Readers' Submissions

Foster Foskin’s Agony Column 4

  • Written by Marc Holt
  • May 26th, 2007
  • 6 min read


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• Kaibo Express Hotel
• Pine City Hotel Shanghai
• Regal International East Asia Hotel
• Regal Shanghai East Asia

Dear Foster,

My Pooying wants to be a Khunying. I told her Dhakling, a Khunying is a pooying but a pooying cannot be a khunying unless some of the family comes from Kunming. Was I over sinaifying?

Confused,
Bangkok

G’day there Confused. Dunno what sinaifying means, but youse got the rest of it right mate. If she isn’t Kunming, she’ll need a lot more encouragement from you.

If she’s really serious about becoming a Khunying she’ll need ter grow a full load of hair upstairs. It takes a lot of hair ter become a Khunying, yer know? If she can still get through the door without turnin’ sideways, she hasn’t grown enough hair yet.

And if she isn’t a pooying, that will make it a bit harder. Mind youse, if yer see the faces of some of them Khunyings in the social pages…well, yer’ve gotta wonder eh?

Then there’s all the jewelry. Yous’ll have ter buy a lot of that ter weigh ‘er down. All that boufoyant hair makes ‘em a bit lightheaded. Yer don’t want ‘er floatin’ away now, do yer?

It’s all very well havin’ a Khunying around, but what about you? Are youse aspiring ter become an MR? Now, ter become an MR, yer have ter be a Mister, so yer’d immediately become a Mr MR. And if yer don’t load yer Khunying Dhakling down with jewelry, youse’ll become Mr MR missed ‘er when she floats away!

Jeez! I need a beer.

Dear Mr Foskin,

I’ve been coming to Thailand now for five years for my annual holidays. I always head for the bars on Soi Nana or Cowboy. I’m no newbie that gets suckered into the Patpong rip off joints!

But there’s one thing that always amazes me, and I just can’t understand it. Maybe you can help?

You see, I like to look around a lot before I make my final choice for the evening. Sometimes I will sit down and a girl will come up to me, play around a bit and then ask for a drink. I don’t mind buying her one, but when I spot a girl I really want to be with the first one gets all jealous, as if I belong to her. I only bought her a drink, not her body!

Why do they do this? They are bar girls, aren’t they? They go with dozens of men every day. So why worry if I decide to choose a different one?

So youse’ve been comin’ here for five years for about two weeks at a time? That makes a total of just over three months. Yeah, that’s long enough ter really get ter know a country, eh? I can see why youse might still be a bit confused about Thai customs.

First orf, yer won’t get suckered at Patpong unless youse are stupid enough ter let someone else try and find yer entertainment for yer. A tout is a tout, mate.

Now, about the jealousy thing. Yeah, yer bought ‘er a drink, and that means she’s yours in the eyes of the other bar girls. So when youse want ter trade ‘er in fer a new model she loses face. Now, if yer don’t understand what that means, try and put it into perspective.

As soon as yer buy that drink it’s like puttin’ up a big sign that says, ‘This sheila is mine. I like this one.’ Even if you don’t particularly like ‘er, that’s what the other bar girls see. Then, when yer decide ter trade ‘er in she immediately becomes ugly. All the other girls will lose respect for ‘er. It’s that simple.

My advice? If yer don’t like the shiela when she arrives unasked, tell her yer don’t want anyone sittin’ with yer just yet. She’ll go away. Yer have ter tell ‘em, y’see? Then when yer see one yer like, make eye contact. If she smiles back and makes nice nice, then that’s the time ter call over the mamasan and tell ‘er yer want ter buy a drink fer the chosen one.

After that, if yer decide yer don’t like that shiela, pay the bill and head for another bar and start all over again.

There’s a certain etiquette in the bars. If yer learn that youse’ll do real fine, and be ready ter pay the bar fine more often than not. Enjoy yer holidays mate!

Dear Mr Foster Foskin,

I read your column and think you are doing a great job. Your answers have helped me on many occasions. But I would like to ask you something a little different, if you don’t mind?

Do you think that prostitution in Thailand is bad for the people, and for the country? Everyone in the West has heard about the terrible sex trade in Thailand. This has given the country a very bad reputation. So, I’d like to hear if you agree with that or not.

Sincerely,

Concerned Moralist


G’day CM. I asked me 95 year old grandmother if she’d ever heard of Thailand and she looked at me blankly. So, I have ter question yer assumption that ‘everyone in the West’ has heard of the sex trade here. But you pose an interesting question, one I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer. Anyway, I’ll give it a go.

First, how long has prostitution been around? I seem ter recall that it is mentioned more than a few times in the bible, as well as throughout history. Even today, prostitution is a fact of life in many so-called civilized Western countries. So why single out Thailand for your question?

The fact is, without prostitution this country would not have grown into the vibrant economy it has become now. Think about it CM. Most of the girls in the trade come from areas that have always been traditionally poor. Their parents struggled all their lives, yet they are still dirt poor. It’s only when their daughters come to the big city, have some fun with visiting men, and send a large part of their earnings home that things improve. Yer can always tell where a workin’ girl lives in a village, because her parent’s house will be newer, they will have all the modern conveniences, and they will be better dressed.

Yeah, I agree that it would be better if Thailand was able ter stand on its own two feet without havin’ ter spread ‘em wide instead. That day will come, perhaps, but until the underlying inequalities in the fabric of society are addressed, the sex trade will continue ter flourish.

Remember Japan after the second world war? A huge sex industry sprang up when the US forces arrived. That money helped many rise from poverty and better their lives. But what changed things was the government’s decision ter provide quality education. With education, the Japanese came to expect better living conditions, better jobs, and better standards of government.

Prostitution is only a symptom of the problems within a society. Attack the root cause of the problem and you will give the people more opportunities. Then prostitution will become a marginalized industry available only at very high prices. That hasn’t happened here in Thailand yet, and I bet that’s probably why youse still come here then, isn’t it?

Stickman's thoughts:

You know, you can send your questions to Foster at the email address listed below…if you dare see what he will say to you!