Double Trouble

Written by Andrew Marshall

Posted on 16 June 2011

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 my 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.


  1. ma thanegi says:

    Hi Andrew
    We’ve not met but i’ve read several of your pieces and book. Someone told me last week you were going to post something on the Thai Royal Family on your blog and she was worried/sure you’d be kicked out. Good for you that’s its another AM and not you.
    BTW your article on Myanmar in April 25 TIME was surprising, considering how you used to see our situation, and very reasonable and also very brave in the face of fanatic political correctness.
    BTW Myanmar has been the name in our language recorded on a stone inscription dated in Burmese equal to 1235 CE. If the military had invented a new name we would not have accepted it either. A rural Myanmar person not knowing any English would have no idea what Burma or Rangoon are. So, why this continued insistence that Burma is the correct name? Cannot understand it. I can send you photo of the words ‘Myanmar Country’ in archaic Burmese from that stone in Bagan if you want.

  2. Andrew Marshall says:

    Great to hear from you. I don’t have any problem with “Myanmar,” for precisely the historical reasons you set out. But TIME’s house style is “Burma” and it has become my habit too (although I did once object to an over-enthusiastic sub-editor who changed the name of that infamous newspaper back to “The New Light of Burma”). Would love to meet you one day, but visas are proving impossible to get since I was deported after Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Any suggestions?

  3. Klaus Berthelsen says:

    Well, you are right. I was looking for the other Andrew Marshall. Never the less your web-site is interesting for the exact same reasons. I read some of your blog posts and i will surely return

    Best regards

  4. Andrew Marshall says:

    Many thanks, Klaus, and please keep reading.

  5. Rachel says:

    I too live in Thailand and, like you, am well-versed on what is allowed and what is not :) Never thought about someone potentially having problems because of the idiotic actions of another who’s name is similar. I’ll bet you’ll have some problems for a while, particularly at Thai immigration the next time you go.

    My advice? Print out a copy of the other twat’s photo (he’s so full of himself, I can only call him a ‘twat’, sorry if this is a family website :) ), with his name printed underneath it and bio showing he lives in Singapore, and make sure you have it with you at all times. At least then you can point to said twat, then to yourself and, unless you also unfortunately look like him, prove you’re not.

    Good luck with it!

  6. Tim Footman says:

    In the introduction to McGregor Marshall’s original essay (all 108 pages, and I’m not linking either) he writes:

    “There is an excellent Bangkok- based freelance journalist called Andrew Marshall, who writes for Time magazine among other publications and authored a book on Burma, The Trouser People. He has nothing to do with this article and obviously should not be held responsible for anything I write.”

    so I don’t think it’s fair to call him a twat. Some of the papers that have referred to his piece, or published shortened versions have neglected to make this clear, leaving out his middle name. They’re the ones to blame for any potential misunderstanding.

  7. Rachel says:

    Tim, you did not read my comment correctly if you’re referring to it when you say “I don’t think it’s fair to call him a twat”.

    I’m sorry, just because he mentions the potential misunderstanding between the two Andrew Marshall’s does not negate him from being a twat. He’s full of himself and his work, has an overblown sense of ego, and seems to think he’s going to change history with this set of articles.

    Read his opening line in the Independent article about him, “For the past month, I have worked 16 hours a day, without pay, on a story that is likely to be widely denounced.” I stopped reading right there. Honestly, I’m supposed to feel sorry for you or think you some kind of hero?

    He quit Reuters to write these things but there’s little in them that other people haven’t written, said before or been jailed for. Seems like a silly waste of a career at Reuters, all for a set of articles that have already been forgotten in the wake of daily new things coming out of Thailand, and that hardly saw any mention in Thailand – where, of course, it really matters – anyway.

    Sure, you’ll get The Usual Farangs leaving patting-on-the-back comments to Marshall, but that’s because, even though many have lived here for years, they deep down hate Thailand and the Thais, primarily because they know what THEY think or do has absolutely NO bearing on what Thailand will do. Want to be completely powerless and ignored? Live in Thailand as a farang.

    Sure, Thailand has boatloads of problems. If you want to write about a fucked up country politically, put Thailand right at the top of the list, but don’t expect what you write to have much impact in the country. Overall, a complete waste of a career, IMO. Besides, there are far better causes.

  8. maung win says:

    Long time no hear and no see. How are you doing? Try to get visa, go inside Burma (the word despised by MTG, a piece of shit) and find out what’s going on with the puppet government. I have learnt that Thein Sein recently sent a letter to Parliament to stop Chinese project for building dams which is the controversial issue at present. But it is quite confused to the words of Thein Sein “to stop during the mandate of the present government”. So the military regime can stage a coup any time to continue on building the dams in favor of Chinese government. I have posted a petition on Care2 petition site in protest against the Chinese “damned” project. Now the signatures exceeded 1,000. The petition will be sent to Premier Hu Jing Tong. Following is the link of the site:
    Best Wishes
    Win (journalist-in-exile)

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