Economics And Coming East
By Hong Kong Observer
Thanks Stick for the great site which even for a very long term Asian ex-pat has been somewhat of an eye opener. Not so much for the stories of the girls, which are really only variations on a theme but the incredible naivety, vulnerability, rampant egotism
and frank stupidity of the Punters who write in to you with their sob stories.
I have only 2 points to make;
This drives the prostitution business. Nothing else. Witness the history of my hometown -Hong Kong – which in the 60's, when it was still a refugee town hosted a wild and vibrant strip full of local girls on the make. Now that it's one of the richest cities on Earth it's much easier for girls to get on a decent career path. The hookers who now ply their trade come from Thailand, the Philippines Vietnam, Indonesia and now more than ever, China. All 3rd world -ish countries. Local girls are quite a rarity. Have a look at the infamous 141 and 161 escort web sites which offer in HK a seemingly unlimited of very young and pretty Mainland girls at very reasonable rates. Even if the local ladies decided to get back into the oldest profession they couldn't compete on price, quantity and quality!
Have a look at the scene in London which is now dominated by the former Eastern bloc countries [and Thai girls too].
The only way that Thailand is going to deal with the problem (if that's what you would call it) is for it to become a far richer and more egalitarian society and there's precious little sign of this happening.
So before losing your heart and soul, money and balls to your honey down the strip, just remember that your baby is acting in a classically rational economic way, while you are not if you let her under your skin.
YOUNG MEN COMING EAST
One word of advice to any young men in Europe or the States reading this site and planning a long term move to Thailand – DON'T!!
If you're bright and ambitious and want some fun but also want to get on with a career and make some money, think. How many stories have you heard of expats making a real success of it. Not many are there? It's a friggin graveyard that's what it is, with the odd exception like Stick who's seemingly kept his shit together. Bill Heineke is the only real success story and he almost went bust in 1998.
There's really only 2 or 3 viable towns in Asia worth thinking about; HK, Singapore (which I dislike, but others love) and Shanghai. If I was younger and unattached I'd be there like a shot. It's the wild East with great business and social opportunities. There are beautiful women lining up to grab the chance of a better life. And you will know their basic motivation; money, so they're fairly easy to understand and deal with.
Don't mis-understand my point – I love Thailand. We have a holiday home there and try to visit as much as possible. But to live there full time and deal with the incessant insincere smiling and crap thrown up daily? No thanks. I'd rather live and work in a place where I understood the rules and was paid in a proper currency.
I've lost count of the number of times that mates based in Thailand visit here and moan and bitch about the prices for beer etc. This happens to everyone; even long time Hongkongers who've retired there and should know better. Don't get trapped in to a situation when the only place you can afford to live is Thailand.
Dare I say that at the moment HK offers far more to a young, ambitious whoremonger than Bangkok. There's no stupid curfew, the place is pretty safe and there is tons of crumpet around of a professional and non-professional ilk. The girls and drinks may be more expensive but you should be on a decent whack. If you really need to blow off steam hop on the plane to Bangers or Manila, but know it's just a holiday. The wistful feel of leaving Don Muang is wonderful. You'll find your HK dollars go a long way in these towns.
Over the years, jobs have been offered in Thailand and Manila which on their face have looked incredibly attractive but there was always a nagging doubt. It looked so seductive and so easy. Too easy for my northern Protestant ways. Frankly it would have been a little too much of the Lotus Eaters and I'm not sure I would have come out of it too well. Too much temptation. Finally I was never sure about the exit strategy from Thailand – the lifestyle may have looked great but how to afford to do the same anywhere else on the money made there? Give me Honkers with its incredible drive and buzz any day.
So young man, come East by all means but don't be seduced by your knob and tales of Paradise. It may look like that on the surface but its not-its bloody hard work. Instead have a good look around and use your head as well. The Honkies ain't as charming as the Thais but they're far more straightforward. The opportunities to have a shag and a laugh and possibly make a fortune here are pretty limitless. And if you get fed up with it, you can always nip down on the plane to get a piece of Thai. Just make sure you have a return ticket!