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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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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 

 

The ebook edition of 9 Gold Bullets is now available at Kindle and all other ebook vendors. This is the 12th in the Vincent Calvino series, and I think one of the strongest books that I’ve written. You can order by clicking here: http://www.cgmoore.com/ebooks.htm

 

Here’s a summary of 9 Gold Bullets:

 

A priceless collection of 9 gold bullet coins issued during the Reign of Rama V has gone missing along with the Thai coin collector. The local police find a link between the set of missing Thai coins and one of Calvino’s old friends, Josh Stein, who is in Bangkok. The friend, a lawyer represents a client, a famous Russian mathematician, who has asked Josh for a favor. Josh looks up his old friend, Calvino. The two of them haven’t seen each other for years. Calvino is surprised when Josh asks him to standup as his best man. Josh has private reasons for choosing Calvino. The wedding is scheduled for the autumn in New York.

 

The gritty, dark vision of 9 Gold Bullets is tracked through the eyes of a Thai cop operating on a foreign turf, and a private eye expatriated long enough to find himself a stranger in his hometown. As the intrigue behind the missing coins moves between New York to Bangkok, and the levels of deception increase, Calvino discovers the true nature of friendship and where he belongs.

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Posted: 1/6/2011 3:06:18 AM 

 

Over the weekend a well-known Thai fortune-teller predicted that Andaman coastal provinces will be hit by a tsunami on Thursday (30 December 2010). The Bangkok Post reported that some tourists reportedly canceled hotel bookings as a result. In Thailand, people take astrology and fortune telling as seriously as Americans who believe, based on the bible, that the earth was created 10,000 years ago. Well we all know the earth was created at least 15,000 years ago so we can dismiss the contrary view. As for going up against the received wisdom of fortune-tellers, what is Thai government going to do when a seer predicts gloom and doom at a major tourist spot at the height of the tourist season? After all, almost everyone in the government wears amulets, visits fortune-tellers to consult for the most auspicious time to call an election, open Parliament, get married, get divorced, and that is just the beginning.

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Posted: 12/30/2010 8:04:53 PM 

 

Crime fiction pulls back the sheet and looks at the bodies. People commit acts of violence against each other. Government commits acts of violence against people. The occasional shark eats a person, or a grizzly does. But the large scheme of violence, such incidents are rounding off error compared to human against human carnage. When it comes to violence against other species, most cultures draw distinctions between a gold fish and a dog. You won’t likely win any hero awards for flushing your gold fish down the toilet, but intentionally killing a dog is an order of different magnitude.

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Posted: 12/23/2010 9:23:58 PM 

 



My review of Walt Whitman's Secret by George Fetherling has been published by Evergreen Review.
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Posted: 12/22/2010 12:03:11 AM 

 

We are a map drawing species. To get from A to B in a strange land requires a map, a local guide, or the investment of considerable patience and trial and error. Maps have long been part of our world. And maps are a medium in themselves; classifications, terrain, and borders. We are familiar with such geographical maps. The map we talk less about is the map that charts violence, danger and instability. Most of us try not to stumble into the middle of a civil war when our attention is to sign on for a holiday.

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Posted: 12/16/2010 11:57:46 PM 

 

BOOK SIGNING!!
At Texas Lone Star Saloon
Saturday December 18, 2010: 13.00 - 17.00 Hrs.
Mark your Calendar!

Get your own signed collector’s copy of Father, I Have Sinned, first printing, by James Aaron Parmelee. Just stop by the Texas Lone Star Saloon in Washington Square, Sukhumvit Soi 22, Bangkok, and enjoy a beer or four (while getting your book signed, of course!) in the friendly ambience ofTexas Lone Star Saloon, where the drinks are cheap, the girls are friendly, the food is good, and foreigners are appreciated! 

Don’t know where it is? Okay, here’s a link to the exact address, with a brief description of the place and a map, so you can’t miss it: The Texas Lone Star  location.
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Posted: 12/12/2010 7:55:20 PM 

 

There is a general feeling that transparency is inevitably good and that secrecy, if not bad, leads to a dark road where evil acts are buried among the flower gardens. We believe that what distinguishes a totalitarian society from a democratic one is that the former has a political elite that largely sustains its power through secrecy and public relations. Democracy, so the theory goes, is superior because openness allows citizens to judge the actions of those representing their interest.

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Posted: 12/9/2010 7:25:57 PM 

 

The release by Wikileaks of hundreds of thousands of classified US documents has been in the news around the world. It is as if 300 Pulitzer prize winning investigating journalists dumped their story onto the Net on the same day. This is dizzy making, laugh in your hand, howl at the moon stuff. It seems every country waits its turn to see what the Americans really think about them, and what cartoon characters will be drawn upon by embassy staff to characterize local politicians and leaders.

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Posted: 12/2/2010 11:19:19 PM 

 

The social contract in the West provides that representative governments are elected to enact laws to make certain conduct (or absence of conduct) criminal. The law breaks us down into three general categories: natural, artificial and potential persons. You and me, we are what the law calls ‘natural’ persons, thank you very much. Not like a corporation which is a construct, an abstraction and while very much an artificial person, nonetheless the company is a person for many purposes and can commit crimes, too. Not like a potential person, which is that clump of protoplasm that divides and grows and at some stage (hence the hot debate) becomes a natural person.

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Posted: 11/26/2010 12:03:44 AM 

 

By Christopher G. Moore

Many of the events, images, and personalities in Bizarre Thailand will be familiar to experienced travelers or to expats who have lived in Thailand for any length of time.  Over the years, most people in these two groups will have read an article about See Uey, the Chinese Cannibal, sex workers, body snatchers, amulets, fighting fish, and the supernatural. To his credit, Jim Algie makes these subjects fresh, vivid and personal. My first impression was this would be a book that you would dip into. That wasn’t the case for me. I read this collection of articles from cover to cover with admiration for the way Algie was able to keep my concentration and focus on subjects that I thought that I knew inside out.

 

The essay titled ‘The Artist of Bizarre Architecture’ registers the multi-faceted personality of Sumet Jumsai in the tradition of the best, balanced biographies.  Another standout essay is titled ‘Empowering Sex Workers’ in which he details the long fight for acceptance by the authorities by a tiny group of NGOs who have stayed the course and made a big difference in the lives of countless people in the sex industry.

 

The pieces on Chavoret Jaruboon, Thai’s last executioner by rifle fire, Dr. Porntip

Rojanasunan, Thailand’s top forensics expert, and Susan Aldous, an Australian who set up a one person NGO to assist people in prison and jail bring to the forefront the inner emotional lives of these well-known people. Algie was able to dig deep, to get under their skin and to allow them to reveal the deeper layers of their personality, allows us to better understand what motives them.

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Posted: 11/19/2010 1:32:02 AM 

 

Arguably there is nothing less ‘authentic’ than a sales pitch. Someone who is trying to sell us something is going to say all kinds of things to close the sale. Flattery and guilt are marketers’ and bargirls’ best allies. When selling moved in a big way to online, the mentality of those seeking to sell you the latest remedy for erectile dysfunction had found a new place to nest.

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Posted: 11/19/2010 1:05:53 AM 

 

His thinning hair was totally white. He wore a ruffled shirt displaying the kind smile of your favorite uncle. He looked perfectly ordinary. Nowhere near like a multi-millionaire. At least the one’s you see in movies, TV, and gracing Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. No one would mistake him for J.P. Morgan or Warren Buffet.

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Posted: 11/12/2010 1:05:55 AM 

 

The fact is that, in the not too distant past, sleaze sold books like hotcakes to horse racing Quakers. So what? Sleaze sells a lot of things such as music, software, perfume, wetware, nail polish, comedy acts, TV reality shows, high heel shoes, fashion channel (after midnight), cars and pickups, Victoria Secrets, Playboy, and then there is the story about the hooker and the former governor of New York. Like pornographic, famously defined by a US Supreme Court justice, as something you know when you see it, sleaze fits in such mental handbag.

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Posted: 11/4/2010 10:13:13 PM 

 

The main thing I look for in any society/culture/country is how power is restrained, controlled, managed. Otherwise, the elephant smashes the ant. Let’s face it 98% of us fall in the ant category. Years of schooling, TV, newspapers and magazines instill in us the goodness, generosity and kindness of elephants in their care of ants but that mainly creates delusional thinking. Accepting our ant-like status ought to make us far more sensitive to the rules of the road for the elephant, where they can walk, and where they can run and what happens when they decide to have a little fun and get the herd to stamp on an anthill. Just to bring the fear needed to keep the ants marching in a straight line. For the ant, his hill isn’t a molehill but a mountain to be protected. For an elephant, mountains are, well, mountains with ridges and gullies, forest and snow. This difference in perception leads to odd results.

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Posted: 10/28/2010 10:55:43 PM 

 

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