MAI PEN RAI MEANS NEVER MIND by Carol Hollinger

MAI PEN RAI MEANS NEVER MIND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When Carol Hollinger came to Thailand with her government-hired husband, she was unprepared by culture acclimatization courses for the fierce East and the Thai ambience of mai pen rai. Daunted but brave, she set upon a course that found her at the heart of Thai life and enjoying it as no American guilty of social incest could. She hired unknown and unheralded servants, took to eating the ""goodies"" in the market place (even downed a complete broiled ricebird in a command performance), embarked on a career as acharn (professor) at the exotic Chulalongkorn University which gave her an entree to the Thai world, and where hundreds of students and her British colleagues (""Lotus-landers minus an Odysseus to yank them away"") advanced her education. She came to prefer Thai to farang food, cremations to cocktail parties, and with the help of mai pen rai dispensed with clockwatching. She learned that the Thai are virtuous, pity the Americans for their lack of freedom, and are more aware of at-home America than stay-at-home Americans have any conception. She wrestled with the problems of invigilation (proctoring exams) and caste (entertaining servants). She emerges as an attractive, simpatico answer to Ugly Americanism, and her book tells far more about international interaction than the master's thesis it almost came to be. Ladies of friendly persuasion will most appreciate her adventures and insights.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1965
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin