From The Archives
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the submissions that I have enjoyed most over the years. So, risking permanent retinal damage, I trawled through every page of the archives to find what are, for me, the subs I've enjoyed most. Some of these subs are Green Star subs, but most are not. Generally, I have picked them because I personally enjoyed them, or because they were somehow historically significant (such as the piece on the Thermae), or I felt they have something important to say. There are many writers and subs who I have enjoyed who won't appear here for various reasons, mostly due to time and space, or because I just can't find a sub from years ago any more.
Warning: This is a personal list. Your mileage may vary. I am really hoping that others out there submit their own lists of their favourite subs – I would love to read them! I have read a lot of the pieces on the Stick site, but not all, and I am sure there are many undiscovered gems ripe for rediscovery. And now, without further ado, here are some of my personal favourites from the archives¦
For Jiraporn by Phil Mortensen
Date: 08-12-2003 (Green Star)
A heart-rending piece that covers so much of life – love, sickness, getting old, the joy of children, and, ultimately, death. One of the best pieces written for the Stick site, at least for me. The message for me is plain: you only have one life, make sure you live it the best way you can, and don't be scared of making mistakes. Reading this piece puts me in mind of the quote attributed to Hunter S. Thompson:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride! a€�
He later wrote a follow-up piece, Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop which contained a surprising turn of events!
The Broken Man Is Repaired by Phet
Where it all began for Phet – what followed was a long tale of the trials and tribulations of the man himself. Phet has since made many contributions to the site and is one of my favourite writers. This is a great start to Phet's Thailand adventures, including a run-in with a Katoey (seemingly a rite of passage in Thailand) plus we get to explore Phet's trademark carnal knowledge of the nookie merchants of Nana. Phet always manages to make me laugh, with his acidic wit, keen observations, and heart-on-his-sleeve style – thoroughly entertaining. Check the archives around April 2009 there was a lot of Phet action on the site – one or two of his subs generated a lot of feedback around then.
Why I Never Married a Thai by Arthur
Date: 04-07-2005 (Green Star)
Not just a look at Thai women but a deep dive into the Thai psyche, as only someone with long experience of Thailand and the Thais can do. The concepts of face, morals, intellectual application, learning the Thai language, and the thorny issue of the dowry are all in here. A fascinating must-read for anyone contemplating working and living in Thailand, or marrying a local lass.
Regards from the Balcony by Statler & Waldorf
Date: 18-08-2005 (Green Star)
Statler was a regular (and one of my favourite) contributors back in the day. Sadly his subs were later changed to be authored by Anonymous€� (at his request), and some were deleted, along with their photos, so finding them now is an almost impossible task. Thankfully I've managed to track down a few classic pieces. I struck up a friendship with Statler through the Stick site, and we are still good friends today, almost ten years on. Despite my badgering him, he won't write for the site again as he's moved on with his life. Statler's writing was engaging because he didn't look at Thailand through rose-tinted spectacles – he saw and wrote about the day-to-day reality of life in Thailand, and his experiences very much aligned with my own.
When you expect more by Statler and Waldorf
Another great sub from Statler. Deals wonderfully with the frustrations of connecting on an intellectual level with Thai women. Check out the links to other articles embedded in this piece. Some of that stuff is just jaw dropping!
Koko Please Help by Statler and Waldorf
More on the frustrations of dating Thai girls. I can so relate to this. His frustration is palpable. Living in Thailand can sometimes feel like playing the lead role in a comedy movie.
A Letter to My Ex-wife by Martin
I think the author does a great job of capturing the wonderful possibilities of life post divorce€� – it can either be heaven or hell. As the Thais would say up to you€�.
Dear Noi by FarangDave
I can relate as similar to my own misadventures with a middle-class Thai girl. I have since found much happiness with someone who wasn't out for the quick win�. It seems delayed gratification is a very tough concept for many Thai women to deal with.
The Long Farewell by FarangDave
Date: 01-10-2010, 07-10-2010, 13-10-2010
A three part epic that tells the story of Farang Dave's last days in Singapore as his personal and business affairs start to fall apart. I enjoyed this series because it was well-written and had a certain air of tension about it. A very nicely told story.
Farang Dave went on to pen many further subs.
The Far Horizons by Mega
A truly fantastic piece on the attractions and joys of living in South East Asia. Mega perfectly captures the spirit, the enigma, the adventure of the lifestyle
– it's what keeps me coming back to SE Asia time and again. The sub takes a foray into the single versus married life, and generally getting your act together, as well as discussing the pros and cons of Thailand over a relatively boring life in the West. As Mega says, sometimes, if life seems to not be going where you'd like it to go, you need to push towards the far horizons, and this sub captures that wonderfully.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Mega
Date: 11-10-2012 (Green Star)
Another brilliant post by Mega! I must admit that there were many times when I felt like I was living on another planet when in LOS.
The Legend of the Thermae by David Cocksedge
The Thermae is one place I never visited in Bangkok, but wish I had. I have a slight problem with bars, and that is nothing to do with what goes on in them. I suffer from asthma, and don't do well in smokey environments. The Thermae probably would have done for me in that respect. It would have been good to have visited at least once though, at around midnight. I kind of think the author is right – like Pattaya, love it or loathe it, it's almost a right of passage for Thailand visitors. Anyway, this is a nice little potted history of the place, and what made it so special.
The Old Don Meuang Airport by Ishiro
Ishiro is at heart a poet, and it comes across in his writing. Here he manages to capture something of the spirit of the old airport, before Swampypoo was created. An airport seems a strange thing to write about perhaps, but like Ishiro, I've always had a strange connection with the places – I find them fascinating!
Living on the Fringes by Mega
If you want to know how to play the game that is life in Thailand, find out from someone who has been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.
Delightful Andalucía, Sevilla, Cadiz, Ana Mara by Hans Meier
You'd think that reading Stick's site that there is only one country in the world worth a visit – Thailand. I'm glad to report that isn't the case. There are a few writers who occasionally write about other locations, and Hans Meier has a long history of doing so, with many superb subs sent in from a range of countries over the years. This sub is my favourite of his, and brings back many happy memories of my recent sojourns in southern Europe.
Between Then And Now by Steve Rosse
I first stumbled on the writing of Steve Rosse many years ago, when I read a piece he'd written on the sailor Tristan Jones, who he knew while living on Phuket. Tristan himself had written a book I'd enjoyed on travelling across the Isthmus of Kra in Thailand, called To Venture Further€�. Anyway, that led me to Steve's books, Thai Vignettes and Expat Days, both of which I enjoyed immensely. I was delighted when Steve started to submit pieces to Stick's site. It's difficult to select a favourite in some ways, but for me Between then and now€� stands out as a special piece of writing. By the magic of Steve's writing I was transported to that porch, where I shivered alongside the ghosts of past and present. It's a poignant piece, and I guess it mirrors experiences that many of us have had, a tale of love lost, and things that could have been so different but for the hand of fate. In his many subs and books Steve so eloquently captures the mystery and adventure of life in Thailand. So, I have listed sixteen of my favourites. Now, how about you?