Book review by Ted Faraday
If You Can’t Stand The Fun, Stay Out Of The Go-Go, by William Peskett
Kuhn Pobaan is the somewhat innocent persona of locally-based author William Peskett. With a name that translates loosely as ‘Mr Househusband’, Mr Pobaan lives quietly in the Pattaya suburbs from where he observes its foibles wide-eyed, marvelling at the excesses that justify the city’s own description of itself (on the arch at Jomtien) as the ‘Extreme City’.
It goes without saying that Mr Pobaan is a farang, and it quickly becomes apparent that he is married to a Thai, the equally innocent and long-suffering Mrs Pobaan. Peskett uses the natural imbalances in this relationship to explore aspects of Thai life which initially make no sense to an incoming foreigner but which, through a process of attrition, break down Mr Pobaan’s Western system of logic and begin to mean something. Well, almost.
We’re talking here about things like belief in the predictive value of dreams, how you can influence luck, the meaning of signs, and making merit. Kuhn Pobaan comes at these subjects like a Westerner and leaves them in a daze, as perhaps we all do.
This book collects together some forty essays on life in Funtown, most of which had their first outing in Pattaya Today. They’re not all about two cultures colliding. Mr Pobaan also muses on more universal topics such as movies, beards, trousers, sleep, mudflaps and good taste. And the book’s title reveals his fascination with what Pattaya does best: there are pieces here on massage, go-go bars, fake breasts, and tattoos. Everything is grist to the Pobaan mill.
Our bookshop shelves groan with volumes on Thai-farang relationships and what to expect from life in Pattaya. This book isn’t like those. If you value a bit of wit and a bite of insight; if you’d like to read an unusual and amusing view of the life you may be taking for granted, I can recommend this book. How else will you discover that Thailand is more than twice as big as Wyoming, the Marriage of Figaro is no better than Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep and there are no snakes in Casablanca.
‘If You Can’t Stand The Fun’ is now available in Pattaya bookshops such as Asia Books and Bookazine or, if you’re that way inclined, as a new-fangled ebook from the Kindle store.