IT’S been more than five decades since the novel Emmanuelle shocked and scandalized Bangkok’s high society with its revelations of the sexual adventures of a bored Thai-French diplomat’s wife. Made later into a movie, these lurid memoirs and the still mysterious woman behind them changed forever the way people perceived Thailand, especially its indolent rich and the foreign emissaries who apparently had a healthy but secretive appetite for the country’s sensual pleasures.
Hundreds of other books of erotic and often pornographic nature have appeared here over the years, of course, but none has been penned by a woman. This may well change, however, if an Estonian writer based in Bangkok can persuade a publisher that her novel ‘Mango Maiden’ has the potential to become another Emmanuelle or, better still, the current blockbuster ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’
But Mango Maiden is only a book, and “romantic fiction” at that, so when author Mai Loog denies any kind of autobiographical influence, you have to believe her. The story, she insists, is based on observing and listening to others.
Although there are countless references to familiar Bangkok venues, including Q Bar, Bed Supperclub, Bull’s Head and Emporium to mention a few, high profile residents with a wayward eye don’t have to worry. They won’t spot themselves in the book. At least, that’s what Mai says.
As for the girls in the book, they have much to live up to, according to Mai. “They enjoy being feminine to the fullest and love to be sexy. And they never fail to notice enjoyable men.”
She believes Mango Maiden will appeal to both sexes, especially to those who have been “consciously suppressing their erotic soulful emotions.”
Mai is currently in discussions with several publishers.
All about Mai
Mai Loog arrived in Bangkok in 1997 to join her fiancé, an Englishman. After their paths split in 2004 she has lived as a single expat lady while working full time for an international market research company.
Originally from Estonia, a small country of 1.3 million people in Northern Europe, Mai has a Ph.D degree in sociolinguistics from the University of Tampere, Finland. As a spin off from her dissertation she published the First Estonian Slang Dictionary. She has since written three more books on linguistics.
While living in Bangkok, Mai has been a freelance journalist and writer, covering topics on Asia and Thailand for all main newspapers and magazines in Estonia. She has written almost 1,000 articles and has had two books published on Thailand. One entitled ‘Minu Tai’ (My Thailand) made headlines in Estonia in 2008 for its sensational carefree happy, erotic and feminine style. This is the same style she has employed in Mango Maiden.
What’s the best thing about living in Bangkok/Thailand?
The lovely tropical climate in combination with the Buddhist way of life – the friendliness you feel which gives you this special happy feeling of freedom.
And the worst thing?
Oeh, the worst thing is not active right now, so I hope the Thais are listening to each other and working together towards the democratic peaceful solutions – I hated to see the division into the two colours and the violence on the streets. On May 19, two years ago I returned from Bali and from the airplane window I could see several black towers of smoke emerging from Bangkok. It made my heart ache.
Do expat woman face bigger challenges here than expat men?
I believe expat men face challenges far more often here. The expat housewives have a very peaceful lifestyle, while the women who work like me – in an international company – face the same challenges the office women meet in any Western country. Actually life is much easier here for expat women as they can hire domestic help which gives them more free time to be with family and friends and have some hobbies.
Apart from your family, what do you miss most about your home country?
The vivid cultural life – the opera, the theatre, the classical music concerts and the people who want to go there with me, the friends. I also miss being like everyone, so that no one asks where I am from. I’ve noticed I have started to avoid places I have not been before and people I have not seen before as sometimes it gets really tiresome to give the same basic geography and politics lessons about Estonia many times within one night. It’s my free time! In Estonia I could spend the same time talking and laughing about something which excites me and is interesting to me.
What clubs and societies do you belong to?
I am a proud member of Bangkok expats society! The newest club I am member of is M.A.C, it’s a lifestyle club.
Are most of your friends from your home country? If not, what nationalities do you like to mix with?
There are only few other Estonians in this city now, we do meet sometimes, but not too often. So my circle of close friends consists mainly of English, but also Thais, Welsh, Finnish and an American.
Do you consider Thai women exceptionally beautiful?
Indeed I do! I have often thought about what is the secret of Thai women when compared with neighboring countries. And I think it’s the genuine relaxed friendliness and the sweet smiles of Thai ladies which make them really beautiful. However, when a woman loses her ability to smile friendly to people around her, she is no longer beautiful.
What are your main hobbies?
Writing, naturally, but also my own brand building and PR in social media. I do like fashion design and making movie clips. I am fond of fitness and dancing.
What or who has had the biggest influence on your life?
The female characters from the novels of Honoré de Balzac, The Brontës, Turgenev, Dostoevksi, Bulgakov, Tolstoy and many more classic authors (I read a mountain of books while I was a teenager). These beautiful, mysterious, vulnerable but strong women keep optimism and faith for a better tomorrow. These women believe in love.
What trait do you admire most in people?
An ability to make other people on this little planet happy.
Any unfulfilled ambitions, or regrets?
I am still fulfilling my ambitions, it is never too late!
Your favorite restaurant, bar/pub, hangout joints?
I always take my visiting friends to Ton Krueng on the corner of Thonglor Soi 13 for the fabulous Thai and Chinese food there. Iron Fairies bar just across Thonglor is also very different and fun. (I regret however that the iron bath tub and the comedy movies on the screen were removed from their restroom recently). After work I often meet my old friends at Tenderloin Sports Bar and Grill on Sukhumvit Soi 33. It’s a bit masculine, but you can be sure to find good conversation and laughs there. For night time fun I prefer Sukhumvit Soi 11: elegant Zaks wine bar, super trendy Oskar bistro and the chic balcony lounge of Q-bar are very relaxing, fun and chilled-out places. Oh and not to forget Sky Bar at the Sirocco restaurant at the State Tower at the end of Silom! If you want to feel, with every cell of your body, the vibrant raw energy of Bangkok, that’s the place!
Your favourite place for a hair cut or beauty treatment?
Whenever I start to like a certain hairdresser she soon disappears elsewhere. But for manicures and pedicures I really do like Ten Ten Spa on Sukhumvit. The best service I have experienced for beauty treatments is at Q Center 253 Asoke.
Favourite place to buy clothes?
Emporium. Oeh, I have spent a lot in the fashion shops at the atrium. But I do wish they could freshen up their ladies fashion concept at the department store itself.
Your favourite weekend destination?
Phuket as it offers great variety, but I like Koh Samet, Jomtien, Bang Sarey, Koh Lanta and Hua Hin too.
Do you have a life motto?
Be a beautiful good person and try to make other people happy.
Do you understand the Thai way of life and doing things?
Much better now than 15 years ago! But I still learn. I am happy that I do not focus any more on the negative things and do not try to change things “when they go wrong,” but I rather go with the flow and adapt myself without battles and anger. If something is not going as I pictured or expected, I now am more relaxed about it and I believe that what is happening is actually better, just I didn’t expect it. I do not try to go through brick walls any more. No stress. I certainly have learned from Thais how to smile and laugh often; it makes me happy and healthy!
Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life here?
I go with the flow!
Has Bangkok changed for the better or worse during your time here?
Definitely better! The air is cleaner, the streets are cleaner, and the inner city has more trees and greenery. I do love the Sky Train and the Sky Walk between shopping malls –my favourite weekend hiking path, haha! The quality of entertainment the city offers now is also more international and modern with much variety and creativeness. And I truly admire all the beautiful high rise buildings popping up with their open air rooftop venues. I like the views of the Bangkok skyline.
Do you speak, read/write Thai?
Oeh, I’m not very proud of my poor Thai skills. I can manage in everyday situations and I have studied Thai reading. I just need to pick it up and study more!
What’s your favourite cuisine?
Thai, definitely! But on my recent trips back to Estonia I have started to enjoy the modern Estonian cuisine too. It is Nordic with its pure tastes; it feels fresh and friendly to my soul.
THEY drove into her compound with two cars, Jasmine with her black Honda in front and Jet with his white BMW behind. Jasmine remembered him looking more glamorous. Now he had ripped jeans on, a white Tee and a baseball cap on backwards and he looked so young, even boyish. But he was definitely tall, with a fantastic body, with confidence, which was so sexy and with a smile, which would make the girls scream.
“I have been missing you,” Jet said and kissed her on the neck.
Jasmine put her hands on his buns and pulled him against her. Rays of shivers ran up and down her body: “Oh God, let’s go!”
“I’m a bit hungry, you have anything to eat here?” Jet said opening the fridge door. “You have two refrigerators and only salad leaves and cat food in there!” he looked puzzled.
“Sorry, I didn’t know you were coming! We could order a pizza?” Jasmine apologized and smiled.
“No, thanks, you’ll be my food tonight, you,” Jet pushed Jasmine towards her bedroom.
“Would you like a glass of water?” Jasmine continued and giggled as Jet was biting her earlobe.
“I’ll drink you,” he just murmured into her soft wavy hair.
HALF an hour later she stood naked in her bedroom and looked into the big mirror. It was time to put the cream on. She loved this Decleor cream. It had a divine smell, and it made her skin glow golden and it probably had some pheromones within, as guys got crazy whenever she had it on. Jasmine got this jar from a guy called Michael just a few weeks ago. He said he was from New York and that a friend asked him to deliver it. Jasmine thought maybe it was Jean-Daniel. She once asked him to bring the same cream from New York. Michael was rather unattractive with his goatee, but there was one strange thing that Jasmine liked about him. It was when he said: “Use it only for him, put it on eight thirty on Saturday night!” It sounded far too mad to be dangerous.
“Wow!” Jasmine ran her fingers over the lacey set of bra and tangas. “I would definitely love to live in a place where lingerie like this is available! Wow!” she exclaimed and giggled. “It definitely seems you got THE message from all my text messages!” she laughed. Suddenly she realized that the waitress in dark traditional dress was standing next to them. Their table at Lanna Thai restaurant was ready.