Many years ago now, a man came into the Pattaya Mail offices with some black and white cartoons. He showed these to Dr. Iain who immediately convulsed with laughter. He and Mike Baird have continued their relationship, so when Mike’s latest book was given to Dr Iain, complete with dedication on the flyleaf, he passed it on to me for review.
Mike Baird was well known in the UK for his ability to ‘touch up’ paintings, sometimes old masters, needing restoration in the original style. He was also a fan of Norman Rockwell, and can generate original work in Rockwell style. One that comes to mind is one of Father Ray Brennan, which can be seen in the orphanage. To be able to do this and be a copy artist, he needs a very critical eye, as well as a talent in working with brush, crayon and pencil.
Mike did not draw cartoons until coming to Pattaya to live, where he could indulge in his favorite ‘sport’ called ‘people watching’. Even a brief glance through Mike’s cartoon books will demonstrate just how well he has captured some of the foibles of life in Pattaya.
Many of the cartoons highlight the comparisons between the expats living here, and their previous lives in the UK. The back cover is a diptych with an expat holding an umbrella in the rain in the UK and the same expat holding a parasol to keep the sun off.
The lack of training in many jobs can be seen in the cartoon showing the change between a farm boy and a security guard the next day. And you feel secure in your gated community?
The cuisine for native Thais is not one that farangs will often indulge in. Chicken’s feet may be an Isaan delicacy, but not for the expats.
Ladyboys get their fair share of mentions. Cartoon man Mike does have an eye for details!
The clerics in the Go-Go bar is not as far-fetched as some people might imagine, there having been more than one gentleman of the cloth associated with some of the more salacious ends of town.
If you would like to get in touch with Mike Baird himself (and not a copy one) check his website www.amuzingthaicartoons.com or email [email protected].
The books are available through amazon.com.