How Did They Cook Us? Or Did We Do It To Ourselves?
I lived in Thailand for over 10 years and just feel it changed and a lot. In 2002-2005 when I lived in Patong Beach girls were unusually sweet, would do the work when we washed up in the showers, stayed all night, and straightened up the room without questioning any amount they found in their purse.
I was 56. going on 57 in those days and felt young and laughed often. In fact some fellows didn't pay them at all, and the girl would say nothing, but refuse to go with him again. People smiled and helped me do things with a sort of grace I admired. It was heaps of fun and I would not trade that experience.
Two theories I have heard regarding cooking lobsters seem similar to me on how things became. One says, just boil the water, throw the lobster in and hear the poor critter scream and protest. Or, we can trick the lobster by putting him in water at his own temperature and then gradually increase the heat and let the reality sneak up on him.
In my opinion, over the past 5 years or so, I have tried to overlook present realities and seek the best in the Thai people who increasingly seemed to be showing their contempt for my people. It just became increasingly difficult and in 2006 I started taking trips to the Philippines where I eventually relocated to from Pattaya this past year. Just not wrestling with the Thai language alone saves me tons of stress and as an advanced senior I seek zero stress.
Personally, I am bored with the Thailand vs. Philippines debate and have no interest in trying to sell anyone on leaving Thailand. If guys want to be treated as they are and pay those big sums, I say they should go ahead and enjoy themselves. I have no more interest in learning the Thai language as I have a couple of others I think in and do not want to bother learning from folks who don't like anything about me other than money. I am happier where I live now. I do not have to check in every 90 days and am generally far more relaxed.
Intellectually, I wonder if having a fugitive run their country (in abstensia) has some sort of effect on the sort of ethical judgments in their behaviour. Leaders? The silly airport closings (pity those waiting for a heart transplant through the airport).
After Thaksin was run off with bags of money, we as foreigners watched money withheld when we wanted to transfer funds and real estate transactions costs increase before agents are paid. The promises about flooding (does anyone else remember the photos of boats turning their motors up river trying to reverse the flow from the north?) and now demonstrations clogging up Bangkok. Camping out unemployed in Lumpini?
How many Songkrans must one see to get the point? What is the point?! I assume it is to get drunk and throw water mostly on people who do not want it while laughing like a jackass?
Just as in my own country, one hopes sanity begins to prevail at some point. Like many other readers, I had some truly great times in Thailand and wish things were fun and happy before with tolerance being the great Thai quality is was and, among some, still is.
For some, I hope the magic still works, and more importantly I hope Thailand begins an era of political stability. And with its people becoming more prosperous, some educational advances happen.
When a girl in Pattaya's Soi LK Metro hit me with a 10,000 baht suggestion for her beauty which I have seen many similar to over the decade there, I realised things have gotten too rich for my blood. So the sought after upper end foreigner better show up with huge sums being demanded these days.
I have long enjoyed my interactions with Stickman and will certainly look him up next trip when I am back there as a tourist. I take to Thailand, and have enjoyed reading the many interesting submissions going back to Dana well before his subs even got to 3 digits. Stick speaks the language as well as anyone I have ever heard and could probably drive a taxi in Bangkok were he to don a disguise to make him look Thai. He does seem to know every inch, and I know that town and Thailand much better as a result of knowing Stickman.
So, I suppose I am cooked enough to jump out of the pot. Now I need to surrender Pattaya Gary for just Gary.
Thanks again for a chance to rant, meet many new friends among the many fellow writers at Stickman. I hope the new folks enjoy Thailand as much as I did and, more importantly, I wish the Thais well and some strong clears and good leadership.
I hope you're happy in the Philippines – and from all of our emails and catching up when you're in town, it seems that you most certainly are. Ain't it great to make a big decision, take a risk and then it all works out just as you had hoped!