Stickman Readers' Submissions August 25th, 2004

Just Another Thought On HIV

A week after the 2004 New year, I was driving from Canada back to the U.S. I entered the country at the small border town of Port Huron in Michigan. Snow started to fall heavier and heavier. The immigration officer looked quickly to my traveling documents
and saw that I held a Thai passport, then he asked me, “Isn't it too cold for you, this weather?” I smiled, nodded, and said “You are right, officer, this is probably the coldest year among the past 8 years that I've
been around.” He was very friendly, but did not forget to remind me that my U.S. visa would expire very soon, so I'd better get a new one. It's expired now. I don't have any problem living inside the country as long as my
student status and passport are still valid. With the war against terrorism going on, I won't risk reapplying for a visa in neighboring countries, but I will go straight back to Thailand and apply from there. It's safer because if the
embassies in either Canada or Mexico do not grant my visa, I have to fly back to Thailand first, then start everything from scratch over there.

Canada reminds me a lot of Thailand except the cold weather they have there. They don't drive on the left side like us, but they use the mks (meter-kilogram-second) system as well as we do back home. It's good to talk in kilometers/kilograms
instead of miles/lbs sometimes. There seem to be a lot of funny people around, too. I saw a taxi with its company logo called “You Need A”, in the city that my girlfriend lived. That was plain funny. A few years back, I was drinking
in a small bar after school with friends. One of them was from Canada. It was during a happy hour with a dollar a drink, so we stuffed up and felt very good after one half hour passed. I liked this guy a lot. He brought his car all the way from
Edmonton down to New Jersey to be used during school year. No surprise, his car has a speedometer displayed in km. He told me that he got tickets quite often because he just didn't bother converting km to mph while driving. It doesn't
matter that much if you are on the road with other cars, you can just go with the flow, but a solo driving can cause problems sometimes. I steered toward him for a quick chat. He told me, “I'm taking off tomorrow evening to Penn State
for a weekend.” I asked, “Oh yeah, are you going for the game (American football)?” He replied, “No, no, my friends have a 1.5 liter bottle of whiskey, so I need to pay them a visit.” Others looked at him and
smiled, then I began my usual small attack that I liked to do with friends, “So, you are Canadian, but you don't act like one. Why don't you say something with A?” He looked me in the eye, took a quick drink, then attacked
me back, “Well, I sure can. Listen carefully to this… Fxxx you A.”

He Clinic Bangkok

After a quick stop at the Michigan welcome center, I got back in the car and started to head for Chicago. It was about two miles that I climbed my speed to the usual 75 mph and hit a cruise control button thinking about sitting back a little
bit. Suddenly the engine stopped dead making several jerking motions because my car had a manual transmission. I put the gear to natural to let the car slow down gradually. I tried to put on 3rd, then 2nd, and finally 1st hoping to reignite again.
Luck was not on my side this time. I had to pull over and brought out the emergency starting kit and tried to jump start the car. It didn't work. It was just dead. Snow was falling heavily now. It was still in the vicinity of the town, but
walking to the nearest exit to get to a phone at the nearest gas station and called for a tow truck took me 45 minutes on the coldest day of my life. I thought about the April heat in Thailand every ten steps while walking. Someone could have
picked me up, but this weather discouraged people to get out of their warm home and drive around looking for a hopeless Thai guy walking alone in a foreign country and worst of all, in the blizzard. Big trucks kept passing and I totally understood
that there is a law against picking up hitchhikers. There was even a sign right there on the road saying “Prison Area Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers.” I kept my eyes guarding around for those escapers, and I swore that I would fight
to death to prevent me from having a husband for the first time in my life. Well, I might be safe in that matter because the coldness would make those convicts think twice about getting partially naked and have sex with me.

The car business was completed. The tow-truck driver took it to the garage where he personally knew the owner and the service was excellent as I learned after. The problem was, it was already at night and nobody was there. So I left the car unlocked,
put the key under the floor mat, and took a ride with the guy back to the gas station. All the details regarding my car were done by one single phone call from Chicago a day after that. My very good friend risked his life by driving from Ann Arbor
to pick me up. Instead of having a 1.5 hours one-way drive to this place, he took four. At the end of the night, I just laughed about the incident. The friend welcomed me with several beers. He missed his morning classes the next day, and so did
I. For me, it was the whole day of absence. I returned home about 4 in the afternoon..

This little accident makes me think about AIDS. It is just a funny thought that if I were raped by one or several escaping prisoners, I would have had HIV for sure. This is probably true in Thailand. In Thai prisons, rapes occur almost daily.
Therefore, it's very hard for an x-convict to return a normal life after getting out of prison. He thinks that his life is already heavily tainted, so the only suitable thing for him is the old job/system that he was in before, a hit man
etc… My classmate from high school is currently going through this path because he committed quite a sick crime against his own girlfriend by cutting her wrist open. He is now in a prison in Chiang Mai. I don't want to think about how they
treat him there. I can only hope that he can escape those maniacs inside. He is mentally unstable, but is a cute little guy. His latter quality sounds very attractive to rapists in the prison. We all wish him to overcome in the best way. There
is no question that he deserves to be punished, but the punishment should be legitimate. For what I have seen so far, it seems that his whole life will eventually be destroyed.

CBD bangkok

Thais pronounce the AIDS disease just AID without the S, and there are a number of Thai guys whose name sound similar to AID. There was a butcher in my village whose nick name was Ace, just like the ace of spades because his parents loved
to play cards, I believe. We all called him brother AID. He was a good man and a soccer star in our village. He passed away two years ago. Before his death, guys used to make AIDS-related jokes like, “Hey man, whoever says that AIDS can
kill you is a liar. Look at brother AID the butcher, he is alive and as strong as a bull.” It was a relief to hear this joke because we had lost an alarming number of young men in our village to AIDS for some years. The shocking news hit
our village when brother AID the butcher was sick, went to the hospital and we found out that he had the virus. He only stayed alive for six months after that mostly because he was too depressed to fight it. It would have cost him every single
baht he had made up to that time, too. Now guys who used to say that joke about him are told by their parents that, “Look sons, AIDS can really kill you. Period.”

During the last annual international AIDS convention in Thailand a few months ago, several bar girls went public to support the AIDS awareness program. I read one bar girl interview in a Thai newspaper that she was fighting a lot of problems,
poverty, raising her children as a single mom etc.., so she was scared shit of AIDS. To have both of her children, 5 and 3, get food, shelter and education, she could not allow HIV to destroy her only dream to raise kids to be better than their
own mom. My heart was melted. Well, we are scared of AIDS, so are they. Let all of us behave properly by practicing safe sex to allow us to continue our lives and to help these ambitious women be able to do their best for their love ones. See
you next time.

Stickman’s thoughts:

Why the concern about being raped? Somehow, when a convict jumps out of prison, I think having sex with another man is the last thing he wants cos he has been doing that for X years already!

wonderland clinic

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