I’ve Said It Once, I’ve Said It Twice And I’ll Say It Again…
“Come on. We're stayin', we're goin’ we're stayin', we're goin'… Make up your minds.” – Rock Hound from the movie Armageddon.
There is a website out there that likes to take a proverbial dig at Stickman and what he writes. Fair enough, we are all entitled to our opinion, but I for one don’t take him too seriously. However, his latest ramblings alluded to Stickman beginning to repeat him self and what he has said actually re-enforces something that both myself and Marc Holt have been muttering about for some time and that is; Stickman needs to be given an index f… ffff… fi… fi… finger, erhum, sorry I meant File, b…b…b…but sometimes I stut…stut…stutter).
So let’s ask ourselves the question then. How many times have you heard the same thing being said over and over again? Not just on Stickman but everywhere else too. Sometimes when I am reading a book, or an article, or something on the Internet I will come across a paragraph or a sentence that gives me this weird feeling of Deja vu and I find that what I have just read has popped up somewhere before.
So is it really just me or does the phrase ‘it’s just a case of history repeating it self’ mean something here?
Well a quick visit to Google will be enough to tell you if something has gone before and even typing in the words “It’s just a case of history repeating itself” will get you 6,260,000 hits in about 0.23 seconds…
So me being me, and in the name of scientific research, for having nothing better to do, and with a hint to the already over burdened Stickman that maybe some contributor subject indexing may be in order (if only to make it easier to find similar themed articles) I decided to go and review Stick's website on some of the more common subjects to see if indeed history was beginning to repeat itself and more importantly, to try and help Stickman progress towards a goal of making his site even better than what it already is. What I found was quite interesting indeed especially from the viewpoint of seeing how many of these subjects have been continuously discussed over the years.
Now before I continue, I do have to confess to being an ordered and logical person and although I haven’t mastered the art of speaking in 01010001010100001010000100 and having R2D2 tweet twoddle erk with me on a daily basis yet, I do like to be modern with my filing systems and believe in making life easier for all concerned. For me, everything should have its place and everything should be in its place… so let’s begin and Nanoo Nanoo, Mork calling Orsen, come in Orsen and all that sci fi stuff…
To be honest, my drone like abilities this week have been slightly out of kilter and I probably haven’t found all of the relevant submissions on Stickman (there are 3,000 after all to wade through) and probably have in all reality only scratched the surface, but what I have done so far is a beginning and you can still use what I have started in this submission as a place for researching a particular subject and to seeing what others have said around a similar theme without having to go searching through all of the 3,000 submissions in some sort of hit and miss manner.
I also have to say though, that it’s been quite hard to categorise a lot of the submissions because some of them just cannot be slotted in any particular place. For example, where do you think the majority of Dana’s submissions should end up? (Keep it clean folks) Should he be placed in a grouping titled ‘bar girl stories’, or perhaps one titled ‘weird stories’, or should he have his own category called the Church of Dana? Perhaps Stick should ask readers to start indicating that submissions be steered towards a particular theme so that it makes it easy to index.
For me though, I personally believe that an index on Stickman would be very helpful and would stop me wading through 50 submissions I have already read just to get to the latest three (hint! hint!) and allow me to focus in on the groups and topics that are particularly of interest to me.
So where to start…
Getting rid of the Thai darling
Well we can always work backwards and use the title on sticks weekly column titled “It’s time to throw her out” as a good staring point. Well, according to this alter ego website, this isn’t the first time that we have heard this message being broadcast and if you go back far enough, you will see that it was first written way back in Dec 2002 titled “Moving her in is easy, try moving her out!” but as several years have gone in between these two dates, it’s not a bad thing for Stickman to re-enforce to a new audience lessons learnt by those who have gone before. If you are looking for a goodbye ‘get stuffed’ letter to write (especially for those of you who are living remotely from your Thai darling) then this one by Olympic Sprinter could be useful.
But what happens if you have gone full hog and got married to your little darling instead but now want to get divorced, well have no fear because the following articles in the order by which they appeared on Stickman all relate nicely to the subject of divorce here in Thailand: Nong Nung, Yet another victim, Mr. Anonymous, Indy UK, Lone Star and finally “Divorce, Thai Style” on Stickman Weekly in June 04.
I could of course have gone on to explore how many articles there were on the subject of what can go wrong as told by the victims but as there where so many listed on the site as well as me not wanting to link you to lots of negative articles I gave up and will let someone else do this particular area. I also did not cover the bar girl come sex scene ones either and suggest that Dana may want to look in that area instead as its more his cup of China green tea.
Uncertainty / Changes / Thailand Futures
So let’s discuss all the uncertainty that is currently happening around us at the moment with the military YMCA ‘young man…” chicken coup saga and reported levels of uncertainty going around the expat community right now with the new visa rules… or clampdowns, or future thinking… or… oh well you get the drift and well you will be surprised to see what I found. Let’s start with Stick and see how many times he has said Thailand has an uncertain future in his Stickman weekly column. The first one came in Aug 2001 titled “The period of uncertainty”, followed by “Looking into the crystal ball” in Aug 2002, then there was “Will we be shown the door?” in Sept 2002, then “What if the guy in the brown suit says ‘no’?” in June 2003, “The new Bangkok” and “The dodgy visa crackdown” both in Sept 2003, then there was “Is the party really over?” in Feb 2004, to finally “Is this the great Thai immigration crackdown?” dated Sept 06. But Stickman hasn’t been the only one. The readers’ submissions are full of stories about leaving Thailand or about the problems of being here and the uncertainties into the future. It’s no surprise to hear that Dana was the first to lead the charge in may 2003 with “ You can never visit Thailand again!” This was then followed up later by a submission by Austrian Chap then there was Chalong Boy, Amazed, FP, Ous 1, Mr. Lucky, Tom Lloyd, and finally Mr. Lucky again.
As if that wasn’t enough, the question of staying or going and what we want for ourselves, especially for Stickman, has cropped up on more than one occasion. You may be interested to hear that Stickman first started having doubts / questions in Sept 2002 with his weekly submission “Plan for the future” followed by “Thailand, The Future” two years later in Sept 2004. This was then followed up another two years later by “When Is The Point Of No Return?”
in April 2006, which goes to show there is a trend happening here. Have you noticed that Stick gets itchy feet every two years? But these thoughts and ponderings aren’t new because it reflects the uncertainty of life here and therefore
it’s no surprise that other writers are saying the same sort of thing with Bonehead, Anonymous, Jim, Bobby Popper, Mr. Donut, and Look Papa all having made their contributions and thoughts known on the subject.
The Lure of Thailand and what brought us here
Anyway enough about talking of going and leaving as it brings a tear to the eye and what I wanted to know is, is just what is it that is bringing us all here in the first place? Well you will be pleased to know that Stickman has a plethora of articles on this subject. It all started in Stickman weekly in Feb 02 when he asked the question “Leave the west for 25K baht a month?”, this was followed with “Incredulous That I Chose Thailand” later the same year, followed by “Change” in Oct 2003 and a mixed one about coming here or leaving called “The Golden Age?” in Feb 2005.
Many more followed in the submissions. First there was: The Londoner then Jason, Lucky Me, Hurricane 51, George 2, Anonymous, Dazzle Star, Oscillating Wildly followed by Tomp who answered him. Then there was Mr. X and Look Papa finally with me submitting “Just why are we here?” that I submitted after listening to Stick questioning his own future in Thailand.
On the other side of the coin, I found this submission “Don’t move to Thailand” by John Zachary Smith rather amusing as it was a very converse and controversial message as to why we all should not be coming here.
Getting a job and especially being a Teacher in Thailand
It’s no big surprise that Stickman as an English teacher himself would write about teaching in Thailand and to be honest I expected to see a lot more about being a teacher or about school life and was surprised to find only a few on his website. It all started in his weekly with “Is English teaching for you?” in Nov 2001 and from there came “Acting like children” in Jan 2002, “English Teaching” in May 2002, “The Realities Of A Thai Schools” and “English Teachers Today” both in Feb 2003, then there was “International Schools” in July 2003, “Saturation Point” in Nov 2004, “English Teachers, The Bane Of Bangkok?” in June 2005, “If you have to teach” in Jan 2006, “Is Teaching English In Thailand REALLY Viable?” in Feb 2006 to finally “Teaching in Bangkok, Never A Dull Moment” in Aug 2006.
A few reader submissions have been written to support what Stick has said and the following have all been contributors over the years: Major, Ajarn , Methuen Man, Jimmy Collinson, Anonymous, Future Expat, Bangkok Addict, Sick Water Buffalo and finally me with “At a school near you” which prompted the following feedback from Dana:
“When ever I go out for a meal with Stick, I always end up reiterating that not in a million billion trillion septillion bazillion years would I be a teacher in Thailand. I would gouge my eyes out with a wooden spoon first. Your excellent article just reminded me of perhaps my most heartfelt feelings on anything in my life.”
Which made me chuckle.
Working with the Thais
After you do eventually get here and start working (as a teacher or otherwise) and you want it all to be a success, well that brings with it a whole new set of submissions and the following have all been written on the subject. “Ajarn Bee”
was written by Stick in Jan 2003 to discuss a particularly successful female colleague to “Working with the locals, a few thoughts” in Dec 2005. Only two submissions that I found appeared to be written to follow up these weekly columns. One was written by
Sleeping Dragon and the other by Anonymous.
This either indicates that I am crap at speed reading and have missed many submissions on the subject or that the readership is either too scared to write about working with the locals or just not interested enough.
Meeting a Good Girl and Getting married
So you are here, you have done ‘the bar scene’ and found yourself getting bored or can see through the crap for what it is and no doubt your mind invariably will move towards finding a good girl and for many to eventually marrying here. Well have no fear because funnily enough this one subject was more than adequately covered on Stickman and in the readership section. My first submission titled Fast Track Thailand was about my own story of coming here after spending 5 years touring the world as an avid internet dater only to be snared and married within months of arrival which brings up a whole plethora of questions in itself, least of all about being married to a good Thai lady, but let’s look at what others have said on the subject too. Stickman himself surprisingly enough has only ever talked about his marriage once and that was when he finally relented telling us a little about it in March 2003 with his “Stickman relents” article but it doesn’t tell us a great deal about what its like to get married to or to be married to a Thai. Fortunately for readership, the following do: Military Man , DS, Eddie, Sombaht, Happy Camper, Anonymous, Bob4You, Eddie, George, Rodney, Joe Ag, Flip Jaroo, Happily Married, Grooms Brother, Leppari, Nobody, Anonymous,
Like I said earlier in this submission I didn’t want to write to link to all of the depressing she ripped me off articles but the following two by Anonymous and The Cheerful Farang were of particular interest because they specifically wrote about their Thai marriages failing and the reasons why. Finally, the best article ever written as to why we should not marry a Thai was written by Arthur and is an excellent read in its own right.
The Sinsot Debate
The subject of Sinsot keeps raising its head time and time again and yet I keep seeing many questions asking about it on the ‘ask the sticks’ section of the website.
‘What is up with these guys I keep asking myself, don’t they ever go back and read what Stickman and others have said thousands of times before on this subject?”
Ah, but they should not be blamed because Stickman doesn’t have an index of previous subjects discussed so how are they to know… duh! Anyway, for those of you with burning sinsot questions on your mind have no fear because it has been discussed to death in lots of submissions and although it is a subject to get the average foreigner all hot under the collar, it still makes very good reading. Stickman first discussed Sinsot in March 2003 with “WHERE'S YOUR WALLET, STICK?” This was then followed up in Dec 2003 with “The Bride Price Revisited”, Then October 2005 with “Mr. And Mrs. Stick to the rescue!” in a bid to help some silly sod with his own sinsot discussions to finally the definitive guide to Sinsot with “A Sin Sot FAQ” in Dec 2005 which I believe came about after myself and Indy UK had a fight over my article Sinsot Reflections and his A response to Sinsot Reflections whereby he decided to slag me off with a multitude of assumptions, even claiming that me and the wife had fingers like bananas. Fair enough! oook, eeek, ug ug ah ah ah! Moving on however, the following articles all discuss the dreaded Sinsot: Meemok, Eddie, Stalter & Waldorf, Camaschua, Thai Lover, Thai Lass, BKKSW, Torq, Nullih Noi, Anonymous, A Decent Thai Girl, Anonymous, TomP, and finally A Thai Butterfly.
Now hopefully the next time you have a Sinsot question, you will have at least gone and read that entire lot first.
OK, so where next, well we have discussed meeting a nice Thai girl, but what about those western ladies that we have left behind. Well this subject hasn’t gone un-noticed by the readership on Stickman and he wrote a weekly in Aug 2005 titled “Defending Farang Women” after reading through a dirty magazine and seeing the golden gulley of a western woman again after years of looking at little brown ones. Funnily enough most of the readership have different views about western women and outside of the dirty magazines can see how hard faced, uptight and overweight the western ladies have become. The first submission on this was written in submission 218 by BIG C and it was some years later before the subject was approached again. First with Jason, then Siam Sam, Mad Max, Phet, followed by my little encounter with the Embittered western lady, and finally both Marc Holt and Phet again put their pennies worth in on the subject. Some of the feedback I got in particular about western women made me smile and the following made me puff up my chest in pride: “Brilliant stuff. I, too, have a Thai wife who is considerably younger than me and I can say without hesitation that I have noticed the looks given by western women – and Thai ones as well, come to that.” and… “What a wonderful story you wrote about Ms Walnut face both me and my wife have been laughing, having experienced exactly the same (almost, but not as good as) experience! We had a Farang lady harassing us (me…) but I didn't have the guts you had”.
The Older Guys
One of the things you tend to see in Thailand is the greyer, older generation who have chosen Thailand to live out their latter years. This is great to see because in my book these guys have their priorities in place and want to go out with a proverbial bang and a smile and not necessarily in that order either. Unfortunately the old boys sometimes get a hard press in Thailand and it’s usually from the ignorant and arrogant youthful lot. One article in particular by Jayson annoyed me so much that I ended up writing in defence of the old boys in Thailand with my “The Impetuousness of youth” to which I received the following e-mail from a reader; “Your article brought forth a positive wake-up call for all who are fascinated with Thailand. It also lets one think well and hard about life and getting older. It really was nice reading your article. In the end it felt like great lessons are to be learnt from reading what you wrote”.
For me having youth and arrogance behind you is one thing but being ignorant is another and one should remember that the old boys are there to teach us younger guys things that we have yet to learn. For example, here is one story of such an event of times gone past:
Atoru, the emperor's blade master was asked by Kochiro, his most promising pupil: 'Master, if an accomplished samurai of a warring clan stood before you, with an arrow knocked in his longbow, a No-Dachi strapped to his back, his Daisho at his waist and Kama on his thighs, which of his weapons would you fear most?'
Satoru blinked but once then responded: 'The dagger hidden inside his robes’
How the experience brings a cautious edge that the head strong youth never understand eh. Anyway, on Stickman there are a few articles written specifically for the older guys and the first I found from many moons ago in the readers submissions are from Old Boldy, JU, Jack Flowers, Bob4You, Chips, P, Anonymous, and finally Old Bob.
Investing In Thailand
Finally, you are here, you are settled, you are bored and you want something to do. You either want to set up a home or you want to set up a business or both and you just don’t know where to start. Well have no fear because many who have gone before you have written in with their thoughts on the subject. First let’s talk about the business aspect of setting up a company here and then we can look at the property market too. The first one came from Stickman weekly in June 2003 titled “ How many investors?” followed by “Should I Buy A Bar?” in Sept 2003 and as far as I can tell, Stick himself has remained pretty quiet on the subject ever since, however his readership have been a little bit more focal but even this comes in fits and spurts. The first three Mr. Tim, Barclay, Jules, all come from the early years of readers’ submissions whereas the last three Anonymous, Anonymous, Frank Visakay all coming in within the last year begging the question of what happened in between. I too added my pennies worth with an article on “Investing in Thailand” as well but not many people seemed to have approached this subject in too great a depth. What I would like to hear is from all those who currently own a business and how they have overcome the pitfalls and how they made it a success… funnily enough they are all keeping quiet, why is that?
Finally, let’s discuss investing in a home here. Many guys would just love to own a place here (me included) but the silly rules that we face here just make it darned impossible and when you add in the element of uncertainty of life here it does make the subject very fraught indeed. Stickman touched on the subject of property ownership in June 2004 with “The biggest Investment of All” and again in Nov 2005 with “The Bangkok property market” after interviewing Philip Roland of Sunbelt Asia. Funnily enough, I have found Roland to be incredibly useless and to date he has never returned a single call despite my several requests to go and look at some properties. Perhaps he just recognises that I am not a complete idiot and therefore not worthy of his time to try and rip me off preferring instead guys coming in from overseas who don’t quite know the market that well and therefore able to be hoodwinked that bit more.
Looking back over the submissions on the subject, you will find that in earlier days Sunbelt Asia actually submitted an excellent article about what you could do (at that time). Later on a very interesting read from Camaschua about land ownership came in which prompted Jayson to respond. Almog Thai then wrote an excellent submission on how he got around things finally followed up for clarification by IndyUk. I am actually surprised that this subject has not been discussed more considering the nature of the subject and I would love to hear from the estate agents and home owners alike on their experiences out there. Personally I think the market is over inflated but maybe I am wrong.
Anyway, I could go on and on about all the subjects that have been covered by previous submissions and there are truck loads on there about ‘my first trip’, ‘my bar girl experience’ to ‘she is different’ and about driving in Thailand that this submission could go on forever. The point I wanted to make I think has been made. In summary though, if you want to learn about a subject on Thailand, the chances are it has been written about many times before and perhaps, just perhaps it would be good to take time out to read back through Stickman and to finding the answers first. Of course Stickman could help with this by setting up an index or grouping of submissions by topic / author and if anyone would like to help in this process by wading through the remaining 3,000 submissions then that would most certainly get my vote.
The idea of creating an index system is a very good one, about that there can be no argument. I would love to do it and over the years people have come to me with ideas about it – and some people even went ahead and coded a whole new site. The problem in these cases was that they never actually asked me what I thought about it beforehand! They went and created a whole new interface which completely changed the look of the site and the whole way it would be put together – and changing the whole look of the site without consultation doesn't usually end in a positive result!
So, if anyone is interested in assisting with an index system and working TOGETHER on it, then contact me.
That does get to the other issue of running this site which is one of time. This site takes about 5 hours a day, every day, to keep on top of. And believe me, that is me moving at a brisk pace, with an efficient system. For me to do a whole new index system myself….well, it really could be the straw that broke the camel's back. I am keen to implement such a system, but I am also conscious of the amount of time I spend on the site.