On Being Tainted
I had considered writing about this before but I decided that it was too negative. An incident that occurred in my local pub recently which I will recount below made me change my mind.
I live in a medium-sized town in Western Europe (population circa 20,000). I used to run a retail business here so I would be well known in the community. As I have mentioned in a previous submission my first trip to Thailand was nearly 30 years ago. My first few trips there were with western girlfriends. I remember my first night in Bangkok meeting a friend of a friend who was an aid worker in the Cambodian refuge camps at the time. We were staying in the Malaysia Hotel near Rama IV Road and he suggested we go to Patpong for a drink. I had never heard of the place but was glad to have someone with us that knew their way around. We hit a few of the bars there and I was amazed at all the beautiful lithe Thai women on show. I had that jaw dropping moment when he told me that they were all available for a price!
I had planned to go see the temples and beaches and sample the food while I was there and I had little knowledge of that scene. After the initial culture shock of arriving there for the first time, I loved Thailand and still do. As I travelled there over the years a lot a people I knew well and not so well became aware of my interest in South East Asia which to most folks in my country is Thailand. I have often been introduced to someone and for them to respond "Oh and you are the man that goes to Thailand." I never saw any reason to hide the fact that I enjoy travelling there. I wish I knew then what I know now.
I had been involved in a couple of long term relationships over the years but luckily from my perspective I never felt the inclination to get married. My last one finished at the beginning of 1997 and towards the end of that year I went to Thailand for the first time as a single man.
I have to admit that having come from what was now the Land of Celibacy for me I indulged in the naughty nightlife for the first time. It's said "after Asian never Caucasian" and I did cross the yellow line on that trip. I will say that I am in no way as prolific as some of the contributors to this site. I could stay in Pattaya for two weeks at a time and not go with anyone content in the knowledge that I can if want to. The point I am making is that the sex industry was never the main reason why I travelled to Thailand.
Bangkok Barry wrote a submission a while back dealing with among others things Thailand's sullied reputation abroad. I think from my experience it is as bad as he opined. I am sorry at this stage that I ever mentioned the fact that I travel to Thailand to anyone and I feel my reputation has been severely tainted because of it. I would suggest to any man, particularly if you are older and single travelling to Thailand for the first time that it might be wise to be a bit more economical with the truth regarding your destination.
I will start with the incident in my local pub. I was sitting with two friends of mine and a few other people having a few beers and enjoying ourselves, when I noticed a guy I know standing next to me. He had by the look of him a good few beers on board. I asked him if he was ok and he looked at me and said "You like to ride young boys, don't you?"
There was a stunned silence.
Not knowing what to do I laughed it off and made some joke about him skipping his meds. He is a neighbour of mine and he knows I go to Thailand. He drifted off after that but it was a very embarrassing moment for me. Some readers might be puzzled as to why I didn't just deck him. Well there would certainly been a court case and the question would have been asked "Why did I strike him?" That is a fire I did not want to throw petrol on. In vino est veritas, it was not nice to find out what he really thinks of me and he has never apologised.
By far the most distressing thing that happened to me because of my association with Thailand came about last year. I got a call from a friend of mine who had been away for the weekend with a club he was involved in. There were a number of people in the group including two policemen who work in the town I live in. I did not know either of them not even to see.
He was having a drink with the two of them when the conversation suddenly changed.
It went some thing like this. "That xxxxxxx (my surname) fella do you still go on holiday with him?" My friend confirmed that we do travel together sometimes." He sold up his business and moved to Thailand, didn't he?" My friend said that I had not moved to Thailand but I do travel there and to some of the other countries in South East Asia for a few of months each year.
"He is a bit of a Gary Glitter style figure, isn't he?"
My friend said he had known me for many years and that I would never do anything like that.
The response was fast and sharp. "You can never say you really know someone". "You would wonder what he has on his computer." Then the conversation moved on to something else.
My friend was really pissed off with them as he felt they had both planned this and ambushed him. They made no effort to say to him not to tell me what they had said. It was like they wanted me to know. I think it is not unreasonable to extrapolate from this that the police in my town consider me a paedophile that they haven't caught yet. If those two assholes were saying that about me to a friend of mine then they surely have discussed it with their colleagues. I am a law abiding citizen and have never come to the attention of the police before. I am the type of guy who keeps his head down and minds his own business.
It was not very nice going to bed at night for a while after wondering if my door was going to be sledged in early some morning. I was going to make a complaint to their superior but my friend asked me not to as it would cause problems for him. Anyway as in Thailand it is best not to mess with the police here. It can have consequences even if you have done nothing wrong. I still get angry though when I think about what those two cretins said about me.
Here are a few more instances of how people here have revealed how they view me and what they think about Thailand.
Out walking with a friend, we meet a married couple he knows. He stops to chat to them for a minute while I wait. The husband who I don't know at all turns to me and says "You go to Thailand, don't you?"
I reply that yes I have been there.
"There is a big underage scene over there?"
I replied that I did not think so and that I had never come across anything like that when I was there.
"No, you are wrong, there is!"
This guy has never even been to Thailand. Was it just crass ignorance to say this to me or was he trying to infer something?
Another friend at home watching the film Full Metal Jacket with his wife who I always felt just about tolerated me (not that I cared one way or the other). There is a scene where an Asian girl lifts her skirt and says "sucky fucky five dollar."
The wife says to him "Isn't that the type of girl your perverted buddy (that's what she calls me) is into?"
He explained to her that I had gone out with lots of women from my own country and it had never worked out and that now I prefer Asian women. He also explained to her that I have assets which I was not going to risk by going out with someone here.
Her response was quite scathing and went like this "I wouldn't trust any of those slanty eyed bitches, they are all whores!"
She went on to say that she would not agree one bit with me consorting with Thai women and if I wanted a woman I should be with one from my own country!
Finally..was out for a beer one night when an older man came into the pub with his much younger Thai lady and their young son. I had never met this man but I had heard about him. Anytime his name was mentioned I always detected an air of derision.
Someone said to him that I go to Thailand and he came over to me for a chat. I found him to be very pleasant and personable and we had a good old chin wag. After he had left I remarked to one of the lads sitting at the bar what a nice man I thought he was.
His response… "Oh him and his lucky bag woman.s"
I think it was Phet who remarked in a recent submission that he felt you could be looked down upon in the west if you had an Asian girlfriend and I would concur. People (both men and women) here in the west seem to think that if you are with an Asian lady it is because you have failed to land a western woman and in my view they have little or no respect for you because you are deemed to have settled for the ersatz.
Sadly that mindset seems to be prevalent in this corner of Farangland and I cant see it changing any time soon.
Sad to see there is so much ignorance out there. I would have thought that with Thailand attracting more and more tourists for whom the naughty stuff holds little or no appeal that people would realise that the nightlife industry is but a small part of the country.