A few years ago, I checked into a Rangoon hotel on the first day of a magazine assignment. Like most foreign reporters who visit Burma, I had entered on a tourist visa and intended to keep my true profession a secret. So I was shocked when the receptionist said, “Welcome back, Mr. Marshall,” and presented me with a check-in form that already showed an employer: Reuters.
It was not the first time I was confused with Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a Reuters veteran of 17 years until his resignation in June 2011.
And it certainly won’t be the last. In January 2012, I joined Reuters as Special Correspondent, Thailand and Indochina. In a bid to distinguish myself from illustrious namesake, I write under the byline “Andrew R.C. Marshall.” (My Reuters blog is here.)
There are many differences between me and Andrew MacGregor Marshall. Here is one: he is writing a critical biography of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, based on U.S. diplomatic cables acquired via WikiLeaks; I am not.
Here is another: I live in Bangkok, where I can be jailed for up to 15 years for offending the Thai royal family; he lives in Singapore, where he cannot.
In May 2011, a U.S. citizen was arrested in Thailand for allegedly posting a link on his blog to a banned biography of King Bhumibol. So forgive me if I don’t post a link to my namesake’s new website. I urge you to google “Andrew MacGregor Marshall” instead.