Journalist Bob Halliday dies at 74

Journalist Bob Halliday dies at 74

An esteemed Bangkok Post columnist, long-time resident of Thailand and friend and teacher to so many Thais, Robert Halliday passed away on Saturday following a complication from pneumonia. He was 74.

All-rounder: Bob Halliday

Known to his friends as Bob, he was a big-hearted man whose expertise included classical music, literature, cinema and Thai street food. A self-effacing man, he wrote about these subjects with humour, insight and flair under the quirky pseudonyms Ung-Aang Talay, Plalai Faifa and Jingjo Dam Na Buriram.

A true New York intellectual, Bob worked at the Library of Congress and wrote book reviews for the Washington Post in the 1960s. He corresponded with Samuel Beckett and dined with John Cage.

During the Vietnam War, he came to Thailand to work in refugee camps in the Northeast and later settled in Bangkok. He mastered the Thai language, taught James Joyce at Chulalongkorn University and became a staff member of Bangkok World before it was taken over by the Bangkok Post. He read, spoke, wrote and cursed Thai as fluently as he did English.

To his friends, Bob's house was always open and a sanctuary of knowledge. For 30 years he screened movies for friends every Sunday, first with 16mm film and later Blu-ray, and the conversations on cinema, books and music lasted well into the night.

His circle of friends encompassed writers, professors, bankers, journalists, motorcycle taxi drivers, Michelin-starred chefs and street food vendors, a reflection of his warmth and generosity. US-born Bob lived half a century of his life as a Thai soul. He will be greatly missed.


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