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Feature

Relaxing with BigChilli’s Colin Hastings at the King’s Cup Regatta in Phuket.

Something many people have forgotten is that until the 1980s most taxis in Bangkok had no air conditioning unless you counted the holes in the floor. Those old Bluebird rattletraps felt like tin saunas, but when you let the windows down, it also let the fumes in. They had meters which never worked and were only used by cabbies to hang their hats on. Also in the early 1970s wherever you walked in Bangkok little kids would ambush you with “hey you, one baht”, later to become “hey you, five baht”. That doesn’t happen anymore, well not to me. I also miss the traditional sounds of the sois – the comforting sounds of the night watchman patrolling the soi striking a bell every hour after midnight; the kuay teow seller with his booming but somehow melodic voice (now it’s a pick-up with awful loudspeakers); and the icecream man with his little bell. We’ve still got stray dogs, however. That won’t change. With the Vietnam War raging in your early years in Thailand, did you ever fear for your future - or indeed Thailand’s future?

T

he Bangkok Post provided excellent coverage of the war, so we were all alert to the situation. I was never really worried about my future, but in the early 1970s, I was

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It was not exactly a village, but if you went out at night, you could almost guarantee you would run into several people you knew. football in those days and was often bumping into people I played against, and we invariably ended up having drinks together Germans, Swiss, Scandinavians, Italians, French and Thais. It was wonderful. I made so many friends from different nationalities. However, it was almost impossible to have a discreet date there would always be someone you knew showing up at the quietest of places.

Roger and wife Prapatsorn (Aon) at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

concerned about what could happen to Thailand. Many people feared the ‘Domino Theory’, believing that Thailand would suffer the same fate as Laos and Cambodia and be overrun by the Communists. I am convinced that the people’s love for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej united Thailand and played a major role in the kingdom holding firm, especially in the vulnerable Northeast. Is it true that Bangkok’s expat community in the early 70s was so small that ever ybody knew just about ever yone else? It was not exactly a village, but if you went out at night, you could almost guarantee you would run into several people you knew. I played a lot of

Who else has been involved in the book? Several people have been very helpful. My old friend John Leicester has done an excellent editing job and has been very patient with all the delays. Then there are friends and former Post colleagues Tony Waltham and Peter Finucane who came through when my memory was found lacking. Danny Speight has also been very supportive, and his work on the production side has been invaluable. And of course my late dog, Toby, who proved to be a very good listener in my more fragile moments. Is there another book in the works? While reading the proofs of the current book recently, I realised how much I had left out, so you never know. The Long Winding Road to Nakhon Nowhere is available at Kinokuniya bookstores, on Amazon.com as both printed and eBook formats or contact Danny@dco.co.th

The BigChilli May 2018  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. May 2018.

The BigChilli May 2018  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. May 2018.