For all of the wonderful things about Thailand, there are also many things that make us wonder, make us shake our heads, things that tend to leave us somewhat baffled and confused. Thailand is a wonderful country, but when we try to apply our Western way of thinking to certain situations, we can end up horribly confused, and wonder what the hell is going on. Something happened to me recently that gave me reason to consider one of the many differences between the average Westerner and the average Thai.
I was told a terrible lie by a Thai who I trusted. The lie was one of those really poorly told lies that you just knew, the moment it rolled off their lips, that it was a lie. I questioned it immediately to which the response given was equally weak and at which point I decided not to push the issue and to just let it rest. After all, I didn't know for sure that it was a lie, at least at this stage.
When words spoken concern something important, something significant, and yet they the speaker still insists it is true despite protests that it cannot be, the person telling the lie leaves themselves open to looking like a real fool. Some people really shouldn't lie because they are just so incredibly bad at it that they do little more than demean themselves and end up looking like an idiot. And in the case of Thais, looking like an idiot, like the proverbial buffalo, causes extreme loss of face, something that the average Thai is simply unable to deal with.
Well, later that day I confirmed that I had been told a porky and that really pissed me off. Somewhat bitter, I decided that it had to be brought up. I can live with being lied to in certain situations, but in this situation it was totally unacceptable and created a huge trust issue. Worst of all, it needn't have happened and could have been killed quickly, but the person in question decided not to deal with it like that.
So, I spoke with the person in question who eventually admitted that what they had said was a lie. It was at this point that everything turned, in a way that I perhaps should have anticipated, but didn't. The situation changed and suddenly the other person found themselves in a situation where they had been caught lying. They had just been presented with the knowledge that someone was fully aware that they had been told a white lie – and that they weren't happy about it. Loss of face hits the Thai…and the fun and games begin.
Making a Thai lose face – even when they were so badly at fault and such focus to their errors is warranted – will result in an unpredictable, and seldom positive, response. Even if they had done something as profound as drive while totally drunk, crash and write off your car, bringing this issue up with them will bring resentment. They are often unable to admit that yes, they were at fault.
But what is perhaps interesting here is that the person in question totally overlooked the fact that they had lied – and remember, it was not something innocuous here. That they had told a substantial lie no longer mattered. But that the issue had been brought up with them did. In the Thai person's view, it was the person who had raised the issue, namely me, who was in the wrong! Notwithstanding that it had been raised in a friendly way, the Thai person clearly saw me as the culprit, the wrong-doer, in this instance. How could I have the audacity to accuse them of doing something wrong?
So many Thai people are unable to deal with being told that they are wrong, that they did something wrong, or that something that they did was not up to scratch, or perhaps did not meet expectations. Their way of dealing with this is to turn the whole situation around, and point the finger at the person doing the accusing. It is this person who is at fault, not the initial "wrong-doer".
In this particular instance, what they failed to understand was that I would have forgotten about it with a quick "sorry, I shouldn't have done / said that" or "I regret what happened". Enough for me. Case closed. But what happened almost ruined a friendship and created a very awkward situation.
So, what do you do? When you have reason to raise an issue with a local, do you just let these issues go without raising them or do you bring them up with all guns blazing? When your Thai friend or teeruk does something to annoy you, piss you off or when they do something that may be considered incredibly stupid or downright wrong, one has to be careful how they raise the issue. So many Thais are simply unable to deal with the confrontation that such a discussion may involve, notwithstanding that it was they who initially fucked up! Talking with Thais about such things, it often feels as though they take any comments of a negative nature against them as an extreme threat. I'm still not quite sure how to deal with such situations…but one thing is for sure, you just can't let it go, can you?
So, when in Thailand, be careful on how you raise the issue when someone screws up. The reaction from the local may be that it is YOU who is in the wrong!
Where is this pic?
Last week's pic
It was of course The Londoner
This week's pic
First to get last weeks pic right won $25 worth of goodies from the good guys at ClubHombre.com. Remember there are TWO prizes offered for the where is this pic. First person to get the pic right, irrespective of location, wins the prize of $25 worth of goodies from ClubHombre. In addition to this, the first Bangkok based person to answer the pic correctly wins a tube of MyCreme sexsational cream. You MUST be in Bangkok to claim this particular prize which will be delivered to you. So, to all Bangkok based folks, make it clear in your email that you are Bangkok based so that you qualify for the cream that will send your teeruk to heaven!
Words of wisdom.
Traditional Thai dancing near the Emporium
on Wednesday, the night of Loy Kratong.
Nana Plaza was closed at 1.45 AM sharp by the Lumpini Police, including the #2 station commander, on Tuesday night. The CID boys were all around Patpong and Cowboy, and Lumpini took no chances. All the gogo dancers were covered up with full bikinis at 1 AM in all Nana Plaza Bars. Police were very eager to get all staff and punters out of the bars by 2.00 AM, and police torches were seen flashing everywhere. So there is some serious police activity, but that is a given at this time of year, with police & governmental changes / promotions going on.
Sex shows? Live sex shows? It couldn't be! Rumour has it that a Patpong bar was raided by the boys in brown for having a sex show, but unfortunately I don't know which bar it was. The showgirls were arrested and taken to the station and the bar was closed.
Nana Plaza gogo bars are getting much busier, which is a sign that the tourists and travellers are finally arriving. So finally it looks like high season is happening, for the popular bars that is. Some bars still report that they are struggling, there is definitely truth that there are not the numbers of visitors to the bars, like last year, anyone with eyes can see that. Numerous reasons really; world economic problems, terrorism, countries either at war or on the brink of war, and the Thai governments clamp down on the gogo bars has all added to affect the bar biz this year.
There's an exodus of girls from Thailand heading to London to work for escort agencies there. Seems they can earn 150 pounds an hour in the UK capital, almost ten thousand baht, compared with fifteen hundred baht short time in the Land of Smiles. New escort agencies are springing up every week. Four to look at are www.london-oriental.com, www.aaa-gal.com, www.asiandreamgirlslondon.com, and www.asian-escorts-london.com. If your teeruk has vanished from the Bangkok scene, take a look, you might find her there! Seems most are getting on on tourist visas, and then overstaying. Worst that can happen is that immigration finds out and deports them, but as escort agencies are at the top end of the market, the police generally leave them alone. In a six month stint, most of the girls earn up to three million baht, a small fortune back home.
Nana Disco aka Angels Disco was closed at 1 AM last Wednesday, apparently due to another police crackdown, and ID cards were inspected. The next day the closure time was back to 2 AM. Angels seems to get targeted more than other discos. Why is that? One has to wonder if they they would receive half the hassle if Angels Disco was owned by a local?
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With the rainy season behind us, the city is
At least one bar owner has been telling his girls not to allow customers to photograph them, warning them of the dangers of the internet and just what can happen if the girls are not careful. Its not a bad thing, is it?
The new Living Dolls Showcase bar owned by Ken in the old Blackout A Gogo space opened on November 1 and it has been totally rebuilt to include much more seating. The shows start from 10 PM and go one till about 12 with the regular girls dancing for a few mins in between shows. Ken has assembled a good group of girls and he has the advantage of taking from the other Living Dolls if on any night his showgirls have been barfined. Its well thought out and on Saturday it was standing room only.
Word on the street is that the best gogo in Pattaya is Peppermint. In fact some have even gone as far as to saying that it is one of the best gogos in Thailand. The new format has a small bar on the left as you enter. Here the serving girls are topless and wearing jeans – a sexy look – and seem to have been selected for the size of their breasts. The bar was packed on Saturday, the service is fast, the girls are great and the music good. The owners who also own Happy A Gogo regularly switch girls between bars especially if a large number have been bar fined early from one bar. So if you can’t find you teeruk in Happy, try Peppermint. It seems that Peppermint A Gogo's 35 baht happy hour is pulling in the crowds. Locals and tourists alike are aware of the delights on offer and the place is packed. In fact it has got so bad that later in the night, all of the nice girls have been taken and you'll find little more than the leftovers.
Walking Street is much busier than it had been over the previous few months. Despite the bombs threats, the Pattaya high season is finally kicking off. Tony’s is open again and both Marine and Marine Two clubs were open late and doing well. Pattaya seems to well and truly be the place to chase working girls…
It seems that the idea of regulated price for the girls services is creeping in to some Pattaya gogo bars. Only at the odd bar now, it seems more and more are trying to start the new policy which is similar to what happens at some of the King's Group bars. The mamasan will come around and ask customers if they want the girl and if they reply in the affirmative, the mamasan will quote 2000 long time 1000 short time. It will be interesting to see if this carry on becomes more widespread.
They really are going to have to do something about the skytrain and the skytrain stations. I don't care what anyone says about how us Bangkok based folks should just get used to crowded stations, because that is how it is elsewhere on this rock. Just because it sucks elsewhere doesn't make it right, you know! The central Siam station really is a mess. At peak times it becomes really overcrowded when two trains come in on opposite platforms at the same time. It is like a mad swarm of people running around like headless chickens fighting to get their train before it leaves. They need to either enlarge the platform, which I guess is near impossible, or increase the frequency of trains, particularly at peak hours.
The weather is really freaky at the moment! What are these continual heavy down pours that we get every second night? In November, I can't remember it being this wet this time of year for ages. So much for the cool season.
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Your Bangkok commentator,