Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Where Ya Gonna Go?
• Century Golden Resources Hotel
• Cheng Fu Hotel
• Fragrant Hill Golden Resources Hotel
• Friendship Hotel Beijing
In this essay I will try to answer the Question – – “Are there Alternatives to Thailand for those that have chosen to live an “alternative” life style?” That is, now that the Thais have decided to exclude all “Bad Boys” from enjoying entry ad infinitum on Tourist Visas, (and to also restrict the “Bad Boys” in many other ways), where will they all go?
We all know Falang that have suspicious backgrounds, questionable CVs, and the worst motives; I simply ask “where can they go?” where can they set-up shop, now that the Thais have given them the boot?
And, really, (not to digress) but who are these bad guys? You probably know who they are, but for the occasional naïve reader without a clue, I would ask, do these categories sound like familiar stereotypes? – – American sex tourists? British boiler room workers? Pakistani drug dealers? Indian money changers? Chinese flesh traders? Russians selling false documents? Romanians making porno movies? Or simply a backpacker turned school teacher using fake teaching certificates?
The Bad Boys include all of the above and more.
We all love Thailand, to varying degrees and for different reasons. She is not a perfect country, but we love her. We have all previously had a litany of complaints against Thailand, but, on balance, we liked it here anyway. The women, the lifestyle, my God, why wouldn’t a healthy Falang like it here?
However, all of the fun and good times are now over for many people. The Bad Boys can’t easily come and go as they please any more on VOAs (or Non-Imm “B’s” that may have been falsely obtained) and the retirement visa isn’t for everyone, obviously, and Thai housing ownership and Thai business ownership is becoming almost impossible. The message is clear. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. The Thais are tired of all of the Bad Boys. They are not as welcome here as they once were. Many “Bad Boys” have already gone, and the rest will soon be leaving, in my opinion.
It really is such a shame, though. There used to be such a concentration of sleazy people in Thailand, now, that camaraderie of thugs and scum will be fragmented as they are blown to the four corners of the Earth. Real pity.
Where will the Bad Boys go? Well, for those that wish to continue the Bad Boy life style (as opposed to going back home and living on the dole…) I believe that there are three general possibilities:
(1.) Stay in Asia; (2.) Try out Eastern Europe; (3.) Try out Central or South America
In my opinion, here is what is required for the Bad Boys to continue their life style – – (Any potential new home must have at least most of the following) :
(A.) Pussy: Number one on any list for all of the obvious reasons; The Bad Boys are addicted to simple-minded and easily-available little brown beauties that will happily spread their legs and offer themselves for as little as 500 Baht. Trust me, that feature of the Thai landscape will not be easy to replace;
(B.) Booze: Beer and whisky are the lubricants, the veritable life blood of sleazy interpersonal relationships; In order for the Bad Boys to continue to meet one another, and socially interact, and prove their ‘real-macho-ness’ to each other any replacement for Thailand must have entertaining bars with adult beverages on tap.
(C.) Cheap Living: Housing, Food, and Transportation – – it has to be at least a wee tad above stone-age, and not too expensive;
(D.) Medical Facilities: Any locality that is more than an hour’s drive from a source of Viagra, heavy-duty pain killers, and modern dentistry cannot be seriously considered;
(E.) Infrastructure: The basic necessities of modern business life include banking, money changers, good telephones, high-speed internet, and reliable postal and courier services; It’s also a real plus if all of the above can be operated on ‘slightly-less-than-real’ I.D.;
So, with the above 5 general requirements (A-E) I will give you my personal ratings of the possibilities:
(1.) Stay in Asia (the following countries are in no particular order)
(a.) Singapore: Nope. Too uptight, too expensive, and too well controlled by secret police who really do know what you are doing; The American PISCES system is in operation at Changi Airport; Don’t get caught with drugs or fake I.D.’s. Visa friendly.
(b.) Hong Kong: Perhaps, if you are well-heeled. HK is a very expensive place to live. Almost everything that any Bad Boy needs is there, but some of it is very much ‘underground’. If you are a blue-eyed white-devil, it may take you a while to penetrate the local mafia and win the respect of the Triads. Visa friendly.
(c.) Cambodia: Overall, no. Too dirty, too dangerous, and too little reliable infrastructure. Very visa friendly. You can live there forever, but it is difficult to operate any kind of ‘grey area’ business from there; Too many NGO’s and too many international police.
(d.) Vietnam and Laos: No, and No. <Surprised you dismissed Vietnam so easily – Stick>
(e.) Indonesia: Maybe. Indo is becoming visa-unfriendly, (just like Thailand), but not quite as bad; The general scenario could be to either live and work in Jakarta, (if you can get a work permit) or live ‘cheap’ on Batam, and make an inexpensive once-per-month ferry boat visa run to Singapore, and perhaps occasionally conduct some business from Singapore; There is a free-trade-zone on Batam that will allow foreigners to directly own housing and shops (66 year leasehold, no freehold) The impact of the Muslim faith in Indo is over-rated by the Western media, Bali bombings not withstanding. P4P is everywhere. Almost all girls are Indo, very few imports. Many freelancers are available. Also, many “bonded” girls are available that have been sold by their parents into contract arrangements, and those girls are available at brothels, massage shops, and karaoke bars. There are even special ‘sex villages’ in many places, with numbers on the houses and girls inside, not unlike Svay Pak in Cambodia, but without an NGO presence. The local language(s) are written in Roman characters, and the sound of some of the words will be vaguely familiar to Westerners, given that there are some Dutch and Spanish origins for some of the language. Indonesia is clearly in the “strong maybe” category.
(f.) Malaysia: Truly Asia. Malaysia is a possibility, if you can learn to down size your Bangkok-size appetite for sex, drugs, and alcohol. Everything that a Bad Boy needs is very much there, but a “too-open” life style, especially for someone that should be living in the shadows anyway, will get you busted; Kuala Lumpur, in many ways, is a miniature Bangkok, if you can learn to adapt; P4P is everywhere, mostly in massage rooms and take-out from bars; There are a few Malaya girls, and plenty of Thai, PRC, and Vietnamese imports; Many street signs and shop signs are in English, and all of the local languages are written in Roman characters, so that you can actually read the stuff. (There is only minor use of the old Jawi alphabet, primarily in religious applications) Malaysia is very visa friendly, and even has a ten year retirement visa available, for both older retirees and even for younger folks; If you have some money to transfer in, the ten year visa is very easy to obtain. Malaysian people are very friendly, and you need not be too afraid of the Muslims there. On the west coast of Malaysia, there is Georgetown on Penang Island, which is very reminiscent of Phuket, only nicer in many ways. Malaysia, like Singapore and Hong Kong, was once colonized by the British, so they have very high standards to shoot for, unlike the Thais that have not got a clue… Overall, Malaysia gets my vote as a ‘cleaner’ alternative to Thailand. < I know you are writing from a bad boy's perspective, but I have to say that the food in Malaysia is excellent – Stick>
(g.) Philippines: Truly a third world hell hole. However, it is just the ticket for Bad Boys that were in the sleazebag drifter category in Thailand, and that have learned to live here on 500 baht per day. They will just love places like Manila and Angeles City. Flipland, especially in places like Manila, has as much sex, drugs, and whisky per square meter as Patpong; The infrastructure is available, bring your own battery back-up; The language is a mixture of local dialects and Spanish. English is widely spoken, at least on a rudimentary level; From WW-II until well after the Vietnam War, there was a huge American military presence in the Phils; Most English in the Phils is both spoken and spelled American style; The Phils is visa friendly, and you can come and go 30 days at the time; The Pussy: There is plenty of P4P available, but there are cultural differences; These are good little Catholic girls, and you may not get the same level of performance that you are used to in Thailand; The dangers: Robberies, murders, and kidnappings are just part of the everyday scene in the Phils; Foreigners should keep a low profile and act skint; There is reason why every bank in the Philippines is guarded by two grim-faced fellows holding old Ithaca Model 37 slide-action shotguns at the ready… Overall, the Philippines gets my vote as a ‘wild-west’ alternative to Thailand.
(h.) China (PRC), Taiwan, Shanghai, South Korea, Japan (etc.). . .Taiwan is similar to Hong Kong in both what you should expect to find and what you can get away with; Mainland China, South Korea, and Japan are very unlikely places for a Bad Boy on a budget that requires a user-friendly environment.
(2.) Try Out Eastern Europe (Non-EU options as well as “EU, but tolerant”)
(a.) Latvia: The murder capital of the world. Possible, for many reasons, but I don’t recommend it. Simply too dangerous.
(b.) Romania: Possibility. The people are very friendly, they will do anything for a buck, and the infrastructure ain’t bad. The challenge would be to learn some of the local language, since English is not widely spoken.
(c.) Spain. Not in “Eastern Europe”, but certainly a popular alternate destination for Bad Boys. Definite possibility. Perhaps the best choice if you are already traveling on an EU passport. Everything is there, but not as out in the open as in Asia; You have to get to know the people and work hard to make connections and contacts. The southern coast is nice. The women are also very nice, not only the locals, but also the droves of imported working girls from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania. Spain gets my thumbs up for anyone that is willing to try Europe.
(3.) Central and South America and the Caribbean
I will preface Central and South America with two comments: First, you must be willing to learn a little of the local languages, which in most cases are based on either Spanish or Portuguese; Secondly, if your grey area business is too dirty, you are simply in the wrong part of the world. The U.S.A. has a very high presence in the entire region with its alphabet soup of CIA, DEA, DHS, and FBI agents.
(a,) Costa Rica. Perhaps one of the best choices. Good P4P, visa friendly, moderate cost, great infrastructure. There are many “call centers” operating in Costa Rica because of the excellent telephone and broadband infrastructure and because of the proximity to America. The proximity to America is a two-edged sword, of course. There are plenty of English speaking part-timers that you can put on your payroll, but there are also gringo agents lurking about. Depending on what you are into, CR is a good choice.
(b.) Panama. Perhaps the most expensive place in Central America, but probably still cheaper than going back home, settling up with your ex-wife, and accepting a life of docking sheep, or whatever you once did for a living. Panama has become a retirement haven for Americans, and if you have need for older English-speakers as part-timers in your business, there are droves of them that are available. Panama is good place for corporate formation and banking, especially if you can establish yourself in the Colon Free Zone, which is sort of the Switzerland of South America. Visa friendly, with easy-to-obtain residency and retirement visas. Perhaps the safest of the countries in the region.
(c.) Belize, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador: No, No, No, No, and No.
(d.) The various Caribbean islands: Too numerous to list, and most are both too small, and too expensive; Additionally, they routinely get wiped out, (like literally blown flat), by hurricanes. Fun to visit, but an unlikely choice for the Bad Boy life style. The Dominican Republic is actually a minor possibility, but it is a very small place, and there are all of those “Agency” types lurking about . . .
(e.) Argentina: Actually a possibility for the Bad Boy lifestyle, but only if you are willing to take the time, learn the language, and keep an appropriately low profile; Everything that you need is there, but you just have to be very careful . . .
(f.) Brazil, and Chile: No and no for too many reasons to list.
I will end this brief essay by saying that there is no place like Thailand, and it is too bad that the Thais are running off all of the foreigners, but if a foreigner can’t control a company here, if he can’t own land or housing here, and if he can’t wire his profits out of the country . . .
For a businessman, whether he is in a “clean” business or a “dirty” business, Thailand is just no longer friendly, and that is why so many foreigners are leaving.
In Summary: This is where I believe that 90-percent of the Bad Boys are going, (or, have already gone) and I have ranked this list:
5.) Costa Rica
It's ironic that you sent this piece in at this time as a very similar piece is being worked on for the weekly column, although not quite from a bad boy's perspective. An interesting submission, it would have been even better if you had gone into more detail for each place.