Thai Men Don’t Fall For Bargirls?
It's very interesting to walk back home from work during the summer when most college kids are not on campus. The streets of Chicago south side, my neighbourhood, become very quiet. People are occasionally robbed at gun point or by knives, so I pay
more attention during my night walking meaning that I check 360 degrees around every minute. Man, I want to be home, Thailand. Now, I am sitting in my small apartment and talking out loud to myself, a habit that I developed after I left for America
in 1996. Finding some ways to shut myself up, I start to think about my happy moments, and most of those moments occurred in my homeland.
Here we go. Exactly a year ago, in July 2003, I finally had a chance to visit home for the longest time in seven years, three and a half-months. I made sure that my vacation covered the month of August, because August 12th is mother's day in Thailand. It meant a lot to my sister and me, to be with mom on this day. I just finished the program with a school in New Jersey at that time, so I headed to EWR, Newark international airport. Passing through the security gates at Newark was quite depressing. Remember that, it was at EWR where the United flight 93 took off to Frisco, but later crashed in Pennsylvania, on September, 11th, 2001. Who knows what could have been the destination of this deadly hijacked jet? There were five or six soldiers with M-16s standing around doing their duties. My Northwest flight finally took off at 1:00 pm. Minneapolis / St. Paul was the last U.S. stop, then I landed in Tokyo Narita, and changed to another plane before going to Don Muang. Here, I was happier because Thai Airlines and Northwest decided to share the flight together. Many of you may be familiar with this allied cooperation of airlines to cut cost nowadays. It was my time to get can after can of Singha. I needed to warm up knowing that my folks were doing the same thing. They, at that moment, were eating and drinking happily at my cousin's house in the suburbs of Bangkok before driving to pick me up at the airport.
At midnight, Bangkok time, I wheeled my luggage cart out to the arrival area and immediately saw my little nephew who ran rushing to me with a happy face. A moment like that was just one of the best times of my life. I hugged, kissed, waied everyone, then we took off to my cousin's house to continue the drinking party. We arrived there at about 1 am. My 12 hours jet lag meaning that my body still thought that it was 1 pm, really helped me drinking many bottles of Leo beer, the less expensive version of Singha. My mom woke up around 5:30 to prepare for our departure to our home and saw that I was still having a great time with my Leo and a great chat with my brother-in-law. She playfully slapped my cheek to warn me. I told her with my grin that, “I haven't done this for years mae' (mom), so I need to catch up with the guys.” She smiled and walked away to make breakfast and pack things into our 13-seat van before we took off to our village in the north, about 650 km. from Bangkok. Oh, the party ended at 6:30, one half hour before our departure.
The ride on the road was a relaxed journey. Since we left early, we had plenty of time to get home before it was too dark for mom to cook and prepare for yet another party for me or let's say for all of us. We just love to party. Mom made several requests to stop and get goods for the party along the way. I got my supply of beers during one of her stops as well. The most striking thing that I saw with my own eyes as we entered our province, Phrae, was the new four-lane road that was replaced the old one. It was the first time that I saw it completed. Boy, I was quite glad that when I was a little 12-13 year, there were only crappy roads for me to ride my motorbike. If this road were available then, I might not have lived beyond my 14th birthday. Back then, I had my principle when riding my cool motorbike that “no one can pass me.” I was a totally stupid kid, but I am a grown man with responsibilities now. No, I'm not one of those maniacs on the streets in Thailand that you have encountered many times. At least, not anymore. Before entering our village, awesome green rice plants were everywhere on both sides of the road and they smelt wonderful. I noticed that everyone grew one particular type of sticky rice. This one gives a lot of grains per unit of land, but it doesn't taste as good as the other I know.
One fact to throw in here: people living in the north except in the province of Maehongson eat sticky rice just like our northeast neighbours, and the Laotian people. It is without doubt that we share the same heritage. It bothers me that our fellow countrymen
and women throw out a name at northeast folks by calling them Laos with an insulting tone. You, narrow-minded asses, have to call us, the north folks, Laos, too. And, the Laos like us really outnumber you. In fact, everyone who lived outside Bangkok
were considered and called Laos by the great king, King Rama the V. He recognized that his people came from different backgrounds and said it without the attention to look down on us. So, just shut up and enjoy the rich diversity of heritage that
we have in Thailand. I don't have any Chinese connection yet, but I'll get one soon. My lovely girlfriend is half Chinese. I can't stop now. Talking about this reminds me of one incident of name-calling that directly happened to
me. I went to a small prep school in New England, where rich American kids including Howard Dean go, and this particular brat I met at this school called me in my face, “you, my Chink slave.” Sometimes, the insulting words from people
saying bad things to you assuming that you don't understand their language just like what some of us, the Thai, says to Farangs and their Thai lady companions, are already very bad, and I sincerely want it to end, but my experience is what
I would call, the extreme case. Perhaps, he wanted to show his superiority and assumed that I wouldn't understand the word, Chink. I just don't care a thing about this guy. You don't understand racism well enough unless you experience
it directly. Racism will continue as along as ones still refuse to see others as individuals. It's a sad world. Enough of this, let's move on.
We finally got home at 6 pm. It normally takes about 8 to 9 hours for non aggressive drivers to do this trip. The 11-hour trip was not a boring one for me at all. I just loved every minute of it. Hey, I had not been home for more than 24 hours. Little nieces and nephews all lined up to get presents from me. I had for everyone of them. There was only a small distinction in the way that I treated a nephew from my own sister, and those from my cousins in our family. We were raised to treat them with equal love as much as we can, and I liked it this way. It didn't cost much to buy stuff for the young and older members of my family just wanted me to be with them and nothing else. They knew my grad-student financial situation very well. After giving presents and enjoying the excitements of their presents from the kids, my brother-in-law took me to see the new shop that my sister and he opened six months ago because we had time to kill before the actual party started. Mom, sister, and female cousins were working in the kitchen, and they didn't need any help. The shop was adjacent to our main house, which was used to be a garage, the business that my mom earned money to raise my sister and me up to high school. They sold snacks, pops, beers, and hard liquors. They even had two tables with seats for customers to sit and enjoy the drinks if they wanted to drink them there. My brother-in-law often joined them but drank his own supply of the local whiskey, Yadong, with the customer. This local brewed whiskey was totally illegal before, but the government officials became quite tolerable in 2002 and perhaps, it will be legalized in the near future, I hope. Here, I got a chance to sample his treasure. As a common practice, he put herbs, some plant roots in the liquor and advertised that the sexual enhancement was quarantined. I joked to him that he didn't have to say why my sister was currently pregnant with their second child. It was a boy and he is seven months old and healthy right now.
The brother-in-law and I are very close. We were in the same class during junior high school in the provincial all-male school. We didn't talk much then due to the large class size, about 500 kids. The school's total enrolment was close to 3,000, quite typical for a public school in Thailand. Somehow, he became in love with my own sister and my connection with him was resumed many years back. He filled me up with news in our village. My closest friend in the village was in a bit of trouble because the family business that he was helping with went down hill. This friend of mine is the most honest and sincere person, I know, and my family and I love him dearly for that. There wasn't much room for a construction business anymore. They had been losing money since the great Asian economic crisis in 1997 and could not bounce back. It explained why his house was replaced by several new town houses now. This property was at a prime location in our village, close to schools and right on the main road. There was fortune to be made at these town houses. He further told me that my friend started working as a mechanic in a factory in Bangkok three months ago and would be home this coming weekend to see me. I continued asking my brother-in-law, when was the last time my friend was home.
He answered, “Only two weeks ago because his grandfather died. He came back for the funeral, and I have something to tell you more about this funeral.”
“What is it?”, I asked enthusiastically.
“There was a shooting there, right by the burning corpse chamber. You know Mr. S., yeah he was the gun man,” said the brother-in-law.
“What? That uncle S.,” I said with surprise. I couldn't believe that our neighbour who lived about a hundred meters down the road from us really killed someone.
“Fill me in,” I requested for more details.
“The dead man, Mr. P. was in the same village council with Mr. S., and you know how corrupted these guys are. They consistently fight one another for construction projects once the central government give the money for them to decide. These elected representatives all earn their living this way. There was already tension between these two concerning one or more projects, but there was more than that that pushed uncle S. to do him,” he said then finished his Yadong shot.
“Well, what was it?” I was very impatient to wait for him to enjoy the Yadong kick-back.
He had watery eyes now because of the strong Yadong, but still was able to quickly answered, “You know Miss T., the woman who went to work in a massage parlour down south (meaning Bangkok and yes she worked in the Thai adult industry), she came back and has been living here for about a year now. I've heard that she left immediately after the shooting and is hiding out somewhere now. She had affairs with both men. (Both of these guys were in fact married as well.) She started it with the gun man, Mr. S. first, then switched to the dead man, Mr. P. Mr. S lost face big time because of this. Mr. P. advertised his conquer openly to everyone and it sounded like he didn't care for his own wife who was sick with cancer at all. I didn't like him much for this myself. Hey, you finish your shot.” He gave me a brotherly order, then continued, “At the end of the funeral which both men attended, Mr. S went home, but Mr. P. hung around to chat with people right in front of the burning chamber. Then, he made a fatal mistake by turning on his cellphone and calling his opponent, Mr. S., saying: 'hey you, asshole, where is the gun that you've been saying to all people that you will use to kill me. Why don't you bring it on now? I'm waiting here. Oh, yes, you are in fact a loser, ha ha.', then he hung up. Here we go, Mr. S. suddenly shouted, 'FU……C….K' (the real word was “Kuey”, meaning a dick, but the f word would make more sense to you all) so loud that his neighbours heard it. Then he drove with his .357 revolver to meet the soon to be dead man. He got out of his car, walked slowly to the target and emptied all six bullets, drove home, and buried himself in his bedroom. Policemen surrounded his house for hours before they found someone that he trusted to talk him to come out and give in.”
“Oh, man. That's bad. We haven't had this kind of thing in our village since I could remember. Where is he now? In jail?,” I want to squeeze more details out of my brother-in-law.
He replied, “No, he is out on bail. He even comes to buy drinks here sometimes. I don't think he will have much future when the trial begins. With over fifty eyewitnesses who saw the action, he will be dead soon just like his opponent.”
“Do you mean, he will be in jail?” I tried to correct him.
He said with a smile, “No brother, the words are already out that there is a contract made by the dead's folks to have some inmate kill Mr. S. once he sets foot in the jail. They don't forget, forgive or believe in the government justice, you know. His father is very tough and he is an influential guy in our province, too.”
“So, both of them will see each other again soon in their afterlife.” I added my opinion to the subject.
The feast was ready as the word came from my sister who showed up with her big pregnant belly. She also overheard some part of our conversation, so she added, “yes, I went to see the dead body myself. Blood was everywhere.” My sister, my sister, she is so adventurous that she couldn't miss a thing even a murder. I laughed and cleaned the table. The brother-in-law hugged, kissed my sister in the cheek, and closed the door of the shop. Three of us walked back to the lawn where the party would be held. It was a great night.
So, Thai men don't fall for bar girls? Wrong, wrong, wrong. We DO and some do it in a deadly fashion.
Yep, when a Thai loses face badly enough, there is no limit to what they will do.