Pattaya: Pit of Southeast Asia
Near the top of any list of the most undesirable places to live are those that are frequented by large numbers of tourists. They flood the streets. They make use of the most desirable attractions: the beaches, the mountains, places to fish and hunt and walk in the wild and commune with nature. They control, through their collective behavior, reflective in the moment of the larger world from which they come, the economic fate of places they visit. In good times they overwhelm facilities and create an intrusive alien noise and chatter, akin to an unwelcome plague of biting fleas. In bad times, local businesses suffer, and such suffering reverberates through a good part of the local economy. Tourists are people who visit for ego-enhancing pleasure, not with a conscience to behave as local custom might dictate and desire. They invariably have a singular aim to exploit and behave as if they were in a world they alone inhabit and about whose fate they are indifferent. The only sensible people who live in places that are major tourist destinations are those who profit either directly or indirectly from the tourists. They may not and often do not like to deal with these alien intruders but they rationalize doing so by never forgetting that their very livelihood depends on such intruders. They live as parasites, because they are parasites.
Pattaya with its so-so beaches and scores of sex bars and beer bars and clubs and year round tropical climate and second-rate golf courses has, in recent years, become a major destination for foreign tour groups, and to throngs of Russian couples. These tourists comingle with a fairly large resident and visiting number of young and middle-aged and old men who come for, or came initially for, the cheap and exotic sex, everything they could not get in their home countries where they are ignored because they are too old or too unattractive or don’t have much money or a good job. A very considerable number of these foreign men who have come to Pattaya for the cheap sex are, on the whole, a most undesirable lot. They are poorly educated or uneducated, and think and behave like boorish baboons. They drink with unrestrained abandon. They are buffoons in buffoonish dress. With their abundant and faded tattoos and weathered wrinkly skin and loose fat at the waist they have the appearance of pigs unable to find mud in which to clean themselves. In all, then, there are few if any places in the world where there is such a curious and foul mix of rather “innocent” tourists (their voyeuristic minds aside) and men of all ages, resident and visiting, who present such a pathetic image of what their home countries are all about (most especially in this regard the English, the worst of the lot, the veritable sewer scum of the Thames).
In a major way, then, Pattaya is not just undesirable because it is a major tourist destination for foreigners in search of a cheap climax or two, but because that undesirability is compounded by the tens of thousands of lower-class and bloated, skin-headed men who come for the sex and the alcohol and the public peek at brown pussy. The men, it must be noted, are not undesirable because they come for the sex (to each his own personal desert) but because so many of them are personally and intellectually and in so many other ways the dregs of their declining homeland societies. They are the bottom of barrels that come to define the bottom of the big barrel in the whole of Southeast Asia.
Those foreigners who settle in Pattaya to live out the rest of their pitiable and drunken lives invariably marry a Thai woman, or they have one or more Thai live-in girlfriends, the length of her tenure as whore of the moment defined by how long it takes the self-deluded farang to see that she has been cheating on him almost from the day they got together. There can be no doubt that, contra the claims these men will insistently make, the overwhelming majority of these Thai wives and girlfriends were or are in the business of selling themselves for a couple of hours or a night of sex, a habit once acquired almost impossible to break. The only ones who worked selling blue jeans or Nike running shoes or Fuck Me T-shirts in Mike Mall live only in the imagination. These women, the vast lot of them, have acquired a long list of undesirable traits. Many drink and smoke with abandon, as they did not do before turning to this life of the soiled dove with broken wings. Many lie and cheat with abandon, as they did not do to excess before turning to this life where first words and last words and all words in between are lies compounding lies. Many cannot resist temptations to stray or return to the remuneratively easy life of five minutes of leg spread before the long sleep in beds not even imagined in their farm villages. They came to know the fucking-for-money game so well that they learned to love it more than the mother they are forced to support, and much more than the son or daughter they deign to send money for but would much rather spend on a new gold twenty-four karat necklace.
Those expats who live in Pattaya or call it home for several months a year will claim that they are not part of all the tourism that is now so rampant in a few notable areas of Pattaya. They live well beyond it and are not part of it, they shout with the shrill voice of a hell and brimstone Louisiana swamp preacher. They will claim that all this whoring about is in their past, and they only venture in occasionally to the sex tourist areas: to see what’s happening, to have a drink or two with friends and mates from Down Under, and, if honest, they will admit that “sometimes” they just cannot help but go to the right short-time venues on Soi Six to get a familiar taste of that sex that is different than what they are getting from their Thai wife or girlfriend, and has become so predictable. Or so nonexistent that they begin to wonder if they have early dementia and what they got from the fat bitch in Manchester or Sydney that they’re so eager to forget wasn’t so bad after all. They can no more resist the temptations of the proximate environment of lust and phony love than can their “faithful” Thai wives and girlfriends, given half a chance, and the chances for half a chance are greater in number than the locusts in a vermin storm of the century in the great Australians outback. The very nature of the environment is toxic for everyone, and it is a kind of toxicity that no amount of wishful thinking will lessen or eliminate, all alcoholic murmurs to the contrary.
There is a good deal that is undesirable about Pattaya. On a scale of one to ten, the beach of abused sands is no better than a three, and it doesn’t get much above a four or five even in areas less or rarely frequented by tourists. When there aren’t a lot of tourists and touts about, the beach is simply unattractive, a sore to the eye and the mind of any decent sensibility. The water is neither pretty nor clean nor inviting. It’s major, almost singular attribute, is that it is warm, and not nearly as inviting as a soapy spa.
What’s also undesirable about Pattaya is the image of Thailand that it portrays. In particular, there is no place in all of Thailand where there are so many ugly and worn-looking Thai women, and with some notable exceptions they need much more than a Hollywood face lift and a fifty percent reduction in silicone breasts that look and feel like overinflated beach balls to improve their appearances. They look old and tired. They look beaten and tired. They look jaded and tired. They are old and beaten and jaded and tired. A great many have tattoos, on their ankles, on their backs, on their worn elbows, even in the crawl spaces where men love to rest their lusty tongues. Many smoke, and their breaths smell not of day-old garlic but rather of burning tires on a wet highway. And an awful lot of them are in the business of selling sex to anyone who will come up with the right price, meaning any price at all when the morning cock begins to crow and desperation is the only game in town. Because of what they do, or have done, or will do again, and again, and again, these women are highly unreliable, and this is more of an understatement than declaring that Hitler was a Nazi and certifiably insane. In short, they represent the very worst of Thailand’s women. And yet they are the perfect mirror image of so many of the men who come for them. It’s the perfect case where people have good-fit karma, they deserve each other.
So. You want be around lots of tourists, go to Pattaya. You want to be around lots of expat scummy dregs, go to Pattaya. You want to be around lots of Thai female scum that wasn’t scum in the beginning but that now no one else wants, go to Pattaya. You want to get your share of hardcore sex served up on a wrought-iron grill that’s ice-cold, go to Pattaya.
Patti Dern is a neo-conservative post-Kantian feminist living in America and born in the western Ukraine (and has the classic long legs of all Ukrainian women). If you want to chat with her and share your neo-liberal pre-Kantian feminist views, you can
reach her at [email protected].
I agree with some points you make, and disagree with others. I will admit – and some readers won't like this – that there's a lot more truth in this submission than some may think.
Just as you have written about the bad side of Pattaya, so it would be easy to write from another perspective and be just as factually accurate. It all comes down to perspective and with your admission that you're a feminist, it is to be expected that Pattaya is not your cup of tea.