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  1. #1
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    Another book on Thailand banned

    Authors respond to the recent banning
    in Thailand of their book, Bangkok Inside Out
    Dec 1, 2005

    We are surprised and deeply saddened by the sudden focus in the Thai press and by the Thai Ministry of Culture on our book, Bangkok Inside Out. For the past 10 months it has sat prominently on the shelves of bookshops across Thailand and overseas, has sold briskly and has earned rave reviews from numerous respected publications such as the Asian Wall Street Journal and Thailands The Nation and Bangkok Post.

    On November 22, Thailands prominent daily newspaper Kom Chad Luek ran a front page story quoting a senior Thai government official, Ms Ladda Tangsuphachai, Director of Cultural Monitoring at the Thai Ministry of Culture, alleging that Bangkok Inside Out taints the image of Thailand and its people. The article states that our book discusses negative subjects such as fake goods, gambling, gay performances, touts and scams, and places such as Patpong, Nana, and Khaosan Road, and singles out a photograph that shows a bar girl on a farang's (foreigner's) lap. Ms Ladda is quoted as saying that According to the Constitution, the press has freedom to publish. So, all we can do is to take the problematic books off the shelf.

    Ms Ladda submitted our book to the Royal Thai Police for further investigation and has asked them to consider whether there is a case for legal action against us. Kom Chad Luek has continued running followup stories on our book and on critical foreigners in general.

    Meanwhile, Bangkok Inside Out has de facto been banned in Thailand, yet we have not received any notice from the authorities to this effect. Asia Books and Bookazine, the two largest English-language book chains in Thailand, have removed our books from their shelves after being informed that anyone caught selling our book was subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.

    Bangkok Inside Out has clearly been misunderstood. It oozes enthusiasm for Bangkok and Thailand, and repeatedly encourages readers to visit and explore the city. It depicts Bangkok as a hip, trendy place that has shed much of its seedier side and become far more attractive and cosmopolitan than most other travel books suggest.

    What mystifies us is that bookshops in Thailand are packed with publications devoted in their entirety to bar girls and prostitution. Our book - for all its humor and playful banter - is consistently respectful and thoughtful towards the Thai people and their culture, and written out of almost unconditional admiration.

    .....

    We kindly ask the Thai Ministry of Culture to formally advise us about specific sections of our book that they consider direct insults to Thai culture or the Thai people, so that we can understand their concerns and consider revising such sections for subsequent editions. Meanwhile, we respectfully request the Thai government to allow the sale of our book in Thailand, and to ensure that bookshops in Thailand cease to be discouraged, officially or otherwise, from carrying Bangkok Inside Out.

    Wed also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our many Thai friends journalists, businessmen, academics, students and neighbors - who have expressed their strong support for us and for our book.

    Daniel Ziv & Guy Sharett
    Authors, Bangkok Inside Out


    ----------

    Thanks to http://friskodude.blogspot.com/ for spotting this press release
    Publisher's web site - http://www.equinoxpublishing.com/bio/default.htm

  2. #2
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    The article states that our book discusses negative subjects such as fake goods, gambling, gay performances, touts and scams, and places such as Patpong, Nana, and Khaosan Road, and singles out a photograph that shows a bar girl on a farang's (foreigner's) lap. Ms Ladda is quoted as saying that According to the Constitution, the press has freedom to publish. So, all we can do is to take the problematic books off the shelf.
    All those subjects are discussed in the Lonely Planet too, I wonder if that's next on the hitlist?

  3. #3
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    Well if the book in question has actual photographs,

    What is the problem??

    If things are going on in the country that people find is detrimental to the country's image, then why are they allowed to happen in everyday life in the country??

    I do not know much about the tourist scene for sure as I do not get into the large city's very often and never go out looking for such activities when I am there.

    But I do know that down in Pattaya in the evenings that one street is nothing but bars and restaurants for the tourist nite life and it is closed to motorized traffic every evening so tourists can walk and look at bar girls and be hustled without the need to worry about getting ran down by cars.

    If these things are not within the legal aspects of Thai law and the govt is ashamed of them, then they should be shut down and not allowed to flourish as legal business's openly with police and local protection.

    And if this book has actual photos of the happenings, then it must be true, so why ban a book and leave the things to happen daily?

    Just my 2 satang worth..

  4. #4
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    Yes it certainly does sound a little hypocritical. Like trying to get rid of the problem by shooting the messenger.
    But not having read the book I can't really comment further.
    has anyone here read it?
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  5. #5
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    Siding with the 'Khom Chat Leuk'?

    Firstly, the 'Khom Chat Leuk' belongs to Nation Multi Media Group and is the sister Thai language version to 'The Nation'.

    I, too read the 'scoop' on 'Bangkok Inside Out'.

    Here is the major factor for angering the Khom Chat Leuk who felt they had to pass the matter on to the Thai Police.

    After investigation by The Khom Chat Leuk team they found that through feeds to their website etc.. or something like that, there were advertisers linking on, offering underage girls for you know what. A very serious offense, especially, in Thailand. I am sure that it was this that triggered it off and not the pic of a topless bargirl sat on a Farang's lap, as plenty of stuff like that has never been censored over the years.

    I noticed that the 'author' here didn't mention this.
    www.thai-blogs.com - Stories and Photos about Life in Thailand
    www.bangkokscams.com
    www.thaicolumn.com

  6. #6
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    Be that as it may, But

    Quote]After investigation by The Khom Chat Leuk team they found that through feeds to their website etc.. or something like that, there were advertisers linking on, offering underage girls for you know what. A very serious offense, especially, in Thailand. I am sure that it was this that triggered it off and not the pic of a topless bargirl sat on a Farang's lap, as plenty of stuff like that has never been censored over the years.[quote]

    That would be no reason to pull the book from the shelves. maybe do something about the website,, but pulling the book would do nothing about the website.

    Coarse, I do not understand that much about websites anyway.

  7. #7
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    Nothing like a bit of controversy, to make this book a best seller out side of Thailand.
    Maybe making a book a best seller, is good for the Thai tourist trade, is this there ulterior motive.
    I think most people who live in Thailand know the reality, so banning this book to them does not make sense, unless it is to sell more books overseas or to increase tourism.

  8. #8
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    Only time I had heard of a banned book that I wanted to read was "THE CRASH OF '79" it was banned in Saudi 1976 and I was working in Saudi, then forgot about it and didn't get to read it til I came here and found it in a shop in C.M.

  9. #9
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    Nanny knows best

    More Government (or what passes for it) interference with peoples daily lives! Freedom takes a back seat.
    If only 'influential people' would concentrate on Thailands real problems i.e. corruption, provision of universal health care and education, pollution, avoidance of 'honest mistakes', closing the gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots', cleansing of the forces of law and order, implementation of ALL laws, cronyism and denial of opportunity for all, restriction of the armed forces to solely military matters, meaningful addressing of problems in the South for starters. Maybe then somebody might write something more palatable to these restrictors of free thought and expression.

  10. #10
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    Re: Another book on Thailand banned

    Quote Originally Posted by paul_au View Post
    Nothing like a bit of controversy, to make this book a best seller out side of Thailand.
    Maybe making a book a best seller, is good for the Thai tourist trade, is this there ulterior motive.
    I think most people who live in Thailand know the reality, so banning this book to them does not make sense, unless it is to sell more books overseas or to increase tourism.
    I tend to agree with Paul, most likely the controversy was done as a little promo. You can see this trick on many other fields as well.
    Last edited by Khun Don; 14-10-07 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Please confine your site address in your Public Profile until you become an established Forum member

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