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www.thaismileair.com AUGUST 2012 • VOLUME 6, ISSUE NO. 9

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Destination: Chiang Mai! Page 4


Wine is a little like love

when the right one comes along

Volume 6, Issue No. 9

you know it.

AUGUST 2012

Published by

Mango Mango Ltd. Part. 124 Sukhumvit 38 Prakanong, Klongtoey Bangkok 10110 • Thailand Tel. 02 712 4052

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4 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012

Chiang Mai A destination for any season By Dave Stamboulis

C

hiang Mai remains Thailand’s best year-round destination. In the winter, it is blessed with lovely cool weather and plenty of blossoming flowers. During the heat, it hosts the country’s biggest water fight and wildest Songkran New Year’s party and, due to its mountain climate, still isn’t quite as sweltering as elsewhere. However it is during the rainy season that Chiang Mai really beckons. The islands may be grey and pretty unappealing for beach vacations, but Chiang Mai is verdant with fresh air and has plenty of activities on offer even during the wet times. In town, the old area of the city inside the moat remains atmospheric and pleasant for strolling, featuring a collection of ancient temples showing off the northern Lanna-style architecture that Chiang Mai is noted for. Wat Phra Singh, a 14th-century Lanna masterpiece, is the most famous of Chiang Mai’s wats, but the nearby Chedi Luang is just as magnificent, with its restored brick chedi dating from the 1300s, featuring elephant carvings and other exquisite artwork and well worth a visit. In addition to the old temples, the city is also home to a bustling night market, as well as an extremely popular Saturday and Sunday market, where local artisans set up shop, hawking food, artwork, and plenty of attractive souvenirs. Performers and buskers ply their trade, ranging from musicians to ethnic hill tribe members showing off traditional dances. If you are lucky enough to be in Chiang Mai during any public or Chinese holidays, you might even get to see a traditional Chinese opera performance, put on for free at Chinese shrines along the Ping River. If the urban beat isn’t your thing, the edges of the city and just further afield offer an endless number of possibilities of things to do. The Chiang Mai Zoo is the country’s best, featuring its adorable pandas, and is just


on the western edge of town. A short ride south of here, the highly revered Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Worawihan features a brilliant gold Burmese-style chedi and is thronged with pilgrims coming to pray, very atmospheric as well as completely untouristy. To the west of here are Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai’s famous mountain retreats, home to temples, flower gardens, waterfalls, and great city views. If you continue up into the high mountains west of the city, you will reach Huay Nam Daeng after an hour or so. One of Thailand’s best kept secrets, at least in terms of foreign visitors, this national park has stupendous views. The park is famed for having the best vantage point of Chiang Dao, one of Thailand’s most beautiful mountains, whose spiny ridge is silhouetted in the orange sunrises, towering above a sea of fog that envelopes the valley below on most mornings. One of Chiang Mai’s most authentic and colorful attractions is Bo Sang, a small village just nine kilometers from the town, famed for its traditional umbrella-making techniques. The cottage industry is elaborate here, with family shops lining the length of the village, almost all engaged in making parasols and umbrellas from silk, cotton, and mulberry paper. You can walk through the various umbrella makings, and the shops are incredibly colorful and photogenic. Bo Sang hosts a yearly festival with plenty of cultural performances that are well worth attending.

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covered grounds, where people can picnic, soak, and enjoy the surroundings. But the star attraction of Sankamphaeng is its large mineral water pool with dreamy 38ºC turquoise water, with a hot waterfall, under which you can take a therapeutic massage shower. Even in the pouring rain, it is easy to while away an entire day here, luxuriating in the hot pools and tranquil surroundings. It isn’t only the sights that will have you exalting during a visit to Chiang Mai, it also features some of the most outstanding places to stay in all Thailand. At the top of the list is the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, set only minutes from downtown, yet feeling worlds away, completely private and exclusive. 123 luxury villas, colonial suites, and signature residences are set into a 60-acre hideaway made to recreate an entire ancient Lanna kingdom, complete with Burmese chedis, teak villas, and an unprecedented amount of tropical greenery. The suites, plunge pools, and magnificent spa are spread amongst working rice paddies (including resident buffaloes!) and luxurious swimming pools. Other superb features include traditional horse-drawn carriages to transport guests around the premises, plus seven bars and restaurants, including the acclaimed Le Grand Lanna Thai and esteemed Farang Ses French dining rooms. A full library, wellness center, and the 3,100-square-meter Dheva Spa cater to just about every need, and if you still have time left over, there is even a traditional shopping village with 19th-century-style shop houses selling quality handicrafts and jewelry. Northern Thailand’s most posh resort feels more like a time travel fantasy world than a weekend getaway.

Perhaps the most enjoyable attraction around Chiang Mai during the rainy season is a trip out to the Sankamphaeng Hot Springs. The springs are located 35 kilometers east of Chiang Mai, set in a pleasant park that is surrounded by lush green hills and misty mountains. The park itself contains All of this traveling around will certainly leave you hungry, and Chiang Mai huge spouting geysers, a nearby 40ºC (105ºF) pool that visitors use for boil- is well known for its northern Thai cuisine, featuring dishes such as khao ing eggs, and a long meandering canal of knee-deep 40ºC water set in tree- soi curry noodles or gaeng haeng lay, a beef or pork curry that comes from


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the Burmese Shan state. One of the best places in town is Huen Soontaree. Housed in a beautiful location on the river and run by the famed Lanna folk singer Khun Soontaree Veechanont (who occasionally performs for patrons), it bills itself as northern Thai, but the menu has plenty of central and Isaan dishes as well. Another great spot is Huen Phen on Rachamankha Road, which serves authentic northern Thai in an antique-furnished old house. In addition to all of the above, did I mention that Chiang Mai has rafting, rock climbing, and even a rainforest canopy zip line high above the treetops for those looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush? Never mind, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll save that for another trip. After all, the beauty of finding magical spots like Chiang Mai is returning to them again and again.

By The Way Stay. Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, 51/4 Sankampaeng Road Moo 1, Chiang Mai 50000. Tel. +66 (0)53 888 888. www.mandarinoriental.com/chiangmai Eat. Huen Phen, Ratchamangkha Road, Chiang Mai 112, Chiang Mai 50300. Tel. +66 (0)53 814 548. Huen Soontaree, 46/2 Th Wang Singkham, Chiang Mai 50000. Tel. +66 (0)53 252 445 Do. Sankamphaeng Hot Springs, Moo 7, Tambon Ban Sahakorn, Mae-On, Chiang Mai. Tel. +66 (0)53 929 077, (0)53 929 099. Open daily, 6.30-20.00, 40-baht entry for tourists, plus 50 baht for the mineral swimming pool. Fly. Starting 16 August, THAI Smile by THAI Airways offers daily service between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Flight TG714 will depart from Bangkok at 2:50 p.m. and arrive in Chiang Mai at 4:00 p.m., and Flight TG715 will depart from Chiang Mai at 4:30 p.m. and arrive in Bangkok at 5:40 p.m. Reservations can be made at www.thaismileair.com.


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8 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012

Food for Thought with Chawadee Nualkhair

A

ugust is the month of Mother’s Day, and it’s time to say thanks to all the moms out there. It’s been common in these pages to read of the many tales of foreigner males starting a business here or of coping with the strange quirks and tribulations of living as a stranger in a foreign land, but how often do you recount the stories of a Thai female expat in the same role? We caught up with Chawadee Nualkhair, a Thai brought up in the U.S., who returned to Bangkok and become the author of the popular new book Bangkok’s Top 50 Street Stalls, which features the best of street eats in our food paradise capital. Could you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you grow up, and what brought you to Bangkok? CN: I grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lived there until I was 22. When my dad got a job here, we all moved here with him. I had to learn Thai

from scratch at 22! It was a big change moving to a big Asian city from a town near the Amish, cornfields, and cows. How did you get involved in being a food expert and what led to both your ‘Bangkok Glutton’ blog and the creation of your 50 best Bangkok street stalls book? CN: I was always interested in food, but not really encouraged to start a career in that industry. After I got married, we were lucky enough to have a yearlong honeymoon, and we spent it in Paris where we learned cooking at a school associated with the French Chambre de Commerce called L’Ecole Gregoire-Ferrandi. We had classes in French and cooked sixty covers a day for lunch. At the end, we had to take a vocational-type exam called a CAP, which I only barely passed. It’s still one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, including giving birth.


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of lists right now, and having to try them at least twice is a bit crazy. I’ll be traveling a lot through September to get this done. Fingers crossed, the research part of it will be done by the end of the year. I am happy with my first book, but I want this one to be perfect. I feel like once that happens, I won’t feel strangely compelled to write any more books. What do you find the most challenging thing to deal with in your work here as a woman who has grown up abroad? CN: I have a strong American accent when I speak Thai, so that always leads to a conversation about why I have a strong American accent. Most Thai people are very friendly and naturally curious, so I usually don’t mind it, but sometimes I don’t feel like going into my whole story about growing up abroad, et cetera, et cetera. I once lied about being Filipino, but I was caught out, which I totally deserved. Never lie. Just off the top of your head, if I’ve got a friend coming into Bangkok for the first time, where should I send him to eat that will knock his socks off? CN: I always say ‘Jay Fai,’ which is on Mahachai Road, and open for dinner most nights. It really is some of the best Thai food in the city. She specializes in fried noodles: pad kee mao, lad na, kuah gai, but she also does great tom yum, suki, even ‘dry’ jok. The only thing is, she is incredibly expensive. Her prices have doubled since the time my book came out early last year. I think it’s totally worth it though. Chawadee’s blog can be found at http://bangkokglutton.com and her book is available directly from the author at the same website under the ‘About My Book’ menu, Asia Books (you can buy it from their website by going to http://goo.gl/4EjS8 ), or at Amazon.com.

After quitting my job as a financial journalist, I was working freelance and slowly started realizing that there was a big hole in the market when it came to street food for foreigners. There seemed to be a general consensus that most visitors don’t want to eat street food here, which I think isn’t quite true. It’s just that a lot of places can be intimidating to approach. If there were something that could demystify it a bit for people, then they would be more prone to exploring. No one wants to work too hard to get a meal. And that’s what street food is ultimately about – convenience for people. Here, street food is also fantastic Thai food; since most Thais eat this way, it’s where I truly believe the best food is. There are a few restaurants that also serve fantastic Thai food, but many Thais can’t afford to eat there on a regular basis. Thailand is wonderful in that great food is available to just about everyone, if you know where to go. What do you enjoy the most about living in Bangkok, and as a food lover and critic, what is the most difficult thing about living here? CN: I love the diversity and quality of food here. I think it’s one of the best countries in the world for eating. The more I travel, eating in different cities, the more I am impressed by how great the food is here. Many, many vendors take great pride in their food and in pleasing customers. It’s not just boiling up some hot dogs and putting them on a stick. For a lot of them, it’s their art as well as their livelihood. I’d love to find a way to convey that to people. Sometimes I miss great Reubens or a good Philly cheesesteak, but people are filling those voids in the market too. There are now BKK Bagel Bakery, BBQ Sandwich King, or Grace’s in Hua Hin for cheesesteak sandwiches, so living here is not such a deprivation if you want to eat American food. Any new projects planned for the coming year? CN: I’m doing a street food book covering the whole country, including a reworking of Bangkok, which is really ambitious. I am really tempted to cut out some regions and save them for later. It’s just a hulking, unwieldy bunch

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10 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012

The ‘O’ Word! By Shei Sanchez

I

t’s easy being green. In Bangkok, it’s better to practice it. More and more, Thailand’s food producers and distributors are responding to the growing concern among its consumers of why this ‘green-ness’ is the road to wellness.

use of chemicals and pesticides in agricultural practices. But to what extent is questionable. Thanks to media exposure of such practices across the globe, consumers are more aware of why buying and eating organic looks to be the better road to take.

With the realization and practice of going organic on the rise, there is an increase of small- to middle-scale farms embracing a more holistic, organic approach to agriculture. It isn’t a surprise, then, that this ‘O’ word is creating a buzz among fresh markets, entrepreneurs, and customers alike. One such market is at Bo.lan restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 26. Held every first Saturday of the month, the organic farmers’ market in this trendy part of town is a much-needed clarion call for Bangkok’s own green revolution. People flock here to meet and greet, as well as buy and consume the world of ‘O.’

One of the vendors at the Bo.lan market, Adams Organic provides fresh organic crops from a farm up in Korat province. An offshoot of Adams Enterprises Limited (AEL), this company has been growing internationally certified organic fresh crops since early 2010. At their market stand, one can find a variety of affordable goodies, from butternut squash and red coral to corn and seeds. Yes, Adams Organic encourages customers to grow the vegetables themselves. Originally a seed business, AEL is a pioneer in producing hybrid vegetable seeds for export. It became the first in Asia to adopt Good Seed and Plant Practices, a standard for seed production.

“I think people are becoming more aware... with the (food safety) scares in China and just a big food concern in general,” Tim Chung notes about the eco-sensibilities of the Bangkokian public. The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) manager of Adams Organic, Tim observes how people have become more conscientious about where their food comes from. Certainly, Bangkokians know of and read about the harm caused by the

Co-founder and manager of Urban Tree Organics, Adisak Kaewrakmuk has delved into the production side of organic for seven years. “My ears stand up when I hear that (word),” Adisak, or Dee, says about his passion for all things organic. In fact, this zeal is evident in what he did while up in Khon Kaen through CIEE, a non-profit, non-governmental international exchange program that promotes active learning and social change.


12 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012

Dee showed students the development of agricultural products from the farmers themselves. By taking them to the farming communities, students gained a more concrete understanding about what happens to these villages when chemicals are used. It wasn’t just the degradation of the soil, but also the deterioration of the farmers’ health. “So I asked them, what is the alternative?” Dee recounts on how he illustrated the benefits of the organic approach to farming. “Everything has meaning,” Dee continues. “It’s not just a random product you could buy anywhere.” He asserted how important it is to work with farmers and eliminate the profiteering middle man. Advocating the farmer is one of the tenets of organic practice. Dee prides Urban Tree Organics in the true sustainability and support for Thai farmers. “If we keep small scale producers going, we allow them to to keep their farm, their trees, their culture.” Because the farmers are pleased with the produce they offer, it’s a win-win situation for both their community and the people they feed. With a wide product range that includes coconut nectar, house-blend tea, aromatic rice, and kaffir lime shampoo, Urban Tree Organics tries to educate the everyday customer on the diversity of being green. Raitong Organics echoes this notion of sustainability with their CSA Munching Box. Through this subscription program that delivers fresh organic produce to your door, people not only champion organic consumption but also directly contribute to the farmers’ livelihoods. Raitong brings these farmers to the limelight with their partnerships from farmers in Sisaket province, Mae Hong Son, the Bangkok City Garden Network, and Freeland Foundation. Gee Turf of OrgaThai applauds this initiative from Raitong. Gee sells pickled sauerkraut, mushrooms, and gherkins at the market. He laments about the failure of organic agriculture in the past due to an inadequate scaled distribution. Now, with the climbing number of organic advocates, it is easier for businesses to become part of a strong, sustainable network. Currently, his pickled sauerkraut and mushrooms, which he purchases from Freeland, are organic… but his gherkins are not. “Thanks to (Raitong’s) network, I can place an order with a farmer to grow organic gherkins for me,” Gee notes. It’s not just with vegetables and fruit either. The ‘O’ movement is growing with sausages. A former hotel chef here in Bangkok, Joe Sloane has since started a business selling sausages made by organic pig farmers in Sisaket. He commends Bangkokians on opening their eyes to the organic trade. “Younger chefs working in hotels are pushing for it,” he says. With more independent restaurants moving toward this healthier avenue, Joe believes that using organic will become a more viable presence in this metropolis. Living and breathing organic is literally around the corner in Bangkok, as people continue to seek it out and, more essentially, demand it. As famed gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” People are telling alright. For more information on the organic market at Bo.lan, visit www.bolan.co.th. There are also two other markets to note: the monthly Farmer’s Market at Shama behind the Marriott between Sukhumvit Sois 2 and 4 (www.meetup.com/Bangkok-Raw-Meetup) and the frequent ThaiCraft Fair in the CCT Building near the BTS Ratchathewi station (www.thaicraft.org).

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Networking

Ah yes, another great time at another great Bangkok Trader party, this time at a new venue for us – The Pintsman in the United Centre on Silom. The folks at The Pintsman were most gracious and served some great delicious food and drinks and had a fantastic DJ on hand. And then there’s all of you, the reason why we make these parties happen. Without you, it would be just another Tuesday night. With you, we can’t even remember the next day! We hope you had a wonderful time and keep on having those wonderful times in our upcoming parties as well. And keep on keepin’ on at The Pintsman – they’re happy to see you anytime. Please check out our Facebook pages – either at http://goo.gl/UBsgo or http://goo.gl/EnNbR – for all the details on all of our parties this year... or just to see a lot more great pix of the fun we had at The Pintsman. And add yourself on to our Facebook group (just search for “Bangkok Trader” at www.facebook.com) to get the automatic invitation and updates to our monthly parties. We’ll see you at the next one!


14 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012

Play Date By Dave Stamboulis

E

ver have the experience in Bangkok of having a girl in a provocative French maid or schoolgirl outfit start posing alluringly for you? And no, this is nowhere near Patpong or Nana, and sorry, she isn’t singling you out. This is ‘cosplay,’ yet another one of Bangkok’s fringe groups that has had a huge surge in popularity in the last few years. Cosplay, a term that originates from Japan, is a play on the English words ‘costume’ and ‘play,’ which was made up by a Japanese film studio executive, Nobu Takahashi, who was impressed by costumed fans at a science fiction convention taking place in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. While fan costuming has been around in the sci-fi genre for ages, the Japanese took it to a whole new level, turning it into a subculture and performance art and with the punk hangout district of Harajuku as a fertile breeding ground for the new fad. From the late 1990s, coffee shops devoted to cosplay sprung up in Harajuku and Akihabara, where hobbyists would dress like maids, superheroes, or other characters out of manga comic books and anime characters. As opposed to say Halloween or Mardi Gras, cosplay doesn’t celebrate any kind of holiday, but rather has the ‘player’ replicate an anime or manga character from head to toe, as well as take on the character’s mannerisms and expressions in the same way an actor tries to become the role they are portraying in a film. The cosplay phenomenon has spread around the world today, with aficionados keeping in touch and spreading the word via the Internet. Huge conventions take place in which players come to buy apparel and costume necessities, meet other like-minded souls, and of course to show off their role-playing skills. Body art and modification plays a big part in


bangkok trader AUGUST 2012 15

the costuming, with tattoos, large colored contact lenses, and hairspray painting featured prominently. Now while dressing up like a video game anime character might not inspire visions of Broadway or Shakespearean theater, it has to be said that the lovers of cosplay do take their roles seriously or at least with great attitude. Here in Bangkok, what once might have been seen as a very weird fringe group has emerged into a large following, with several major cosplay events held each year at Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, and MBK malls. The cosplay events are a photographer’s dream, as the players are extremely willing models, seeking approval for their role-playing and just plain hamming it up for the camera. In the two festivals I have attended in Bangkok, I have never seen so many willing photo models all gathered under one roof. Thai photographers turn out en masse to work on their portrait photography, and the girls in costume seem to do what they do best here – flirt, flirt, and flirt, all in the name of sanuk, or good hard fun as Thais would say. Inside Siam Paragon mall, hundreds of photographers line up, sprawling on the floor, and battle one another for position, as if they were paparazzi trying to grab the quintessential shot of Madonna or Lady Gaga, or else imagining they were on the set of a Playboy or Penthouse photo shoot. But their models, two young women wearing blond wigs and dressed something like a cross between French maids and Little Bo Peep don’t bat an eyelash. And come to think of it, when and where else could a couple of 18-year-old girls lie on the floor of Bangkok’s top mall in suggestive poses creating a traffic jam and grabbing the attention of every passerby without bringing out the riot police and Ministry of Culture? Cosplay has become so popular here that this year that there was even an event held at the Bangkok Auto Salon Festival at Impact Arena, with a 60,000-baht prize going to the best costume/role player. Thus, the future is looking bright for young anime characters to be. If you check the calendars for Siam Paragon and CentralWorld online or in person, they usually put on an event or two each year, often in conjunction with a Japanese fair or ‘festa.’ But for your’s, the players’, and heaven’s sakes, absolutely don’t forget your camera! Japan Festa in Bangkok 2012 to be held outside Siam Paragon on Saturday and Sunday, 25-26 August, will feature “Cosplay of the Year 2012.” Check out http://goo.gl/zTnwV (website in Thai) for more details.


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Strikers Sports Pub is on the Move

A much larger location, offering double the experience The original Strikers Sports Pub was launched in March 2009 with the goal of providing a venue for watching a wide range of sports events in a comfortable, hospitable and vibrant location.. Whether your thing was knocking back a few brews, lunching or simply playing billiards on quality tables, the atmosphere at Strikers was always compatible, inviting and the envy of many bar owners in the immediate locale. Incidentally, Strikers Sports Pub wasn’t designed solely with groups of guys in mind. In reality, the brains behind this project were aiming at a many and varied demographic. Be it the local expat groups of guys and girls, vacationing tourists exploring alone or with friends, retirees, families and couples in love – all were invited, and come they would, from a wide range of countries from across the globe and equally diverse backgrounds. Yes, exciting enough for the chaps, but with enough class, tasteful design and quality of service to appeal to family units, honeymooning lovers and retired gents as well. The key to this approach was in having a moderately upscale decor, the cleanest amenities in the area and the most personable staff one could hope for, all designed to enhance the experience of watching the latest sports in comfort with beautiful company or grabbing a spot of dinner and a pint with friends and family.

NEW LOCATION

STOP THE PRESSES... this has now changed. Strikers has now outgrown their previous home and has moved to a newer, sexier, swankier and much, much larger location. Great beers, good food, the best pool tables available, sexy hostesses and much, much more space to spread your wings and express yourselves. • Open-air billiards & glass-walled, air-con sections • FREE POOL – all through the month of August • Xbox 360 Entertainment section • 100-inch TV screen – suspended over the 8-meter counter bar • 75Bt all day & night – all standard drinks and local beers until the ‘Grand Opening’ • GRAND OPENING – 15th August 2012 Unbelievably, the team at Strikers is effectively offering double the experience, and even more remarkable is that you’ll get this with very little price difference. This is all cleverly designed to ease the ‘hardship’ of having to wander an extra 100 metres down the soi and across the road to the Rajah Hotel car park – the location of Strikers Sports Pub’s all new flagship bar (verging on a metropolis in its own right). I suggest we go now... order me a pint. I’ll be there shortly.

NEW LOCATION

STRIKERS HAS MOVED TO A MUCH BIGGER PLACE

NEW LOCATION

* * * * *

Open air billiards & glass-walled, air-conditioned sections FREE POOL through the month of August Xbox 360 Entertainment section 100-inch TV screen 75Bt all standard drinks and local beers all day & night until ‘Grand Opening’ Sukhumvit Rd.

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18 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012

Thai Trouble in West Texas By Voicu Mihnea Simandan

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hen I first met A.D. Thompson, or Dan for the people who know him, author of Diner Dharma – A Monk in Trouble in West Texas, he was a lecturer at Thammasat University in Bangkok. A.D. Thompson is an American writer and former Bangkok resident born in 1971 and reared (but not bred) in Texas. Diner Dharma was self-published via Lulu in 2007 and is considered by some to be “Thompson’s enduring masterpiece.” Diner Dharma gathers between its covers the author’s love for folktales, many of which he collected during his travels around the world. A storyteller himself, Dan listened carefully to the people he met in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and absorbed their insights and wisdom. Later on, Thompson recounted, in his own peculiar style, the stories his mind had gathered over many years, and, lo and behold, he ‘gave birth’ to a Buddhist monk simply called ‘Monk,’ the central character in Diner Dharma. Following the structure of a roman à clef, characterized by the description of real life behind a façade of fiction, A.D. Thompson chooses a diner in the small town of Ataboy, in West Texas, as the place where a Thai monk amazes his audience with witty tales. The diner is a microcosm for the town itself, having a long chain of characters that come in or are drawn to Monk’s stories. Red, the narrator, is a writer who is having a hard time with “an annoying writing block,” and so he decides to listen to Monk in the hope of gaining back his inspiration. Over the course of the novel, Red develops a disciplelike relationship with Monk, being maybe the only person who was privy to all of the stories he had to tell: “I was thus accustomed to have time after Monk departed, generally well before me, to write out his adventures of the day on my faux-linoleum table under the oh-so-unsubtle glare of the florescent lights that had me and the truckers not much better than pies under warmers, waiting for the tired waitress to throw us out at closing time.”

the gossiping waitress; Rique, a Mexican busboy; Miller, the incompetent police chief; Prof, the pompous school principal and mayor; Lionel, the fire chief; Jerry, the mechanic; Pete, a married farmer involved in a love triangle with two lesbians; Mags and Martha, the lesbians; and several other passers-by. The vague storyline that connects all the dots in Diner Dharma is the arrest of Rique for a crime he did not commit. Of course, the real criminal is known to Monk, but he lets life follow its own course. One of the most well-shaped characters in the book is Isabela, as she is the omniscient witness to all the events happening in the diner. She is a woman who mostly speaks in proverbs, such as, “If you throw the water at the jar, you spill more than you collect,” or “The heart is a vessel we can never fill.” Diner Dharma – A Monk in Trouble in West Texas is a book that comes with a recommendation from C.Y. Gopinath, author of The Book of Answers, a novel shortlisted for the international 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize. This is what he had to say about Dan’s book: “Thompson should have been on a Harley Davidson riding some arrow straight road in a blue-sky desert. This book is meant to be sipped between destination-free journeys, a few sips at each halt so that its voices may grow on you and become like diner buddies. Dan Thompson’s gift is brevity and his wit lies in the words he allows others to speak.”

After his stint in Thailand, A.D. Thompson returned to the United States to Some of the other characters of the book include Tony, a greedy small complete his graduate education and work on his next book. He is now businessman; Betty, the aged beauty queen; Chick, the lying cook; Isabela, living in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, where he is in the process of


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editing his second book, Notes from the Interior, which fictionalizes his experiences in Mali into a mystery. An extract from this book was recently a finalist in the United Planet essay contest from Poets and Writers Magazine. Referring to the times he spent in Bangkok, Dan said that “Thailand is like no other place on Earth. On the one hand, you can eat frog larb on the canal banks. On the other, you can buy snowboards in some of the fanciest malls I’ve ever seen!” Diner Dharma is available from www.lulu.com or Amazon.com or from the writer’s website at www.adthompson.jtwebservices.com. Dan has also contributed two short stories to the New Asian Writing’s short stories anthologies The Rage of a New Ancestor (2010) and Mr. Cheng’s Silver Coffeepot (2012).

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22 bangkok trader AUGUST 2012 BIG CONDO LOW PRICE! Bangkok, Bang Na area, 64sq m 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, corner room, nice views and bright. low maintenance 800 THB per month, cable TV, internet with True vision, Use of 3 swimming pools and 3 gyms. Reduced price for quick sale 2.2 million, will except good offers! Phone 0879907626 – 0890533143 (H)

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/ seed money. Please contact Alfred at Mobile Handphone / Viber / WhatsApp: 0-900-317-371 (Bangkok) or E-mail: alfred@a2d.us (H)

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RENTS & SALES 14 LUXURY ROOMS: started 120 sq.m to 300 sq.m, price in 60,000 Baht per sq.m to 78,000 Baht per sq.m (cheaper in Thonglor area), in Royal Castle at Sukhumvit soi 39 (BTS close Emporium). *Also sales BMW 520i dark blue (Year 2006) price in 1.2~1.3 million Baht. Whats App & Viber: 0898101950, SMS & Call in: 0844515723.

(H)

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GOLF PUTTERS – Brand New Prokennex golf putters – Left or right handed, ex promotional items, never used, retail at Central for approximately Bt3,800. For sale at Bt750 each. Photographs available. Contact Andy: 0808149080 or email to anhyde@gmail.com ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ (H)

HOUSE SALE – On-Nuch 44, Arena Garden, 2nd Floor House (about 300sq meters), 4 bedrooms, 4 bath, 2 park, big garden with 6 air, partially furnished. Flood free and safe area. Urgent sale at under market value at B7.9M. Contact: 081-916-4726 (H) THAILAND SPA & WELL-BEING AWARDS 2012 – Voting is now open for the Thailand Spa & Wellbeing Awards 2012. Invitations have been sent to all registered Spa Operators for the Industry Categories, but People’s Choice Categories can be voted for on line at www.thailandspaawards. com. Voting closes 17th September 2012. (H) APT FOR SALE – A unit at “The Lakes” for sale. 3Bed, 2 bathrooms, 1maid room + 1 maid bathroom. 186 sqm on 31 FL, Lake View. For sale: 25 mil. contact: Lee 081-3070618 (H) THAIS – YOUR ENGLISH IS GOOD, but you want it better. Socialize with other Thais at an excellent restaurant at Bang Na and let a professional American IELTS instructor help you improve your pronunciation and grammar. You will have an enjoyable time and improve your English for travel abroad or visiting with foreigners in Thailand for business or pleasure. You will be proud of yourself. Classes are forming, so e-mail your preference of time to vic1p@yahoo.com. (H) LICENSED ENGLISH instructor will assist you with all of your English language speaking, writing, reading, examination, and presentation needs. I have a BA in Education from a top-ranked USA university and hold three teaching licenses. I have over 30 years of instructional experience. Please review my resume, qualifications and resume; all of which I will provide to you, upon your request. I can travel to your location near BTS/MRT lines. No travel charges. 08-921-018-08. iron_bamboo1253@yahoo.com (H) ONE-ON-ONE ENGLISH tuition in the comfort and convenience of your home. All ages and all levels welcome. All aspects of the language covered. Native speaker from California and graduate of San Francisco State University. 10+ years of experience offering private lessons in Bangkok. Professional and reliable. Reasonable rates. Let’s work together to improve your English and make it more effective. David 083-921-9567 or bangtowndjs@hotmail.com (H)

LPN 77 CONDO FOR SALE – 57 Sqm., 3th Floor, 2 bedrooms with air conditioners, 2 bathrooms, 2 balconies, living room, kitchen. Located near On Nut BTS station. Fitness with swimming pool and sauna. 2.2 million baht (Negotiable). For more bedrooms with pool and garden for at least 3 information 081-1393435 or Email: ivanowish@ years, at a good pris phone english 08 69006744 hotmail.com (H) RENT NEW 2 beds condo at Blocs 77 (Onnut BTS) phone thai 08 92167099 (H) LEAVING THAILAND SALE – Lots of good stuff in – For rent in brand new condominium, located good condition. Most things are 50% or less than at Onnut area 2 beds, 65 sqm, unblocked view the original price. See the pictures, descriptions rental price: 25000/Month more details, please and prices on Picasa: https://picasaweb.google. call khun Kay: 081-825 4363 or visit our website: com/106204305445611009786/ForSale1?au www.immodebangkok.com (H) thkey=Gv1sRgCIyvhsuek_283wE I’m open to TEAWARE ONLINE – 100% handmade artisan alternative offers: make a bid, and if I don’t get Korean teaware. Teapots, servers, cups, tea the price I’m asking for, I’ll sell at a reasonable bowls for matcha, tea trays, tea caddies & more. lower price. Items available for pickup August Available in porcelain and other pure Korean 15-20, and require a deposit to save. Email:guido. clays. We cater to tea drinkers worldwide offering daddio@yahoo.com (H) creative wares that are practical and meant to be THAI LESSONS: for foreign children or adults. used. Please have a look at https://www.dropbox. 7-year-experienced with foreign students. In- com/sh/t3ggycyu6tw85ju/o41i_nouZc You can house or coffee shop. time can be arranged. Free find our email address for ordering/questions trial contact 084-119-6661. Or email for more under Terms Of Sale. We operate from Bangkok but ship direct from Korea. (H) information at: na_ta_nie@yahoo.com (H)



Bangkok Trader – Volume 6, Issue 9 – August 2012