Reply To Leviathan “Does Thailand Really Need Sex Tourism”
It is healthy to have constructive criticism, and I don’t mind being on the receiving end. That is why I always put my name and email address to all the articles I submit. But I would like it to be known that I do put some thought into my pieces, and it would be nice if my critics put some thought into theirs. I have in fact submitted four previous articles to Stickman to be read and criticised, and I have had some interesting email correspondence resulting from them. It is very easy to have a go at somebody else who has taken the trouble to put together an original piece, but you do not seem to have submitted anything original yourself.
I think, Mr. Levian, that your article was the result of a knee jerk reaction because I seem to have to have touched a raw nerve in your psyche. You have not picked up the main point in my submission, and you have misrepresented me on a number of points.
The principle point I was trying to make was regarding the rise in crime which I think would result if the sex industry was quickly reduced. Obviously we disagree over the actual amount of money coming in to Thailand from this source, but you make no comment about this on a serious level. The sex scene has reduced over the past few years, (mainly because of SARS, and the perceived danger from terrorists), and after I had written the article The Bangkok Post published figures that the crime rate had risen in Thailand by 40% over the past two years or so! Prophetic or what?
I will now proceed to your misrepresentations and errors. Unfortunately it is rather pedantic, and boring, but you did start the nit picking over figures, and I feel compelled to point out your mistakes also.
By the way I could call you “fella” or “buddy” as you addressed me, but it is belittling isn’t it, and is evidence that I did upset you in some way. I don’t wish to belittle you.
You say that we stay in Thailand for a month. Sorry, wrong, Read it again. I said 3 weeks.
You said our stay “way over the average”. Well I did say that my article was based on my experience, not yours. How do you know who is correct? I don’t know what your experience of Thailand is, but you obviously feel confident in speaking for everybody who visits. You are so definite that you are right. Are you also a religious fanatic? Your conviction gives me that impression. Sorry if I am wrong, and I certainly can be wrong unlike you.
Next, your comment, about my comment, on our hotel. Please read it again. I said “low end hotel”. I did not say “low end prices” or low end bungalow, or low end doss house. We stay for 3 weeks max., and I know of nobody who rents a bungalow for that short a period, especially “single males”. I have spoken to quite a few guys from all over the world, and as yet have not met one who stays anywhere but a hotel. Mind you, I only stay around the Sukhumvit area and all the guys I have met around there stay at hotels. Some stay at the Landmark, some at the Amari Boulevard, but most at places like the Ruamjitt or the Nana hotel or the Federal, etc., etc. You will note that I could be wrong, and indeed everything in my article was my based on my experience, but I don’t think it is too far out. “Damn It”.
Single males = sex tourist. Quite true, I did make that assumption. However I was working on a figure of 75,000 which I thought I read somewhere. I did make that point in my article if you would like to verify it. However, please also read the article by LS, dated 30/5/2003 called Thailand-Population, Poverty and Prostitution. You should find it interesting, and I wonder why you didn’t have a rant at him.
He estimates over 2,000,000 single males come to Thailand every year! So using his figures my 75,000 seems extremely small. If he is right, perversely, you are also right, and my figures are way out, but not in the way you think. If he is right 10,000,000,000 baht coming in to Thailand from single guys is way too small. If you take my spending estimate of 2,000 baht per day on his figures for single males you would get 28,000,000,000 baht spent in Thailand if they only stayed for one week.
Next your comment “It DOES account for people who have come due to sex tourists”. The 75,000 figure is an estimate for single males entering Thailand each year. It DOES NOT account for them coming again with their wives / girlfriends, nor does it account for the other people who have come due to discussions with the said male or his wife / girlfriend. As I said previously you should have taken more time with your criticism and not reacted with a knee jerk.
Now on to the “Damn It” paragraph. You say “Do you really think that spending 700,000 baht (over USD 15,000) in Thailand (not counting flight tickets) per year is a correct average for single males? Forget it”. Well, again, I ask you to re-read my article. I said we had spent 700,000 baht per year between us at the rate of 2,000 baht per day.. So we each spent 70,000 (over USD 1,500 at your exchange rate) baht per year, or very close to it. You were way out there because you didn’t take the time to read it properly.
“Sorry buddy, but you got your figures completely mixed up”. Who got their figures mixed up????
You then go on to say people are staying away because of the sex industry. I have been amazed to see farang women parading around Nana and Patpong fascinated by the scene. I would tend to think it probably draws in as many as it repels. A few years ago I was persuaded to go to a quite disgusting sex show, I think somewhere near Patpong. It took place in a large room, and I was quite horrified by it all. They had the usual things coming from women’s genitals, but also had a guy and woman performing sex on the stage. It was pretty horrible, but to my amazement there were quite a few women there, and they seemed to enjoy the proceedings. I wouldn’t think a normal farang woman would want to live in Thailand with her husband, as in your example, because there would be too much temptation for the husband, but as for visiting the place, I tend to think they want to see it.
What about REGULAR night venues? Haven’t you been to the Londoner Brew Pub, The Huntsman, The Coliseum, the numerous plazas such as outside World Trade Centre, the Tawan Deng German Brewery (I think that’s its name). There are many other places in BKK alone where the entertainment is extremely good. You need to read the Bangkok Gig Guide. It’s on the net.
I must agree with you about the sex industry on such a scale being unsavoury, and it is not acceptable that any country should be known as a whoremonger's paradise – which Thailand has earned – but to change it quickly is, I think, extremely dangerous to Thai society. You talk of the prostitutes being untrustworthy, chronic liars, drunk etc. (i.e the criminal element I suppose) well what do you think they will do if their income is suddenly cut off? After all they are in your estimation probably criminals. In the article I recommended you to read by LS, 30/5/2003, the official figure for prostitutes in Thailand is 75,000, but they would minimise the figures wouldn’t they, and apparently the true figure is more like 2,000,000. A hell of a lot of people suddenly without employment, and these are the untrustworthy and lying ones. To say the least they would put a strain on Thai society.
Finally, I think it should be eliminated, but gradually because to do it quickly could cause a tremendous upheaval in LOS, and that would not be good for Thailand either. It could go from being the world’s whorehouse to the worlds rob, steal and kill capital.
It is interesting to consider your main point again and yeah, you make a good one. The working girls will not go from earning 30,000 odd a month to the rice fields earning 3,000. Something will give…