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The Age of Dis-Consent

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Crime authors are accustomed to killing off characters in their novels. In this fictional world, a man’s life might not be worth more than a dime on longshoreman’s payday. We have no problem dispatching the evil, malignant, cruel, and selfish megalomaniac. In fact our readers often like those scenes when the bad guys expiry date is reached. If we reflect on this ‘liking’ for a moment, one has to admit there is a shared bond between author and reader over the necessity of killing the bad and protecting the good. We are natural born killers.

There are three intersecting worlds of killers and victims. There is the individual killer. He or she might be a hit man, a crazed ideological or religion-inspired zealot, an emotional hothead, a cold-blooded gang leader looking to keep his control and authority. We search out, arrest and punish these people. Then there are the corporate killers. Profit motive leads to killing to meet the next quarter’s results or the share price falls. Jay Gould, a famous American 19th century oligarch said, “I can hire one half the working-class to kill the other half.” That profit at any cost attitude hasn’t changed much in many parts of the world. And last, the killing machine of last resort, the one we agree has the right to kill in our name: the Nation-State.

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Posted: 4/7/2011 10:51:19 PM 

 

As a special report to you, though, I wanted to be the first to break the latest news. New legislation has been drafted and is ready to be sent to Parliament concerning ‘face.’

 

The proposed legislation to abolish the notion of ‘face’ will be announced before dissolution of the House and fresh elections. Penalties for anyone asserting, claiming, or suing for loss of face include five years imprisonment, confiscation of property, and fines up to Baht 10,000.00 (per offence).

Khun Chaiwong, chairman of the Face sub-committee has reported, that by removing ‘face’ from the social, economic, and political sphere, all of the problems of the past five years will be resolved. He says the deep division in Thai society all goes back to the concept of face. His face, your face, her face and on and on until someone’s face is smashed, lost, damaged, dented, makeup smeared and the like.

“It can get very ugly,” said Khun Chaiwong, glancing at his Rolex. The government whips have been reporting tentative support, though amendments to exclude elected MPs (government MPs that is) have been rumored.

"No face will ever be lost again"—the campaign slogan you will hear everywhere come May. The opposition is expected to reply with "the government that has stolen your children’s face doesn’t deserve your vote."*


*Happy April Fool's Day.

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Posted: 3/31/2011 10:51:49 PM 

 

There is a struggle between our sense of beauty and function. The way we draw judgments, make decisions, and assign value correlates to how we balance the relative importance of the inside of ‘something’ whether a building, a car, a book, a person, an animal and so on. Criminals also make an evaluation based on the outside and inside.
 
The amateur criminal who breaks into houses chooses the target from the ‘outside’ or the appearance. On the assumption that a house that looks rich on the outside is bound to have goods worth stealing on the inside. The professional thief seeks to find out what is inside the house first. The professional is inside orientated. He’s not stealing the beauty exterior; he’s stealing something of value inside a structure that may or may not be a marvel of design.

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Posted: 3/31/2011 10:20:09 PM 

 

Last Thursday 17th March, we launched an anthology titled: Bangkok Noir. Six of the twelve authors were able to attend the launch at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. We had a full house to an enthusiastic audience of expats and Thais. As the editor of Bangkok Noir, I had some comments about the ‘noir’ movement worldwide.

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Posted: 3/25/2011 12:18:08 AM 

 



On Thursday 17th March Bangkok Noir was launched at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand to a full house. Six authors attended and spoke about the nature of noir and their experience of writing in Bangkok. The writers attending were: John Burdett, General Vasit Dejkunjorn, Tew Bunnag, Christopher G. Moore, Collin Piprell and Dean Barrett. Colin Cotterill sent along a 'clone' who was exposed early on in the proceedings.

The photo is courtesy of Voicu Mihnea Simandan, a writer who lives in Bangkok.

Also Detectives Beyond Borders has pointed the media limelight gun in our direction:
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/2011/03/from-city-of-angels-bangkok-noir.html Thank you, Peter.

Our next event is an author's signing of Bangkok Noir at Kinokuniya, Siam Paragon Branch (3rd Floor) on Saturday 2nd April 2011 from 15.00-18.00hr.

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Posted: 3/21/2011 6:25:58 AM 

 

The new breed of crime writers

Anyone who has been to law school knows the dirty little secret of what is on offer. Three years of studying thousands of short-stories, hardboiled domestic dramas, murders, corporate fraud, corrupt cops and politicians, greedy heirs, disloyal partners, wives, siblings, beatings, traps, smacks alongside the head, crashes and smashup and that is just the first year.

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Posted: 3/17/2011 10:32:42 PM 

 

Fellow author Nick Wilgus has some great news to share. A feature film based on his novel about a monk, Father Ananda, who is a sleuth/investigator and former cop, is about to be released in Thailand.

The upcoming Thai film MINDFULNESS AND MURDER, based on Nick’s book, looks from the trailer to be a winner.

Here is a link to the official trailer:

Mindfulness and Murder is a novel in the Father Ananda Mystery series. In the same series you can find The Garden of Hell and Killer Karma. This is a great series and deserves a wider readership. If you haven’t discovered Nick’s books, you are in for a pleasant surprise and good read.

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Posted: 3/15/2011 5:31:05 AM 

 



On Tuesday 15 March Colin Cotterill and Eric Stone came to the offices of Heaven Lake Press to sign copies of Bangkok Noir. After an emergency hospital visit for writer's cramp, the two authors were put on IVs with a Singha drip attached. Though Colin demanded only water. Eric returns to Los Angeles on Thursday so can't attend the launch at the FCCT at 8.00 p.m. And Colin is off to China to speak before an audience of millions who have gathered to learn more about his Dr. Siri character.



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Posted: 3/15/2011 5:25:03 AM 

 

It’s all in the fine print

Like most economic activities in life the opportunity available is often linked with class. This is true in legal transactions. The acquisition and merger deals aren’t being conducted by people living in walkup projects in the Bronx or those living in the middle-class ‘burbs. Big deals are reserved for the big boys.

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Posted: 3/10/2011 10:00:53 PM 

 

Good news on the film front. On 8th March, Variety ran an article about FilmNation and the newly appointed COO who has given full support to the production of Spirit House as a feature film. Things are looking positive for the film going forward.

Link:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118033589...
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Posted: 3/9/2011 5:38:59 AM 

 

Two emotions that underpin a great deal of crime are a heady brew of greed stirred with desperation. Occasionally you come across a crime in which greed and desperation also are shared by the perpetrator and the victim. In this situation, it is difficult to know who is the ‘real’ criminal and who is the ‘cutout’ who will take the wrap.

Baby 101 is a university course worth of tangled psychological, economic, moral and political knots. Let’s have a look at the real-life case study in Thailand as the centerpiece of Baby 101.


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Posted: 3/3/2011 8:24:37 PM 

 

A Guide to Staying in Power

This book is not available on Amazon. There is no ebook version to download. The authors don’t put their names on the spine or the cover. Yet as events in the Middle East and elsewhere have demonstrated, the Official Killers Handbook surfaces behind the news stories on the Internet, newspapers and TV. Take the case of the CIA operative in Pakistan who, turning to Chapter 8: How to Shoot People You’ve Identified as Bad Guys When You Are Driving a Car. Raymond Davis, the operative, shot and killed two men with a Glock handgun.

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Posted: 2/24/2011 10:18:22 PM 

 

A Thai living in Boulder, Colorado was sent to jail for one year and a day for various criminal violations connected with his restaurant business. He was released on one million dollar bail and told to report to prison in 15 days.

It wasn’t one law that he broke in the United States. He managed to break a bunch of laws. And looking at the charges, knowing how things work in Thailand, I have a feeling this guy may not have seen all this bad news train coming at him. He may have suffered from a corporate cultural bias that blinkered him to the reality of the new culture where he was doing business.

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Posted: 2/17/2011 6:53:44 PM 

 

Last time I was pulled over at the elevated highway tollbooth on my way to Chon Buri province outside of Bangkok, I was asked two questions: where was I going and who was I going to see? First he checked the make, model and age of my car. And the important scan of the windscreen to see if the necessary stickers have expired. Also, the windscreen will display—for the well-connected—a status signal: it might be military, police, an elite club, etc. Decals, small bronze fender icons, and other artistic displays of power connections are important visual cues as to the relationship of power to the person seated behind the wheel. These details are digested at the point of contact with the police officer who wants to know whom he’s dealing with before getting to the issue of law.

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Posted: 2/10/2011 9:48:52 PM 

 

Every country with newspapers and magazines and television knows that crime attracts an audience. There is an insatiable hunger for the drama created by a bloody crime. Grief stricken relatives and neighbours. The inevitable questions arise as to motives, relationships, connections and history of the people involved. Thailand is no different. You learn a great deal about a culture by reading about their crime stories. We process the ideas and attitudes in a culture by understanding what they decide are crimes and what kinds of punishments befit those crimes.

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Posted: 2/3/2011 10:09:51 PM 

 

The Rage of a New Ancestor. 2010 New Asian Writing Short Story Anthology, edited by Declan O’Sullivan and illustrated by Katherine Jones is the first volume published by New Asian Writing, a small independent press based in Bangkok.. The fourteen short stories that make up this collection are the labour of writers from very different backgrounds and various parts of the world, each one written with an attentive eye turned towards the Asian world they have experienced or lived in. Both native and non-native speakers of English language, from Indonesia, Singapore, India, Jordan, the United States of America, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Romania, and England have sent their contributions to the New Asian Writing anthology, thus helping us to bring together distinct voices from a vast array of geographic locations.

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Posted: 1/28/2011 6:01:54 AM 

 

I write about crime. I’ve been writing for more than twenty-five years. That’s an average life sentence for murder. I believe that criminals and the criminal justice system are a window into our values, morality, and the way we define ourselves. Over a dozen of my novels are about crime in Asia, mainly set in Thailand. The world in which I started to be published with His Lordship’s Arsenal in 1985 has changed in significant ways. It is time that as a writer I sit back and assess what the world of 2011 looks like from the point of view of an author who has been riding the literary train for a quarter of a century. What is derailing that train can be summed up in one word: internet. The place where you are reading this: on a computer screen, a smart phone, an iPad, or another of the long list of devices that make you feel the experience of real time.

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Posted: 1/27/2011 10:07:53 PM 

 

Given the vast collection of regulations, administrative rulings and laws, sooner or later just about everyone has committed a crime. As in Orwell’s Animal Farm where all animals aren’t equal, nor are all criminal equally subject to be being processed through the criminal justice system. A case can be made that Pareto Principle applies to crime. That is the bottom 20% of the socio-economic population represents 80% of those who are imprisoned. Class and crime go together like a glove and hand. Criminals thrive on ambush and secrecy. In the days of Wikileaks, CCTV cameras, tracking of cell phone, emails, and so on secrecy is on the way out. Like an evaporated river bed we are starting to see the bottom for the first time.

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Posted: 1/20/2011 9:36:13 PM 

 

An election must be close in Thailand.

The Thai government recently announced plans to reduce crime by 20%. As an election will be called this year, an anti-crime campaign is popular. Voters like the idea of the government cracking down on criminals. No one has thought to ask how those in government arrived at 20% as opposed to 17.5% or 22.3%. Maybe they just like nice round numbers. A fortune-teller’s consultation might be another possibility as numbers are often selected in this fashion for the lottery. And when anyone talks about reducing crime, they are in the same realm as predicting the winning lottery number.

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Posted: 1/14/2011 1:25:11 AM 

 

When someone says the past is a foreign land, they describe a lot of old movies and TV shows. Minorities were cut out figures in films and TV that played to our collective prejudices. The black kid named Buckwheat in Our Gang, the North American Indian Tonto in the Lone Ranger, Chinese women in the World According to Suzie Wong, and Chinese men in Charlie Chan.

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Posted: 1/6/2011 9:55:53 PM 

 

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