Dave Wallace is a freelance writer/photographer/film maker based in Brisbane.
It would be easy to dismiss Dave as a bit of an insignificant lightweight and all round sleaze bag, as most of his early efforts consisted of hanging around porn movie locations immortalising great moments in movie history for various publications of dubious reputation.
However, it took a trip to Laos in 1989, to photograph the work of a humanitarian organisation, that caused him to finally realise his true calling. On his way back to Australia, via Thailand, he made a quick visit to Pat Pong where the inevitable happened and Thailand became his second home for several years, resulting in many life changing experiences and journeys of discovery.
Along the way he encountered some rather bizarre characters including a nurse who thought she was a vampire, and a monk who claimed to be able to turn himself into a giant snake. But the person who made the greatest impression on him was a girl called Busarakham Jeeramantiph aka Kim. Busarakham means Yellow Sapphire in English and is considered to be a very lucky name. Her luck, however, had run out and she was trapped in a vicious spiral of ill fortune — a dead end job, and very few prospects of self improvement, despite being one of a rare breed. In addition to speaking English as fluently as a native speaker, Dave discovered she could also read and write with the same degree of skill.
They formed a bond that lasted over thirty years during which time he managed to help her reach her full potential. They collaborated on this book, about which one reviewer observed: While the story and some of the dialogue is rather explicit at times, it’s actually a moving account of how, with Dave’s help, Kim manages to free herself from the shackles of the sex trade and get a proper job with an organisation that hired her on her merits and ability, and didn’t care about her educational qualifications— or lack of them. She went on from there to embark on a string of business activities aimed at improving the lives of her fellow bar girls. She was a graduate from the University of Real Life.
Despite its somewhat lurid title, it’s a classic reminder of the old adage that one should never judge a book by its cover.