Stickman Readers' Submissions March 28th, 2008

A Case FOR Thailand

And, by extension, to its woman…and blokes like me.

mens clinic bangkok

I have traveled to Thailand for many years now and for the last 5 years I have been an avid reader of Stickman’s site which is beyond the shadow of a doubt the top site for anybody who is looking for info on absolutely anything in regard to Thailand and its culture. To him: Thanks a mill, brother.

I want to leave aside the usual amorous travel diaries which are nonetheless…somewhat useful as a “where to score” guide. Those give the term “lonely planet” a completely new meaning. I also refuse to entertain those sites on which sickos provide “info” on Thailand in such a derogatory and demeaning style that it makes me wishing to hit them with a 4X4 over the gutter they call heads.

What amazes me is the incredibly high percentage of negative submissions in regard to the Thai society in general, their so called “lack ofs” or “shortcomings” , their customs, inter-marriages, relationships with BG’s, etc.. Another astonishing fact is that there are so may people even among Stickman’s “Green” submissions who miss the crucial points or display an utter lack of tolerance. And that although they either lived for significant amounts of time in the LOS or are even married to a Thai. Or is it that it is not “although” but “because”?

Anyhow, after reading so many negative submissions I decided that it was time for somebody to make a case FOR Thailand and, by extension, FOR its “working girls”.

First of all: Whatever those lacks and shortcomings are: IT IS THEIRS! It is their country, their culture, their philosophy, their way of life. Not yours! If they are happy with it (in the widest sense) who are you to judge them? You are the guest and you are well advised to act according to their customs and expectations, however strange they may appear to you. You are not forced to be there, you chose it! If you cant handle it, STAY AWAY.

Then there are those who always have “bad experiences”, be it with Thai women or the Thai society in general. (Note that the emphasis here is on ALWAYS or MOST OF THE TIME. I am aware that the occasional problem can occur, regardless how well adapted or experienced one is). They wonder why shit happens to them on a regular bases. My answer is: YOU EXPERIENCE WHAT YOU ARE! Although this is true everywhere, it applies to Asia (I have lived in India for most of the last 32 years), especially to countries which have not yet succumbed completely to the American-way-of-life, to a much greater extent. Behavior and its nuances play a much greater role here. The so called “mirror effect” functions VERY directly here. In other words: If you’re full of shit…don’t be surprised if it flies in your face all the time. The good news is: All is not lost. Your experiences will improve proportionally reverse with an improvement of yourself.

Now to the element of surprise people express when bad things (hardly anybody mentions the good ones) happen to them. Why the hell is that? Before I went to Thailand for the first time I did inform myself about what to expect. Sources were plentiful even before Stickman, plus there are a good number of books on the market dealing with this topic. Therefore instead of being disappointed I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived in the LOS. There was hardly anything I did not like, starting from the attitude of the people, their eagerness to please, their efficiency by doing so, their cleanliness, the incredibly tasty food. The development of the infrastructure over the years was amazing, light years ahead of India, my chosen home. Look at the roads and the attitude of drivers, for example. I am a passionate motorbiker and whereas biking in India borders on suicide, biking in the LOS is pure bliss. With the exception of BKK, of course, but even there it is thousand times safer than in India where the only rule is the law of the jungle i.e. the survival of the fittest (strongest). I never (by 99.9%) felt this attitude in Thailand. To the contrary, I felt and still feel (I just returned from a bike trip in Southern Thailand) that Thai drivers take extra care when spotting a Khon thang chad (I hate the term farang).

wonderland clinic

Many submissions make a great deal out of the fact that a foreigner never becomes an accepted insider and always remains on the periphery, so to speak. Although this is perfectly true, Thailand (its people) compensating us with something of, in my opinion, equal value. And that is hospitality and above all, tolerance. The great German chancellor Bismarck said “In a modern state everybody should be able to be happy in his own fashion”. I don’t think there is any country in the world which has achieved this to the degree Thai society has. Look at the extent kathoeys (ladyboys) are integrated into society. From beach bars to drugstores to announcing flight arrivals & departures at the national airport, they are everywhere. Or do you know any other place (beside Venice in California) where a 75 year-old white (Caucasian) drag queen in a pink mini shirt, pink high heels, pink short top and pink hand bag can walk (seen in Pratunam) and nobody even turns their head? Or just think for a moment about how much of our culture, sub-culture (drug-parties, topless bathing, kissing and petting bordering on a physical display in the open) and outright excesses we force upon Thailand. Not even India, which has a very tolerant attitude towards foreigners, society would accept that much (except in the tiny pocket of Goa, but even there it has changed plenty already). You would have a good chance of getting pelted with stones or severely beaten up there.

The next thing that really bothers me is the often one-sided condemnation of BGs, FLs (freelancers) and their BFs.

Those letters are commonly written by three kinds of people. People with bad experiences, prudes and the (by far) worst kinds: the hypocrites.

With the first group I have dealt to some extent already. And I can still tolerate the opinion of prudes beyond whose imagination it is to picture a relationship with a BG. Be it because of a working “legal” relationship, religious or moral inhibitions or due to simple lack of need. Although the latter is difficult to imagine for me, it’s possible. Shit happens, guys.

But the hypocrites who state that they never pay for sex and their pitiful attempts to elevate themselves by “looking down” on those of us who do, while at the same time shelling out huge amounts of money for their “legitimate” GFs or wives, often without getting their moneys worth, make me feel nauseous. Ironically, or should I better term it tragically, since many of those “guardians of public moral” even endure abuse or emotional and physical withdrawal while their LPs (legal partners) go on spending their hard earned money or life's savings. In my opinion their criticism is based on two things: Ignorance (i.e. lack of first-hand experience) and above all, ENVY. Which is understandable if one imagines the hypocrite waking up every morning beside a person he / she doesn’t share an emotional bond nor any physical pleasures anymore. And that for the rest of their (miserable) lives. And instead of realizing his / her own responsibility for continuing their existing disaster which they call relationship or trying to change the status quo, they trying to make themselves feeling better in judging others. Perhaps in “self defence”. I admit though, it’s preferable to committing suicide.

Then there are the double hypocrites who condemn everything what has to do with commercial sex while indulging in it secretly. Sorry to say that I (as a practicing Buddhist) don’t even feel so much as compassion for them. Only contempt in equal proportion with disgust.

Over the years I had dozens of encounters with BGs and “freelancers” and not a single time did I suffer a significant disaster. I sure felt pain now & then. But what’s wrong with that? It’s nothing but human. Pain is also a feeling! Anyhow, here are my rules (or should I say “secrets”?)

1. (and most important one) I don’t have any illusions or UNREALISTIC expectations. How to avoid those I have dealt with earlier.

2. Unless she gives me a valid reason for it, I treat a BG (or freelancer) no different as I treat my western GFs. This means: I treat her as a princess!

Why shouldn’t I? Beside the reasons I stated above already: Those women provide a vital and much needed service. Note that “vital” stems from the Latin term “vita” = life. One of the most important connotations for “vital” is “necessary” or “important”. Therefore “vital service” can be translated to “important, necessary life improving service”. And what is of paramount importance: still at affordable prices (although, due to the steep rise of the baht and the common human greed it has reached a certain threshold of pain by now). Without them, a guy over fifty who wishes to have a “full night” or a week on an island with a beautiful young girl has to be on par with Hugh Hefner or his likes.

I see the whole thing as a totally reciprocal affair. For we provide vital help, too. Never thought about how we elevate the GDP with the money we pump into the Thai society? Or how many families (especially in Isaan) are lifted out of extreme poverty? Or how many children or siblings of BGs who otherwise have no chance of finishing a school are educated or at least, become computer literate because of us? And even a good bit of BGs and freelancers (the smarter ones) have invested their earnings in bars, beauty saloons, internet shops or IT courses and thus became independent. Whatever it may be, one things you can be sure of: WITH VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS BG’S OR EVEN BOTH SIDES ARE BETTER OF THAN BEFORE THEY BECAME “FARANG BFs” OR “WORKING GIRLS”! If you don’t believe me I suggest you read Stickman’s excellent and honest “green star” submission of 03/10/2005, by Indyuk, entitled We Are The Wrecked, Not The Wreckers. You’ll get a very good idea what the life of a girl born into a poor Isaan family looks like.

3. I never lie to a girl and, in logical conclusion, I make no promises I cannot keep.

One of the most common maladies is the sheer amount of lies and bullshit BFs offload onto those girls. Be it a promise of marrying them, or by lying about being married, showing of as Ritchie Rich (one of the most stupid and contra-productive lies, especially when you are not) or a promise of a big payday and then beating it without, showing of as “the knight in shining armor”, on a quest of saving the princess…you name it. Believe me, they have heard it all. A thousand times! And still, there are always the newbies and those who want to believe it desperately. And those are the ones getting fxxxed up by those lying bitches. If you consider that every single BG or freelancer was a newbie once, you perhaps begin to understand where I am coming from.

And that’s why I told every GF I ever had exactly what she could expect from me. And, what is equally important, what I expect from her. As I mentioned in the beginning (# 2): I treat each GF as a princess. I, of course, expect to be treated just the same. That means, I DO NOT tolerate things like cheap behavior, rudeness, letting me wait for hours, flirting with other guys while she is with me. That leads straight to the next point.

4. I never give in to demands beyond the agreed fee (Especially when it comes to supporting her family). And I make it abundantly clear from the beginning that this is her OWN interest since any breach of this rule will bring our relationship to an untimely and rapid foreclosure. At the same time I make it also clear that any additional gratification (I am everything but a miser) will be given out of my free will and depends solemnly on her conduct, attitude and of course, the way she treads me…in and out of bed. When a working girl is with a Thai man, she really “takes care of him”. Meaning, she bends backwards to please him in any which way she can. I expect nothing less. Why should I, given the fact that I treat my GFs a whole lot better than most of their Thai BFs.

5. I never tell my GFs what to do or not to do when I am not with her. This is one of the biggest and most often committed mistakes. And here come the reasons. A) It is totally unrealistic! A girl who has only a limited amount of time to acquire any (for her) significant savings. She would be totally stupid to waste it. So what if you send her money on a regular bases. It does not change the fact that her time is short. B) I don’t care what she does in my absence. Not in the least! Why should I? The time you spend with your GF and the time you spend somewhere else are two completely different realities. Like co-existing universes. One has nothing to do with the other. Co-existing…but SEPARATE. The next thing you have to understand is: Every farewell is like a little death. Seriously! You never know if you ever get to see her again. You don’t even know if you wake up tomorrow morning. So why bother? It’s all in your mind! C) Why you want to even know it? Unless you are a masochist, that is. People have choices. In fact, life is much more a matter of choices than a matter of chances. And if one can chose between heaven or hell (in regard to peace-of-mind, emotions), why not to chose heaven?

6. Try to eliminate the notion that everything you pay for…is YOURS. That’s just another illusion so many fall prey to. As I have no RIGHT to have sex with my wife or western girlfriend, at NO TIME I feel that it is my RIGHT to have sex with my Thai GF. And I was always able to make her understand this fact. Instead I show gratitude and accept graciously what she is about to give me. Before anything happens I put her fee on the table (I prefer her handbag) and give her the option to leave at anytime she wishes. You probably think I am stupid. Well, everybody is entitled to his opinion. But you would be surprised how many times the attitude of girls changed totally when I did this.

7. Every time I feel that the girl does not take at least a little liking to me or displays any notion of disgust I send her home. With full pay for a short time, at least! Why? I simply believe it’s my fault. If I would have been more attentive I could have sensed it early one (the signs are easy to see if I you really watch her. But I was either too high, too horny, or both). By now I have taken up her time and given her the hope of an income. So why to create a scene and on top of it, spoil their opinion of us even more. Just for a few miserable bucks?

8. I believe that “cleanliness comes right before godliness” (and that includes thinking, too). And I am aware that the body odor of Caucasians is different and sometimes hard to bear for Thais. Therefore, although I am generally a very clean person I give it an extra care whenever I am together with a Thai GF.

I am quite confident that the quality of your relationships with Thai girls will improve tremendously once you manage to incorporate those rules. You even get an additional bonus: Your relationships with just about everybody, including YOURSELF, will improve, too.

An often expressed complaint, not only in regard to Thai GFs, but also in regard to Thais in general is their “Lack of intellectual capacity”. Well, that depends entirely on the eyes of the beholder. What is “intellectual capacity” for one can be “mindf…” for others. I spent years of my life in capitals around the globe where people have “IC” up there asses. Granted, I also like it when my GF can speak sufficient English to communicate in a simple way. But I find it refreshing not having to prove my “IC” all the time. A down-to-earth conversation about the simple things in life is (most of the time) much more rewarding to me. And I regard “to feel comfortable while being silent” not as shortcoming but as a great asset. If you don’t…it’s your fault, not hers. You’re better off screwing your shrink or any philosophy or psychology student. In this case make sure you don’t forget the lubricant.

I saved a few special words till the end. To all those who think that “old blokes” like me (I am 55) shouldn’t embarrass themselves, should stay home with their asses and “behave” accordingly, the following: I am a musician, traveler and author of several novels which most of my readers label (among other things) as “brutally honest”, “unusual” and “free-spirited”. I was a “free” thinker before you even got a slight grasp of what the word “free” really means. I helped organizing the flower-power movement when it came to Europe from Height Ashbury (San Francisco). We formed the first “communes” in which we shared absolutely “everything”. Those were vastly different from flat-sharing communities of today which (99%) are formed for economic reasons, not ideals. After hitch-hiking through all of Europe I travelled to Asia and back by road, taking in all the cultures on the way. Proportionally to the expansion of the outer horizon my inner one grew tremendously. So did tolerance, acceptance a greater understanding of life itself and with it, a bit of wisdom. With it came the realization that “to be old” or “to be young” is a mere concept of our minds. Or perhaps better, illusion, or maya, as Hindus call it. When I look around me I see so many (by years) young people who are much older than my father the second he kicked the bucket (with Eighty One). But then, he too, was a free mind. The irony is that it is mostly those adolescent “zombies” who vociferously declare their disgust about older folks who have young GFs. To them I say: Instead of telling you what you can do with the label “old” I tell you what the Danish philosopher and existentialist Soren Kierkegard said to people who are always hell bend on labeling others.

“Don’t label me! Because if you do, you will expect me to become what you think of me! To label me is to negate, to limit me.”

And I for one, are not allowing you to do so.

There is only one thing to remain. To say thank you. But better late than never!


Stickman's thoughts:

We all come from a slightly different background, slightly different circumstances and carry slightly different baggage. Your positive views are refreshing. With that said, I do feel you are a little harsh on others. Some people have genuinely bad experiences and they may not be due to any fault of their own (of course, they may be.) Those people have every right to express their negative experiences, just as you do to express your positive thoughts. With that said, more positive stories are, of course, very welcome.

nana plaza