Looking for Mr. Rin
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Title: Looking for Mr. Rin
A Family's Roots in Northeast Thailand
Looking for Mr Rin begins
as a memoir of the author ís developing relationship with his
father-in-law and with his family which has its roots in Phana, a small
town in Isan, where the cultures of Thailand and Laos mix. The author
offers us the privilege of getting to know some of the people and places
he came to know and love in Thailand and how he, his wife Pensri and
their two children began to establish a life there and later in Laos
before eventually moving to England.
This book traces a familyís journey from
its Lao origins and traditions into modern Thailand: from the 19th
century, through years of hunger (when frogs were a staple diet), the
Japanese armyís presence, a communist insurgency and the Vietnam War,
until the arrival of computers.
Looking for Mr Rin
combines self-deprecating humour,
cultural insight, historical detail, and colourful characters. It shows the way
ritual and custom smooth daily struggles, the seemingly innate
resourcefulness of poor farmers, and how an unquenchable desire to learn
can lift families out of poverty.
This book is an invitation into an Isan
family and its home.
reviewers say about
Looking for Mr Rin
cultural background account of northeast Thailand.
- Frank G. Anderson, Korat
For those expatriates
who are married to an Isan lady, this book will undoubtedly mirror
their own experiences of marrying into a Thai family (make no
mistake, they do not marry into the husbandís family to the same
extent), and also perhaps go towards explaining the seemingly
complex cultural mores that the Lao-Thai possess. It held my
attention all the way through, and I found it to be insightful as
well as entertaining. A good read.
- Lang Reid, Chiang Mai Mail
and Pattaya Post
Looking for Mr. Rin is
an unveiling discovery of both Isan and its people by one of its
adopted expatriates and his Thai family. The frequent anecdotes,
situational cultural mores and detailed diary-type narrative
throughout make for a long but rewarding read. Excellent narrative
- Brian Knight, Amazon.co.uk
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I donít have much recollection of my
first meeting with Pensriís father, but I remember very clearly meeting her
mother. It wasnít really a very happy meeting. On my side I had very little idea
what to expect, and knew that my Thai was so limited that I wouldnít be able to
communicate with her to any great extent. On the other hand, Pensri had already
told me quite a lot about her, and she obviously took a great deal of pride in
describing a strong, hard-working woman who cared a great deal for her daughters
and for the small children she taught in the reception class at the primary
school in Phana. Pensri had also warned me that her mother was extremely
suspicious of me and did not approve of her daughter having anything to do with
me. There was very little I had going for me in her eyes, except perhaps that
like her, like most of her sisters and like Pensriís father I was a teacher.
What she had against me was nothing personal, since we hadnít yet met, but I was
a farang, a foreigner from the West, and there was no way she could make
an accurate judgement about my suitability as a husband and son-in-law. Still,
she had come down to Bangkok with the intention of trying to persuade Pensri to
stop seeing me and as that had failed, then checking me out.
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Table of Contents
Maps Thailand, Isan
Part 1: Son-in-law of Isan
Return to Phana, December 1997
First Visit to Phana, 1970
Back to Thailand, 1982
Return to Phana, 1982
England and Thailand, 1984 Ė 1990
Returning to Phana, the 1990s
Chapter 11 Phana, August
Phana, August and October 1997
Part 2: Isan Father-in-law
Chapter 13 Mr Rin: the time and the
Rin Starts to Teach
Hard Times 2491 Ė 2500 (1948 Ė 1957)
Chapter 20 Major
Chapter 21 Phana,
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Note about the author:
Lawrence is a retired teacher who has taught English in England, Saudi
Arabia, Thailand and Laos. He lived and worked in Bangkok from 1967 to
1974. He married Pensri in Bangkok in 1969 and their son Dominic was
born there in 1970. Their daughter Darunee was also born in Bangkok, in
1973. In 1974 the family moved to Vientiane, Laos, and then to England
first visited Phana (Pensriís home village) in 1970 and frequently thereafter.
They have had a home in Phana since 1992 and now that they are both retired they
spend about six months a year in Thailand and the other six months in England.
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