marcel barang

State of the craft

In English on 07/03/2010 at 3:30 pm


It took some time, but now, Thai-reading readers, you can read the titles of the books I peddle at not just in English or French but in Thai as well. So now you’ll have no excuse not knowing that Noblesse oblige is the translation of ผู้ดี, or Cobra of แม่เบี้ย.

Users have grumbled that becoming a member prior to buying books is an unnecessary hassle. So, I’ve asked my code coddlers to simplify procedures. This is being worked on. Soon, you will order your e-books by filling in a single form, with email address and phone number, and that’s that. Of course, you’ll still have to pay, through PaySbuy.

Next step will be reminding glamorous Khun Sarosha to honour her promise to advertise the site on her TV channel, TAN Network, so that the world at large – or at least expat Thai communities that subscribe to this medium – becomes aware of our existence.

Four Reigns (สี่แผ่นดิน)

Book 1: I’m still awaiting the verdict of ML Wisumitra Pramoj, who I believe holds the rights to the work in Thai. Last November 14, under the last nasty downpour of the season, I submitted a paper copy of this huge book (nearly half of the quartet’s total length) for appraisal and … approval? or corrections? to the famed Soi Praphinit family compound. To my distress, I had to urgently move my bowels. I was provided with an umbrella to reach the loo through an eaves’ cataract. Since then, not a word.

Book 2 is now ready. I’ve just spent the last couple of days shaping it up, after the blitzkrieg it suffered from my sharp-eyed English editor: nearly 400 corrections, suggestions or remarks over a paltry 60,000 words, plus an extra dozen changes by me upon this round of rereading.

Book 3, only 44,000 words of it, should be ready by next week: since Khun Na is otherwise busy, Khun Anuraj, late of the Bangkok Post, who also nursed Book 2, promises it before she starts on a two-month UN contract on March 12 that will occupy her fully. Meaning that:

Book 4, which weighs 90,000 words, needs to find itself another Thai editor right now, or else I’ll be in the ridiculous situation of an editing span being twice as long as it took me to translate the whole screed. Any volunteer out there? There is a budget for it.

Mind you, when the whole lot has gone through the grinds of Thai and English editors, I’ll still have to read and read again the total 350,000 words to make sure all parts match and the symphony goes as perfectly as I can direct it.

Thutiyawiseit (ทุติยวิเศษ)

Another outstanding case. It amazes me how some people have eternity locked in their fobs. In early February I, upon invitation, attended the annual Bunluea Fund splash at Chulalongkorn University – to reward a young man for a book review. Daughter Tam, whom I introduced as my lawyer, to her tickled dismay, drove me there.  I was exceedingly well received, was told right out that I’d be granted permission to publish, so I quipped that that was what I wanted to hear and I could now go back home. Unscheduled, I was asked to take a mike and answer questions, and thus delayed the likei performance by fifteen minutes. When the likei came on, it was in deafening Thai-accented American English. I fled behind the oak doors. To those who asked I said I couldn’t understand their Thai. In truth, I couldn’t stand the noise. I bought another Bunluea book and pretended to read it, while Tam swatted for her law exam end of March. I was told the Fund would meet on February 17 and permission to publish Thutiyawiseit would follow. Since then, not a word.

Short story for the Bangkok Post

To oxygenate the English side of my brain while I beaver away in the odd hours on a French rendition of พันธุ์หมาบ้า, Les chiens fous or whatever the final title will be, I’ve transmogrified ‘Just looking’ by up-and-coming Jirat Chalermsenyakorn. As it happens, Jirat is the young man who was distinguished by the Bunluea Fund last month (and as this blog testifies, my choosing this particular story preceded and had nothing to do with the Bunluea Fund’s choice). And as it happens, the book he reviewed is a collection of short stories by none other than Kittiphol Sarakkanonda. It’s a small world indeed.

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