Analysing the Phenomena of “The Pattaya Flying Club”
There seems to be almost a covert element of amusement when the above subject is mentioned in the Stickman readers' submissions and I guess that bothers me to a certain degree. Ok, perhaps we try to lessen the impact of what the subject portrays by trying to paint a bit of humour around it – maybe a survival reaction from submission writers and those who may read the subs, knowing that it is sometimes a case of "there but for the grace of God, go I – (but it ain't gonna happen to me)".
It doesn't take much imagination to conjure up images of the circumstances that may have led to such a desperate action – but, in truth, there can be many varying types of scenario that would lead a man to take his own life in a country that is not his homeland. I can speak of several such scenarios based on my own experiences of coming very, very close to the edge.
I don't know Pattaya – never been there in all the years I have been visiting Thailand, mainly because I find everything I need in Bangkok – the city I have loved dearly from the first time I set eyes on it. Who needs a sleazy little place who's only claim to fame is a polluted beach and a reputation for "Cheap-Charlie" sex. Some of my time has been in Isaan and a lot more time has been in Chiang Mai – but nothing can compare to the wildly chaotic, noisy and polluted "City Of Angels". I regard it as the best city on Earth. London comes next on the list – then San Francisco, maybe then LA – with Chicago running a poor last – but Bangkok wins hands-down.
So, back to the subject: It is late at night and a few too many drinks have brought on that state of self-analysis and the mind slips back to a time when things were different to now. You no longer believe in the dream that brought you here – perhaps it was a woman, maybe the promise of a better lifestyle – or maybe you are running on empty and trying to outrun the demons inside your head. You are tired of the bullshit and the lies – trying to live the fantasy that will forever be a hologram with no substance – you still want to believe in it but, deep in your heart, you know it is never going to be any different. There's one good shot of Jack Daniels – a double at least – left in the bottle, so you don't even bother to put it in the glass – the bottle goes to your lips and you feel the warmth slide down and your mind goes to Lek.
I have to ask myself "What has really changed?" Man has been faced with this situation as long as the human race has inhabited this insignificant piece of dense matter that we call Earth. It has nothing whatsoever to do with location or any point in time – it has everything to do with how we process the data that we have in our memory banks. I know this very well, for I have lived "on the edge" for most of my adult life. We all have our demons – regret, fear, inadequacy, guilt – and the all-encompassing sense of failure and deep sorrow. In varying degrees they feed off each other, dependent on the weakest link in our personality.
Introspection has always been my Achilles Heel and a vulnerability to lyrics in songs that have been associated with certain events in past life. Sometimes I curse it but mostly I cherish it for allowing me to feel the emotions – because I truly believe that one has to "gaze on the Gorgon" over and over again in order to survive those emotions. If you are not resolute and determined to do this, you are very likely to be a victim of "The Pattaya Flying Club" syndrome.
Lek was certainly a "working girl" but I was never sure if that involved P4P or if she was a "good girl" who merely happened to work as a "hostess" in the bar. Some bars do have boundaries of demarcation <smile> – well, we like to believe that. We were together for 9 months in one of the larger cities in Thailand but I never had reason to think she would wish to go back to work of any kind as long as we were together. It was a great relationship – and I would go back to her at the drop of a hat if it were not for the fact that a lot of water has flowed under the bridge and certain events are irreversible. I was no "newbie" with Thai/Western relationships, having had a succession of Thai female liaisons and one marriage to a Thai as well – but I fell in love immediately with Lek
Over-extending yourself financially is the greatest enemy of the Farang in Thailand – it's not about vulnerability to the Thai female but more about being undercapitalised at a particular point in time. All Thai women that I know in my home country tell me the same thing (as if I needed telling): "If you not have plenty money, Thailand not good place to be" [sic]. But surely that is true for wherever one lives – the only difference when applying that to Thailand is that of expectations, based on the fact that Farangs tend to believe it is much cheaper to live in The Land Of Smiles. Yes, it is – IF YOU LIVE LIKE A THAI! Unfortunately, many of us (myself certainly included here) are not happy to live the basic life that a Thai takes for granted.
There would not be too many "soapy massages" or short-time liaisons with some of the "little lovelies" who work at your favourite disco or beer bar – and perhaps even Jack Daniels would not be on the list of imbibing agents. For somebody coming from a reasonably "comfortable" financial history back home, to have to watch the outlays daily would be quite worrying and to see them being whittled away would be alarming, to put it mildly.
Things are even worse if you have a live-in lover – sure it is great to have that beautiful lady in your bed every night and, although you never intended it to happen – you do love her very strongly. How could you not love her?
For me, the alarm bells started to ring 2 months before the end – bankruptcy biting at my heels and a gnawing, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach in knowing that my time with this "angel" was slowly drawing to a close. For me, it wasn't only the personal sense of failure – but the fact that I failed to deliver on promises to her were of far more grave impact to my troubled mind. I could never take a swan dive from a 12-storey balcony – and I try to comprehend the thoughts that would allow a man to be able to do this. For me, the option was to be one of two less-painful ways to bring about resolution. The first choice was to be a combination of sedatives, narcotic analgesics and alcohol, taken in large enough doses (gradually) to certainly deaden the Central Nervous System along with an effective dosage of Stemetil to prevent vomiting. The second choice was electrocution – sudden and it may hurt a bit – but not as messy as "flying" off the balcony.
I survived because I never invoked either choice – but I may as well have been dead for quite a long time after returning to face my obligations. Even now, I question whether I did the right thing at that point in time. It has taken me 7 years of "gazing on The Gorgon" to reach a state of stability and I wonder how many victims of "The Pattaya Flying Club" syndrome could have worked through their problems and come out into the sunshine once again.
Since that crucial year, I have only missed one year of going to Thailand but am now starting to question whether I will return after this coming visit in December – priorities change as does the way you see things. There is nothing I can think of to say bad about Thailand – I have nothing but good memories of wonderful experiences there. I truly believe that my life had not begun properly until I first went to LOS. I just want to say to those who see life as desperate and not worth living due to any number of circumstances in Thailand – don't become another statistic and look for membership of "The Pattaya Flying Club". There is light after darkness.
It seems that guys jump for one of two reasons – the money runs out and / or their heart is broken by a local woman.
Many suffer a broken heart in Thailand and it is almost a rite of passage and I have to say that I don't know why someone would want to end their life over things going bad with a woman! There's way more to life than that!
As far as jumping because they had run out money, well, that's just plain sad, but when I hear of the tiny amounts some guys are retiring on, I scratch my head and wonder why they made the decision to move here in the first place with barely a pot to piss in.