There are two reasons that I chose this book, The Master Builder
written by Charles Sale (ISBN 0-370-30927-8, Putnam and Company, 1982, but
first published in the US in 1930) for review this week. This first reason
was Serendipity and the second followed Jung’s theory of Synchronicity. I
shall now expand on the first, but you will have to wait until the end of
the review for the synchronicity.
I attended the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya’s Xmas Charity
bazaar a couple of weeks ago, and bumped into ‘Foo’ (Felicity) Smith who was
manning one of the Lion’s Club stalls. Amongst a weird range of memorabilia
items (some more memorable than others) they also had some old books, some
of which obviously did not sell during the course of the day, and had
rapidly become close to the “surreptitiously throw in the bin” category. One
of these was Charles Sale’s The Master Builder. However, Foo, knowing
my penchant for books presented it to me (probably rather than bin it), and
I was delighted with it. Thank you Foo. Serendipity indeed!
Two storey out-house.
The Master Builder is a slim volume with only 41 pages,
and the pages themselves are smaller than A5. After all these years (81
since its first publishing), it was fortunate that the publisher included a
note to tell us a little about the author, Charles Sale. Apparently he was
an actor, and wrote a stage monologue which was called “The Specialist”.
Having written it, he performed it on stage as well, and by the release of
the British version in 1982 it was already a best-seller with over 700,000
The monologue is given by a “Lem Putt”, a tradesman who
builds and digs out-houses. Fortunately those days are almost gone, though
there are still some trenches in the North-East of Thailand. Lem is not a
shy and retiring chap, as you would imagine from his chosen profession. His
advice is slanted to show his own expertise, but I think we all do that. The
finale is the two storey loo.
Now I did mention C. G. Jung’s Theory of Synchronicity in
my introduction. This is where two similar things happen which have no
obvious relationship to each other occur at the same time, and here’s where
this theory comes in as far as The Master Builder book is concerned. A
couple of weeks ago I was sent an email, with the drawing I have included
along with the pic of the cover this week. It was supposed to be a humorous
expose as to why there is a need for a two storey out-house, which allows
the members of parliament to use the top floor, while we lesser mortals
receive their offerings on our heads. The drawing was the one from the book.
What are the chances of synchronous events such as those? Billions to one I
It remains a humorous little book, throwing off at our
foibles, but you might have to go to Amazon dot com to get it - or haunt the