Readers' Submissions

Circumnavigating In The Sea of Shit

  • Written by SAM
  • April 20th, 2013
  • 12 min read




Sorry if the title offends someone. It is the name of a painting by American artist Julian Schnabel. Link here: Recently been observing submissions becoming more and more obsessed being 'right'. With this I mean a certain view that the author takes and navigates around it like staring one's naval in papal righteous way. There is a reason why I named this submission in such a way. There seems to be a trend nowadays that tries to dictate that everything is relative. This trend has close relation to political correctness and I find it harmful in many ways when people in fear of the consequences of expressing their views muffle up and don't say what they mean. Being 'right' in this context refers to the idea that things have to be discussed in a way that the result is preset. So any 'discussion' between two participants starts from a point that they actually have to agree from the beginning. Otherwise it will result in a full-blown war between them. This seems to be the pattern that I've witnessed more than once whether here or in public.

When we become authors of political correctness, we lose the ability to see and say what we actually experience around us. An opinion expressed by one might not be the agreed upon by another person simply because they have different viewpoints. This I found, is clearly obvious to me when reading a link provided by Stick in his last Sunday column. Mr. Mobi, a recovering alcoholic, has penned his thoughts. I for one read the literary piece with much criticism. Okay, I read maybe five chapters and got irritated with much what he said, actually made opinions – not sounding very truthful to me. Starting with my own suspicions, someone looking at Thailand as a whole from a Pattaya perspective is a way that never goes down very well with me. Pattaya is not Thailand. Not all ladies are prostitutes or available. Not everything in Thailand is mafia run. Not everyone sits and drinks all day long, day to day, month to month, year to year. What I am trying to say that our opinions are mostly based upon our settings. If you sit among questionable people, are you somehow different? The company makes alike, my mother used to say.

He was – okay, it was fiction or was it? – writing that there is poverty in Isaan. He placed people in dire straights and claimed that they had no food to eat. No sticky rice. Nothing to chew on. Okay. My experience living among the People of Rice Fields just tells me that his view of hungry Isaan people is simply not correct. To quote some statistical info that I am lazy to dig up just now, the last person known to die of hunger was around the 1930's in unusual circumstances. He writes that a lady had Thai family but still no-one gave them food. That is not what my experiences of rural people are. My mother in law likes to make me go around certain times of year to get her share of the family rice. We have very little contact with her relatives but they seem to be happy enough to store us with few hundred kilos of rice that we neither pay anything for nor worked to get it. I wouldn't mind buying it from the store since these meetings normally mean that I have to be in the sticks in a sweltering heat waiting them to discuss things and gossip…and anyone who has ever been in that situation knows that it takes hours to go through all the village nonsense and happenings.

Another thing that felt out of place was a young child's outrage when her other sister was taken to 'Pedophileland'. Making a public scene is not what normally takes place. It would create too much loss of face. And knowing Thais, that sort of thing would be done very quietly and in total secrecy. On the other hand, I know that there are mothers selling their daughters and sons to the criminal abusers of children but I wonder would any mother actually sell her children for such purpose? I know that the poorest families in the slums of Bangkok are in debt to mafia and they don't normally have ID cards and so fall outside the Thai social welfare and health systems. People working to prevent such occurrences are the bravest of all and they all say the same thing, giving a little money in the right spot would do an awful lot of good. I have personally witnessed children being "available" in Pattaya but that was a decade ago. I was shocked to land in such premises by accident. I had no clue. I was told that the whole business is about extorting money out of foreigners engaging in illegal activities with minors and run by those who you'd expect to be cracking down on the practice. I might be wrong but perhaps not. Most children seemed high on drugs. I hope the situation is better than it was years ago. To make that experience even more mind-boggling, there was a sign near that place, in front of a school, that stated that foreigners could be prosecuted in their own country if they got involved with minors. And the place where I witnessed that sort of thing going on was just couple of hundred meters away…

We all see things from our own perspective. We have no clue what other people's lives are all about. There has been these few subjects that I like to comment.

Money

I am by no means rich. At current exchange rates I make about 70K+ baht a month. I might make more if I worked harder but most of my money comes from previous investments and I see no stop to that. So that makes me probably lucky in some people's mind. I pay household and car expenses of around 20K a month, food between 15-20K and I truly eat well. That leaves me 30K to do whatever I want and mostly I don't. I've been around maybe too much in my younger days so I feel no need to do much. If I want to get excited, I order a book. Many people here seem to take a stand against others proclaiming that they are better and nicer and sweeter and more cultured because they are better of. A view that was very popular in the 18th century in a class society. Because I can, I am better. Or how is it actually? I've been so poor when studying that I needed to resort to my friends to get something to eat. I've had times when I made 30K Euros a month…and spent it… It really doesn't make me look you in a better light when you tell me how fat your wallet is or how many bedrooms there are in your house. Is it your house, actually? You sleep in many different beds during the night? There is no taking your assets to your grave. Keep that in mind and you might have some perspective.

Love

Ah! Men's brains seem to totally stall when some nice female enters their space. I quite liked Stick's quote of some guy that said something along the lines that why bother thinking about paid sex. Why, indeed? I am no prude and I don't care what people think but I keep my personal life just that, personal. I admit having flings here and there. I was traveling due to work and loneliness in a hotel room has never suited me very well. After a hard day's work, a nice massage and boom boom is in order. I have never fallen in love with a service provider and actually can't remember what they looked like. They did their job, got paid and I fell asleep and all my body parts were relaxed. I recommend to anyone that ever considers a relationship with an Asian that you should read a book banned in Thailand. There is no proper social welfare in Thailand and people depend on their families and spouses. It is about money. It is not love or at least the ideal love that we talk about in Europe and Western world. And in Europe and elsewhere, it has not been a long time when it was very similar. Marriage was an AGREEMENT, a legal standing between a man and a woman. This love nonsense is very a relatively recent development and is based on the ideal of love without the boom boom department. As I said, very ideal indeed. Anyone falling in love with a bar lady or prostitute gets what he deserves. That's how I see it. By all means, have your fun but don't take it home. If you didn't get that, I just ask, if you like to have a glass of milk, why buy a whole cow? That needs to be fed. I'd rather leave that to someone else.

Hi-sos

On this site there are few that like to make us others feel inferior. They come saying that they know what's it all about since they dine and wine with the high society or some self-proclaimed elite. They claim to be of high moral and standards but somehow seem to have mistresses and build houses on rice fields just like so many others do. Is there some difference when they spend 10 million instead of 2 million? I guess there has to be. Or they are different and despite the big age difference they have found that girl that is different and loves her papa who provides for her. All this because they are better human beings and shine their excellence on us. They are our sun, moon and guiding stars. Somehow, however, I see them doing exactly the same with the same patterns and mistakes most of us have witnessed so many times. They speak of education and put themselves on a pedestal to be admired. I have been through university and in my opinion people tend to forget that there is real life outside the academic walls. The way to look at things is much determined what field the academics are coming from. There is a great trust in science. Maybe too great. One could almost speak of religion of science. It will solve all the problems of the World and feed every and each one and stop wars and so forth. In my experience scientists remind me of what Stalin allegedly once said: 'Death of one is a tragedy. Death of a million is statistics'. There is a certain sense in this since all things that mean a lot to an individual can hardly be measured through statistics. Humans live with their instincts and emotions and intelligence. They are inseparable. I could say to all these hi-sos: Get a life! Need to put down other people is a symptom of something. Self-gratification through such elevated pedestals and bloated self-worth is ridiculous. You are just a human after all.

Living in LOS

I have found that Thailand is very much the same as anywhere in the World. When coming to so called Thai culture, I grin. There are very few that live by Buddhist principles and greed is common everywhere. I see guys explaining their decisions to pay extra-orbitant sin sot (dowry) or bend backwards when their missus is making demands that would make me blush of shared shame. Get a pair of balls! I have finally learned my lessons and mostly reply like Thais do, saying that maybe later, I'll think about it, up to you. I live my life the way I want. My way or the highway. Although, it might be me to take the highway…what foreigners are in this country is a passport, wallet and T-shirt. That said, I quite like my life here.

Bars

This is actually related to living in LOS but since so many live their existence through bar scene, I'd like to say something about it. I don't do bars anymore. The reason is simple. They offer very little quality. The patrons are normally the worst gossip people with mean attitudes who moan about everything and love to put people down. To preserve my good mood the last thing I need is a farang bar. If I am not depressed before a visit, I certainly am after. People in bars seem to think they know everything. They know the best and somehow I just wonder if the bar reality is the same as mine. Mostly it isn't. I like my life better without the stupid comments and overall negativity. As Stick has said, bar life looks pretty different when the honeymoon is over. I couldn't do what he does, going there over and over, looking at the same happenings that we all know to be an illusion. If they don't know it now, they sure will soon enough. Being besotted by the instant bliss of easy sex and cheap drink, is a sure way to self-inflicted gradual decline.

In the end I'd like to say something that I found interesting when working in Bangkok a decade ago. I was a newcomer and talked to some Thais asking how they would spend their holidays. Someone said that he would go to nice resort, sit under an umbrella and sip his orange juice and have an occasional swim in the pool and nothing will get him away from his sun chair. I asked if that was all and he answered yes. After working here and circumnavigating this very exhausting country, I tend to answer the same. Something has changed, I have changed and the country has changed me. I can't be bothered to get out of my comfortable chair. Not for the things so many seem to be buzzing around, anyway. To each their own.

This seems to be sort of a rant. Maybe the reason for it is the overall negativity that makes me irritated. Recently whether looking at Stick's site or submissions, it is like a competition of being right over others. If there are accidents in Thailand, they want to flaunt their Western views over it. If it's about the service / lifestyle / other expats, they want express their superiority. I say, you don't like it here, pack your bags and go. I like it here and a stroll around without seeing one single white face makes my day more likable. I was at one point thinking that maybe the bashing over the quality of foreigners was a bit too much but nowadays I am not sure anymore…

This submission is not positive but not really related to my feelings over Thailand or Thais, more likely reflects my views of other foreigners – those that are online and complain and seek boost for their inflated egos.

Have A Nice Day!


The Strip Gogo Bar Bangkok



Stickman's thoughts:

Many points you make resonate with me…