Larry Part 3
To anyone reading this submission: Yep, 2010 and 2011 are done and gone. But please play along, it is fiction. And do I believe of a dark and bad future for "farangs" in Thailand? Certainly not to the extreme I suggest in Larry's future. But there will be changes, the world moves. It may even shake, and your favourite bar stool may not shake to the greater rhythm. Do not find yourself the only solider in the company marching in tune, not only will you not be lamented, you will be soon enough forgotten. Unless your name is Trink or on that level, off course!
Larry, the third part, still in Soi Rangnam, and it's still raining
The average quality of English language students had declined over the years. The money, the future, were in Chinese and Japanese language skills, and not only in Thailand.
Larry knew that most Thai students who choose English did so simply because they could get cheaper tuition, the few English schools left being desperate for business and so asking fees that reflected that desperation. Still in need of a second language skill, if only on paper, these students kept what little was left of the English teaching industry alive.
So a good many of his students where not at all well off, sometimes desperate to make a few baht to make ends meet.
Some did the odd pay-for-play, many more peddled ya ba on the side for some quick cash. The first group rarely caused concern for the school. They would go where the money flowed, especially the sons of Nippon were known to pay well – as they always had. And the boys in brown knew better than to rock certain boats. They could sink with impunity most anything related to "farangs", but if a "farang" place of naughty business were a canoe, your Japanese or Chinese locations for joy were Battle Carrier Groups. All parties concerned were mostly never bothered there.
The latter group was of worry, tending to go about their business in ways making it easy even for the Drug Enforcement Agency Division, the D.E.A.D., to make arrests, at the times they could be bothered to exit their air-con BMW SUVs.
It seemed the younger Thais' modus operandi of discreet and sly drug-peddling had not changed in decades; approach anyone who may be a fellow student, or at least someone in roughly the average age group as students, or someone who at least looks like they are in roughly the average age group as students. Do this in public, preferably do not change the area of operation, ever, and expect everything to go well, forever.
Hence the odd arrests, each of one having two negative effects for Larry and the school. A, one less paying customer. B, a negative rep for the school, the police would record the offending students place of learning. If it was a institution of no note, no "high-so" people involved with the business, it was collection time.
A school, especially one employing any westerners, were vulnerable under the Teachers Morality and Responsibility Act of 2011. A very loosely worded set of rules and regulations that had come as a direct result of the Channel 3 debacle in Soi Cowboy a year before. Effectively, the school and even an individual teacher could, under this act, be held responsible for a student's behaviour, to some degree. Even outside school hours. In the aftermath of the Soi Cowboy incident, it became quite the thing for the media to "expose" institutions of learning where students attending had been caught for some offence. The words "Drugs" and "Ajarn Farang" featured prominently in headlines. Not good for any institution's marketing. The D.E.A.D. would shake down certain schools, making reports of offending students connection to such and such school disappear. Or, as Larry knew happened, changing reports – money passed on to connect offenders with a competing school.
Anyway, there where a lot of students in more or less desperate need of funds, willing to do things and take chances for monetary returns.
Larry was pondering, now a few inches down in his Sang Som bottle. What he was thinking about might be doable. But. He would be breaking maybe his last barrier. He would cheat and lie, he would entice others to cheat and lie on his behalf, he would effectively
steal. He had never, in his life, at least knowingly or on purpose, stolen or cheated himself to a single satang. He had for sure broken laws, but none that he ever felt were justified laws. Oh, with the possible exception of speed limits, sensible
laws as such, but hey, who doesn't break those from time to time?
Obviously, risking the odd fine for traffic offenses had not been a worry for neither Larry nor most westerners in Thailand for years. Never mind the hassle – and money – involved to be able to command any motorized vehicle legally. White folks behind a wheel or on a bike had become a target for just about any Police Division to the point it would be faster to walk from, say, On Nut to Asoke, rather than drive. One would be stopped and stopped repeatedly, the officers at one intersection would radio the next, alerting fellow protectors of the Kingdom to the source of revenue approaching. At some point, it simply became utterly impractical for a farang to own and operate any vehicle, outside small villages upcountry.
Unjustified laws? As per Larry's views, he had broken some of those. He had paid for sex. Many times. He had exceeded his tax free quota, not in latter years off course, but coming back from somewhere else in the 80's and 90' he had brought into the Kingdom more wine than allowed. Prices for even a modest bottle back then had been outright silly in Bangkok, and way too often locally bought wine had gone bad, from way wrong storage most likely.
Getting caught these days with anything over the quota, and Farangs had been frequently and thoroughly checked and searched at entry-points for years now, meant major trouble. For one, he would sure as sunrise loose his precious, the blue book. There would be "official" fines to be paid, amounts small comparative only to the "unofficial" wads of baht needed to avoid a extended visit to Immigration's facilities. Followed in time by a one-way ticket out and a re-entry blacklist for a standard minimum of 6 months.
Nah, Larry was perhaps not a man of high morals, but hardly was he a gangster. Not, so far, even a petty thief. But Larry was also still soaking wet, absolutely desperate, and now more than half way down his bottle.
If crime was to be his way out of his dire financial straits, he knew that first and foremost, his targets must not, not ever, be any Thai or other Asians. No need for experience in crime to know that, he would not last minutes after his first phone call or mail or "confidential" one-on-one chat with any possible candidates for partnership, and partnerships he needed. Thai partners who he could approach, Thai in need of fast cash. Thai he knew.
TAT had long been the only legal, for non-Thai citizens, operator of phone and internet services. Not that other Asians in Thailand much bothered, but any farang had to.
The TAT had around 2020 adopted Chinese systems of communications control and surveillance, much as a result of heavy Chinese investment in the Kingdom combined with Chinese interest in keeping an eye on their expats. But while Chinese expats in Thailand couldn't give a toss, no local law enforcement would or could press them to do anything the TAT way. It was to be different for "westerners".
With Chinese expertise on the job, it suddenly became possible not only to sensor, but to track and reveal. What Thai authorities had fumbled and failed to cope with for years, efforts notwithstanding, now became easy. For one, the few websites left authored by westerners based in Thailand came under strict scrutiny. Most of those where blocked. Some farang webmasters simply disappeared, and a great many people were desperately seeking to have removed anything they ever submitted to any forum or site, whether or not they had posted anonymously.
It was a time of fright and terror, but mostly lost without comment in the international press. Not that bad things in LOS had ever been worthy, by and large, by other than shaky and mostly inaccurate attention by media outside.
Larry still had laughs about a TV station from Northern America, that had reported the long gone Washington Square area off Sukhumvit Road to be a center for prostitution, and especially child-exploitation, in South East Asia. Disregarding two small facts, one, most child perverts had by then moved from Thailand a decade or so ago, many to Sri Lanka, others to Cambodia, maybe a few took the risk of Vietnam. Some ended in the Philippines. Two, yes for sure you could find a lass or 3 willing to do the dirty around the Square, but for goodness sake, if reporting about prostitution in Bangkok, why name the Square – and not a syllable about Patpong, Nana or Cowboy?
Filling his glass yet again, he shook his thoughts about the old Washington Square away, and tried to focus. Action for the sake of survival was necessary. His targets would be fellow farang. He would become a thief and a traitor. Although a traitor to a class of farang disliked, perhaps even loathed by most other westerners in Thailand, he would still become a backstabber. It would, possibly, even likely, be a prosperous deal.
His targets, while allowed to operate in Thailand because of the revenue they brought in, combined with only sometimes being caught for involvement in criminal acts, were not very much on the authority's radar. And they had access to substantial funds. These people might be short a few departments, but the cashier's floor of the shop was well attended. Now quite a few of them were not at all stupid, but even the most brilliant of the bunch had a handicap. They were fogged in by religion, in a big way. They where the bible bashers, financed from the west, hardly ever scrutinised by any department, and known to throw in dollars like bullets from a M2 belt-fed Browning if they saw a chance to promote their way. Just like the weapon, slow by more modern standards but with some range, and stopping only by human error. Machine-like creatures, he thought.
Larry considered, if religion can prosper so very well from the means of the people, then why should not the people be able to prosper a little back? Morale was evaporating as was the moisture in his clothes, brown liquid replacing the lost rain, burning nicely inside him as he came closer to the bottom of the Sang Som bottle.
Larry sounds like quite the rogue…and it will be interesting to see where this goes. Part 4 soon please!