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PHUKET: In 2001, Alexandra Fuller wrote the best memoir of the decade: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. This was a funny, tender, brutal, harrowing, lyrical account of her childhood growing up on a farm in Rhodesia on the border of Mozambique in the middle of a war between white farmers and black insurgents. She followed this with a darker book about the white veterans of that war, Scribbling the Cat.

A decade after her astonishing debut, she is back with a rollicking book about her mother, ‘Nicola Fuller of Central Africa’, who is a bred-to-the-bone white African, and who thoroughly despised her daughter’s memoir, referring to it as “That awful book”.

In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness (The Penguin Press, New York, 2011, pp235), the author goes back to her mother’s bloody and batty Scottish ancestors and to her glorious childhood in colonial Kenya, complete with horse races, polo games, costume balls and hunts with riding to hounds. The cover photo dates back to 1946 and shows a blond two-year-old Nicola Fuller hand-in-hand with her best friend, Stephen Foster, a baby chimpanzee wearing a matching blue top. They had tea parties together and took turns on the chimp’s tricycle. Many years later, her daughter asked her if she were not afraid of the chimp biting her.

“Mum gives me a look as if I have just called Winnie-the-Pooh a pedophile. ‘Stephen? Bite me? Not at all, we were best friends. He was a very, very nice, very civilized chimpanzee.'”

She had a charmed young adulthood too. Married at 19 to Tim Fuller, a recently arrived English jack-of-all-trades who had bounced from jobs in Canada to Montserrat in Spain to Barbados.She set up house in a beautiful sprawling bungalow and won a shelf full of jumping trophies with her thoroughbred champion ‘Violet’. Later the horse would die a horrible death when another horse drove her into a barbed wire fence.

This was also the time when the Mau Mau rebels were agitating for independence from Britain. The uprising, which began in 1952, spelled the end of an idyllic life.

“Kenya, in Mum’s telling, was a land of such sepia loveliness, such fecundity, such fulfillment that it was worth dying for if you were white. (If you were black and you wanted to die for Kenya, that was another matter altogether. Then you were an ‘unpleasant, uppity Kikuyu anarchist’). Mum made it clear that leaving Kenya was one of the great shocks of her life. ‘I never thought I would leave,’ she says. ‘I had such a magical childhood, filled with such magical people.'”

So the couple settled in Rhodesia, just in time for another uprising of independence. This period is covered in Alexandra Fuller’s great memoir and it’s really necessary to read this if one is to derive maximum pleasure from this sequel.

The author went on to marry an American and settle in Wyoming. Her parents lived in Malawi for a year and then moved to Zambia to set up a fish farm and a banana plantation. They are still there today.

“People often ask me why my parents haven’t left Africa. Simply put, they have been possessed by this land. Land is Mum’s love affair and Dad’s religion.”

Mum paid a steep price. Three of her five children died in Africa and she was thrown into such deep depressions that she was hospitalized for catatonia. But she always bounced back. Africa was both the disease and the cure: “We longed for the warmth and the freedom, the real open spaces, the wild animals, the sky at night.”

Mum is the star throughout. She loves drinking, dancing, dogs and horses. She is quirky, prickly, headstrong, and full of wild energy. Her two daughters often find her exasperating, but delight in swapping stories about her. The results are hilarious set pieces about their wildly eccentric childhood, and yet another ‘awful book’.

Last year we introduced you to The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama. This is a thoroughly researched, informative and intriguing book about the Tea Party’s emergence, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, and Media Matters for America senior fellow, Will Bunch.

The Backlash was just released in paperback and is now available online.

In The Backlash, Bunch examines the political conditions, personalities, right-wing machinery and media activity that shaped the Tea Party. Indeed, during the past few years Media Matters has demonstrated that the commercial news media – most notoriously Fox News – had a significant role in fueling and sustaining the Tea Party. But now, a year after The Backlash was released, some parts of the landscape have changed.

Thanks in part to your efforts, one of the Tea Party’s loudest cheerleaders, Glenn Beck, no longer has a national TV platform to promote the Tea Party. Further, in a recent interview with Newsweek, Fox News executives reportedly admitted that the network took a sharp turn to the right during a period overlapping with the Tea Party’s growth. Yet, The Backlash‘s insights remain valuable, especially since its central arguments have withstood the test of hindsight

The Backlash is the definitive book for anyone who wants to understand what the Tea Party is really all about and how the media helped cultivate it.

Celebrated St. Louis writer Trey Dowell takes you through the smoke and fire of a hit gone bad in Ballistic, a pulse-pounding short story now available through Untreed Reads.

Murder can be an act of rage, but it can also be a job. When professional-killer Danny prepares an unreliable accountant for his final audit he realizes this is no normal day at the office.

Trapped in a run-down hotel with a hysterical mark and a growing realization of how badly he’s screwed up, Danny has two .45s and his wits to see him through. Facing multiple killers he has to move fast and shoot faster. Worse, the leader of the hit squad – the legend who trained him – lies somewhere in the depths of the hotel…waiting. A short work of crime fiction from their Fingerprints line.

Trey has won Grand Prize and Honorable Mention honors several times, including both Writer’s Digest’s Annual Writing Competition and their Popular Fiction Awards.

Originally published in 1994, Barbara Metzger’s award-nominated Regency Romance is now available as an eBook. An Angel for the Earl follows on the heels of the recently re-released House of Cards Trilogy and is among ten backlist titles soon to be released by Untreed Reads.

Lucinda’s life was tragically cut short in a most scandalous manner, and her only means of entering Heaven lies in saving Lord Stanford from Hell. Perhaps while guiding the notorious rake onto a virtuous path, she can show him how true love will save his immortal soul…

Barbara Metzger is the author of over three dozen books and a dozen novellas. She has also been an editor, a proofreader, a greeting card verse-writer and an artist. When not painting, writing romances or reading them, she volunteers at the local library, gardens and goes beachcombing and ‘yard-saling’.

Her novels, mostly set in Regency-era England, have won numerous awards, including the Romance Writers of America RITA, the National Reader’s Choice Award and the Madcap award for humor in romance writing. In addition, Barbara has won two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine.

Works by Untreed Reads represent a variety of electronic formats, including ePub, the new industry standard. Titles like An Angel for the Earl are downloadable to computers, mobile devices, and dedicated ebook readers, including the iPad, nook and Kindle. You can purchase the titles through UntreedReads.com and everywhere ebooks are sold, including Amazon and Asia Bo

— James Eckardt

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Thailand

Thai netizens in stitches over 158,000 baht Gucci “Granny” dress

Maya Taylor

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Thai netizens in stitches over 158,000 baht Gucci “Granny” dress | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Gucci/Khaosod English

A 158,000 baht dress, described by the fashion house Gucci as, “a ready-to-wear silk taffeta dress with a detachable cape” is being mocked by Thai fashionistas who point out the similarity to traditional outfits worn by older Thai women.

In Thailand, “women of a certain age” will often don traditional silk clothing to make merit at the temple or during other formal occasions. The Gucci dress is not entirely dissimilar to those outfits, but the Gucci version is priced at just under US$5,000, and costs a whole lot more than the Thai equivalent. This has made it the target of some ridicule among Thai social media users who can be, well, savage when it comes to cultural appropriation.

Thai netizens in stitches over 158,000 baht Gucci “Granny” dress | News by The Thaiger

Khaosod English reports that popular Facebook pages ‘Nunoiduak’ and ‘I Love Beauty Queens’ both shared photos of the dress, generating thousands of comments from Thai women pointing out the similarity to the country’s traditional silk outfits. One user joked that Gucci must have been inspired by her mother’s outfits (but without the commission).

Others pointed out that if it’s good enough for Gucci, Thai traditional clothing should be more valued and seen as a trend in its own right, with one Facebook user saying the government should do more to promote Thai silk.

“It’s a shame we can’t create enough value for Thai silks. Our country has a lot of good stuff and I wish our government would support high-quality production and export of it.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Tourism

Travelling Bangkok’s klongs with Manit

The Thaiger

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Travelling Bangkok’s klongs with Manit | The Thaiger

Should you move to Thailand? In this video I interviewed my friend @Christopher Lau , originally from California, USA and got a little insight of his experience behind living in Thailand for two years.

Then I took him for the famous canal boat ride in “Klong Saen Saep” Bangkok. By the end of the vlog we had a very delightful Thai food session (not so delightful for Chris 😂). Watch the video to find out more.

Manit is a YouTube vlogger and uses his camera and drone to allow us to see Bangkok from a different set of eyes.

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Economy

Top 10 countries for investment in Covid era – World Trade Group

The Thaiger

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Top 10 countries for investment in Covid era – World Trade Group | The Thaiger

“Where to invest?”. Where is the next ‘good thing’ as the world starts to look to opportunities and new business models? Looking around the world, and perusing stock markets, there continues to be some traditional businesses failing but others thriving during the Covid-19 era.

Investors look to countries with economical and political stability when choosing to invest money and unveil new businesses. Whilst global depression, drops in GDP, bankruptcy, and a realignment of trade and supply chains swirls around us, there will be emerging opportunities too. According to London Post, CEO World Magazine and the World Trade Group, some countries are very fortified to withstand an economic crash.

“They have a lot of internal growth drivers with minimal affiliation with global markets. They will be the least affected. The best countries to invest in 2020 are these fortified countries.”

Their report lists four unique factors motivate an individual or a business entity to invest in a country. These are the country’s natural resources, markets, efficiency, and strategic assets.

The London Post has used this information and parameters to compile The 2020 Best Countries to Invest In ranking based on a broad list of ten equally weighted attributes: corruption index, tax environment, economical stability, entrepreneurial freedom, innovativeness, skilled labor force and technological expertise, infrastructure, investor protection, red tape, and quality of life.

Somehow, and perhaps surprisingly to people who run businesses in Thailand, the Land of Smiles has scraped into the Number 2 position. 4 of the recommended Top 10 countries are in south east Asia.

1. Croatia

The country’s growth is amazing because in 2019, it was ranked 25 positions lower in this list. The European country’s stable economy, coupled with an entrepreneurial and innovative population, has made foreign investors very optimistic about the “progressive business environment”. In the first quarter of 2019, Croatia had a whooping foreign direct investment of more than $389 million.

2. Thailand

Thailand occupies the second position on the 2020 Best Countries to Invest In ranking. The country has been able to capitalise on trade tension between the US and China. In the first nine months of 2019, the country received a 69% increase in the total value of Foreign Direct Investment applications, as compared to 2018. 65% of these applications were led by the automotive, electronics and electrical, and digital sectors. The growth of the Thai market and momentum indicators remain strong. Forbes listed the country as the 8th best-emerging market of 2020.

3. The United Kingdom

The UK is economically stable and has a skilled labour force and technological expertise. It is the sixth country attracting inflow of foreign direct investment. In the first 7 months of 2019, the US and Asian tech firms invested $3.7 billion in tech companies in the country, thus surpassing the $2.9 billion invested in the previous year.

“Despite Brexit, the UK remains the fifth largest economy in the world and has an industrialised and competitive market.”

4. Indonesia

With about 650 listed equities and a market cap exceeding $500 billion, Indonesia boasts of one of the largest Asian stock markets. The report claims the Indonesian consumer market is largely undiscovered, hence its huge potentials.

“The robust economy and heavy investment in transportation and infrastructure make this country worthy of your investment. The only downside is that non-citizens are limited to only leasehold properties.”

5. India

According to the UN, India was one of the top 10 countries with the highest inflow of foreign direct investment. India has been in the top 5 of the best countries to invest in since 2019.

“The Asian giant has invested so much in research and development and, and she is among the top countries having a comparatively skilled workforce.”

6. Italy

Italy is one of the top countries attracting investors in 2020. This level of economical stability, its robust manufacturing sector, and the country’s stable political environment make it a good choice for investment.

7. Australia

Australia boasts of more than 25 years of continued economic growth. It is the 9th country with the most direct foreign investment in 2020. Australia has been in the top 10 for ten years now.

8. Vietnam

Like Thailand, Vietnam has capitalised on the trade tension between China and the US.In recent years China’s southern neighbour has gradually risen to become a formidable manufacturing hub. This growth became even more evident when multinational corporations like Samsung began relocating are from China into Vietnam.

9. Latvia

Latvia boasts of macroeconomic and political stability as well as good accessibility to large markets and a very business-friendly environment, according to the report. The government encourages investors by offering them a wide variety of advantages. Investors are offered significant cost advantages, including real estate expenses, competitive tax rates, and competitive labor.

10. Singapore

Aside from being the 10th best country to invest in 2020, Singapore is also the 10th country attracting the most foreign investments. Singapore’s strong economic outlook has made many investors very optimistic. The country’s world-class business-friendly environment is one major attribute attracting investors.

SOURCE: London Post

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