Stickman Weekly 7/10/2012
Wham, Bam, Thank You, Noi
Where once the appeal of naughty nightlife in Bangkok was attractive service providers, decent service standards and low prices, today it's often a case of insert, pump, squirt. Many foreign guys playing in Bangkok are paying way too much.
What is the current situation in Bangkok?
Whoring in Bangkok is lovemaking with a beautiful, young, sensual woman whose every wish is to please you in a tender, passionate and unhurried manner. Maybe it was, once upon a time, but it sure isn't today.
And the truth is finally coming out on some of the hardcore naughty boy forums with even the hardcore guys admitting to having bad experience after bad experience for which they feel they have paid over the odds. No-one likes to admit that something they were so looking forward to, or paid so much for, could ultimately be disappointing. But that is exactly what is happening. These days commercial sexual liaisons on Sukhumvit and Silom are often a rushed, emotionless experience.
On Sukhumvit and Silom, many foreign guys are essentially paying 4,000 baht to get laid. A few drinks runs 450 - 500 baht and a couple of lady drinks is 300 baht. A barfine is 600+ baht. Girls are keen to use short-time rooms - there's a time limit meaning they can do the business quickly and get back to the bar to hook their next customer. The lady will invariably want - and get - 2,000 baht. In round numbers, guys are parting with 4,000 baht for their so-called fun.
Sit outside any short-time hotel near Nana or Cowboy and it's amazing how fast customers exit. Few are inside more than an hour. The average time from entering to exiting is about 45 minutes. Do the maths. Both he and she have a shower before and after the main event. That's 4 showers. Then there's the undressing and the dressing. Foreplay? What's that? Post-coital chit chat? No chance! She flirts, you squirt and her work is done!
The intimacy and passion have gone. There is no tenderness. With many bargirls clocking up more short-times in a week than most people have sexual partners in a lifetime, how can you expect anything other than a mechanical experience?
What are the specific issues?
The decline in service standards and the increase in prices is basic economics. Demand exceeds supply. It's complicated by the fact that girls make plenty from other sources.
Salaries paid by bars have increased as they compete to recruit attractive girls. Where once most gogo dancers received a salary of less than 10,000 baht, some bars are forced to pay much more to compete.
It used to be that a girl would nurse a lady drink and be happy to sit with a customer as long as he stayed in the bar. Today they hustle for drinks and girls getting 10 or more drinks a night is hardly unusual - not bad at 50 baht per drink commission. With drinks commission and salary alone, some girls can collect 20,000 baht from the bar at the end of the month even before she has thought about dropping her knickers. And let's not forget the sad sods who believe that sending money to support a girl keeps her exclusive to him. With salary, drinks commission and remittances from abroad, the girls have no need to drop their knickers.
The girls have never really cared for their customers but managed to convince many otherwise, feigning interest because they were desperately in need of money. With multiple sources of income today - each of which may be equal to or greater than what a university graduate earns - there's no need for the girls to try hard or to even pretend they like guys.
What are the alternatives?
Thai-style venues offer all in service for around 2,000 baht. The Thai sector of the industry has prettier girls, lower prices and guaranteed service standards although it's probably just as mechanical and lacks the spontaneity of the farang bar areas which is part of the excitement.
Things do seem to be different, read: better in Pattaya but the word is that the most popular and most attractive girls in big name Walking Street bars ask similar money with 2,000 - 3,000 baht quoted more and more.
Some hardcore naughty boys have moved on to neighbouring countries. Phnom Penh prices are low but the industry is small and the girls not so attractive, in my eyes at least. Vietnam has pretty girls but few venues set up for foreigners. Many naughty boys report that Angeles City in the Philippines is in a class of its own for fair prices and decent service.
Amazingly it is Hong Kong that hits the sweet spot for genuinely attractive women who offer decent service at fair prices. $HKD 350 (about 1,400 baht) gets 45 minutes with a genuinely attractive lady. Think working girls in small rooms in buildings all over town, admittedly cramped but all quite civilized.
In Hong Kong there are pretty ladies from Northern Thailand who are nothing like the Isaan princesses so common in Bangkok and Pattaya. Not that there aren't wonderful girls from Isaan, but the polite demeanour of the Thai girls working abroad is worlds apart from what you find here. No cursing, no excessive drinking, no brazen disrespect and generally no nonsense. What is it about the farang bar areas of Bangkok that has caused things to end up where they are today?
Still in Hong Kong, at the bottom end, Thai working girls are available for as little as $HKD 250 (1,000 baht) for 30 minutes operating out of crusty buildings, mostly on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island. Think tattoos and yaba heads; transplants from Sukhumvit and Walking Street - but cheaper than the farang bar areas of Bangkok.
Parts of the West offer a much cheaper option than what you get in Thailand, crazy given part of the idea of going to the Far East is for lower prices. The New Zealand Herald, for example, that country's biggest newspaper is full of personal ads like the one below from Asian students (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese etc.) working from a flat offering a quick session for $NZ 40 - 60 all in (1,000 - 1,500 baht).
Japanese visitors to Bangkok's naughty nightlife areas have long been mocked by Westerners with the overused cliché, the rule of 4s meaning 4 inches, 4 minutes, 4,000 baht. But the joke is on Westerners now with many parting with 4,000 baht for a hurried, mechanical experience. Of course some guys pay less, some find genuinely pretty girls and some might even get excellent service. But how many are so lucky?
The farang bar areas of Bangkok today have become very commercial and what once was something a little bit special is now a carbon copy of prostitution the world over - quick, mechanical and expensive.
Is wham, bam, thank you, Noi, worth 4,000 baht?
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken at the Suriwong Road end of Patpong, just outside Pink Panther. If you responded Silom Road as more than a few did, you were wrong! There are two prizes this week, a 300-baht voucher for Sunrise Tacos and a 500-baht voucher for Firehouse in Sukhumvit soi 11, known for its excellent hamburgers.
Terms and conditions: The 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! You MUST specify which prize you would like and failure to do so will result in the prize going to the next person to get the photo correct.
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 - Will privacy soon be history?
I had the unique experience of having my photo taken point blank flash-in-face by a Japanese student as I was leaving Soi Cowboy hand in hand with a youthful demimonde. It made me think because I myself take photos in and around bars. And videos too. Now, the Internet is the great disturber of our age, unsettling everybody - governments, powerbrokers, publishers of music and books, the printed press, ancient world religions, you name it. Wikileaks, Wikipedia, search engines - the Net makes our world transparent like never before, for good and for bad. But the Internet works both ways. And the Net also disturbs individuals - you and I - for the same reason. We tend to be quite happy when others are being exposed - like hotels and restaurants on TripAdvisor, or gogo bars in the forums. But we don't like ourselves being watched, our Google searches analysed, our emails scanned. How long will it take before face recognition software can take gossip to new highs and reveal everybody's whereabouts anywhere, anytime? Not long. Certainly not 10 years, as you suggest. Rather five years. In the beginning it may come as a service provided for money by special agencies. But someday soon open source programmers will make this available to the common man as well. And as Andy Warhol said “In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.” He later changed that to “In 15 minutes everybody will be famous.” The latter is now becoming true, due to the Internet. However this will also change everybody's culture around privacy. When everybody can be exposed naked in cyberspace, and when everybody actually is exposed regularly, everybody will have to drop inhibitions and prejudices that are now taken for granted. In the beginning we may hear stories of the kind you suggest: People missing out on dream jobs due to a photo taken years before in Pattaya. But soon by necessity we'll all have to adopt a new live-and-let-live attitude to each other. So what to do about it? It is kind of you to offer to remove photos on request from people who find themselves pictured on your website. It proves Stickman a gentleman but you are quite unusual in this respect. What to do? I believe nothing. Because there is nothing we can do. I for one will not at all do as you suggest: Refrain from behaviour I may later regret because I am not 'proud' of it. Because if you never did anything naughty you haven't lived your life. That would be a life like an overly pious child scared into obedience by stories of God's all-seeing eye. Not healthy. Not true morals either. So that's out. No, let's follow the advice of the intelligence services of the world. What do CIA and FSB suggest to their agents in case they are presented with revealing spy-cam photos of themselves in embarrassing sexual situations? They should say, “Wow! Great pictures. I'd like to order 10 copies.” The reason? You may as well go out laughing as crying. And the air is taken out of extortion attempts if the target feels no shame. That is the attitude all of us will have to adopt in the world of tomorrow.
Dan White, a true friend.
When I lived in Bangkok, I had a small circle of friends - by design. As you've often warned, you should choose your company carefully in Bangkok: their behaviour reflects on you. Most of my friends were people I knew before I moved there. But a mutual acquaintance introduced me to Dan, and he's one of the few true friends I made in Bangkok. Dan could have lived anywhere, but he loved Bangkok. He was always articulate, intelligent and insightful - any time we met for coffee or a fine mezze down on Soi Arab, we had a great time and learned from each other. He helped me with the often-unwritten rules of Bangkok and brought me up short if I was rationalising or misjudging something he knew about. He was a true friend, and when I visited Bangkok I'd email him in advance so we could meet. While Dan is gone, his legacy lives on in his photography, writings and book contributions at DanWhite.org.
Chinatown, too authentic.
Although it's a fascinating area, one thing that puts me off Chinatown is the heat and pollution. I know it's the real Asia, a genuine experience, the same as Pratunam Market. I would be interested in seeing the food there though. I much prefer the Chinese food I've had in the West compared to what I've experienced in China, and it would be interesting to see where Thai-Chinese food fits in.
Deteriorating service standards not limited to Bangkok.
I agree 100% with you on gogo dancers who make no effort to interact with the customers. My friend and I re-visited Champion in Walking Street to revive old memories of the place, which used to be very much a fun venue with great rock music and some really wild dancers. Well, the place has had a cosmetic facelift in terms of decor, but what a lousy attitude now shown by the girls who shuffled around on stage, joked and gossiped among themselves without ever trying to make eye contact with any customers drinking just below them. And after their set, they moved together in a group towards the rear of the bar where three of them lit up and smoked furiously. As we left, I asked the mamasan why the bar had changed so much. “This used to be one of the best gogo bars in Pattaya”, I said, “but now it's not so good. If customers have a good time with the girls, they stay and buy lady drinks. But if the girls do not take care of the customers, they have one drink and leave. Why has this bar become so bad for customer service?” All she could say was, “I don't know.”
Thumbs up for Soi LK Metro.
I have to say that Soi LK Metro has the much overrated Walking Street beaten in every respect. A tourist can happily remain there for 2 weeks without leaving, yet have every need in terms of good accommodation, entertainment, eating & drinking, laundry etc, all satisfied. And in the rainy season LK Metro has a special bonus, because everything is close together, so that bar hopping takes just seconds. In Metro, there are 11 gogo bars all closely grouped together, among them Champagne, Queen Club, The Office, Sexy Submarine (an intimate hands-on venue), Paradise, Destiny, Sugar Sugar and not far away is Club Oasis. Another important consideration is that this soi (unlike Walking Street) does not have crowds of Chinese tourists constantly crowding through, staring at everything but never stopping anywhere.
The Golden Triangle of Bangkok.
A reader wrote to say that Central Ladprao was one of the best places in Thailand to sit and watch beautiful women going about their business and I completely agree. However I firmly believe that the absolute epicentre for beautiful women in Thailand is the foot bridge that connects Terminal 21, Exchange Tower and Interchange Tower. To walk along there at morning rush hour, lunch time or evening rush hour is an absolute delight. Better still, just spend 15 minutes standing near the walkway entrance to Terminal 21 close to the BTS cashier desk, it is truly mind boggling. It really is the Golden Triangle and beats Cowboy or Nana hands down!
Popular Irish pub The Dubliner has closed. The venue has been looking at alternative locations up and down Sukhumvit for ages and there has been rumour after rumour about where it may relocate to but nothing has yet been confirmed. The entire block from The Dubliner along to the Tip Top Thai restaurant must be due to be pulled down.
The owner of what was Cheers Pub in soi 22 has launched a new venture in Sukhumvit soi 33. The Darkside is the wonderfully appropriate name of a new ladyboy lounge in soi 33. The lounge-style bar features music on demand similar to some Soi Cowboy bars like Fanny's. Videos are played through a 70-inch TV which when purchased was the largest Sony install in any bar or hotel in Thailand. The venue has possibly the cheapest drinks prices in the soi at 90 baht for a beer while spirits run 100 baht all day, all night. The owner is keen to run a bar in which there's no pressure and the girls are trying to come to terms with not hustling for drinks. There are plans to put on some sort of cabaret show as some of the girls have worked in places like Mambo. Oh, and there's a buy two drinks and get 1 free offer currently on offer. Despite so many guys supposedly opposed to them, the growth of ladyboy bars in the farang bar areas of Bangkok continues making me think that there must be some mighty big closets here in Bangkok!
Carnival in Nana Plaza has reopened after a repair job on the mechanical bucking bull and the double carousel has also been fixed. The dancing girls are now dressed as cowgirls as the bar pushes ahead with the rodeo theme.
Straps Bar reopened on Monday this past week and the interior has a new design.
Nana Liquid has a special themed event this coming Wednesday. It being the school holidays, the theme for next Wednesday's party is naughty schoolgirls.
Down in Soi Cowboy, Shark Bar has taken a leaf from the Tilac manual of running bars. Just like Tilac, Shark opens early, but unlike other bars in the soi, Shark has a full complement of dancers on stage right from the start - and Shark has always had plenty of lookers. Shark is a stress-free environment where the girls don't hound customers for lady drinks and the service is generally good.
On the same note, I'm not the only one who has commented recently that Tilac seems to be slipping a little. The number of girls on stage at opening is well down, there are too many heffas and while the stress-free environment remains - in all the time I have been a regular I have never been hassled by service staff in Tilac - service varies depending on where you sit, with service levels ranging from decent to non-existent. Those girls who actually deserve to be called "service girls" operate on the left-hand side of the bar as you enter while those on the right, well, sometimes I wonder what they're doing - they show little interest in serving anyone and some positively snarl at you if you beckon them over because your glass is empty.
The wettest rainy season in recent memory hasn't been quite so wet this week and at Soi Cowboy the enterprising vendors who provide a much-needed service walking up and down the soi selling umbrellas for 100 baht haven't been deterred.
And I note officialdom chose to curtail Friday night's revelries on Cowboy turning up en masse and informing all barkeeps that lights had to be out and doors closed by 1 AM.
The number of girls posted outside of Shark and Baccara, bars adjacent to each other at the eastern end of Cowboy, seems to be on the rise. For much of the evening there are 10 or more girls outside each bar with their invitations leaving passersby in no doubt what the soi is all about. Both Country Road and The Corner - at the other end of Cowboy - also have many girls posted outside, all of which makes the soi seem more vibrant than ever.
Mistress Enigma, possibly the best known mistress in Thailand, celebrates being a fixture at Bar Bar with a jubilee party to be held over 3 nights next week, from the 18th - 20th October. If you fancy something just a little bit different and haven't yet experienced the pleasures of Bangkok's hottest fetish house, this might be an opportune time.
Some changes are so subtle and take place over such a period of time that you may not notice them. It wasn't until Shark bar's DJ started playing rock that reality set in. The girls were shuffling and chit-chatting instead of dancing. A good few bars in Soi Cowboy used to have playlists that were dominated by rock music which has been replaced with modern jingles, what do they call it - dance, house, club - hell, I don't know, most of it sounds the same to me! Rock might be preferable to many but the girls don't know what to do when they hear it and their efforts on stage range from the Bangkok shuffle to a confused wobble. As such dance music is probably more suitable in the gogos.
Speaking of DJs, the fellow mixing sounds at Baccara is so good that he sells CDs of his mixes. Some bars have the same playlist today that they had years ago. It's one thing to try and replicate the bars as things were in the '90s - slim girls with a good attitude - but playing old music to young girls doesn't help.
Although Sheba's and Suzy Wong are owned by the same group and have the same drink prices and happy hour, that's where the similarities end. The girls at Suzy Wong don't dance early evening, rather they stand on stage talking to each other, comparing breast size, and for the most part look bored out of their minds. Across at Sheba's the girls put more effort in and some even make eye contact with customers.
To all bar owners, not only am I happy to include news and gossip and promotions from your venue, I am also happy to include posters of events, parties, promotions etc. A handful of bar owners and managers frequently send me posters of what's going on which I include in this column and this is open to any bars and restaurants that specifically target Western customers. And if your poster is really nice like the one below, I might even run it at full-size.
Renovations inside Cocktail Club continue but on the outside, Cactus and Dundee refuse to join the neon race. Although Cactus John says he has no plans to join the neon war, things have progressed to such a point that it can no longer be called a war. Fancy neon in Cowboy is the new standard.
The retro restaurant that opened just a couple of months ago on the corner of Sukhumvit Road and soi 5 has closed and will be replaced by a branch of McDonald's.
The Penny Black on Soi Cowboy isn't somewhere I hit on my rounds - it's a short-time hotel - so it took a while to figure out that all they did on the recent refurb was to spruce up the reception area and put in a small bar. They've raised the short-time price of their rooms form 400 baht to 450 baht, yet the rooms are unchanged. They also have a full day rate of 1,400 baht, although why anyone would stay there overnight with the racket that comes from the soi, I wonder.
Teazers, the glass-fronted bar on Walking Street with coyote dancers visible from the main drag, is temporarily closed while renovations take place.
Showgirls is the newest gogo bar to open in Soi LK Metro, making the soi even more of a destination but Walking Street is not lying down with Mandarin A Gogo opening in the heart of Pattaya's neon jungle this week.
A huge storm hit Pattaya on Friday night causing flash floods across Sin City. The rain started around 10 PM and sent tourists scattering. Soi Buakhao and Soi LK Metro were hit hard, with one guy saying he didn't know whether to wade through the water or swim. On Walking Street the bars on the beach side were in danger of being flooded and sand bags were rushed in. Happening soi 15 which is full of big name bars like Baby Dolls, Angelwitch and Private Dancer saw a river flow down the soi. Staff from bars on the "dry side" of the soi like Baby Dolls and Private Dancer watched with a mix of amusement and concern as the staff at What's Up frantically tried to prevent water entering the bar and were forced sand bag up the main entrance.
Despite the rain, the fully renovated Private Dancer A Gogo had its soft opening on Friday night and Ricky was happy with the results. The new bar has a large Jacuzzi that's raised off the ground so no more sitting on small seats.
This coming Friday, October 12th, Private Dancer will have its official opening party. The usual pig will be sacrificed with free food for all and party games inside. Ricky is known for his parties and says that we can expect Friday night to surpass his previous efforts.
We expats have a tendency to criticise many aspects of life in this country and are guilty of failing to mention the many benefits and positives of living here. One of the seldom mentioned positives of living here is the relaxed attitudes to many of the situations which in the West would see you dealing with a scowling official who does everything by the book and who seems to revel in making things difficult for others. When you fly out of Bangkok on Thai Airways I am amazed at how relaxed staff are at checkin. There's none of the usual hassle about where you're going and whether you packed your own bags or any great concern when it comes to one's baggage allowance. I really dislike flying out of the West where many of those you deal with are incredibly officious. Out of Bangkok on Thai Airways I have checked in with more than twice the baggage allowance and was expecting the worst but not an eyebrow was raised. Yeah, I know there are reasons for these rules and regulations and it's not their existence but the way they are enforced. Some officials feel that not only do they need to point out the issue, it is as if they feel that part of their job is to lecture you on it too that really winds me up, especially when some of these people really aren't too clever.
The latest issue of After Dark magazine AKA the bargirl catalogue is available now at all of the usual outlets.
Two Thai girls asked Dana if he'd like to go bed with them. They said it would be just like winning Lotto. He agreed, and it turned out they were right. When they all stripped off, to Dana's horror they had six matching balls!
Fans of "Private Dancer" author Steve Leather can download a short story of his set in Thailand absolutely free, "Banging Bill's Wife".
For readers in Sydney, Australia, David Tucker's documentary My Thai Bride will premiere at the Dendy Cinema in Newtown on Thursday October 11th as part of the Antenna Documentary Festival. Anyone entertaining the idea of a relationship with a Thai bargirl really should try and see this. Let's put it this way - if you don't want to be involved in a train wreck, don't board the train.
Quote of the week comes from a reader, "The older I get the more I think a rainy day in Bangkok beats a sunny day in California!"
Reader's story of the week comes from QBert, "Thailand's Doomsday Approaches". Don't be misled by the strange title, this is a MUST-READ for naughty boys.
If you're looking for something a little different, you could take a flight in a flight simulator in Bangkok.
A Myanmar dude has admitted to the attempted rape of an Israeli woman on Ko Phangnan.
A South African was murdered in Saraburi province, about 100 or so kilometres up the road from Bangkok.
An opium-addicted expat tells of his days smoking opium in Bangkok and later managing to kick the habit.
A Thai politician borrows money to buys vote but loses the election so he robs a gold shop to pay the loans back!
Not The Nation took an hilarious look at Washington Square's demise.
The owner of the Tiger Disco in Phuket which burned down killing some customers last month is charged by police.
Ask Sunbelt Asia 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: What is the visa legality for Filipinas staying in Thailand? How long can they typically stay? Are renewals as easy as they are for Westerners? How about student visas, such as 1-year visas? How about work visas giving them permission to relocate and work in Thailand?
Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: As members of the ASEAN community, the Philippines belong to the list of 25 countries that qualifies for a 30-day visa exemption stamp at the airport (15 days from any land border). However, Filipinos are treated the same as any other foreigners in Thailand. This means that the rules of Immigration applies depending on their purpose of stay in the Kingdom. If they wish to work for instance, a business visa and a work permit must be properly obtained. The labour rules (and Immigration) of 2 million baht registered capital and 4 Thai employees per foreigner applying for work permit also applies. However, the minimum required salary for a work permit is reduced to THB 35,000 as opposed to THB 50,000 for most western countries. With regards to student visas, Filipinos can qualify for the same if they are enrolled in a language center, university or any authorised educational institution in Thailand. Sunbelt Asia Legal can help with any visa required or work permit.
Question 2: I have been asked to provide a "loan" to my Thai girlfriend's family of 100,000 baht. They have offered to let me hold the chanote on a house and land they own, supposedly worth over 500,000 baht, until the loan is repaid. They expect to be able repay me in full within 12 months. I have heard of Thais offering chanotes as collateral for loans, but my question is; does this really provide any security? Does physical possession of a chanote give a lender any rights over the land? Or does there need to be some annotation or agreement stapled to the chanote to have any real security?
Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: The offering of possession of a chanote in exchange for a loan granted could only provide imaginary comfort. For a sense of security, the name of the lender should be recorded on to the chanote. This could be done at the land office but would be quite difficult for a foreigner as the land office would refuse to register a collateral status onto the designated land as they could see that problems could occur to both the lender (foreigner) and the borrower. If the land office did allow the collateral status to be registered (with lender being a foreigner), the lender would never be able to own the land and the land itself would be auctioned off at a price around the appraisal value (may be lower than the appraisal value and definitely less than the market value). Damages would be done to borrower (land owner) losing their land for less than what they could have sold for. As for the lender? After the auction, you may be reclaiming only part of the loaned amount (subjected to court fees, prosecutor's fee and auction process).
Sunbelt Asia Legal could draft a loan agreement and should the borrower fail to repay the loan you could still take them to court. Once the court orders the borrower to repay the loan amount, the lender could then appoint a prosecutor to freeze the assets and force the borrower (defendant) to liquidate his / her asset in order to repay the loan amount.
Question 3: What is the drink driving law in Thailand? How much can I drink while remaining under the legal limit? I have heard that for the first 5 years on a Thai driver's licence (which I have) there is a zero limit. Is this true?
Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: According to the Ministry of Interior, the driver would be considered as drunk if he / she has an alcohol level in their blood of over .05 % which is approximately:
• 2 cans or 2 small bottles of beer, or
• Light beer no more than 4 cans or 4 small bottles, or
• 2 glasses of wine (size 80cc)
• 6 glasses of whiskey diluted in soda (the proportion of whiskey to be diluted in the soda per one glass is 1 bottle-lid of the whisky bottle).
There are 3 ways to test for alcohol level - by breath test, blood test and urine test.
The punishment for driving drunk is imprisonment up to 1 year and / or a fine of 5,000 to 20,000 baht. Driving licenses would be suspended for no less than 6 months or permanently revoked. It is important to note that a new law is in place that makes it illegal to have open alcohol containers in a vehicle either moving or parked and either by the driver or passengers. The government is cracking down on drunk driving and has set in motion a new nationwide policy for zero tolerance towards all drunk drivers.
Over the past year or so there has been what I think is fair to describe as a dramatic increase in reports in the mainstream media and on expat websites of violent attacks on foreigners in Thailand. Whether it is simply that such incidents are being reported more or whether there really has been an increase in such attacks - as I strongly suspect there has - is unknown. Of course most expats know that foreigners meeting a grisly end in Thailand is nothing new. Domestic disputes between partners from very different backgrounds often escalate into violence and sometimes a local spouse may involve others - family members or perhaps even hired help to assist in the elimination of a problem. Business disputes seem to go bad with alarming frequency and can result in violence which is hardly unusual in a country where conflict resolution skills are so poor. But my real concern is the number of reports of unprovoked attacks on foreigners where the victim did not know the perpetrator. Robbery, rape, serious assault and murder are all making the headlines all too often these days. Factor in that I also feel that over the past 2 or 3 years there has been an increase in nationalism causing locals in a dispute with a foreigner, no matter who is right or wrong and irrespective of how far it goes, that there is a real feeling of impunity - and their fellow Thais will side with them. More than ever, it pays to be careful who you do business with, who you share your bed with and to always be aware of your surroundings.
Your Bangkok commentator,
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Stick can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.