Generalizations… Part-Ib, or… ‘My Bar-girl is Different’
Part-I of this brief series elicited some thoughts from Stick… which amused me and, with his permission I’d like to first add a little rejoinder…
I find myself in agreement with generalisations #1 and #2.
When it comes to those who may be referred to as misers [Generalisation-3], I have to comment. There are rather a lot of Western retirees in Thailand who tell some remarkably stories about how they ended up where they are today. The number in Bangkok who will gloat about how they worked so hard and has such a successful work life, earned more than most and were able to retire early is significant. Yet these people seldom have anything about them and stumble through life, all making you wonder if they actually had dead-end jobs and more likely retired for some other reason, such as an inheritance. They are insulting, not just to those who they are essentially saying have been unable to retire early as they did because they were not as successful, but to those (their parents?) who left them the money that allowed them to retire. Why not just come out and say, "I was able to retire because I inherited a lot of money". There is absolutely no shame in that whatsoever.
Now, I’ve always believed the basis of debate and learning is to listen to what others have to say, and consider the implications before responding, hopefully with the response having some relevance to the original statement… Equally, I have no reason to query Stick’s experiences and opinions, even though they might be different to mine… However, it might be that here I failed to explain myself, which has resulted in criticism, to which I don’t disagree, but which seems unconnected to what I thought I had written…
I have also met a few unsavory characters in Hua Hin – only a few, because when I first arrived in Hua Hin I quickly encountered a couple of dozen single expats who were very varied and seemed difficult to pigeon-hole, should I have wanted to do so. During a few short months, it gradually dawned on me that, apart from a handful of them, the others were people with whom I might have been unlikely to associate, back home… The only reason we haphazardly grouped ourselves together was because we were all single expats, in the same place at the same time.
It only took a few months before I started to weed them out – quite rapidly… In my most magnanimous mood I regarded them as creeps and/or parasites and, at worst… well I’d rather not put it into words… I felt they were all here for entirely their own benefit – to exploit the economy, or the women, or to foster an outdated colonial environment.
Most of them refused to pay bar-fees, and simply intercepted girls on their way home or to a local eatery, and made them a half-price offer… which goes way beyond the realms of miserliness… One guy, who didn’t like the bars (he loudly called all bar-girls, ‘Whores…!’), would sit in a cafe near the railway and bus-stations and waylay girls arriving with a backpack, who didn’t seem to know where they were. A bowl of noodles was offered, followed by a bed for the night and, in the morning, he would buy them breakfast and take them to the ‘zona rosa’ to find a job. He thought these girls were nicer because they weren’t whores… though I suggested to him that, although they might not have been when they arrived in town, they certainly were the following day, and he had made them what he so detested. His defence was, as he hadn’t given them any money, they were not whores for the time they spent in his company – and he was not responsible for what happened afterwards.
This sort of person, in my view (and I apologize if this seems to be an unfair generalisation), is lower than shark-shit, which is at the bottom of the ocean…! This guy was the first to be dismissed from my social calendar when I politely told him, to his face, what I thought of him.
Another guy was considered by his peers to be a latent paedophile and I was sincerely grateful when he got bored with me and took himself off to ‘Glitter-Land’. Another was a classic example of the bull-shitter mentioned by Stick above. He had done everything… and been a great success at everything he had tried… all over the world… and been able to take early retirement, and live the life of Riley… except… guess what… he didn’t have any money. He had arrived in Thailand by Aeroflot, via a 22 hour wait in Moscow, with an open 12-month return. At the end of the year he managed to scrape together $50 to extend the return for another twelve months… after which he junked the ticket and started teaching English in a local ‘junior’ school… and this a man who was unable to make sentences in English of more than six words…! and four of those would be mispronounced. He also has since disappeared – maybe his students were too young even for him…
Another guy drank and drank, but no longer in the bars. He had previously been so insulting to bar-girls they would see him coming and goad and antagonise him until he left – like sparrows mobbing a jay… He would sit in a bar and greet any passing farang, and invite them to have a drink… and he always told the guy to tell the girl what he wanted. When his bill eventually arrived he told the bar-owner he hadn’t ordered any of these extra drinks and wasn’t paying for them. On one occasion his ‘pals’ had already departed and this creep jumped on a passing moto-taxi and rode off into the night. The bar-owner took a bottle from the table, broke off the bottom on the edge of the curb, and gave chase. The following day she grinned a lot as she declined to tell me what had happened… though she mentioned the hospital got involved…
Another guy would down most of a G&T and then complain there wasn’t much gin in it and refused to pay. He was thrown out of three bars to my knowledge before one day was sitting near me and even took my drink, had a sip, and retorted, ‘Yours doesn’t have any gin either…!’ The rest of the drink I threw over him as the bar-owner hit him hard over the head with a broom. He passed out, and I’ve not seen him since. The owner gave me another drink.
A ‘red-neck’ guy as well as having a problem with bars, bar-girls, and bar-fees would also call out obscenities to passing punters. He was so used to being challenged he always carried a ‘flick-knife’ with him, and even complained that he was no longer able to keep it with him when he flew… From whom did he expect trouble in mid-air…? I once saw him threaten another guy (built like a lumberjack), who was so incensed, he lifted the table between them and tossed it into the street, in order to get to this moron… who soon disappeared from Hua Hin… I later heard he had been disabled by a ‘hit & run’ motorist. I also heard a rumor that this had not been an accident.
What can I say…? All these types of dross exist, around the world, and ever since those heady days in Hua Hin I’ve been avoiding them like the plague… and have possibly missed meeting some nice guys in the process. Of the four decent guys from those I originally socialised with, one contracted cancer a few years later, and returned home. Another disappeared and I suspect he has joined the ‘exodus’. The third lost his Thai wife after a very sudden, and very brief illness and now has difficulty returning to Thailand. And the fourth, who was in Hua Hin on a ‘disability’ pension, and only a young man, tragically died last summer.
Apart from these chaps my experiences of single expats in Thailand is mostly zilch compared with Stick’s, who must have met (in the past…?) more farang in a month than I have met in my two decades in the Kingdom.
However… (I just love it when it all seems to be over, and someone slowly says: ‘However…’), to get back to the point, my original Generalisation-3 was not aimed at any of these characters, but at apparently normal, decent guys who are no trouble to anyone, who live in a decent home, drive around in their own car rather than on occasional moto-taxis (and then only when they are afraid of the ‘soi-dogs’), don’t try to pretend they are what they clearly are not, have no problem with socialising with bar-girls (or any Thai ladies) without disparaging them, have never been asked to leave anywhere… and wear ironed shirts, with sleeves. Maybe these guys are more prevalent in Hua Hin. This group of people are usually (sorry for the generalisation) over 50, over 80kg., and sometimes, through no fault of their own, on dwindling resources… as a result of which they might be spotted sometimes sitting by the roadside, in a dark corner of town, enjoying a bowl of noodles, or having a drink in a quiet bar… and, to repeat myself, harming nobody. I find most Thais are polite and respectful to such guys… but I fail to understand why other farang can be so insulting about them.
My point of Generalisation-3 was to challenge the oft-stated (general) belief that these two types of single, expats are the same: all of them just old, fat, misers, deserving nothing but insults… On their behalf I apologise for not making my point more clearly.
To be continued in Part-II