and could very well see you receiving the trophies next tournament! And some interesting side bets to collect at the 19th hole.


Rafa

I really cannot call myself a great fan of tennis, though I do know the names of those at the top of the professional circuit, and Rafael Nadal is obviously one of those, having spent time as world Number 1. I have even watched some of Nadal’s games and always felt that he looked a tortured man, but I had no inkling as to his inner self, so I picked up this book Rafa (ISBN 978-0-7515-4773-3, Sphere Books, 2011) from the Bookazine shelf and wondered if it would really expose his character.

It begins at Wimbledon and describes Nadal’s emotions as he prepares himself for the most important singles of any year. All the small routines that he does to build himself up for the contest. He even admits that he has to psyche himself up, whilst Roger Federer appears the most ‘natural’ tennis player with whom he ever shares a court. “He just seems to have been born to play the game.” He also admits to the crushing despair that he suffers in any defeat. Nadal is certainly no ‘super-hero’.

With a book like this, which is written, not by Rafael Nadal, but by (in this case) John Carlin, the reader is at the mercy of the biographer who may choose to show the positives or the negatives and change the reader’s perception of the subject. This being an ‘authorized’ biography will mean that we will probably get more good bits than bad bits, but Carlin presents Nadal in a most believable way. Very human and in private life very humble, not the impression one gets from the telecast of Grand Slam finals.

There are a couple of illustration sections with the first of the photographs being family snaps and the second capturing triumphant moments. The number of people involved in his ‘team’ was an eye opener as well. Eight persons including his trainer, his agent, his physical therapist, his doctor, his Nike handler, a communications chief and his second coach, in addition to Toni Nadal, his life-long tennis coach from the age of four years.

With injuries being career threatening occurrences it could be seen why he needs a doctor and physical therapist as part of his team. “Each individual member of the group complements the other, each plays his or her role in fortifying me where I am weak, boosting me where I am strong. To imagine my good fortune and success in their absence is to imagine the impossible.”

He relates the pain of losing Wimbledon in 2007 and the joy of winning against Federer the following year and shows just how much mental stress there is as well as physical stress.

By the time I had finished the book, I had warmed to this Rafa character, who came across as a most genuine person, and not a prima donna as I had pre-supposed. If you are a fan of tennis, this is a book you should read, and at B. 435 it is not expensive. You might even begin to barrack for Rafael Nadal and not RF, Switzerland’s favorite son. A most enjoyable book.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Angels of Pattaya

Headgame Solutions for Golf

Rafa
 

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