Same, Same – But Not Different
How much longer are we to be burdened with subs containing the same content regarding the decline in service quality in go-go bars in Thailand?
Let's take a reality check on this subject – time changes all things and nothing remains static. There are far more important things in The Land Of Smiles than the bar scene to comment on – and this fixation with the bar scene is fast becoming wearisome to the point of driving long-time regular readers and sub writers from even bothering to read the column, let alone send in a sub or two.
Get real and accept that prices do go up, no matter what area one focuses on – and, OK, perhaps services have gone down in the area of bar-girl/go-go-girl customer relations – shit happens but get over it and move on. The days of cheap sex are a thing of the past in Thailand – and that is a good thing for the girls who have to service some of the grubs who must be real horrors for any girl to even want to be in contact with.
The fact is the same old story – if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. If you want quality, go to an Escort Agency and pay Rack Rates if you want guarantees of quality and honesty. Of course, the other option is to cultivate a mainstream Thai lady and do the right thing by her. From my experience, the cheap mongers have had it too good for far too long – and if one wishes to remain a "Cheap Charlie", go elsewhere than Thailand. Phils will fit the criteria and so will Cambodia – both more accommodating for that strata of customer. I have an older friend who still talks about the days of 500 Baht for long time – but I just smile and shake my head when I hear that.
The unfortunate thing about this column is that Stick has narrowed the terms of reference so that very little subject matter other than bar comment or travelogues are possible for consideration for publication. <Absolutely not true at all, see my comments at the end – Stick> "Thaicentric" can still embrace more interesting subjects than the boring old bar scene and the hacks (young and old) whose lives depend on that area. Where are writers of the quality of Markin, Caveman, Dana, Mega, and their like gone? Yes, Dana has retired after long and faithful service to this column – and he is sadly missed – but I find very little joy in reading subs by the newer "rash" of contributors who can see no further than the bars. Some of us could write stinging subs on Thai history and political affairs – but that is not allowed. There sure is more to life than booze and sex.
Have some imagination, for God's sake, and write about personal interaction (not between the sheets) – but meaningful interaction with Thais – particularly from a romantic or friendship perspective that reveals feelings, success, joy and failures, without the recriminations that are so often highlighted when things go belly-up. What about a bit of comedy for a change? How about taking responsibility for self-created failures through lack of consideration for the other person or for unrealistic expectations based on dreams.
Then there is the anger expressed toward the Japanese mongers, because they are given preference by Mamasans and girls in some bars. Why shouldn't that be so, based on the fact that they are never reluctant to part with money and treat the girls well – compared to a large percentage of Farang regulars who are quite often a bit tight-fisted. The Japanese always know what they want and are willing to pay.
It appalls me to hear of bar-girls or go-go-girls being referred to as "Prostitutes" or "Whores". Where has "class" gone? Obviously, those who use those terms have no class at all. Yes. we know that is the generic term for those engaged in the "profession" – but put a bit of style into the writing and raise your own profile out of the gutter at the same time.
There also seems to be a perception by the newer rash of sub writers that money can buy anything in Thailand – and perhaps it has worked on a number of occasions for some – but what you are buying is some of the time of an "actress". Did you ever think that an "open" jai-dee will very likely get you far more than money ever will? You may say that this makes one vulnerable and an easy target for a rip-off – but try and find a genuine, long-time girlfriend with money alone as the bait. Perhaps I should withdraw that word "bait" as that, in itself, is demeaning in reference to the girl of choice.
One always must be sure of what it is that one is looking for – a quick romp in the sack, or something that is meaningful and will last the distance. I don't know if you can find that on any of the dating sites – maybe it is possible – but I have never used any of those sites. One thing is for sure – if all you are looking for is that quick romp in the sack, you can take it to the bank, that she is not going to be a candidate for something that is meaningful and a lasting relationship. Thai women are no different to any other women – yes, they have many qualities that make them stand above many other women (and some that are really quite awful) but, generally, they are looking for something permanent and somebody who will look after them throughout life. Is that so bad? Don't we all want that?
I have had a number of Thai-girl relationships – and all of them were from mixing exclusively with mainstream Thais. I was a sometime monger until 2007, when I gave away the bars and massage shops because I found the person whom I knew would be the one I wanted to be with for always. She has her own business in Chinese wholesale and we are still together – and nothing at all has changed in all that time. It all comes down to being able to read body language, being open and honest – but, most important of all – knowing what you are looking for and being equipped with the knowledge to sustain a Thai relationship.
So guys, let's up the tone of this column to where it once was – if not, then I can see the demise of something good that has provided joy and interest for many people over the years.
Regards to all.
Let's first of all be frank about the reasons this site became popular in the first place – it was because of the nightlife coverage. Yes, there were other sections, but it was the nightlife coverage which generated far and away the most interest at a time when the nightlife was what many in the West first thought of when Thailand was mentioned. To say that readers don't want articles on the nightlife when so many are being written on that very subject would seem rather to be projecting your own ideas. I would prefer a greater variety of subjects, but will gratefully accept whatever comes in.
Probably today there is a fairly even split between those mainly or only interested in the nightlife and those not particularly interested in it. But amongst those not particularly interested in it are many who enjoy living the nightlife lifestyle vicariously. They have no interest in partaking, but they enjoy reading about others' adventures immensely. I imagine this is quite a percentage of the readership, especially amongst those who are "reformed".
From time to time people complain about the submissions which are coming in, from the number to the quality to the subjects written about. There seems to be this crazy idea that if I had not published an article on, for example, the decline of the gogo bars, I would instead have published an 8,000-word travelogue with 30 National Geographic quality photos in its place. If only it worked like that.
As far as subjects which are not allowed, they are remarkably few. We do have to be careful of anything that could upset a sensitive Thai – as the Thais can get quite upset if certain institutions are criticised. It should be noted, however, that this site has relished covering topics that the mainstream media doesn't report on and while my personal preference is to cover that sort of stuff, writers are free to write about and send in anything. We do have to operate within what the local environment allows, so that means anything overly critical of the country as a whole cannot be published, politics are to be avoided unless written about sensitively (see Bangkok Barry's recent piece for a good example of what is ok). Also, any criticism of the judiciary cannot be published as such is illegal in Thailand. Local laws regarding slander or defamation mean that naming or merely identifying while not necessarily naming someone who is shamed and / or shown in a negative light cannot be published either. Remember, speaking the truth is not necessarily a defence in slander / libel cases – you have to be able to show that the comments made were done so in the public good – and from my limited understanding of the law that takes quite some doing.
Honestly, I don't much care what people write about, so long as they write about it with passion and take the time to present their thoughts as best they can, and not in a rushed manner. Like them or not, the recent flurry of bar industry submissions show that some people are passionate about that.