Advice For A Young Man
I read with interest the article submitted by the young Australian man who is currently spending a year sabbatical in Thailand whilst considering whether he should start his training as a doctor or whether he should continue to enjoy the fun he is having in Thailand and just pursue a teaching career. I had a similar decision to make almost 40 years ago and having sacrificed living in Thailand I pursued a career in neurosurgery and this story will hopefully give this young man and any other person wondering what decisions they should make something to consider.
I can truly understand the lure of Thailand. It is like a drug. Being young and virile I had finished my high school year (back in the days where results were marked out of 500 not the current 100 point system). I had done extremely well and had been accepted in the University of Sydney to undertake a medical degree. I didn't take a year off, as this wasn't the thing you did back in my day, but took 1 month off before the semester was due to start and hopped onto a plane straight to Bangkok. I'd never been there before and the plan was to do some sightseeing, do some photography and sample a little of the nightlife. Well once I arrived little did I know I would be sucked into the nightlife very quickly.
I had grown up as an Anglo Saxon and my girlfriends had all been white skinned girls. However the allure of soft brown skin always held an appeal and on arriving in Thailand I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. The girls were stunning, slim and differing shades of chocolate brown depending on where they had come from. I felt like I was in Willy Wonka's factory and this was some new candy he had just invented. But once you taste that candy it can be oh soo addictive. It was during that month and spending time with some of the girls (bar girls and hotel staff) that I also considered giving it all up and living in Thailand. What a dream I thought. I'm young, ok looking and imagine all the fun I can have with these girls. I guess like many before I wondered whether the wise thing really was to knuckle down, get my degree and then spend a life working as a doctor. Maybe I would feel trapped like many before. But I also wondered how I was going to fund this venture. I looked into teaching and realised it paid ok but it certainly wouldn't pay as well as a doctor. What was I to do?
Well it was one week before I was due to go back and with Noi lying next to me I decided I would give myself 10 years. I would finish my degree, work in the medical field and save up enough so that by the time I was 30 I could live in Thailand permanently.
Have a little bit of cash to support myself and then consider teaching or even locum work if indeed that was possible in Thailand. So I left Thailand and all of its beauty (not just the women but at 20 that is pretty well all you tend to think
about) and headed back to Australia.
Well what happened you ask. As I write this I am now approaching 62 and still living in Australia. I've had an amazing career and life and glad that back at 20 I made the decision I did. I realised early on in my career that being a neurosurgeon
would allow me to do a few things. It would allow me to earn an income most will never achieve (as a specialist you should be able to earn between $400k AUD to $1m AUD) depending on hours, whether you want private or public practice, your skills
etc but the demand for surgeons in Australia is enormous and with an ageing population I believe it will present you with opportunities you have never dreamed off. It will also allow you to have the best of both worlds.
I own a lovely condominium in the heart of Bangkok on Ploenchit Road. I can afford to travel first class, can afford first class girls (and people might think that spending 10,000 THB on a girl for the night is crazy when you can get one for 2,000 THB but let me tell you those people don't understand that at the top level the girls are intelligent and can talk on many topics which as you get older becomes important). You can dine out at expensive restaurants. You can afford the G clubs and once you get to know a girl enjoy being her gik. Giks are expensive and as you get older the younger girls want a higher rate of return. <Strictly speaking, with giks there is no money involved. Sounds more like you had mistresses – Stick> This is something that you won't realise until you reach your 40s or if you are lucky your 50s (I didn't have the body or looks and realised this at 35).
As many have written as well, Asia is growing. And with this growth will come many opportunities but also an increased cost of living. We can already see this in the inflationary impact upon food and other basic necessities. Do you really want to be struggling to pay the rent just so you can get your rocks off. As a doctor you should be able to take about 4-6 weeks off per year and take that time to go to Thailand. Savour the delights that are enticing you at the moment. But also look at those around you. Not in a demeaning way but in a critical way. I like to go down to the farang pubs in Soi Cowboy and watch the older guys. Many are poorly dressed and it is evident they don't have much money and life really is a struggle. Many are overweight and haven't looked after themselves and as the Japanese and Arabs come waving around their wads of cash it will soon be evident to those same guys that they are no longer wanted. It is all about supply and demand. As demand increases so will the prices. Do you want to be able to afford what you desire or be wondering how many more months of teaching you need to do to spend one night with that girl that caught your eye. I can assure you that it won't seem like much fun if that is the road you take.
I've never been married and lived a care free life. I guess when I was back in Australia I devoted myself to surgery and my practice. As I am now retired I spend 6 months of the year in Thailand, 3 in Europe and 3 months in Australia. If you pursue your medical career you can also do whatever you like. I don't believe teaching in Thailand will provide you with the same opportunities and once you reach 60 with very little savings and the cost of living in Thailand has skyrocketed I believe at that point you might very well regret your decision. Take it from an old dog who has contemplated the same.
Thank goodness that someone is talking sense today.