Having been reporting on Thailand's floods and the price of eggs now it's time to take a break. Whose fault was the flooding? Was it the fault of Thai government, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, the Irrigation authorities, Yingluck herself? I needed to turn to my old bÃƒÆ’Ã‚Âªte noire the 'Pattaya Times' on the eastern seaboard for some answers.
Now I know I might be turning this 'newspaper' into a cult read. People are still clicking in to read how I am being pursued by the Thai Police in my new role as the subversive 'Tartan Pimpernel'. But, what the hell, I am not agin* passing on some real gems.
And while staff have been leaving in droves*, Pattaya Times owner Drew Noyes -remember he was described by the Wilmington Morning Star in Carolina Beach N.C., many years ago as a man of 'myriad lies, a phoney resumÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©, pursued by lawyers with unflattering allegations' - is still furiously pounding out the keys on his desktop. "They can't gag me! Publish and be Damned!," he must be thinking.
(*ED: How can three staff leave in droves?)
Drew Noyes, The President of Aqua Solar Wind Co. Ltd - Earth, Wind and Fire?
The difference is of course in those old 40's movies the editor with the sun visor and cigar publish and was never actually damned for it because he was fighting City Hall not trying to move in to it.
Under the headline 'Thaksin's Flood Prediction Comes True' Mr. Noyes, currently failing dismally to court the Thai Rak Thai old guard in Chonburi, told how Thaksin in 2006 insisted that the Thai Government establish a 'Second Bangkok' near the flood free Suvarnabhumi airport. But he was snubbed. (I live around there and there is no room for 12 million people. What's more its wet in Lat Krabang)
'The power elite were infuriated leading to his ouster and the idea was shelved leaving Pattaya as a viable alternative, just in case he was right, ' claimed Noyes, running at full throttle.
And that's why we have floods and of course that's why Thaskin left.
QED Drew Noyes.
Actually this story is not as barmy as you might think. Well it is, but not half as barmy many of the stories in the 'Pattaya Times' ( a partner paper with the Bangkok Post apparently, but the Post are keeping shtum on this)
The 'Pattaya Times' wrote Thaksin Shinawatra's obituary a while back after announcing that he had died of prostate cancer, while undergoing chemotherapy. The word 'rumored' seemed an afterthought.
This story was picked up by Thaivisa.com the biggest foreign forum in Thailand and the thread went on for an unbelievable eight pages.
My post suggesting that the author was a fantasist who has been exposed by an American newspaper was immediately deleted by the moderators there - actually two posts were. My second post just said google 'Drew Noyes with the 'Pattaya-Times' and 'myriad'.
ThaiVisa are not taking any chances. They of course went into business with Drew Noyes in a legal forum for expats 'broadcast live on Thaivisa.com from Pattaya City Hall.
Excited Thai Visa head honcho promotes the broadcast
Actually it won't be the first time a newspaper has exaggerated the death of someone. But the problem with the Pattaya Times seems to be that all the 'sources' and 'unattributed quotes' seem to come from Drew Noyes himself. Who can forget Mangus Evans the Icelandic Welsh Scotsman?
We had to read between the lines that Thaksin was not dead. But who is the foreign journalist?
I remember doorstepping Howard Hughes at the Inn on the Park in London. I had no evidence that he was living. Never saw him. But did not immediately think to announce his death or even speculate about it.
So is Mr. Noyes a fantasist? No doubt among readers of this site, it seems. Posters have been writing in saying he claimed that he had (1) the cure for AIDS and (2) a weight reduction programme which would put an end to liposuction.
But I think the Pattaya Times issue in which he claimed that he had been invited by BP to discuss how to solve the recent massive oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico is my absolute favourite.
Wow! Where did this Aqua Solar Wind Co. Ltd., come from? Anyway this is how the Pattaya Times announced this news under the name of Wanrapa Boonsu, the Editor of the Pattaya Times and Noyes' wife, who does not write English to any educated degree.
"Drew Noyes, President of Aqua Solar Wind Co., Ltd said, "Our patent pending design has been submitted to BP at their request and we are in on-going communication with BP disaster response engineers on this.
"Given the size of the problem BP is dealing with and the options open to them, their decision making process may be elongated but we are certain that our design can make a significant contribution to their efforts to bring an end to this environmental and financial disaster."
"If our device is selected for use we believe it can hold the oil surge long enough for the drilling of the two relief wells, scheduled for completion by mid September" Noyes added.
Alfred Wilhelm, the Technical Director of Aqua Solar Wind Co., Ltd said, "I am certain that this device will work by overcoming many of the obstacles which to date seem to have been ignored".
The device consists of a number of 40 foot freight containers welded together as shown in the diagram. The top 3 containers are filled with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved sealant and the bottom has a heavy rubber skirt to ensure a close fit to the uneven ocean floor. Once in place over the leaking well, the sealant in the upper containers is released to the ocean floor ensuring a tight leak free fit. The oil and gas then fills the containers and is funneled to the surface for capture."
Seems he lost staff over that too. Apparently BP did not make a request. Those disaster response engineers were of course pressing the delete mail button as they were not about to leap on an idea sketched out on the back of an envelope in the 'Buffalo' bar which may at a pinch work as an ice-cream stand by London's Serpentine, or a rib stand at the World Fair.
Noyes' editor at the time was a retired HSBC executive Chris Stanley. He bit the bullet straight away. This is what he said in his resignation latter.
'Your lead in the last edition also left me cold and out on a limb and is the reason I did not put my name to the story I had written. It is also the straw which has broken the camel's back.
'When I talked to Alfred in the afternoon before going to the printer he told me directly that no contact had been made with BP other than sending an email with his plan to them to which there had, surprise surprise, been no response.
' Despite this you had me write a completely different picture of your company's involvement in the process which can't be described in any other way than as an outright lie. "
He continued: "But more to the point, you have indicated that the next issue will perpetuate this deplorable inexactitude and further compound it with a revised contraption which has no more chance of success than the first scientifically impossible device .
'The article, 'The Well from Hell', which I sent to you and Alfred (Wilhelm), should have put an end to it all but it appears not to have had that effect based on an email I got from Alfred Wednesday....
"Needless to say, I am not working on any further fabrication of this 'story'.
'You compromised my integrity in a way which is totally unacceptable. If this is your chosen style of journalism it is better that I am not part of it.
'The paper is a knee jerk process which lurches from one crisis to the next and moves nothing forward at all while any attempt to change anything falls on condescending or deaf ears. Sorry to be so blunt but that is the reality.
'I'm not one to listen to other's experiences, preferring to make my judgments based on my own experiences but when the pattern repeats and I start to feel embroiled, I start to wonder if I too am being treated in the same way. I'll leave it at that because if you don't understand what I am saying my point is well made'.
Seems other staff at the newspaper also thought the story was a bit of a joke and they produced this mock up below.
I caught up with Chris yesterday I guess forcing his Honda Dream to a halt.
This was an episode in the past he said which he would like to forget. He lasted just two months as 'editor'.
He did not wish to be emboiled in any controversy on either side. "It does not take much to see the Pattaya Times is a vehicle".
Meanwhile this in from 'Topper' the moderator of a local forum called www.subzerosiam.com :
An American, myriad lies, and influential people
Pattaya publisher and the Icelandic Scots Welshman
An American selling Thailand's housing for the poor - to tourists
Hanky panky at the Pattaya Times
* From Scots agin, variant form of again ('against'). Explanation provided for a reader from across the pond. Mangus Evans subbed part of this story.
If you now google Mangus Evans there are actually two of them!
And I thought Drew's one was unique. The second one is coincidentally a scammer from Burkina Faso!