Reflections Or If You Prefer Nit Picking
It is not good for the Christian Health
To hustle the Asian brown
For the Christian Riles
And the Asian smiles
And he weareth the Christian down
And the end of the fight
Is a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased
And the epitaph drear
'A fool lies here'
Who tried to hurry the East
1864 – 1936
Well I don't know about you but I think that Kipling got it about right. As far as I know the nearest he ever got to Thailand was when he passed through Burma on his long overland and over oceans journey back to the United Kingdom. Rudyard Kipling certainly knew Asians very well. If you find yourself lying on the beach here in Pattaya with little else to do, treat yourself to a good read of his biography, or his poems.
I am an addicted peruser of the Stickman website which has given me countless hours of pleasure since I discovered it rather belatedly in my long affair with Thailand. During my career I traveled our world far and wide while working and living in half a dozen different countries. No place on earth that I have lived or visited over the past forty years can hold a candle to this vibrant and colourful country. The diversity of culture is unsurpassed whilst its quirks add some challenge to the well-intentioned man.
As I read of the views and statements of the many contributors I am struck by the quality of their writing. A few contributors are great writers whose work should appear on library shelves. There are also good writers, and some that should be commended for their willingness to make a submission whilst they are clearly challenged at the métier of ‘Word Smith’.
Inevitably as you read Stickman you will, like me, vie between muttering ‘hear hear’ and ‘where’s this guy coming from?’ This dear reader is what my submission is about. That is to say it’s a glossary of things on Stickman’s website that, at times, do not seem to represent my personal experience of Thailand or its people. Personal views and experiences are just that, personal. Here are some of mine, and I saved the best for last:
It has been stated here more that a few times that Thai ladies do not like to be hugged by their boyfriend or partner, or to hug someone themselves. Among the Thai women that I am close to the ratio of huggers to non-huggers is about 50/50.
Take Og for example, I don’t see her often but when I do she comes at me in a run, leaves the ground two paces out and flings herself at me like I am a ‘Velcro wall’ and she is wearing a felt suit. On impact she sticks to me like the proverbial, wrapping her arms and legs around me so tightly that it squeezes the breath from me.
Then there is Om, she doesn’t run at me but still engulfs me in a bear hug that perpetuates in a glow inside me long after I have extracted myself from her grasp. Neither of these women are girlfriends or sexual partners, just good friends. I will not procrastinate on the hugging of several other like minded friends, because you’ve got the picture. Accordingly I do not subscribe to the view that Thai women do not like to hug or be hugged.
Thai Mums don’t tell their daughters that they are pretty? It is certainly true that Thai mothers (and fathers) do not go out of their way to tell their daughters that they are pretty.
The explanation is cultural rather than supernatural. There is one region where there is a supernatural persuasion to avoid complimenting a daughter in this way. That region is the extreme North West of Thailand, from Chang Mai and onward. Whether or not it has to do with a belief in ghosts, like say the ‘pee bore’ or the ‘pee gasseu’ of the I-san, I have no idea. The cultural explanation, primarily of the I-san, is that Thai kids are much like American kids, self-assured, self-determined and evermore insufferable as the accolades are piled on. Thai girls, in addition, tend to be extremely manipulative from an early age; it is felt by some mothers, that to tell them they are beautiful as well, is asking for trouble.
Driving in Thailand
I enjoyed BKKSW’s article on driving in Thailand, including driving in the ‘Big Mango’ though not all of his observations gel with my personal experience. For example the Thai are not more or less diffident toward farang on the basis of the model of car, or truck, that he or she drives. It is true that a recently purchased and polished vehicle will induce some respect or envy into a Thai, but not the make, model or body type.
Driving License. If you come to live in Thailand, or stay for a protracted period of time, and want to drive, please get a Thai license within weeks of your arrival. It is so easy to get and so cheap at 105 baht for the one year license, or 505 baht for the five year license that replaces it. It’s hard for me to think of any reason why one wouldn’t get a Thai driving license.
If you are an experienced driver (as indicated by the issue date your foreign license), the Thai Land Transport Office are in the habit of back dating the one year license so that you may acquire your ‘Pink’ striped license after just six months. In addition to providing a smooth ‘tête-à-tête’ with an itinerant policeman (more later) your Thai license is a valuable identity document (more later) in a host of runs-ins with Thai officials.
Traffic Accidents. Last week an Englishman driving a SUV at night rear ended a motorcycle while traveling at speed on Sukumvit Road, Pattaya. Aboard the motorcycle was a young married Thai couple who were traveling home. They are both injured and have been hospitalized. The Englishman was found to be ‘under the influence’. The 28 year old Englishman was also found to be in possession of one gram of ‘Ya-ba Ice’. The consequences of his crime are likely to be very serious indeed.
Thai Traffic Law. has recently been revised and now farang face penalties for drunk driving or driving under the influence of a class substance are punitive. Penalties for farang now include incarceration, a heavy fine and at the discretion of the court, deportation with no possibility to re-enter Thailand in his lifetime.
Drink & Driving. The legal drink drive alcohol limit is such that one ’ice beer’ could take you over that limit if you are of slight build and have a slow metabolism. The message here is very simple, if you intend to drive on Thailand’s roads do not drink any alcohol on the day that you drive. We are here to enjoy our life not to do ‘time’ or maim and kill Thai citizens.
Vehicle Choice. If you are a family man then it’s a ‘no brainer’, buy an SUV and give the kids space and security. But if you are a single farang and live in Thailand, yet outside of the few major cities, I recommend a diesel pick-up truck. If living in a rural area a pre-runner or a high-runner (a pick-up truck with its chassis elevated a foot or so above the axles), will ensure that you can remain mobile during the worst that the monsoon season has to offer. On the right is a picture of my soi with traffic queuing up to cross the storm drain at the bottom of the hill.
In my own case, all of my in-laws live in the Banoch, dirt roads with ruts and mud pools which would ground the chassis of any saloon car. The ‘Moobans’ of the in-laws are spread across Thailand from the Cambodian border to Phetchabun province and none would be accessible in a saloon car during three to four months out of every twelve.
On the other hand, if you are loaded and aspire to a Mercedes or a BMW, do bear in mind that it may send the wrong signal to your favourite bargirl.
Identity. Thai people are definitely hung-up on the identity thing, and so are the Thai authorities. Thai people are proud and nationalistic. This foible is in part due to the plethora of propaganda events and the bureaucracy in the daily life of Thai from when they start school and until their soul flies away on the breath of Buddha.
Conditioning. The individual Thai are, to say the least, indoctrinated, perhaps at worst they are brain washed from infancy until death. Death is no big deal to a Thai. Indeed it is all too often an instrument to ‘remove’ someone who is in the way. To the perpetrator an assassination is a job well done and hardly dents his spreadsheet of Buddha Brownie points. After all he had a good reason for what he/she has done. To the expired his/her death is merely a milestone on the path of his or her soul’s journey to enlightenment.
Carry ID. To most Thai it is unthinkable that they would venture out of the vicinity of their own home without carrying at least their ID card with them. The full Thai driving license (The one with a ‘pink’ stripe across the top, can double as an ID card because it has both one’s home address and photograph on it.
Thai law requires foreigners (at least those that are from countries that don’t have ID cards), to carry their passport with them at all times. This is a condition of residence for foreigners in many western countries too. This requirement is entirely reasonable and easy to comply with. So why do so many of us ignore it.
We can have a credit card size photo copy of our passport title page with a credit card sized photocopy of our entry visa on the reverse side, laminate them together and put the small card in our wallet with our credit cards. This together with a valid driver’s license will be all of the ID you will need when out and about.
Police. Although a policeman may not show an outward emotion when he legitimately stops us only to find that our documents are not in order, just imagine how irritated he is at heart. That we get away with it has more to do with his frustration at our ignorance than his generosity. It is no wonder that some Thai think that we are overpaid ‘Kwai’.
I have read so often about contributor’s experiences when pulled over by the police. I am an owner driver, of both car and motorcycle. I drive every day either in the bannock, Pattaya or Bangkok. In twelve years I have never been asked by the police to pull over, not even when I have been driving parallel to any of the international borders with Thailand while having to negotiate the numerous road blocks.
Last week in Bangkok I found myself driving in the wrong lane in the tidal flow system near to Siam Square. Stood firmly in the middle of my (wrong) lane was a traffic cop.
I swear his lips formed the word ‘Kwai’. Momentarily I witnessed a look of consternation on his face which melted into a smile when he saw me grinning back with both hands raised skyward. The cop indicated fiercely to the bus driver behind me (who of course was rightfully there) to stop leaning on his horn. Then he pointed out a side turning to me whilst indicating in an almost fatherly fashion that perhaps I might care to take it.
My personal experience with Thai police has always been favourable in any situation where I am asking them for something. I have never been asked to pay a bribe or intimidated by a Thai policeman. In fact the police in Pattaya, my nearby town, are rather laid back when dealing with farang. It is this ‘laid back’ attitude that can be irritating when you are seeking their cooperation or help in a hurry.
Immigration. The Thai immigration Police in Jomtien Pattaya are easily the most congenial and helpful immigration officials that I have had to deal with anywhere in the world. This statement includes the short comings of immigration authorities in my two ‘home countries’, the United Kingdom and Canada.
It is always best in Thailand to ask the immigration police for a letter of permission when you want to make a change in your status. An application for a Thai driving license or for the purchase of a car according to Thai law, require you to get permission from the police. The said letter usually costs 200 baht, and always makes things go smoothly when it is presented. To follow the correct procedure wins us respect. Never forget that our homeland immigration procedures as they would be applied to a Thai, verge on the insulting.
Over time I have come to have a friendly relationship with Pattaya immigration and seldom need more than five minutes to get my 90 day reporting done. Thailand, unlike Holland, Germany, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and most African and South American countries, is a breeze when it comes to immigration. The key is to do your homework and have all of the correct documents with you when you use the immigration services, and never to overstay.
‘Clinically Sick Old Men’
Note from the writer, the following are trus on case histories of girls and older women that work in Pattaya. Names are changed of course.
This insult ‘Clinically Sick Old Men’ was originally coined by Korski on the Stickman website, and later followed up by ’Anon’, in ‘Random Observations of the Clinically Sick’, on Independence Day the 4th July 2006.
I have long intended to respond to these brutal references to this certain MO attributed to this seemingly stereotyped group of men. From the younger reader, when reading such trash, we hear guffaws of ‘hear-hear; while revelling in their sanctimonious revulsion of a farang in his twilight years being accompanied by a beautiful Thai woman.
That she has no interest in the young whore-mongering buff is beyond his comprehension, because he simply doesn’t have the grey matter or the humanity to refine his bigoted mind.
Contrary to popular belief there are numerous and diverse ways in which the beautiful Thai women that head for Pattaya, hope to improve their lot financially. It is also true that there are legions of women on the I-san who would like to follow them, (more of that another time) though await the courage to make the break from the bosom of their family and the moobaan in which they have spent their entire drudgerous lives.
Another offensive statement made by a writer on this site, ‘Thai women do not go to Pattaya to work in legitimate jobs”. What utter crap! There are perhaps as many as a quarter million Thai women in Pattaya, the vast majority of whom have no interest in the sex trade or girly bars whatsoever.
To be a female child in the ‘Banoch’ is fun. They spend endless long days away from their ‘Baan’ playing and scrounging ‘ka-nom’ from kindly old neighbours. Climbing trees, riding the bicycle, if they have one, stealing a ride on someone else’s if they don’t. They play at running away from the village ghosts, games with stick and stones.
The children of the Banoch tend to have few toys, sometimes none. Some days they can make ten or twenty baht running errands or weeding a neighbours teeding, more ‘ka-nom’ or perhaps another few baht to stuff under their bedding as they lay down to sleep. One youngster I know managed to accrue 500 baht this summer. The sad fact is that if her mother finds her little girls stash she’ll take it, ‘Toward your keep’ her mother will lie.
For the girl child then life is sweet, that is until she reaches puberty, when everything changes. For most Thai girls their halcyon days are over. Now our girl has chores. She is learning unconsciously how to ‘take care’, of her father, her brothers and any bidding of her mother. By the age of sixteen she has had enough.
She still wants to play, for hers is a small world now full of drudgery. Many Mums and Dads are already beginning to savour the prospect of ‘sin sot’. In the ‘Banoch, Sin Sot’ is often a paltry sum. Even now in the 21st century it can be a little as 10,000 baht. Not enough by far upon which to choose a girl's suitor. Some girls plan to escape this prospect. If they know of someone that has already made it to Pattaya, they will contact them regularly until at last they have saved one or two thousand baht, whereupon they leave home for the ‘Big Mango’ or ’Sin City’. The girls that leave the Banoch at an early age tend to be brighter than their school mates. They know how to ‘Take Care’ and they intend to get paid for doing so. For many the concept of becoming a ‘Gow-lee’ <A what? Do you mean ga-ree, an offensive term, best translated into English as whore? – Stick> is far from their mind. The want to work, take care, buy nice clothes and have fun. (Note these young runaways are in the minority, the majority that come to Pattaya are between the ages of 25 to 35 years.
Once in the ‘Big Mango’ or ‘Sin City’ our girls quickly find a job with regular pay. Three months into her freedom she will have made her room attractive in a feminine way, own a TV and have a girl that followed her later, share her room. Her job will be simple and not pay well, perhaps 2,000 baht per month. Naturally the girls are now considering what their options are to increase their income. They have acquired many female friends. Some are working the bars, some are boom booming young farang, some have a farang boyfriend that is sending them grad from overseas, whilst others are ‘living in’ with a farang and taking care of him.
At last they considered they options and a decision is made. Miss Poo will go and work in a bar, she cannot dance or sing so gogos are out. Miss Poo however is pretty, has a great body and is a randy little thing tab-boot. Poo is also quite clever and manipulative; she’ll do well in the bar, get loads of tips, be bar fined regularly and run many young and not so young men ragged, relieving them of plenty of cash in the process.
Poo’s room mate Bpla is different, she is quieter, less clever, and a very caring girl. One of Bpla’s friends is taking care of an old gent, her name is Nok.
Alec, Nok’s client is knocking ninety, is in poor health and the ‘lead in his pencil’ has long since dried up. Nok explains that she just takes care of him. Every day she gives him his medicine, helps him get dressed and then late in the afternoon she takes him out, they have a meal and enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant together.
Alec’s little lady Nok is in charge and watches everyone around like a hawk. She protects him from the street vendors, from any potential hangers on and from being overcharged. It is not an easy job, but it is caring and she is good at it. Alec is very happy and feels safe, Nok is very happy with her very well paid job, which in this case 30,000 baht per month.
Nok is still a virgin. And so Bpla identified the niche that will suit her. Bpla learned from Nok that she acquired her Alec from a Chinese couple that run a bar in Soi Bpaisanee. Bpla went to see them, and although they didn’t have an elderly client that needed her at the time they asked her for her phone number for future reference and told her that many of the Chinese run ‘rong rem’ in Pattaya offer this service to infirm gentleman as a package deal. The proprietor in this case charges the infirm gentle a lump sum and they pay his ‘care assistant’ themselves, out of the proceeds. It is worth noting that over time such proprietors tend to take close control of the girl, but that is another story.
After visiting several Chinese run bars between Soi 13 and Soi Bpaisanee. Nok found her very own old gentleman, Keith. Every time she had a situation with the old chap she called Bpla and soon became a care expert. During one phone call when Nok had said that her Keith was crying, Bpla suggested that Nok take him back to the hotel and put him to bed. Then, playing a little joke Bpla said “strip yourself completely naked and get in bed with him, but don’t wash”. When in bed hold him tightly and rub your breasts up and down his back. Nok was unsure of the advice but followed it to the letter, carefully keeping Keith’s back toward her to help her cope with her embarrassment.
Well, Keith did stop crying and fell asleep. And so this bedtime ritual became just another part of Nok’s care routine. Keith told me this story himself, later I asked Nok about it, she was very embarrassed though confirmed what Keith had told me. Keith is perhaps the happiest infirm farang that I have ever met in Pattaya.
Between the outcomes of Blpa and Nok, there are numerous different kinds pf ‘arrangement’ between farang and Thai women. Some of the so called ‘clinically sick’ fat old farang are just dirty old men whilst many have a completely different MO.
Please consider this. There are many old men in Pattaya that have been here for many years. One in particular, let’s call him Alan, is in his sixties, has been here for more than twenty years and has two daughters in their twenties. He can often be seen chaperoned around our town by one or both of these beautiful Eurasian daughters. I wonder if Korski were to see him with his daughter he would be classified as a clinically sick old man.
The writer too is in his sixties and has a teenage Thai daughter. In the school holidays we can be seen together, holding hands, buying groceries in the Friendship Store or browsing in Wat Chai market. Sometimes you may see us on Beach Road or on the beach together. Indeed I get the looks too, look’s of envy, of disgust and on rare occasions berated by
farang bible bashing ladies. It just goes with the territory I guess. But I say to you out there, that are so ready to judge, all is never quite what it seems in Pattaya.
So there you have it, you can come to Pattaya to exploit the fair sex, to be genuinely taken care of or just to enjoy the multitude of attractions that we have that have nothing to do with sex tourism. It pleases me no end these days that farang families also come to Pattaya and have a great holiday.
No comments as so many different things were covered in this submission.