Stickman Readers' Submissions December 30th, 2015

It’s All About Stereotyping

The phenomenon of stereotyping is very widely noticed at the nightlife establishments in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. Most of the transactions happening in these places are heavily influenced by that stereotyping. People here quickly stereotype everything under the sun, and aren’t ready to change their perception very easily.

There are many common stereotypes they believe in. For example, an expat will always carry a folding umbrella while going out in the evening, will have their beer at a gogo bar, but will ultimately settle for a freelancer in case they don’t want to go back home alone. A retiree will invariably have a beer belly and will be stationed at a beer bar starting 11 AM in the morning wearing singlet, shorts and a pair of flip-flops. A sex tourist will always chase gogo girls (i.e. fondle-for-free), will refuse requests for random lady drinks, and will often be successful in getting full attention of a totally wrong group of people. But some of them will eventually start emptying their wallets for a particular girl without any particular reason. Countless stories have been written about them already.

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First-timers are the ones who will spend a good 15 minutes by taking selfies standing in front of the Nana Plaza sign board. The female tourist gangs are the ones who would hire a tuktuk coming out of the plaza even though the driver had been shouting “massage massage” moments before they were talking to the driver.

A foodie is the one who will buy a burger from the van parked at the gate, before entering Nana Plaza. A backpacker is the one who will buy 3 or 4 small durians for his breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A music lover is the one who picks his short-time girl from Corner Bar at Soi Cowboy. The busy is the one who takes shelter inside the curtained booths at The Strip, instead of going to a short time hotel next door. The lazy is the one who sits at the Big Dogs in the evening, spots at least ten girls entering into the plaza, kills the entire evening sitting at the Big Dogs itself in the hope of catching one of those ten girls (without paying a barfine) when they come out of plaza after the closing time.

Appearance plays an important role here while stereotyping. It’s all about how you look. Starting from how you dress, how you walk, how you talk, which drink you order, which lady drinks you’re willing to buy (must be a Tequila) to which phone you’re carrying – everything is taken into account and then a complex bar-girl algorithm is used with applying appropriate weightage on your age, look and ethnicity, before they come up with your “credit rating”.

Of course ethnicity plays its part too. The ethnic group enjoying the premium status have two subgroups, (1) Clean and (2) Tattooed. The members of the first sub-group, particularly the senior ones, are very popular with the beer girls (not gogo girls though) because they are regarded as potential long-term or permanent ATMs.

The members of the Tattooed group aren’t treated too badly due to the perception that they might introduce girls to some suitable member of the Clean group. Only downside for the Tattooed group is that they’re often exposed to harsh Thai weather, in the form of severe beating and/or mugging, particularly when they are in too intoxicated a state.

One ethnic group was fondly referred to by 3-3-3 where first 3 is the size, second 3 is the duration and third 3 is the short time rate in K Baht. Now the inflation has uplifted their status even more, as they’re now being known as 4-4-4. Where the last 4 is totally understandable, but to explain the first and second 4 someone needs to call Darwin and Viagra respectively.

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The next group is becoming more visible day by day. They don’t prefer to venture out alone; and the definition of being alone is to be in a group of less than 25 people. They are regarded as very independent-minded because no street is busy enough for them for not being able to pass through, and no BTS is crowed enough to prevent them to squeeze in. Luckily (for whom I’m not sure) three neon spots are somewhat missing in their guide map till now.

There is another group which is the most confusing of all. They have been a hit-or-miss experience for the girls and the people around them. This group is often considered as insensitive, aggressive and miser. But there are too many exceptions there, as many girls, mamasan and late night taxi drivers have had their one of the best professional experiences with these people.

There may be countless established types; far more than what I’ve been able to mention above. But there are very strong anti-patterns as well, if you look around closely.

Many people sitting at the beer bars idle since morning rarely drink. Some people hitting balls at the pool tables in the sports bars are getting their ass kicked too often by those beer girls because they’ve never played a pool before. The most quite guys sitting alone on a sofa at the darkest corner in a gogo bar are the ones who will buy lady drinks with a minimum persuasion from any girl.

There are people who are entering pay-for-play scene for the first time in their life at the age of 60. There are also some people who will take home a girl for long-time only for her to fix a breakfast in the morning!

nana plaza