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WHITE TRASH


white trash

Wickham’s marriage had dissolved and so had his cushy job as a writer and academic at an Australian university. These two losses were  irretrievable, but he was determined to recover title to the condominium that he had lost to a British crook in Phuket, Thailand.  

At the urging of his friend, Steve, he went to Angeles in the Philippines, the so-called sex capital of the archipelago, to join the band of ex-pats, seen by locals and outsiders as “white trash” drifting among the   fleshpots of Asia. 

But there was a price to be paid. Wickham had to pen a feature story about the Yank, an American who had crossed the line and turned    Angeles into a paedophile paradise. “Sin city” was provocatively raunchy before but now, thanks to the Yank, it was criminally   nauseating, and their ex-patriot lifestyle was under threat. 

Set in Thailand, the Philippines and Australia this fast-paced novel is erotic, gripping and provocative. The book deliberately takes issue with the essentially negative stereotypes that surround Caucasians living in Asia and challenges the reader to do the same.  

In Store Price: $AU26.95 
Online Price:   $AU25.95

 

AMAZON

 

ISBN: 978-1-921919-22-0 
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 236
Genre: Fiction
 

Cover: Robbie Swan

 

 


Author: Paul Wilson
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2011
Language: English

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It was a pleasure to read White Trash’. It sucked me in, big time. It hooked me in and I finished it in a couple of nights. Gutsy stuff.’

Scott Gardner, Australian author of books for adolescents

 

‘Criminologist Paul Wilson’s White Trash is an intriguing and vivid true crime portrait of foreign drifters hatching schemes guaranteed to realize illicit profits in two of the best known spots in Southeast Asia — Angeles City and Phuket.’

Christopher G Moore, Canadian writer based in Thailand

 

‘I didn’t find much to enjoy in this novel. I found it didn’t contain any sympathetic characters, the dialogue was clunky and unrealistic, and the subject matter is  depressingly sordid.’

Cate Paterson, Head of Fiction and Children’s Publishing, Pan Macmillan Australia

 

‘It’s a ripping yarn very well told.’

Martin Buzacott, Director, Queensland Writers’ Centre

 

About the Author

Paul Wilson is author or co-author of 30 books on crime and social issues including Black Death White Hands (Allen & Unwin), Jean Lee: The Last Woman Hanged in Australia (Random House), Murder in Tandem: When Two People Kill (Harper Collins) Who Killed Leanne Holland (New Holland) and Who Killed Leanne (Zeus).

He was a regular columnist for five years for Brisbane’s Courier Mail and before that for six years with the Herald Sun in Melbourne. He has been Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at two Australian universities and has been a Professor of Criminology at several Australian and American universities. In 2003 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his public and academic contributions to criminology.

Wilson knows Thailand and the Philippines intimately having travelled widely in both these countries for thirty years. He has written about crime, social issues and terrorism in both places for academic journals as well as for newspapers and popular magazines.

Wilson first went to the Philippines in 1972 when the then Australian Federal Attorney-General sent him to study organised crime. Since then he has been back many times. His specific knowledge of Thailand, and the holiday destination of Phuket in particular, is based on numerous trips to the Kingdom.

Preface 

 Angeles in the Philippines and Phuket in Thailand are two of South East Asia’s most famous tourist destinations and both are known for their red light districts and what are politely described in the West as “adult industries”. But this is not all they are known for. Phuket is a beautiful island with some of the finest beaches in the world and Angeles, once the site of America’s largest air-base outside the United States, is celebrated for its breathtaking but frightening volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and its place in the archipelago’s often violent and conflict-ridden history.

            I first visited Angeles to renew contact with a good friend of mine — a Vietnam veteran who, for a variety of personal reasons, had decided to live in the Philippines city. My first trip to Phuket was part of a holiday with my partner and we both fell in love with the island, eventually deciding to buy a small condominium in a high rise building in Patong — the largest tourist centre on the island. That purchase turned out to be a disaster not only for us but also for hundreds of other Australian, American and Japanese citizens who invested in the building.

            Despite these personal experiences, this book is a heavily fictionalised account of what happened to me during the saga of buying the apartment in Phuket and of the events that unfolded throughout my time in Angeles when I visited my ex-Vietnam Vet friend. As all novelists have done since time immemorial, I have drawn on some of my personal experiences in constructing the story that unfolds. The fact that this book reflects only part of the reality of the people and events portrayed is the inevitable result of deciding to fictionalise the tale.

            Nowhere is this more evident than in the descriptions of the behaviour of the police forces and the government officials in Angeles and Phuket. Personally I have never encountered rudeness let alone corruption among the law enforcement personnel I have met in both these places. And coming from Queensland, a state in Australia where a Royal Commission found that police corruption was staggeringly widespread, I am hardly in a position to suggest that Southeast Asian police forces are any more dysfunctional than their Western counterparts. In addition, from what I have observed every mayor of Angeles City has served his constituency well especially given the problems of trying to balance a tourist area with a large and thriving urban community. The same applies to the Governor of Phuket Province in Thailand and other officials who have generally served their communities well.

            So, I hope the reader, as well as police and government officials in the two countries, will see the portrayal of officialdom in this book as a metaphor or warning of what can happen if pervasive corruption occurs. In short, this is entertainment and not a reflection of police or government culture in the Philippines and Thailand.

            Many of the people who encouraged me to write the book deserve to have their privacy preserved so I will only mention their first names. These include Jack, Rick, Tony and Mahar in the Philippines; Wolfgang, Christopher and Tom in Thailand; and in Australia Chris, Arthur and Scot, as well as dear but now absent friends, Doug and Jim.

Most of all I would like to thank Robyn, who as always encouraged me to complete the book despite knowing in advance that, like so much of my writing, it will undoubtedly attract a great deal of criticism. I am the fortunate beneficiary of not only her constructive suggestions but also her love and support.

Paul Wilson - November 2011

Chapter 1

 Part Sample

Underneath the Ash 

Angeles, 9 March 2010, 12.15pm

 

The dust swirled like a mini-tornado from underneath the wheels of the bus and coated everything in the cramped cabin. The cracked, peeling windows were open because the air conditioning in the mini-van had broken down fifteen minutes into our journey. We turned into Macarthur Avenue and I saw ash spewing from Mount Pinatubo. It blanked out the world outside but at the same time shimmered in the strong, orange midday sun. Inside the bus, my head felt as though it too was coated in the dust and ash. It was as if it had seeped in, fragmenting my thoughts and creating jumbled patterns of nightmarish flashbacks.

Forcing myself to escape from these coagulating thoughts, I turned my attention to the world outside. From the windows of the mini-van, through the dust and ash, I could just see the torn mesh of the wire fence the Americans built to protect the huge Clark Air Base from intruders. The largest American air force base outside the United States was built here, in this environment, which could only be described as a moonscape.

Clark was the airfield that symbolised US Air Force military history, especially those glory days following the victory of World War II and before the disastrous defeat in Vietnam. Generals Pershing, Eisenhower and Macarthur all spent time behind its fenced perimeter. The Japanese bombed it the same day as Pearl Harbour and eventually overran it when they invaded the Philippines. The Bataan death march traversed Clark. And, while the authorities in the Philippines never granted permission for the B-52s to take off from Clark, they used the base in their bombing raids on Vietnam. In a strange irony, hundreds of Vietnamese children orphaned by that American-inspired war were brought to Clark when Saigon fell in 1975. A final ignominy, was that the great dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, left from Clark for Hawaii when the Philippines people exiled him.

It was Angeles I was coming to, a place steeped in history with its air base, now tattered and dirty, stripped of its former glory, grotesquely symbolising that history. Parched earth and ragged, ripped buildings filled with jagged holes dotted the previously manicured runways and fields. Mass vandalism, driven by abject poverty, was one skill the Filipinos possessed in abundance and after the Americans handed over the base to the Philippine military they honed their technique to perfection.

I had read that more than 116,000 items of removable property were left at the base on the day the Americans departed. These items included medical equipment at the hospital, office and household furniture, appliances, recreational and industrial machines, aircraft support equipment and a large number of vehicles. Not long after the handover ceremony, US officials reported that looters were swarming all over the base. In an orgiastic frenzy of what a cynic might see as reverse colonialism the pillaging reached its height at the hospital, a five-storey building ranked as one of the best-equipped in Southeast Asia.

In the aftermath of the looting one news report said that the only clue that this was ever a hospital were the shattered bottles of medicine and glucose water scattered on the roof and the smell of ether that permeated the building. Filipinos were not amused by the rampage. “The rape of Clark must stand as one of the blackest spots on the already spotty record of this administration in general,” a local Philippine politician had said. Max Soliven, a famous Manila newspaper columnist, half-jokingly proposed that the Philippine flag be replaced with the skull and crossbones of pirates. “This insanity humiliates us all,” he wrote.

That was then. From what I could see, now in 2010, the present was not much better. I glimpsed a few greyish-white, newly painted but already brown-stained structures rising awkwardly among the desolation, the only sign of an economic miracle the government had promised. But Clark, now in Filipino and not American hands, had become a new kind of symbol of Filipino nationalism. Symbolism is never to be ignored in the Philippines. It reflects the people’s destiny and their history. But symbols can also be a mirror to one’s own destiny. The past power and grandeur of the base contrasting with the new but fading buildings of a promised future seemed to me to be a metaphor for my own journey.

I too was coming from strength to weakness, from the relative wealth and comfort of Brisbane in Australia to this place, Angeles in the Philippines, devoid of both wealth and comfort. Was this a last resort, a final attempt on my part, to come to grips with the demons within me? Here I was, a man who had lost almost everything money, wife, job, and most of all, self-respect. It had begun with an investment that had gone sour, continued with a separation and ended with the loss of my job back in Australia. A trifecta, as they say in racing terms, but one unlikely to ever pay a dividend. I still had my health so I suppose I was better off than some.

Self-obsession, however, tends to follow personal disaster. In any event, I was low in confidence and even lower in libido. My attempts to start a new relationship had failed miserably. Bars, internet chat rooms, dating clubs and all the other methods my few remaining friends suggested I try to meet women ended in failure.

Middle-aged men I decided, especially those without a job and money, were singularly unattractive to women of my age let alone to younger women. At forty I could have got away with it women, even women in their late twenties and thirties still found you attractive, even if their motivation was often to mother you, to build you up and mould you into their ideal image of what an ideal man should be. But at fifty, women saw no such challenge. And, as I found out to my cost, neither did most men, especially when it came to considering you for a job. Sure, I had been short-listed for a couple of positions but each time I had failed. Though it was never said directly I could tell from the way the interviews had gone that my age was a big, black mark against me.

 

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