Sunday, November 18, 2007


Astute readers (all three of you) noted I'd recently posted a blog entry ('Dark End of the Street') about the unexpected death of a British guy I'd come to know and enjoy here in Hua Hin, only to see it gone when you next checked in - probably hoping for some lighter fare.

For those who didn't ask but wondered (all 1.3 of you) it was a slapdash memorial of sorts to someone who'd all too briefly touched my otherwise fairly uninspired life in this seedy little piece of Thai paradise and my regret and sorrow that he was suddenly gone. It unintentionally touched a nerve, however, among some first-time - and I'm sure by now last-time - readers, who included some relatives in the UK offended at the description of how he died. It wasn't pretty but it was honest, and honesty was one attribute I really enjoyed when it came to him.

What was I thinking?

Here's one of the comments: I'm really close friends with his daughter and i agree with what she said. You ARE a sick fucker and i think you should remove this post. I didn't know him personally but I Know for sure that he didn't deserve some faggot like you to speak about him in this way. fucking remove this or you'll definitely be reported.

Most others were in that same civil, restrained and understated British vein. Though, once I realized I'd hurt some hearts I had no desire to injure, this comment - just due to the basic polite tone - had me hitting the "save to draft" button for the entry immediately. I could relate and understand. And at least he didn't call me a sick fucker, he only had an momentary urge to stomp me on the sidewalk.

X's brother says he would appreciate it if you would remove this posting. Show some respect not just to X but to the rest of his family. The way i feel about you at the moment for posting this at this traumatic time is as though i have just trod in you on the payment.

Thus I was keeping a low profile at one of X's wake's last night, one of about three that have gone one in various bars since his Buddhist-style funeral and cremation. Kind of an extended after-life pub crawl that culminated in a generally bittersweet send-off amid beers, memories, songs that the deceased enjoyed and an amazing culinary spread provided gratis by the only foreigner in Thailand who owns a private butcher and meat catering operation.

I talked with X's wife for awhile about how they met and his amazement that he'd found a Thai woman who appreciated Aretha Franklin as well as Stone Roses, and tried to fend off the pressure of a party-crasher, another Brit who upon learning that me and a coworker were both journalists tried to tell us that we should write a story about a short boat voyage he was planning. It was thoroughly unremarkable, though he was convinced otherwise, mostly I think, because he was a participant.

My coworker, an experienced sailor here as well as other climes, politely played the salty mariner card to no avail.

"It is a story," the party crasher insisted. "It is 'cuz I'm telling you it's one!"

"It's not a NEWS story," we said. "Sorry."

"It is!" he replied. "And, and...(pause for dramatic effect) we're sending a tape to the BBC!"

"Go ahead. Good luck with the Beeb," I said. "But. Not. A. Story."

I left the wake and my next opportunity for a Pulitzer after saying goodbye again to X's widow and a couple of his friends who had seen the blog but hadn't taken offense, and caught a motorbike taxi back to my new neighborhood, a studio apartment with an "ocean view".

Goodbye to former felonious psychobilly roommate R and Faulty Towers, yes.

The ocean view is a small levy about two blocks east facing the Gulf of Siam and flanked by two upscale Thai-foreign eateries and a Thai sidewalk diner. The rest of the area is quiet and close to services I need, like two small mom and pop stores, an ATM, my bank, my office, a "Mormon" 7-Eleven (no cigs or booze, cuz it's close to a school, an oddity here) and what appears to be a combination OBGYN/aroma therapy/Thai massage clinic. Regrettably there are no roaming cattle herds and few soi dogs but it's a largely Thai neighborhood, though tourist season is in full swing which means scads of elderly, large, creaky white haired, bald headed Scandahoovians and Germans filling the sidewalks with their guttural utterances, lumbering gaits and demands for fresh surströmming, frestelse und KROG!

Actually, it feels a bit like Miami Beach if Germany had won the war.


Peter said...

I guess I was the 1.3 person (fits my body too), who read your entry.

I didn't know the guy you wrote about, so it's easy for me to say I wasn't not offended or found the entry could be offending to others.

I read it as a tribute, but I can't speak for others, and especially not family.

You did the right thing removing it, after the comments asking you too though.

Fred said...

I remember reading the blog and thought, man this sounds true and just another chapter of farangs in Thailand, it would have never occurred to me that someone would get offended. Alas, removing it is the right thing if the family feels offended.
I just hope this will not stop you from writing the truth about events as you see them.

Cheers Fred

John said...

Glad to see you are moving up in the world. Sounded like living in a cave would have been better than Faulty Towers East

Ben said...

Happy Thanksgiving Justin. Glad you got into a safer living situation, even though it may not deliver as much blogfodder.

Marianne/ Quanzhou said...

Hope you enjoy your new home!