Before The Crackdown Part 2
By Deandre Derr
I was able to save some money and return to Thailand six months later in 1998. I couldn't wait to do it all over again, this time, for an entire month. I also couldn't wait to see that B&W girl again. Not that I loved her, just to see the surprise on her face when she sees my return.
Before I arrived in Bangkok, I did some research on the net, and learned about Nana Plaza, which I don't understand how I missed it the last time I was there. Thermae, how did I miss that one also, and Pattaya. On this trip I decided to spend two weeks in Bangkok and two weeks in Pattaya. I am also going to stay at the Nana Hotel, directly in the heart of the action. No fooling around this time.
I arrived at the Nana Hotel at 10 AM and slept until 7 PM. I dressed and went to Cowboy to surprise her. When I approached, most of the girls outside the club recognized me and called out to her, but she didn't hear them. I walked inside and noticed her sitting at a stool at the bar with her back towards me. I quietly sat down directly next to her. I kept my face straight and noticed through the corner of my eye that she looked and studied me. I jokingly ignored her studying me, but she said, to my surprise, nothing! I still kept my face forward as I ordered a drink. The other girls came up to my right and kissed me hello again, but her, on my left, still did not utter a word. I thought that she was trying to play the game better than me, so finally, I turned to look at her, and she looked at me face to face. There was no reaction on her part. Shocked, I asked, "Do you wanna drink?" She smiled a bit and said yes. I said, "How are you?" She replied, "Fine, and you?" "Mm, Ok," I thought.
After five minutes of useless reaction, I got up off the stool and sat in a booth. The English speaking mamasan recognized me and joined me at the booth. I couldn't believe now many girls are employed here now, at least three times as many girls as the time before. I seen the little girl I was after the first time I arrived here last trip, dancing on the stage. There were so many girls that they couldn't all barely fit on the stage. I asked the mamasan what is the matter with my girl. She replied, "Things just change!" "I guess so," I replied, "Where did all these girls come from?" She said that many of the girls switched from Long Gun. Suddenly, the girl slowly walked to my booth and sat down next to me. It was like meeting her for the first time. There was nothing there, but I really didn't care. It's just that I had a great time with her last time when things were different. She is not really looking as good as she used to…maybe she sees the same about me…I don't know, and I'm not going to worry or get bent about it. There are just too many beautiful girls here, and many of the other girls are still coming up to me, saying hello. Doesn't seem to be anything lost here. It is kind of a shock though…kind of unexpected. My girl had to get on the stage to dance. I watched for a bit, and decided to leave. I didn't want to be dealing with any of this right now. This is my first evening in Bangkok, so I'm going to check-out the area that everyone's been talking about, Nana Plaza.
Wow! Nana Plaza is smoking! Look at all the beautiful girls. How did I miss this the last time? It's overwhelming! I sat at the outdoor bar next to Rainbow 2. I want to watch for bit…to take the whole thing in, and have a little time to think of my next move. I chattered with my drinking neighbor who described the situation to me in detail. The girls dipping in and out of Rainbow 2 are awesome. My neighbor said that the beauties will only go a short time for 1000 baht. As I watched the girls, I noticed a lot of lesbian activity going on with one another. The more I watched, the more I knew that they were lesbians. They sure are beautiful though. I made friends with the lady behind the bar. She told me that many of the girls are indeed lesbians. I decided to walk around a bit and see what Nana Plaza is all about.
After I scoped the first floor, I walked around the second, then the third. All very interesting! I entered a little place on the third floor, which I think was called, Hollywood. I met this petite girl that turned me on immediately so I took her to my room for long time. It was great, and this little thing f***ed the shit of me.
The next day, I returned to the bar just outside of Rainbow 2 again. My drinking neighbor from last night was also there again. It was his regular starting position and thus, because I enjoyed him, I made it mine also. We would chat for hours and watch the girls coming to work. This way, we could pick one out quickly before anyone had a chance to hit on them. I did this for the remainder of my two week stay in Bangkok. I had a wonderful time, but now it's off to Pattaya.
Pattaya is incredible, and half the price. The nightlife is superb. Had I known this before hand, I would have stayed in Bangkok for a week and spent three weeks in Pattaya, but its time to get depressed and return to Farangland.
In Farangland, I spent a year working before volunteering to teach English in a nearby country for six months. Then I returned back to Farangland.
Then, while still having the Thailand bug in me, I just happened to come across Stickman's website, Teaching English in Thailand. "Oh my God," I thought, "They need English teachers in Thailand." I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I taught college level for 10 years, but not English. I was asked to help teach English in a nearby country. I didn't know much about teaching English, so I made it up as I went along. I did a very good job of it, and most of all, I enjoyed it very much. So coming across Stickman's site was a blessing.
I worked hard to saved some more money and applied to a TEFL course over the internet and was accepted. I made all the necessary arrangements and documents. I planned to spend the first 5 days at the Nana Hotel to get my rocks off, and then get down into serious TEFL study.
I arrived in Thailand in the year 2001 at 2:00 AM. Two years after my last trip. My flight had been delayed. I was supposed to arrive at 11 PM. Now that I'm in a taxi heading for Nana Hotel, everything will probably be closed when I arrive. As I entered Nana, I heard the music in the disco. I quickly put my bags in my room at Nana, and immediately ran down to the disco that was still jamming in full bloom.
Things seemed a lot different, especially the girls, but it felt great to be back. I had very little sex in Farangland, so I couldn't wait to get down with someone. I relaxed in the disco for a few hours, and finally, at 5 AM, I snagged a girl for a short-time, even though the disco was still jamming strong.
I awoke at 4:00 PM. I wondered if anyone I knew was still around. The first place would be the outdoor bar by Rainbow 2 in Nana Plaza. I think I'll start there for a drink. I went at the outdoor bar, but it was all new faces. I had heard that a new Prime Minister of Thailand had just been elected a week before my arrival. As I watched the girls coming to work as I did two years ago, I was flabbergasted. The girls weren't very pretty. As time went by, I didn't see one girl that looked half way decent. "What the f**k is going on here," I thought. I never saw so many ugly run-down girls in all my life. Can this be true? Not only that, but I've been sitting here for three hours, and not even one girl made an attempt to come up to talk with me. Wow, this is depressing! I decided to walk around the plaza thinking that maybe I might have missed something.
As I walked around from one level to the next, I realized the change. It seemed that there were no girls under 20 years old anymore, and they were much fatter. It didn't seem right. Could Nana Plaza have declined so badly? I decided to head out to Cowboy. I wonder if my old girl is still around. I have to see what the girls look like over there.
As I entered Cowboy, I noticed the brighter neon lights and all the new bars. As I walked through the Soi up to B&W, which is still there, the girls seemed just as ugly as Nana. As I approached B&W, I saw one of the girls I knew, and she recognized me immediately. We hugged, and said our hello's. I asked what happened with my girl. She told me that she had married a farang and was now living in Farangland, and that she got very fat. She invited me to come inside. When I entered, the first thing I noticed was the lack of girls. The club looked exactly the same, but it was empty. The bar only had about ten girls working. "What happened to all the girls," I asked my friend. "Some got married and some went home," she replied. "Yeah, but there used to be so many," I told her. She stated that the owner bought all these clubs next to B&W and he spread them out amongst all the clubs. "Yea, but they look a lot older," I responded. She added, "New government! New law! Girl must be 20 to work here!" I stated, "Shit that sucks!" She agreed and said, "Police are cracking down on the clubs." There was no action here so I told her that I would visit her at another time. This sucks! I must head to Patpong. Kings Castle always has great looking girls.
I arrived at Patpong, and the garbage selling market is still brewing strong. I went directly to Kings Castle 2 for air-conditioning and a beer. KC2 was packed, but just like Nana and Cowboy, the girls weren't good looking and a lot older. I noticed one beauty, but one couldn't get near her. Too many Japanese! The others were less than desirable. Very high pressure! Girls wanted a drink right away or they're history. Two years ago, I was able to sit down; a girl would talk to me first, and then ask for a drink to negotiate. Now they sit down and ask for a drink, and if you try to talk with them first, they'll bug you constantly. If you don't buy them a drink, they'll walk away. It's changed quite a bit. <Oh you are SOOO correct! – Stick>
After cooling off for a while and experiencing more of the high pressure, I decided to check-out some of the other clubs. I went to some of the upstairs clubs, but they were also horrible. Ugly girls! I went into KC1. The girls were ugly there also. It was very depressing! I decided to head back to Nana. My last resort was Angles disco. "Shit! This is not the Thailand I knew," I thought.
During the motorbike ride back to Nana, I thought of the hot young girl two years ago at KC2 that wanted 5000 baht. I thought of all the beautiful girls at Cowboy that I used to hang around with that showed me a great time, and who I had so many laughs with. I flashed at all the stunning girls at Nana Plaza. It is all gone thanks to this new government crackdown. Despite it all, I was still happy to be back in Thailand, and to begin a new career teaching English.
I entered Nana disco at 12 PM and immediately noticed some very pretty girls. "Yeah, this was more like it," I thought. I met some hot looking girls, and again, danced until 5:30 in the morning. I took one of the girls up to my room for a short-time, 1000 baht.
The following day, I contacted my school, and made arrangements to secure an apartment. Since the bar scene isn't so great anymore, I decided to cut my Nana Hotel stay short, and get down into school work.
My apartment was great and I immediately met some other teachers who graduated before me. I paid for my TEFL course, my apartment and security deposit. The TEFL course was great and I did excellent work, but the heat and pollution eventually caught up to me after my graduation. I got sick! I broke-out into some kind of a allergic reaction. I could not get rid of it and wound-up in the hospital for a few days. When it was over, it cost me nearly 20,000 baht.
With my certificate in hand, I needed to find a job quickly, and I did. I secured a job in a prestigious English school at 31,000 baht a month. I also began running the AC in my apartment to keep my body cool to avoid getting sick in the future.
I began teaching, and it was great except, I had to teach children on the weekends, Saturday and Sunday all day. It was very difficult teaching children and very tiring. My load during the week was very light, mostly adults! The adults were wonderful and anxious to learn. But then, things began quickly to go sour.
The school began issuing split-shifts to me. 8 to 10 AM followed by 6 to 8 PM, three days a week. This meant that I had to be in bed early every night. I began complaining forcefully to the director of the school. The schedule began to relax slowly, but under severe protest from the two female farang Dos's they employed. They were definitely feminists that loved to stick daggers into men's backs. My split-schedule changed from 10 AM to 12 PM and 6 PM to 8 PM. I was stuck in the school all day. I could have gone home and returned later, but the immense heat would have liquefied my clothes. I simply tolerated all of it in order to gain valuable experience. I tried very hard to be patient and a part of the team, but the team was very strange.
After the first couple of weeks of teaching, when I had the time, I would trek to Sukumvit for ladies. What I had learned was that the new government began closing all the bars at 2 AM. I could not believe this! Every bar had to have their doors closed by 2:00 AM, but this new policy did not begin this way. It began by closing the bars down at 12:30 AM, and sometimes at 1:30 AM. The police presence was unbelievable and overwhelming. I have never ever seen so many policemen at one time in the trips I visited Thailand.
I had heard that the police swooped-down on Patpong in full force at 12:30 AM and closed everything down. The tourists and girls throughout all the go-go venues in Bangkok were walking about the areas like a chicken without a head, not knowing what to do or where to go.
At RCA, the police set-up entrance blocks to prevent underage Thais from entering the area. The police did this for two weeks straight then disappeared. Two weeks later, just before 2 AM, the police returned in full force with riot gear, SWAT teams, and dogs to prevent anyone leaving the clubs. The Thais had to exit the club doors one by one to be checked for ID's and / or drugs. Many were arrested.
On night, when I was returning home by taxi from a evening at Sukumvit, there was a police road block set-up at the exit ramp off the highway where I lived at 2 AM. I didn't know who they were looking for, but they were obviously looking to see if I was with someone when the police passed us through. I was with no one, but if I was with a girl under 20 years old, I might have been in deep trouble. Luckily, I didn't take a girl home that evening.
I'm a new English teacher in Thailand that enjoys his work, but also wants to have fun. Being amongst a police state is not fun, especially, after arriving here to begin a new career. The current long-term crack-down is taking the fun away from Thailand. I'm enjoying teaching, but I'm not enjoying the limits now presented on the nightlife. It's not a good time to be here.
Most of my fellow teachers at my school were from Britain. They appeared to not like someone who wasn't from Britain. They're insidious remarks toward me was evidence of that, and being the oldest wasn't anymore helpful. I loved the night-life, and loved to go dancing. They all did not! Their idea of a good night out in Thailand was to eat and drink at a dull Thai restaurant close to the school and talk politics about British life. So it was difficult to be amongst them.
Their personal lives were tantamount to their mentality. One handsome young teacher had a dyke Thai girlfriend who ran a ladyboy bar. Another male teacher came to me and told me that his Thai woman had disappeared with all his money. My reply was, "there are many fish in the sea!" He responded angrily, "don't talk about my relationship like that…I love her." Another male teacher was playing a game with his class and separated them into two groups. He labeled one group, The Idiots and another group The Dunces and he wondered why his students complained and why he got in trouble for that.
One of the female Dos's was the girlfriend of the only male Dos. He was a great guy, he said little, was always helpful, but his girlfriend Dos was a bitch. The other female Dos had a musician Thai boyfriend. She tried to act like your best friend in order to gain personal information about you so that she could stick a dagger in your back when she had the chance. The two female Dos's confided in one another and carried out each others personal vendetta wishes.
There was a teacher's room where all the teachers would hang-out during our 10 minute break between classes. The conversations that went on during that ten minute break were unbelievable. It was always British related small talk. Nothing of substance or relevance; Nothing about teaching, music, philosophy, art, or socialism. Most of the time, I couldn't understand them, because they would turn on they're heavy British accent. Eventually, I decided to spend my breaks in my classroom. It was quiet and the parents and children enjoyed me being there when they arrived.
After my first month, I received my first pay check. With all the deductions my check was 27,000 baht. Within three weeks, I found how difficult it was to live and enjoy life on that salary. When I totalled all my expenses for the month it was like this:
AC & Water & Elect.3,500
Eating out food……3,000
Deduct that from 27,000 and I have 11,200 to play with for the month. Not much to play with.
I didn't figure in going out with a friend for dinner or a beer, and I didn't figure internet time or a movie. A basic night at Sukumvit without bringing home a girl or buying a girl a drink is just under 1000 baht, which includes round trip taxi fare. Add a girl, and the minimum would be, 2000 baht, and sometimes, a little more.
So basically, it adds up to this. I can pay my bills and go out to have a lady once a week. Not a great lifestyle. In fact, I have to hide my cigarettes from the other teachers, because after the third week, all the teachers at my school are broke. They also try to borrow money from anyone. <This is not untypical of English teachers – Stick>
So when Stickman states that teachers need a minimum of 40,000 baht a month, he stands correct.
I didn't enjoy just being able to meet my bills and only going out once a week. I tried to budget myself, but I could not enjoy living like that. So I eventually spent more than I was making. Under my employment contract, I was not allowed to work for anyone else to earn extra money. I wanted to honor my word and contract so, I didn't except outside work even though other schools began contacting me.
I brought my best friend, who is also British and an excellent teacher, to meet with my fellow workers for a drink. Being British, like most of them, he also found them to be a very strange group. I think they thought the same about him. He stood out in the crowd, and clashed with many of them. I then brought him to meet the Thai female Director of the school. She was telling him about the school and then stated, "This school has quality students. We keep the riff-raff out of this school." We both freaked when she said that, but held our cool. When we exited, my friend said, "Did you hear what she said?" "I sure did!" I responded. "I felt like slamming her," my friend replied. "She was talking about poor people," I said, "What a f**king shame".
Afterwards, I began loosing respect for the school. I also began loosing interest teaching children. Twelve little children in each class all day long Saturday and Sunday eventually caught up to me. I was tired of it. I wanted only to teach teenagers and adults.
As soon as my work permit became closer to being finalized, the Director began increasing demands on me. They kind of juggle it in front of your face and state, do this my way or go somewhere else.
After working three months for this school, I resigned. The salary wasn't enough. I felt like I barely existed. I didn't enjoy teaching mass amounts of children. My fellow teachers were dull and lifeless. My Director disliked poor people. My split-shifts did not cease. Therefore, I resigned under good terms, and I eventually received my Thailand Teachers License.
I mostly talked about the negative aspects of my employment, because I think it is important to anyone to know what to expect. If you think that the English teaching profession and politics are different in Thailand, it is not.
I must add that my Director was also very helpful to me, and had an open-door policy. Anytime I needed advise on how to go about achieving a certain goal, she was there to help and guide me. She taught me a lot.
Some of my fellow workers, however dull, were very nice people and welcomed me, and provided wonderful assistance.
My children students were all wonderful and I enjoyed them all immensely. Having mass amounts of them all day is another story.
Thus, when I finished my last day of work for the school, I felt a great sigh of relief. After my visa run, I began freelancing. Now, I'm enjoying all of my teaching work.
Thank you Stickman for pointing me toward a wonderful direction. Let's have a drink sometime.
I thoroughly enjoyed this report and it raises so many issues that are common amongst English teachers working in language schools. Thanks for such an honest submission and I hope that you next job proves to be better.