A few weeks ago, I was buying some secondhand books at the Backstreet Bookshop. I came across this book. Looking Back : Book Two. Written by Sthirakoses.
Sthirakoses was born in 1888 and died in the year 1969 at the age of 80. His book has been translated from Thai to English by Pongsri Lekawatana.
I haven’t finished reading the book but I read something that really sounds like from another century. The author worked in the only hotel in Bangkok, in the year 1905. His job was not very demanding he writes. ” What I had to do was write neatly in English the daily menus for lunch and dinner. I didn’t have to write the breakfast menu as it was the same every day. When I finished writing the menus , I had nothing else to do except help with some odd jobs. Each day I wrote about twenty menu cards. The reason the menus had to be hand-written was that although typewriters were available then they were not in common use.”
So how many foreigners came to Bangkok? ” One or two days a week a medium sized ocean liner would bring in no more than 15 first class passengers from Singapore. Of these, five or six would be guests at the hotel. In addition there were two or three freighters from Hong Kong. They carried goods and also had Chinese laborers on deck. These numbered in hundreds .”
Amazing how things changed in the last 100 years. I wonder if he would recognize it anymore. I know computers haven’t been around for long but writing menu cards by hand? Just never occurred to me that people would have had to do that 🙂