Barry Kenyon worked as the British Honorary Consul in Pattaya for 14 years up to 2010. In that time, he met all types of British subjects and dealt with all types of problems that British subjects could get themselves into! There would be very few holders of a British passport who do not know Barry Kenyon, and almost all wax lyrical in their praise of the man.
This slim volume, “Honorary Consul Pattaya” (ISBN 978-616-348-995-1, January 2014) details a few of the situations Barry found himself in, and is available in Bookazine.
The first chapter serves to place the book in Pattaya and Barry himself describes this first chapter as a potted history of the city of Pattaya, and how King Taksin (not “Thaksin”) is remembered with a statue outside City Hall.
Barry describes how the changing demographics led to restaurants offering bangers and mash “for UK tourists who were in reality seeking a tropical Manchester but with a hot sun, cheap beer and on-demand sex.”
The reader is taken through 21 chapters in the life of your British Honorary Consul and covers the red light district, pedophiles, contract killers, body snatchers, the coup, funerals, Barry’s MBE and the fugitive Elvis Presley!
Pattaya remains one of those places in the world which seems to attract people who like to live outside the law, and the honorary consul had his fair share of those, with prison visits being part of his remit.
Barry does look at the plethora of English language media and is not afraid to comment on each. This newspaper being labeled as “staid” but does call the Pattaya Mail the “doyen” of the Pattaya print media.
The undoing of the British Consulate premises is covered, and the reasons behind the decisions shown in the red tape demise, as well as financial aspects.
The final chapters do have some vitriol within them, and it would appear that Barry Kenyon did get the wrong end of the pineapple from Bangkok’s British Embassy, though having read the previous chapters one can see that Barry was too much his own man, rather than a lackey of H.M. Government.
Barry has retained the ability to stand back and look at Thailand and some of its anachronisms, such as the immigration laws, and suggest what will happen when the ASEAN Economic Community becomes fact. “Thailand’s labour laws and entry and exit regulations are a myriad of complex rules which don’t really fit the new world.”
He also discusses the changes within the embassies as far as passports is concerned, noting, “Financial axes are usually swung by people proclaiming to represent the public interest.”
I enjoyed this book and was disappointed when I came to the final page (195). I wanted it to be longer, even though the price of B. 300 makes this book bargain basement. I would like to see it go into more detail with an increased RRP. Having said all that, I really did enjoy Barry Kenyon’s book and his droll sense of humor and sarcasm are enough to have the reader at least sniggering, if not outright guffaws.