PCEC guest speaker leads interesting life

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Brad Walker has led a very interesting life. He has been a cowboy, a hippie, a student radical, an impresario, an airplane pilot, a surfer, a golfer, a sailor, a ship captain, a radio reporter, a garment designer and manufacturer, an importer, a seminar instructor, a teacher, a song writer and a world traveller, just to name a few. But, it was his life experience of living in Thailand that led to his writing and publishing a book about it.

Brad spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club at their Sunday, February 22, meeting. Brad moved to Thailand in 2005 after many trips here and to other Asian destinations. He continues to work on licensing the Kamehameha label (from his former Hawaiian garment business) and exporting a bamboo product from the Lamphun province to the U.S.A., while attending to his new-found passion for writing after successfully publishing his book “Amazing Thailand-The Farang’s guide to Good Living in the Land of Smiles.” He is now putting the finishing touches on a book about living in rural Kedon village.

MC Richard Silverberg updates his PCEC audience on upcoming events before calling on Roy Albiston to conduct the always informative Open Forum.MC Richard Silverberg updates his PCEC audience on upcoming events before calling on Roy Albiston to conduct the always informative Open Forum.

Brad first visited Thailand in 1988. He came back in 2000, spent some time in a few of the bars, met a girl, married her, and built a big house for her, her mother and his step-daughter in Kedon, his new wife’s village in Surin province in Issan. Brad says he is no longer married to the girl (she had a few too many Thai boyfriends), but he still shares the house with her mother and his step-daughter. Brad described his situation as “unique.” (On the other hand, Brad said that he has been to Bali about 25 times, that he married a girl there too, and that that did not work out either, so you might detect a pattern here!)

Brad had lived in Hawaii for 30 years and had built up a very successful garment business. He used some of the proceeds from the sale of the business to build the house in Kedon. It was finished in 2005, about the same time as his wife left. Brad composed a song about his experience which he included in his book. He called it “Short-Time Girl.” Brad sang a few bars of his song.

Brad told another story about venturing into business by renting a guest house in Hua Hin, only to discover that the lease was a fraud. He was suddenly faced with a large increase in the rent, plus demands for a deposit and key money. Brad said he talked to the real owner of the property and got him to identify everything in the guest house that he owned. Brad then sold everything else in the house and walked away from the venture, but not before losing a bundle of money. Not to be deterred, Brad said he is planning to open a guest house in Issan.

Brad also related the story about having someone dig him a well. He was scammed on that project too, especially since the water in the well turned out to be putrid. That was not surprising, Brad realised later, since the source of the well water was under land used to collect human excrement. He was then approached by a person who said he could build a well for 500 baht. He did, too, using PVC pipe (a plastic pressure pipe), a piece of bamboo and some inner rubber tubing. The water was perfect except for the sand in it. Nothing ruins a pump faster than sand, Brad said. He solved his problem when he connected to another well adjacent to the property.

By this point, Brad figured it might be a good idea to warn other foreigners about the challenges of living in Thailand. Since there is not a whole lot to do for a foreigner in Kedon village, Brad decided to write about his experiences. The result is his book published by Asia Books.

Brad Walker describes his experiences of living in Thailand that led him to write a book “Amazing Thailand-The Farang’s guide to Good Living in the Land of Smiles.”Brad Walker describes his experiences of living in Thailand that led him to write a book “Amazing Thailand-The Farang’s guide to Good Living in the Land of Smiles.”

Brad recounted how he put up a sign in his village saying “Welcome to Amazing Kedon Village” a play on the “Amazing Thailand” theme of tourism promotions in Thailand. The sign was in English and was intended to be satirical. When the meaning was explained to a village elder, he loved the idea and proceeded to have a similar sign erected in Thai. The Villagers moved Brad’s sign to an even better location. Brad said that when they had a ceremony to unveil the Thai sign, a lot of people wanted their photos taken next to the English sign.

Brad told another story about his meeting an Israeli in the area who loved to play the guitar. One day, the Israeli went with some village people to see some elephants. One of the elephants took a liking to the guitar. The guitar is no longer playable. Brad said he was thinking of writing a song about that too. He said he would call it “Elephant Plays Guitar.”

Brad mentioned a book about Thailand written by Carol Hollinger 50 years ago (in 1965) called “Mai Pen Rai.” The book was very well received by reviewers and has never gone out of print (you can read about it at http://www.wowasis.com/travelblog/?p=5802.)

After the presentation, MC Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.

For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org.

Ren Lexander interviews Brad Walker for Pattaya Mail TV. The interview video can be seen at: meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym G5T4w7QGk#t=15.Ren Lexander interviews Brad Walker for Pattaya Mail TV. The interview video can be seen at: meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym G5T4w7QGk#t=15.

Brad Walker shows off his PCEC Certificate of Appreciation for his presentation; joined by representatives of Asia Books and Bookazine who were on hand to provide autographed copies of his book at a discount price.Brad Walker shows off his PCEC Certificate of Appreciation for his presentation; joined by representatives of Asia Books and Bookazine who were on hand to provide autographed copies of his book at a discount price.