The Golden Age Of The Farang, Part Three
I woke up this Sunday morning, and as I checked the notifications on my tablet this headline news-story caught my eye: “Tourists Facing 10 Years In Thai Jail Over ‘Ridiculously Drunk’ Stunt”.
So I opened up my Fox News app to read the details: “Two tourists facing 10 years in jail for graffiti-tagging an ancient wall in Thailand say they were ‘ridiculously drunk’ when they pulled off the stunt. Canadian Brittany Schneider, 22, and British man Lee Furlong, 23, were caught on CCTV on Thursday spray-painting a message on the wall of the 13th century Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai.”
One thing I’ve really noticed over the course of the last two decades is the ever declining character of Western farangs who visit Chiang Mai. During The Golden Age Of The Farang, Chiang Mai was mostly free from this kind of nonsense. Frankly, a large percentage of Western foreigners who now visit have shit for brains. I’m sorry, but there’s just really no other way to honestly put it. And it’s not just when they get drunk, either. How they dress, act, speak and think shows who they really are, so please don’t blame the booze. That’s just a lame excuse.
Back in 2004 when I first moved to Chiang Mai the city attracted some really great people. Yes, of course, back then there were some ignorant fools who thought the risk of doing drugs was worth it. And a few of them got their asses nailed to the wall. A lot depended on what kind and quantity of yaba the police found in a lawbreaker’s possession. Sometimes all you had to worry about was surviving a shakedown. Other times, however, the farang(s) got dragged off to the monkey house. I have visited a few Westerners who were incarcerated inside the Chiang Mai prison. And that’s what I call doing hard time…. No thanks. I don’t do drugs and if I did, then I’d surely skip Thailand. How serious can it get in Asia?
I remember the very first time that I caught a connecting flight to Bangkok via Taiwan back just before the turn of the century. As I disembarked and entered through the gate I looked up. Right there in big and bold letters was the very first sign I saw written in English. Printed on the sign wasn’t anything like what I expected, such as welcome to Taiwan or enjoy your stay or come back and see us soon. No, nothing like that. The sign read: ” DEATH TO DRUG SMUGGLERS”. I thought to myself, “I better fucking watch my step in Asia, because these people don’t fuck around”.
Message to all Western farangs: they still don’t fxxk around – not in Taiwan or in Thailand.
Living in Chiang Mai I always made it very clear to my expat friends to never put me at risk by even carrying a small amount of drugs on their person while in my company. I made it clear that I didn’t want to risk “guilt by association”. The problem with this was (and still is) that I’d always meet a lot of new people at some happening place like “The Guitar Man”. The Guitar Man is no longer in business. It used to be this swinging bar in Chiang Mai where you could pick up and go out on a date with a Western girl who was half your age, if you were in your early 40s. And it wasn’t just the female tourists who frequented The Guitar Man. The young English teachers used to hang out there and party a lot. The drinking, dancing and romancing was at times epic. You could smell the hormones wafting though the air. The girls would sometimes hook up with the musicians for weeks or even months at a time. I played electric guitar at the Guitar Man almost every Friday and Saturday night. I dyed my hair white, wore a black leather jacket and had one hell of a good time doing it. The problem was that I’d sometimes forget to mention my position on drugs to one of my new-found friends, and how one should avoid the monkey house at all costs; and how important is was to me that they not do or possess drugs while in my company… Some 20-year-old girls from the West weren’t very bright back then, either. Yeah, I nearly got put into a jam a time or two. Forget about today. I no longer date the young and stupid, but if I did I’d be very choosy about who I went out on a date with — that’s for sure.
So, that’s one lesson that I’d like to pass on to those who have or plan to have an active social life in Chiang Mai: be careful about violating Thai law unless you want to risk some very big trouble. And make damn sure about the company you keep. Make sure they know the score. There are cameras everywhere, now. I used to able to walk down the street and have some feeling of privacy. Not anymore, so keep that in mind, too. You’re being watched, always. Basically, you break the law and they got you by the ass.
Of course, the Western news media doesn’t help matters by exclaiming how wrong are Thai laws. And how the punishment is too severe. And how foreigners who break Thai law (including immigration law) are treated poorly. I disagree. I say that I’d rather live in a country with severe restrictions on citizenship, immigration and crime and punishment. Yes, by all means punish the shit-for-brains foreigners; and when they break your laws don’t offer them welfare, free medical care, free education and free, free, free everything like what happens in my homeland, America.
No, the Thais got it right this time. And I totally respect their position and laws. And I hope they don’t ever let farangs overrun the Kingdom. I want Thailand to preserve its unique culture and heritage. I hope they don’t ever make the mistake of handing out citizenship like it was free candy. I hope they maintain their borders and protect their country. And that means, if they have to crack some skulls and send people to the monkey house in order to achieve that, fine by me….
The author can be contacted at : [email protected]