Consul in Paradise: Sixty-eight Years in Siamby W. A. R. Wood
“I was appointed to the Consular Service by Queen Victoria.”
In 1896 the author was sent to Thailand as a Student Interpreter—the youngest Consular Officer ever to go to Thailand and probably any Eastern post. His account is “a little of the froth collected by a cork which has floated for sixty-eight years” on the seas of Thai life.
It is a highly entertaining account of a fascinating life. At eighteen he found himself dealing with the rugged sailors from the sailing ships, shunting off drunken guests at the Ambassador’s garden party, and starting a racing stable with only one pony. He went on to become Registrar of the Bangkok Court and to run his own Consular Court. Never adverse to seeking commonsense solutions to legal tangles, he recalls amusing incidents in which he was involved. He also explains why pinning a prisoner to a post by his ear is not the safest means of custody.
Marriage tangles, foreign colleagues, Thai boxing, ghosts, and elephants all mingle together in a uniquely personal collage of Thai culture and society.
What others are saying
“The book is full of good stories, some funny, some gruesome. What gives it its charm is not Mr. Wood’s portrayal of Siam, but his own unconscious portrayal of himself.” —Punch
Consul in Paradise, by Reinhard Hohler (Chiang Mai, 26 February 2010)