Australian Writer/Journalist/Blogger Detained in Thailand
Danger! Danger! Illegal Alien Approaching!
Obviously upsetting powerful people in Thailand as he does in Australia (loads of fun upsetting right-winger Andrew Bolt) with his no-compromise approach to telling it like it is... (Here's a harrowing piece on the trade in child pornography on the Burma / Thailand border...)
Now detained in Bangkok for lese-majesty - something similarly harsh to Singapore's sedition rules (see previous post) - an Australian writer and "blogger" (and allegedly "brilliant" person), Harry Nicolaides (above), was arrested at the airport on a warrant issued several months ago for the royally nasty stuff he wrote in his novel Verisimilitude...
There's something bad in that book about the Thai royal family - perhaps a bit more severely critical than merely referring to the *r*m*n*n*e of the King's *a*s... And there's probably a lot of bad about a lot of other bad people in Thailand. Maybe there is more to this arrest than lese majesty...
His new novel “VERISIMILITUDE“ is a trenchant commentary on the
political and social life of contemporary Thailand. It is an
uncompromising assault on the patrician values of the monarchy, the
insidious infiltration of religious missionaries in the education
system and the intimate relationship between American foreign policy
and Thailand”s battle against Muslim insurrections in the south.
Savage, ruthless and unforgiving, VERISIMILITUDE pulls away the mask
of benign congeniality that Thailand has disguised itself with for
decades and reveals a people who are obsessed with Western affluence
and materialism and who trade their cultural integrity and personal
honour for the baubles of Babylonian America. [My emphasis]
This book looks like it will be a serious assualt on many institutions in the Thailand - the police, the business-men, not just the monarchy. Rather than just doing some fun-poking, which is the sort of stuff that got YouTube barred from Thailand's Internet last year, it certainly seems to be situated well away from the more typical farang's approach to writing about Thailand - the "oh I'm love, oh she's a hooker cheating on me, oh I wish I were dead" sort of stuff...
More from the Pattaya Daily News...
If Nicolaides grossly unrighteous arrest has done anything, it has made Verisimilitude absolutely required reading for people who know, or think they know, Thailand. It's corny and cheap to speak of this personal disaster as good PR for the book, but...
I want to read it now, and I want to read it NOW!!
Somehow, I doubt that it will be for sale on the "Thai Interest" racks at Suvarnabhumi Airport when I hazard my tour of duty on Sunday. So where can I get my copy?
Meanwhile, I hope the Aust Govt is doing its best to get the charges dropped.
Danger Danger Will Robinson, for serious bloggers and writers in foreign countries with low-tolerance laws, not just those of us with smart-arse attitudes looking for the easy laughs...
Words. People take them so fucking seriously...
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
Phil, what is going on here???
I know Harry. I know him from his days in Melbourne working as the head concierge at a hotel in the city collecting tales of the various famous and infamous which he used as his first book.
He was a teacher so he is qualified to comment on the various education systems. But he was heading towards a life as a writer.
Although slightly perverted Harry is not a bad guy at all. He was famous for the comb lines and saville row suits that he made his uniform and my ex even stuffed his signature suit to make a doll version of himself for the launch party of his first book before he left the country for Asia.
I hope that they let him go, Harry is not without some high level connections here but I would imagine that his first tell all book (although names were changed) might have discouraged some people from sticking their neck out to help him at this time.
Mate, I have no idea. I didn't know Harry Nicolaides from Harry Potter until I started writing this - and WHILE I was writing - that's about v15 up at the moment.
All I know it the Thais are tetchy about a host of things, and human life there is freaking cheap... and human death is even cheaper.