Sometimes when you find a new blog the content and writing just stand out over the crowd. Actually James found me first, then like usual I go exploring to see what the rest of the world is up to. Jamoroki is a great website about Thailand. He writes very candidly about his travels, his home, and paints a picture with words that is quite intriguing. You will find a bit of humor in his work and much more. One of the things that attracted my “one open eye” to his blog was that we both have similar thoughts about cultural barriers. Please join me in welcoming him as the newest guest blogger on “Life in Russia”.
The writing bug
Burning books and treating the masses like mushrooms [keep them in the dark and feed them on bull-shit] will never solve the problems man has bestowed on mother earth. A lone voice in the wilderness may not achieve much but it is better than no voice in Times Square in New York or Red Square in Moscow. In my blog www.jamoroki.com, my columns and ebooks I pose questions and bring information to readers about the need for social change. The politicians have run out of time and excuses but much of my writing centres on cultural differences which are perceived to be barriers to unity by the ignorant.
Never one to let verbosity get the better of me, my economical use of words and an age old habit of trying to précis, everything I write, by pruning and paring means I have had to work extra diligently to embellish my writing in attempting to immerse the reader in the story. Whereas a wonderful writer like Stephen Fry, who does it without breaking sweat, will possibly have ten suitable words queuing on the tip of his tongue ready to leap onto the page at his command, I may have to scratch around in Roget’s Thesaurus to find just one.
You may well ask, then, as I have many times, how on earth I now manage to write blog posts and books without blowing a gasket. Considering it has taken the best part of seventy years to build an internal library of experiences which then have to travel from my brain through my pen and PC to the pages, I consider it to be no mean feat.
But the writing bug was in me and I promised myself from an early age that I would one day write a book or two. I had absolutely no idea what kind of book I would write nor what I would write about and until recently I had nagging doubts as to whether I would ever deliver on that promise. Thank heaven I did not try to do it before the age of the Internet, PC’s, Laptops, Notebooks, Eyepads (or is it Ipads?) and all the other paraphernalia that purportedly makes our lives so much cozier and easier. I remember scratching away, for days, months, even years, with my old quill pen. Yes, I did actually use one, only for fun, as a young boy which I think I made from a dead crow’s feather.
I still marvel today at the patience writers of yesteryear must have had considering the primitive tools at their disposal. I was fortunate enough to start using computers early, for business, with IBM when it introduced its first PC5150 in 1981 (pre-ceded by Apple1 in 1976). I believe many writers continued, indeed preferred, to bash out manuscripts on ancient typewriters, ploughing through reams of paper, typewriter ribbons, tippex (when that wondrous invention appeared) and other stuff. How tedious it was, in those days, to cut and paste, with scissors and selotape, short business documents and then photo copy them only to edit them again and again. But a 400 plus page book manuscript; how did they do it?
So what was I going to write about, with all the modern tools at my command, which anyone would possibly want to read? Courage, blind faith, a dose of naivety and the decision was made.A collection of past and present experiences based on my travels and life in different parts of the world and what I had learned from those experiences about man’s similarities across all cultures.
The starting point would be Thailand, the country I first visited in 2005 and I would cover it in 3 Volumes of Thailand Diaries.
Volume 1 – 15 Weeks is published as a FREE ebook (available at http://www.jamoroki.com)
Volume 2 – Driving Thailand will be published as a FREE ebook in October 2014
Volume 3 – Thailand in perspective is planned for publication in early 2015
Breaking down the cultural barriers
But what were the reasons for scribbling memoirs of my adopted home since 2008 when there are many publications on Thailand already available? Some of them I have read but most I haven’t, primarily because I didn’t want to be over influenced or indeed intimidated by more skilful authors or other writings. My intention was to present an uncluttered view of Thailand and its culture from my perspective to the reader, the like of which they would not find elsewhere.
I wanted to convey through, these, my first diaries what I had discovered over many years of travel and personal experience. Underlying our cultural, historical, environmental and language differences I could see that we are all basically the same. We all have the same fundamental needs and it is only man’s inability to recognize this that has segregated the world. All the barriers that exist are man-made.
The eminent evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins says that humans are far more uniform than any other species and there is a greater genetic difference between two chimpanzees in the same forest than there is between two human beings living at opposite ends of the earth. We humans are, then, so uniquely uniform that it is hardly surprising that, behind the facade, Thais are just like everyone else; vibrant, intelligent and adorable people. Thailand is irresistible.
Not a polemicist
Thailand Diaries are definitely not travel books in the accepted sense, but I have no objection if they find their way into the travel section. But they are more accurately a critical memoir of my observations of the people in a Country, monopolized by superstition, ancient cultural values and old religious beliefs, struggling to come to terms with modernity and the 21st century. I have endeavored to present my views as objectively as I possibly can and I make no apologies if, in setting out the ‘pros and cons’ of life in and the mysteries of Thailand, some of my arguments may be viewed as polemic; it was absolutely intentional but I am not a polemicist by nature. I love Thailand and I believe there should be, and usually is, a balance to be found in every society.
I believe that most cultures and religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs, to a greater or lesser degree, and we are all ostensibly the same if we look behind the masks we create. Some of my readers may be one-eyed when they embark on this journey; their views may be jaundiced or if they wear spectacles they may have the most exquisite rosy tint imaginable. If they manage to complete the journey with me I hope that their other eye is at least half open.
to be continued…….