Any information regarding schools in Thailand.
We are talking with Dr. Paul T. Carter, a leading authority in the intelligence field on the Second Indochina War and Thailand.
When did you first come to Thailand?
In 2014, after 31 years of U.S. military service.
What has changed here the most?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, I think we would all probably agree.
What has changed here the least?
The government’s and institutions’ repetitive paperwork to get anything done, and pollution.
What are you working on now?
Another video about war and security. I taught myself video production and make non-monetised videos to post on You Tube, usually on subjects I feel others have not or inadequately covered. I focus on fact – to let the readers draw their own assessments – and keeping the viewer entertained and curious. I have uncovered some interesting stories. The CIA hired approximately 111 smokejumpers (Americans who parachuted in to combat Western U.S. forest fires) beginning in the 1950s for overseas clandestine service, and the CIA hiring over 100 English speaking Thai young men during the Second Indochina War for U.S. aircraft operations in Laos. I’ve conducted many individual interviews on this. Please go to You Tube and type “Paul Carter Smokejumpers” or “Paul Carter Thailand Indochina War” and you’ll find me.
Where are your favourite places to go?
The beach first, mountains second. I love Bangkok though. Critique Bangkok anyway you want, but it has its own unique, mysterious, sultry vibe unlike any other world city. A highlight pre-Covid (and hopefully again soon) was travelling to Laos for charity work several times per year. I’ll plug an American charity TLCB (Thai-Cambodia-Laos Brotherhood) that funds bathrooms, tin roofs, cement floors, and such for the poorest schools in Laos. Along with 5/6 others here, we are front men who go to Laos to inspect these simple projects to make sure the funding is spent prudently, and work done properly. We volunteer, do not get paid. It doesn’t take much money to finance a new tin roof for a one room school in Laos, especially when the villagers do their own work. The villagers are appreciative and grateful beyond explanation, and honour us with simple, heartfelt Bacci ceremonies when we visit. The homemade, villager distilled Lao Lao, Lao Hai, and Lao Kiaow are of course highlights of those celebrations.
What are your favourite foods?
Thai food. It was my favourite food before I left the States. I even eat “gope” (frog) but I’m from Kentucky and that’s normal. I actually do a lot of cooking on my own, and finally mastered pizza dough – no small accomplishment for me. It’s surprisingly simple. Or as Jack Nicklaus said about golf, “an amazingly simple game with endless nuance.” I also have a melanger (wet grinder) to make my own chocolate from northern Thailand cocoa.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy reading, researching, making videos, and writing the most. I believe in making history interesting for others. That’s how I spend most of my time, with cooking taking up some of my time. Everything I write, to include my published journal articles, I place for free download on my academia.edu page. The videos are on my You Tube page. I do exercise daily, running and lifting weights on alternate days.
You have let a fascinating life. What can you share?
I served 21 years in the U.S. Army, 9 of those in airborne units, went to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne division, then 7 years at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency with 4 civilian tours in Iraq. I used my GI bill to get masters and PhD degrees at Chulalongkorn University. I got off a plane in Bangkok in 2014 not knowing a soul in Thailand, nor ever having even been to the region. I started here from scratch.
What advice to you have for anyone moving to Thailand?
The two most important things are patience. The third is accepting you’ll never understand the Thai way. And that’s okay. You are an outsider and always will be, just embrace it. Sure, we expats like to bitch, it’s what we enjoy apparently, but don’t take the bitching seriously. If it’s that bad, move somewhere else.
What do you see is the future for yourself?
There is an old saying, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” For now, I’ll just keep reading and writing.