Sonchai Jipeecheap the son of a Thai prostitute and an American soldier is able to walk in both cultures, but belong to neither. He is the personification of modernization in Bangkok Thailand. Reading this novel gives the reader a chance to experience, through Sonchai, the effects of globalization on a previously traditional society, along with the clash of two extremely contradistinctive cultures.
Throughout this exotic murder mystery Burdett has wrapped in a detailed and riveting study of a city at the intersection of the old world and the new. Bangkok 8 models a world where capitalism has taken over while also giving us a peek, through his fictional yet realistic characters, at Thailand during pre-capitalist times. Readers are able…show more content… He is an old timer and through his behvior we get a peek at life in Thailand before capitalism took over. In chapter forty nine there is a discription of one of Vikorns homes. It is a luxuray home imitated from homes in the West yet through its glass walls you get a picture of life before capitalism Sonchai notices and states “It’s like a painting from former times, the dense green of the jungle nodding over the slow-moving loop of brown water, two preindustrial fishermen with their nets and paddles, a serenity so profound it is if time has stopped” (p.295). If it wasnt for capitialism Colonel Vikorn would not have that house. Perhaps he would work as one of those fishermen. Thanks to capitalism he was able to become as powerful as he did. During the Vietnam war Vikorn was able to establish a connect with Sylvestor Warren who had strong western connections. Him and Warren went to business together making large profits. Vikorn was then able to buy his position in the Royal Thai Police Force. This suggest that through capitalism there was a shift in the way respect is earned. Rather than being respected based on morality and or achievements, it as if respect is earned through power, wealth and…show more content… “Unaccountable women are on the game not because they need to be but because they choose to be.” (p.316). Throughout this book is appears as though men and women are equal. Yes, it is true that many of the women are prostitues or provide a sex like service such as Kat Walk but, it is not forced, and it seems to give women a special kind of power. An ethnocentric reader may finish the novel then come to the conclusion that all Thai women are whores. This is far from the truth. When picking up this book the key is culture relativism and an open mind.
Bangkok 8 is an excellent book to be used in studies for begining students interested in studying development or just the non-western world in general. It provides excellent examples of sociological concepts such as globalization and development. There is also a lot to learn about the clash between Eastern and Western culture, It can be reccommended that students in the fields of sociology, criminology, urban studies, world studies and politics read this