Ramblings in Support of Thailand
There seems to be more and more negative sentiment towards Thailand across Mr. Stickman's site and the various other pretenders and this has finally brought me to write. Not a regular contributor but a regular visitor to the site and a regular visitor to Bangkok over the last 12 months.
Before I begin I do have one caveat: I have never lived in Thailand and when I visit it is as a tourist, so I can appreciate some of what I have to say may be disagreed with by some – but I would say I am very well travelled and have lived all over the world – so have some perspective.
The increasing negative sentiment seems to have increased since Mr. Stickman advised of his proposed departure, but having read a number of submissions in the archives I note there is always someone who wants to groan and moan about this amazing country.
So let's look at some of the main gripes.
1. The cost of visiting and living is getting expensive. My response would be where isn't it? I can still buy a Heineken for AU$3. I can have lunch for little more. Yes, we all harp on about the heyday of yesterday year but the rest of the world has moved on as well. Beer prices in Perth in Western Australia have hit AU$12, Auckland NZ$9 and London GBP4. I remember when I was much younger in the UK going out with GBP10 and having a ball including a kebab on the way home. Not anymore! When I moved to Auckland in 2002 petrol was 85 cents and now it's nearly NZ$2 a litre. Prices go up – that's what happens. Thailand is very lucky with near full employment and being left alone by the GFC – the country is moving on, and whilst it isn't Singapore or Hong Kong it is starting to be noticed on the world stage for more than the nightlife.
My grandmother used to tell me that in 1950's England you could leave your door unlocked to your house and the keys in the ignition of your car. Guess what? You can't in 2014 – things change.
2. Farang bashing by Thailand. Oh, we can't buy property and the police seem to pick on us and it's tough to get a visa. Many countries are the same – most of the Pacific Islands only allow you to lease land, not buy. Just because the Australian government is selling half of the country to the Chinese does not make it a good idea. Why not keep the wealth with the people we are visitors to their country. Yes, it might be for many years but we are still visitors. As far as the Police I have had documents checked in 9 countries on the street. I have even seen it done in Sydney.
As far as getting a visa – has anyone tried to get into the US, Canada or New Zealand lately? It's very hard and expensive as they all want the best people who will add something to the country. Thailand just wants to make sure they get the best as well. Just because they are tightening the requirements is little different to many other countries. Now I am going to say something controversial here: Why should the Thai government make it easy for foreign retirees or people coming to allegedly learn Thai. Do they add to the prosperity of the country? I don't see forums complaining that the costs of Australian visas are increasing by 50%.
3. Naughty nightlife is just not the same as it used to be – refer to point 1.
Surprise, surprise, prices have gone up, the girls have finally caught on and are no longer the 'innocent' farm girls you used to play with 20 years ago. They have access to the WWW, are tech savvy they know how the game is played. I would say they have simply evened up the playing field. Let's be honest (another controversial point coming), have you sat and watched what sort of people that are in Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza – drunk Aussies, Brits, Americans who dress as though they are on the beach in Bali – each to their own. I sat in Soi Cowboy for 3 hours last night and saw 1 guy under 40 who dressed ok and was in ok shape. The others where not. We seem to be demanding supermodels but can't be bothered putting a clean shirt on. I would suggest we get what we deserve. He girls make an effort and yes some have had a little too much rice but so have 90%of the customers. Would we go out in Sydney or Auckland in the same way?
The endless bar girl did me wrong emails and stories always interest me. I guess if I looked I could find forums of stories of other nationalities of women that have wronged someone. A friend of mine was in a relationship and marriage for 5 years and as soon as his wife had her UK passport she left him – an American woman – he didn't send stories comparing how awful American women are and how wronged he had been. What I am saying is these girls are now smarter and better at the game than us now. We either pick up our game, continue to roll over or get out. I for one am up for the challenge. Thai women are generally some of the most beautiful in the world and let's remember there are some good bargirls out there. I always think if you treat someone well they will return the favour. If they don't I move on. It is not me with the issue and I simply feel sorry for people who don't try to do the right thing.
Bargirls are human beings – yes savvy, enchanting and arguably a mystery to most of us, but they are still human beings. Treat them with respect and generally they will do the same. I believe the hardened bargirls have had 1 too many run ins with bad farang men. Just pay them the agreed price, buy them a drink or 2 have fun and generally they will as well. Can you imagine doing a day's work and your boss running out the door without paying you? Every time someone gets one over on a bargirl it reflects on us all and then next time she is not as friendly and is suspicious of the rest of us. Bargirls are human beings just like you and I.
Well we are nearly at the end of my ramblings and I guess anyone still with me either agrees or has spent the last few minutes shouting at their computer that the dumb tourist doesn't know what he is talking about. I love this country from my first visit in 1995 to now in my hotel in Thailand. We all get fed up with places and need to move on. I am on my 4th city in 12 years so I understand, but things change and we need to accept sometimes. This is still an amazing country and I am always experiencing something new. Last night's first ever visit to Climax was definitely something new – that may be another submission.
Don't hate Thailand because it has changed. Celebrate it for that. When I came here in 1995 Thailand was like a little child excited about the exotic foreigners with all their cash. I remember a US navy ship in Phuket and the excitement was like watching children at Christmas. Thailand has grown up and now it's like a petulant teenager. It does what it wants and is going through change. Let Thailand go on its journey but don't hate it for that.
Here ends the sermon!!!
Please have a Merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year (my first in Bangkok).
Mr. Stickman, as I may not get another submission I would like to take off my proverbial cap to you. What you have put together is exceptional and whilst I understand the need to move more than most, what you have done for Bangkok and the many expats and visitors cannot be copied. I wish you well for the future.