FOUR WEDDINGS AND A COUP
Naked Farang: Four Weddings and a Coup
- An Introduction
Naked Farang: Four Weddings and a Coup is a collection of anecdotal tales of a foreigner’s life, loves and travels in Thailand. But why Naked Farang? Well, farang is the name given to all foreigners of European descent in Thailand. It dates back to the time of the first European visitors, the French, who were busy building colonies in Indo-China at the time. Farang is a Thai evolution of mispronunciations of France or Francais. I’ve never particularly liked that moniker. It’s not exactly politically correct, but then what is in Thailand? Still, I suppose I should be glad that the Germans didn’t get here first. The Naked Germ doesn’t sound quite so appealing. As for the naked part? I tell these stories candidly. Nothing is dressed up or glossed over. The style I am aiming for is that of the bar room tale. I regularly wander off on tangents, but then I do that at the pub, too. I think it’s called losing the plot.
The stories are a blend of facts, experiences, observations and my opinions. Anything that could be considered libellous is pure fiction and should be dismissed as such by any sitting judge.
I grew up in Yorkshire, England and, having previously enjoyed extended trips to Thailand dating back to 1994, I have lived here since 1999, although I didn’t actually realise that I had settled her until late 2000. During my times here, I have gone through various metamorphoses: the adventurous back-packer, the discerning tourist, the sex-mad night owl and the working expat. I have had spells as a telemarketer and an English teacher, and was the manager of a large, international language school for almost four years. I am now happily married to Pim, who is just as mad as I am and can always make me laugh, and the proud father of Tommy, who will one day play international football for England or Thailand, depending on just how good he is. If he’s really good, he may even be lucky enough to play for Leeds United.
Life here is just about perfect. Apart from family and friends, who are all regular visitors anyway, and Leeds United, there is nothing that I miss about England. Everything I like about my homeland is here. I can watch more English football here than I could in England. There are English TV channels and newspapers. I can eat quality fish and chips at the Offshore Bar, monster-sized portions of roast beef and Yorkshire puddings at Jools or pork pies at the Black Swan. But of course, what I really like about living in Bangkok are the differences. In fact Bangkok is most definitely a city of contrasts: old and new, traditional and modern, east and west, rich and poor, sweet and sour.
Thais often ask me why I choose to live in Thailand, and my first answer is always, “Every morning I wake up, and it’s summer.” I love the climate, the people, the culture, the food, satho (homebrewed rice wine), Bangkok, the beaches and islands, the rural north and north-east, and the inexpensive and easy-going lifestyle. Most of those things also drive me up the wall at times, as you will discover when you read this book. The candid nature of my writing means that I will give you the good, the bad and the ugly. I do not possess a pair of rose-tinted spectacles, nor do I profess to be a saint. It is often said that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but you’ll just have to bear with me on that one as I start at the bottom and work my way up the comedic ladder.
Sometimes, it seems that the longer I live here, the less I really understand Thai people. Nevertheless, Thailand is my home of choice. I will live here until I die, or until immigration finds a reason to kick me out. Thais are certainly different to farangs with a psyche that often bewilders me, but neither Westerners nor Thais are better than the other. We are just different, and vive la difference. While Thai ways sometimes flabbergast me and other farangs, the fact remains that we farangs are the guests here, and it is up to us to either adapt and fit in or leave. If you take a little time to learn the culture and language, you may never be truly accepted as a Thai, but you will reach the hearts of the Thai people and the inner sanctum of this fascinating country.
I have travelled, lived and worked all over the world, but there is no other place on earth that I would rather live than the City of Angels in the Land of Smiles. Who could ask for more than to be surrounded by smiling angels? This is possibly the most welcoming and easy-to-live-in country I have ever visited, with genuinely friendly and warm people.
Whether you are a Thai, a farang on holiday, an expat living in Thailand, or someone who has never had the pleasure of visiting this truly amazing country, I hope that you will find this book informative and amusing. I don’t really care whether you end up liking me or hating me. I know my karma is good.
Read excerpts from Naked Farang: Four Weddings and a Coup in Naked Snatches