The Master Builder


There are two reasons that I chose this book, The Master Builder written by Charles Sale (ISBN 0-370-30927-8, Putnam and Company, 1982, but first published in the US in 1930) for review this week.  This first reason was Serendipity and the second followed Jung’s theory of Synchronicity.  I shall now expand on the first, but you will have to wait until the end of the review for the synchronicity.

I attended the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya’s Xmas Charity bazaar a couple of weeks ago, and bumped into ‘Foo’ (Felicity) Smith who was manning one of the Lion’s Club stalls.  Amongst a weird range of memorabilia items (some more memorable than others) they also had some old books, some of which obviously did not sell during the course of the day, and had rapidly become close to the “surreptitiously throw in the bin” category.

One of these was Charles Sale’s The Master Builder.  However, Foo, knowing my penchant for books presented it to me (probably rather than bin it), and I was delighted with it.  Thank you Foo.  Serendipity indeed!

The Master Builder is a slim volume with only 41 pages, and the pages themselves are smaller than A5. After all these years (81 since its first publishing), it was fortunate that the publisher included a note to tell us a little about the author, Charles Sale.

Apparently he was an actor, and wrote a stage monologue which was called “The Specialist”.  Having written it, he performed it on stage as well, and by the release of the British version in 1982 it was already a best-seller with over 700,000 copies sold.

The monologue is given by a “Lem Putt”, a tradesman who builds and digs out-houses.  Fortunately those days are almost gone, though there are still some trenches in the North-East of Thailand.  Lem is not a shy and retiring chap, as you would imagine from his chosen profession.  His advice is slanted to show his own expertise, but I think we all do that.  The finale is the two storey loo.

Two storey out-house. Two storey out-house.

Now I did mention C. G. Jung’s Theory of Synchronicity in my introduction.  This is where two similar things happen which have no obvious relationship to each other occur at the same time, and here’s where this theory comes in as far as The Master Builder book is concerned.

A couple of weeks ago I was sent an email, with the drawing I have included along with the pic of the cover this week.

It was supposed to be a humorous expose as to why there is a need for a two storey out-house, which allows the members of parliament to use the top floor, while we lesser mortals receive their offerings on our heads.

The drawing was the one from the book.  What are the chances of synchronous events such as those?  Billions to one I should imagine.

It remains a humorous little book, throwing off at our foibles, but you might have to go to Amazon dot com to get it – or haunt the charity bazaars!