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50% Falang: 50 Stories from a Half-Breed Abroad in Southeast Asia Paperback – November 18, 2010
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The author breaks the story into easily digestible stories - 50 of them as he inches closer to 50% foreigner, 50% Laotian. Each story is crafted with humor, wit, humility and congealed with acute observations of both the cultural experiences and the author's own "coming of age."
I was privilege to similar experiences as Outhavong during my travels in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Yet, his heritage, language skills, and cultural adroitness provide him access to deeper layers of the culture and travel experience that few foreigners rarely get to witness.
Such an enjoyable read - and one that allowed me to quench my travel-lust (for now), dig deeper into cultures I whizzed past, and prepared me for my next trip to Southeast Asia.
I highly recommend it to anyone looking to do the same.
Austin discovers his evolving identity by reconnecting with his estranged father and reclaims his heritage by visiting his father's homeland. In a series of calamities that made me laugh and cringe Austin reflects on the extremes of what people are capable of and learns that fear and love are powerful forces.
Austin's succinct and subtle essays incite self reflection and his message can be relished by the traveler and the home-body alike.