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Archive for the 'By Subject' Category

Dunkin’ Donuts blackface poster in Thailand raises ire with NGO Human Rights Watch

Dunkin’ Donuts Thailand is being called on the carpet by the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) for creating an advertising poster showing the CEO’s daughter in blackface, advertising a “charcoal donut.” Blackface comedy has been a staple in Morlam shows all over Thailand for decades, but it seems that the venerable doughnut institution crossed the […]

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WoWasis book review: Kenzaburo Oé’s Japanese novel ‘A Personal Matter’

As translator John Nathan writes, “Kenzaburo Oé, awarded the 1994 Nobel Prizein literature, is in a real sense Japan’s first modern writer, both in the sense of having come of age in the postwar era, and also in the sense of dealing with contemporary, and deeply personal, issues in a direct and sometimes violent way […]

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WoWasis book review: ‘Yankee Samurai,’ Nisei working for the US in WWII, by Joseph Harrington

Author Joseph D. Harrington has written an informative and insightful history of the Nisei (Americans of Japanese Ancestry, or AJAs, the first generation to be born outside of Japan, and children of Issei, their Japanese-born parents living in the United States),  working for the U.S. armed forces in the Pacific during World War II. Yankee […]

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WoWasis Banned Book review: ‘Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, Treason, and Lèse-Majesté’ by David Streckfuss

In our previous review of Paul Handley’s book The King Never Smiles, we quoted from the book’s back cover: “Any journalist or academic who takes an interest in Thailand soon learns that one topic is off limits: the modern monarchy…  it is dangerous, and one risks expulsion or jail for lèse-majesté” for reporting on sensitive […]

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WoWasis book review: Haruki Murakami’s Japanese novel ‘Dance Dance Dance’

Haruki Murakami, Japan’s best-selling novelist, likes his protagonists troubled, in love, work, and play. Except they never get to play much. In Dance Dance Dance (1994, ISBN 978-0-679-75379-7) Murakami’s protagonist’s occasional insecurities are augmented by the fact that his name is not mentioned once in this 393 page book in which the story is told […]

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Why is my expensive Thai hotel is ripping me off with a 10% dining-in service charge?

The Good Manner: Advice on Thailand from WoWasis’ Pa Farang This week’s scam unveiled: My expensive Thai hotel is ripping me off with a 10% dining-in service charge Dear Pa Farang, I routinely stay at one of the top Western hotels in Thailand, and eat frequently at its top restaurant.  Each time, a 10% “service […]

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WoWasis Book review: ‘Bangkok Haunts’ Bangkok Fiction by John Burdett

Bangkok Haunts (2007, ISBN 9780-5930-5544-1) is the third in writer John Burdett’s Detective Sonchai series, in which Sonchai, a colorful character in the Bangkok Fiction genre,  attempts to get to the bottom of the death of an ex-lover, with other-worldly implications. Burdett’s protagonist, a Royal Thai Police detective operating in Bangkok’s District 8, offers up […]

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WoWasis book review: Haruki Murakami’s Japanese novel ‘Norwegian Wood’

Haruki Murakami is Japan’s best-selling novelist, and he’s a master of description and psychology. Norwegian Wood (1987, ISBN 978-0-099-55454-7) is a masterfully told coming-of-age story in which a number of students attempt to find their way in a complex world, buffeted by personal relationships, hormonal onslaughts, and the complex factors involving transitioning from adolescence to […]

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WoWasis book review: ‘Confessions of a Yakuza’ by Junichi Saga

At one point, former Yakuza Ijichi Eiji came into physician-writer Junichi Saga’s world as a patient, and thus began a series of conversations than turned into the memoirs  that became the remarkable book Confessions of a Yakuza: a Life in Japan’s Underworld (1991, ISBN 978-4-7700-1948-6). The narratives detail the path taken by Eiji to become […]

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WoWasis Book review: ‘38 Million Dollar Smile’ / ‘Bangkok Free Fall’ by Richard Stevenson

Richard Stevenson is the nom de plume of Richard Lipez, an American author best known for his series of novels involving the world of private eye Don Strachey. Here at WoWasis, we’re always looking at new twists on the Bangkok Fiction genre. The ‘bar girl meets western man’ theme has been covered in dozens of […]

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