Stickman Readers' Submissions March 5th, 2010

Lower Suk

‘What a bloody circus!’

‘It is indeed.’

He Clinic Bangkok

Arthur has found somebody to talk to. Feeling like a bit of a sit down he has perched himself on a plastic chair on Lower Sukhumvit. It’s late but he isn’t ready for bed just yet. One more beer won’t hurt. A large sweaty
farang has joined him at the rickety table. It's that time again. The revelry on the street is slowly turning to desperation.

‘I’m on medication you know’.

‘Really?’ says Arthur.

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‘Yes. Can’t manage without it. Had to get out of England. The place was driving me mad.’

‘I know the feeling.’

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‘I feel better in Thailand. Oh you can find trouble easy enough but it’s normally the tourists who get them selves in trouble. They don't take responsibility They think they can come here and get pissed or they take drugs
when there’s warnings at the airport about it and then they start getting mouthy and disrespectful so the cops pick them up and they start screaming about scams and extortion and that but they think because they don't have the money
they should be let go and not pay the fine.’


‘It’s these bloody experts that annoy me. You meet some who’ve been here years. The cynical old bastards. Think they know everything about Thailand just because they speak the language a bit or they fell in love and spent
all their money on some Thai tart twenty years ago. Always going on about the ‘good old days’. Wankers.’

‘I know the type.’

‘I blame the TV. All these programs about the sex trade in Thailand. Daft buggers. Then they come here and splash all their money in go-go bars buying so-called lady-drinks. I saw one of those programs once. It’s the reason
I’m here I think. Made Thailand look like fucking paradise it did.’

A large African lady in an electric blue Spandex suit is blocking the view. She comes straight to the point. ‘You fuck me. 5000 baht.’ Arthur smiles politely and declines. She flounces off.

‘All these single blokes in Britain sitting looking out of the window at the pouring rain as the forecast said for the next 3 months watching the wheelie bin inspector checking to see if he put a bottle in the wrong box, and reading
his extortionate council tax bill while he’s wanking over Dierdre Barlow on Corrie. Cause he’s worrying about finding enough money to pay his TV license and will he get a fine through the post as the camera flashed him while doing
35 in a 30 zone, while reading the Sun which is telling him how the Government and MP's are voting them selves a 30% pay rise so soon after the scandal in the house where over half the MP's were shown to be fiddling their expenses but
were they taken to task for it? Were they buggery….’

Arthur looks around. Lower Sukhumvit has certainly become seedier over the years, no doubt about it. At one time it had been quite pleasant. There was room for everyone. Now some sois are Arabian bazaar and Thermae is a Japanese tourist attraction.
And that’s not counting present company. Where do all these people come from? Why do the Thais let them in? And what about all these mobile bars? Isn’t anybody in control?

‘Then in the middle of all this he’s half listening to the report on the Pakistani families who are getting an allowance for their kids back in Pakistan who don't even exist followed by the report of the parents at the
local school in Dover who received a letter from the School board warning then not to allow their kids to walk to school alone from the train station because of the amount of Kosovan asylum seekers who are free loading in the guesthouses stealing
the kids money and phones but nothing was done because no one in the police could speak the lingo.

‘And along with all that the cost of fuel beer and fags is going up again, then his mobile rings and it’s his Lawyer telling him that now he has lost his house in the recent divorce he has to pay his wife 300 quid a week to
look after the kids when he knows 200 of it goes on her Bingo and she already gets more in benefits than he does.

‘Then he opens his mail and the first letter says he has to wait over a year for his hernia op which has been giving him pain already for months and he has to go to a hospital miles away for the op, the second one is his 10 year savings
bond which unfortunately has accumulated sod all in fact he has lost 50 % of his money, then there’s a brown envelope asking for donations for hungry horses…'

Arthur isn’t really listening. Tonight feels different somehow. There is tension in the air.

’So he thinks, sod it I’ll go down the pub, but it’s pissing down and freezing and he can’t have a fag in there anyway and the beer is bloody expensive and his ex-wife will probably be in there buying all her mates
a drink with his money or maybe go and see his elderly mother in the rest home that's costing her 300 quid a week for a pokey little room owned by an Indian family who learnt how to manipulate the system by getting a cheap relocation mortgage
and started up a rest home with a big incentive from the government, all that 300 quid out of her savings when she sold her house, but then he would have to pay a lot of inheritance tax if she left it to him so may as well give it to the Indian

‘He doesn't really want to watch the news again telling him how 15 British soldiers were blown up in Afghanistan and that one of the bombers shot used to live next door to him and his family live in London and go to the new mosque
which was funded by the British Government and can be seen from the moon and that the children of the family receive a grant to get better than normal education, while they don't need to wear a crash helmet as they wear a traditional turban
as this is their religion.

‘Then he remembers the drunk driver who killed his pal’s son in a hit and run but got off because there was insufficient evidence but everyone knew he did it, and with all this he’s still paying the fine for verbally
abusing the Somali taxi driver for refusing to get in his taxi because he was a muslim and was taken to court for racial abusing him.’

‘It sounds like one thing after another,’ says Arthur.

‘Right. So one day he just says sod it and off he goes to Thailand where they don't worry about a few petty rules and regulations. It's warm and sunny and peaceful, the people are friendly, you can buy yourself out of trouble
and the girls don’t care what you look like…’

A tank rumbles past followed by several truckloads of men in riot gear.

‘Chek bin kap.’ Says Arthur.

‘And another thing……’

(Thanks to Dave at Canterbury Tales Cafe, Soi Chaiyapoon, Pattaya. All day English breakfast 90 baht.)

Stickman's thoughts:

Very nice.

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