A Farang In Paradise
Here’s an old one from way back in mid-2003, when I was first attempting to get my freelance foreign correspondence career off the ground. This story was reported during my first-ever trip to Bangkok, and at the time I didn’t even realize how obsessed I was by creative entrepreneurial types. But when I discovered Farang magazine and Cameron Cooper, the expat publisher responsible for it, I knew I had to write about both. Jesse Oxfeld edited this one, by the way. He left Mediabistro.com about a year later for Editor & Publisher before moving over to New York magazine. He’s now executive editor of Tablet, an online Jewish culture publication. (Not to be confused with the now-defunct alt-biweekly newspaper from Seattle.)
A FARANG IN PARADISE
Bangkok’s Farang magazine–a snarky and useful montly aimed at backpacking kids–and Cameron Cooper, the swashbuckling expat publisher who created it.
By Dan Eldridge – September 8, 2003 | Mediabistro.com
It may be the desk-jockey journalist’s most popular fantasy: pack a suitcase in the dead of night, call a cab to the airport at the break of dawn, and upon arrival in a previously fantasized about exotic locale, commence romantic reinvention from bored newspaper hack to swashbuckling foreign correspondent.
Admittedly, Cameron Cooper’s own transformation from daily scribe to editor-in-chief of Bangkok’s Farang magazine–a monthly travel title aimed at the thousands of world-wizened backpackers who pass through Southeast Asia on gap years or round-the-world treks–didn’t happen quite like that. The story of his introduction to the world of expatriate publishing, in fact, is even more colorful, and filled with over-the-top anecdotes and a string of traveler’s tall tales that he was all too happy to share with me over cups of instant coffee and an endless stream of cigarettes when I recently visited Farang headquarters, a tidy, three-story office overlooking a sweatshop on an almost hidden side street in Bangkok’s sensory-overloaded Banglampoo district.
Incidentally, I have no idea what Cameron Cooper is up to now, although I suspect he’s still living and working in Bangkok. The last time I saw him was maybe three summers ago, when I was in Thailand to research a guidebook for Lonely Planet. Cameron had since changed the name of his magazine from Farang to Untamed Travel, and he mentioned that the publication was up for sale, and that he had another creative entrepreneurial venture in the works.
Unfortunately, he didn’t share any details of his new business plan with me, and I don’t know if it was a publishing effort or something entirely different. If you’re out there, Cameron, I’d love to hear from you. And if anyone reading this happens to know if Cameron is running a new business in Bangkok, please get in touch–or even better, tell us about it in the comments section below.