Morality Of Bar Girls
It may seem a trite title, but it seems to me that there is a ground swell of opinion out there that is more than a little judgmental in regards to the morality of the quintessential Thailand “bar girl” or TBG. Now defining the typical TBG
is difficult in itself, as they have many and varied backgrounds. Let’s say, for argument's sake, that they are just poor farm girls looking to support someone in their lives. They are typically recruited by other TBGs who are always
flush with cash and wear nice (err, beauty is in the eye of the beholder) clothes and have in some way enriched the lives of their siblings or parents in a way that is noticeable OR they are “paid” for buy the Bangkok / Pattaya based
business person who fronts some money for a new car or buffalo and the young girl is honour bound to come and work as a waitress or cashier. There are many ways that these girls start, but money is always a factor, as it is with this kind of work
(in its many forms) anywhere in the world.
Now the question right now is, what are the morals surrounding this TBG potential? She is certainly morally encumbered by her upbringing (no sex before marriage etc.) There’s no way she’s all that excited with the move away from home. She may know others in the “business” who have been grooming her for the move (I am not sure, but I think there are commissions involved), but her instincts and basic ideals will surely kick in. In Thailand they (the parents, or schools) are not big on sex education and a girl (or boy) only gets this kind of information from other kids (similarly uninformed, or well practiced perhaps?), books, TV, internet (if available) and from older siblings (who are usually less than inclined to discuss this stuff). So they enter the BG scene with little or no real understanding of what they are really getting into. I believe this explains a lot of the early pregnancies that occur. This is evidenced by the abundance of stretch marks in some of the bars on even the young, pretty and slimmer girls. Having spoken to a few around the region, this is not just an issue in Thailand. It’s the same in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and China. (There’s probably a whole different article on the “used goods” scenario for BGs in Thailand that needs to be written.)
There is another large source of meat for the BG industry; it’s the Thai sauna and karaoke industry. This is an industry where the girls need to start really young (14 is no surprise) working in a Thai only environment and are then spat out once they hit 16 or 17, not much incentive to go home, and there’s a hot trail leading to Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket. Many take it. These girls come to Bangkok as used goods. They know the scene; they are usually a little prettier but harder looking than the average BG. They know what they are in for, and they work the system. There are a few bars around that are well known for these types who typically come and go as they please and who can be aloof. They go from newcomer to “old hand” much quicker than most BGs.
These experienced girls and the experiences around them start to mould a totally different morality into the girls in question. They are surrounded every day with all sorts of Western, Japanese, Chinese and Indian men, fawning all over them and lying to them with every breath. These are men who are here on business, holiday or have moved here permanently. These are men who cheat on their wives, cheat on their expenses, cheat on their religious (cough) beliefs. These are men who are driven (for a myriad of reasons) to the second most basic instinct above survival, and that’s sex.
So picture this, here’s “Da”, a lively young BG from Isaan. Her peers are instructing her in the ways of the courtesan (he he) which involves using the ATM (Anatomically Terrific male) to supplement any drinks and tips that evolve from the nights in the bar. She’s told to rope them in, get them attached. Try and get them to “buy you out” and put you up in a small room until they leave. Da is instructed daily in meetings at the bar on how to get a customer to buy drinks, how to generate interest, when to go for the BF (bar fine). She is warned that the men are lying cheating scumbags. She’s never told what she is doing is wrong (but she never discusses it outside bar circles, she’s not stupid), it is reinforced daily that she has a job to do, she has commitments to keep. She’s told to do whatever it takes to get out of there. This is the ultimate conundrum, as they spend so much time enticing them in.
So back to the point on morality, are her morals lesser than those who would seek to judge her? Are they less than the many writers who purport to uphold themselves as stellar citizens (and bangers of BGs) who criticize and adjudicate on her moral fortitude? Are they not just a rolling up of the circumstances under which they are created? Yes, I said created, because a BG is created, molded and develops under a series of pressures that a farang can never appreciate. You can write about how stupid they are, you can abuse them, you can laugh at them, but you should never judge them. For those intimate with this part of the expatriate underworld, you are setting the moral standards by not having any. You are setting the levels and attitudes by which the BG’s, their management and the industry goes by. Even Stick’s “investigate your slapper” service is an affront to these BGs, seeking to judge them by providing evidence to a would be condemner who, without any doubt in the world is guilty of the same conduct. <Do you really believe that a guy who wants to marry a girl and simply wishes to know if she is being faithful and spending the money he is supporting her with wisely is immoral?! – Stick>
If you want a true, open, honest and open relationship, it needs to start with you. There are many things that make this up, but an important piece of it is to understand their morality. Their morality’s the same as yours, that’s why you’re hunting in that particular jungle. Don’t judge them, understand them. You’ll not only get on better, but you won’t have unpleasant surprises. If you leave them alone in Thailand, pay them money and expect them to go without sex for 9 months, put yourself in their situation, you know you’d be with someone, somewhere in about a week.
Keep them close, keep them happy, keep their family fed. Could be a poem.
In reality, they want to go back to their virginal past, forget the time that’s passed. Start over. But it’s too late folks, the trains left, the waters gone under the bridge. Morality police “screw you”, these are human beings that want to be loved and cared for. Don’t we all? There are so many bitter and twisted writers that moan and complain about how they are hard done by, by a BG no less. Losers! Take it on the chin like a real man should. Da will be there tonight, tomorrow and for the rest of your life. You could go home to the “singles night” where fat overweight, overbearing and baggage laden tarts will want you too woo them for weeks, take them for dinner and treat them like “equals”. Da won’t do that, she’s just trying to get ahead, in circumstances you’d all hate to be in. She wants some security and a future. Sure there are some “Da’s” that want a string of farangs on the hook for years and years, but lads, if you cannot spot these ones, there’s some special therapy needed for you.
There is happiness there. You need to work it as hard as Da does. You need to bend to the culture that you’re committing to as much as Da needs to bend to yours. You need to take a morality pill and stay off the hooker trail, just as she needs
to get off the farang fix. I’ve said it before, this is a two way street. And you losers who moan and whine about your BG experiences are definitely people they should stay away from too. Stay with short time stuff and your happiness will
not be blighted.
I know this meanders. But I’m not much of an essayist.