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Autobiography Book Review Dignity Forgiveness Global Human-trafficking International Development Non-Fiction Purpose Reconciliation

Book Review: “The diary of Bua Geow” by JC Shaw

“The diary of Bua Geow” is a heartfelt and enlightening read about the simple pleasures Bua, a northern Thailand country girl, finds in her home town and how they supersede all the desires of the bright lights of Bangkok. It serves as testament to the intelligence, wisdom, beauty and depth all people are capable of, regardless of their education  or social status. For me personally, it is a reminder that language is not a barrier to intelligence, it is only a barrier to communication.

The story is beautiful. One of the most touching I have ever read. The diary deals with atrocities that befall Bua and how she acts with bravery beyond her means to save herself and others and finds hope and love in the process. Reading the diary and experiencing northen Thailand at the same time, I feel that Bua’s life must be similar to many other Thai girls and I can’t help but think that the wisdom that is behind the diary is also behind many of the beautiful smiles I see on the road.

Bua’s brave actions are not without cost, as she is disabled from the waist down after her leap to freedom, which saves not only herself but a roomful of girls. In an amazing way, she casts aside any righteous anger and with the help of family and friends, she finds a purpose and starts on a path to hers and many others salvation. A salvation, which many knitters and sewers will appreciate, begins with a needle and thread and traditional hill-tribe costumes.

The reinforcing lesson here for development folk is that sometimes helping someone find the path to dignity and purpose is enough, if not more valuable, than the path to economic success.

The book is unfortunately in limited print, however it is apparently available from Amazon sellers and Google Books. I read the copy available in Gins Maekhong Resort and Spa reading room in Chiang Saen.

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Book Review Decision making Dignity Fiction Forgiveness People management Psychology

Review: “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time”

“The curious incident of the dog in the night time” is written by Mark Haddon and helped changed my opinion on fiction books.

For a while now I have been reading more and more non-fiction books. Autobiography, biography, essay dissertations, DIY and other books that defy categorisation such as “Mind-Field” by Lone Frank and “Purple Cows” by Sascha Dichter. I found these books more stimulating, they challenged me to think about concepts and ideas that novels did not.

I was wrong to apply that assumption to all fiction novels. In this book Haddon re-awakened me to the world of fiction and how important story-telling is in defining history, education and society. The story is told through the diary of Christopher John Francis Boone, a mildly autistic 15 year old who is attempting to sit his A-Lvel maths exam. His regulated and orderly world is threatened by the messy, emotional and seemingly illogical events of life in his small village. Especially his parents struggle to support him as best they can whilst dealing with their own problems.

Haddons story telling had me empathizing with Chistopher and really understanding what life in his situation might be like. I think of it as learned empathy. Plus it served as a reminder to just how silly humans can be some times.

Thanks to the Timor crew for putting me onto this book.