Please Stop Moaning
I have now lived in Thailand for nearly nine years. I have had several very good experiences, some not so good and one downright awful. On balance my life here, with its ups and downs, is not hugely different to what it would have been like anywhere.
I have been going through a prolonged divorce and hope that the five year saga will come to an end later this year. I am prepared to put up my hands and say that the root of the problem was my lack of knowledge when investing here initially but we all make mistakes and, should, learn from them. I know I have!
However, on balance my life in Thailand is considerably more carefree and pleasant than it would be back in England. I am sixty this year and back home would be looking at buying a comfortable pair of slippers and wandering around the house in a dressing gown all day – that is certainly not my life here.
I still pay the occasional visit to a go-go bar and enjoy it for a limited amount of time – a couple of hours every month or so is enough though. I do not bother with the girlie bar scene, the lure of that wore off several years ago. I now have a Thai partner who is from the non bar girl scene and is intelligent, hard working and very pleasant company. She neither wants nor needs money from me.
I look upon Thailand as my home. I appreciate its faults and embrace its virtues as well as fully understanding nowhere is perfect. What I find most difficult to comprehend though is the constant whinging of so many expats about Thai people and the way of life here. Every day I read negative comments posted on forums, letters to the Nation or Bangkok Post and even on my own Facebook account. I constantly want to go to the top of a tall building and shout “Well if you do not like it then just fxxx off back to where you came from.”
I am also irritated by the prophets of doom who have plied their negativity seemingly for ever. I have read recently correspondence from people saying how the Thai ‘girlie’ scene will evaporate in a few years time. Well guys they were saying that ten years ago, twenty years ago and even thirty years ago. Let me make it clear – prostitution will never go away and, as is often said ‘it is the oldest profession in the world. Women have something men want and if they are so minded then they can sell it, have sold it and will continue to sell it.
A change in living standards plus more and better career opportunities is simply not going to stop some girls taking the easy route and becoming a sex worker. Forgetting the girls who work across Thailand in places most foreigners have never heard of selling their wares in so called karaoke bars and think only of the girls prepared to service foreigners. How many are there – fifty thousand, one hundred thousand? I have no idea. However as a percentage they form only a fraction of one percent of the entire female population. Do you really think that is going to change – ever?
I knew girls in England who were working girls. They were highly intelligent, some of them had degrees, but they chose to work in the sex trade. Quite simply they made more money selling their bodies than they would working in any other profession regardless of their qualifications. They knew they had only around ten years earning top dollar but for the majority of them that was enough to set them up for life. Two of the girls I knew married multi-millionaires who they would never have met were they working in an office somewhere.
Another irritant is the constant reference to how the girls here ‘hate’ what they do. That is, in the main, rubbish, pure and simple. The days of girls being forced in to prostitution by their families or ‘loving’ husband are gone save for a very few rare instances. Most of the girls love what they do. They hang out with friends; go to nice hotels where even the cheapest room is likely to be considerably preferable to their rented accommodation and get paid extremely well. Yes they have to have sex with men old enough to be their fathers, or even grandfathers, but they can always say no to a guy they do not want to go with. They may spend several hours with a customer but the actual sex is over and done with in only a fraction of that time.
One needs to remember that in eastern culture a woman going with an older man is acceptable and that applies not just to those selling their bodies. Additionally in Thailand sex is not thought of in the same way it is in the west – as a friend of mine once commented ‘the Catholics never made it this far’ – that is, of course, incorrect but their influence, thankfully, never permeated.
Yes things will change, they change everywhere. However, the basic instincts of man and woman will always be the same and the sex scene in Thailand will live on and prosper throughout the next century and beyond – have no fear. It will similarly live on in the U.K, U.S.A and, in fact, across the entire planet.
The reality of course is that everyone should stop moaning about living somewhere they have chosen to live (nobody as far as I know has ever been forced to move to Thailand) and stop being so damn negative about everything. This country has a lot to offer and, for me, it is a far, far better place than my home country. I am not blind to Thailand’s faults nor do I understand so many things related to the eastern culture but I would not swap my life in Thailand for any western country.
I agree with a lot of what you say about how people shouldn't moan too much. Life is different here and it is we outsiders who need to adjust, and not arrogantly ask the locals to adjust to suit us.
Where IVERY strongly disagree with you is where you dispute that the girls hate what they do. MANY *really* hate it and I mean HATE it. Talk to them in their own language and once they understand that you are in the bar to relax and won't be taking any woman and they realise they have nothing to lose by being open and honest with you, it all comes out – and it ain't pretty!
The argument that these girls would rather be in a nice hotel room than their basic rooms is, I am afraid, just plain ignorant – and is applying Western logic to a Thai situation. Most Thais are happiest when they are amongst those close to them – be it family or friends (and especially so when it comes to rural people or those from less privileged backgrounds – as is the case with these girls). They are much more concerned about the people they spend time with and enjoying their company than they are plush surroundings. That's not to say they don't like plush surroundings, but that is not nearly as important to them as it may be to, say, a Westerner.
As for what happens to the industry in the future, well, I'll be penning my thoughts in that in a weekly column in April – and it ain't a pretty picture for the naughty boys, I reckon. For sure, the industry will still be there, but I think the decline will accelerate – and I will list very specific reasons why.