Monday, December 19, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
A report in The Guardian yesterday said that the Thai government has banned the guidebook Bangkok Inside Out. The reason for this was said to be that the book is "too realistic."
I assume the ban only applies to copies being sold in Thailand. Amazon.com still has the book for sale. The reviews on its site are overwhelmingly positive. This quote comes from one of the reviews:
The authors include many chapters on topics you certainly won't find in other guidebooks, like "Seven Eleven", "Soi Dogs", "High Society", "Mobile Phones", "Whiskey Coke & Ice", "Motorcycle Taxis", "Fortune Tellers" and "Chic". I found it refreshing that the book addresses up-to-the-minute pop culture and urban trends and almost entirely ignores the whole sleazy sex/bar-girl scene that most book on Bangkok seem to delight in. After all, Bangkok is about a whole lot more than Pat Pong and body massages.
It is perhaps understandable that the government might try to ban books about Thailand's naughty nightlife, but what is so sensitive about motorcycle taxis and soi dogs? I fear that the Thai government may be trying to emulate their neighbours in Burma and Laos, both quirky authoritarian regimes. One really does wonder what century the leaders of Thailand are living in.