Stickman's Weekly Column August 10th, 2003

Is My Cosy Lifestyle Under Threat?



I hear stories all the time about people working around the world, earning to me what sounds like silly money. In London, it seems that every man and his dog is earning 30,000 pounds a year while across the Atlantic in the Big Apple, all and sundry seem to be pulling in over $US 50,000. Compare this to what I earn here in the Mango – a figure I won't embarrass myself with by publishing here, and one might be mistaken for thinking that given the opportunity I'd be on the first plane to take up an offer elsewhere. No sir, I'm in no hurry to leave.

The aforementioned salaries wouldn't be considered high in those particular cities, but it sure sounds like a lot of money when you think in baht terms. I am led to believe that the reality of modern day living in the West is that this is not nearly enough money to do much more then get by on, at least if you are in a big, modern city. For a fraction of that money one can have a fantastic lifestyle here in Thailand.

Work in the West seems to be getting more and more stressful with people working longer and longer hours, often without extra reward, and in many cases the extra is necessary to ensure that they hang on to their job. Unless one is a very well paid professional or working in a role that they truly enjoy, it seems to me that a good number of Westerners really would love to pack it all in and go somewhere more relaxed, a place where the sun shines year round and where the stressometer doesn't go off the scale. For guys like this, Thailand must be be a dream come true.

Most foreigners in Thailand don't just like their lives here, they love them! It really doesn’t matter what one's reasons were for moving out this way, it seems that us farangs really enjoy what Thailand offers us. As Stickgirl often says to me, farangs in Thailand truly live like kings – an she is right.

And many farangs enjoy it so much here that they will do almost anything to preserve the status quo. The thought of their current lifestyle somehow being interrupted, or God forbid taken away from them makes them horribly nervous. The thought of the final page of the Thailand chapter being turned is a nightmare that they will try to avoid at all costs. If continuity of their lifestyle in Thailand is in any way threatened, even just hinted at, they become incredibly defensive, and in getting defensive they may well get downright nasty with other foreigners – the very people who they feel threatened by. It is not the Thais who pose a threat to their ongoing existence, it is other farangs.

I have noticed a disturbing trend that is prevalent among pockets of Westerners living in Thailand, but particularly so amongst those who are doing well vocationally, but perhaps were lucky to have fallen into such a position.

The way these people often get very defensive and downright bitchy reminds me of school yard games, primary school that is. If forced to work with new recruits, the old hands often appear to have gone native, providing the absolute minimum assistance and may even do what they can to lead the newbie astray. They seem to justify their behaviour by mistakenly believing that making the new kid on the block look like a fool only serves to cement their own importance to the organization – and provides evidence that "not all foreigners are as good / useful as me", thus their position is safe for a bit longer.

There are an awful lot of marginal folks in Bangkok, and many of these very folks have conned, scammed or blagged their way into some pretty decent positions. Unfortunately the locals are not known for their expertise in recruitment and when confronted with a set of white skinned, long nosed creatures, they are unable to discern quite who is the most suitable. It may come down to who smiles the most or who likes the same British Premiership football team as the interviewer. This contributes to a lot of marginal folks getting into damned good positions, positions that they probably couldn't get back in their corner of Farangland! And some of these folks people know deep down that if they were to lose that position, the odds of them getting another similar position are not that good. With this in mind, they are dead set on doing all that they can to maintain that position and this so often manifests itself with them adopting what can only be described as a hostile attitude towards anyone who may have even the most remote chance of upsetting the balance.

But often it doesn’t matter if the person already in that position is competent or not. The person in the said position may well be an expert in their position and may truly be doing a great job, but a little paranoia may given them the idea that it all may be taken away from them and they too start to become nasty towards the newcomers.

For the first year or two of this website's life, I received what can only be described as a deluge of email from Thailand based folks telling me that I was mad to erect such a website, that the secret would be out, and that the place would be swamped with more and more Westerners, all wanting a piece of the pie. Good, I responded. More Westerner visitors is generally a good thing for Thailand. I have continued to observe hostile behaviour from many foreigners, especially in the workplace where some people seem to do their level best to knock the new boys on the block, obviously in an effort to make themselves look, and feel, better.

At the end of the day, this idea of trying to maintain your position by battling the new guys doesn't do anyone any favours. In Thailand many farangs have enough issues with the locals without having to battle their own kind. What some farangs do is all child's stuff, played out by some of the most insecure Westerners you'll find anywhere. Those with confidence have no need to stoop so slow but those who are impostors o are insecure will stop at no lengths to ensure not just their survival, but also that the preservation of their cosy lifestyle, is achieved.

Where is this pic?

Last week's pic

It was the soi running beside the WTC.

This week's pic

Last week's pic was taken of the soi just a little north of the World Trade Centre, before the Saen Saeb canal. Again, not that that many readers got it right – so I have made this week's pic a LOT easier! There is a prize offered for the FIRST THAILAND BASED PERSON who correctly informs me of the location of the weekly pic. The lucky person wins a 500 baht credit with Cheap Charlie's Phonecards. I'm sorry that for now, prizes are only available to guys who are Thailand based – that is, anywhere in the kingdom. However, for guys outside LOS, still do feel free to email me your guess and I'll reply letting you know if you are correct or not.

FROM STICKMAN'S BAG OF EMAIL:

Ugly girls have needs too.

I'm telling you, I'm absolutely fed up with the pretty girls in this town. Give me the ugly ones! Bring 'em on! They're hungry for lovin'! Eager to please! Grateful for attention! Let the other guys scramble and grovel for the indifferent, sex-sated, spoiled beauties of Patong, with their cell phones and 24K gold jewellery. I don't need an aloof little bitch who's getting laid ten times a day by ten different guys (all unaware of each other). Her pussy's sore and she doesn't need any more! There are a lot of ugly-to-average-looking girls here who constantly get over-looked and passed over. And they're plenty o' fun for a night's romp in the sack! Yeeha!
Should we subsidise the locals' fun?
I don't mind paying the double standard prices going into parks and temples. Since most Thais only make 1000 to 4000 Baht a month. The low price gives them the opportunity to enjoy these thing. It is there county and I don't mind making up the difference. I don't know how they can survive on those wages.
More about sound levels.
I have a friend a tourist who wanted to go to the bars last nite – I generally avoid the the go go bars but am not opposed at a visual feast from time to time. We went to Cascade and upon entering I was assaulted by the unbelievably loud noise "music" – quite painful really. Did not and could not stay. What a bunch of assholes theses DJs are. They generally sit up there with headphones on. It is bad for business, but hell, I think it is a shitty business anyway.
In Thailand, everyone has their price.
Bar owners just don't do their job in terms of giving the customers what we want. There are very few bars now that give a shit because they think we customers won't notice the little things. But we do, especially if we have been around long, something that bar owners should appreciate, someone here who is long term, will hit the bars 3+ nights a week and drink. About 1.5 years ago I got in a bit of a row with the DJ at a bar I enjoy in Nana. He backed down, but the next time I went in it was the same old shit. Once the owner or manager leaves the place the DJs will play whatever he want, but more importantly, they simply play what ever someone pays them to play. In the case of my favourite bar in Nana, the gals will often give the DJ 60 – 80 baht just play one MoRum song; so you can see that if he can play 10 songs in one hour, that someone will pay for he can earn a pretty penny. And what do these idiots want, disco shit or MoRum? At least I can handle the MoRum as much of it is so much more intricate than the dance crap they think is great music.
Just confirming the reputation that Pattaya is a haven for British gangs?
I saw a strange article in the London Evening Standard about the Winchester some months ago. Francis Bacon the famous artist left an estate of £30 million to his boyfriend in London, a Soho homosexual like himself. The boyfriend was what might be called a rough trade, Cockney type. When Bacon died the Cockney boyfriend was left everything and was somewhat sensitive to Bacon wishes. Anyhow the guy got a new boyfriend far rougher with gangland connections. The original boyfriend died leaving the money to the rougher boyfriend. Now he apparently bought the Winchester and invites gangsters from London to use the club. Whether it will remain heterosexual is unknown. But some people in London are upset that Bacon millions may end up in the hands of criminals in Pattaya and London. Incidentally the old owner of the Winchester is now in Angeles City running a small bar there for a 'new challenge'. The name the Blind Beggar has gangland connections. It was the name of the pub in the East End of London where one of the notorious Kray gangsters shot or stabbed one of his many victims.
Problems accessing this site.
I thought your server was down for a few weeks. I work as a network engineer & started poking around, assumed you wouldn't leave it down THAT long unless the government bulldozed down your server in the middle of the night. I found that some of the DNS servers, particularly the servers I use, did not properly resolve your site name to IP. Thus, it looks like your web server is down. Surprising I poked around and found other DNS servers did not resolve, but most still did. I switched my DNS servers and got your site just find, that was my problem, might be others as well. Bottom line for some reason DNS is not always working with your site
Johnny has decided to renovate Hollywood Two in Nana Plaza as it has had very little building work done on it over the years. The renovation should be completed in the next week or so, so Johnny is not messing around. Apart from the small carousel, the whole bar has been gutted downstairs. A brand new carousel dance stage will be installed to compliment the small carousel next to it. New style, two tier sofa seating will be fitted all around the bar, along with new tables, wall mirrors, a new bar counter, new toilets, and a completely resurfaced marble tiled floor. Unlike many other bars, Hollywood promises a speedy renovation so as not to inconvenience their loyal customers and staff. Currently, while the one million baht renovation is taking place, all Hollywood girls are working in Carousel Bar.

For the time being, Lumpini Police are enforcing closing times in Nana Plaza strictly. They have all the bars closed by 2 AM. Even knowing this, customers coming to the bars don't change their plans and come out that bit earlier. Unfortunately the bars are fairly quiet at the start of the night and just as the gogo bars get rocking, it is all brought to an abrupt halt by the boys in brown! With the pressure being put on to the police by the government, it is not surprising that the bars are observing the police instructions. Bar owners tell me that they are taking no chances and that they are following police regulations to the letter. With policemen under the spotlight recently and now desperate to impress the right people, don't expect things to ease off for a while. It is strict enough as it is for the Bangkok bars and this won't help them at all.

Aussie expat Blackie is having a get together for his 60th birthday this Tuesday. All are welcome, especially pretty young Thai things, but even old, ugly guys (like him?) are welcome too! Contact him on 06-9060040. Bring a bottle! ALL ARE WELCOME!

I have been told a couple of things by Thais recently that I am not convinced of, but in which each case the Thais insisted hat they were right. I'd be curious to hear from any readers who may be able to confirm whether these are genuine or not. The first one is in the case of matrimonial, shall we call it, "disharmony". If a husband cheats on his wife – or vice versa for that matter – and word gets out to the extent that the partner loses major face which results in damage to their image or reputation, then the partner who watched their life-time partner do the dirty with someone else can sue. Yes, they can sue their own husband / wife? Does this sound right? Sounds a bit unusual to me. The other one, which was insisted to me by an educated Thai national, and someone I would usually believe or trust, I was told that there is no restriction on bringing fresh fruit or vegetables into Thailand. Given that Thailand is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of food, I thought they'd do all that they could to protect he industry. Not so, or at least, so I am told. Sounds awfully unusual but hey, I'm not Thai, so what would I know?

If you want to make yourself seriously fat, or sick, or perhaps both, then this is the deal for you! KFC have an all-you-can-eat deal now, I'm not sure how many branches but Ekamai Major Cineplex branch has it. It's available from 1 – 5 PM weekdays only, for a maximum of 2 hours, for 139 baht, plus 10 baht for refill pepsi. You can have all the zingers, fries, mashed potato, chicken, and pies you can handle.

The latest rumour doing the rounds about the "Gunny" (The Winchester Club) changing names was that the guy who ran it decided he didn't want to grease the palms of the boys in brown as much any more – and he suddenly started to have problems with immigration! Said bar "owner" (I think the bar is owned by a syndicate who also own a heap of others) is now running a bar in Angeles City in the Philippines.

The Bangkok Expats Club has gotten off the ground, having had 3 informal meetings already at The Office Bar & Grill just off Sukhumvit Soi 33. It appears the person who originally proposed the club has decided not to participate after all, but others remain very interested in the idea. That handsome Washington Square stalwart, Mekong Kurt, and Bob (the owner of The Office Bar & Grill) discussed it the other afternoon after they each received an email from the founder telling them that he wished to withdraw. They decided to press ahead and be there for last Tuesday's (July 29th) meeting. I have to say that this club really is a good idea. Pattaya has a similar club that is very successful and well respected. The organisers hope to make this one equally successful. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, August 13th, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM at The Office Bar & Grill, just off Sukhumvit Soi 33, down the drive of the car park one enters right beside Degas Club. They normally meet Tuesdays and Sundays, but since the Queen's birthday happens to fall on a Tuesday this year, they've adjusted the schedule for this week.

My God, do people really believe that because something happens in a gogo bar that is must be legal? The number of people emailing me and citing the argument that "it occurs in a bar" as a reason for saying that something is not illegal is crazy.

I hate to be negative about life in Thailand because overall the experience is very good, but I really wonder about one thing… With a lot of Thais (read clearly here NOT ALL), there is very little appreciation shown when a favour is done. Favours seem to be seldom reciprocated when farangs are involved even though half of Thailand seems to operate on a you rub my back and I’ll rub yours system. In fact I'd go as far to say that many Thais seem a farang who offers to help them out as weakness, and they will suddenly start to ask all sorts of things that are totally unreasonable, and that they wouldn't dream of asking to one of their fellow countrymen. It sounds mad, but be careful who you do favours for because not only may there be a lack of gratitude shown, you might suddenly be seen as the local lackey.

I previously reported that Mr Wong of Wong's bar passed away, victim of a rather nasty
tumour that was detected too late to be treated. Actually, poor old Mr Wong entrusted the local Chinese herbalist who detected the tumour in the early days, but the medicine received didn't do the job. By the time he got to Bumrungrad it was too late and he was not given medicine, but rather a small amount of time to live. With the sad news that he passed away came further sad news in that his bar had closed down. However, I'm pleased to report that his brother, Sam, has stepped into the fold and is now in charge. Wong's Bar actually re-opened for business about a month ago and apart from a couple of small changes – there is a new DVD player and they have changed the fridge, it is largely business as usual. 44 year old Sam advises that the official opening time is 6:00 PM but the doors aren’t usually open until closer to 6:30 PM. There is a new food menu too.

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: I have traveled to the kingdom and sampled the nightlife yes, but the shine rubbed off on that apple long ago. So I have met, through the internet, a lovely young woman who I will meet in October. I plan to stay in a hotel near her house and we also plan to travel to Ko Samui for a few days. She is 27 and I am 31. She is university educated and studying for her MBA now. My question is this: I would like to find something romantic to do with her, and I understand what is romantic in the US, but I would like to do something UNIQUELY romantic to a Thai woman. Any ideas?

Mrs. Stick says: You don't really know each other so the idea of going to Ko Samui so soon makes me wonder what type of woman she is. The time you spend on the internet is quite different to when you meet in real life for the first time! It is not the same at all! So I would suggest that you try and get a feeling from her by spending more time with her and see how you feel, before progressing – and then you will get a better idea on how to please her and what would be suitably romantic. Good luck!

Question 2: I am leaving US for Thailand in two weeks for a vacation. This is my first trip to Thailand. Yes…I think about being a stupid farang….and fooling around. But, this is not what I really want. I am a very young 60 year old man, and what I really want is to find is a younger Thai girl that is honest and might want to marry a good man with a good job. I am happy if she has children. Can you give me any advice? I was a teacher, but for the last 30 years I have been a house builder. I was married one time, and, now, single for 23 years. I am very lucky that I am a good looking guy with a good heart.

Mrs. Stick says: If you do not know anyone here, have you considered using an introduction agency? You do not know anyone here to introduce you to someone nice and that is generally the best way to meet someone. You could also try and arrange via the internet to meet someone when you are here. At your age you should have the ability to screen who is interesting and who is less interesting. If you do not have a means to meet someone nice such as an agency or a friend to introduce you to, you may well end up like all the others fooled before you who thought they had found the angel in Nana Plaza, but actually found the devil.

A short column this week as I have been busy like crazy. Next week week everything will be back to normal!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Special thanks go out to Dave The Rave