23 years of Pattaya Mail

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It hardly seems possible, not that the paper could not continue so long (and much longer I hope) but that I have survived those 23 years without the excitement of preparing the paper to “put it to bed”.

Starting from a few pages, half of which were filled by the incomparable Dan, now appropriately the editor, those were heady days; made more so by my experience.

Chuck Pringle
Chuck Pringle

I’d come from a background of civil engineering and building, then architecture and, on retirement in Thailand, building my own apartment complex and editing/English correcting translations of 17th 18th-century French travelogues by a French speaker, suddenly to be thrust into the position of executive editor of the first English-language daily newspaper in Pattaya.

From the initial meagre, was it sixteen pages to the thick and full paper it is today took some doing and much of it after my departure, under the leadership of Peter Malhotra and Dan Dorothy.

Editing at that time did not simply involve overseeing a host of reporters, graphic artists, and layout specialists but there we started off with one or two of each of those, soon devolving mostly on me.

I found myself not only correcting the English and editing the copy of the Thai reporters but, when our advertising graphic artist left, I had to take over doing the adverts. Eventually cutting a long story a little bit shorter, I corrected/edited the Thai reporters copy, wrote the editorials, answered the plaintiff laments in the Auntie Agony column, occasionally drew a political cartoon and, finally, laid out the paper – probably the most challenging job. A couple of times I had to travel to Bangkok to have the paper photocopied ready for printing.

Luckily I had Dan who filled the last, I think four at that time, pages with little or no interference from me. That is why I am not surprised at the quality of the newspaper each week now. I and all my Pattaya and some of my Chang Mai and abroad friends, still read it and enjoy it.

The 14, 18 hour days took their toll and after about a three year stint I retired and moved to Chiang Mai to a house I’d built on a farm in the mountains north of the city (not from my encomium at Pattaya Mail I might add!).

I’m looking forward to writing a short piece for the 50th anniversary (from my wheelchair in a retirement home probably).

Chuck Pringle