The Death of Steve Suphan

(Left: The last known photograph of Steve Suphan. Right: The first published photograph of Steve’s re-birth as Stephen Cleary)

Perhaps not quite, but with a tear in my eye, it has been decided due to complete confusion – to change my name to Stephen Cleary.

After the result of very little deliberation, it was realized that having two names was a complete headache to other folk – and moreover, not exactly a very strategical move on my part. Once upon a time on the spur of the moment, I completely made up the name Steve Suphan (Suphan as in the province I live, Suphanburi) and went on to use that name at various websites and in particular…. thai-blogs. So, what happened? Well, almost a year ago now, I got the job at The Nation newspaper and the Editorial Boss sent me a mail specifying that it was company policy to use ones real name – and so Steve Suphan immediately got the boot there.

Another reason for the change is my first book which ought hopefully to hit the shelves in a few months. It is simply no good, as a writer, to have two names when one is already more than enough. Of course, I have to try and sell the friggin thing and so there is nothing more important than a potential buyer recognizing the author’s name.

The person to get me going in regards to the name-change was no other than Richard Barrow himself who has co-incidentally received e-mails from readers at The Nation asking him to forward on mail to Stephen Cleary. Yeah, I mean it isn’t too clever like, when you have a link from a page like that to here and have a different name.

I doubt you noticed, but just yesterday evening my name changed from Steve Suphan to Steve Cleary to Stephen Cleary in the space of an hour. Richard thought I wanted to use ‘Steve’ but I decided against it and believed it wise to use the posher sounding ‘Stephen’. I mean how many great writers have you heard of with a name like ‘Steve’? Compare that however, to how many ‘Steve’ football hooligans and petty criminals there have been. It’s a terrible thing really, but in the field of writing and the what-not, real names simply read better than shortened ones. Take Andy, that’s a nice name like, but for the bookstore/blog browser Andrew reads slightly more intelligent. Then we have Steward, who may be know to his boozing buddies as Stu – Michael as Mick, Jonathon as Joe, Richard as Dick, Harold as Harry or Walter as Wally.

In the meantime however, TWFKASS (The writer formerly known as Steve Suphan) is still known to friends, family and foe as simply Steve.

A name-change or not, I do hope you continue reading. Thanks.

18 responses to “The Death of Steve Suphan

  1. haha the photos are great! FHM! *LOL*

  2. Andrew Hicks

    RIP Mr Suphan and may your successor succeed as your predecessor did so notably.

    And good luck with the book. I’m sure “Thai Girl” wouldn’t have sold nearly so well if I’d called myself Andy.

    I hope nobody confuses you with Julian Clary, the camp British TV presenter. Perish the thought!

    Andrew Hicks

  3. Good choice Stephen but will the next move be us having to call you Mister Cleary lol

  4. Oh one more question have they renamed Suphanburi to Clearyburi in your honour

  5. beer chang. flavor of the day. Who ya gonna be steve?

  6. Stephen,

    A good move I think, about time your Nation pieces and the ones on here had the same author. Your “Google” presence will be off the charts!

    I personally, and I know many Nation and Thai Blogs readers will feel the same, am looking forward to your book later this year. Do I sense a new king of the expat authors about to take the throne? (Not the guy in the first photo who might not be able to make the climb).

    BTW – RIP Steve Suphan, though I hope he can be resurrected every so often. Thailand might become a much duller place without him!

    Congratulations and Good Luck!


  7. I heard Mr Suphan has links to the Burmese junta and we need not dwell on the well-known malfeasance of this “Steve” fellow, so good move in my book.
    Enjoyed the blog as always, look forward to the book.

  8. Because you are a friend I will still call you Steve.
    But for professional reason the birth of Stephen Clearly is necessary.
    I legally changed my real name in real life when I was just 14 yo because I simply did not like my old name.
    Paul is my first name, but au is actually not my last name, I use this name for the same reason you used suphan, it is where I live.

  9. Martin Chaingmai

    What about Steve Irwin the Croc Hunter? The whole world knows him.

  10. “that it was company policy to use ones real name” – does this mean that there is really someone out there with the real name “Chang Noi”?
    but using only one name is a good move

  11. Steve Suphan

    Thanks for your comments. Just in case you were wondering to the name of the book of the right – it is ‘Experiencing Saint Therese Today’.

    What Confused said is quite right. I couldn’t be bothered explaining much in this blog – but Chang Noi has been there for a long while – under ‘different circumstances’.

  12. A rose by any other name…well, you know. 🙂

    You’ll always be Khun Steve to me!

  13. I think i prefer the old Steve, much better looking. Look at the new haircut Steve, where did you buy all that gel from?

    I encourage everyone to sign the new online petition at

  14. Thanks Lord Stephen, may this just be the tip of your iceberg of novels, short stories and books!

  15. About the name, steven cleary. First name Steve is, I think humble but knowing, like friendly. The name Steven is requiring and demanding. As if one must read what is printed.

  16. I’ve changed to Singha, and now I can Singha song in Thai,
    Drop us a line if you like, you know where we are.

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers from Chris as well.

  17. It’s a nice name, but you should change it. I am Stephen Cleary.

  18. Almost 4 years after the death of the artist formerly known as Steve Suphan, has there also been the death of Stephen Cleary? – does anyone know? – does anyone care? Steve disappeared from his home in Suphan Buri about a year ago now, and most of his acquaintences here are curious about what really happened to him. Shortly after his disappearance he was spotted briefly in BKK, but didn’t acknowledge the guy who shouted “Hey Steve” across the road to him. So has he indeed passed away, maybe in trouble, or more likely just BEING AN ASSHOLE as usual !!!