Was he psychic or just making a good guess? Author Jake Needham, spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club on February 2, pointing out the similarities and dissimilarities between events in his book “The World of Trouble” and today’s political situation in Thailand. Jake is well known for his mysteries, including “The Big Mango,” “Laundry Man,” “Killing Plato,” and “The Ambassador’s Wife.” His eighth, “The Dead American,” is due out in September 2014.
“The World of Trouble” is his fourth book in his Jack Shepherd series, an Expat lawyer living in Asia. He embarked on this series, he said, because he wanted to write about the experiences of an Expat living in Thailand. Further, in his first book of the series, he gave his protagonist an Italian girl friend to differentiate his character and the novel from the many “bar girl” novels that seem to dominate the Thailand Expat experiences being published.
Board member Judith offers tickets in a gift hamper to raise funds for club projects.
In this respect, he commented on the fact that some westerners view Thailand in a cliché type view, i.e. a place to get easy sex or, worse, a haven for perverts. He said, “I find that when I am abroad, if I say I am from Thailand, people start a conversation based on this view and I don’t really want to go there … So, I say I am from Singapore instead. That usually kills the conversation dead.” Jake says he and his Thai wife split their time between the USA and Thailand. Jake added, “When my wife is asked where she calls home, she answers, ‘Singapore Airlines’.”
In speaking about Asia, he mentioned that one of his novels, “The King of Macau,” takes place in that city. Jake described Macau as “the only place in Asia where we haven’t bulldozed the past.” He said that the old city in Macau is like the Asia of the end of the 19th century, which makes it one of his favourite places in Asia.
Jake said it was a bit ironic that he was speaking to the club on an election day that has seen much controversy between the “red” and “yellow” shirt groups. The novel, which is set against the backdrop of Thai politics, is about a clash between these groups and one of its characters is a female Thai prime minister. Another character is a very rich Thai man living in exile in Dubai. His website comments on the novel states, “Shepherd could certainly have done a lot worse for himself. Charlie Kitnarok is the world’s ninety-eighth richest man. He rules an international corporate empire and controls billions in personal assets. But he’s also a former prime minister of Thailand now living in exile in Dubai, and when he’s not making money he’s plotting his return to political power.” (http://jakeneedham.com)
Prolific author, Jake Needham was speaker for Pattaya City Expats Club for the 2nd of February. Jakes eighth mystery, The Dead American, will be released in September this year.
Although this all sounds very familiar to current events involving Thailand, Jake says the book was written several years ago, before many of these current events took place. He emphasized that he has to constantly remind readers that his books are just novels and that everything in the books is an invention of the author. When he was writing the book, he said when he told people one of his characters would be a female prime minister; everyone laughed and said that would never happen in Thailand.
Lawrie McLoughlin thanks Jake for his very insightful talk, presenting him with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Jake then gave his views on Expats living in Thailand noting that they are never really sure if they are welcome here. “Just look at the rules for extended stays; people don’t know what their status will be in 12 months, or three months or six months (whenever they need to renew their permission to stay at Immigration).” Over the course of his presentation, and particularly in the question and answer period, Jake made various comments on the current political situation in Thailand, including, “It is a conflict between two very different views of how the world should develop” and “One of two things will happen: The situation will drag on and on and on – which is what usually happens – or something very bad will occur.”
After Jake’s presentation, Master of Ceremonies 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.
Learn more about the Club’s meetings and other activities by visiting their website at www.pcecclub.org.