The Thais don’t like to make their “dirty laundry” visible to the world. They would prefer, like other Asians, to hide their unseemly activities from the eyes of outsiders, and to make Thailand truly be only The Land of Smiles. I’m working in another country with a very similar strong preference. I believe it is this preference, combined with the class and status conscience nature of Thai society (also found in many other Asian cultures), that leads most Thais to look down upon and even (at times) hold disdain for those workers in the nightlife scene. It is this very same culture, inbred from birth, which also leads many of the BGs to often privately see themselves as below the rest of Thai society (despite their sometimes apparently defiant attitude to normal Thai society in their outward attitudes).
From the above observations, and what I have seen of Thai attitudes and actions when in Thailand, I strongly believe it is not so much the stamping out prostitution that the Thais truly seek. What they seek is the stamping out of apparent and visible prostitution, as is found in the current nightlife scene. And even then, only if it draws what the Thais perceive as undue attention to what Thailand is. They are tired of having foreigners jump to the world known and, in my opinion, highly justified view that Thailand is a bastion of easy prostitution at a cheap cost. They are even more wary when they realize this information is being distributed at super fast speeds over the internet.
I believe the ultimate outcome will be one of two. Either the current attack and attempted suppression on the visible nightlife industry catering to foreigners, and especially farangs, will fail as the party in power falls apart; or it will continue with the goal of making the visible industry draw up to a very small group of operations or none at all.
However, if this occurs, the industry will simply become less visible. It is hard to believe it will even have to truly “go underground”. It may simply go back to the restaurant and haircut store-fronts that exist in the rest of Asia and still does, if I am correct, for prostitution catering to Thai men.
Furthermore, the less obvious brothels of Chinatown, and those found in most Thai towns and villages, already exist. They may simply serve to grow and fill in part of the void from the disappearance of the visible nightlife.
How will this affect the tourists who come for the nightlife? The ones who are adamant on the delivering method being loud strip bars and discos may leave for other destinations. The ones that are less likely to “work” to find their desires may again move on to other destinations. However, those who truly desire Thai women at the convenience of a relatively cheap cost, with no relationship attachments (at least that’s the idea even if it often works out differently) shouldn’t find much problem locating the new “secret places”, because they won’t really be that secret when a farang is looking for them. The Thais, Thai-Chinese, and farang with vested interest in these businesses will make sure of that.
Does this sound reasonable?
Sounds VERY reasonable to me. A most succinct analysis.