by Lang Reid
Angels of Pattaya
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
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
Headgame Solutions for 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
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
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
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.
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
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.