A Week Of Madness In Stickville
I guess it was bound to happen. The law of averages catches up with us all. Stick pretty much publishes any article sent to him so at the end of each week, we Stick readers will have been exposed to some good stories and some bad ones. Once in a while, most of the stories are really good leaving us in hot anticipation for the following week. But once in a great while we get a week where we are subjected to a large number of stories where I question whether it was worth the eye movement to read. If you believe a large room monkeys will eventually write "McBeth" then what we got this past week were their first attempts.
In fact, some of the statements I read were so outrageous that I felt I had been mentally violated. I would normally write one of my now infamous "fact checker" articles but I have decided to take the advice of many readers and just write without all the dull facts and links nobody clicks on. So, below is my attempt to right these wrongs and to square the circle in my brain.
First, let me say I enjoy the writings of Mike. His simple and humorous stories about life with his Thai wife strikes a chord with me, as I too, am married to a wonderful Thai woman. So it was with some astonishment that I read his article "Why I Married a Thai Woman", which had almost nothing to do with Thai women and was mostly a rant straight out of Fox News about how terribly PC America has become. Perhaps you remember this sad tale:
"He was presented with an $90,000 past due support bill and a full 90% of his wages garnished. No problem you say, DNA testing will prove he is not the father and while inconvenienced he will be fine. Not so fast. In California, the law provides that paternity can be established by a court simply by notifying the “father” of a hearing date by mail at his last known address …Of course this man had been transferred and living at a different address never received the notification letter from the court.
"On the hearing date that the court rules on paternity the man will have 2 years to appeal the findings. The fact that this man only had a passing acquaintance with the woman, and only discovered her claim after the statute of limitations in the case passed, did not help him …
A grave injustice that shows America values PC above the rights of men? Well, Mike had the facts correct for about 10 years ago but he forgot (or didn't bother to look up) that Manuel Navarro had his day in court with the Second District Court of Appeal of California in 2004, and they overturned L.A. County's false paternity judgment against him. In the court's decision, they chastised the lower court for not only deciding against a defendant they knew was innocent but with the court's sloppy delivery of the original summons. In fact, this ruling was appealed to the California Supreme and they quickly agreed with the appeals court. So, in this case, justice was delayed but it finally prevailed.
It turns out that the Manuel Navarro story is still circulating around conservative web sites and in fact, has been told on Stick's site before. So, I guess Mike figured he'd better get in another argument as to why America is so unbearably PC. According to Mike:
"In a final note on our PC society Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, appeared as a guest of a woman’s talk show named The View. I didn't see the show but a portion of the show was later re broadcast on the Factor. O'Reilly had made the statement that “it was Muslims that destroyed the World Trade Center”. After this comment Whoopie Goldberg Stood in a huff and walked off the set. O'Reilly was quite confused at this reaction as what he said, was as we all know true. It seems he “should” have said “terrorist Muslims” as this comment was perceived as a slight to all Muslims."
"… O'Reilly has many years of broadcasting experience but has never said anything about Muslims as a group in any derogatory fashion. This is how our political correctness has played out by merely assuming words not spoken."
O'Reilly knew the impact what he was saying as later on in the show he agreed to call the 9/11 terrorists "extremists" and said "if anyone felt that I was demeaning all Muslims, I apologize." Whoopie then returned, much to the chagrin of Mike and myself.
Now, if PC is so stifling in America, wouldn't you think O'Reilly would have had his show cancelled and be forever banished from the airwaves? The last I looked, his show is still going strong. Indeed, back in his own familiar studio, O'Reilly is now more assertive than ever in his belief of what is wrong in the world. Here's a sample of his views on Muslims since that show:
O'Reilly told his guest from Council on American-Islamic Relations that extremism "is a Muslim problem because it's generated by Muslims almost exclusively, so it is a Muslim problem. Conservatives generally believe there is a major Muslim problem in the world and liberals tend to downplay."
And just this week, O'Reilly explained that "For every Muslim in the world that wants democracy and wants human rights, there's one who doesn't, and the one who doesn't doesn't have any rules and will blow the hell out of the one who does."
I guess except for all the above statements, Mike is right in saying O'Reilly "never said anything about Muslims as a group in any derogatory fashion." What's really happening here is O'Reilly is practicing selective memory because before 9/11, the largest terrorist act on American soil was committed by an anti-government Conservative Christian named Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 innocent people in Oklahoma City. The type of people McVeigh would hang out with today are called Tea Party members, and most venerate O'Reilly.
Even if PC were as bad as Mike tells us, is it a real reason to leave America for Thailand or to decide to marry a Thai woman? As Stick's stories prove, neither is a complete paradise and if you walk into either with your eyes closed, you're going to get bitten. Please, Mike, more stories about you and your wife. You are on much more solid ground and the stories are such fun to read.
Moving on to the next Thailand hallucination, this one contained in Chalermchai's "The Burn-out – And Far-more-grave issues" in which the author states:
"I hold American Citizenship as well as Australian and I point the finger of blame principally toward America for many of Thailand's problems. R & R and U.S. Bases supporting the Vietnam conflict is where the rot set in for Thailand. I often wonder what the face of Thailand would be today had it gone down the road that China chose instead of being “infected” by a lifestyle that is fast contributing to a total global financial collapse and the resultant societal chaos that is inevitable in it's wake."
Well, it seems that if America is not instituting grinding PC at home, it is causing chaos in the rest of the world. Certainly, there is a lot of actions by America I cannot defend, but hasn't the time when there was a chance of a global financial collapse come and gone? Hasn't Asia in particular thrived since the last apocalyptical moment? I know some Aussies dream of a post-Armageddon world what with all the "Mad Max" and "On the Beach" movies, but I don't think the world is collapsing anytime soon (note that I write this on May 21, 2011; look it up). Certainly, American soldiers from Viet Nam jump-started an industry geared to providing cheap sex to foreign visitors, but every reputable book I have read on the subject says that prostitution was well established in Thailand before American GI's arrived. In fact, as much money as this brings into the country, it is still very small in comparison to other industries, like tourism and manufacturing. And let's be realistic, the total space of all the bars geared to foreigners is not only miniscule, it is small compared to whore houses and bars devoted to Thai men. The foreign bars are hardly the face of Thailand, except of course, to those travelers who go to Thailand to visit those places.
I respect Chalermchai's love of Thailand and he has written grandly about it. So I understand why he would view the bars as a blight and damaging influence of "American lifestyles" (what is that?). But why oh why, would he replace a very small blight with a huge one by wishing Thailand had gone the way of China? China is a totally corrupt, repressive, communist country that has almost no rule of law. At the whim of party officials, anyone can be arrested and thrown into jail or even executed. Their flagrant abuse of human rights and corrupt business practices are finally getting attention in the rest of the world, who are re-thinking their relation with China. Even here in greedy America, people are avoiding "Made in China" products and the big retailers are noticing. The arrests of Liu Xiaobo (Nobel laureate) and the artist Ai Weiwei are acts of a government who considers no one above their capricious and xenophobic nature. I understand why Chalermchai would overlook some of the bad things happening in Thailand, but not to see it in China is really looking at the world through a coke bottle. Please Chai, if I may call you that, back to Thailand where you belong and leave the America bashing to Bill O'Reilly.
Next, we had to endure the scribbling of Soahc and his masterpiece titled "Corruption/Lawlessness, Asia/America, First world/Third". This work did not start off well as the writer seems to be referring to an article that Stick can't remember publishing. It goes downhill from there:
"Your theory Stickman, that corruption and lack of rule of law is all that will hold Thailand back, seems simplistic. Mexico, and more so Brazil, countries where lawlessness prevails, are poised to be major global players in the near future. Part of this is because of their natural resources, but I believe also in part because they have more open markets, markets unencumbered by stagnating regulations and loop holes that discourage entrepreneurial activities."
Lawless Brazil and Mexico? They do have major crime problems but both are emerging democracies trying to put the old colonialisms behind them. Brazil is a major growth market in the world but is Mexico? At a current rate of 5.5% (modest by Asia standards) this is hardly headline news. Anyway, the point the author is trying to make is that the more corrupt and lawless a country is, the better it is for business. Maybe the argument would have been better made with China (see above) but in the real world, businesses need an open and fair system of laws. Otherwise, how can they buy and sell if everyone is trying to screw each other through bribes to public officials? Western businesses can expand based on the reasonable expectation that their investments are safe and that they will have free access to markets. If we were to believe this author, regulations instead of your competitors' ability to murder your executives (think Jim Thompson), is the determinate to a successful business. This is the mind of mind of a huckster vs. a real investor speaking to us.
Not satisfied with bad-mouthing a system that has made western businesses dominant over all others for over a century, our author decides to take on the very corrupt system he had earlier espoused:
"Furthermore, the experiences I had with Koreans in Los Angeles were very similar to the experiences the other submitter had with Thais Los Angeles: major visa issue corruption. Not only that, but Koreatown in general is mafia run. I wager some of the young women in my very household had worked as slave masseuses, smuggled over by organized criminals. This is so common in Asian communities regardless of ethnic origin, and Korea is a economically successful, first world country, unlike Thailand."
Besides the fact that I had earlier shown how this slander of Thaitown in LA is false, (Thai Corruption Exported to America: A Fairy Tale) I still wanted to comment as I live in a small city outside of Washington, DC that has the highest concentration of Koreans in the metropolitan area. We are surrounded by Koreans; Korean businesses, Korean shops, and crazy Korean drivers (we say in jest it's because of DWK – driving while Korean). The businesses are well run, the attendants are very pleasant, and my Korean neighbors couldn't be nicer. There are no slave massages or if there are, they are so well hidden that no one knows about them. If there are Illegal Korean immigrants, then they seem to be fitting in well with the other peaceful illegal residents as nobody notices them. If the mafia is here then they are encouraging a flourishing business environment as it seems like a new Korean business opens every week. So my question to Soahc is: if these newly arrived Korean entrepreneurs can be successful in America, why do you need corruption and lawlessness for your businesses? I suspect the author is guilty of "Korean-envy" as the neighbors I know, are some of the most hard-working and dedicated people I have ever met.
Lastly, and with great lament, I am sad to comment on the following as I believe the author of "My Story, Happy and Sad, Follow Up" by Anonymous really believes what he writes. I read all the minutia of his story with great interest but when I came to the end and discovered he was a 64 year old man wooing a 20 year old coyote dancer; well it was a bit too much.
"I'm keeping the faith and I hope some of you guys will be as lucky as I have been, finding a truly wonderful genuine love in a Bangkok bar. No, I wouldn't have believed it either, before it happened to me, but to those of you who retain a shred of human decency I say keep trying to believe – behave like a gentleman – trust her if she seems worthy of it and don't ever give up. Genuinely good, wonderful girls (even if they have 'history') are out there!"
One can only hope that this was a prank article written by the elusive Korski to spur outrage and disbelief. Even if all the stars were aligned for this poor guy, it is still inconceivable that this union would have any chance of happiness. Dude, even if you were Jack LaLane, in ten years you will start to dither and to daily pop Viagra while your bride will be a budding 30 year old in the fullness of womanhood. Tell me how this has a happy ending without magic dragons or Avatar transference. At best, she will only steal half your money while sleeping with the closest swinging Thai dick. I wish I could wish you well, but that would be hoping against hope. Please come to your senses and look on the world as it really is, as there isn't much time left to make good decisions.
In fact, this is good advice for this week's potential writers. Go back to your experiences and not your political views, and again speak boldly about Thailand. Regale us of stories about your first conquest of Thai pussy, or your teeruk's father asking for a million baht dowry, or the time you rescued ten bar girls from the waters of the tsunami in Phuket to a hero's welcome on Patong Beach. Even if you are lying the faithful Stick readers will embrace you and your stories
with grateful exaltations. Because that's why we are here around this camp fire in Stickville; to huddle around the warm flames on a cold night and to share the legends of those who have come before us in Thailand.
You're spot on. Last week's subs weren't the best we've had and there were some where I wanted to say things, but chose not to. I remember one fellow who quoted me as saying something when it fact he was quoting Bangkok Barry! Sigh…