The Golden Age Of The Farang, Part Two
The views expressed herein are solely and expressly the personal opinion(s) of the author, Baht Man.
Before I get started on part two of the series, The Golden Age Of The Farang, I’d like to sincerely thank Stick’s readers for all of the feedback I received on part one; all of it, both negative and positive, both hateful and friendly, is greatly appreciated. I strongly believe free speech is a two-way street — even so-called “hate speech”. And I think it’s a grave mistake for American companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to censor free speech as they are now rampantly doing. This is especially true when these transnational companies actually partner with authoritarian countries and set up Internet speech-filters, e.g., China and Google. Everybody, from the most virtuous to the most despicable, should be able to speak or write her / his mind on any subject without constraint. We are adults; and as such, we should be free to decide what speech we agree or disagree with. This is a paramount human right. And if you don’t like what I or others have to say? Simply turn me off, mai pen rai.
There is a point or two that I’d like to address for the purpose of clarification. I’d like to make it crystal clear that in my opinion there are some fantastic expats who are currently living in Thailand; some think as I do and some don’t. Many have a different political persuasion than me. And although I may disagree with your politics, philosophy and goals in life, I don’t doubt that some of you have honorably good motives. I actually admire some of your communication skills and I think you’re highly articulate conversationalists. I also think that Thailand has some very fine people who just visit the Kingdom, but don’t live there; those of whom I speak are hard-working people on vacation — many of whom are not white, Western men— and some of whom are Asian men who are currently having the time of their lives. For many Asians this is their Golden Age — right here, right now.
There was a time not too long ago during which most Chinese men could not afford to enjoy Thailand. Those men rode second-hand bicycles to work and earned less than Thais. They lived a miserable existence in their Chinese homeland. They never had a real vacation. Now millions of Chinese men can enjoy Thailand. Congratulations! Enjoy it while you can, because I think that our new President, Donald Trump, is about to shut down the sewer pipeline which runs basically one-way from China to America. Then we Americans are going to get to watch as the Chinese kaka backs up and floods the already industrial overcapacity of your very over-leveraged and very Communist China. And I’ll let you in on something that the Fake News won’t report on: President Trump doesn’t want the Chinese to save face as they gouge market share from the U.S.. No, that is not going to happen anymore.
No more saving face unless America gets the better deal this time around. President Trump isn’t anything like the uber weak President Obama. Obama was a Globalist and Marxist with a wide Muslim-streak running right down the middle of his back; Obama lacked any business acumen whatsoever, and he rolled over for the Chinese the entire time he was president. Obama was actually the polar opposite of Donald J. Trump. Obama never built a damn thing in his entire life, let alone negotiated any big deals. Can you, dear reader, handle the truth? If yes, read on. Because Obama’s skin was colored black is the reason why they admitted him into Harvard; and to this day he keeps his grades private. The public doesn’t even know what kind of a student Obama was or many other important things about him that they should know…. Obama was one of the most useless presidents America has ever had. And don’t expect the FSM to do any investigative reporting on a black president — that would be politically incorrect and racist. So you’ll have to get the truth from alternative news. And the truth about Obama hurts the snowflakes’ feelings. On the other hand, everybody knows Donald Trump. President Trump is a businessman, a self-made billionaire and a NYC street-fighter and a nationalist who wants to halt the flood of cheap shit that’s been flowing un mass from China for years. At the very least this flood of poorly made Chinese-garbage must be greatly curtailed. And The Donald is just the man to do it. President Trump shall negotiate on American terms (not Chinese terms) and, if Trump doesn’t get a favorable deal in the best interest of the U.S., then production of all of those flimsy, Chinese goods can come to a screeching halt or at least be tariffed so heavenly that exporting to America is no longer profitable for the Chinese. Make no mistake about it, dear reader, President Donald Trump’s trade policies are going to affect all of Asia, including Thailand.
I’d like to make it pellucid that henceforth what I’m writing about is primarily written for Western men who, like me, have a particular background, culture, opinion, outlook, history, political viewpoint and experience —- and most importantly: a loyal affinity to Western capitalism and nationalism, i.e., an unapologetic love for our own respective Western countries and the means by which those countries became great, e.g., hard work, conceptualization, creativity, inventiveness, freedom to speak, freedom to choose and freedom from massive taxation and regulation and day-to-day control by an Orwellian centralized government. That’s the kind of men I’m writing my series for — freedom-loving Western men. That’s not to say that an individual from, say, China, for instance, couldn’t derive some benefit from my written perspective, but it is just an acknowledgment on my part that Western men will probably get more out of what I have to say than Eastern men — or women from anywhere. I’m basically writing from my own unapologetic view of a Western-centric man, viz., your skin color doesn’t matter to me —-black, white, red, yellow, brown—- but being born in the West and / or having a love for Western Civilization and Western manhood does matter greatly to me. And be forewarned: Marxists, socialists, Progs, snowflakes, Feminists and collectivists of every sort will hate my point of view. So, if you don’t want to suffer pain or get “triggered”, then go somewhere else (go to your “safe space”) sip gently on a beer, take your meds, and watch a YouTube video of Hillary Clinton, instead —mai pen rai.
Picking up where I left off on part one: one of the things I miss about the LOS circa 1999-2008 is the man I was. And, at the same time, I don’t miss who I used to be at all. Sounds crazy? It’s not. Let me explain by quoting a fellow American by the name of Steve Rosse: “In seven years in Thailand I took all kinds of risks I would not consider today. I think that’s what I miss most, not the food, not the women, not the weather or the scenery or the drugs. I miss the old Steve who took risks“. Risks, indeed.
I was a risk taker, too. And I took some real big, bad beauties. A few of the risks could have (and probably should have) cost me my life. Younger men tend to take foolish risks that old men do their best to avoid. So I admit that I do miss being a younger young man who was ready, willing and able to take risks, but I don’t miss some of the risks that I took. Frankly, some of those risks were really, really stupid. So that’s what I mean when I say that I miss the young man who I was, yet I don’t really miss his stupid risk-taking at all. And that’s a lesson I’d like to pass on to younger men of this generation. Think about the long-term ramifications, and not just the immediate gratification of whatever it is you’re contemplating. And learn from other people’s mistakes. Go back in Stick’s archives and read the many good articles, e.g., “Risk”, by Steve Rosse.
By the way, I’d like to meet Mr. Rosse one day, and buy him a cold beer; however, he’d probably take a run at me and brain me with the bottle, because he’s a rabid progressive and Hillary supporter, if ever there was one. Currently, most Hillary supporters have a very bad case of “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. Meeting with such people is probably a risk that a Libertarian like me wouldn’t want to take.
Moving on to some other noteworthy things that I miss about Thailand: Back in the day, Thai women were not inked. And I mean that in more ways than one. At the time, the reason many men eschewed Western women in favor of Thai ladies was because Western women’s brains were inked with radical Feminism. In Thailand the women offered men an alternative, i.e., women were thin, sexy, had beautiful skin and untainted with the desire to be treated “equal” in every respect. In short, Thai women were generally feminine, not Feminist. And you didn’t have to get their written consent in order to get on first base with them. And I miss that kind of woman. Moreover, it was easy to find a Thai girlfriend who wouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to date. And if you decided to enter into a long-term relationship, that wouldn’t necessarily cost a lot, either. And if that relationship went sour, well, mai pen rai.
That doesn’t mean that all Thai women were low maintenance and had good intentions back then or that some break-ups weren’t nasty. No, far from it. And it also doesn’t mean that nowadays a single man can’t find a decent Thai women to take out on a date. But times have changed, and, frankly, I’m so glad I’m not looking for love in Thailand right now. That’s one thing I really don’t miss at all: searching for romance. But that’s just me and my situation. I say to the men who are actively searching for a Thai girlfriend: I think it’s still entirely possible for a guy who has a good head on his shoulders to figure out how to enjoy meeting and socializing in with the opposite sex in Thailand.
I really, really miss the long drives that I used to take out into the country. I used to visit small hamlets during a time in which I might be the only farang that any Thai villager would have seen that year — maybe much longer. In more than a few instances I’d drive down a dirt road and into a village in my Toyota Hilux Tiger; and a crowd of very young Thais who had never seen an American would run right up to me and shout with glee: farang! Farang! Farang! I remember a small village, north of Chiang Dao Cave, where I stayed overnight; I liked the tranquility of the place so much that I ended up staying for over a week in that idyllic village. So many fun and interesting things happened to me there. And the food was superb! The place was so interesting, because I was new to the back-country of the LOS; and that newness in and by itself made travel very exciting, indeed. I remember how, one afternoon, a very soft-spoken village elder approached me privately and offered me his beautiful, young (I assume virgin) granddaughter as a wife. I was caught totally off-guard by his very direct offer. Because it was my first real road trip in and around remote Thailand, I sometimes found myself in some very touchy situations — no pun intended.. I hadn’t yet fully adjusted to the older way of doing things in Thailand, and the steep learning curve caused its fair share of headaches. Things like that didn’t happen back in America, so my reaction to grandpa’s offer was awkward and slow. Ironically, with all of the third-world immigration in America nowadays, you can expect anything, including offers that the barbaric Muslims make each other as they trade in prepubescent brides — but I digress. So what happened and what did I do and how did I respond to the offer of a young, virgin wife? Time slowed. Rays of sun danced frame by frame over the beautiful rice-field as tree leaves were undulated by a gentle wind which seemed to tickle its way through the palm trees. My mind took a long pause. I immediately started to perspire, profusely. And for a brief moment it actually felt like I was living in the century 1000 AD, not almost 2000. Yeah. And then I blurted out, “I already have a wife, and she’s a very jealous woman”. After I explained what “jealous” meant, I was off the hook and everybody saved face. Those were the days to explore back-country Thailand — before everybody had a cell phone and an Internet connection— and I do miss it. I miss the newness of the LOS and uncovering its mystery. And sometimes I miss my uber naivete. Sadly, within a few short years of living in the LOS I became a seasoned, jaded, cynic — on everything Thai. Honestly, I went too far in my negative thinking. Yes, like many expats, I went from one extreme to the other. But now I have achieved balance. It’s all good.
At the turn of the century I traveled over to Cambodia, and I had an absolutely amazing experience exploring Angkor Wat during a time in which few Westerners paid those ancient ruins a visit. I could actually spend the entire day at Angkor Wat and not see one Western tourist. Wow! Try that, nowadays. Back over in Thailand, at that time, as I remember it, from 2001 after 9/11 until 2003 (SARS) absent were the crowds of tourists in places like Ayutthaya, the Floating Market and Safari World. What a beautiful time to visit any tourist attraction. I was like a kid in a candy store! During one of my visits to Safari World (I don’t remember exactly what year it was) I asked the Orangutan keeper for a private tour. And I got the tour of a lifetime. I held, fed, walked and petted over a dozen young Orangutans. Just wonderful! In fact, that year it was such a joy to visit all of the Bangkok attractions. I think it was sometime after 9/11 and during the SARS scare. Western men were just not traveling to Asia as much; consequently, a great time was to be had by any man who was there and visiting the attractions. Try visiting places like the The Grand Palace or the Golden Buddha nowadays, and there is just no comparison. There was real elbow room back then; now you’ll get elbowed to death. The same thing with taking an elephant tour: no crowds, no hassles and only a few minor scams to worry about.
Part of me misses my Friday nights at Rajadamnern Stadium; where I always had the best ringside-seat right next to the fighter’s corner. It was real Thai boxing absent the crowds of tourists. On the other hand, looking back at the barbarity of the blood sport, I don’t miss it one bit. I think I’ve become a better man, and I won’t go back there, ever. The mindless primitive in me — the one inside of the Id who used to enjoy watching fighters beat down each other —- no longer has any influence over my actions. The bargain hunter in me is still alive and well, however, and I do miss my Saturdays at Chatuchak. I briefly got lost my first few times visiting, and it was a fun and a very cheap adventure! Lost in Chatuchak! — a place where I could buy knock-offs of just about anything for peanuts. I must have collected over a hundred music CDs. “Take it easy, take it easy” — I still remember how I enjoyed listening to knock-offs of the Eagles as I was cruising down the streets of Siam.
Should I tell you how much I miss the food? How big were the buffets and how little the price? How mouth-watering it tasted? No. I think I won’t tell. You probably wouldn’t believe me. Yeah, occasionally I got sick from a bowl of tom yum or some dirty street food, but for the most part the food was authentically delicious. I ate for pennies in some truly amazing places long before Anthony Bourdain ever thought of setting foot in the LOS.
Should I tell you about what the cost of living was during The Golden Age Of The Farang? Wow! Wow! Wow! The cost of living was so phenomenal that I’m actually going to write an entire article on past, present and what I think the future holds for Thailand’s economy; however, I’ll try to offer the dear reader an illustration of just how great it used to be for the Western man in Thailand….
Do you believe in Batman? No, you don’t. And neither do I. Batman is just a comic book hero, and he’s not real. But I do believe in Baht Man, because I was Baht Man. I was an American super-hero who just before the turn of the last century could take one U.S. dollar and turn it into 58 baht. And that was really a super power. Why? Because, for example, 58 baht used to actually buy you a decent meal and a local beer. The baht had way more local purchasing power than it does currently. Even for a few years after the turn of the century (2000) I still had the power to turn one dollar into at least 42 baht. And what I could do with that 42 baht was simply nothing short of amazing. It was heroic. How so? Well, as an example, before Sunbelt Asia ever existed and during the bottom of the real estate cycle in Thailand I bought an exquisitely beautiful house in Chiang Rai for the unbelievable cost of two-hundred-thousand Baht. You do the math.
Moreover, the fictional multi-millionaire, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, didn’t have a better life or a better time in Gotham City than I had in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or at my Bat Cave in Chiang Rai or anywhere else that I traveled to and from in the LOS. And I wasn’t the only Baht Man around. Any Western man who visited the LOS was a super hero during the Golden Age Of The Farang, even if he didn’t know it. That’s how good it was……..
In part three I’ll focus on some of the positive developments post 2008, and why that even in today’s socioeconomic climate Thailand is still one of the better options for Western expats.
The author of this submission can be contacted at : firstname.lastname@example.org