Stickman's Weekly Column June 8th, 2003

No Opinion Piece This Week



Straight into the reader's pieces and news this week. No opinion / commentary piece this week… Put it down to me being lazy!

Stick



Where is this pic?

Last week's pic

It was the road that
runs alongside Central Chidlom.

This week's pic


Last week's pic was was the road that runs along side Central's flagship store at Chidlom. This week's pic is a bit trickier… There are two prizes offered for the where is this pic prize each week. The first Bangkok based person to answer the pic correctly wins a 500 baht credit to use at the Classics Movie Lounge. The second person to get it right wins a tube of MyCreme, the cream that will send your teeruk to heaven! I'm sorry that for now, prizes are only available to guys who are Bangkok based. However, for guys outside the Big Mango, still do feel free to email me your guess.

FROM STICKMAN'S BAG OF EMAIL:
(If someone sends me something positive, I'll include it here, but it seems that all most people ever do is moan and groan… So come on, how about something brighter?)

More visa hassles.
My friend, not girlfriend, just female friend, was denied a visa. She works as a tour guide, owns a home, has strong family ties, serves as a nun several times a year, has no bar background, and was going to stay with my daughter and I in California to learn more about the people she attends to regularly in her business. She and I also visit and donate to the Pattaya Orphanage every time I am in the country. We have known each other going on three years now and she has always been helpful to me and my travelling companions, male and female. The embassy people hardly glanced at her papers, called her back for a brief interview and denied her application. Of course she is free to apply again for another $100. But what's the point when it says in their application papers that they do not have to consider any of your documents to prove that you have a strong motive to return to Thailand. It sounds like a scam, or worse, just an abuse of bureaucratic power. We have 6,000,000 illegal Mexicans living in the U.S. and they are afraid of one lone nun from Thailand. I know you can't help, but this may enlighten on just how difficult it is right now.
I couldn't agree more.
I agree Phuket has been overpriced for too long but what about Chaweng Beach and even Ko Samet? Chaweng was the perfect escape form the rat race not too long ago. Simple,
clean bungalows on the beach with a bar, buffet breakfast, BBQ dinner. Cost varied from 200 – 800 baht a night. Fast forward 10 years and we find each "resort" has added a pool, a few concrete rooms and charge US $100-200 a night. These places aren't even three star hotels. A walk around the nearby surroundings reveals, flooded, pot-filled roads, gutted concrete building, next to demolished concrete building, next to vacant land-cum garbage fill. Lovely! Ko Samet is more reminiscent of Samui 10 years ago, with the only difference being dirty basic rooms with a 1500-2500 baht price tag. The words maintenance (building, car, roads etc,) and town planning are sadly missing in the Thai vocab. The best value accommodation on Thailand is Pattaya – but it has it's own sleazy issues.
I still don't like being called Ajarn.
I worked in Bangkok as a language school and university teacher for 3 years in the '90s and remember that I was always always addressed as 'Ajarn', but when people were talking about me they would often say "Kao pen kru". I had it explained to me that teachers from secondary school up are usually addressed as 'Ajarn', whereas those working in primary schools are usually 'kru'. Professor, in its true sense is 'sasadrajarn' I
believe.
Irish and proud.
No.1 The main reason Guinness is so expensive in Thailand is that it is mostly imported from Malaysia. The Thai Tax Authorities impose a tax on it for that reason. Look on the barrel for the tax stamp. Usually it is the people cannot afford to drink Guinness in Irish theme pubs, who slag it off most. I have lived in Southern and Central Thailand for the past 20 years and in all the countries I have travelled both there and throughout the world I have never heard or read of anyone describe or decry their native country as dirty and sodden. If this person is Irish he should be totally ashamed of describing the country which educated him (for free) to a standard and level which allows him to venture to the exotic Orient, eat a plate of Som Tam Poo with sticky rice washed down with Singha beer from a street vendor who would not be allowed to operate in Ireland and a stall which is probably surrounded by garbage that has not been collected for days, the stench of the drains filling the air and rats running amok around the him. Others Irish people would no doubt be more than happy to know that the risk of bumping into him and boring the pants off him about the old sod would be extremely minimal if he perhaps would go 100% native and evaporate to the sticks. He could then turn in his Irish (or other) passport and suck up the joys of living in the 'clinical' exotic Orient.
White is shite.
I reckon I speak for most farang chaps who come to the Kingdom in search of love and romance when I say that I prefer the tawny, brown -skinned Thai girls to the fair-skinned variety. If I wanted a fair-skinned girl, I would go to Ireland or China. It really grieves me to see poor girls spending their hard-earnt salaries on cosmetics to try and make their skin look whiter out of a mistaken belief that it will make them look more attractive. Anyone who has taken a flash photo of a bargirl will have noticed the white cake of crap covering only their face which contrasts sharply with their natural hue. It all harks back to the Chinese dynasties of old, where fair skin was considered a mark of youth and virginity. It is a physiological fact that women's skin darkens after they have given birth. I also find quite pathetic the Asian men who come to Thailand and select girls who look just the same as the ones back home, and a lot of Thai girls have learnt to cater to this market. Give me a tawny girl every day of the week.
Kreng Jai.
Just a reply to one of your posts last weekend on "kreng jai". Kreng jai – it's an extraordinary expression that cannot be translated directly into English. It has so many connotations. But basically means that you don't interfere with what someone else is doing (or that you forgive them for their sins). It also has a sense of contrition and concern, not to mention consideration. Considering its original meaning, kreng jai is brilliant. The problem is, it's been hijacked by the weasels – especially those who own small businesses and drive around in pick-ups with their workers stashed in the back and suffering from the elements just so that the "boss" can be seen to be a "big" man (with his hangers-on and sycophants). Then there's the sense that you shouldn't complain about your neighbours and what they are doing. With the Thai ability (Christ I wish I had some of this) to tolerate anything shit that's thrown at you, it basically means that you don't complain. Kreng jai is one of the reasons (like "mai pen rai") why we love Thailand, but which will always keep us a world apart. We Westerners could learn from "kreng jai", but then our society wouldn't develop the way we would like it. Think about it.
I heard the funniest thing ever at Immigration last week when a senior Immigration official said to one of my colleagues "you mean you have been here 8 years and you can't speak Thai. I should only give you a 30 day visa extension." While we thought the fellow was joking, he wasn't. My colleague got an extension of exactly one day. Yes, true, just one day! Maybe it is time to start practising the local lingo?

Building work has started on Casablanca Bar, next to Rainbow 3 in Nana. Construction is also under way in the old visa office on the floor above it also. Are we seeing two new bars being built in Nana, or could it well be yet another two floored gogo bar? These two tiered gogo bars like Mandarin seem to be almost fashionable though I can't see the point of all the expense myself. But nonetheless building work goes ahead relentlessly. Now this is going to be one interesting project because it is being orchestrated by none other than Anton of Hollywood Rock fame, someone who used to work for Johnny, the owner of Hollywood Strip. Now, Johnny owns Hollywood Strip and to get to Hollywood Strip, most people will be passing Casablanca's door. Anton and Johnny are not on the best of terms, with neither having been welcome in the other's bar for a long time. With Casablanca's less than ideal location stuck in the corner of the second floor, they will be doing their very best to lure customers inside. So, there is little doubt that Anton will need to employ aggressive hello girls to entice people into his bar – and potentially pull customers away from Hollywood Strip. But it won't be easy for Anton and co. because Hollywood Strip is the pick of the Nana bars at the moment, and has been for quite a while, doing consistently good business.

With The Living Room now longer, I think we can officially say that what was once known as Clinton Plaza is dead. Promising so much, the relatively short term success of The Dollhouse hinted at a big future for Clinton Plaza, but ultimately it all never really got going, and never made a major threat to any of the three major farang nightlife areas.

Who are the rogues behind the recently erected Angelsdate.com? An introduction site for Thai woman and Western men, the owners of this site used underhand tactics to launch their site. Boss Hogg received a phone call from a customer at Big Dog's who said that he had seen all of Boss's staff on a web site! Of course Boss is surprised and asks which site. ANGELSDATE.COM Sure enough, there are 21 girls listed on the site and 19 are staff from Big Dog's! Bartenders, service and cashiers, all photos taken in the day time and all pics obviously taken inside his bar during the time that they were working. Fast forward with the investigation and the girls tell Boss that a former employee came by and said that she had bought a new digital camera and wanted to try it out. She then comes back another day and tells the girls if they want some guys to write to them then they can fill out these info sheets for fun and put their email addresses down and someone may write to them from her friend's shop. Of course, the website was never mentioned. The girls innocently complete the forms and then the pics and info are put together and published online, the girl's info and pics now making up bios which contact details are available for – at a price! Scam! Who is behind it all? Well, it would appear that a certain Richard from Nana Disco owns the site. Tut, tut, tut, naughty boy! Boss shows the girls the internet site with their information and pics and they are justifiably shocked. They all say that they didn't know it was going to be on the internet and it was all a bit of a joke to them when they filled out the forms. One poor girl became quite upset and says that if her sister saw it she would be in big trouble. The girls wanted the pics taken off immediately. Of course Boss Hogg was mad too. Boss then calls a fellow working for Nana Disco and tells him the problem. Said fellow goes to Boss's office to give him all the reasons why they are not going to take the pics off! What the fxxx? He said all the girls wanted to be on the site. Bullshit! Boss told him no problem if the girls wanted to be on and since the pics came from Big Dog's, be honest and list their employment as big dogs get their ages right etc etc. He then calls his cashier up to the office, whom in four years has never gone with a customer. She clearly states that she does not want her details online, and re-iterates that other girls don't either. The next day the pics were still on the site and Boss calls said fellow again asking what the girls had said to him. He said they all told him to take them off, but he did not believe them feeling Boss Hogg had probably influenced them! He then had the nerve said his boss owner of Nana Disco would not take them off. After several threats of legal action they came off but the bios remain….not good. Oh, and just to totally put you off the site, one sexy girl on the site tested HIV+ in Bumrungrad about two years ago. IMPORTANT NOTE: THE HIV+ GIRL DOES NOT WORK AT ONE OF BOSS HOGG'S BARS. SHE IS A FREELANCER WHO CAN USUALLY BE FOUND IN NANA DISCO.

Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, Playskool in Nana Plaza is open for business.

It seems that Patpong bar owners are still waiting for the "word" from the cops that is ok to stay open until 4:00 AM. No idea when that will happen. Seems "they" are waiting for the correct "political" moment to make the announcement.

On the night of Monday 2nd June there was a black out in Nana Plaza due to an electrical short circuit. Even the Nana Hotel were out for a while before their back-up generator kicked in. Nana Plaza was without electricity for almost an hour! It was early on in the evening from around 8.45 PM and with it being a wet Monday, not too much trade was lost.

There are a lot of European visitors around Sukumvit at the moment, a lot of guys flying in from Britain. Many of these people have mentioned that there are very good holiday packages available at the moment and the numbers of European travellers to Thailand has increased. I guess it is partly due to these discount airfares but also due to the strong Euro.

There is a good number of English teaching jobs being advertised in Thailand at the moment. The school where I work has had no end of problems getting a suitable candidate to fill what really was a plum position. An ad that clearly stated that applicants had to be native speakers attracted 5 Filipinos, 2 Turks, an Indian and just three native speaking Westerners, two of whom were back in their respective corners of Farangland. Needless to say, a truly plum position remains unfilled. And talking with other teachers and employers around Bangkok, it is clear that there are a number of good positions for which the schools are finding it really difficult to place suitably qualified teachers. A lot of schools have lowered their standards and taken on people who on the surface are, quite frankly, not up to the task. Other schools are holding on, waiting for Mr or Mrs Perfect to work through the door.

Remember the fellow mentioned in the column a couple of weeks back who got a 20,000 baht phone bill because he had forgotten to change back the dial-up settings in his notebook from the Pattaya number back to the Bangkok number? Well, the poor fellow just got his latest bill, 22,000 baht this time! It seems that the previous bill was only up until a certain point, and while he amended the dial-up settings immediately, there were still a lot of internet calls made to the Pattaya dial-up number which had yet to be charged.

I've no idea why, but recently there has been quite a number of people request that I post a nice big, juicy JPEG of me on the site. There are several reasons why I have refrained from doing so, suffice to say that there are far more handsome people out there so do a search for Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise who are both infinitely better looking than me.

Sunbelt Asia are cosponsors in the "Business Opportunity Franchise", organised by Franchise Focus Co. Ltd. The event will be held between June 11th and 15th at the Exhibition Hall in Central City, Bangna, Bangkok. So if you are in the market for a business, pop along. It is in the Central Mall, Bangna, opposite the BITEC Hall on Bangna-Trad Rd. heading to Pattaya.

It's official. Construction will start in the next several days on Thailand's first branch of Subway. As is the Thai way, the branch will be built in no time and the opening is expected to be July 15th. What's more, it's going to be open 24 hours a day! Could it be the new Grace Hotel for after hours liaisons?! They'll be serving unlimited self serve soda drinks, just like in the States which will make them the first fast food chain doing this in Thailand. So, if you are in the Nana neighbourhood and are feeling peckish, drop into Subway.

The Australian government have come out with an 'extra strong' travel warning advising no Australians to travel to Phuket or Pattaya due to an 'imminent terrorist attack'. Apparently these are the two most dangerous destinations in the world! Bar! They have made this very public in the last week, and have made these destinations a stand-out, in addition to their more muted travel warnings about the rest of Asia.

I'm a keen photographer and seldom do I go out and about without one of my digital cameras strung around my neck. In the madness of Bangkok, there is always something interesting to be photographed. I used to print some of the best shots at home, but it is far, far cheaper to get them done in a photo shop. 6 X 4" sized prints off a digital file can be had for 5 baht. However, you have to specify very clearly that you do not want them to change the shot in any way. Bangkok photo shops are notorious for changing the exposure and making everything white is damned annoying – and they often do it, even when you tell them not to. Of course it is all done to appease the Thai customers wo get back a set of photos where everyone has white skin – and thus looks attractive – but everything else in the photo is washed out.

At Panthip Plaza yesterday, you could not get any dodgy software, anywhere!

Quote of the week from a reader: "It is far more difficult to find a good music venue in Bangkok than a shag, which is around just about every corner."

Still a bit of a way off yet, on Friday August 22nd 2003, the Mistys Inaugural Golf classic will be held. There are limited spaces available so be sure to book quickly. The price is 1500 baht per person which includes green fee, caddy fee, Misty's limited edition golf polo shirt, long drive prizes, 4 closest the pin prizes. Closest the keg of beer wins a full keg of beer to be consumed in the bar whenever you pop in. There is also a worst shot prize and almost balls in the water prize. There is one raffle ticket per person for a prize draw at the bar later and a full buffet including pig roast at the bar after the golf. We're not finished yet…it also includes free beer all day and beverages at the golf course handed out by our Misty's chicks in school uniform driving their own golf buggies (Will Andy do the honours for those of us who can't make it by showing us a few shots from his camera?) The winner will receive an excellent Misty's trophy. There are other trophies for all sorts of events throughout the day. The good folks at Misty's are limiting it to 128 people making 32 teams of 4 on a shotgun start. More information will be forthcoming over the next week or two and details can be got from the Pattaya Sports Club and info will be in the Pattaya Mail as well. Bookings or requests for more information can be mailed to [email protected]. Sponsors so far include Bruno's Restaurant, Patrick's Belgium Restaurant, Classroom 1 Gogo, Electric Blue Gogo, Hooty's Gogo. If anyone wishes to sponsor a prize please email andy. Major sponsors will have their logo embroidered on the polo shirt.

I had to laugh at the picture that was on the front cover of The Nation this past Friday. It featured four female models strutting along a catwalk. The chest area of one of the women had been pixelated so that readers could not see any of her chest. Funny thing was that she was not wearing anything at all revealing – so there was nothing to see! Compare this with the Thai newspapers which feature all sorts of nonsense in all its glory on the cover of their rags.

And another thing that makes me laugh is farang residents (NOT tourists) who always scream that they will call the tourist police or their embassy the moment something doesn't quite go their way. Believe me, the embassy won't provide any assistance unless you wish to make something official – or really are in the pooh, and the tourist police VERY quickly lose interest when they realise that you are not a tourist, but actually a local. That's why they're called the TOURIST Police….funny that.

Bangkokchat is back in a couple of different guises. Bangkokchat.org and Bangkok-chat.com both claim to be the new bangkokchat, bit truth be told, neither is very appealing at all.

Mrs. Stick's Corner

Each week, Mrs. Stick will answer questions about Thai / farang relationships and general issues that baffle the average Westerner in Thailand. Mrs. Stick is an open-minded Thai lady who is happy to answer your questions. Please send questions for her, via me, at the usual email address. Two or three questions will be chosen each week and answered in the following week's column. The responses are hers and NOT mine although I may attempt to correct her English from time to time. Note 1: I may not necessarily agree with what she says! Note 2: Unfortunately, she doesn't have time to reply to your inquiries via email.

Question 1: Do Thai girls like Thai Boxing? I do a little boxing American style and think I could beat the crap out of these guys in the first round without throwing a kick. I was wondering if Thai women like fighters?

Mrs. Stick says: What else are you good at besides kicking Thai guys? In my opinion, most tough guys have no brain. If you think you are an exception, then you should have success in Thailand. But does an exception exist?

Question 2: Following upon a comment by a friend of mine who'd returned from a long vacation in New Zealand and noted that the Kiwis seemed completely addicted to adrenaline and fun in general, does she find that they're more compatible with the average Thai than other nationalities? (OK, maybe the Canadians would fit in better with the civil service workers).

Mrs. Stick says: Many modern Thai women like farangs, irrespective of where the farang is from. Where you come from isn't so important, but if you have movie star looks, that will make a difference. Looks are important in Thailand, as they are in many other countries too. A sense of humour goes a long way too. Thai women generally are not interested in serious guys. Really!

A few readers have asked me about the ever changing direction of the column. I have stated several times that I want to move away from nightlife coverage yet in recent weeks, there have been more than a few pieces on that very subject. This has been understandably interpreted as me steering the column back in that direction. The truth is that the site takes a huge amount of my time, and with a hectic work schedule and also having been recently married, time to spend on the site is not always easy to find. When this is the case, it is easy to fill up the column with nightlife news which can be procured very easily. Writing about the general goings on in the big city away from the nightlife takes MUCH more time and generally requires more work and research. Yeah, I want to steer away from nightlife, or at least reduce the coverage, but it is not always easy due to time constraints. But anyway, I know a lot of you want nightlife coverage….it is hard to please everyone.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick