Resources


The Otters and the Jackal is set against a backdrop which includes actual historical events and geographical locations. To explore the latter in greater detail and to test your knowledge interactively, please follow the links below.

First Gulf War, 1990-91

This conflagration marked the US' first military involvement in a major conflict since the Cold War. Despite the latter's ending, old hostilities nonetheless endured; Iraq had been a Soviet ally, and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hero was Josef Stalin.

The war began on 2nd August 1990, when Iraqi forces brutally invaded and annexed the sovereign emirate of Kuwait. The US, UK and 28 other countries formed a multinational task force; the UN resolved in November 1990 that Iraq should withdraw from Kuwait by 15th January 1991. Two days later, in the wake of Iraqi intransigeance, the allies commenced air attacks against the occupiers soon complemented by hard-hitting ground assaults which - after liberating Kuwait - pursued retreating Iraqi soldiers into Iraq itself.

At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed while Allied casualties were relatively light, leading to protests in various Western cities against what was condemned as gratuitous military violence. Strong humanitarian concerns were raised by the Highway of Death, as one route pursued by retreating Iraqi forces became known. The latter were attacked by US aircraft and ground forces on the night of February 26th – 27th 1991, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of vehicles and the deaths of many of their occupants.

For more information, see:

<http://arabic-media.com/saddam.htm>
<http://www.enotes.com/gulf-war-almanac/iraq-invades-kuwait>
<http://www.evidence.org.kw/search.php?page=1&search=highway+of+death&mode=thumb>
<http://123med.byethost12.com/abdali/abdali.html>
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_of_Death>

To watch a video about the Highway of Death, see:

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhmXleZXAr0>

To learn more about protests against the First Gulf War, see:

<http://jspc.library.wisc.edu/issues/1998-1999/article3.html>

Test your knowledge of the First Gulf War with this quiz:
<http://www.braingle.com/trivia/20201/persian-gulf-war.html>

Take a look at the CBC archives for the First Gulf War:

<http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/1991_gulf_war/topics/593/>

Thailand: Coup, 1991

The coup that toppled Thailand's elected government in February 1991 was the 19th of at least 20 coups or coup attempts that country witnessed in the twentieth century. Rather than being a move to oust civilians by the military, it would be more accurate to portray this coup as an instance of factional infighting among competing military groups, as the government it toppled consisted significantly of retired generals-turned-businessmen.

Although relatively bloodless initially, the coup provoked widespread protests that soon led to violence when the general who had led it declared himself Prime Minister following elections held in March 1992 under a new constitution widely held to favour the coup plotters.

This assumption of the premiership broke a promise the general had made that he would never assume this office personally, and mounting tensions led to mass anti-military protests in Bangkok during May 1992. Over 200,000 demonstrators took part in these protests, which were savagely suppressed by the Army. Casualty figures remain unclear, but at least 52 were killed, large numbers disappeared after being arrested and hundreds were injured.

On 20th May 1992 HM the King intervened with an appeal for restraint and reconciliation; four days later the Prime Minister resigned, and democracy was gradually restored.

For further details, see:

<http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/03/08/counting-thailands-coups/>
<http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/thailand/coup-1991.htm>
<http://archive.worldhistoria.com/thai-coup-1991-1992_topic15715.html>
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_May_(1992)>
<http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/thailand-bloody-may-1992.html>
<http://maps.thefullwiki.org/Black_May_(1992)>
<http://www.seameo.org/vl/92may/92may1.htm>

Cambodia: Khmer Rouge

The Khmer Rouge were Cambodian communists who captured state power following an armed uprising in 1975. Their insurgency had begun 12 years earlier in protest against growing anti-leftist repression by the Cambodian government. Uprisings were initially sporadic and ineffective. In 1967 the communists (nicknamed the ‘Khmer Rouge’) announced a national insurgency, which received logistical help from fellow communists in Vietnam and possibly China. Civil war then erupted in Cambodia.

In 1970 the Cambodian Army deposed the head of state, Prince Sihanouk, declared a republic and vowed to defeat communism militarily. Initially they received military aid from the US, but this was suspended in 1973. Sihanouk then allied with the Khmer Rouge (‘KR’), which defeated the Army and swept to power in April 1975.

Cambodia’s new communist rulers (many of whom were Paris-educated intellectuals) promptly liquidated the Army’s officer corps, sidelined Sihanouk, abolished money, prohibited religion and private property and evacuated cities. Urban inhabitants were sent to the countryside to learn the ways of ideologically untainted peasants. In rural communes they undertook forced labour and were frequently denied adequate food rations and basic medical and welfare facilities. Families were separated; information was sparse, and young, illiterate and brutalised KR soldiers held power of life and death over those they controlled locally.

Executions were carried out – usually arbitrarily and with no semblance of due process – against ‘class enemies’: a category that included intellectuals and middle-class people as well as former servants of the deposed regime. The entire population was encouraged to spy on and denounce each other, and an increasing official paranoia regarded the mere ability to speak a foreign language as evidence of treason. Mortality estimates vary, but some sources claim as many as two million Khmers died during the KR years from execution, maltreatment, starvation and disease caused or exacerbated by malnourishment resulting from the denial of food and basic medical care.

A succession of purges within the KR leadership led to a bewildering series of policy voltes-faces. KR ideology had some affinities with Maoism and Stalinism but is difficult to classify along the traditional left-right spectrum. This is partly because of a fervid secrecy on the part of the KR leadership under Pol Pot (which did not even publicly announce the Communist Party's existence until after the seizure of power in 1975) and also through an increasingly pronounced official chauvinism and racism, which had more in common with fascism that conventional cosmopolitan Marxism-Leninism.

Extravagant KR demands on Vietnamese territory together with aggressive KR-led incursions across the border led the Vietnamese Army to invade Cambodia and depose the KR regime in January 1979. KR forces fled in disarray, regrouping in a series of camps along Cambodia’s border with Thailand, and the Vietnamese established a puppet government in Phnom Penh.

Again, the KR allied with Sihanouk and other anti-Vietnamese Cambodian groups; in June 1982 the latter formed a coalition which the KR dominated. This coalition set up a government in exile, which was allowed to retain Cambodia’s UN seat, even though it only physically controlled a series of refugee camps and adjacent land along the border. The KR were increasingly sidelined after 1991, when a peace accord between the disparate Cambodian factions effected a rapprochement between the Hanoi-installed government and Sihanouk loyalists.

During the ensuing 8 years, the KR suffered increasingly from factional inflighting. By 1998 most KR loyalists were either dead (like Pol Pot) or had surrendered to the Cambodian government.

In the early twenty-first century, a few surviving KR leaders were tried for genocide and crimes against humanity. The trials have been widely criticised for being cumbersome, unnecessarily protracted, ineffective and vulnerable to interference from politicians who may have their own reasons for not wanting the minutiae of KR atrocities exposed for all the world to see.

The most comprehensive source of information about the KR is Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP): <http://www.yale.edu/cgp/index.html

Test your knowledge of the Khmer Rouge with this quiz:

<http://library.thinkquest.org/trio/TTQ03075/interactivities_quiz.htm>

To watch a video in which Pol Pot is interviewed after being toppled from state power, click:
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQMyX80jCF8>

Some of Dominic's most bilious criticism is levelled against the cynicism of US foreign policy in supporting Pol Pot after the KR were deposed in 1979. For more information about this unholy alliance, see:
<http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/US_PolPot.html>

For eyewitness accounts of daily life inside the refugee camps (some of which the KR controlled after their ousting from state power) along the Thai-Cambodian border, see:

<http://www.keithrichburg.com/TEXT/asia03lifewkhmer.html>

Watch surviving KR leaders on trial in 2011:
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-oxlvwQhPw>

UK: Oxford

A significant portion of The Otters and the Jackal is set in Oxford, an old British university city with Saxon origins. The University of Oxford has come to enjoy the reputation of being a world class institution of higher education and research. Oxford plays an important part in the novel not just as the setting for some of its early scenes but more fundamentally as a symbol for the values of intellectual honesty and academic integrity Paul is forced to examine critically later on.

For more information about Oxford, see:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford>

For an aerial view and history of Oxford, see this video:
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=LlYutLJoOA4>

Enjoy a stunning virtual tour of Oxford by clicking:
<http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/oxfordtour/>

Test your knowledge of Oxford by clicking: <http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz107597c53920.html>

FInd out more about Oxford's University Parks, where Paul and Dominic join an anti-war demonstration, by clicking:
<http://www.parks.ox.ac.uk/introduction/index.htm>

Oxford: Thai restaurants

The Thai restaurant in Oxford where Paul and Fon dine one chilly winter evening is a fictional addition to the proliferation of 600+ real-life UK eateries serving Siamese cuisine. So popular have these become that their rapid growth has furnished British English with a new simile: "...springing up like Thai restaurants."

For more information, please see:
<http://www.simply-thai.com/uk-thai-restaurants-counties-oxfordshire.htm>
<http://www.menumagazine.co.uk/book/restauranthistorymore.html>
<http://www.recipes4us.co.uk/Cooking%20by%20Country/Thailand.htm>

Test your knowledge of Thai cuisine with this quiz:

<http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz2429351bd08d0.html>

Oxford: Buddhism

The teaching and practice of Buddhism are well established at Oxford. For further information, please see:
<http://www.orinst.ox.ac.uk/isa/buddhist/index.html>
<http://www.samatha.org/oxford>
<http://groupspaces.com/oxbudsoc/announcements/>

Test your knowledge of Buddhism with this quiz:

<http://www.quizmoz.com/quizzes/World-Religions-Quizzes/b/Buddhism-Quiz.asp>

Oxford: The Left

At an early stage in their relationship, Paul unexpectedly stumbles upon Fon at a left-wing anti-war meeting in Oxford at which he is representing the Buddhist Society. Oxford leftwingers also appear in the novel as street demonstrators and hecklers at a meeting held to promote US policy in Cambodia.

Oxford has long been a centre for radical and anti-Establishment political groups which span its 'town' and 'gown' constituents. Its eclectic Left, for all its members' numerous ideological differences, sometimes makes common cause in campaigns that transcend the often obscure doctrinal conflicts that frequently consume its energies.

For further details (and samples of Oxford Left literature), please see:
<http://oxfordleftreview.wordpress.com/olr/>
<http://oxfordrespectinformation.blogspot.com/>
<http://www.stopwar.org.uk/>

How left-wing are you? Find some clues with this quiz:
<http://www.politicalcompass.org/test>


Oxford: The supernatural


The ghost Paul encounters in Oxford represents a modern manifestation of a long-established supernatural tradition in that city and its surrounding county.

To learn more, see:

<http://www.scribd.com/doc/19491438/Strange-Oxford>
<http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghosts-in-the-Cloisters-ebook/dp/B005L2HTO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315338675&sr=8-1>
<http://www.ghosttrail.org/blog/2011/02/a-background-to-bill-spectres-ghost-trails-as-written-by-bill-for-ox-magazine/>
<http://ghosts-uk.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=8>
<http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/oxfordshire/oxfodata.php>

Test your knowledge of ghosts with this quiz:
<http://www.funtrivia.com/trivia-quiz/General/Ghosts-98175.html>

To see a video about ghosts, click:
<http://www.ghostvideos.ws/>

Take a virtual tour of haunted houses at:

<http://www.gone-ta-pott.com/HauntedHouseVirtualTours.html>

Oxford: Burning heretics

While en route to Fon's, Paul spots a mark in Broad Street just outside Balliol College, Oxford, indicating the location of the burning of two Protestant bishops, Latimer and Ridley, half a millennium earlier. His subsequent reflections on the merits of religious tolerance (a virtue he associates with Buddhism) form an intellectual backdrop to his alienation from his native culture and to his starry-eyed romanticising of Thailand as a supposed haven of peace on earth and universal goodwill. His later experiences in Thailand lead him to reassess these perceptions, but he never abandons his antipathy towards religious extremism (even though he encounters the latter in unexpected guises).

The burning of heretics is a uniquely Christian barbarity. While other persuasions have on occasion shown intolerance towards dissenters and unbelievers, the deliberate public incineration of the living bodies of those whose interpretation of the true faith happened to differ from whatever official version prevailed at the time has ever been Christianity's distinctive contribution to religious history.

The burning of Protestant heretics (a category which included Latimer and Ridley) is generally associated with Queen Mary Tudor's short-lived and abortive attempt to reconvert England to Roman Catholicism from 1553-58, but other forms of Christianity have also descended to the same cruelty (if to a lesser extent).

Various explanations have been put forward as to the reasons for Christianity's adoption of this hideously cruel form of punishment:

* Christian apologists have claimed that in the Middle Ages it was believed literally that unrepentant sinners would suffer the eternal hellfires of the soul after death and the automatic denial of salvation that would surely follow their heresy. Consequently it was an act of kindness to demonstrate graphically to waverers the pitfalls of deviation from true belief to enhance the prospects for their immortal souls in the afterlife;

* Fire was seen as a purifying agent which would cleanse an unclean soul of the corruption of false belief;

* The burnings represented a reversion to the pre-Christian notion of 'sacrifice' (a word which means both 'giving up' and 'making holy'). Only by sacrificing unbelievers in the most visibly brutal way could believers show their loyalty and steadfastness to God;

* There was no notion of the enlightened acceptance of plural interpretations of religion in the Middle Ages. It was the Church's duty to ensure, implement, monitor and at all costs preserve unity; any laxity in the latter regard meant religious and political leaders were guilty of negligence. The burnings were thus an index of the leaders' acceptance of their responsibility to sustain a unified body of believers which replicates the body of Christ, of which he is head (which is how the Church is defined in Ephesians 1:22-23);

* In Tudor times, loyal subjects owed a duty of obedience to their sovereign, which meant accepting whichever form of religion the latter espoused. If the monarch were Catholic, loyal Englishmen and women practised Catholicism. If the sovereign was a Protestant, loyal subjects were supposed to follow suit likewise. This explains the apparent alacrity with which such luminaries of Tudor politics as Sir Richard Rich could act as judicial enforcers of Henrician Anglicanism, Edwardian Protestantism, Marian Catholicism and Elizabethan settlement theology without admitting any contradiction in their own beliefs. They were simply demonstrating the admirable quality of fidelity to their king or queen. The corollary of this belief was that adherence to a creed or denomination at odds with the monarch's was tantamount to treason, which traditionally merited the most grisly corporeal torments imaginable.

Other offenders (such as alleged witches and convicted murderers and counterfeiters) also suffered the same grim fate as heretics did.

For further details, see:

<http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/burning.html>
<http://john-edward-fahey.suite101.com/thomas-more-and-heresy-a61355>
<http://www.thereformation.info/burningstake.htm>

Test your knowledge of Christianity's treatment of heretics with this quiz:

<http://www.funtrivia.com/trivia-quiz/Religion/Christian-Heresies-148799.html>

Are you a heretic? Find out by following this quiz:
<http://www.quizfarm.com/quizzes/new/svensvensven/are-you-a-heretic/>

How did it feel to be burned at the stake? See:
<http://www.answers.com/topic/execution-by-burning>
<http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-563618.html>

Spiritualism

The seance Paul attends is an example of an established popular pastime among students and others in the UK and elsewhere. Some regard seances as a harmless form of entertainment; to others, they are an authentic doorway of communication to largely invisible but nonetheless real spiritual entities, while mainstream Christians (in keeping with their trademark tolerance towards other traditions) usually denounce them as hallmarks of evil.

Many of us enjoy ghost stories and tales of hauntings etc; it may well be that ouija boards supply a 'reality' element enabling the 'games' they support to appear more authentic.

Paul also witnesses standard seance paraphernalia, although for those who see contact with the spirit world as a legitimate means of accessing hidden realms rather than a source of tittilation, the props are less important than the personal qualities of the medium.

For further information, please see:
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-14747804>
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/spiritualism/>
<http://www.thespiritualist.org/>

To read practical instructions over how to conduct a seance, click:
<http://paranormal.about.com/cs/ancientanomalies/ht/seance.htm>

Control over the seance in The Otters and the Jackal is lost, resulting in various unexpected happenings. This can happen in real life too; e.g.:
<www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oOkPR0y3Tw>

What should you do if control is lost at a seance you're attending? See the following link for some practical advice:
<http://www.wikihow.com/Conduct-a-S%C3%A9ance>

To watch seance videos, click:

<http://www.gone-ta-pott.com/HauntedHouseVirtualTours.html>

To watch a video of an interview with a psychic medium about spiritualism, click:

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-iUUyfgqxU>

Thailand: Indigenous wisdom

Thailand's animistic tradition is part of a strong tradition of indigenous wisdom which spans religion, philosophy, education, healing and community welfare. Many visiting foreigners believe Thais have preserved something ineffably precious and life-enhancing which co-exists harmoniously with Buddhism in this tradition, which western societies have lost.

For further information, please see:
<http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/spirit_house.html>
<http://kirjon.com/sacred-sites/animistic-beliefs.htm>

Thailand: Bangkok

A great deal of the action in The Otters and the Jackal takes place in Bangkok, Thailand's capital.

Enjoy a virtual tour of Bangkok by clicking:
<http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/Thailand/Central_Eastern_Thailand/Bangkok-1445238/Things_To_Do-Bangkok-TG-C-1.html>

Test your knowledge of Bangkok with these quizzes:
<http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/city-guides/bangkok-quiz/>
<http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz212213184c7e0.html>
<http://quiz.thefullwiki.org/Bangkok>

Do you plan to visit Bangkok? If so, the following site may be of help:
<http://wikitravel.org/en/Bangkok#b>

Email the author for free travel tips for visitors to Thailand.

Bangkok: The Erewan Brahma statue

Fon relates to Paul the eerie tale of the Erewan Brahma - a famous religious icon in the middle of an open-air shrine next to the Erewan Hotel in the centre of Bangkok. Thais see nothing incongruous in venerating a statue of a Brahminical deity as well as being Buddhists, and Hinduism, Buddhism and animism are so tightly interwoven in the practical observance of religion in Thailand that it is well-nigh impossible to separate them.

The Erewan Brahma shrine is extremely popular and regularly attracts scores of devotees at all hours of the day. Its resident spirit is believed to wield enormous power, and worshippers zealously protect its Brahma statue from any intimation of impiety. In 2006, the statue was vandalised by a non-believer, who was promptly lynched by outraged members of the faithful.

For more details, please see:

<http://www.sacred-destinations.com/thailand/bangkok-erawan-shrine>
<http://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/erawan-shrine.html>
<http://www.bangkokeasyguide.com/erawan-shrine.htm>

'Erawan Shrine & Brahma Worship in Thailand' by T. C. Majupuria, Bangkok 1993; ISBN 974874525

To watch a video of a sacred dance at the Erewan Brahma shrine, Bangkok, see:
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmyc6AwMUS8>

To watch a video of the shrine and its surrounding area, see:
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6PoEuDhz_g&feature=related>

Bangkok: Penis Garden

Fon also takes Paul to visit Penis Garden. This celebration of animistic fertility, which actually exists and is also known as the Chao Mae Tuptim shrine, is located on the grounds of the Nai Lert Hotel on Bangkok's Wireless Road.

After recovering from what can be visually shocking first impressions, visitors are informed by an information sign there that that the shrine's precise origins are unknown. It was probably installed by the hotel's eponymous founder, Nai Lert, as a spirit house of a type common in Thailand. Its dedicatee, Phra Mae Tuptim, is the spirit believed to reside in the large ficus (or weeping fig) tree next to the shrine.

The story Fon tells Paul to explain its nomenclature is one of a number of theories about its origin and function. Other hypotheses posit connections with Hinduism (and its frequent representations of Shiva in phallic form) and tantrism (with the bright red colour of some of the lingams signifying the sexual energies harnessed by tantric initiates).

For more information, see:

<http://www.asmat.eu/scripts/article.php?Article=210-bangkok-chao-mae-tuptim-shrine>
<http://www.bangkokdiaries.com/2009/01/16/bangkoks-unknown-fertility-shrine/>
<http://www.thailand-travel-guide.co.uk/chao-mae-tuptim-shrine-phra-fertility-phalus-or-penis-shrine-bangkok.html>

See pictures of Bangkok's Penis Garden at:
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinlandrum/2049325397/>
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/gisto/520950299/>

Thailand: Temple art

Temples in Thailand usually adhere to the Theravada Buddhist school, which Dr Kipling explains to Paul and Dominic in Oxford. Temple art takes various forms, which include architecture, murals, banners, statuary and decorations. The latter often depict scenes, themes and motifs from Buddhist and Hindu cosmology; styles vary accross different historical periods and geographical locations.

For more information, please see:

<http://wat-thai-temple.blogspot.com/2007/04/thai-painting-mural-painting.html>
<http://www.thailandsworld.com/en/thailand-thai-art/index.cfm>

Thailand: Cursing ceremonies

The notion of deliberately willing misfortune upon others through the use of ceremonial magic and the invocation of supernatural forces may - for Western readers - conjure up connotations of medieval superstition or Hollywood fantasy, but in Thailand (and other parts of Asia and throughout the third world in general) this tradition remains vibrant, popular and widespread.

The pervasive belief among a large proportion of Thais in spiritual entities of benevolent, malign and neutral dispositions ensures there is no shortage of ghosts, demons and similar ethereal beings upon which to call if one wishes to visit adversity on one's enemies in ways that go beyond the purely physical (even if the consequences may subsequently assume unmistakably physical dimensions, such as accidents, illness or worse).

Cursing ceremonies are used in Thai politics as well as in everyday life - a practice which has continued well into the twenty-first century.

Please see the following for further information:

<http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/346950-cursing-rituals-kick-off-red-shirts-protests/page__st__25>
<http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asia-news/43299-thailand-clouds-acrid-smoke-cursing-ritual.html>
<http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/2010/03/in-thailand-black-magic-is-politics-as.html>

'Imagining Democracy' by William A. Callahan, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1998; ISBN-10: 9813055642; ISBN-13: 978-9813055643

When did you last curse? Were you just using profane language to express or release negative feelings or did you really mean your words to cause harm or to invoke a mailgn spiritual entity? Cursing has different meanings in different situations and cultures - see more at:
<http://people.howstuffworks.com/swearing1.htm>

Thailand: Pattaya

The city of Pattaya is situated in the province of Cholburi on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard, about two hours' drive from Bangkok. Until 1961 it was a minor fishing village; its status and reputation were then transformed by the arrival of the first batch of US service personnel en route to Vietnam. This resulted from President Kennedy's famous speech promising to draw a "line in the sand" preventing a communist military victory in Vietnam's civil war - a blow from which US power in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba, the erection of the Berlin Wall and the triumph of Laotian communists would never have recovered.

The influx into Pattaya of US marines in search of what soon became the city's trademark euphemism: 'R & R' ("rest and relaxation") transformed this somewhat sleepy village into a vibrant entertainment centre with restaurants, hotels, nightlife and other accoutrements of modern tourism. Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world descend on its beaches, while many Thais leave their home provinces and travel there to service their eclectic needs - sometimes in peak tourist seasons alone (returning home when foreign visitor numbers decline).

Pattaya's hotels range from five-star deluxe establishments to seedy guesthouses; while most cater to tourists, a minority welcome conferences (of which the convention Paul and Dominic stumbled across by accident was a somewhat unusual instance).

Pattaya's official website may be viewed at <http://www.pattaya.go.th/>

To take an online tour of Pattaya, please see: <http://www.pattayaphotoguide.com/>

To take an online stroll around Pattaya with Map Jack, please visit:
<http://www.mapjack.com/?3vxRUdRrkchE>

A slideshow charting Pattaya's new quest for respectability may be seen at:
<http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/09/16/world/0916-PATTAYA.html?ref=multimedia>

Pattaya: Pol Pot

The KR chief's cameo appearance in The Otters and the Jackal is factually based. Two years earlier, he had officially resigned the KR leadership and handed this over to front men less tainted by associations with the genocide perpetrated during the years he ruled Cambodia from 1975-79 (and - to a lesser degree - before and afterwards too). But taking a public back seat while continuing to monopolise key policy decisions behind the scenes was an old ruse Pol Pot had used in earlier years too.

David Chandler's biography of Pol Pot includes a picture of the leader innocuously seated in the third row of the audience at a theatrical performance given in the jungle in the early 1970s. This distance from the limelight, which front row luminaries occupied, was designed to conceal Pol Pot's central role in KR policy making.

Further information may be viewed at:
<http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/07/world/pol-pot-said-to-direct-khmer-rouge-in-talks.html>
<http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19910807&id=xxIzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=H_EDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4180,4399494>
<http://www.pattayahotels.com.au/pattaya-hotels-articles/1991/8/25/reporters-hunt-the-mysterious-pol-pot/>

'Brother Number One: A Political Biography Of Pol Pot' by David Chandler; Westview Press, 1999; ISBN-10: 0813335108; ISBN-13: 978-0813335100

Brief glimpses we have gained into his shadowy life and career notwithstanding, Pol Pot remains an enigma. A French-educated student (despite his hatred for intellectuals and recipients of foreign education - both categories liable for arrest and execution after he won state power), he was raised as a child on the periphery of the Cambodian court, where he learned to speak Reachasahp (the arcahic Royal language reserved only for addressing the King and high officials). In 1979 he astonished Sihanouk by using this old form of speech to request support from the prince (who'd been kept under virtual house arrest since 1975) against Vietnamese invaders.

Despite being accused of genocide and the infliction of unimaginable suffering on millions of his compatriots and others, Pol Pot had an urbane side and often delighted guests by reciting French poetry. He died in mysterious circumstances after being arrested by fellow KR exiles on a border camp in 1998.

Test your knowledge of Pol Pot with these quizzes:

<http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=pol-pot-quiz>
<http://www.rottentomatoes.com/quiz/pol-pot-the-quiz/>
<http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b3polpot.htm>
<http://quiz.thefullwiki.org/Pol_Pot>

Thailand: Chantaburi

Paul's reconciliation with Dominic takes place in Chantaburi, a province in Thailand's south-east corner.

To enjoy a virtual tour of this scenic region, click:
<http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/Thailand/Central_Eastern_Thailand/Chanthaburi-1445751/TravelGuide-Chanthaburi.html>

Thailand: The Chong

After his reconciliation with Dominic, Paul meets Tee, a young Chong boy. Two chapters later, Paul and Dominic come across Jen, a Samre man who speaks a similar dialect to Tee's.

Both Chong and Samre are Pearic languages, part of the Mon-Khmer family of Austroasiatic tongues. Most of these are found in pockets of western Cambodia and southeastern Thailand. All are spoken by very small and often elderly populations from indigenous peoples and hill tribes and are on the brink of extinction. Mahidol University, Thailand, has a project to revitalise the Chong language using Thai letters as its written form.

For more information about the Chong language and its speakers, please see:

<http://www.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=14754&rog3=CB>
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/23/arts/23iht-lang.3256660.html?_r=1>
<http://www.unescob

Australian slang

This demotic mixture of words and expressions taken from British and Irish English, German, Aboriginal languages and other sources appears on several occasions in The Otters and the Jackal.

To learn more, please see:

<http://www.aussie-slang.com/>

To test your knowledge of Australian slang, try these quizzes:
<http://alldownunder.com/oz-u/quiz/australian-slang.htm>
<http://alldownunder.com/australian-quiz/aussie-rhyming-slang-2.htm>
<http://www.eslcafe.com/quiz/aus1.html>

Semantics

Semantics is the study of meaning: a subject that intersects with philosophy, psychology and linguistics. Various entities (e.g. words, sentences, texts, speakers, listeners, sounds, symbols, objects, actions, postures etc) are regarded as capable of representing, expressing, conveying and interpreting meaning, which may exist on a number of levels and present discrepancies between surface and deep or underlying forms.

Semantics appears in The Otters and the Jackal in a number of aspects ranging from playful verbal jousting between Paul and Dominic to their central quest to decipher the 'true meaning' of the tapestry.

A pioneering work on semantics published in 1923, The Meaning of Meaning, analysed a number of senses in which the word 'meaning' and its derivatives can be used. How many senses you can identify in the attached exercise?

'THE MEANING OF MEANING'

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