Stickman Readers' Submissions May 29th, 2004

Attacking Fellow Westerners

Sometimes we forget that ignorance, stupidity, and naivety can exist for both Thais and Westerners. This is a truth that too many farangs forget when dealing with Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Americans, and other nationalities.

He Clinic Bangkok

Two of the recent “mail bag” items to Stickman (3/7/04) show how Westerners may be just as faulty in their views and ideas, especially when they go about attacking their fellow expats and other Westerners.

Take the “class-warfare” comments of an English teacher in Thailand on 7-March-2004 below as example one. I’ll refer to him as “Angry Fred”, so as not to demean all English teachers. Angry Fred is a great example of jealousy and envy causing the illogical creation of unfounded allegations and unwarranted aggression towards fellow Westerners. Unfortunately, Angry Fred is a farang!

Angry Fred writes:

CBD bangkok

“War of the classes, again.

I really am at odds with all the 'Thais hate us now' theory. Sex tourists are looked at with curiosity and interest by Thais. Try walking a girl out of Soi Cowboy and along Sukhumvit for a couple of hundred metres [if you can get the girl to walk that far] from the near stationary cars and buses you will attract many curious glances that often reflect amusement, intense interest or even pity but never anger or resentment. English teachers [and I have been one] even if somewhat underpaid, command respect and are usually appreciated as long as they behave in a professional way. The Farangs that are despised more than any other, and usually behind their backs, are the increasing ranks of 'professional expat'. You know, the ones who work for greedy multinational companies who come to Thailand to tap into a large population and exploit cheap labour. These people get paid a salary in foreign currency 10 times and more than the wage of a hard working Thai doctor or university lecturer. A wage completely out of reach of most Thais. You know the people I am talking about. They can be seen on the skytrain in their office clothes, clutching a briefcase and more often than not talking complete bollocks into a mobile phone. Other times they get chauffeur driven around. A car in Bangkok? Are you f**king nuts! They send their spoilt brats to some overpriced international school where they all pick up a really nauseous American accent for some bizarre reason. These so called expats with their huge disposable income push the prices up for all of us. I guess the only good thing is most of them only seem to stay for 2 or 3 years, it is then time to take their greedy, futile career elsewhere. When I first got here in '85 these people hardly existed. Most expats seemed to be retirees, ex military, interesting people with a story to tell. Life in the city seemed to have more of an edge, raw and gritty.

Angry Fred seems to think that if a farang comes to Thailand, to exploit the cheap Isaan women for sex, that it’s acceptable, because he isn’t gobbling up a high expat salary. Yet, according to his logic, it’s unacceptable for hard working, educated, and perhaps more fortunate farang to come to LOS to make money! Just when did it become politically acceptable to chase cheap whores and for a white guy to give up a life in Farangland for the sake of his sexual ego? When did it become wrong for a man to seek his fortune abroad? I can’t think of one nation or religion that condones whoremongering, yet few view seeking economic advancement as immoral in and of itself. In fact, ambition and motivation seems an established part of Western nations, which follow capitalistic and democratic ideals. On the contrary, most Western nations have a negative view of whoremongers. By whose standards does Angry Fred conclude that well-to-do expats are immoral exploiters and that whoremongers are not?

I’ve run across envy and jealousy in LOS, and have seen more than a few of the lower-paid farang sexpats attempt lamely to justify their slumming, often “semi-mangda ways” with bargirls and normal Thai girls as acceptable. More than a few seem to think it’s ok to lie to naïve Thai women to get free sex. I’ve seen some that actually “date” bargirls in order to get free sex from one hooker so they have more money to pay other hookers, yet they somehow convince themselves of their superiority to the other, richer sex tourists. How is that?

wonderland clinic

They really cross the line when they try to make themselves out to be the “good guys” and the more prosperous men as somehow evil Westerners. When it’s all said and done, one chose to stick it out in the West, with all its problems, in order to make a good living and pursue what can fairly be said to be the “Western culture” of which capitalism is a major part. Expat and sexpats without a Western based salary chose to give up major economic earnings for the chance to live in Thailand. This is not wrong and can be quite admirable if the guy in question did it for personal freedom and self-discovery. However, a guy that is verbally denouncing “rich expats” for their wealth is pretty likely just envious at his expat farang counterparts’ greater PPP (pussy purchasing power). And you know what? Angry Fred is likely just a poon-tang hound spouting a load of crap! I wonder what he would do if someone suddenly offered him a nice lucrative expat package? Does he think we are all fools who would believe he is really an idealistic white “Ajarn (teacher)” come to save the poor defenceless natives from the evil imperialist farang by teaching them English? He’s just a horny hypocrite with no money in his pocket spewing a load of crap from both his holes.

When it’s all said and done, both the expats with local and Western salaries are in Thailand, both often enjoy the nightlife and desire relationships with the better Thai women (though the higher paid guy lives better and, for good or bad, is likely to have a better chance of finding that non-bargirl Thai girlfriend or wife), and both will likely go home one day. The fact one managed to get a better pay package only shows he is either more qualified or more fortunate, not that he is an “exploiter”. If the Thais could have done the job, than the expat wouldn’t be there. And Angry Fred might want to consider that he is also an “exploiter”. After all, he makes a lot of money compared to Thai English teachers. Why doesn’t he back up his words with action and demand to be paid the lower Thai teacher’s salary?

Get some perspective! You gave up earnings to live in Thailand. Nothing wrong with that. But don’t belittle those that managed to get to Thailand AND keep their expat salaries, or those that chose to only vacation in LOS and stayed in the West to maintain that higher salary.

Lastly, consider that the number of real expat pay packages have been dropping, by percentage, not increasing. The only way Angry Fred could be remotely right, in his claim that there are more and more expats now, is if he is claiming that the absolute number of expats in Thailand has increased. That may be true, but if you take it as a percentage of the ever-growing number of farang residents in Thailand, I highly doubt it. Again, Angry Fred is likely full of it.

Here’s a second example of Westerners being just as good at ignorance as any Thai, or perhaps worse. Rag rage!

“What if Khao San Road were to close early? Wow! Those hippy backpackers would not be happy. Backpackers and Cheap Charlies could become scarce! Flip-flop sales would plummet! (Might even cause a rubber sales crisis). Also a sales crisis for lentils, happy hour, singlets, and bad taste party shorts. In fact the lack of demand for bargain basement clothing could create an outbreak of a new crisis – "RAG RAGE!" “

I’ll call this guy “Backpacker Hater”. How can a farang be as ignorant as a Thai concerning other Westerners? Has Backpacker Hater even gone down to Khao Sarn lately? The last time I checked, the price of souvenirs on Khao Sarn bore asking prices 50% to 200% more than comparable items on Sukumvit Road. The main drag of Khao Sarn has bars and restaurants asking for drink prices comparable to those in the red-light areas, and food prices have definitely come up to “farang level pricing”. The days of cheap food, cheap lodging, and slumming hippies is pretty much over on Khao Sarn Road. The bars and clubs there have expensive drink prices, just like the red-light areas now. The only difference is that Khao Sarn has no gogo bars. Guest Houses are increasing rates and the center of Khao Sarn is a large tourist development now.

Just where exactly did Backpack Hater come up with his idea that backpackers don’t have money? Maybe he should look at what prices these guys and girls are paying for food, beer, and tourist items before making his comments. He might also consider why the Khao Sarn road street vendors ask more for their goods, compared to many on Sukumvit Road? Why would the hippie backpackers allow the higher prices, when the sex tourists and “normal tourists” don’t, if backpackers are so poor?

I’m not defending or attacking backpackers, but from what I’ve seen of present-day Khao Sarn Road, it seems most are actually pretty well-off and just seeking to live a laid back life. They also seem less obsessed with whores or perhaps are more able to find women (Thai or farang women) without paying for it! That’s not an attack on sex tourists, but at least it’s a valid point. There’s not much validity in Backpacker Hater’s claim of Rag Rage though…the hippies of Khao Sarn have paid high prices for most things for quite some time now.

To close on Hater’s comments, it isn’t just Backpackers that buy cheap clothing. How about the sex tourists, who buy knockoff silk boxers, fake Thai silk, copycat Rolex watches, and are willing to eat street-side hotdogs-on-a-stick to save on the next short time?

Again, I’m not saying sex tourists are bad or backpackers are good. But let’s not make up false stereotypes and try to attack fellow Westerners enjoying Thailand. Certainly Thais do enough of that to Western visitors, don’t they?

Stickman's thoughts:

War of the classes seems to be the norm in Bangkok, unfortunately.

nana plaza