On Monday 17th May I
returned to film and interview people whod gathered in and along Rama IV Road
and the Expressway area. By the third day of fighting, it was less frightening
being on the street. It is strange how we adapt to what is a dangerous,
uncertain environment. The first thing people learn is to distinguish the sound
of firecrackers and from the sound of bullets coming from shotguns, M16s, M79s
and AK47s weapons. These weapons as well as the firecrackers were used at some
stage in during the street conflict. I didnt see any war weapons on the
17th May. That doesnt mean they Red side wasnt armed. It means I
personally didnt see them.
I am writing this 15 minutes before
the curfew starts on Wednesday 19 May 2010. This morning I awoke to gunfire. The
crack of an M16, and if you know that sound, then you understand this isnt the
way to start your day. This is the fourth day I have gone to sleep with the
sound of gunfire in the background and woken up to the same sound.
It has been a long day. The phone
never stopped; neither did emails from readers around the world. For their
support and thoughts I am grateful. I appreciate your concern for my safety.
The SET was torched by
demonstrators in the late afternoon. After 30 minutes fire trucks (3 in number)
came screaming down Asoke. Demonstrators met them with stones. They retreated. A
few minutes later the sizeable crowd started to run as rumours of the army
By Sunday the amount of small arm
fire on Rama IV had increased from the day before. The scene was similar to
Saturday. Groups of people who had gathered inside shophouse doorways, along the
road for about one kilometer, and the hardcore group of Red shirted protesters
who manned the barricades and kept the tyres rolling toward the front
16th, and 17th May for around one and half hours I filmed
and interviewed people who had gathered along Rama IV Road from the Rachadapiesek or Klong Toey intersection to Soi Ngam Dupli.
As the authorities tightened the noose around Rachadaprasong, a second front
opened along Rama IV, including a makeshift stage and speakers, microphones, and
I am not a professional
photographer. Indeed I am not even a very good amateur photographer. What Ive
tried to do is capture the mood of people who have gathered around one of the
main sites where Reds and the Security Forces have clashed. People in the
outside world can glimpse for themselves some of the faces in the crowdin other
words what do the people on the scene look likeand the chaos surrounding the
street barricades. Each day a community of onlookers have gathered drawn by the
spectacle of violence, fire, and explosions.
Tourists checking into a five-star
Bangkok hotel or dining at an upscale restaurant will no doubt recall the
pleasure of receiving a traditional wai from the owner, headwaiter, serving
staff. Pleasure is the key experience, the pleasure of being recognized, being
special, being noticedand all of it unearned. Such deference is the ultimate
free lunch. This is deference lite, the tourist edition. It is part of the
hospitality package like the complimentary arrival drink and fruit basket that
keeps tourists returning to Thailand.
Ive finished the 12th
novel in the Vincent Calvino series9 Gold Bulletsand have been
reflecting over the course of this series, how I have developed not only the
character of the private eye but the villains who seep into each story. The
contemplation has caused me to reflect on how a novelist goes about selecting,
describing and using villains.
There is a Thai expression which
goes like this: ????????
This is a way of recalling a time
of chaos and unrest. Life turns upside down, the world spins out of control, and
emotions are running high. Uncertainty and danger are dance partners crossing
the floor in front of our eyes.
It has been said that the
novel is the perfect form to reflect the modern individuals experience of the
world. His take on the interior social, psychological world. In other words, the
quality of a novel correlates with the ability of the story, characters, and
plot to hold a mirror to the world of full emotional and intellectual
experience. If the mirror distorts or warps the experience, the reader may be
confused, angry or bored.
review for the Grove edition of Asia Hand (July 2010) from Booklist:
"Fans of this long-running series will completely enjoy this novel, and it
should also be highly recommended to readers of hard-boiled detective fiction,
including series set in Bangkok as well as the classic American tough-guy
authors (...Raymond Chandler or, more recently, Robert B. Parker)."
David Pitt, Booklist ... Read More>>
In a recent
interview I was asked how I became a literary legend in Asia. Below
is my reply
Moore Bio sketch into the making of a writer
I was a 13-years-old
newspaper boy on my route one early morning when a freak snowstorm hit. A car
stopped and a small Asian man rolled down the window and asked me if Id like a
ride. At least I think that is what he asked me that morning; I remember that he
spoke what sounded like a foreign language. He swung open the car door. It was
cold and snowing. I got in. He gave me a cup of hot chocolate to drink. Next
thing I woke up in San Francisco. Everything I had was on me that morning. I had
lost my small nest egg.
The jungle is a state of mind, a
place where tooth and claw and the skill in deploying them decide who wins the
battle. The reality becomes divided into black and white. Live or die. Kill or
be killed. Demonize the enemy. Crank up the hatred of the other. Tribal
emotions pulse through the veins, hot and raging, until they boil over. Tear
gas, water cannon, life rounds, anti-aircraft guns, batons, sharpened bamboo
poles are among the weapons reported in the press since the Saturday 10th April
confrontation at the Phan Fah Bridge near Democracy Monument in Bangkok. That
night, the jungle mind crept out on all fours and pounced, devouring those in
its path. It is almost a week since that night of killing and death. It is still
sinking in. The mind tries to wrap around the implications of so much death and
injury. Head shots. Chest shots.
A lot has happened in Bangkok since
Saturday 10th April, a day that will be a defining one for the future
The political ball remains in play.
High in the air, the demands, accusations, recriminations and growing hatred
will rain down. Both sides are scrambling in this environment, seeking to press
home an advantage.
A common complaint is that there is
too much information. Circling your life, online, off-line, floating like a
cloud over your head, and it is threatening to rain. It is one thing to get wet,
it is another to have your mind scorched by the acid rain of half-truths and
We all age with some ageing
better than others. In the expat community in Bangkok, there are many retirees
from the West, Japan, and China among others who have discovered a community of
the newly minted aged. In Colin Cotterills collection of stories, Ageing
takes a humorous and life-affirming look at lives of people who, though
considerably advanced in years, are still behaving very, very