“The Boy with a Bamboo Heart” is the transfixing account of one man’s journey to overcome tremendous odds and define life for himself.
Dr. Amporn Watthanavongs is known to Thai audiences for his frequent appearances in the media featuring his work educating and caring for the destitute children of Thailand. For the first time, the harrowing tale of his life is available in English written by Canadian author Chantal Jauvin. Told in his own words, the page-turning story begins in Surin where he was orphaned at the age of five. Never revealed before, we find out that Dr. Amporn was lured into the jungle of Cambodia where he was turned into a boy-soldier fighting the French mercenaries of Indochina. Desperate after two failed suicide attempts, his life changed through the kindness of a stranger which returned him to his boyhood village.
When he learns to read and write as a novice monk, hope for a better life begins to emerge. Through a chance meeting with a French Jesuit who becomes his mentor, we see him transformed into a man who finds his calling helping others. Known as the “foster father of 50,000 children”, Dr. Amporn has been recognized by the King of Thailand for his work with the Order of the White Elephant. The sensitivity with which Jauvin retells his story is remarkable. She enters into his inner feelings and thoughts providing descriptions and dialogue so vivid it is hard to put the book down.
Jauvin’s ability to take on the voice of a traumatized boy and modulate it with flowing style as he matures into an accomplished man makes the book worthy of the read. The book is available at Asia Books. For more information, consult the author’s website www. chantaljauvin.com.