A Farang Takes A Beating
(The following is a true story)
It felt like one of those nights on Soi 4 Nana where a farang was going to take a beating and so it was.
It was Father’s day, last night, and for a Thai holiday the energy level on the street was pretty high. They let the bars stay open, a little late even, and some of the gangster Thais were blasting rockets into the air and throwing lit firecrackers onto the street. I even saw a katoey light off a big one, a rocket I mean.
I sat a little above it all at Strikers nursing a Heineken. To my right at one of these plastic tables they set up on the sidewalk to serve noodles and beer sat a single farang. He was young, alone, with a freshly shaven head and slumped shoulders. Five will get you ten he’s British.
He was also wasted out of his mind. On the piss as they say in Blighty, the extreme piss. The freelance serving wenches were plying him with beer and working him, letting him (I think) buy them cold ones too. When not bringing beers to his tables, they’d pole dance even though no pole was seen, steel pole anyway. Everything seemed friendly. But, you know, looks can be deceiving.
After my second beer, I stepped down to the street and stood within earshot of the table of the farang about to take a beating. I was looking the other way, you know, at “the wall” and “the lot.” Nice view there sometimes. It was closing time (2 AM). Behind me I could hear one of the serving wenches say over and over “700 baht” to the wasted farang. I didn’t bother to look around as really it was none of my business but it sounded like trouble.
A little later yet I crossed over to the Nana Hotel side of the soi, in front of the now closed Golden Bar, to get a new perspective on the comings and going (you know, watch the girls leave the plaza). There was a commotion across the street and I saw one of the serving wenches confronting the farang, her voice rising and her fists clenched. At one point, she grabbed and lifted the plastic table to her left, raised it and threatened to bash the farang with it. He sat there, head down, wasted.
Eventually, he managed to get up and try to shuffle meekly southward down the soi in the direction of Hillary Bar. He didn’t get very far. One of the guy servers from that street Issan place (hot pot) to the right of Strikers put a foot on his chest and down he went. Was nicely choreographed because the server didn’t spill a drop of the hot pot he was carrying.
Another guy from the Issan street place, not a server but maybe in liaison with the cops because he looks like a cop and doesn’t really do any work but does keep his eyes open, then came over and put the finishing the touches on the farang. These included a crisp right hook to the kisser followed by a knee chop to the solar plexus; the old Thai one two.
The farang was down now with his feet sticking out onto the sidewalk and his head on the entrance to Raja the Tailor’s place. I think some kicks were delivered. For a second there, it could have gone either way as to whether another ten Thai guys were going to jump the farang who took a beating but they didn’t.
Next to me on the “safe” side of the soi, I heard a British guy say, “It’s just not right to hit a drunk guy like that.” I don’t know if it’s right or not and ultimately I don’t know what the “dispute” was about. Did he not have the 700? Could have been.
No other farang had been dumb enough to come to the farang who took a beating’s side in the “fight” but across the soi some other farang were helping him to his feet and trying to escort him slowly down the soi away from where he had taken a beating. I could see blood on his shirt. I hope he made it past the guys at the Issan street place without any more abuse but I don’t know if he did, I had seen enough. I went inside the Nana Hotel to take a leak.
I’m not sure what the moral of the story is. The serving wenches sure turned from friendly to vicious fast. And who knew the guys working at the Issan place were tough guys, but I guess that makes sense if you’re going to work the street. All I know is “just be careful out there.”
Very nasty indeed. Thais can really get swept up in the fervor of some holidays and celebrations and I have always felt that at Songkran particularly one has to give them a wide berth, especially on the third day when packs can be seen drinking and dancing in the streets. With that said, who's to say this sort of thing would not happen at any other time?