Friday, October 26, 2007

Meet Real Life Thailand

Mars Hill (aka Paul Burgin) is a member of the Christian Socialist movement and a fellow political blogger. He runs a simple but fun "Twenty questions for a fellow blogger" section in his blog. I persuaded Paul to hit me with the questions. The original is on Paul's blog here.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I became very interested in the blog of a friend in Korea,and he inspired me to do my own. At first it was mostly about ex-pat life in Thailand, but politics just kept creeping in until eventually I stopped resisting!

What is your best blogging experience?

Having a blog published and plugged on the front page by a broadsheet newspaper out here.It was about Thaksin Shiniwat's purchase of Manchester City.

And your worst?

Being threatened with legal action over a certain piece. I had written something everybody knew was true but it was a faux pas to say it publicly.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?
I wrote an excoriating piece on the Thai junta's decision to ban youtube which got quite a bit of praise.

Favourite blogs?

On the Thai side, 'Bangkok Pundit' is very prolific, highly informative and very well researched. I don't always agree with his politics but he is a great blogger. On the home front, I like 'Pub Philosopher' and 'Letters from a Tory' as we have common political views. I'm also a fan of Neil Harding's blog and 'Mars Hill' because both of you welcome criticism and debate. To me that shows strength of character.

Which do you find more exciting. Thai or British politics?

Thai politics by far. The political system is far less mature out here, so politics is a nonstop soap opera of back stabbing, corruption, scandals and surprises. It's great entertainment but sadly it does not benefit society.

How do you see things developing in Burma, seeing as you have blogged several times on this issue?

Being so close to the action has reminded me how we should be grateful for the freedom we take for granted. The international media has dropped off but arrests and human rights abuses are still ongoing. Revolution will come, but the people are facing overwhelming odds. It will take time.

How did you end up living in Thailand?

I travelled SE Asia about five years ago and Thailand won me over for many reasons.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

Yes, I'd like to visit Mexico and maybe somewhere in southern Africa.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Hong Kong. The place is so vibrant and built up yet so safe. I'd also like to go back to Vietnam again to see how it has changed in five years.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

I've got several I admire. Perhaps my favourite would be a man called Pridi Phanomyong . He led a left wing group that overthrew the absolute monarchy in Thailand and introduced several progressive state systems.

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?
It may sound cheesy but it might just be Aung San Suu Kyi. She was bought up to place her moral values over everything else.

Favourite Bond movie?
I only ever saw "The Man with The Golden Gun"!

Favorite Doctor Who?
Sylvester McCoy is the only Doctor I watched more than once. The others were before my time and the later ones just rubbish.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

I'm a vanilla guy.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

I've seen the modern incarnation of Guns N Roses but I'd like to see the original line up. I just missed out on Nirvana, too.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford , Cambridge , or Barsby, Leics..?

Oxford. Charming place.

Favourite national newspaper?

Telegraph. I'm all about the broadsheets these days.

What would you say your hobbies were?

I'm a big reader and I get through books quickly. Until recently I was into drumming and martial arts, now I spend more time writing and playing with my two year old son. I'm a Southampton FC fan too.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

These change by the week but right now I'd say:Songs:"Bulls on Parade" by Rage Against The Machine"Laura Palmer's Theme" by Angelo Badalamenti"Pure Morning" by PlaceboBooks: "The Prince" by Machiavelli"Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About" by Kevin Trudeau and maybe "The Art of Fighting Without Fighting" by Geoff Thompson

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