Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 33

  • Written by Dana
  • February 7th, 2004
  • 11 min read




I TRY TO BE NICE

Years ago when I worked at a shipyard on an island in the Caribbean, my morning walk to work went by native apartment buildings. In the morning you could often hear yelling and crying and screaming. The husbands and the boyfriends were beating or abusing the wives and girlfriends. Later on in the afternoon around 2:30 or 3:00 a walk to the Chinese take-out wagon to get a johnny cake and a beer would take me past these apartments again. You could hear more yelling and screaming and abuse. The mothers were beating and abusing their children. An hour later you could see these kids down at the public pier. They would drag dogs down the pier and throw them into the water. Then as the dogs struggled to swim ashore these kids would throw rocks at them. Most people are not good at most things; but we are all good at mimicking behaviour. We learn early to imitate those of rank and then we seek out someone of lesser rank to practise on. It seems hard to be nice. Maybe we are not even naturally hardwired to be nice. Maybe our predatory need to dominate is what made us the dominant species. But I think being nice to other human beings has value regardless of their perceived social station. People often make fun of me when I try to treat bargirls as relationship equals and girl friends. I get patronizing emails telling me what a fool I am to buy gifts, or to expect reciprocity, or to even imagine respect. Well, maybe we are both right. Maybe I am a nice fool. I'll take the label. All we have is each other. And today's nobody may become tomorrow's somebody. When oil was discovered under the sands of Arabia, suddenly the wandering nobodies became feted somebody's. And I am guessing they didn't forget all the people from the past who had demeaned them. I'll bet when the money chose different wallets, there was some settling up. If tomorrow Thailand is suddenly discovered to harbour oil and gas and other future needful resources, suddenly the nobodies will become somebody's. And I am guessing that every bargirl who was treated disrespectfully, will plot revenge. I try to be nice. It is the way I calculate myself to be. It may be that I am not naturally nice. But I try to be nice.

When I first starting going to Thailand and forming relationships with Thai women I was not young and I was not inexperienced. But it is hard to know everything. If a man has never married and become a father; there are gaps in your knowledge. Fifty per cent of the girls I met were mothers. I got an education in stretch marks and the often horribly cruel things that can happen to a woman's body because she has risked her life to participate in a miracle. I was stunned by the cruel way nature and life had treated these angels because they had yielded to love. I started to think of the children. If you abuse a bargirl she may go home to abuse her child. She is receiving abuse and humiliation from someone she imagines has higher rank and now she is mimicking behaviour. So she goes home and abuses and humiliates someone who has lower rank–her child. I can't stand the idea of this. I try to be nice.

Most of the time my efforts to be nice yield me little to nothing positive, and quite frequently my efforts to be nice to bargirls yields very negatively. They interpret my nice behaviour as weak behaviour. My humanness and friendliness is not seen as something that has value, but as a marker. I have identified myself as a weakling who can be preyed upon. And men in my own western world almost break a leg running to their keyboards to tell me what a fool I am. Really? I'm not convinced that being nice to other human beings makes me a fool. I can't forget the marker that I see. The stretch marks. These are mothers. There are children. I try to be nice.

SUNGLASSES AND ASIAN WOMEN–ASIAN WOMEN AND SUNGLASSES

Hong Kong, Singapore, Cambodia, and Laos and Vietnam. China sometimes. Not Japan that often. Thailand always. There is something about these Asian women and sunglasses! Do the sunglasses make the woman or do the women make the sunglasses? Picture this: black hair, dark skin, high cheekbones, pouty lips. Now add sunglasses! Now it is black hair, dark skin, high cheekbones, pouty lips, sunglasses. Electrifying. Stunning. As in you have been hit by a love stun gun as she turns and looks at you on the Beach road in Pattaya where you have stopped at a sidewalk table to look at jewelry and watches and sunglasses. All of a sudden the cute farmer's daughter is sexually provocative, knowing, mysterious, hypnotic, powerful in her womanhood. You buy and buy. You can't believe you are even allowed to be near such a creature. Later that week you are walking alone down the boardwalk and you see her go by on the back of a motorcycle with another guy. You don't even care. All you remember is the way she looked on the back of the bike. Legs to the side, black hair blowing in the wind, dark skin, high cheekbones, pouty lips, and those big-as-insect-eyes sunglasses. You are momentarily transfixed, taken out of yourself by her beauty and her sexuality and her youth. You are happy to have been a witness. You are smiling. It is time to go to Swenson's for an ice cream cone. God, you love Thailand. And sunglasses!

On the way out of Swensen's all of the female employees smile and say goodbye. You go across the street with your ice cream cone and stand by the concrete wall looking at the ocean. The water is so filled with sewage you can't swim in it. The traffic noise behind you is deafening. The streets are filled with litter. The air is polluted. If you don't keep moving a tranny will start humping your leg, or a beggar will fill you with undeserved guilt, or an unwanted freelancer will zero in. The population is indifferent and sometimes hostile. The individuals you meet are avaricious and unreliable. There is no internationally accepted concept of 'rule-of-law' and you are at risk every second you are in the country. So why do I keep coming back? Why am I so happy here? What unidentified substance am I mainlining that masks the pain and leaves so much pleasure? Then my libido radar sees another. Another Thai woman in sunglasses. Long black hair, dark skin, high cheekbones, pouty lips, and sunglasses. It is the sunglasses! That's the tranquillizer dart to my emotions. The Thai national flag should be just one giant pair of sunglasses on an Isaan face. Same with the currency. Same logo on the sides of Thai airways planes. Flying in at night to Don Muang airport there should be a giant sunglasses light in the sky–a hopeful farang beacon showing you the way home. Westerners who marry Thai women should pay the dowry and be grateful, and then they should get a pair of sunglasses tattooed on themselves. Because that is when the contract got signed. That first time you saw her wearing sunglasses is when a cog and a gear slipped forward in your heart and you started down a different road. You never had a chance. Relax. You are blessed. You should have a sign hanging around your neck that says, "Luckiest Man in the World". She smiles at you and she wears sunglasses. It is the sunglasses. If the current Thai government eliminates all the traditional venues for Farang-Thai social intercourse there is concern that there will be a diminution in the amount of westerners coming to Thailand. Not a problem. Not as long as Thai women still wear sunglasses. Don't believe me? Consider this: black hair, dark skin, high cheekbones, pouty lips, and sunglasses. Oh yes, you'll be back. Look for me on the sidewalk in front of the Royal Plaza Garden mall next to the Dungaree Sneaker lady. I now have a permanent visa and a little table covered with sunglasses. If I never have sex with a Thai woman again it is OK. Been there–Done that. A new door has opened. New pleasure. The old tingle of sleepless nights has returned–waiting for the new day and the new pleasures. Sunglasses and Asian women. All day I help Thai women transform themselves. Jesus God in heaven I have never been so happy. At night when I go home I am so physically and emotionally drained from helping Thai women with sunglasses that I hardly have the strength of a wet noodle. But I am so happy.

EMERALD EYES

Siamese Vignette–1899–August–Chao Praya River–Eastern Shore Opposite Wat Arun.

Down river a Maine built four masted ship lies moored with a cargo of coal smouldering below decks. The pitch in the decks is starting to bubble and grey wisps of smoke are coming from the sheave holes in the masts. At the first sight of golden chedis and slow moving women, the crew jumped and swam. Cooling their feet and yielding to their hearts. The captain has a broken voyage and a contract that calls for delivery to Ceylon. The captain needs new hands and fire fighting. But first he needs a drink and he needs something else. The toothless boat woman knows where to take him.

There is early morning mist on the river as a reporter named Brink from the Rattanakosin Post newspaper observes:

"Dana towered above the polished surface of the bar. He was wearing a wine colored cutaway suit that had been tailored by Gieves of London. The Chao Praya river was wearing morning fog and the beginning of suffocating heat. In spite of the heat, Dana's long vest was buttoned tight over a boiled shirt, and a black cravat was pierced by a diamond pin. He ordered a pitcher of steamed beer and strolled over to the veranda overlooking the river and the farside Wat. The Siamese bartender in the white Colonial suit didn't bother to ask for his money. The mouse never asks the cat for anything. Standing a head taller than the tallest white man and carrying 230 pounds of whippet muscle on panther feet; his emerald green eyes and squared mahogany features declared him the alpha male. Men and women were both attracted to him. Men and women both feared him. The pitcher of bird piss would give him just enough time to plan his next two moves. First he had to take some paperwork over to the Consulate. He'd killed two stevedores in the last 10 days and there were stories to tell and men behind desks with miniature penises to talk to. After that, he would get to the main event. He hadn't had a woman in 192 days! It was 10:30 now. He'd be done with the pasty-faced beaurocrats with the skinny arms by noon. He'd be done with a woman by 1:00. He'd grab the first small dark thing he could find, haul her behind a threshing shed, crush her pelvic bones in his great dark calloused hands, and pump her until her sobs became quiet, desperate gasps for breath. When he was done he would leave her nothing but a memory. Lying in a heap of rice chaff and sweat; she'd summon enough breath to mouth "I hate you!" Then she'd run home and tell her sister all about him. Later, when he slipped his mooring and started for Ceylon; she would be hiding behind a palm tree–blinking back her tears and waving with her soft little hand. His beer finished, he snapped out of his reverie, threw some coin at the bartender, and got to his feet. Time was wasting. He had clerks to frighten and a donkey dick looking for almond eyes and black bangs. He strode from the bar. His testosterone was up and his mistress was waiting down river. She was a young and beautiful four masted oak and pine sea creature. His name was Captain Dana. Her name was not important.

Stickman says:

As reliable a a Swiss watch, Dana's weekly contributions arrive in my email inbox every Saturday morning, Bangkok time. I confess, I am slowly becoming a member of the Dana fan club. Whether they are genuine or not I don't know, but they are a great collection of stories.

The first essay is interesting. Being nice to Thai women is seen by many of them (perhaps even the majority) as a weakness, and they might seize the opportunity to push the boundaries.