Stickman Weekly  16/1/2011

Thai Bargirls and Red Flags

The vast majority have a boyfriend.  Many use ya ba (methamphetamine) recreationally.  A good number are addicted to gambling and lose both the money they have made, as well as that they have yet to make.  They may have street smarts, but most have little in the way of even the most basic general knowledge.  Many have a life-long obligation to support the family sloth.  They regularly indulge in high risk behaviour.  They are the bargirls of Thailand, and despite their vices being well-known, the stream of Western men lining up to marry them shows no sign of slowing.

Things don't always work out in relationships.  A couple may enjoy each other's company and have plenty in common until one day they realise that it just wasn't meant to be.  It takes time to really know.

With bargirls, if you open your eyes, the clues are there from the outset.  Clues that things are in fact seriously amiss.  To remove the guesswork from the equation, here are some of the most common things to look out for with your bargirl girlfriend.

Paying the bar a release fee

When they discuss the possibility of her leaving the bar, either to go and live with him, or if he is abroad, to live on his dime, she may claim, or a senior staff member in the bar, often a mamasan, may tell him that a release fee must be paid.  10,000 baht.

Any number of silly reasons may be given as to why it needs to be paid, the most common being that it allows her to return to work in the bar at a later date, if she so wishes.  Why is she entertaining thoughts of returning to the bar?  Of course any bar will gladly take a girl back, especially if she was popular.

From time to time the guy may be told that the girl or her family was paid money in advance, before she came to work in the bar, meaning that the release fee is in fact paying off a debt she owes to the bar.  This is a big fat lie.

It is occasionally said that the girl owes money to the bar for wages paid in advance.  Highly unlikely!

In some bars the mamasan pockets it all.  In others it may go to the bar.  The most common practice sees it split between the mamasan and the girl.

The one time I have heard of a 10,000 baht fee paid where it was plausible was a Cowboy girl who was put on a retainer by a local.  She lived upstairs from the bar, as many girls do in Cowboy, and she wished to stay on living there rather than move in to a place of her own.  The bar said she could continue to live there but as she was no longer working a 10,000 baht fee was required.  In that instance it does, in a very Thai way, make sense.

The 10,000 baht release fee is a scam and worst of all, she is in on it!


She says she's still working but cannot be barfined

Even with a boyfriend supporting them and giving them enough money to live quite comfortably, many girls continue working in the bar.  They say that they are not available to be barfined and won't go with customers.

The monthly salary may vary, but the system is almost always the same.  A typical salary for a girl dancing in a Bangkok gogo is around 8,000 baht a month.  The salary being paid in full is contingent upon the girl achieving certain quotas.  She must achieve x barfines per month and convince customers to buy her xx number of lady drinks.  Typically a girl will be required to get around 7 barfines a month, and 50 lady drinks.  If she does not achieve these quotas, her salary is cut, 600 baht for every barfine and 50 baht for every drink.  So if she dances but does not get barfined, the deduction for failing to achieve any barfines will be 4,200 baht (600 baht x 7).  Most girls meet the lady drink quota easily.

Bars also penalise girls for failing to show up to work with most bars giving girls just 2 nights off a month.  To avoid deductions girls must work at least 28 nights a month.  Few do.  A gogo bar manager confirms that girls generally turn up for work 20 - 25 nights a month.  For every night that they do not show up for work, they are deducted the equivalent of a barfine, 600 baht.  Many bars place a premium deduction on Fridays and Saturdays when failure to show up incurs a 1,000 baht deduction.  From a typical monthly salary of 8,000 baht, the average girl loses a few thousand baht for failing to go to work every night.  Combine that with the deductions for not hitting the barfine quota and they make nothing!  And no girl will dance all night long, every night for nothing!  Sure, they make a small commission on every lady drink bought for them but it won't be enough to keep them in the bar.

Possible exceptions are Cowboy's Dollhouse and Pattaya's Beach Club as well as a few other venues where girls dancing naked on table tops can make 1,000 baht a night or more in tips.  Theoretically they would be making enough that they would not need to be available - but most still go.

If she says she's working and not going with customers, she is almost certainly lying!


She says she needs more than 20,000 baht a month to live on

To get your bargirl out of the industry, you're going to have to cover her bills and then some.  There are a number of arguments on just how much you should give her.

Some argue that if she was popular she might have been making 50,000 baht or more a month and as such you should pay her what she was previously earning to keep her out of the bar.  * It should be noted that the most popular girls never earn less than 100,000 baht a month.

Others argue that if she really loves you and wants to be with you then she will be happy with less because it shows that she genuinely cares for you.

The riches they make in the industry and their lack of money management skills mean most bargirls waste what they make.  Few actually spend that much on necessities, and fewer put their money into what could reasonably be described as worthwhile projects.  Very few actually save and the only reason many even have a bank account is so that their boyfriend can send money to them!  Many waste away a small fortune on gambling, and plenty is given to the Thai boy lingering in the shadows who if you were ever to meet would be introduced to you as her brother.

Irrespective of what she earns, seldom will a bargirl spend more than 5,000 baht on accommodation - and many would consider that an extravagance.  Most are happy - and actually prefer - to eat street food or at market stalls so their total food cost seldom exceeds a few thousand baht a month.  They may have a room full of clothes, shoes and fashion accessories but for the most part these are low-end products bought on the street or at the local market.  Even accounting for money sent home to support family - 5,000 baht a month seems common - they often live comfortably enough on less than 20,000 baht a month.

Of course, these expenses could be slashed if she moved back to her hometown.  It's the best thing a bargirl who is genuinely serious about settling down with a guy can do.  In her hometown, she can be with family, be a mother to her kids, look after her parents, keep costs down and be far away from temptations.

Many bargirls will tell you that they need 40, 50, 60,000 baht or more a month.  Some Western guys do send this amount every month.  The majority of Thais live comfortably on much more modest sums of money.  This is not to say you should not treat your lady well and provide for as best you can.

If she claims that she requires silly money, whatever you send will never be enough and it's all about the money - and not about you!


Her mobile phone is turned off, or other phone problems!

For many Thais, their mobile phone needn't have an off switch for they never use it.  They don't turn it off when they sleep and they won't even turn it off in a cinema.  Is the only time Thai bargirls turn their phone off when they do not want their foreign boyfriend to contact them because they're doing something they shouldn't be doing?

When a bargirl with a boyfriend abroad is with another guy, she cannot risk the boyfriend finding out, so she turns off the phone.  It will usually go off late at night Thai time.  It might be turned off for a few days if she is with a long-term customer.  The clever ones will turn the ringer off, monitor calls and call their boyfriend back if they see a missed call, or text him.  Alternatively, she might turn it on occasionally and call the boyfriend abroad when their current customer is in the shower or she might make a call from the women's room at a shopping centre or restaurant.  They know all the tricks.

If you confront her about the phone being turned off, or her failing to answer it, any of a number of excuses will be given.  She left the phone in her room.  There is more chance of her leaving her head behind than her mobile.  She might say that she lost the phone.  Thais guard their mobiles with their life.  She will say it broke down, yet there are mobile repair shops in every corner of the country and the cost of repairs is seldom more than a couple of hundred baht.

She may claim that she was in her village where there was no mobile phone coverage.  Plausible, but with three major mobile companies in Thailand, all of which are constantly upgrading their network and installing cell towers in remote areas, the villagers always know which system works.  If AIS has coverage in a particular village or area, everyone in that village will have an AIS / One2Call SIM in their mobile.

If you cannot reach her for a long time, or the phone goes unanswered it means only one thing - she's with another guy!



Her sister, friends or mother are bargirls

Several paths lead to employment in a naughty bar.

Thai mothers of all ages enter the industry due to struggles with the cost of raising children.  It gives them hope to better provide for their kids.  Some may work to help support their parents or siblings, perhaps hoping to make enough to pay off family members' debts or in some cases, to pay ongoing medical bills.  Noble reasons for entering the industry.

Younger women are often attracted to the industry by the excitement and the chance to make a lot of money.

Some women are just plain lazy and want to make easy money with minimal effort.

Women in rural / poor areas may see neighbours returning from Bangkok or Pattaya with new clothes, gold, an expensive mobile and see them supporting their family and buying them things they wouldn't be able to provide unless they were whoring or leading a life of crime.

Whatever path a woman takes, if she has close friends or family members in the industry, it can be very difficult for her to put it behind her.  If they are in touch with others involved, they are constantly reminded of the potential riches to be made, and the chance of meeting Mr. Wealthy.  From time to time you hear stories of families with involvement in the industry so deep that 3 sisters are involved - and you just know that they will never escape it.

Any woman who has close friends or family members working will struggle to get out of the industry.
 


 

 

Last week's photo



 

Where was this photo taken?


 

Last week's photo was taken of the area outside Rainbow 4 in Nana Plaza.  A number of readers thought it was G Spot, right next door.  This week's photo was taken last week, and all I will say is that it was taken from a moving vehicle in greater Bangkok...  The first person to email me with the correct location of the photo wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant.  The second person to get it correct wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the best farang food venues in Bangkok, and the home of Bangkok's best burger, in my humble opinion, Duke's Express.  Duke's is conveniently located in the Emporium shopping centre in central Bangkok.

Terms and conditions:  The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days.  The Duke's prize must be utilised by March 2011.  Prizes are only available to readers in Thailand at the time of entering and are not transferable.  Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month.  You only have one guess per week!  If you wish to claim a prize, you must state a preference for the prize you prefer, or list the prizes you would like in order of preference - fail to do so and I will award the prize to the next person to get the photo right.

FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.)  Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK - Why leave?

Why, after so many years in Thailand, are you contemplating leaving?  I've been here in Thailand since 1967, uninterrupted, and I can tell you that after more than 10 years in Thailand you will not fit into your former environment.  Due to my work, I frequently travel abroad, and believe me, even in my own country, with all my relatives around, including my father who is 89, I'm counting the days before my plane leaves for Bangkok.  Why?  Because I don't fit in any more.  I can't relate to the petty problems the people have, the political correctness and most of all, the dullness of life they are living.  Cocooned in their own small world with nothing exiting any more, contrary to Thailand, where every day you can encounter something new, if you want.  You mingle with people and you will find out that the perception many farangs here have about the Thais are wrong.  Get out of the farang ghetto, live somewhere in the suburbs (going to lower Sukhumvit for instance takes me 25 minutes) and enjoy fresh air, peace and quiet.  Think it over.

Thais and loneliness.

I totally agree with you on Thais and loneliness.  When I worked and travelled outside the country, my wife had family close by during those times.  She spent an abnormal amount of time with them when I was away, compared with the amount of time spent with them when I was here.  She would call me at inappropriate times just to talk about nothing, I believed, to gain a feeling of reassurance that I was going to return home.  When I did return she was full of extra affection and emotion that I always thought was because she was once again cared for.  I have always felt this but it is good to hear it from someone else.  Thais are not self-sufficient.  They are afraid and cannot go it alone.

Expensive barfines.

If you're familiar with the American version of the old TV series, "Sanford & Son", Redd Foxx would clutch his chest, look upwards, and say "I'm coming Elizabeth", referring to his dead wife, when receiving bad news.  That's the way I felt when I read about a 1,400 baht barfine.  Not that I ever patronized the soi 33 bars, but that's a guarantee that I never would.  1,400 baht is about $US 50.  I remember when you had a chance of getting a Nana gogo dancer for long time at bar's close for that, but then again, I'm an old man now.

Tempting the temptress.

On a bargirl ripping you off, especially on your last night, I guess I always had good luck, but then again, I never left temptation lying around at any time.  I know some guys who would, just to see if she would "break".  But I always thought that was a bit unfair.  I usually had an o-dark-hundred flight, so had to leave in the middle of the night, so it wasn't really worth pulling someone that last night.  I was just surprised at my naivety, first thinking she wanted to go with me to the airport to say goodbye because we'd had such a good time, then figuring out it was just for any excess baht I had in my pocket.  Maybe times have changed, but I always found that if you treated them fair, like a person, you received the same.


ThaiFriendly.com - the #1 site for Thai dating

Anyone for "star"?

A reader's email this week stated revulsion at Thais eating rats.  When we go to my wife's village in Isaan, eating rats is a good source of protein.  And eating rats helps keep the rice harvest up.  Lastly, these rats are rice-fed, as opposed to Bangkok sewer rats that feed on who knows what.  So, if you are in Isaan and you see STAR meat on the menu, spell STAR backwards!

Overstay confusion.

On the overstay issue, we were caught out in 2001.  We were staying a month and we had 30-day visas.  We arrived on the 1st, and then made it to the airport and Immigration by 10 PM on the 30th for a 1 AM flight.  We were given a lecture, and told that it wasn't when you cleared Immigration, but when the plane was wheels up that mattered!  Mind you, they were quite nice, and there was no fine or problem with later re-entry.  That said, what happens in Thailand if your flight is cancelled as your visa expires?  Will they renew automatically?

Hello, ajarn!

At Christmas we held the annual Zombie Walk with a bunch of zombies eating and drinking at Charley Brown's.  They were pretty drunk and noisy, but not offensive.  Just as they were leaving, the last guy had his hand on the door when someone said, "Oh look, it's Mr. Andrew!"  The guy froze.  He turned around slowly and stood face to face with one of his students and their entire family!  He was very amiable and tried his best to be professional, but he was barely able to stand properly and was dressed in full Zombie attire.  His farang girlfriend was dressed as a 'slutty zombie' and kept shouting from outside "C'mon Andrew, let's go and get pissed!"  He had a 5-minute conversation about the kid's artwork, but clearly was having major trouble completing sentences and formulating words.  I was laughing myself silly, but he did pretty well.  I don't know how he faced the kid on Monday morning though.

Foreign teachers and Thai students.

When I was teaching, there were some crazy times at Bangkok language schools.  I heard stories about teachers at XXXX XXXXXX and XXX regularly hopping into bed with their students.  One American guy I know, not young, not really good-looking and going thin on top, at the last count had 10 uni students on the go.  Another guy I worked with told me that some of the teachers at XXXX XXXXXX openly point out the students they have been to bed with!  When I was running a teaching department, I used to get teachers asking me if it was ok to date students.  Although I can understand that if a guy is looking for a genuine Thai girl, a language school would be an ideal place to find one, my reply was simple, "What happens if she turns out to be a psycho, or her family kicks up a stink.  How would you feel if our workplace was raided by Immigration?"  One of our sales girls was fired and she called Immigration, telling them that there were foreign teachers working without work permits.  The next day we were raided.  If a sacking can provoke revenge, I'm sure a scorned woman also can.  I have to say though that my wife used to be a student of mine.  So I feel that if you meet someone special in that situation, then it's best to really get to know them well like I did, and wait until they finish their course.  On the one hand, we are all adults and what adults do in their spare time is nobody else's business, but the classroom should not be used as a dating agency.  That's what the internet is for!

 

Is more beer bar building activity coming to Sukhumvit soi 4?  The manager of popular bar, Strikers, Mike, has been in talks to buy the tailor's right next door and it was hoped that any expansion would be completed by March.  For sure there is room to expand because like most of the bars on soi 4 within a stone's throw of Nana Plaza, Strikers does a good trade.  Until this past week, I never realised that Strikers has a back entrance that takes you directly into the Plaza.  Anyway, at this point the tailor's store owner wants an outrageous amount of money so talks have stalled - but they remain hopeful a deal will be done soon.

Raw Hide and Long Gun have entered the competition for the bar having the highest priced drinks in Soi Cowboy.  After happy hour, a standard drink in either of these two landmark Cowboy bars will now set you back the princely sum of 150 baht.  This puts them equal with the gogo bars of the No Name Group (Sheba's and Suzy Wong) as well as the independent, Baccarra.  Notices outlining the price increase can be found where bars always announce prices increases - on the walls in the toilet!

The next party at my favourite Sukhumvit freelancer venue, Bangkok Beat, will be held on January 29th, and is themed a black and white party.  Keep an eye out for a dashing, opinionated Kiwi wearing the colours of the to be crowned 2011 Rugby World Cup champions.  It's a black or white party, after all!

Manager Tricky Ricky and owner Terry are over the moon that their bar, Baby Dolls in Pattaya, has been voted best gogo bar in Sin City for the 3rd year running.  Well done, gents, that's a phenomenal achievement!

Which will give Baby Dolls even more reason to party tonight.  Baby Dolls, which can be found in soi 15 off Walking Street, just up from Angelwitch, is having a party tonight to celebrate mamasan Da's birthday.  Baby Dolls is wild most nights, but tonight promises to be even wilder than usual.  Coupled with free food from Palmer's to help soak up the alcohol, it should be a great night!

Whatever happened to Nigel, the old manager of Big Mango, you know, the fellow with the Dave The Rave-inspired hairdo?  He seems to have dropped off the map and even some old friends and colleagues don't know what happened to him, with some a little concerned.

Charley Brown's had a Mexican band perform live in December and they were such a success that the venue has rebooked them.  Manager Dave, a shameful Manchester United fan, said it was probably the venue's best night ever.  They will be performing at Charley Brown's this coming Thursday, 20th January, starting from 9 PM.  You really do need to book as they were rammed full last time and many people had to be turned away.  You can book on 02-6152215 or through Facebook - Charley Browns.

Think the Rainbow bars in Nana Plaza and if you're like me, you probably think of the gigantic Rainbow 4 first, followed by Rainbow 1, the old favourite on the ground floor.  You might even spare a thought for Rainbow 2 in the back right-hand corner which seems to attract a lot of Japanese.  Seldom do you hear Rainbow 3 mentioned and sometimes I wonder if Rainbow 3 is for those who don't make the grade, sort of like a seconds store for manufactured items that didn't pass inspection.  Apparently Rainbow 3, which is stuck away on the second floor near the steps leading up to the top floor on the left hand side, has acquired the Villa beer bar next door.  Construction work is underway and the are going to knock out the wall and make Rainbow 3 the next uber bar in the plaza.  I thought they might even make it Rainbow 5, but apparently not.  At this stage, once Rainbow 3 has been expanded, they plan to take the dancers from Rainbow 1 up to Rainbow 3 and all the Rainbow 3 girls will go down to Rainbow 1.  Rainbow 1 is usually packed with Japanese who no doubt will follow, while the less attractive girls of Rainbow 3 will get a superior location which they hope will win them favour with punters.  While the Rainbow bars have a strong brand name, I tend to think it's more about the following that each individual bar has.  Many Westerners only go to Rainbow 4 and would not venture into any of the other Rainbow bars whereas the Japanese tend to prefer Rainbows 1 and 2.  There is a danger that shuffling the girls around could backfire as less frequent visitors and those not really plugged in to what is going on get confused.

At Nana Plaza we have the recently renovated DC 10, Rainbow 3 being expanded, mini beer bars that look like giant remote-controlled helicopters on the ground floor and the rumour of investors about to take over the Hollywood bars on the top floor as well as the Hollywood Inn.  Is Nana Plaza undergoing a renaissance?  Investment in the plaza is what is needed to challenge Cowboy - and it is happening!  Cowboy has had things all its way for a few years now.  With money being invested by a number of owners in Nana, could it become the bar area of choice in 2011?

Sometimes you really do feel like pulling your hair out in this country.  If you go to the Immigration Department's official website, the map showing the location of the Immigration department in Bangkok shows Soi Suan Plu.  If you were to look at the American Embassy's website for information at the local Immigration department you would see a map leading to Chaeng Wattana Road which must be 25 or 30 kilometres away. Well, Soi Suan Plu is where Immigration HQ used to be, but now it is home to the Immigration Detention Centre and, I believe, the Immigration Investigation Unit.  Most of the Immigration Department functions, at least in terms of services for foreigners, moved out to Chaeng Wattana.  So which website got it right?  The Americans or the Thais?  Given that pretty much no-one wants to end up in the IDC or be interrogated by Immigration, I'd say that the Americans did!

I note that the baht has dropped back a little and anyone changing dollars on the street is now getting a little over 30 baht to the dollar for a US hundred dollar note.  I don't know how long it will last though, things seem to be fluctuating a lot and you wouldn't be surprised to see it jump up or down.

The Bangkok Post seems to understand well which phrases users search for information on Thailand and have placed keywords on its site accordingly.  Check out the key word they are currently using on their website, between "red shirt" and "Postbag".

If you have some spare cash, love old cars and are looking for a fun and profitable project in Thailand, have a look at classic replica cars in Thailand.

I've mentioned it before but it's worth mentioning again.  For Kiwis and Aussies who wish to stay in Thailand but who do not qualify for a retirement visa, are not married and are not employed, there is a solution.  It's called the APEC card.  The card is issued to businessmen from Down Under who wish to visit countries in the ASEAN block to pursue business opportunities and the holder gets 90-day permission to stay.  This card is useful for Thailand because it eliminates the need to get a visa at an embassy or consulate outside the country but it is also allows the same in many countries in the region including Indonesia, Vietnam and even China - all of which require a visa to enter.  Unfortunately I am not aware of a similar solution for Europeans or North Americans.  Kiwis hereAussies here.

Well, well, well, it seems that a few Stickman readers are upset at the new type of visitor flocking to Thailand.  Not the Indians, not the Russians and not even the Middle Easterners.  I have been amazed at the number of guys who have emailed me upset to see men of colour in and around their bar areas!  Do you suffer from small weenie syndrome?!  Admittedly some of the Africans in Nana who have arrived straight from deepest, darkest Africa don't seem to be the most savoury bunch, but those from North America and the UK aren't that different to the rest of us!

Quote of the week comes from a reader "Thais seem inordinately fond of street battles for an Asian nation with a significant percentage of GDP dependent on tourism."

Reader's story of the week is the latest masterpiece from Mega, warning of the dangers of giving your heart to a Thai bargirl in "It's All Up To You".

Yet more proof that rogue Thai police are out of control in Bangkok.

A British woman is raped in Phuket by a gang of Swedes and Thais.

In a road rage incident in Bangkok, a Thai Airways pilot driving to work is shot by another driver.

A cybersex scam is busted in the Philippines.

A Facebook page has been set up to help visitors avoid the notorious Thailand jet ski scams.

A Frenchman is arrested in Pattaya after pulling a knife and threatening a Brit.

An Aussie's heart is broken by a 21-year old village girl so he heads to the balcony and jumps!

Mekong Kurt's column can now be found at this new web address.

Ask Sunbelt Legal

Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand.  Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column.  You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.

Question 1:  I noticed in a previous question (15/8/10) regarding a Thai / foreign born child being able to get dual citizenship being fairly simple, however I understand it is notoriously difficult or maybe even impossible for a Westerner to obtain a Thai passport / nationality.  Is there any definite way or route to go through to achieve this?  In England, for example, long-term residency and marriage to a British citizen given time can result in a Thai getting a British passport.  Are there any such terms or requirements for the reverse in Thailand?  Secondly, would gaining a Thai passport legally grant the same rights as every other Thai, such as land ownership?

Sunbelt Legal responds:  A foreigner will be eligible to apply for Thai citizenship (and to be able to obtain a Thai Identity Card and Thai passport) on the condition that he has a Permanent Resident Status for at least 5 consecutive years and earns over 100,000 baht per month.

A simpler route is available to female foreigners in the case she is married to a Thai citizen.

The applicant must:
  Be at the age of majority (by both Thailand and by his / her country).
  Have a record of good conduct (no criminal record).
  Have a good, stable occupation.
  Have already been granted permanent Residency in Thailand for not less than 5 years.
  Have a sound knowledge of the Thai language (reading, writing and speaking).

*  It should also be noted that in order to obtain Permanent Residence in Thailand (the 2 common PR categories are PR Based on Working and PR Based on Supporting of a Thai citizen [Married to a Thai], a pre-requisite is for you to have an extension of stay based on either business or marriage and a minimum monthly salary of 80,000 baht (for PR based on working) or 30,000 baht (for PR based on supporting a Thai citizen) for 3 consecutive years prior to the PR application submission.

Pre-approval would lie with the discretion of the Minister of Interior where the Minister shall submit the matter to the King for royal sanction.

Once granted Thai citizenship, you will have the same rights as any other Thai, that is to own land and to work legally without the requirement of a work permit.


Question 2:  Could you tell me what the legal age for a Thai girl to have sex is?  I'm asking because the other night I was accosted by two stunning girls in a bar in Nana Plaza who claimed to be 17.  While this is way below the age of the girls I normally go for (mid 20s - early 30s), I was sorely tempted for old time's sake, to see if I still could, juvenile I know but that's me!  My ex-wife always said that I'd never gotten past 15, just my toys got bigger.  The thought of the Bangkok Hilton stopped me.  So what's the legal age?

Sunbelt Legal responds:  18 would the minimum age if you are to get involves either sexually or in a non-sexual relationship.  There are harsh penalties for being a customer of prostitution if the provider is under age of 18.  It's one to three years in prison!


There is a chance that you might inadvertently, or perhaps not so inadvertently, be included in this column.  You might be captured in a photo, or you might somehow be mentioned in a story, report or anecdote.  If you are mentioned or featured here and would prefer not to be, drop me an email and let me know.  I am happy to edit the prose so that you can not be identified.  If your mug shot appears in a compromising photo, let me know if it bothers you and I will remove it.  I love street photography and Thailand offers unlimited opportunities, but at the same time I realise that some people caught through the lens might find themselves in an embarrassing or compromising situation.  I do however suggest that if you do not wish to appear here (or on any site with photos or videos from Thailand), then don't do anything in public that you would prefer people didn't see or know about.  If for example you're caught smooching with a ladyboy on Walking Street, don't blame the photographer!

 

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick
 

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Stick can be contacted at: stickmanbangkok@gmail.com.