Readers' Submissions

Return To Reality

  • Written by JP
  • September 21st, 2009
  • 9 min read



In my previous three posts, The Story of Deng, I was trying to tell a tale of one young guy's experience, prior to modern Bangkok. In those days Khao San Road wasn't even open past 10, later 12 … but nothing like now. The cell phone did not exist. Wonderful websites like this and home PCs for all to surf at their pleasure were non-existent.
In those days, even without all the warnings you all have at a mouse click today, there were the local ex-pats and long timers to warn you. All leaving the safety of their hostel, for a night in the Pong, heard warnings coming from everywhere. The backpacker, traveller, tourist who admitted to others his night before was frowned at in the Lonely Planet places. Only in the places like 'My Place' (Jesus is that place still there?), and Malaysia Hotel and other such dive like sois and hotels, could you speak openly with your fellow participants. I remember that time I nearly got stuck in Bangkok, before Deng (did not really know her at the time) saved me, a small group of us used to have a bet on the type we would get the following day sitting at the table with us for our mid-day breakfast. We'd write the rules on a paper, seal it in an envelope, safely kept by the My Place staff. Winner takes all the next morning. Of course everything was a lot cheaper in those days. I think a plastic film case full of H then used to set me back 500 – 700 baht, such was our debauchery, smoking it in our Bangkok favorite cigs (forgot the name, had red packets). I think the girls we hung out with called it pineapple, right?

Open the envelope. Parameter reads, short, short hair, most like a boy, but must be a girl, very young looking. Mine has long legs, long hair, not at all like a boy… "bugger," I thinks, "we all laugh at the guy that won the pot. I don't care I lost again. I came home with cash, was totally out of it till 5, beer and pineapple and a kinda passable for good looking girl. Some they stayed, some hooked up with us on other nights, most of them smiled and left. We were the long timers, not good for business, but good for a laugh and party. I remember always getting one girl from the bar that used to be right in front of Pink Pussycat. No idea if it is still there now. I'd just be in party mode, with the group that was at My Place or Malaysia in those days. They didn't often get scammed or fooled. A good night was when you came home with baht in your pocket. You only took out what was acceptable to lose.

I was 25 then, and it didn't take more than 2 or three burns to get caught, hook up with guys that made a night at the Pong fun. So many of the girls working on Patpong 1 lived around where we hung out. They'd come down and wave at us sitting at our tables at the front of our roost. Invite us for happy hour, if it was going to be a quiet one.
Interesting times.

Now, it seems even with a whole crew of very experienced people on this site and others, technology up the wazoo, people are still getting scammed? Come on. 'Think of Retirement mentions a NZ guy killed by his wife. I would have though you all knew by now that those Isaan girls can call anyone to town from up country. It was in existence back in the 80's so must go on now too.

While married to Deng, the buffalo used for working the land disappeared while Deng and I were away from Kutchum. When we returned her elder sister was cavorting with her latest boyfriend (Thai), in the old house that stood directly next to the new one (sic). I liked the old one better. This we thought was weird because he was living with us on the premise he would be working the land. That night a big row blew up, after mother in law told Deng about the buffalo. This was before my Isaan lessons. So this is basically how it was told to me by Deng.

She was suspicious because they had bought lots of good food and whiskey and had stayed in the house carrying on for 2 days prior to our return. This boyfriend, as if trying to get caught then has a big row with the elder sister after Deng's row with her. Pots fly and those friggin nasty looking knives all houses use to cut stuff were even brandished. The Thais peace loving? The only people who can say that are those who have never been anywhere in the northeast at the end of the autumn when heavy drinking is taking place everywhere.

The boyfriend I would say was 27 – 30 ish got mad and went off into the village. In the small village of Kutchum, north of Yasothorn, in those mild autumn nights sound travels far. Even though it was a good walk from our house along the single road headed north out of Kutchum, back to the village, we could hear the drinking and carrying on of the boyfriend in the village that night, as his mysterious new found wealth got spread around with more drinking.

It was very late the same night we were woken by a friend of my wife. Everything was dark so my wife woke me too, handed me a mallet like weapon and we went to see who it was. After a ten or so minute conversation over Cola and cigarettes, my wife turned to me and asks me to go get my wallet. I return and Deng gives the guy like 200 $US, and off he goes on our motorcycle, north away from Kutchum. We wait, mother in law wakes up, elder sister is called, long conversation, young sister Geht is called, more conversation. Mother in law chews betel nut, others recline on the elevated sitting area all northeast houses seem to have. Deng tells me the boyfriend is still drinking in the village with two friends of hers from their childhood. They are keeping him there. The dumb guy got so drunk he bragged to everyone who was drinking at the time he had taken the buffalo a few nights earlier out the back of our land up to a remote place where the guys had come and taken it for a butchering! This had suddenly sobered a few of the people sat with him. Deng's buffalo apparently was a Ferrari among ploughers. So many counted on borrowing it from her. Selling it to a butcher was just moronic.

The guy with our motorcycle returned. Out on the road was an older, slower motorcycle, two people on it, the one on the back carrying something under a sarong. It was dark.

The elder sister rushed to Deng and started to carry on, obviously remorseful, begging. Deng would have none of it. Signaled to the motorcycle idling on the road, 20 meters from where we sat.

We all sat in silence as we listened to the motorcycle go all the way into the village and stop. Then shots fired, as from an automatic, five or six shots. Then the motorcycle returning. When it got to our house Deng went out for a second, said something and the motorcycle was gone. We could hear commotion in the village.

That was more than 20 years ago. So let's say x 2.5 for inflation. I guess any Isaan girl who has friends 'up in the jungle', as my wife referred to it, could have anyone whacked.

Was this an elaborate ruse to get my $US 200? No way! Deng then was my wife and I was still trying to please her with every breath of my life. No performance was needed. When I used to come back to Kutchum, everything in my bags, wallet, pockets was hers.

As for 'S-S-Seriously Fuming', listen mister, in the 6 months I spent in Bangkok, wasting away selling my Nikon, borrowing from every mate I had till there were no more people left in the west to sponsor my debauchery any longer, (all paid back in full +10% I'd like to add), I would have only heard that tale from someone just arrived in our soi, still clutching his Lonely Planet book. We loved those guys, good for a few rounds in happy hour, and they loved us all being protected and all while they looked around drooling. Maybe it is so different from the '80s but I never ever negotiated step by step guidelines. I always got treated really good. I remember we always had a saying, treat her like a whore, you get treated like a trick. Maybe because we stayed there for ages just bar hoppin' 7 nights a week, not working, the girls got used to us. They knew we were no barfiners, but later we were good for some good stoning, drinking and a tip for the extra.

Like I said in my Deng story, nothing ever surpassed the first one, but when I nearly crashed and burned, well let's say a lot came close. I think, Stickman will agree, and other readers here, if you have really been in Bangkok a long time, you should have a bit more style and class with the girls by now, by that mean, be on their wavelength. I think even in 1986, if you had talked to Deng like that, "kissing ok? You kiss my OK?" she would have thought… "What a dick!" and left you for one of the rookies.

And if Bangkok is still not the place it was in the '80s technology or not, I would dare to say it was spoiled not by those who earn their living at the oldest trade, but by the plethora of dipshits who went through there until now. I forgot how many times, sitting outside Pussycat and just cringing at the way some people used to behave.

Which brings me to fat with man boob comments. Some have uttered their total revolution at those old fat ugly sex tourist. Comparing those guys to their young selves. Ya when I was 25 – 27 I thought the same in Bangkok. Now I am 48. If I went back to that life, I daresay, I'd pick up my Isaan pretty fast, and go back to finding my niche with a good bunch of locals. And at 48, being of Samoan decent, I am more like a Sumo these days than my picture on Story of Deng. I still think, from the time I spent in that life, they'd prefer to go with kind old polite Samoan than Mr. List of things you gotta do for me.

Lemmie know if you think this was OK, Sticky… Flashbacks are a BITCH AIN'T THEY? Since writing Deng, I have had long conversations with her in my dreams. I am sure she has passed.

Thanks again, Stick^^

Stickman's thoughts:

I find these stories from the past to be very interesting indeed.