A Thai reader recently asked me the meaning of the expression ''not the full shilling''. He was referring to remarks by Scottish snooker star Stephen Maguire about Thailand's Dechawat Poomjaeng, who beat Maguire in a huge upset in the world championship a couple of weeks ago. A classic underdog, Dechawat won over the crowd, commentators and TV audience with his unintentionally comical behaviour, prompting references to him as ''Thailand's Mr Bean''.
During the match he twice succeeded in getting lost when making his grand entrance, accidentally knocked over a bottle of water, applauded his own shots, apologised when he had good fortune and kept smiling throughout. The normally hushed audience was in hysterics. The Daily Mail called him ''a cue-wielding cross between Norman Wisdom and Jacques Tati''.
Afterwards, a bewildered Maguire remarked: ''It was the most bizarre match I've ever played in. I don't think he's the full shilling.'' This is possibly not the most diplomatic comment, being a euphemism for someone who, to put it politely, is ''a bit different'', or less politely ''a few satang short of a baht''. I'm sure Maguire used the expression in the most respectful sense, meaning Dechawat was a trifle ''eccentric''.
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