Stickman's Weekly Column July 8th, 2001

A Sexual Revolution In Thailand?



It's hard to work out the attitude of Thai people towards sex, or at least the attitude of Thai women towards it. I say this because this column is read almost exclusively by males. The well known and well worn women of Sukumvit are at one end of the scale, available to anyone with a few baht in their pocket. At the other end of the scale, we've all lusted after the luscious white skinned beauties who snub their nose at us farang barbarians, rightly knowing that all that most of us want is a quick shag. They know that most of us are unwilling to spend lots of time and more importantly lots of money wooing them, all the while having to wait for marriage before getting our wicked way.

But what about the girls who are not prostitutes, but neither do they adopt the traditional attitude that they will wait for marriage before exploring and expressing their sexuality. There is a section of Thai society sitting around the middle of the scale, who are neither prostitutes, but neither do they wish to wait until marriage. And it seems that there may even be a rapidly growing number of Thai women who are interested in sex and not specifically in it for the money, but rather for the simple pleasure of it. Certain things make me think that this group is rapidly growing in size.

Being privileged to work with Thai students, I can confirm that a lot of their gossip concerns sex – and often their sexual experiences. These students are not as shy as one may think about talking about sex and I am constantly surprised at how racy some of their homework submissions are. Given the opportunity to submit a set of ten rules for any thing they wish, some female students chose to submit a list of rules for their boyfriend including such rules as "sex everyday", "he must know a variety of techniques" and the one that amazed me most of all, "he must have a big xxxx"! Perhaps they would not submit this to a Thai teacher, but nonetheless it was a bit of a shock.

Grabbing a lift home with a Thai friend a few weeks back, I was astounded when he told me what he thought a lot of my students would be getting up to at the weekend. "They'll be off at RCA, AISE, DV8 or the British Club and many of them are very open minded" were pretty much his exact words. I was horrified when he said that I could even have a bit of fun with one of my students if I so desired.

Wander around Siam Square and other chic areas of Bangkok and you will notice a lot of provocatively dressed Thais. Many more Thai females are wearing revealing clothes, often showing tattoos in what could be considered more personal parts of their body. Self expression is becoming more and more common and their is an air of rebellion about many of these folks.

During the Thai summer holidays, anyone with an ICQ account listing that they were resident in Thailand and who was online at the same time as internet users in Thailand will no doubt have had screeds of chat requests from people in Thailand. A check of my ICQ account shows that had more than 50 Thais approached me, wanting to chat, during that time. Most of them were girls and before too long, many of the conversations got racy. A Thailand based friend went on to meet many such girls, ALL of the meetings initiated by the girl and no, the didn't just go out for an ice cream.

But why do they use ICQ? Why don't they just wander down to Sukumvit or Khao Sarn and prey on one of the many farangs in the area. They would have a much better chance of finding a young handsome guy quickly than they would on the 'net. These girls want to experiment and some of them are even beyond experimenting, they want to get between the sheets and have fun. But what they fear most is that someone they know will see what they are up to, and they will suddenly have the unwanted reputation of being someone who sleeps around. Quite simply, there is an ever growing number of Thai girls who want to experiment and have a bit of fun, so long as it is behind their friends', family's and colleagues' backs. These girls require discretion and for the person who can guarantee them that discretion, opportunities are limitless.

Are we on the verge of a sexual revolution in Thailand? Many signs indicate that this could very likely happen, and indeed is starting to happen now. For right or wrong, as globalisation reaches every last corner of the globe, many of Thailand's traditional customs and values will not be retained forever. Cultures are no longer unique and indigenous as they used to be and the young especially are choosing different aspects of various lifestyles from around the world. Thailand's youngsters are growing up today with a completely different sent of stimuli to that which their parents grew up with. Western movies and TV that the Thais lap up must have an effect on this country and I predict that we are on the verge of seeing a great sexual revolution explode all over Thailand.

The nature of sex means that a sexual revolution must be given the green light by the women of Thailand. Men will of course be only too willing to do their bit for the cause. For the farang who can show themselves as being trustworthy, all sorts of opportunities are going to present themselves and I predict that within five years, Thailand, and shortly after that many other parts of South East Asia, will see a sexual revolution.

The last couple of days have been very quiet in Bangkok as Friday was Wan-punsar, or in English, the first day of Buddhist Lent, the time when the monks retreat into the temples for the duration of the rainy season. As it is a long weekend, many people have headed home to the provinces and it is times like this when Bangkok is a lot quieter, traffic moves, and you can actually walk around shopping centres without the usual crowds as many folks return home to see their families upcountry. This is the time when Bangkok is great, so why join the crowds in all of the nearby holiday spots like Khao Yai, Kanchanaburi and virtually all of the beaches and islands? I maintain that long weekends are the time to enjoy Bangkok, when you have less crowds and far less traffic to battle.

A street vendor throws some vegetables into a wok of hot oil.
He didn't go home to see family in the provinces like many others did.

The following email was received and one or two people have posted similar messages to Thailand nightlife discussion boards asking why Stick is late with the weekly. Well actually, Stick wasn't late but it was more likely a problem with the cache in their browser whereby a copy of last week's page was sitting in the cache on their hard drive. Simply go to the weekly index and click reload / refresh and with a bit of luck, all will be well.

The weekly updates seem to be somewhat random at their times of being uploaded currently Sunday 22.00 hours UK time and it not there yet.
Thinking of getting a high speed internet connection in Thailand? Think again if this reader's comments are typical! If anyone has any advice for this poor fellow, please feel free to respond and I'll print the responses next week.
I bought a Q-Net ADSL line at home about 4 months ago. 200 hours with 128 download and 56 upload speed. Got good stable speeds, but what a lot of bullshit you got to go through…!

First it was 3,000 baht for an internal modem, 2,000 for set-up, get a special phone line by yourself & 3,000 per month. They sent some representative to my apartment to talk me into buying the package. I thought the offer sounded expensive but still reasonable if I could have stable speed and no disconnections. So I paid the deposit and signed up. Then the next day, they called me from their office and said that it should be 11,000 for the modem and not 3,000 as they had signed the contract for. The reason was that the 200 hours was meant for office use and then I had to buy the more expensive external modem that can be shared between computers in an office. They apologized that their representative was not aware about this. As this was for my home pc, I tried to explain that I was fine with what I already signed up for and didn't want any expensive sharing modem. Due to company policy they said that they could not give me the 3,000 bath modem. I spent about half a week talking on phone to different managers and being pushed around in their office. Some of the girls there have really sexy voices, but you get pretty bored of talking to them after a few hours daily on the phone. In the end I told them that I had enough and it was now time for me to go to the newspapers to tell them about my frustration. Suddenly the 3,000 baht modem was absolutely no problems and it was all smooth as silk. I have been using their service for months and been very happy about it.

Then today.. paying my 3,000 monthly baht as usual, they refused my payment. Telling me that there has been some slight changes in the pricing structure and that they now charge more. Fine.. so how much? 200 hours now costs 9,000 baht!! That's a pretty nasty price increase! 3 times more expensive. After investing in their modem and getting a special phone line I was hoping that this could be an ongoing and stable service. I cant afford to pay 9,000 baht per month, so now what? Do I have to go back to regular dial-up again and throw the modem and phone line I bought in the garbage? Is this legal? Can they do this? Because there is an initial investment, shouldn’t they have given some sort of notice of this when I signed up? When I asked them about this, they quoted me a line in the contract that says: "prices subjected to change without notice". Are there limits for how many percent you can change without notice?

I was thinking about buying a new chain saw and go to their office to tell them how I feel about this, but that might not be a good idea. Is there anything else I can do?

Frustrated Q-Net victim

Talking about high speed internet access, Asianet is advertising their cable modem service a lot on Smooth FM. The advertisement which is all in English and therefore probably targeting farangs (the majority of ads on Smooth FM are in the local lingo) states that users will experience speeds of up to 10 megabits per second. But, just how much do they charge for this service?

The following is in response to my mention of the ads in the Bangkok Post from Sawasdee Thai Restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand. It seems that my mind was wandering a bit much.

The story is that Sawasdee is opening a new restaurant in Mission Bay, and has most of it's staff but need a quality manager, nearly had one but now need to find another. I act not for these people, I just know the story. I'll let you know when its open and it's name etc later.
One of Bangkok's few "real" cinemas and my personal favourite, Scala in Siam Square, has been playing funny buggers with ticket prices. In the space of a week, prices went from 80 baht up to 100 baht and then back down to 80 baht again. About 18 months ago, Scala sold tickets for the latest flicks at 80 baht and as many cinemas did around that time, put the price up to 100 baht. Siam Square used to be the most popular place to see movies in the capital but with the huge number of cinema multiplexes opening, it has slowly lost customers to the suburban cinemas. But the three cinemas at Siam Square, Scala, Lido and Siam still retained a following amongst the thousands of trend-setters that flock to Siam Square every weekend. Around 15 months ago, two flash new cinema centres opened in the immediate vicinity, SF on the 7th floor of Mahboonkrong and Grand EGV in Siam Discovery centre. The trend-setters liked the flashing neon lights and razzmatazz of the new cinema centres and off they went, leaving the Siam Square cinemas with precious few customers. To compete for the movie goers baht, the cinemas in Siam Square dropped their prices back down to 80 baht and this brought some of their customers back. This week, things have been all over the show. Going to see "Pearl Harbour" last week, it cost 100 baht, but "Sword Fish" this week was only 80 baht. What are they up to? Surely they can't measure elasticity of price that fast?

The three cinema multiplex at Siam Square is battling
for trade against the newer, flasher cinemas around town.

The eating habits of Thais never cease to amaze me. A Thai can go from not at all hungry to ravenous in a space of five minutes and a hungry Thai can very quickly become an ugly Thai. Thais are slaves to their body and seem to have this feeling that if they are hungry, they absolutely must eat, even if it means going out of one's way to find food, potentially inconveniencing others that are with them. Out and about with your little tee-ruk. if she says she is hungry, often the best strategy is to feed her. Failure to do so will see her constantly sulking until she is fed.

The average gogo or beer bar girl gets two days off a month, just two. She can take more days off if she wishes, but she will be fined – usually 500 baht a day, or 1000 baht if its Friday or Saturday, the busiest days. Now biology was not my strongest subject at school, but if I recall correctly, a girl's period lasts more than two days. So what do these girls do when it is that time of month? They often work through! But how is that they are able to work through the duration of their period without alerting a customer that they are on the rag?

The phone number change has taken place with all phone numbers in Thailand officially now nine digits. For now, about the only change one will notice is that if you are dialling from a mobile to another mobile, you must add "01" to the number. All other numbers will require the prefix soon but both new and old numbers still work fine for the time being.

Mid week in Soi Cowboy and all of the bar owners were fuming at the thought that while they had been told that they could not open on either Thursday or Friday, they had heard on the grapevine that the bars in Nana Plaza would be open on those two nights. From what I was able to deduce, a lot of the Cowboy bars, especially the smaller places, do a good percentage of their business on Friday, and a week without a Friday is not a good week! Over the two holidays, the other main farang bar areas were open. Different bar areas fall into different police districts and it is this, more than anything else, that dictates whether the bar area will open or not. Patpong is in the Bangrak police district and is open 365 days a year. Nana Plaza, Clinton Plaza and Thermae fall under the Lumpini Police's auspices and are sometimes open, sometimes not. Cowboy falls under Thonglor Police district and is often closed – or at least most of the bars are, Long Gun Bar being a notable exception. But what was perhaps most unusual on Thursday and Friday is that while Clinton Plaza was open, the Thermae, which is right next door, and within the same police district, was closed. Does someone have a grievance with Thermae management? Why was it closed?

The early closing of the Thermae is upsetting many a punter and I'm being bombarded with emails asking what is happening. When will things return to normal, many people are even asking if? The demand for Thermae to remain open late will always be there and I'm sure in time we will see our favourite night spot kicking out the stragglers as the sun's coming up. Related or not, I don't know, but many farangs are pointing to Khun Taksin as the perpetrator curtailing their late night partying.

Punters and girls arriving at the Thermae on Thursday and Friday
were greeted with this sign. A few folks milled around outside looking lost.

For those English teachers out there who are working without a work permit (and don't have one pending in the application process), note that you should NOT be paying any tax. If your school is taking tax out of your income, it is NOT going to the tax department, but into the school's back pocket! Not a lot you can do about it through official channels because you are illegal anyway, but it would be worth having a quiet word with them about it nonetheless.

Where in Bangkok can you get the best bread? Decent Western style bread, and not the sweet Asian style bread that is so prevalent in this part of the world? For me, the best bread is available from the small bakery next to the supermarket in Isetan department store on level 5 of the World Trade Centre. Where do you buy your bread? Send me an email and I'll compile a list in next week's column.

Ever notice how some Thais have one particularly long finger nail, more often than not on the little finger of the left hand. I had always believed that this was to show other Thais that they are NOT a farmer i.e. such a long finger nail would not last 5 minutes in the rice paddies before being knocked off and broken. (A farmer being a job that doesn't exactly light up the eyes of other Thais!) But a Thai friend swears to me that this finger nail is grown long so as to help the Thai pick their nose! Which could it be?

Around some areas of the city, 2 x 1 metre yellow canvas propaganda signs have been erected, trying to convince the public that Khun Taksin should continue in office, irrespective of whether he is found guilty by the Corruption Commission or not. Walking along the road with a Thai friend who has a somewhat modest education, I was delighted with her response which would be best translated as "Are Thai people stupid. Everyone knows he's dishonest".

Sitting in a bar, you spot a girl who is gorgeous and your eyes meet, each of you instantly breaking into a beaming smile. After dancing the little lady comes over and you hit it off, both enjoying each other's company. The usual questions follow and you find out her name which is one of the usual and her ages which she replies is 18. You pay bar, leave the bar and head back to the hotel where she has to submit her ID to the front desk. Upstairs you go to have your fun. A little later there's a knock at the door and when you see a couple of boys in brown, you realise that there's some sort of problem. Checking the girl's ID card, the cops grab you and say that you are under arrest for having sex with an underage girl, a girl of 17. But she's 18 you claim. What is the problem? When asked their age, many Thais actually give the age that they will turn at their next birthday. So while she may be 17 in our Western way of relaying one's age, she is 18 in her mind. Be careful! "But she can't work in a bar if she is under 18" is not a valid defence!

Durex has released their "comfort" brand of condom on to the Thai market. The packaging describes it as being bigger (54 mm diameter) and stronger, obviously aiming for the farang sector of the market. At 80 baht for a pack of three, it is substantially more expensive than the Durex's N2 which at Boots chemists stores are still only 50 baht for a pack of 3.

Dean Barrett's eagerly awaited "Thailand: Land Of Beautiful Women" book was supposed to be released and available in bookshops from Friday 6th July but with the Buddhist holiday, the Thai release date has been delayed until mid July. I hope to pick up a copy in the next few days and a full review will follow in next week's column. From what I have seen, it looks absolutely superb and I would consider it a must purchase for all who admire the beauty of Thai women. Keep a look out in your favourite Bangkok book store for the book, the cover of which you can see here.

The Pizza Company is offering the same buffet special that Pizza Hut used to (still?) offer. From 4:00 – 8:00 PM on Tuesdays only, eat as much pizza as you can for just 75 baht – a great deal. But the question must be asked, when all other promotional material and menus are available in both Thai and English, why is it that the special offer for the buffet is in Thai only – not a word of English about it anywhere!

Noticed shops and shopping malls in the capital have been busy over the last week or so? It happens every month you know… The first week of the month and the time that Thais do their level best to spend a month's earnings in less than a weekend. The busiest period for retailers is always the first week of the month and on some goods and services, backlogs can form. Buyers of new mobile phones get impatient as the phone providers rush to get all of the new phones hooked up to the network.

As someone who enjoys his privacy and requires a bit of quiet time every day, it is not unusual for me to screen calls using the answer phone or even unplug the phone from the wall. It should come as no surprise then that I am not fan of mobile phones. But time has caught up with me and I have just been missing too many important things so finally relented and bought one. I initially opted for an AIS phone and went through all the rigmarole of registering and everything, only to be told 24 hours later that they wouldn't accept me without a Thai guarantor. I was explicitly told that they do not trust foreigners! Told them where to stick their mobile and went off and bought one through a different provider at a different store.

The word on the street was that Shadow Bar in Cowboy was due to re-open on Saturday i.e. yesterday, but down there last night, I can confirm that it looked close to completion, but is not quite ready yet.

Workmen completing the final touches to the refurbished Shadow Bar.

Also in Soi Cowboy, Manager Mike has canned the shows in the Midnite Bar. The feedback from customers was that the shows were unnecessary and that they preferred the bar without the said shows. Good to find a manager who both listens to and acts on what his customers want. Midnite Bar is most definitely worth a look. Friendly manager and staff, pretty girls and great music and atmosphere.

Apologies to "Miss Nog" who's picture appeared in last week's edition. I have since been informed that the picture was not genuine and I even mentioned briefly that I had a suspicion that the picture was bogus…when I went back and had a look at the name in the email, "Boomsing", I realised that I'd been conned!

Well, it seems that I have created a bit of a monster with this column and it is being copied left, right and centre, and even being placed on some pay sites by someone claiming to be "Stickman"…but it isn't me! However, the best one was when I was in Rock Hard A Go Go Bangkok this week for Big Bills Deli, the free feed held every month in that bar. Wandering into the men's room, I noticed that they had kindly erected some light reading material above the urinal. Reading the first few words, I realised that it was excerpts from one of my weekly column! So, when you are having a piss in a gogo bar, you can read my nonsense ramblings there too! With a bit of luck, the full column will appear in there every week.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

upcountry – the term given to anywhere outside of Bangkok.



Contributions for Stickman Weekly are welcomed from readers!