It has been a long time coming, but the bestseller “Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture” has just come out as an expanded and fully updated 2nd edition with many new photographs. According to the author, Philip Cornwel-Smith, this is “a heavily rewritten, updated and expanded new version of the original Very Thai. Plus 4 new chapters.” The first edition came out in December 2004 and was an immediate bestseller. Since then it has been reprinted four times in July 2005, January 2006, February 2007 and January 2008.
This is the book description on Amazon.com: This pioneering insight into contemporary Thai folk culture delves beyond the traditional Thai icons to reveal the casual, everyday expressions of Thainess that sodelight and puzzle. From floral truck bolts and taxi altars to buffalo cart furniture and drinks in a bags, the same exquisite care, craft and improvisation resounds through home and street, bar and wardrobe. Never colonised, Thai culture retains nuanced ancient meaning in the most mundane things. The days are colour coded, lucky numbers dictate prices, window grilles become guardian angels, tattoos entrance the wearer. Philip scoured each region to show how indigenous wisdom both adapts to the present and customises imports, applying Roman architecture to shophouses, morphing rock into festive farm music, turning the Japanese motor-rickshaw into the tuk-tuk. Colour-saturated illustrations help you navigate various social traits, whether white-faced hi-so matrons or Red Bullswilling workers wearing coins in their ear. This is Thai culture as it has never been shown before.
I already have the first edition and highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Thailand. I just bought myself a copy of the 2nd edition of “Very Thai” at Asia Books in Bangkok. The price for this hardback book is 995 Baht. I’m looking forward to learning a bit more about the real Thailand.