Stickman's Weekly Column December 9th, 2001

Keeping Her On Tenterhooks


Along with being the self elected president of the Bangkok Cheap Charlie's Club, I'm also one of the most cynical folks when it comes to discussing whether bargirl / customer relationships can work long term. Having seen so many relationships fall over – and so many people burned not only financially, but also emotionally, I have put up all the barriers myself to ever letting a bargirl grab my heart. I also give very strong advice to anyone who asks that most bargirls should not be considered

But there are some relationships out there that do work. Relationships where people settle down, get married, have kids, she remains faithful to him and well, he possibly remains faithful to her too….but that is not quite so common. Thailand being as it is, there are all sorts of odd relationships about, such as those where the overseas fellow supports the girl, and returns to Thailand several times a year, virtually all of his time in country spent with her. He may have a wife at home that she is not aware of, or possibly he just can't make his mind up about his little Thai girl, and what he wants to do with her.

But what happens when that horrible day comes, when the grim reaper comes knocking, and little Miss Noi, Lek, Daeng or Boo finds that the transfer didn't come through as expected. A call to Farangland and the phone goes unanswered. Several phone calls and emails later, a response finally comes. Her keeper has suffered a heart attack and has passed away. He may not have passed away for real. He may have decided that he doesn't want to continue it, and this is the way that he will sever ties. Cut all communication. Kill the email address. Change the phone number.

She'll miss the money, as will her family. In fact it might even be more than that as the family suddenly goes from having an income stream, to being penniless almost overnight.

Supporting a girl is a nice thing to do, but remember that as time goes by, the girl might sacrifice a lot of opportunities to meet other people – and to find a husband. Just like females all over the world, Thai women want security, and Thai women are very aware that their earning potential (away from the bar industry) is not that wonderful. Marriage is a way to secure their future.

Anyway, the point here being that if you do have a lady that you are keeping on tenterhooks for a long period of time, be aware that she is most likely waiting for the day that you are going to marry her. And if you have no intention of marrying her, you really should tell her, because ultimately, marriage is what she wants. If she wastes her youth, and the best years of her life, the time when her appeal is at its strongest – and misses out on marrying someone who really can provide her long term – you are ultimately not doing anything for her. It's worth being honest with her.

Last week's where is this pic was taken while on board the sky train between Ploenchit and Nana stations. It is of the major expressway in that area. Well done to the people who got it right, quite a few people actually.

Where is this pic?

clue: near the skytrain!

A fountain somewhere on the skytrain route….
You've only got about 25 km or so of track to think about!

Ahhh, some very wise words indeed.

Any Farang guy who wants to whisk away with a bar girl must carefully asses the situation from a REALITY point of view. Bangkok and Pattaya and other places are a Fantasy Land. At times, true love and fulfilment can be had. Many times it can't. The intellectual abilities of many bar girls (not all) is limited, and the man is expected to help out the extended family. Demands for money are backed up by her work as a prostitute. That isn't something that we need or want hung over our heads. For many (not all, or even most perhaps), you can the the girl out of the bar but not the bar out of the girl.
And even more great advice!
The whole bar-girl experience is from my opinion a business and should at all costs be approached as a business transaction. There are so many stories of men falling for the women (girls??) of Thailand it makes me wonder as to the overall intelligence of the
male gender. I mean we have a reputation of thinking with our Dick's, but why are so many men hell bent on proving this!

Simply put (and as I think of it) this is a business transaction. I stress again "BUSINESS TRANSACTION" she is the supplier you are the customer there is nothing more to it than that. As soon as you think other wise that's where the Incessant whining comes in of "oh she broke my heart".

I hear of men asking "how do I know what a girl will do" the answer is simple stupid "ASK HER". In what other business do you hesitate to understand the scope of the services?

I realise what I am saying removes the so called "Girl Friend Experience" but if that is what you want go get one don't pay for one.

Simply put stop whining gentlemen the women are there for one purpose realise that and adapt to it. I spend my time in Thailand enjoying all aspects culture, lifestyle & women. Many times I have taken girls home and had the time of my lief, but the next morning it
is like a good night drinking fun but nothing to get overworked about.

An opinion from someone qualified…
I would firmly agree that – for most (and that's an important qualifier) – the attraction will wane in time albeit for many different reasons. For some, like most pleasures, continuous exposure takes away the thrill and it becomes increasingly pale with repetition. That's why your insight about leaving the scene for long periods of time
keeps the excitement fresher is very apt. For others, the pleasure dims with a growing awareness of the cost to the girls, their families and society for the illusion of selling your body as a way out of poverty for family and themselves and how often this fails to remedy any problem in the long run. We have all had some experience of the limitations of what wealth can bring but for the very poor, this is normally going to be a long learning curve filled with painful lessons.

Moving on down the spectrum of experience from long term exposure, finally there are those folks who have the compulsive, addictive streak, and like all addicts, instead of seeing the futility of trying to regain the high, keep trying to recapture the high with either increasingly bizarre, dangerous or illegal sex or simply not being able to stop the old patterns, even if the pleasure is not there anymore. Until one knows the power of an addiction, it is hard to relate to these folks but I see a sizeable number of them in my practice and it relates to any activity where we feel helpless to stop doing it – alcohol,
drugs, sex, work, shopping or buying – I have seen them all over the years. I myself have experienced it in mild form and the feeling of being even mildly out of control scared the daylights out of me. Sex is definitely a powerful drug and like any drug, in moderation is OK, but always with the siren song that more will be better. That can be walking a razor's edge in the mind.

Just two weeks and he'd had enough!
After two weeks of the nightlife scene I grew a bit tired of it but mostly because I indulged every night. I know its a horrible comparison but, if you eat too much chocolate you start to feel sick, and I think the same could be true of the nightlife scene. However, I have been back home a month now and even though I quickly got disillusioned with the Bangkok nightlife I do miss it. Its easy to say that you grow tired of the scene when you have it on your doorstep, but would you miss it if you moved away and didn't have access anymore?
It's Sydney for this punter.
The bar girls now look tired to me. Their looks seem to be getting uglier. I now sit there only on the odd occasion. It all seems so seedy. To see so many old men like myself surrounded by young girls is not natural. In Sydney I work beside a number of Asian girls of similar age but with good education and good jobs. Mate, they they do not even know I exist. And why would they? When I was young I visited Kings Cross in Sydney and it was exciting. However, it wore off. The seediness, the reality of what was going on the criminality of it all. Another thought, if you go to a brothel in Sydney or I suppose in other western countries you never see another person. Only the Madam. So when you think about it, here in Thailand, you are sitting in full public view with a number of prostitutes. The passing world can see you. It is weird. You would never do that in NZ or Sydney. They usually have a very discrete entrance so no one can see you entering. After all, visiting prostitutes in your home country is not something you generally tell the world about, Is it?
Is this par for the course at the Thai owned Rainbow bars?
I visited Bangkok last week. However I was disappointed to be treated shabbily. Being an Indian and non white makes things difficult for me. Moreover I was not allowed inside Rainbow bar. I was a bit taken aback.
A friend's broadband experience.
8000 baht to buy a cable modem and what does it come with? A copied Pantip Plaza special burned CD with no label so don't have a clue what it is. Only in Thailand!
A considerate thief?
I read in your column about this guy that lost and then found his wallet with a 100 B left in it. That was for sure Thai thief, because they always leave some money for food. It's some kind of a Buddhist thing. A friend of mine was running a guesthouse on Sri-Bhumpen. He had a break-in to his private room. Nearly 20000 B was missing, but they'd left 200.

Gorgeous weather everyday in Pattaya at present.

There are all sorts of rumours going around about the future of gogo bars, and for the first time ever, I notice little reluctance on the part of Bangkok bar owners and managers to admit that there is a very real issue regarding the future of their businesses.

The word on the street is that there will be no leeway on closing times at Christmas or New Year. The bars will be forced to close at the usual time whereas in previous years, many bars stayed open a lot later than usual as revellers partied all night long.

But the Christmas / New Year period is not the problem. How would you feel about gogo bars without nudity? Well, that might be a very real possibility if the recent meeting held at the Lumpini police station is anything to go by. Both Nana and Clinton Plazas fall under the auspices of the Lumpini police station and a meeting was held a couple of days ago for all of the owners of these bars. The law was laid down very firmly indeed. No girls are allowed to dance topless and not even one nipple is allowed to be displayed in the bar. No girl is allowed to dance in a G-string style bikini and this has forced some of the bar owners to go out and buy entire new sets of bikinis for their dancing girls. On top of this, the bars were warned about underage girls on the premises. The police stated that they do not want any girls under the age of 20 on the premises of any of the bars. Yes, that is twenty and not eighteen, as seems to have been the ruling in the past. The police stated that any breach would result in the bar being closed down for 15 days in the instance of the first breach, 30 days in the instance of a second breach and closed down FOR GOOD in the instance of a third breach. Whoa, the cops really do mean business.

Walking around Nana Plaza earlier in the week – before this meeting, most of the girls in the bars were dancing in their bikinis. Some girls were dancing without, but the welcome girls were on red alert to warn them when the cops were coming. And come the cops did, several times on Thursday night. It seemed to be a game of cat and mouse with the cops doing loops around, hanging around the stairwells and then suddenly appearing to poke their head in the doorways of the bars. Sort of reminded me of hide and go seek from school… But it does seem that the cops are very serious indeed. Whether this will be a phase, or whether it is a taste of what is to come, who knows?

The new Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy is due to open on Friday January 4. During the first week, the Dollhouse is planning on offering drinks at, get this, 10 baht each! Yes, you read that correctly – TEN BAHT! The place will be absolutely jam packed for a week, no question about it! They also have a few other plans in store. Rather than offer a two drinks for the price of one special as they do at the existing bars in Clinton Plaza and Pattaya, they are going to have a free daily buffet from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Now this is another excellent idea, for free buffets in Bangkok's gogo bars are a real rarity. The Dollhouse will have a kitchen on the premises and will fire out the buffet food from within, meaning that it will be fresh. I can't wait. It also seems that many of the other bars in Soi Cowboy can't wait for the Dollhouse to arrive, because they know that the Dollhouse will be a great pull for more customers to Cowboy – and that all of the bars should benefit.

Walking past Sexy A Gogo in Pattaya on Sunday night, I noticed that it was closed. Hmmm, why could that be? Were there underage girls on the premises? Had they been caught performing lewd shows? Or perhaps someone had been caught with illicit substances on the premises? Actually, the answer is none of the above and in fact something quite innocent. A Chinese fellow from Hong Kong entered the bar and barfined every single girl in there, offering to take them out around the town for a good time. The girls accepted and the management were forced to close the bar early, for a gogo bar without the girls just isn't quite the same.

Are the boiler rooms back open for business? Four highly suspicious ads appeared in the Bangkok Post on Friday, almost identical in content to the ads that appeared on a daily basis back when these firms were doing a roaring trade. The ads had the usual info that people with sales experience should apply, that there is a salary paid weekly and that huge commissions are available.

There is a new five star hotel open down on the river. Located directly opposite the Oriental, it is called "The Nsula". What a strange name for a hotel… I wonder if it is any relation to the "The Peninsula" in Hong Kong?

Down Pattaya way, the police visited Soi Yodsak on soi 6 and laid down the law to the bar owners, stating that lewd conduct on the premises (read: sex) was absolutely prohibited and any bar allowing such activity would be closed down. On Saturday night there were several cops milling around the soi, seemingly keeping an eye on what was going on. The girls seemed a little perplexed about it all, not wondering what they should do.

And Pattaya was really busy this weekend, or at least many of the hotels were full. But the funny thing was that the bars didn't seem any busier than usual and perhaps felt a little bit quieter than they did a couple of weeks ago. It seems that the mix of tourists was a little different to usual, with a lot of the hotel bookings taken by Thais who seemed to have come down for the weekend.

All sorts of rumours are doing the rounds about bar closures.
Probably all BS but would it be said if worst came to worst?!

Non native English speakers may find it much harder to work legally as English teachers. There are proposals in place to ensure that English teachers are only native speakers and from what was reported in the Post the other day, they may tighten up the application process further.

The novel, "Apsara Jet" which was mentioned in this column a few months ago is now available at Asia Books.

Wayne Squillari has lost contact with Santee Williams and Simon Cocrcan and would like to get back in contact. If you know either of these characters, let them know that Wayne can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

Rock Hard A GoGo continue to offer their superb FREE buffet on the first Thursday of the month. A reminder that this is not the pig on a spit that some bars fire out, but rather a selection of cold meats and cheese, more to the farang's taste. Bill Bill's Feeding Frenzy as the buffet is known has become an institution at Rock Hard and the bar is often packed in anticipation of the food being served, some customers purportedly shirking even buying a drink! However, due to abuse by some customers – mooted to be English teachers – they have had to change the way that they serve the food. Previously it was a free for all, with some folks jostling to get all of the good stuff, a good percentage of the food gone within 20 minutes, some folks loading up their plates in a not so miniature Mount Everest like manner. Apparently some folks were scoffing down three full plates of food in record time, meaning that a big portion of the food was being enjoyed by a small number of customers. To counter this, the clever manager decided that while the free food would remain as a buffet, customers would not be able to help themselves, but would be served by one of the staff, thus preventing Mt. Everest like helpings being served. Good on Hard Rock for A) being the only Bangkok gogo bar (that I know of) to regularly offer a damned good free buffet and B) not scrapping it when it seemed that it was being taken advantage of. It should be noted that this past Thursday, there was plenty of food available well beyond midnight. Buffet night or not, Rock Hard remains a great bar.

Riding along on the skytrain on the Silom line, the power always cuts out briefly as the skytrain passes a certain point between Surasak and Saphan Taksin stations. Why is this?

And on the subject of the skytrain, what is the deal with the GSM phone system ads inside the skytrain? There is this one particular ad that has two Thai girls pointing at odd angles, trying to look seductive. Problem is that one of them looks remarkably masculine and at first glance looks like a katoey. What do you think? Boy or girl?

Karaoke bars up in Chiang Rai have been visited by the police who have been looking for copied CDs… Any karaoke bar using copied karaoke CDs in their machine is liable for a fine of 5,000 baht per copied CD that they use and if more than 5 such CDs are found, the bar may well be closed. Now this is all very good and well, but where on earth can they buy original CDs?! Copied CDs are the norm, originals almost impossible to come by in that part of the country!

Neon at Siam Square… The area looks resplendent
in neon colour and is flooded with unwanted beggars.

The city has really come ablaze, with fabulous lighting all over the show, particularly out by Rachadarmnoen Road. You have just got to go out and have a look before they take it all down and pack it away for another year. Having travelled to many of the world's great cities, I can confirm that I have never seen lighting this spectacular before.

Making an effort at adding to the neon show is the Crown Group who have erected a Happy Christmas message up across the front of Nana. Its a nice touch, but I think that the Crown Group have missed the point, because 90%+ of the partygoers in Nana would not know what or who the Crown Group is. The "Crown Group" is really only known to locals and those who discuss Thailand nightlife at length – and very few of the bars within the group have this name displayed within, or even outside the bars. Perhaps it would have been a better idea, from a marketing viewpoint at least, to have said Happy Xmas from G Spot Bar – the jewel in the Crown Group.

ANOTHER school is offering English teacher training courses in Thailand and one has to wonder when will the number of such schools ever end? The word saturation rapidly comes to mind. Will the English language teaching industry in Thailand soon become saturated like Japan and Korea? Anyway, Stamford College has opened up a teachers training division and they are offering courses at the following prices: with accommodation provided $1500 / 850 sterling or without accommodation $1300 / 750 sterling. Now, when you do the exchange rate conversions, the baht prices work out at 66,000 / 52,275 for accommodation or 57,200 / 46,125. Just as well they are not training teachers to teach maths, eh?! Maybe they realise that the average American is wealthier than the average Brit and price the courses accordingly?!

I get a huge amount of email, most of them very interesting. Here are some amusing quotes from emails received recently:

* If us farangs get yellow fever, do the Asians get white fever?
* Our standards drop faster than a hookers knickers when we get older.
* I don’t like guys who look at prostitutes as Coca-Cola machines to insert 500 Baht and push and throw them around as they please.
* I started taking a Thai course <name edited – Stick> last week. The teacher is very good and she speaks English quite well.
* I wanted to put every one of these little brown gems into my suitcase and take them home.

Around at a friend's apartment this week, I checked out his new cable modem internet connection which he has through the Click TA provider. It goes even better than expected so high speed internet at an affordable price most definitely does exist in Bangkok.

A tourist policeman in Pattaya in their smart new uniform.

The tourist police in Pattaya have taken to bicycles and are also found in a far more casual uniform of black shorts and a white polo shirt. Even though the tourist police are there to help, there is something intimidating about that tight brown uniform that barely differentiates them from the standard police, and this new, more casual outfit has to be a step in the right direction. The seem to have quite a presence in Pattaya which has to be reassuring for the non sex tourist crowd who are holidaying in a resort known for prostitution.

Finally, there was a lot of feedback regarding the opening piece in last week's column. Most of it was very positive, but a bit was negative too. The negative feedback regarded the subject material with one reader accusing me of "letting down your fans". It should be noted that while some people perceive it as such, this website is NOT a sex website. It is a website about Bangkok. Commercial sex is a big part of life in Bangkok and hence it is a big part of this website too. But sex alone it is not. English teaching, city lifestyles and travel will always play a big part in the column, as will Pattaya, due to its proximity to Bangkok.

As Christmas isn't too far away, it is time to start thinking about Christmas dinner, something that most of the better establishments around town will celebrate in one way or another. The obvious choices for a fancy Christmas dinner are the better hotels, but for many Bangkok based expats, hanging out at hotel restaurants with lots of tourists is not always a ball of fun. Combine this with the fact that more than a few hotels are pricing their Xmas dinner at over the 1000 baht mark and one starts to dismiss the hotel option fairly quickly. So why not consider one of the expat's favourite foreign food restaurants, Bourbon Street. They will have a traditional Christmas buffet at 595 baht ++ per person. If this doesn't grab you, their Cajun food buffet on New Years Eve at 610 baht ++ per person sounds even better. And if you don't mind looking like porky pig, you could always go to both!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Thanks to Terminator, the management of Rock Hard and
Dollhouse for information included in this week's column.