Readers' Submissions

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly




(apologies to Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone)

One thing that’s really good is the food. When I tell ‘em I’m from LA, my students sometimes ask me why I left California for Bangkok. This question typically leaves me stuttering. Since I don’t dare tell ‘em the truth (to go short-time), I squawk about penang gai and bamee geeow nahm. This they understand. They might understand short-time too. I just don’t go there. At least not with them.

While we’re on the subject of consumption, Tiger beer, served with a glass with ice, is good too, especially when ingested at the Golden Bar overlooking the “world’s largest big screen TV”, the Nana Hotel parking lot.

When they are good, the girls are good too. Sometimes really good. One thing they are is great to look at. Can you say eye candy? My research has shown there’s typically one hottie per BTS car sliding door. Sometimes two. And they’re just luscious. And often thin, something you no longer see in the West.

When a gaggle of university students crowds the BTS platform, the ratio of good-looking females rises exponentially. I think about 72.3% of their appeal is due to their uniforms, high-heels included. Take their uniforms off (hold that thought) and these gals probably drop a collective 2.25 points on the Hugh Hefner 10-point scale. The latest debate in Thai academia is whether the uniforms are too sexy. As if that was possible. As men control the country, I don’t see the student dress code changing.

Shopping’s really good too. I thought there were a lot of convenience stores in California. Then I moved here. Apparently, having a 7 Eleven five minutes away is not good enough as they just opened a new one a minute away from my door. This is a good thing, particularly when you need milk for your coffee or are having transfat withdrawal and need a pre-packaged cake roll and large bag of chips.

And then there’s the malls. They try but they can’t build ‘em fast enough. And from the 90-storey behemoth planned at Suan Lum to the open construction sites at Asoke, Ekamai and Ratchadamri Stations, more are coming. The best thing about the malls is, you guessed it, the food centers. I don’t know how many shoppers buy at Prada but there’s usually a line at the som tom stand.

Transportation’s really good too. BTS, MRT and cheap taxis. I can get to my favorite golf course north of Don Muang for maybe $10 US. That ride would probably cost $55 in LA, plus tip. Not that money’s everything. But it’s about 99.9% everything.

Speaking of golf, it’s really good. The experience I mean, not me playing it. And when you pay, you get a girl too, I mean a caddy. A gal follows you around, hands you your club, holds your drink and marks your ball. It’s nice to be serviced by a small Thai girl covered from head to toe in pink. Makes you forget about your horrible short game (not).

The ATMs are good too. The mechanical, not the walking, ones. As with malls, they’re multiplying like Mormons. Must be money involved. I’m considering calling Siam Commercial to see if they can install one in my bedroom so I can skip the elevator ride down to the lobby.

(Not to be negative) but what’s bad is the noise. Do Thais love to hammer or what? I guess that’s to be expected in an LDC (lesser developing country). It’s said buildings last about 30 years here. Much of the new stock looks more sturdy, the high-end condos and stuff. We’ll see. Sometimes looks can be deceiving in Thailand.

I’ve seen the traffic look bad in Bangkok, especially heading north or west in the evening or when the weekend approaches and the masses collectively migrate to Pattaya and Hua Hin. What do you think? Diamond lines in Bangkok? Maybe those pick-ups crammed with 18 day laborers could get their own right of way.

Lately, I’ve been having a philosophical debate with myself. Resolved: It’s better to have ugly bar hostesses than no hostesses at all. I’ll take the con side. I mean Jesus, Mary and Joseph. There’s this Germanically named establishment on my soi. There’re these hulking Thai hosti who hold court there. I mean big women. Try as I might, I can’t miss ‘em. Like a horrific traffic crash, you want to avert yours eyes, but you can’t. It’s like Lot’s wife turning around to look at Sodom and ending up a pile of salt. I’ve heard the food is good and I’m usually up for a cordon bleu. But man, I cross the street when I see this haus coming.

Similarly, what’s the deal on that pool bar on the little bit of Isaan that is the alley between sois 5 and 7? Have you seen the rotund, hairless eastern European proprietor with the huge medallion who sits out front smirking and blinking his eyes. I mean, is that really a draw? I can see in his beady, shifty stare, he’s wondering why business is slow. Shouldn’t someone tell him he’s sitting where Noi, Nong and Nui are supposed to sit?

Let’s see. Two plus two equals four, cross out the five, carry the one. Yeah, that’s right. The good outnumbers the bad and the ugly. And that’s the best you can hope for in a zero sum world, isn’t it? Just don’t tell anyone, okay? There’s too many baby-carriage pushing farang here as it is. Not to be negative or anything.

Stickman's thoughts:

Nice to read a positive submission! Yes, we do need to dwell on the positives more often.