i m beginning to think that my masterWhisky Portrait
really isn t very good at his job
for example
when i exercise him in the garden
by madly running around
he gets tired very quickly
he s also very easily damaged
in fact
because of all my nipping and scratching
he looks as if he could play
the lead role in the sequel to
the passion of christ

last weekend he took me to get a shower
i really didn t enjoy the experience at all
it started badly with a lady
putting a muzzle on me
i thought one of the pleasures
of going to a beauty salon was
to chat with the person washing your hair
it got worse after that
i mean i ve spent days
rolling around in the dirt
trying to smell good for the ladies
and now i smell like cheap perfume
and they didn t let me shake the water off
like a proper dog
no i had to be blow dried
the noise from the machine was terrible
my master thought i was trembling out of terror
no it was out of rage and indignation honestly
i don t think i ll be going back there again

i ve decided that im going to sleep downstairs
in my crate
i just couldn t abide my master s snoring
how was i supposed to think
with that racket going on
as i padded around the bedroom
in the middle of the night
looking for something nice to chew
i made sure i woke him up
when the noise got too bad
i m sure that snoring can t be good for you
so i was doing him a favour

i really love my master
but sometimes he can be so ungrateful
a couple of days ago i found
this really nice dead plant
in the garden
so i pulled it from the ground roots and all
and brought it inside to give to him as a present
it left a pretty trail of dirt
all across the sitting room floor
and there was still some dirt left
for when i dragged it up onto the sofa
now i know im not usually allowed on the sofa
but this was a special occasion
i was giving my master a beautiful weed
i don t think my master appreciated my gift
he threw it out and swept up all the soil
he even washed the sofa cushion covers
what an ingrate

anyway it s been five minutes
since my last snooze and all this
one pawed typing is tiring
so i m off for a nice long lie down



Earlier this week it was announced that investors in the Arch Cru funds were to receive compensation for their losses: they’ll eventually get 70% of their money back. Apparently the Fundamentally Supine Authority has OK’d this. What the FSA has blatantly failed to do is point out what went wrong and who was culpable. The most likely explanation appears to be that the funds’ assets were misvalued, either through incompetence or corruption. The fact that there is any compensation being offered certainly suggests that something pretty serious went wrong. Who was the guilty party? What was Capita’s role in all of this? Why is the FSA (reportedly) dismissing complaints against Capita, refusing to investigate them without even considering their merits? And why has it taken the FSA two years to get to this point?

70% eventually back is better than nothing (though this will take several more years to achieve). However, for the widows and orphans who put their entire life savings into the Arch Cru funds because the funds were described as “low-to-medium risk” and classified as “Cautious Managed” by the IMA this is hardly a satisfactory situation. Furthermore, why did Capita allow the funds to acquire assets which clearly did not meet the “Cautious Managed” criteria?

It certainly seems that investors are being paid off to keep quiet so that the guilty party or parties escape without sanction.


The SFO has been even more lacklustre in its prosecution of the Weavering Capital Hedge Fund fraud. This was a clear cut case of a hedge fund manager lying about the the nature of the fund’s investments. (The fund’s only transactions were interest rate swaps with a company owned by the fund manager’s father.) This fund went belly-up in March 2009. Since then the apparent lack of progress has been staggering. Equally staggering is the lack of information coming from the SFO. A couple of men were arrested and immediately released in 2009 – and that’s it. By this stage I’d have expected the guilty parties to be behind bars. And to date investors have yet to get back a single penny of the money they entrusted to Weavering. Perhaps they never will.


What both these cases make abundantly clear is that financial regulation in the City of London just isn’t working.


Whisky PortraitI ve just been sitting on the sofa
watching a movie with my master
he only thinks he s my master
after all who prepares all my meals
and who goes around picking up my poop
i reckon i m the master in this relationship
anyway i digress
back to the movie
it was called dylan dog dead of night
what a swizz
it was all about zombies and werewolves
not a single dog in it
i felt as cheated as a music lover
going to see the beethoven movies
never mind my master tells me
there are lots of other movies about dogs
dog soldiers
wag the dog
reservoir dogs,
dog day afternoon
my life as a dog
dog days of summer
and of course
slumdog millionaire
there s even a thai movie citizen dog
but in my language we call it maa nakorn
and i m really looking forward to watching
dog the bounty hunter on tv
life is good



A few years ago I was staying in an upmarket hotel in Bangkok, The Davis. In the morning, at breakfast, I was rather surprised by the very large number of fat, balding, ugly westerners accompanied by their by-the-hour girlfriends. I later discovered that the hotel was owned by Chuwit Kamolvisit (ชูวิทย์ กมลวิศิษฎ์), a brothel owner.

As a young man Chuwit studied for an MBA at an American university. He applied what he’d learnt there to his chosen business line: selling sex. He built luxurious “massage parlours” with added facilities such as karaoke rooms and bars and charged a higher than normal price for the services of his working girls. He also marketed his business’ services very effectively with large posters featuring attractive blondes. His MBA paid off, and soon he was Thailand’s largest brothel owner with six establishments engaging around 600 women.

Chuwit and Friends
Chuwit and Friends

Of course, prostitution is illegal in Thailand. However, if you pay the right bribes to the right policemen you don’t generally have a problem. However, in 2003 things started to go wrong for Chuwit. He decided he wanted to redevelop a plot of prime land he owned known as Sukhumwit Square. However, it was already rented out to a collection of bars, shops, a laundry and a travel agent. To solve this problem 600 goons were hired to raze the area. The raid took place very early on a Sunday morning; the tenants hadn’t been notified in advance. Chuwit was arrested. He denied all responsibility and was, after a month, released from jail.

Chuwit was incensed with how he’d been treated, so he released details of the bribes he’d paid to senior policemen whom he named. He claimed he’d forked 200 million Baht over the previous ten years (that’s about £4 million at current exchange rates). He also said that certain top policemen received free sex at his establishments – something confirmed by some of his women.

The police weren’t too happy about the revelations, so they launched a series of raids against his establishments and froze some of his bank accounts. The raids weren’t good for business, and Chuwit promptly sold three of his whorehouses.

In 2006 the three year trial for razing Sukhumwit Square finally concluded. Chuwit was found not guilty, but one of his corporate lawyers was convicted of having paid the goons and sentenced to 8 months in prison.

Rather than press ahead with developing the park, Chuwit had it converted at great expense into a public park which he named after himself, Chuwit Garden. Originally the park was open for 13 hours a day. However, when policemen started lazing around the park during the middle of the day he decided only to open the park for a few hours in the morning and a few hours late afternoon. Now during the middle of the day it’s the private playground of his beloved dog, Motomoto, a white bull terrier.

Chuwit and Motomoto
Chuwit and Friend

Curiously there’s a plaque at the entrance to the park which reads:

“Dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ
29th August 2005
To God be the glory”

Perhaps Chuwit got his interest in Christianity from his ex-wife, who was American, or maybe from his father, who was Hong Kong Chinese. It’s not known.

Chuwit has long had political ambitions. He’s twice run for Governor of Bangkok, campaigning against police and government corruption, though came third on both occasions. His attempt at office in 2008 probably wasn’t helped when he rather publicly beat up a journalist who’d insulted him.

In 2005 he was elected as an MP, though was subsequently disqualified on the technicality that he hasn’t been a member of his political party for 90 days before the general election.

This year he’s running for parliament again. Unlike the normally bland political posters that clutter the street Chuwit’s are rather characterful. He usually looks angry and frustrated …

Chuwit Poster

… or possibly badly constipated.

Chuwit and steering wheel poster
Not left, not right.  Straight ahead.

He often uses props such as a steering wheel (above), samurai sword, gun, axe, or (as below) a baby:

Chuwit and baby poster
Vote for Chuvit. Politics is like nappies: the more often you change them, the better things get.

Anyway, ever in search of publicity Chuwit, decided to join the planking craze. Here he is a few days ago in Sri Racha on the campaign trail:

Chuwit planking

In what is a rather bland election campaign Chuwit Kamolvisit does rather stand out.


Whisky sitting

Hi! My name is Whisky. I’ve just moved into the neighbourhood. I used to live next to the Ram-Intra Expressway with my mother and six brothers and sisters, but the time came for me to leave home and move on. I’m 2½ months old, medium build, in good shape and weigh 5 kg. I’m laid back and easy going. I enjoy short walks in the garden and love gourmet dog food with a nice bowl of water. Then there’s nothing I like more after a hard day’s sniffing around the floor than curling up in bed with a good stuffed toy. My hobbies include sleeping, tearing up mats, sleeping, chasing balls, more tearing up mats, sleeping, planking and more sleeping. On offer: lots of scratches, nips and affection. Wanted: a better life for all dogs.

Whisky sleeping


Planking isn’t only a craze amongst Thai people, it’s also extremely popular with dogs. Whisky, my rescue dog (well, more of a puppy really) is a keen advocate. He’s actually pretty good at it now:

Whisky the planking dog

But his earlier efforts perhaps didn’t always quite hit the mark:

Whisky not planking


Planking (for those of you who’ve been living on a different planet for the past few weeks) is an Australian craze for lying flat in an usual position, then posting a photograph of yourself on the Internet. Planking has now spread globally, including to Thailand. However, one planker is now in hot water for doing so.

This monk is planking inside his kuti.

Planking Monk

The picture was posted on Twitter and has been widely criticised. The Network of Organisations for the Protection of the Nation, Religion and Monarchy has condemned the photograph, saying that it hurt Buddhism, and Phra Phrommolee (a senior monk of the Sangha Supreme Council) has urged senior monks to stop any other monk or novice from planking in the future.


When Prime Minister Abhisit called a general election the House was dissolved. That was on May 10th. It didn’t take long for the guns for hire to sprint into action. That same day a gunman sprayed the car of one candidate with bullets. The victim escape with minor injuries.

Police inspect the car
Police inspect the car. Photo from The Bangkok Post.

On the 13th a bomb was thrown into the car of a canvaser.

A week later a politician and his wife were shot dead whilst driving their pickup. That happened not far from where I used to live in Ayutthaya.

Even closer to home was a gun attack on the home of a canvaser in the district of Bangkok next to where I live on the 26th. Thankfully, there were no injuries. Equally fortunate was a politician who was subject to a similar attack two days later.

On the 29th a canvasser and a politician were both gunned down in a single incident.

On the 31st a bomb was thrown at a rally. Two injured – one seriously.

June 3rd brought another gun attack on a canvasser’s home. No injuries reported.

A canvasser was stabbed to death on the 12th. And on the same day there was yet another gun attack on a canvasser’s home. Again, no injuries.

In short, assassination and intimidation of politicians and canvassers is a key factor in Thai election campaigning. So, what are the police doing about this? Well, just after the House was dissolved they issued a list of 112 known hitmen and offered a substantial reward (equivalent to about £2,000) for anyone providing information leading to an arrest. “Most Wanted” posters, with photographs, were issued for 50 of the men.

But why haven’t the police been able to arrest these murderers? It seems that many of them are kept in training camps under the protection of powerful individuals – untouchable. The police actually know of 100 such camps, but any attempt to investigate is thwarted by those powerful individuals.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald allegedly said “The rich are different than you and me.” And it’s not just because they have more money. Here they’re beyond the law, too.


Step aside, Hitler; say goodbye, Gengis Khan; au revoir, Pol Pot. There’s a new contender for the most evil person on the planet: me.

Today I needed to go shopping. I put Whisky’s toys and basket in the downstairs shower room. I had to carry him there; enticement didn’t work – not even the special milky treats that the manufacturer claims are irresistable to dogs. No sooner had I shut the door than the whimpering began, shortly followed by loud crying. It reminded me of nothing so much as when my sister and mother went shopping a few years ago leaving a two year old nephew subject to my tender ministrations. The moment his mother was out of sight he started bawling, something he kept up for the full three hours. He also developed a magical ability to both wet and fill his nappies every few minutes. I suspect I hold the world record for frequency of changing stinky, sodden nappies. Looking after my nephew was heart-wrenching: there was nothing I could do to distract him or ease his pain. And today I felt the same way about Whisky. He was frightened, confused and alone – a bad place for any puppy to be.

He was still crying when I got home an hour later.

Of course, he survived the experience. I gave him his lunch. We played a little. And now he’s sleeping on the sofa. Life for him is good again.


Generally, dogs have a pretty miserable time in Thailand. All too often a family will buy a cute puppy and after a few months abandon it at the local temple (if it’s lucky) or on the street. Either the puppy has lost its cuteness, or it’s developed some sort of behavioural problem. Dog training isn’t the norm here. There’s no “sit” or “heel”. They do what they want. In Ayutthaya the family opposite had three dogs that would bark pretty well non-stop throughout the day, set off by anything that moved. The family, apparently, thought that was OK.

In Ayutthaya there are dozens of dogs by the railway station. People take them off the island, thinking that the dog won’t be able to find its way back home across the bridge. Many of these dogs are in an atrocious state – mangy, scabby and scarred, often with broken limbs. There are people who think nothing of beating them with wooden sticks or pouring hot oil over them. It’s heartbreaking. The dogs are rarely starving, though. Kind people put out food for them – I guess it’s a kind of merit-making. (I believe there’s a Thai tradition that naughty temple boys will be rebirthed as dogs.) The food is usually mostly rice. Not the best of diets for a dog, but it keeps them alive. It also keeps them docile; it tends to be the starving strays that are aggressive.

There’s nothing I can do to solve the problem of Thailand’s street dogs, but I can do something, and that starts today. Meet Whisky:

Whisky the dog

He was born a couple of months ago to one of Bangkok’s street dogs, one of a litter of seven. He was found, with the rest of the litter, living close to a busy expressway. From today he’s got a new home, living with me.