Mobi’s eBook Market Place
***SPECIAL FREE OFFER FOR CHRISTMAS***
Yes folks, I am pleased to announce details of your second – and final – opportunity to obtain a free download of my book, A Lust for Life on Amazon-Kindle.
The free period is for two days only, Saturday 21st – 22nd December. Please note that Amazon ‘free offer’ periods are based on ‘Pacific’ time, which is GMT- 8, so if the book doesn’t show as free on your website, then wait a few hours. Also note, that some territories in Asia, including Thailand, do not carry the free offer. I have no idea why this is. The UK and US will definitely carry it.
Apart from the brief free period, I am still keeping both of my novels at the bargain price of only $1.99 each, (or its local currency equivalent).
So if you are looking for the ideal Christmas present for yourself – or one of your loved ones – why don’t you try Madju-Raj, Messenger of Death. It’s a really good read and will keep you glued to your chair – in fact, it’s an ideal, peaceful alternative to listening to squabbling families and watching interminable repeats on your Christmas Day telly.
You can choose you friends…
… but not your family. Yes we’ve all heard that old saying a million times, and I guess that it really does hold pretty good.
Not only can you choose your friends, but having chosen them, you can also get rid of them at any time should the need arise. OK, it may involve a modicum of emotional upset for you, or your friend, if you have been close for a long period, but that apart, it is a relatively easy thing to do when compared to getting rid of family.
Actually, you can’t get rid of family. Whether you like it or not, your mother, father, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts cousins, nephews and nieces will always be a members of your family, whether you like it or not.
You can’t wake up one day and decide that you no longer wish your brother to be your brother and get on the phone and tell him as much….
‘Hey bruv, I’ve decided I no longer want you to be my brother.’
‘Oh, OK, then bruv. Goodbye… er… Mobi..’
Silly, isn’t it?
But what we can do is disown family we no longer want, to effectively cut them out of our lives.
Considering my somewhat chequered life, I consider myself fortunate that I’ve always enjoyed good relations with all members of my family. In fact, the only one who I have ever had any trouble with was my bully of a father, but he is long gone.
However, some of you may recall a couple of years back when I had a run-in with my moody sister.
I was on a trip to the UK to attend my youngest daughter’s wedding and to visit with my family. My elder sister was also visiting from South Africa. She hasn’t had the happiest of lives, having been riddled with arthritis since she was a teenager, and I always make allowances for her bad moods and grumpy pronouncements; but there really was no excuse for the way she spoke to me and hectored me when we stayed together for a few days at my brother’s house.
I did absolutely nothing to her or to anyone else to warrant such behaviour.Indeed, throughout my life, I have never spoken ‘badly’ to anyone in my family, or behaved in a way that could even vaguely be construed as offensive, or speaking out of turn. She may not have approved of my life, but let’s face it, I am in my sixties – with most of my life behind me – so it is a bit late to be ‘having a go’ at me about anything.
We parted on bad terms, but I did make a genuine effort to make up by writing nice, apologetic emails to her, even though I really hadn’t done anything wrong in the first place, but she never replied.
Anyway, earlier this year, when Noo and I went to the UK, we had a very long Skype chat with my sister and all that bad feeling was put well and truly behind us.
That was that, or so I thought.
When I published my book, ‘a Lust for Life’, back in October, I wrote to all my family and a few friends and told them about the free download, requesting them to download it, read it, and when they had a spare moment, would they kindly write a sentence or so to recommend the book on Amazon. They are all aware of my very precarious financial situation, and as I explained – good reviews mean more sales.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting everyone to do as I requested. Some might not wish to write something on Amazon, and some may not even be interested in downloading the book. But there was no harm is asking, or so I thought.
In the event I received a wonderful response from most people – friends and family alike, and the result was that there were some very kind book reviews published on Amazon. Whether the writers meant what they wrote, I have no idea, but I like to think that they did.
Of course, some didn’t bother and that is perfectly fine. It’s not the end of the world and I won’t lose any sleep over it or even try to find out who did and who didn’t write anything – I am just very grateful that some people took the time to do so.
There was one friend, here in Pattaya, who became highly incensed that I would dare to ask him to write a review. He wrote a very rude email back to me, and needless to say he is no longer a friend. That was easy….
But you could have struck me down with a feather when my sister’s husband, who I have known for the best part of forty odd years and have never had a cross word with, wrote to me and said:
“I have not been able to finish your book I found it too depressing of how a very capable person screws up his life over women so I stopped half way through and I cannot recommend it to anyone.” (sic)
A few points.
Firstly, the book is a work of fiction and while I openly admit that there as a lot of autobiographical content included, it is impossible for anyone to really determine where the truth ends and where the fiction begins, so how can anyone possibly assume that what I have written is a true, accurate account of my life?
Even if it were a true account, which I can assure you it isn’t, there is nothing in the book, or in my life, to justify the conclusion that ‘I screwed up my life over women’
If anything screwed up my life, it was my early upbringing, which undoubtedly had a negative psychological effect on me, and my hopeless, life-long addiction to alcohol.
But who says I screwed up my life?
My early life was full of adventures around the world and in my middle years I settled down in England, raised two wonderful daughters and had a very successful career in the city and made so much money that I was able to take early retirement at the ripe old age of 54.
OK, the last ten years or so have not exactly been a walk in the park, but even during these years I had some great times, mixed in with a number of disastrous relationships. But women screwed up my life? I tell you what, in spite of all the pain and anguish, I wouldn’t have traded them for anything.
I am not broke today because of women. I admit that I spent a great deal of money on my women, but I still had plenty left over to live out my remaining life in comfort. I am broke because I made one disastrous investment – an investment decision that was made when I was happily living with Noo and was long time sober.
But when all is said and done, my brother-in-law is entitled to his views and if that is what he thinks about me then so be it. And also, so be it if he can’t bring himself to write a one sentence review on Amazon to help me make a few pennies. That’s OK – as I said above, I really don’t mind.
But why did he have to write to me like that? Was it necessary to write such things to a close relative who is broke and is slowly dying of pancreatitis?
So much for brotherly love…
I wrote back and told him:
“… if it were me, I wouldn’t hesitate for one millisecond before writing a review for a friend or relative if so requested, regardless of what I thought of the book I was reviewing… but I guess that is just me….”
So I can’t choose my family and I can’t cancel my family, but did the next best thing.
I deleted him off my Skype contacts list and blocked his email address.
Maybe in the 21st century we can, after all ‘delete’ our family.
I know I have probably over-reacted and I should just shrug my shoulders and forget it. But every time I think about what he wrote, I feel deeply offended and sad that someone who I thought was a good person, could be hurtful and mean spirited. Whatever he thought, he could have kept his mouth shut. With all my current trials and tribulations, I simply do not need such people in my life.
What say you?
My word ‘e does look queer!
I know I said I would not write any-more about my health problems, but upon reflection, I have discovered that many of you out there have been very concerned about me and would appreciate a regular update.
One regular reader even asked me to make sure that I arrange for Noo to notify him if and when I pass away! Yet another asked me whether I had made any arrangements to have all my blog readers notified if I permanently disappeared from the web one day.
I reckon that I have between 2 and 10 years left in me, but quite frankly, I have no real basis for this supposition, except what I have read on various websites and forums. All that I do know is that my condition is incurable and will worsen over time. Ultimately it is fatal.
The name of the game is to do my best to try and enjoy whatever time I have left. This will not always be easy as many of my nights are sent in pain and my mornings sitting on the loo, which doesn’t exactly put me in the best if humour. But I will do my best; otherwise, I might just as well end it all now.
So I will provide a regular mediacl update, but promise to keep the bulletins as brief as possible.
As far as the past week is concerned…
…the bad news is that on Sunday night I had without doubt the worst pain attack ever. It started around 9 p.m., lasted all nigh, and it was only at 9 a.m. the following morning that it finally eased off enough to allow me to get a couple of hours’ sleep. It really was a very bad night.
As a result of this, I stuck to rice soup for my evening meal on Monday and Tuesday, and both nights were pain free. Then I tried a very small chicken salad on Wednesday, but this provoked another pain attack so it was back to rice soup until last night, (Friday), when I tried a small meal of lightly grilled chicken and prawns with a few slices of bread, but still had another attack.
So I now know for sure that only rice soup with small amounts of minced pork or prawns and eggs will keep me pain free. It seems I cannot digest any kind of ‘whole’ meat, be it beef, pork or chicken. Only finely minced meat seems to be tolerated along with fish and sea food. Not much of a diet choice, but it sure beats rolling around on the floor in agony all night.
I was planning to go to Bangkok to see a pain management specialist to see about a ‘nerve block’ last Wednesday but in the course of my ongoing research, I discovered that ‘nerve blocks’ cannot be administered to people talking blood thinners, so bang went that idea.
…and the good news is that against all expectations, I have succeeded in obtaining an appointment to see the foremost expert on pancreatic conditions in Thailand on January 3rd, at Siriraj hospital in Bangkok.
Appointments with specialists in Thailand are always a bit of a lottery – you never really know how it will go. Some doctors are really westernised, speak good English and are happy to discuss your condition with you at great length. Others are arrogant and mono-syllabic, have no desire to discuss anything and can’t wait to get rid of you.
So I will have to wait and see whether the good Doctor Supot falls into the first or second category….
A bad case of nepotism and corruption –Is there any cure?
Those of you who are probably bewildered by the latest troubles in Thailand will be aware that I try to remain above the fray and not become too involved in the politics of the country which has been good enough to provide me with a home these past ten years or so.
However, such is present sad state of affairs, with a ruthlessly corrupt government on the one hand, and a protest movement that is in serious danger of getting out of control on the other, that I feel I must nail my colours to my mast.
One thing is for sure: the current protest movement in Thailand has not been triggered by the ‘class divide’, as has been reported by most foreign journalists. It is the result of a ground swell of discontent towards unprecedented levels of governmental corruption and doubts about Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s competence to lead the country.
The protesters, which include in their ranks millions from the south and central Thailand, as well as the burgeoning middle classes in Bangkok, have seen the total failure of the government to run their country on the principals of good governance and due respect for the rule of law.
Back in 2001, many middle class Thais voted for Thaksin Shinawatra, believing that he entered politics to contribute to the development of Thailand. However, it soon became apparent that he really came to power to exploit the country for his personal benefit. Thaksin’s period in power can best be described as the era of unprecedented nepotism and corruption. The self-exiled former prime minister has many corruption and political malpractice charges currently pending in the Thai courts – charges from which he has intentionally fled.
All the cases against him were investigated by a special legal task force set up to investigate his crimes under the auspices of the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. All legal grounds and judicial procedures were based on Thailand’s existing criminal laws, and not by any specially enacted law following the military’s temporary seizure of power.
The whole country knows that Yingluck, Thaksin’s sister, who has no background in politics whatsoever, simply acts as Thakin’s proxy. The majority party in parliament – the Puea Thai Party – is still under Thaksin’s total control.
Thaksin has bankrolled all his party’s election campaigns, during which he actively participated through numerous live video links to elections rallies and public meetings. Senior members of his party unashamedly admit that he still regularly communicates instructions via telephone and video links, and even hooks up to the prime minster and members of her cabinet during meetings.
Additionally, many members of his party, as well as cabinet members, travel abroad to pay homage to him and to receive instructions from him, as well as to request favours or promotion within the government.
Yingluck, who has come from nowhere to assume the mantle of premier, does not hold any senior position within the party. She is neither the leader of the party nor a member of its executive committee. Her only claim to fame is that she is the youngest sister of fugitive Thaksin. It is a very bad case of nepotism, which has always been present in Thai society but in recent years, has become ever more dominant in the civil service and in the law enforcement agencies and military.
Amongst many issues, the current demonstrations were triggered by the rampant corruption of Yingluck’s government, the largest of which is the rice mortgage scheme.
Thaksin has explicitly and publicly claimed the rice mortgage scheme as his program.
This scheme has not only caused the country to lose 13 billion dollars, but has also seriously compromised Thailand’s competitiveness in the rice export market, where as a result of this ridiculous scheme, they are no longer the number one rice exporter in the world.
As well as costing the country a small fortune, with its blatant attempts to ‘buy’ the north-eastern farmers’ votes with huge, unsustainable rice subsidies, the scheme is rife with massive corruption. People with government connections have embezzled vast amounts of money, and millions of tons of rice have either disappeared without trace or are rotting away in government warehouses.
Yingluck’s government has also tried to circumvent the normal procedures for parliamentary budget scrutiny by submitting a single budget bill which will effectively give them a ‘blank cheque’ to spend 70 billion US dollars on so-called infrastructure mega-projects. The bill is only four pages long, is vague on the nature of the proposed projects and lacks any proper detail. It will also subject the country to a 50-year loan.
But the final straw was when the government circumvented the rule of law by submitting the amnesty bill which would have exonerated Thaksin from all the corruption charges. Until the protest movement succeeded in bringing about the government’s dissolution, the bill was still awaiting confirmation by the House of Representatives.
It would have prohibited any investigation into Thaksin’s involvement in the government-ordered extra-judicial killings and abuse of human rights in the restive southern border provinces, as well as the criminal cases in the war on drugs, that occurred during his period as prime minister.
This bill also aimed to reimburse Thaksin approximately 1.5 billion US dollars, which was seized by the verdict of the Supreme Court in 2010, when he was found guilty on five counts of corruption, deliberately hiding his wealth, and masking ownership of shares in his family-controlled telecommunications company, Shin Corp. The court had also found that Thaksin’s government pursued policies had enriched his family’s companies, which included huge loans to countries like Myanmar.
Other current populist policies which have been derided by the demonstrators are: the reduction of excise tax for first-time car buyers, credit cards for farmers, and revolving credit and free electricity and water for villages. These policies were enacted solely to gain votes while moving the country ever deeper into debt.
The demonstrators maintain that responsible politicians do not introduce such policies, knowing full well that they will cause irreparable damage to the country’s fiscal situation, as well as imbuing a “culture of greed and automatic entitlement” amongst the people. They say that such policies are not only contrary to fundamental economic principles, but also shake to the core the concept of universally accepted democratic values. Populist policies may buy votes, but they take away the determination for self-improvement and the value and ethics of work.
The government keeps insisting that they have been lawfully elected within the democratic process, but they have conveniently forgotten to mention anything about the massive electoral fraud and vote rigging that has been endemic in every election they have won.
Checks and balances no longer seem to function for Prime Minster Yingluck, her cabinet and the Puea Thai members of the House of Representatives. They continually feign ignorance of the parliamentary system and opposition censure motions are treated as a joke. The Prime Minister never answers questions posed by the opposition and rarely attends parliamentary debates.
The principle of the rule of law and the separation of powers as required under the constitution was eroded further when Puea Thai members of the House of Representatives questioned a decision by the Constitutional Court judges regarding the composition of the Senate. The judges had ruled that a government proposal to change the basis of selecting senate members violated the constitution, and that the parliamentary procedure was improperly implemented.
What did the Pueu Thai parliamentarians do? They filed rebellion charges against the Constitutional Court judges! Talk about intimidation….
Yet more questionable acts were perpetrated by many Puea Thai parliamentarians when they arranged for others to cast votes illegally in their name when they were absent from parliament.
The demonstrators want to know how the Thai people can place their faith and trust in a government when their representatives are using every possible means to abuse their executive and legislative powers for personal gain and not for the interest of the nation.
The demonstrators maintain that they have a legitimate right to protest against a corrupt and unlawful government. They say that enough is enough and the government has already done so much damage to their country and they simply cannot allow them more time in power to cause yet more damage.
Unfortunately, the unexpected success of the protests, which has already seen the prime minister dissolve the government and call for fresh elections, seems to have gone to the head of self-appointed protest leader, Suthep Thaugsuban.
Many people who initially supported him are now becoming concerned about the increasingly dictatorial stand that Suthep is taking and his utter refusal to enter into dialogue with interested parties and try to work out a way forward.
I do understand where he coming from and I have much sympathy with his determination to start completely afresh, and not simply agree to hold new elections. That will surely only perpetuate the divisive and venal cycle of nepotism, corruption and ‘Thaksin-purchased’ influence .
But somewhere along the line, Suthep has to see reason and allow a legitimate dialogue commence. He simply cannot become a ‘self-appointed’ dictator and head of an unelected government. That would be even worse than the Thaksin regimes.
Let us all hope that common sense prevails and that some form of workable compromise, (for which the Thais are so famous), can be agreed amongst well-meaning protagonists: the main political protest movements and parties, the law enforcement agencies and the military – for the ultimate good of the country.
We shall all be watching developments with baited breath.
We’re back in Thailand….
Noo and I returned to Thailand on 17th August, along with my youngest daughter and her husband, who were to spend the next two weeks on holiday with us. It was a belated honeymoon present from me.
One of our first trips was to drive out to Wat Songmettawanaram, near to Bang Sare, just down the coast from Pattaya, which seems to be off the beaten track for most western visitors to Pattaya. I have been to this wat on two occasions and have never once seen any foreigners there, which is quite strange, as it is well worth a visit.
Wat Songmettawanaram is located in the Chon Buri hills, a few kilometres inland from the Bang Sare coast, at the summit of a long, winding, very steep dirt track.