Thailand Is Welcoming To Everyone
By Kampong Boy
Hi Stick. I’ve been reading your articles and reader submissions for quite a while now, but only now have decided to write in with my experiences in the country up north. I am a Malay from KL, 24 years of age, a Muslim and gay. Yup, I bat for the
other team. I’ve been educated in the UK since I was 17 and am now working in London. I know there has been a dearth of spicier stories from your western readers, but for the sake of variety, I though that my story would be a nice mix to
the hodge-podge of Thai experiences
I’ve been to Thailand three times, twice by flight from KL and once from Singapore. Mostly for sight-seeing, but on the last two occasions was to accompany my Singaporean cousin who still isn’t out to his parents yet. For us Malaysians, Thailand is just another country within ASEAN with that much more cultural sights to see than in Malaysia. Mat salleh (ie what we call the farangs here) keep on harping about the delicious Thai food, but I certainly don’t see that Malaysian or Singaporean food is lacking in any ways. My Singaporean connection is by way of my grandparents who migrated (if you could even call it that then given the close ties between the two) across the Causeway in the 1950s. Reading all the posts here in your website, it would seem that Thailand is a land of plenty, ala God’s own playground. Well, similar to most other Malaysians, my view of Thailand is that they have good takraw players, Buddhist monks with wat, equally nice food. Being a Malay and having visited Thai villages, the similarities between Thai villages and Malay kampungs are very striking. Take away the Buddhist religion and Thai customs and Islam and the Malay language, it would be very difficult to tell apart the two. The southeast Asian cultural context and lifestyle is similar.
I’ve visited Thai villages in Phuket, Krabi and one near the Myanmar border (all at the invitation of Thai friends my age I made on those short trips). Had several unforgettable encounters with my fellow ASEAN brothers, both indoors and outdoors (paid and unpaid)!. We went to Soi 2 and 4 while in Patpong, and to the Paradise complex in Patpong. It was nice, both my cousin and I noticed a lot of Malaysian and Singaporean there, enjoying a lifestyle which is still pretty much underground in our respective countries. It was very easy for us to mingle with the locals as we easily pass off as just one of the guys given our similar physical appearance. We did get hassled by the touts and moneyboys (mostly they were just our age if not younger!) when they found out we weren’t Thai, but no where to the extent the whites or Japanese were.
There were a few times when we were hit on by a couple of mat salleh who thought that we were local. On one occasion I recall this two German guys who joined our table. They were well-travelled and could pick up the Malay language that my cousin and I spoke (it is extremely common for us to speak Malay and English intermittently, ie Singlish/Manglish). We said we’re just tourists ourselves and ended up having a nice pint of beer with the German lads. Blonde and blue-eyed and had nice taut bodies, simmers build. My cousin hooked up with one of them that night but I had my eye on the Thai bartender that night. As far as mat salleh/farang are concerned, I’d always been a sucker for the brunette, dark browned-eyed guys.
By far the relationship between moneyboys and other Asian foreigners are still based on money, but there is many which are also based on mutual attraction. And as our southeast Asian cultures are much more similar to each other, the culture shock is very
very far and few in between. One of my closest gay buddies has been in a relationship with this Isaan guy and had visited his ‘kampung’. Likewise, Manop had visited my mate’s kampong in Perak, Malaysia. It was really sweet
seeing them eat during in the local orchard. My mate’s parents don’t yet know that the son is gay, and they just thought that the guy was an exchange student friend from university. Another good friend of mine (my own fag-hag!) has
been going out with this Thai girl from Bangkok whom he actually met on an ASEAN university exchange programme when he was there! It’s been 2 years now and they are still going strong. The cheap flights offered by Air Asia doesn’t
The main difference between Thais and Malaysians (especially Malays) is that as a community, they have much less hang-ups about sex and sexuality. One that that I do find sad is the ease by which people sell their bodies for sex, both straight and bent. Sure, the same things happen in Malaysia but it’s not as commercial and in-your-face as in Thailand. But hey, to each his own. Another thing is how they view westerners.
At the risk of sounding self-important, allow me to say that there seems be a lot of entries from the Brits here. I can understand why, with the dismal weather in the UK cold, gray winters, and a perception (which I personally feel is unfounded) that the country is going down the gutters. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the UK. Being brought up on pretty much American sitcoms and media exposure, I found the British way of life very very quaint, and refined (not talking about the chavs here). I enjoy my years here, and am thrilled to go to Europe on every available opportunity. Malaysia and Singapore, both having been British protectorates/colonies, are in both ways more wary and welcoming of outsiders. There are still people there who either accept anything western either as gospel or on the other hand, feel ridiculously superior to our ex-colonial masters. Thailand does not have this historical baggage. Thailand is very welcoming to all and sundry, gay or straight, from near and from far.
I think for those who haven’t been to Thailand yet, don’t miss the chance to visit the neighbouring ASEAN countries. If anything, this would be very cost-efficient.
Don't worry, there will not be a flurry of gay articles on here. A one off.