Tales of Thailand by Pira Sudham
A collection of short stories, most from his first collection, Siamese Drama, published in 1983 plus two new stories. The stories deal with modern rural life in Thailand and the changes and problems occurring there.
From the story "The Gunman" - I knew from a newspaper that he was a teacher, and that morning when I shot him, he was on his way from his house to lead a protest against the leasing of a rain forest from the Department of Forestry by the wife of a powerful and wealthy politician. But I did not know for sure who wanted him dead. A hired gunman is not hired directly by the people who want their enemies killed;
Bangkok 2002 Fifth Cycle Edition
A true voice from Esarn
If you wish to understand Thailand's poor North-East region, Esarn, you should read the novels and short stories by Pira Sudham. Considered Thailand's leading English language writer, he was nominated for the 1990 Nobel prize for literature.
Born to poor farming family in Napo, Burirum province, in 1942, Pira traveled to Bangkok to become a temple boy, a servant to the monks, at the age of 14. He continued to study and won entrance to Thailand's top university, Chulalongkorn.
A New Zealand government scholarship started 12 years of travel from New Zealand, to Australian, Hong Kong and Europe. He never forgot the Esarn, with its' poverty and injustices and these became the background for his short stories and novels.
He now divides his time between England and Thailand's North-East where he runs a number of projects to help his fellow villagers.
Pira Sudham's own words -
"If I had not left my village then, I would have been subject, like most villagers, to the mercy of nature: floods, drought, disease, ignorance and scarcity. With endurance, I would have accepted them as my own fate, as something I cannot go against in this life."
Asked why he writes, he replies: "In my mind I carry memories of childhood, of life in villages, much as a pregnant woman carrying a child. Every day these images grow, and I know that one day I shall have to give birth to them through the medium of writing. Besides, I don't want people in our villages, so far removed from other peoples because of distance and poverty, to be born, suffer and to die in vain."
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