Stickman Weekly  4/3/2012



An Afternoon in Lumpini Park

It is often said that Bangkok is perhaps not necessarily boring during the day, but there isn't that much to do apart from shopping and visiting temples.  Some say the city doesn't really come alive until after dark.

But there are things to do during the day and one of my favourites is a gentle stroll around peaceful Lumpini Park, an enjoyable way to spend daylight hours in Bangkok.  It's a place relatively few foreigners are seen. 

Lumpini Park is a special place and every time I visit I find something new.  This week's afternoon stroll was no exception.



Lumpini Park

Lumpini Park is situated in the heart of Bangkok, on the other side of Rama 4 Road from the commercial district of Silom and Sathorn Roads.  On its eastern edge is Wireless Road and a kilometre north is the rebuilt Central World shopping centre.

The easiest way to reach Lumpini Park is to take the skytrain to the Sala Daeng station from where it is a 5-minute walk, or go by underground train to Silom station and take exit #1 which dumps you right at the main gates.

Within the park is a public swimming pool (probably the cheapest in all of Bangkok), a few tennis courts, a school and a couple of open-air gyms.  The restaurants once there are gone, a shame as they served nice food in an even nicer setting.  There are few food vendors within the park, but a good number on the northern edge, along Sarasin Road.

There's a 2.5 km circuit ideal for walking and running, about 1/3 of the width of which is designated for cycling - but only between 10 AM and 3 PM.  There are two lakes and various canals running around the park.

 

Lumpini Park

Lumpini Park has various fitness options and is probably the best place to run in central Bangkok.  There are pedal-boats, a couple of weight-lifting areas with free weights where many Thai bodybuilders work out.  Walk past with a local lady and they will flirt with her in the local lingo, assuming you can't understand what they're saying.  Say something back in Thai and they'll grin and give you the big thumbs up!

 

Lumpini

Thai massage is available in Lumpini Park but you have to look for it and even then you may not find it.  The practitioners carry it out under the trees, or next to the lake.  Foreigners are seldom approached by the few vendors inside the park.  This is another of the great things about Lumpini - it really is very relaxing and you're not harangued to buy something you have no interest in.  A few vendors hire out mats to sit on the grass, and some sell bread to feed the local critters, but most don't speak farang and leave foreigners alone.


Lumpini Park 

Perhaps it's a Thai thing, perhaps it's a Lumpini thing, but in all of my travels I have never before seen anyone practice their golf swing using ice cubes in place of golf balls - which is exactly what this fellow was doing.

The park is popular with older Thais and for many it seems to be a meeting place, a pleasant spot to lounge and chat away.  Many are older Chinese Thais and you often see them partaking of Chinese tea ceremonies.

 

Lumpini Park

A proficient English speaker, this fellow spends much time in the park.  On this occasion he invited me to photograph him feeding banana to turtles.  He would place small pieces of banana on wooden sticks and gently lower them to the turtles in the pond to nibble.  He actively seeks out foreigners in the park and engages them in conversation, inviting them to sign his small friendship book.  A very well-travelled, friendly and interesting fellow, he can tell you much about life in, and history of the park, as well as about Thailand in general.


Lumpini Park Bangkok

A curious scene, a farang Sheila and an unattractive, almost creepy looking ladyboy share a park bench.  Who sat down first?  It has to be the farang bird, right?  In a park the size of Lumpini where there are hundreds of park seats and a zillion places to rest, why would you choose to sit next to someone else?  So I guess it means the ladyboy sat next to the farang bird.  Looking for a soft target perhaps?  Or maybe I am just thinking too much.

An ex-girlfriend used to get nervous whenever I said I was going for a walk, or taking a book to Lumpini - and I only ever go during daylight hours.  She claimed it was a dangerous place full of shifty characters.  Perhaps it once was.  I have always found it relaxing, peaceful and dare I say it, tranquil.  Now there's a word you seldom hear used in, or to describe Bangkok.

 

Lumpini Park

Obviously the Eden Club isn't the only place you can get two.  This fellow is a little greedy, isn't he?  Two?  I wouldn't know what to do with two!  Oh ok, I could probably work it out!

While some foreign residents run in the park - morning before work and evening after work are when the park is busiest, throughout the day it's quiet.  I guess Bangkok is not a place foreigners come to chill, quite the opposite in fact!


Lumpini Park

One of my over-riding memories of spending pleasant afternoons in London's Hyde Park where I would read those fine English rags, The Sun and The Sunday Sport, was that you could be forgiven for thinking that England was a country with no welfare system whatsoever, so conspicuous were beggars and the homeless.  In a country significantly less wealthy than England, it would be a fair assumption that Lumpini Park would be a favourite spot for the homeless, but that isn't the case.

The fellow pictured here is one of few homeless who spend much time in the park.  Curiously, has a red stain over all of his skin.  At first I thought he may have rolled around in some sort of red-coloured pigment but I have seen the same guy in the park for a good few years - with the same red tint to his skin.  I wonder what it is.  Despite obviously being homeless, he can't be doing that badly - he has as much pork on his belly as many a foreigner strolling Beach Road!

 

Lumpini Park

For me the highlight of the park are the magnificent monitor lizards which are there in abundance.  There must be hundreds of these magnificent creatures that I've always thought of as half snake / half alligator.  Fully grown, they can be as big as an adult human.  They are found all over the park and despite looking scary, they are in fact scared of us.  The reaction of the dtua-ngern-dtua-tong, as they are politely called in Thai, to humans is to very slowly and carefully slink away, usually into the nearest canal, pond or pipe.

Apparently they are not venomous but the bacteria inside their mouths is so filthy that a human suffering bite - which doesn't happen often - had better seek medical treatment urgently otherwise amputation of the bitten limb becomes an issue.  A wives tale or not, I have no idea, but I have heard this from a good few Thais.

 

Lumpini Park

The tranquility was disturbed as troops entered the park and lined up on either side of the canal on the southern / Rama 4 Road side.  Armed not with weapons, but long sticks with an even longer piece of string, on which hung a dead fish.  Aha, they are trying to catch something.  Perhaps they are looking to catch a large fish and take it back to base to cook up for dinner?



monitor lizard

The monitors took the bait and any notion I had about their inability to move quickly was shattered as I watched one run towards the fish on the string at real pace, only to be ambushed by a bunch of soldiers with long pieces of plastic pipes with a lasso attached.  Boy, can these things move.  I never knew 4 small legs could move so fast!

With a lasso hooked around its neck, the beast thrashed around and it took three soldier to hold what was but a medium-sized beast down.  If it is anything like a snake - which if you've ever handled, you'll know feel like they are made entirely of muscle - this creature would not be easy to capture.

The captured beast was tied up with some sort of nylon rope and placed into a sack which was placed in the back of a pickup truck.  As I walked past the military men at the park gate on Rama 4 Road and playing dumb tourist, I overheard them saying that the previous day some group had caught 40.  I don't know quite how many they caught that day, but from what I saw, it was several at least.

What happens to them?  Are they relocated?  Perhaps they end up on the dining table at the local mess hall?  Or perhaps they are sent down to Malaysia where, yes, they are eaten and where they are considered to be, you got it, an aphrodisiac.

 

Lumpini Park

Our poor old friends, the monitor lizards, so contented to take a backseat to humans, is picked on once again, this time dive-bombed by birds.  It was kind of amusing watching this huge mass of muscle scurry off into the water to escape the birds hounding it, squawking loudly and swooping down on it!  Who'd want to be a monitor lizard?!

But don't go thinking that the monitor lizards are the most dangerous creatures found at Lumpini.  That dubious honour goes to the two-legged creatures who flock to the park at night and hang around the outside - the park closes around 9 PM.  These creatures arrive late in the evening, usually after 9:30 PM and are typically seen in skimpy outfits.  They can be young, the odd one might be pretty and they might even be friendly with you for a mere 500 baht.  Rumour has it that they are as filthy as the bacteria in the monitor lizard's mouth.  You won't see these creatures in the afternoon though...

Lumpini Park might not be as famous as Sanam Luang (the park next to the Grand Palace), nor as big as Suan Luang (huge park in the eastern suburbs of the city), but it is a fun, easily accessible place with something for most people.  Just like Bangkok, I never liked it the first time I visited it, but again, just like Bangkok, the more I came to know it, the more it grew on me, and the more I enjoy spending time there these days.



*Where* was this photo taken?

Bangkok

Last week's photo was taken at Patpong with the sign for Kiss Bar in the foreground and the famous building wall with airport routes in the background.  Despite the fact that the photo was taken in a bar area, only a handful of readers got it right.  So where was this week's mystery photo taken?!  All you have to do is tell me where the photo was taken.  There are 2 prizes up for grabs - a 500 baht credit at the Oh My Cod fish and chips restaurant, and a 500 baht voucher from one of the best farang food venues and home of Bangkok's best burger, Duke's Express.

Terms and conditions:  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 - failure to do so results in the prize going to the next person to get the photo right.  The Duke's Express voucher MUST be redeemed by June 2012.  The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days.  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!

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 - Enamel is no replacement for gold!

A few years ago my dear wife informed me that it was her mama's birthday and we, meaning me, would have to buy her some gold.  Knowing that a gift of gold would find its way to the pawn shop the very next day - or sooner - I refused.  Mama is in her mid 50s, but looks mid 90s so being the sport I am, I offered to have mama's 4 remaining teeth removed and she fitted with the best pair of false choppers baht could buy.  Mama reacted in horror and the offer was refused!

Totty on Tagged.com.

In regards to Thai dating websites, have you ever looked at Tagged.com?  You get your normal "average" Thai women on there but the beauty is you can scan many profiles quickly and just click on Yes or No.  Although I don't do any of this now, I did pull a really high-class, wealthy woman on the site last year - and it's free!

A book recommendation.

You often mention authors like Moore, Leather etc.  I have just finished reading a book called "Free Time" by R D Lawrence.  I enjoyed it even more than "Private Dancer" or "The Big Mango".  Have you heard of this author?  I don't ever remember you mentioning him.  It is not about a bargirl, but the main character who escapes from prison in London has a girlfriend who is a bargirl - and she never does him wrong in any way.  In fact, it's just the opposite!  The book is set between London and Bangkok, around Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza and is about 6 years old.

Too much paperwork to process!

Two years ago I took a litre of Middleton Whiskey and a half-litre of Jameson into the country.  Having visited the smokers room in the airport, I noticed a sign warning that any excess alcohol should be dumped into the bin nearby.  Further towards Immigration there was yet another sign and bin.  I decided to declare all and opened the bag in the red area.  There was nobody there so somebody came over from the green area and I was waved on as if I was mental!  The reaction of Customs was such that I actually thought that taking in 1 litre of spirits was a bluff and that I was well inside the limits with almost 2 litres.  There must be a whack of paperwork involved!

No such thing as a free breakfast.

I can confirm that the condo / timeshare hucksters are still all over Pattaya.  I am here now and have been accosted repeatedly all over town, not just on Beach Road.  Usually I just ignore them or wave them off, but once last year as I was making my way through Walking Street in the afternoon, I heard the familiar "Excuse me sir, where you come from?"  I kept walking, but made an expansive gesture with my arm and said, "Over the hills and far away."  As I continued on I heard one of them call after me, "Then fxxxing go back there and stay!"  It made my whole day to get under their skin a little.  I fell for one of these promotions when I first visited 10 years ago and spent a rather unpleasant hour being badgered into buying a condo - very high pressure sales tactics that really disgusted me and I finally just walked out on them without getting my "free breakfast".

 Bar Bar Patpong

Motorbikes and riding in Thailand.

A lot of people travel to Thailand and decide to rent a motorcycle.  The only problem is that many of them have never held a motorcycle license in Farangland.  The problem with this is that in a recent story I read, an Aussie who had a motorcycle accident in Thailand was hospitalised.  He racked up quite a bill and when he went home thought he could claim on his travel insurance.  The insurance company discovered that he didn't have a motorcycle license in Australia so refused the claim.  When I go overseas I always get an international license before I go.  A number of my friends never bothered and when pulled over by Thai police just show their Aussie license, pay for the misdemeanour and carry on.  It might be a good question for the legal section if Thailand recognises the International License convention or not.  <Done!  See legal section at the end of the column - Stick>  The other question is, how many Thais actually have a license?  I have a Thai friend here who suggested his father in law get an international license so he could drive here in Australia.  Mai mee he said.  He has never had a license in Thailand despite working as a roadie for a big Thai band and driving trucks all over the country!  He is in his early 60s and has driven all his life!

Respect for elders trumps business sense.

I live near Ari and last Sunday a few friends and me went to the local Thai run beer bar to watch the Arsenal vs. Tottenham local derby.  In all there were about 8 Westerners there - there seems to be quite a lot of teachers in this area - some in Arsenal shirts some in Tottenham.  About a minute into the game an older Thai gent carrying a bottle of whiskey in a plastic bag walked into the bar and sat right in front of us.  He summoned the waitress and said "Man United".  The waitress brought him a jug of water and a bucket of ice, then suddenly the channel was changed and we were watching Manchester United vs. Norwich!  Everyone went nuts!  The old Thai man sat there looking completely unfazed as the waitresses sheepishly shrugged their shoulders indicating there was nothing they could do!  Nearly all the westerners and about half of the Thais quickly paid up left.  Apparently respect for elders overrides even good business sense.  Needless to say I'll be watching this Saturday's game against Liverpool in a western run sports bar.

Bangkok, city of ladyboy lovers!

What's with all the ladyboys?  It has been over 2 years since my last visit and my God, there has been a huge influx everywhere, particularly Bangkok!  And the operations are so good you can't tell who's who!  Now to each his own but I'm no fan at all of them even though I think some are attractive.  But it concerns me that some have had the snip and I don't think there's too many more features to distinguish them from women anymore.  Probably the biggest change I've noticed in Bangkok since my last visit.  I have been so paranoid that after a few days I started asking every women if she was a ladyboy, just to be sure she wasn't!



Nana Plaza


The biggest news this week coincided with the 1st anniversary party of Billboard in Nana Plaza, the Nana Group's flagship bar, which was very well attended.  A few months back I reported that Nana Plaza had changed hands and the buyer of the lease was a major bar group.  I got that part wrong and actually the entire plot was bought by a major bar group.  What can now be confirmed is that just this week the master lease for the plaza for the next 10 years was purchased by the Nana Group and they will be the new landlord of the plaza from July 7th.  All of the venues *inside* the plaza will have a new landlord.  Imagine you had entered Nana Plaza and had passed Big Dogs and Lucky Luke's.  Everything from that point onwards - essentially everything in the horseshoe will be managed by the Nana Group.  So what does this mean?  I had a quick Q & A session with the head of the Nana Group and from what he told me it is clear that he will do everything to make Nana regain its position as Bangkok's best area.  The group is not willing to allow the plaza to continue to be the mess it has for the last decade.  Specific plans have been drawn up to improve the plaza with the entire electric system to be upgraded, escalators to be installed and there will be even be clauses in the lease agreements between the landlord and the bars to ensure that the premises of all the bars in the plaza look as good as the new bars - the likes of Las Vegas, Billboard, Spanky's and DC10.  Nana's future looks very positive and best of all, it is virtually certain that the plaza will continue in its current form for at least another 10 years.

The Nana Group does not hold the master lease for the beer bars at the entrance of the plaza or the street-front bars.  Those venues, including Lucky Luke's, Big Dogs - and the businesses with premises immediately above them - the Hollywood Inn, Straps, the top floor salon etc will have leases with Maew of Morning Night fame.

It has been on again, off again for the past few months but it can finally be confirmed after much speculation - and much denial on the part of the owners of Los Cabos, the Mexican restaurant - that in around a month's time, after renovation has taken place, yes, The Dubliner will finally move to its new home in Sukhumvit's soi 14.

If like me you enjoy the wander between Cowboy and Nana, you might want to rethink it, at least for the next few months.  Temps shot up this past week and the hot season, which is generally considered to commence at the start of March arrived on time.  Hot and steamy is Bangkok for the time being.

You have to feel sorry for the way the girls are treated in some bars.  There are plenty of good guys in the bar business who treat the girls well, but there are some who put in place policies which really do seem unfair.  In some bars the ladies are paid the commission for the lady drinks bought for them on the day and the girls often use this for taxi money to get home.  Strikers, the large beer bar just a little further down Sukhumvit soi 4 beyond the entrance to Nana Plaza, has a strictly enforced policy of not reimbursing the girls who work the day shift for their lady drink coupons after 6.30 PM.  I was made aware of this policy when I was told the story of a lady working in the bar who went to cash in her tokens and collect her lady drink commission, for which she gets 50 baht for each drink bought.  Her shift finishes at 7:00 PM so she went to cash them in at 6:40 PM but was told that she was too late - and she would not be paid for them!  The money had essentially been claimed by the bar.  Talk about being mean!  What this says to me is that a customer is better off actually giving money to a girl rather than buying her a lady drink.  Give her 100 baht which is less than the cost of a lady drink and double her commission.  It's a win : win situation for the customer and the girl.  However, bar bosses seriously frown on this practice and you should expect the mamasan and other serving wenches to bother you to buy any girl you're with a drink.

One of the major problems bars in the industry face these days is getting new girls, a problem which shows no sign of improving even after last year's floods in which many Thai women lost their job.  New recruits are increasingly hard to find and it's no secret that girls new to the industry - often referred to as farm fresh - are preferred for they still have the sweetness you typically find with rural Thais and they have yet to be ruined.  With Thailand's economy growing, girls have plenty of options.  What seems to be happening is that many - not all, but certainly many - bars are lowering their standards and taking on girls  they would not have before.  They need to get girls on stage or behind the bar and there just isn't the choice out there.  This is happening across all sectors of the industry.  Some of the better gogo bars are taking on girls who once freelanced or worked in beer bars.  And to show just how bad it is, Pegasus, a genuine high-end Thai venue, recently took on a woman who danced in Cowboy years ago, has freelanced all over the show and has been around for years.  These venues are supposed to have the pick of the crop, but even they have had to lower their standards to keep girl numbers up.  I'd say this is going to become an even larger problem going forward, especially with many guys proving that they are willing to take the risk and marry off a bargirl, meaning that the most attractive girls are often removed from the industry quickly.

The number of pesky Indians lingering on Sukhumvit Road outside Chuwit Park performing the "lucky man con" is on the rise.  It used to be turbaned con men but now Indians without a hat are in on it too.  There is a very, very easy way to keep this lot at bay and that is simply to point a camera at them - a mobile phone with a camera should be just as effective.  I was strolling Sukhumvit this week hunting for news and just happened to have the camera with my biggest lens attached when one of the scammers approached me.  I turned and pointed my lens at him like it was a marksman's rifle and he turned and did the Johnny Bolt!  Be careful though when pointing a camera at Thais who may be up to no good as they have the propensity to get upset and rather than run, they may see this as being confrontational and it can have the unwanted effect of escalating the situation.

The Nana Hotel typifies Thailand's changing visitor as much as any business.  Once almost the exclusive domain of single male travellers, guests at the Nana Hotel today are a far more diverse bunch with families, young couples, Indians and even non-English speaking Asian families who seemingly have no interest in the nightlife staying in what is one of the world's best known sex tourist hotels.  There are even some single young Western females staying there these days.  Sitting in the lobby in the Nana Hotel these days is nothing like it used to be even just a few years ago with a much more diverse crowd passing in and out of the lobby.

Isn't every second Monday such a relief if you find yourself wandering the streets?  Some Sukhumvit sois, funnily enough, the nightlife sois seem to be amongst the worst, are heavily congested near the mouth of the soi where motorcycle taxis and street vendors compete for space.  You can have this awful situation where on both sides of the road you have street vendors set up and then on one of the two sides you have motorcycle taxis set up on the road.  As a pedestrian you then have to walk on the road - there is no avoiding it.  The worst sois for this are sois 7, 11 and 33 - the latter being particularly bad.  Anyway, every second Monday the street vendors are not allowed to set up as it's designated street cleaning day, and what a relief that is!



Nana skytrain


The homeless Brit who was living under the stairs at the Nana skytrain station is no longer there.  In fact I have not seen him for a couple of weeks anywhere in the Sukhumvit area.  A couple of locals have taken over his prime spot!

I have always thought Americans are a little more hard-working than most.  And related to this I have found that the average American understands that if he wishes to have a lot of money, it has to be earned.  What I therefore find very surprising is the number of Americans who come to Thailand, shack up with an ex-hooker and throw silly money at her.  OK, so that is his choice, but what I don't get is the way that a guy who presumably understands that money has to be earned is so willing to give so much to what is so often a lazy, lay-about of a girl who doesn't have any notion of earning.  I really am incredulous at the way some guys who obviously don't have much are so willing to give so much to the former working girl who now lives with them and has little need for money as she sleeps half the hours in the day, and watches TV the other half!  Generosity is to be admired, but when you worked so hard for your money, why give it away so easily with little or nothing in return?

There are more camera shops than ever at Panthip Plaza.  With that said, on a visit this week the stores I popped into the staff generally didn't know much about what they were selling.  I would not want to be an uninformed buyer as they had a propensity to push customers towards a specific item which I can only presume they get the best commission on.

To all bar owners and other venue owners, I am always happy to mention your special events, promotions, menu changes, parties or whatever.  But please get the info to me no later than the Saturday before I publish the column.  I am happy to accept contributions or info right up until the time of publication but note I tend to publish earlier meaning that if you don't get info to me by midnight Saturday, there is a chance it might not make it into the column.




Quote of the week is short and sweet, "Property is easy to buy in Thailand but difficult to sell."

Reader's story of the week, "Does It Ever Stop?", outlines many reasons against getting involved with a bargirl.

The Sydney Morning Herald looks at the raid on an Aussie-funded Thailand elephant foundation centre.

Jake Needham was in the news this week, interviewed on ChannelNewsAsia and also in the Bangkok Post.

From CNNGo, ignorant Thai youths strutting around in apparel with Hitler pictures are riling tourists.

There are claims that the problem of jet-ski disputes between operators and tourists in Phuket has been solved.

A Gold Coast model is the latest casualty of a motorbike accident in Phuket.

From The Nation newspaper, a Brit gets 21 years for kiddy fiddling in Thailand.

A Norwegian is charged with murdering his Thai girlfriend in Phuket, dismembering her and keeping her remains.

From today's Bangkok Post, the abortion debate in Thailand hots up.



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 spend most of my time in Thailand these days and have been advised by my lawyer in the UK to have a separate will drawn up in Thailand to cover my assets here.  I have asked two leading Bangkok law firms for quotes for the cost of drawing up a will.  One has quoted 35,000 baht and another 25,000 baht.  My lawyer in the UK does my will for free these days because I also use him for purchasing property, but the most I have ever paid for a will in the past is 150 (7,500 baht).  There are even websites that will allow you to draw up a UK will for nothing.  Why are wills in Thailand so expensive?

Sunbelt respondsSunbelt Asia is celebrating our 10th anniversary this year and as a thank you to our clients have lowered our fees on many services.  Our professional fee with the 10-year anniversary rate is only 6,500 baht to prepare the will and 1,000 baht to register it - a bit less than 150 British pounds.  As anything in life you can walk into five different Rolex stores and get a different price.  We pride ourselves on having lower rates and getting the job done right.  A number of people feel the more they pay, the better advice or service they will get.  We strive to give both - great service and low professional fees.  Hopefully we will continue to get clients with referrals and continue for another ten years with this business model.

 

Question 2:  I understand assets gained during a marriage are split in the event of a divorce but how does this work when a house (or condo) has been bought?  If I divorce my wife, can I force her to sell the house (entirely in her name) which 'we' bought during our marriage?  Would I be due 50%?  Does having a child (who needs somewhere to live) complicate the issue?

Sunbelt respondsAll assets purchased during the marriage are considered part of the marital assets unless you signed a document stating that they are not.  The Family Court will require a sale of assets and for them to be split 50/50.  The Family Courts will generally give parents split custody so that assigning the house to one partner or another won't make a difference.

 

Question 3:  Does Thailand recognise the International License convention or not?

Sunbelt respondsAn international driving license or permit (IDP) is accepted as long as it is valid (for 3 months).  If you decide to stay long term in Thailand you should get a Thai drivers license.




Silom Road


I heard two stories this week concerning whorists and a lack of discretion.  In one case, a well-known and respected foreign business owner was approached at his place of work, a hotel, by another foreigner he vaguely knew, and asked which bars had the best girls.  What was a concern was that he was asked this while he was working with another foreigner not known to the person asking the question.  It was rather embarrassing...  In the second situation, one friend approached another friend who happened to be talking with someone at a skytrain station.  The friend who approached seemed not to care that there was someone unknown to him present and started gesticulating his hips in a sexual manner and making the sorts of sounds typically made between the sheets.  At a skytrain station.  Madness!  The days when the majority of Westerners in Bangkok had some interest in the bars or were only here for the bars and the girls are long over.  As I have written numerous times, most foreigners in Bangkok have little or no interest in the bar industry.  With this in mind, please think carefully about what you talk about and in what company.  Reputation counts for much in Thailand and discretion is advised.  By all means have a laugh about Lovely Lek or Buxom Bee when you're having a beer at Cowboy, but if you're on the skytrain or in a shopping centre or in a restaurant or basically anywhere away from the industry, that sort of talk is out of place.  Such brazen talk in public is no less embarrassing than dropping your drawers and taking a leak right on Suhkumvit.

 

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Firehouse

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