They are taking the world by storm and are the hottest consumer item around. Odds are that if you don't have one now, you, as a computer user, may well have one fairly soon. To get the best out of them, it does help to have some computer skills. They have not only become an alternative to an existing technology but will, in the not too distant future, slowly take over and perhaps even make the existing technology obsolete. They are of course digital cameras.
All over the city you will see tourists firing off shot after shot, trying to get the perfect image of Bangkok. But there are plenty of other folks taking shots, shots that are not taken in at the city's major tourist attractions. These people are not taking shots out and about around the city, but rather behind closed doors.
Yep, people are using digital cameras all over Bangkok, capturing images of the lovely ladies of Thailand. Some of them are the typical postcard style shot, with teeruk posing in front of Wat Po, The Grand Palace or maybe the huge sign at MBK. But probably just as many are capturing Noi, Lek and Daeng as they removes the gear in one of the city's hotels. As you read this, no doubt someone is capturing little Noi in the Nana Hotel, taking pictures of her that she never dreamed possible.
Last week I visited an Australian friend's apartment and he proudly whipped out his little Canon and invited me to have a nosey at all of the shots he has taken recently. Amongst a few nice shots of the beach at Ko Samui, I perused over image after image after image of naked bargirls, posing in his little Sukumvit cave. Shower shots, bed shots, you name it and my friend had taken it!
Another friend sent me an email recently with the subject titled "Miss Saturday Night". Opening it up, I was presented with a pic of what can only be described as an incredibly attractive young lass, her nom yai filling the frame. My friend must be congratulated for making a fine choice on Saturday night, so fine in fact, that he took shots of her to help remember her by.
A week or so back, whilst visiting my regular Friday night haunt, a gentleman pulled out some prints of his latest flame. These shots were taken using a very high quality digital camera but were clean and the maiden was, at least in the shots that I saw, clothed.
A friend of mine who is currently in Bangkok weighing up the idea of relocating here, did a bit of misbehaving before his wife (!) came over to join him. He too is a digital camera lover and he took a few shots of the girls of the night. It was what one girl said to him that got me thinking. When he pulled out his camera and asked if he could take a few shots of her, she replied, "Oh, not another guy with a camera" which goes to show just how many guys out there are taking shots.
About 75% of my friends have digital cameras and most have, at one time or another, taken shots of a girl in her birthday suit. I'd bet that most digicam owners who have misbehaved in Thailand have done the same.
The big thing about digital cameras is that the images are incredibly portable and can be passed on to friends, printed, or published online very easily. And this is where things start to get interesting.
Thai girls love to have their picture taken, but many of the girls who allow nude shots to be taken of them – of which I'd bet the bulk are bargirls, do not realize the portability of digital pictures. Thai girls love to have their pictures taken, but let's face it, unless they are in the modelling business – and being paid for it, no-one wants to see hear about nude images of them being passed around or God forbid, their mug shut online. But these Thai girls are still saying yes to having their photos takes, still saying yes to shutterbugs capturing them with nothing on.
As Thai girls working in the naughty nightlife industry slowly become aware of the prevalence of digital cameras, the internet and the incredible ease with which images can be put online, it'll be interesting to see if they continue to allow themselves to be photographed.
I wonder if one day the shit will hit the fan with all of these images of nude Thai girls out there. Most people seem to keep the images to themselves, perhaps show a few friends, but leave it at that. But there are more than a few sites out there with galleries and galleries of such shots. Some of them are commercial sites, but a good number of them are free. Funnily enough, the commercial sites pose less danger, for the number of people viewing the pictures is unlikely to be that high. It is the free sites where anyone can access the pictures that pose a real danger. The better websites don't allow pictures to be posted online, but there are more than a few rogue sites that do.
And to show what sort of demand exists, I was emailed earlier this week by a fellow who wanted to advertise on this website his desire to buy original shots of Thai girls at $US 2 – 4 each. Obviously he has commercial intentions and photographs that the girls allowed to be taken could end up on a commercial website.
I don't think the opportunity will last forever to photograph these girls. Being aware of digital cameras and what is so easily possible with them will result in the girls asking customers something another else before they leave the bar. How much money you give me? What you want to do with me? You no take picture of me na ka? And who can blame them? I sure as hell wouldn't want my nude picture online…but then again, I don't think may people would want to see it.
Where is this pic?
Where precisely is this temple located?
OK, so last week's pic was taken a few years ago. It was taken at the Patumwan intersection looking east, at the then construction of the Siam BTS station. First to get it right was Khun Chris who wins $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!
I really don't think this approach would work…unless you weren't fussy.
And to make matters really worrying, there was an explosion and a fire at Country Road Bar just after most of the cops left Soi Cowboy. People in the area immediately thought it was a bomb but it turned out to be a minor electrical fire, but there was enough smoke to worry more than a few folks.
Hmm, so it is not just Cowboy. Nana was also visited by police, and not just the local Lumpini boys, but the CID Police – the boys who really mean business! Word on the street is that they were there to check for bombs – I kid you not – and to keep an eye on all of the usual issues such as checking that licences are up-to-date, check for showing, underage girls etc. Needless to say, Nana Plaza on Wednesday night was the last place in town to spot a bare nipple.
Classics Movie Lounge is the newest concept to arrive in Soi Nana. Located in Paradise Nightclub, opposite the Raja Hotel, Khun Rodney has opened a cinema which shows your choice of DVD & VCD movies. All movies are available for viewing from 11 AM until 11 PM, after which time the disco opens. This is a brand new concept for Bangkok film buffs with a professional 5.1 channel Dolby pro logic surround sound system, and a 10 foot panoramic curved silver screen. The digital LCD projector makes viewing pleasurable while you lounge in very comfortable sofa seats. The movie viewing is free and there is reasonably priced food and beverages. An absolute must for movie fans, as currently you can choose the film you wish to watch from a range of about 1,000 recent and classic movies. It allows you to fill in that part of that time between late afternoon and early evening when the bars get going. When the Mrs' suspects you are doing a sneaky short time, you are actually doing long time in the Classics Movie Lounge!
Big John is patrolling his bar like a Nazi chasing the builders around, wagging and pointing his index finger, shouting, cursing, and generally being very "un-Thai!" – but it is fun to watch! The neon sign has been erected and contrary to what I wrote last week the new car is called "Temptations", which is a lot better than some of the dreadful names a lot of bars are given in Thailand. Almost finished but I'm unsure when it will actually be open to punters and prowlers.
From Boss Hogg himself, "Rock Hard / Vixens has been purchased by me and I will try to be more creative with three floors but it is also only 1 plus a half shops wide." Big John advises that both this purchase and the new Temptations gogo bar he acquired recently have been done to try to upgrade the image of the plaza by remodelling old, tired bars into clean, new and hopefully entertaining venues with the idea that what is good for the plaza is good for him too.
Hollywood Carousel and Hollywood Strip, floor 3 Nana, have confirmed that drink prices will definitely NOT rise for the high season. A beer is 110 baht with "no cover charge" for all shows, which includes a kung fu showman (soon to be featuring in a Thai TV documentary – they actually filmed him in the bars and interviewed Manager Dave). Some people are NOT aware that their barfine for dancers and showgirls is only 500 baht – and NOT 600 baht. Hollywood Carousel claim to have the most extensive range of shows in Thailand and here is a summary of the programme: Kung fu show – death-defying spear, chopsticks, and sword in the throat tricks, Bruce Lee rice flails, broad sword, fire eating, and destruction skills. Some say Salee is the very best in the business and the TV documentary will support that. He performs exclusively at their bars; one performance nightly, though I personally still have not made my mind up on it. For first timers, yeah, the show is pretty good, but for expats, I think they get tired of it fairly fast. And I don't know if he does it but there is no way I'd let him do the cucumber chop show on me. If he gets it wrong, you're going to find out just how good Thailand's reattachment surgeons really are!
The skytrain may be getting busier, but
is is till easily the best way to get around.
If your teeruk from Pattaya has just turned up in the UK and hits on you for money, be warned! News reaches me from London where a Pattaya girl has managed to buy herself a UK visa and is working there as a hooker. Seems she took a list of names and phone numbers of all the British guys she met in Pattaya and is working her way through them! Going rate for a UK visa is apparently 6,000 pounds, but as the girls can earn up to 200 quid an hour in London, it's money well spent. Especially if they can persuade their holiday boyfriends to part with cash, too!
The new second floor of Shadow Bar in Soi Cowboy will open on November 14. That same day, there will be a birthday party for the owner, Sam, to be held simultaneously at all of her 5 Cowboy bars – Shadow Bar, Tilac, Black And White, Country Road and Sam2000. Details of the parties are sketchy at this stage but expect lots of balloons, and with a bit of luck, some free food too.
Apologies to Big Dog's Bar. Last week I reported that their price for a beer is 110 baht when in fact it is just 80 baht. Ooops!
Also, a bit of a cock up with the Cowboy bar news from last week's column too. Shit, I'm getting good at cocking things up, aren't I? On Soi Cowboy, it is a group who have purchased two leases on the soi, Nice Bar and the beauty shop and will combine them to make a new bar. Peter from Suzy Wong's will be the managing partner. Red lips and Las Vegas belong to Silvio, and not the Suzy Wong owners as I wrongly reported last week.
I heard that Tony's in Pattaya, which is currently under a one month closure due to some customers AND some staff testing positive for drugs, might be forced to close for good. Seems somebody doesn’t like Khun Tony. Hmmm, maybe all that time in America made Tony forget about the need to be friendly with the people who count…something that is vital if you are going to succeed in this type of business in Thailand.
I made it along to the Nanapong dance contest this week and it must be said that the Ponger events are still the best show in town. However, the choice of venue for his contest was far from ideal, with Rawhide being one of those bars where the stage can't be seen when the bar fills up with punters – as it inevitably does at these dance contests. Sitting there watching some of the show – I didn't stay until the end – the view of the stage was obscured by most people who had got there early to get seats! For future shows, raised seats as you get in the likes of some of the Crown Group bars, may be necessary. Watching the show, the mind boggled at the amount of money that could be made if they were somehow able to transplant this show overseas. Even for someone who is VERY bored of gogo bars and all that sort of thing, these dance contests have that little extra to grab your attention and keep you interested. And for anyone who hasn't seen nor had any pussy for a while, these shows must be mind-blowing.
Teachers at a prominent Bangkok high school had been on holiday for a while and were not due to return to work until next week. Some of these teachers went into school on Thursday to collect their pay, it being the last day of the month. The school was closed and not a soul could be found. Eventually a Thai teacher was spotted and asked about the problem. The farang teachers were told that salaries would not be paid until the 6th of next month when the admin staff return, meaning the teachers get paid about a week late! Madness, but oh so typical of the English language teaching industry in Thailand.
In the past ten days I have received 6 emails from people who claim to have had items stolen while staying at the Dynasty inn in Sukumvit Soi 4. I checked out the email addresses and IP addresses and there is no regular pattern to them, meaning that they are likely genuine – and not one aggrieved punter on a campaign against the hotel. So, any recommendations I ever made about the place are withdrawn. Should you decide to stay there, either keep all of your valuables with you at all times, or install a special safe in your room – which all sort of defeats the purpose of staying in a hotel!
The Nana Plaza entrance is starting to look more like a rubbish tip than even a building site!
Dollhouse Andy is at it again.
One of the most popular bar owners, Dollhouse Andy is up to his old tricks. Not satisfied with the roaring success of his chain of Dollhouse bars, Andy has secured a new location in Pattaya on Walking Street, just opposite Tony's Disco. This club is going to be huge, 800 square metres, and will feature a mini Hard Rock style eatery overlooking the sea. The new club's name will be Diamond Dolls and they are doing their very best to get it open before Christmas.
It's the million dollar question. How to move to Thailand and carve out a comfortable lifestyle? There are basically three choices. You can apply for work in the Kingdom, though so many people end up doing something that they really would rather not be doing, such as English teaching. You can set up a business yourself, though in a country like Thailand, there are all sorts of issues, all sorts of barriers, some of which you'll no doubt be aware of, and some of which you won't. With the failure rate of new businesses quite high, this can be a bit of a minefield. The third option is to buy yourself a job! WTF?! Yep, you can purchase an existing business, in essence, buying yourself a job! But where would you find businesses for sale in Thailand? This week I visited the good guys at SunbeltAsia, a business brokerage firm that is new to Thailand, but is very well established elsewhere, particularly in the States. SunbeltAsia matches business owners who are looking to sell with potential buyers. If you have some money in your back pocket and are looking to purchase a business in Thailand, you could do a lot worse than get in touch with Sunbelt. They have all sorts of businesses on their books from farms (the girlfriend could help you run this) through to shops and even the old favourite, gogo bars! They had a lot of businesses at reasonable rates to, from less than $US10,000 up.
If you hadn't noticed it in the classifieds of the Bangkok Post, Subway will be coming to Bangkok soon. Subway was launched in Thailand in the mid 90s but failed due to poor locations, an English only menu and the economic crisis. The relaunch should happen some time soon and if you are feeling entrepreneurial, $US 85 – 100K all up will get your a franchise.
The cheapest price I have heard of in Thailand for copied DVDs, all the rage these days, is 130 baht a movie. VCD movies usually go for 100 baht, though if you look around, getting them for 70 baht is not difficult. However, compared to Malaysia, these prices are expensive. Down in KL, DVDs go for 6 ringgit or 65 – 70 baht and VCDs go for 20 – 30 baht, though you can get them in some places for as cheap as 10 movies for 10 ringgit = about 110 baht!
A friend who reads virtually all novels set in Thailand is raving about a new novel called “Chalida” by Salisa Pinkayan, published last week by Asia Books. "I read that book I showed you about the rich Thai family sage. It was quite good, the best I have read by a Thai author. It also had some insights into the “problems” of being rich and powerful and some of it related to your weekly about Thai women always needing money and how they will marry it despite not ever loving their husband." Sounds like it is worth picking up a copy! Full review soon in the book review section.
What's going on with Farang magazine? If my count is correct, it seems that they have released all of one issue in what, the last five months? They have a great product and it is just a shame that a questionable business plan may kill what has the potential to be a great publication before it really made the mark is should (have).
I'm getting a lot of emails asking about how safe Thailand is at the moment. Of course, you'll get as much sense out of me as you will your pet dog on this one. Who knows?
Your Bangkok commentator,