Readers' Submissions

Grief On Samui

  • Written by Peter
  • January 11th, 2006
  • 6 min read


Stickman's Guide to Bangk ok

By Peter J

You can definitely have problems and grief on the beautiful island of Samui. About ten years ago my girlfriend (Thai) and I travelled to Koh Samui from Penang where I had obtained another two month tourist visa. We landed on the island and took a songtaew to Chaweng Beach, where we checked into one of Chaweng's numerous resort bungalow complexes.

About two days after staying there we one day ended up drinking at one of the small and basic bars located on the beach itself – those fairly basic and rustic sort of places – and had a few beers. We were certainly enjoying our holiday and each other's company – we had only been together about a year and I can honestly say that there was a distinct possibility that we may have ended up being married to one another. After we left the beach we moved onto the main road that passes through the place and looked for somewhere livelier with music. We ended up in a soi of which the name I cannot recall.

Upon arrival we went into the establishment and gravitated towards the dance floor area where there was seating. Quite soon afterwards, my girlfriend, who had apparently been there once before, fairly recently, (even though she was a government officer in Bangkok) disappeared.

Before her "disappearance" I recollect that there was a fairly lengthy exchange of words between her and one of the male "security attendants"/bouncers on hand that particular evening at the place. Anyway, I had absolutely no idea as to what had happened to her and after a while (say, thirty or forty minutes) I quite understandably became concerned about her whereabouts.

Firstly, I complained to one of the other bouncers, and then when I encountered total indifference, I asked to speak to the manager or whoever was meant to be in charge of the place. Within a few minutes, I was speaking to the elderly gentleman" – (the Godfather – Por Yai – who I understand was in overall charge of the place, and,) who was, without doubt, the owner, surrounded by all his cohorts, and then suddenly the guy I had been complaining about reappeared, after presumably having been with my girlfriend. I pointed him out to the old man and argued vigorously that he had been harassing my girlfriend and whatever.

The next thing, after a few minutes, I was being yelled at aggressively and was being told strongly to get out of the place immediately. I was then pushed towards the exit from all sides by three or more of the staff, accompanied by a rain of insults. The next thing I know is that I had been punched in the head, and then again from another direction by, presumably, another member of staff. I was hit extremely hard in the head at least half a dozen times. I ran to get away from all of this and could only get so far as a corner of the said establishment where I fell to the ground in front of, from what I can recall, was a small stage area. I genuinely thought I was going to die, and started to soil my trousers. Instinctively I put my hands up to protect myself, but instead of receiving another hammering, nothing happened and somehow, I was allowed to make an exit from the place licking my wounds.

I recall upon leaving the place and re-entering the soi that there were several tables occupied with young tourists and backpackers, male and female, and nobody appeared to have stood-up in my defence and intervene on my behalf. There were just stares and total indifference. Nobody intervened, although they must have seen me getting beaten badly. They probably, no doubt, thought I was just a drunken tourist causing a problem who had to be ejected.

In my extremely concussed and dazed state, I recall, in a very frightened and apprehensive state, beating my retreat to the main road and our rented bungalow which was further up the road. I also, recall my girlfriend reappearing and being at my side. After we got onto the main road, and were heading back to where we stayed, which was about four or five hundred yards away, which was now quite quiet and devoid of traffic, the "gentleman" in question rode up to us on a motorcycle and shouted a tirade of abuse at my girlfriend which I was unable to understand as I had only been in the country a short while – in hindsight I think he was warning us not to go the police or return to the bar again and get off the island the next day.

That night there was blood on my pillow from the bashing my head had taken. The guys who had hit me, were big, tough stocky guys. We were too scared to go to the police, and left the island the next day. And to compound my pain, the bus we unfortunately took back to Bangkok seemed to have a broken back axle or something like that, and every few seconds the jolting of the bus caused by something obviously broken, shot through my head. Yes, in hindsight, we should have got onto another bus, but I was so defeated and confused and scared, that all I wanted to do was to get away from that damned island and get back to Bangkok and relative normality as soon as possible.

I'm a teacher and was then, and when I explained to my Thai colleague, a woman, what had happened, she took me to Rajavithi hospital for a head X-ray. My head was still causing me pain, even if I moved my head slowly, though the bleeding had stopped. The X-ray revealed that I had a fractured skull, and this had been compounded with two black eyes from the compression of the head/eye area I had received in the attack. Yes, I was naive and in hindsight I should have seen a very dangerous situation developing and should have dealt with it differently, but I didn't and had no idea at the time about Thais losing face and what you should and shouldn't do. However, all I did was agree to disagree. I didn't knowingly insult anyone, just expressed my heartfelt concern and worry about what had happened to my girlfriend. I wasn't confrontational (though in the eyes of the Thais there, I obviously was).

It was a nasty, unprovoked attack on a foreigner who had every right to be concerned and complain. And I didn't threaten anyone, either verbally or physically. Also, no complaint about this was ever made to the tourist police. In hindsight, I have a sneaking suspicion this whole unfortunate episode developed because my "girlfriend' decided to slink off for a while with a Thai employee at the establishment who she had obviously met before and engage with him in some gratuitous sex – coerced or not I will never know! And yes, we separated about six years ago, and yes she's still a "respectable" government officer in Bangkok, and still 'drop dead gorgeous' to most men! Peter J.


Stickman's thoughts:

Nasty business this. I would love to know what your girlfriend made of it all…