After spending the glory days in Pattaya from the late 1990’s to 2009, I headed up north to Chiang Rai and was there for 6 years and I am now back in Pattaya as I prefer the beach to the mountains. I still have my place in Chiang Rai and go back up there for a week for every 6 weeks here. There is more chance of having a bit of fun in Chonburi but a decent experience is so hard to find now, but I am in my early 60’s and it is not so important anymore.
Thailand used to be a great bonking nation up until about 10 years ago and that is when the country started to change but also when people started to change. There was a good spirit about being in a place like Pattaya. A lot of girls and boys were turning their hand to making a living at selling themselves back then but there were also girls who were excited about doing the business because it was fun and pleasurable. Whether it was girls who worked in internet shops, itinerant DVD sales girls, girls working in the laundry or convenience stores in condo buildings etc., they were up for it, and for not a lot of money may I add.
I couldn’t help think then that I must have been in one of the best places on the planet and felt lucky for it. For example, I remember walking just down around the corner from Yen Sabai when a hairdresser who was just about to close shop, grabbed me, pulled me inside, pulled down the shutter and wanted me to perform. There is no way that this would happen nowadays. Nearly half the nation, mothers and all, had viewed a copy of a Nong Nat movie, and they found it fun to watch. Sex was okay, whether it was for money or pleasure.
And then there were girls like Joy. I met Joy when she was in her late teens in the Yen Sabai neighbourhood, one of the many girls in those days you could just bump into and have a free-flowing conversation. I was taken by her looks, and for me anyway, she had the perfect body. She was very easy to talk to and it soon became evident that she was a freelancer and went with farang. How could I not pursue this one I thought at the time, and there and then began my long association with my dear Joy.
There were many girls of her ilk who lived by their wits: freelancers who did not want the constraints of working in a bar or gogo bar. They enjoyed their freedom too much and in those days there were plenty of punters around to make a very decent living. From the outset I noticed a goodness about the girl. She was honest, trustworthy, reliable, never greedy and after spending time with her out and about, I could not help notice how popular she was with other girls. They adored her and were always pleased to see her.
It wasn’t long before she would ask me if I would like her to bring over one of her friends and I of course was very happy for it to happen. Over the years Joy brought over so many of her friends and most of them were not bargirls or freelancers which made it even more exciting. She never bothered me or telephoned me too often and there was always the right amount of time between phone calls, and she never complained about the amount of money I gave her. She was a gift. One day I asked Joy why she did all these things for me and she answered “I want to make you happy” and I didn’t doubt her sincerity for one moment.
When I was in Chiang Rai for extended periods she would call me from time to time to check where I was and ask for a bit of money. “I have to eat”, she would say – which is as good a reason as any to ask for some dosh. I would always unhesitatingly send her some, maybe a thousand baht. For me It was worth every penny and I never for once felt that I was being taken advantage of, or felt like a schmuck.
There was a whole year once when I didn’t see her at all and that was because she ended up in the slammer for dealing yaba, although I do believe her when she said she really wasn’t dealing as such, but was caught up with her worthless boyfriend who was a full-blown dealer. So after a year of sowing and making sacks in prison she came back to Pattaya. It was great to see her again as I had realised there was something lacking in my life when she wasn’t around. Four years ago Joy died at the age of 28. I had been in Chiang Rai, came down to Pattaya for a sojourn, called her phone number and the call went through to one of her friends who told me the news. I was devastated and crestfallen and realised that from that moment on my life in Pattaya would never be the same again. It wasn’t. I have such fond memories of Joy and I can easily shed a tear thinking about her. She was one of the best Thais I have ever known and one of the best girls. The trouble is, they are not making them like her anymore.
So turn to now and how things are. Most Thai girls are working and making more money than they used to (but not that much more). Unemployment has hardly ever been a big problem in Thailand and while the average person might be making a couple of thousand baht more a month now, the cost of living has risen a lot over the last 8 years. And it is a hard slog still with a regular job – 6 days week and at least 10 hours a day. We know that there is still an active pay for play industry but many Thais just aren’t prepared to turn their hand to it anymore. No sex, please, we’re Thais.
People do not just sit idle anymore with a wandering mind thinking they might get into some mischief. They have their smartphones and so much of their time and energy are spent looking at them, playing Facebook or Line. There have been studies in recent years about the de-sexualization of young people around the world because of this phenomena and it is happening here as much as anywhere. Alright, we know that a lot of liaisons are arranged online and I know chaps who frequently use Tinder or Thai Friendly, but I don’t want to arrange to meet someone if I haven’t seen them in the flesh first. Too hit and miss. And it is hard to try and catch someone’s eye anymore because they are walking or sitting looking at a device. There has been a huge shift in people’s behaviour and interaction, all for worse I am sorry to say.
So the people who experienced a better world and a better South-East Asia before should consider themselves very lucky because it will never swing back. The real good days are way long gone.
You touch on something here which I had completely forgotten about – those random moments that went from bumping in to a stranger in the most unlikely place to ending up in bed together in record time. That really was a thing back in the day….but as you say, it’s not something you hear about these days. Ah, the memories!
The author of this article cannot be contacted.