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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Bookazine Book Review

Movie Review

Mott's CD review

Sophon Cable TV Schedule

Bookazine Book Review: Bridging the Gap

by Lang Reid

This week’s book is published in Bangkok and represents a collation of articles from the Bangkok Post, written by Kriengsak Niratpattanasai. The author is very well experienced in industry and in problem solving, having been marketing director of Kepner-Tregoe, amongst other corporations. The fact that the book is titled “Bridging the Gap” shows that he is aware from the outset of the problems involved with the Thai/ex-pat interface. I am sure there is not one of us who have not had a problem one way or another at the East meets West frontier.

The chapters begin with Assertiveness, Leadership and Learning, then Managing Involvement, a Case Study and then Tips for the ex-pat and finally Tips for the Thais, the latter done in both languages, incidentally. Whilst it is inviting to turn straight to the “tips” the reader will be better served by going through the book in chronological order, as it is put in a sequence to help the ex-pat reader gain insight into the complexities of working in this country with Thai staff.

For example, in the initial chapters on Assertiveness, Kriengsak highlights the deep-seated reasons as to why Thais are reluctant to speak out at meetings. This behaviour goes contrary to generations of teaching. The chapter on “kreng jai” illustrates just how an admirable feeling can end up as a negative result in industry. To expect an about face, just because a Thai is being employed by a multinational company, is expecting too much, too soon. To his credit, the author then does go to show how the problem can be overcome - but the answer is still “slowly”!

The section on leadership begins with the salutary words, “Many theories in books are not applicable to real life. The situations that our countries and organizations face do not always exist in any business model.” In this section he also meets the principle of punctuality head on, or put another way, the Thai way of lateness and “mai pen rai”. You will be pleased to know it is possible to exert the principle of change. The case study is interesting on the perceptions in the workplace by Thais and ex-pats. Some aspects are well known but others surprising.

The review copy was obtained from the Royal Garden Plaza Bookazine outlet (next to Black Canyon and Boots, 1st floor) and retails at 375 baht. It is small enough to be able to be kept as a resource material in your office and concise enough that you do not have to waste endless time looking for topics. It does not have an index, which is probably a small drawback, but the contents pages are, by contrast, well detailed. The book is of value to both ex-pats and Thais themselves and makes good reading for both groups. Even after the length of time I have lived in Thailand, there are still certain aspects of Thai culture which have escaped me. Believe me, this type of book does help! Being written by a Thai who understands Thai thinking and yet is obviously trained in Western ways is what makes this book work.

Movie Review By Poppy: 40 Days and 40 Nights

Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) is trying to get over the break up with his girlfriend Nicole (Venessa Shaw). She was his long-time girlfriend and he still thinks about her all the time. He becomes disillusioned when he finds out that she got engaged to another guy in a very short period of time. Every time he dates a girl and gets to the sex stage, he starts imagining things and is subsequently unable to perform.

He decides to try abstinence from any sexual acts for 40 days and 40 nights, the length of Lent. Matt has many obstacles to confront him during this time, not the least being a betting ring between his roommate Ryan (Paulo Costanzo) and his co-workers to see how long he can keep up his vows.

Then he meets Erica Matt (Sannyn Sossamon) in the first week of his vow, at the local laundromat. The conflict begins as Matt courts Erica, but maintains his self-inflicted rule of no physical contact.

There are a couple of funny scenes, one at the dinner table with his parents and when he consults his brother, who happens to be a priest in training.

Paulo Costanzo as Matt’s roommate and Shannyn Sossamon as Erica are good, but this movie can’t compete with American Pie 1 or 2.

Directed by Michael Lehmann (I)


Josh Hartnett ... Matt Sullivan
Shannyn Sossamon ... Erica

Monet Mazur

Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Samantha
Keegan Connor Tracy ... Mandy
Emmanuelle Vaugier ... Susie
Vinessa Shaw ... Nicole

Rest of cast listed alphabetically

Terry Chen ... Neil
Paulo Costanzo ... Ryan
Adam Del Rio ... Nitrus

Glenn Fitzgerald

Chris Gauthier ... Mikey

Mary Gross

Michelle Harrison (II) ... Maureen
Kai Lennox ... Nick

Dylan Neal

Deenah Patterson ... Kylie

Jarrad Paul

Adam Trese ... John Sullivan
Stefanie von Pfetten

Mott’s CD review: 

Twice Around The House - Jonathan Kelly

by Mott the Dog

***** 5 Stars Rating

The fickleness of the record buying public has always amazed me. Some records (vinyl, CDs, tapes, eight track, whatever you want to call them, whatever genre you’re from) make it and some don’t. Sometimes, to this humble dog, a very average album will sell in zillions (take “Frampton Comes Alive” for example. I mean, what were people thinking?), while an absolute classic goes completely unnoticed.

“Twice Around The House” is a classic example of the latter. Jonathan Kelly’s debut album was released on the major league RCA label, given masses of quality marketing, prestigious gigs at all the top venues, was a regular at major festivals (playing with just a miked up acoustic, he was always easy to whip on and off between longer ensembles), and always went down a storm wherever he played. But somehow it just didn’t happen.

Well, I can hear you thinking the obvious answer is: he just wasn’t any good. Wrong. He was good, real good.

“Twice Around The House” starts off with the sublime “Madeleine”, a mid tempo song about un-requited love. The feeling that is in Jonathan’s voice leaves you in no doubt that this is a song sung through experience and would of made an excellent single. But, alas, time has moved on.

Next out of the traps is a lovely song about life in the British countryside. Not to look for too much in life in the way of always looking at the grass on the other side, may not be the answer to your questions, and it’s not always as green as it seems. Next song, “We’re All Right Till Then” is one of the most poignant protest songs this dog has ever heard. The chorus says it all, really.

“Cos we’re all right riding on the back of the mule

Yea, we’re alright sliding down the back of the fool

We’ll be alright till when

That farmer finds a friend

Yes, we’re alright till then”

With words like that I’m surprised the album wasn’t bought by every downtrodden farmer in the world.

To lighten the load we then have the glorious “Ballad Of Cursed Anna”, always a concert favorite with audiences, telling the story of the folly of youth. A tragi-comedy of a song that always plucks a heartstring but still leaves a smile on the lips.

Every track on the album is well constructed and the variety is quite remarkable. From acoustic sad ballads like “I Used To Know You” to the fun filled Rock ‘n’ Roll of “The Train Song” with my favorite lyric:

“The backdoor daughter to a friend of my aunt,

Came to see me with a present of a geranium plant,

I wish she’d have told me not to teach it to talk

Cause today it asked me if I would take it for a walk”.

I mean, c’mon, when was the last time you heard a song with a geranium in it?

Just one listen to this album will blow away all your blues. At any rate this album is doubly worth picking up as it has been re-mastered and re-released on B.G.O. records as a two for one set with Jonathan’s second album “Wait till they change the Backdrop”. So, double joy. You get twice the amount of quality music for your buck.

Like any good story though, there is a certain sadness to it, but in a way a happy ending. The sadness is that at some point Jonathan became disillusioned with the whole business of the music business, so he cut and ran. He had to do it for himself. How long can you live with high praise from the media, but a stark lack of sales?

Jonathan Kelly never had a “Year Of The Cat” a “Streets Of London” or even a “Baker Street” to lift him - like his contemporaries - on to a higher more commercial plane of international stardom. It’s great being an underground cult hero, but you have got to eat. Who knows how big he might have become if he’d stayed in the game? What I do know is that one minute he was playing and the next he picked up the wife and kids and returned to the valleys of Wales, turning his back on the music business forever.

But now through the courtesy of B.G.O. we can listen to his wonderful work. Do yourself a favour, next time you want to spruce up your music collection, get this album. You won’t regret it. Your joy begins when the disc starts spinning.

I wish Jonathan Kelly and his family all the joy in Wales and thanks for the memories.

Track Listing

1. Madeleine
2. Sligo Fair
3. We’re All Right Till Then
4. Ballad Of Cursed Anna
5. Leave Them Go
6. We Are The People
7. Rainy Town
8. The Train Song
9. I Used To Know You
10. Hyde Park Angels
11. Rock You To Sleep

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