Some of the most fascinating things about Thailand are the huge contrasts we see on a daily basis. Deformed beggars line the pavements of inner city areas tugging on your heartstrings for some loose change while just feet away the traffic is at standstill, the truly beautiful sitting in comfort, posing, hoping all will see them, chauffeur driven in their ultra expensive luxurious European vehicles. Spotless, ultra-modern shopping centres fall out on to streets full of slum areas. Beautiful manicured gardens that took months to create lay next to a crumbling street full of potholes, home to gigantic rats, monstrous cockroaches and the obligatory soi dogs.
But while the contrasting sights of Thailand are fascinating, they are ultimately frustrating. Such huge contrasts cloud the brain with mixed messages making it hard to understand what is really going on.
And in a country where most of the population is actually quite conservative, and where any decent citizen will tell you that a woman's virginity is supposed to be saved for her wedding night, it is nothing short of amazing that the country has such a large commercial sex industry. It is this contrast, the hugely visible farang sector of the commercial sex industry contrasted with the notion that all Westerners have heard that Thai women should be good women confuses us more than anything else.
Why does Thailand have such a large world-renowned commercial sex industry if the people are truly as conservative as I mention? I believe the answer is quite simple…
Talking with a mate the other day about life in the Kingdom, we got on to the subject of Thai females, sex and money. He hypothesized that the vast majority of Thai women / Western men relationships are based on money, even those where the girl never set foot in a bar, and even those, shock horror, where the woman is married. We all know that when a guy goes with a lady of the night, he has to pay her for her services…and while the may try and delude himself with thoughts that the money handed over was a taxi fare home, the money was an integral part of it. She gave sex, and she expected payment. But what about in the case of married women?
We believe that in 90%+ of cross cultural marriages in Thailand, the guy still pays. Sure, the guy probably earns more, and in Thailand it is the man who pays the bulk of the bills, and who generally picks up the tab. If he is working and she isn't then of course it is expected that he will have to provide for her, but even when their respective incomes are much the same, the transfer of funds from him to her is prevalent. It was our belief that even in the cases where both parties were working, irrespective of how much she is earning, he gives her money…and if he doesn't, she'll be out of there, which begs the question, can you get any closer to institutionalised prostitution?
With the western world becoming more PC by the day, the idea that the man pays for everything seems to go against modern beliefs and while I am admittedly out of touch with modern ways of the West, from what I gather, many modern women would become indignant at the thought that the guy felt he had to pay for everything.
There seems to be a belief in Thailand, indeed even an understanding, that no matter what form it takes, sex costs money. When a guy has a sex with a woman, he has to pay. If he is a customer and she is a working girl, he has to pay. If a husband has sex with his wife, he has to pay. It might not be that day, or it might not be the next, but ultimately, he has to pay. Ever heard the locals use the term "free sex"? To many older Thais, it is truly a foreign concept!
Obviously in the case of a commercial transaction, cash is placed in her hand, but in the other types of relationships, it might not be that different…
And thus prostitution is in some ways seen as an honest form or sex, a form which is open, and thus is somewhat accepted, though never admired.
Put a Thai woman in a relationship, be it just boyfriend / girlfriend or more, under enough pressure, and when it really comes down to it, she'll say that by giving you exclusive rights to her pussy, she expects to be paid for it. I believe that the nature of the relationship doesn't matter, be it girlfriend / boyfriend through to long term married couple, if he is getting a bit, she expects to compensated. And I am not talking merely about him paying the bills and picking up the tab when they go out and so forth, but rather providing her with cash in the hand or expensive gifts, especially the type which could be easily converted into cash.
The idea of being directly or indirectly paid for sex is not absolute of course. Anomalies exist in the cases of gigs, gai and the younger generation. Gai, meaning chicken, is a somewhat derogatory term given to young women who like to sleep around, for the fun of it – and form whom monetary compensation is not necessarily their motivation. Gigs are a phenomenon that seems to be getting increasingly popular whereby someone in a relationship, be it either him or her, has someone else on the side, someone they may have fun with, but who they are not committed to. And then there are the youngsters. More and more of Thailand's younger generation see sex as something that is done for a bit of fun, much like things are in the West. This notwithstanding, I still see a deep seated belief amongst many in Thailand that when a woman gives sex she should be compensated for it, if not in money, then in expensive gifts.
I truly believe that sex is looked at by a good number of people in Thailand as something which money goes hand in hand with. Contrast this with Westerners where, at least in an ideal world, sex is seen as going hand in hand with love. If sex and money are seen to go together, then it is no wonder the commercial sex industry in Thailand is tolerated.
Where is this pic?
Last week's pic.
This week's pic.
It was the old Pattaya pier.
If you can read Thai…
Last week’s pic was taken on the old pier in Pattaya, looking back towards the Beach Road. You can see the branch of McDonalds there which I thought would have given it away…but I was really surprised that only a handful of people got it right. Remember, you have to be the FIRST person to get the pic right to win the prize.Each week the first reader to correctly state where this week's pic is wins a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. Please note that the credit MUST be claimed within two weeks. So, to claim that prize, you must be in Bangkok at some time in the next two weeks.
FROM STICKMAN'S BAG OF EMAIL:
Do you have to touch the flame to believe it's hot?
I turned 62 last March and decided to move to Bangkok to spend the remaining years of my life searching for the ideal 19 year old hard bodied Thai girl to "entertain" me. I checked into the Nana Hotel on Soi 4 and got a pretty good deal for a room on a monthly basis. Every night I ventured across the street to NEP. Some were better than others. More friendly and less money grabbing. Others were down right mercenaries. On the advice of a new found farang friend I started going to the Bus Stop and hanging around at night. I met one of the hostesses there and we began a very erotic relationship. She was 25 and more experienced than the others. She was really into sex and loved doing it almost all the time. For an old guy it was sometimes hard to keep it up. Too much of a good thing so they say. Anyway, this went on for several weeks and then things turned for the worse. I began to notice money being taken out of my wallet. A towel missing from the room. Little things to start with. When I asked her about it she cried and called me a bad man, etc. So be it. I said maybe the maids were taking things. Ha. Not likely. Then the big push came. She told me she needed 30,000 baht to help her mother build a store in Isaan so she can make money for the family. I said, ok. Let's go there and see. No way! Just give me the money. Her village is too poor and she did not want me to see it. So, I said no see, no money. Finally she agreed but said to first give her the money. So, I did. She said she would go get the bus tickets and be back in a hour. Well, I waited and she never came back. That was two weeks ago. Well, live and learn I say. If I see that girl again I'll not call the brown boys. I'll take matters into my own hands. I'm not sure what I'll do to her but a good ass kicking would seem a good idea. Now I screw the girls across the street but never let them get close. It ain't worth it for a guy on a limited income.
You've gotta chuckle.
I have come up with an idea to satisfy everybody (except the really old guys who like really, really, young girls that is, but we can live with upsetting them). Introduce Zoning for whores, see it really is that simple, 18 to 25 year old whores can be forced to only date 20 to 30 year old customers, 25 to 35 year old whores can only date 31 to 45 year old guys etc. You see, it is so brilliant, (read stupid), it could have come down from the highest echelons of power. The tourists would no longer be offended, the police would gain a new source of revenue, "Hey, you are walking with a man more than 10 years older than you, fine 300 Baht!" Everybody happy!
When is it time for her to upgrade?
My Thai friend invited me to her birthday party. I hate the parties but she made it quite clear, that 20 Thai girls will be there and I have to check it out of course! It was real fun, two bedroom townhouse overcrowded with Thai girls and also some Chinese people. We farangs were tiny minority. I really did not have any idea, how many Thai girls live here. And they were talking and talking. And very noisy indeed. The other Thai friend of mine asked me later on:" Did you enjoy the party? Did you like some Thai lady?" I told her, that unfortunately all the girls I like are already married. She answered immediately:'' It means nothing. They can get divorced not even two years later and they will be available again!' So you have been warned!
Wear your business shirt out at night!
My taxi was stopped at the end of March on Thanon Petchaburi. I was with female company from Our Place on Cowboy. I thought I was gonna have a big problem. They searched the girls bag for drugs, even to the point where they picked up a piece of tin foil from the taxi floor to see if it contained drugs (it was just rubbish). They asked to see my passport, I explained that it was in my hotel room. They were very polite, said not to worry and sent us on our way. Maybe I was just lucky that night. I was smartly dressed and wearing an expensive business shirt, perhaps that made a difference, who knows.
A geriatric rant!
I read a lot about young girls with old men on your website and others. So, here is my opinion, for what it is worth. We hear and read much about the attitude many people have when they see a geriatric old fart with some young nubile bar girl and not just from regular tourists, but also from many younger sex tourists. Yes, I am one of those geriatric old farts (65 years and counting) and I must admit I still like sex whenever and wherever I can get it. When I go to Thailand (usually two or three times a year) I like to visit different places and experience many of the things that regular tourists do. BUT, I like to do these things in the company of a female as well as in the company of friends. So obviously I spend quite a lot of time in the bars looking for a suitable companion. This naturally results in finding a girl in her twenties or early thirties. Now, if anyone can tell me where and how I can find an attractive, good bodied, sexually active female in the fifty plus age group (I might even consider the forty plus age group) then please let me know. If the age gap critics can't tell me how to find such a companion, then SHUT THE FUCK UP. I need sex just as much as the twenty and thirty year old studs (and I bet I can out perform and outlast most of them) and in case they are wondering, I don't need Viagra or anything else to help me perform. I personally don't care what these people think or say when they see me (or any other old geezer) with a young chick, but remember this, one day you will be in my shoes and then see how well they fit.
Down in Soi Cowboy Midnite, Sheba's and Shark bars have all been closed. There was also a rumour that one bar was to be closed but the forces of law were persuaded otherwise with 100k. True or not, I have no idea. The bar in question was NOT Cowboy 1 or Cowboy 2. Following on from rumours that these two may be closing, I can confirm that it is still business as usual there.
The bys from Nanapong are back, well, just about. The next Nanapong dance contest will be held on August 8 at Electric Blue in Patpong, the same place where the very first one was held, some 3 odd years ago…
Phenomenal deals are now available on ADSL locally as was predicted in last week's column. Unlimited ADSL is available from 590 baht a month. And this is for worldwide access, not just access to Thailand based websites, as similarly priced deals were. There are a bunch of plans, the price depending on the bandwidth you require, but none of us were prepared for the whopping speed of 4 MBps (on downloaded data, not uploaded) offered at just a bit over 2,000 baht per month! This is the equivalent of something like 70 times faster than your standard 56k dial up connection. One has to wonder if this is too good to be True? If anyone is using True's broadband internet service, I'd love to know just how good it is. In a very short space of time, unlimited broadband internet in Thailand has gone from super expensive – at least when compared to elsewhere, to reasonably cheap.
Down at the Pong another pool hall type bar has opened in the spot that was the downstairs portion of the Italian Restaurant on Patpong 2. With this opening there are just about the same number of pool bars as gogo bars. The pool bar that opened last week in the garbage pit area is deserted and the poor door girls have to sit there all night inhaling those noxious fumes.
The much awaited Electric Blue in Patpong seems to have a couple of "design laws". Sitting on the row of seats on the second level, one finds that finding a place to set your drinks is tricky. Sitting up there you have to share the drink tables with the patrons on the floor level and while sitting on the top row the your drinks are sitting at your shinbone level and you have to keep bending over to grab your drinks from the low tables. It is best to sit on the floor level.
In the past couple of weeks there have been groups of 5 – 6 Thai guys about 20 years old who have been making the rounds of the gogos in Patpong. The problem is they think they are in a Thai style venue and bring in their own bottles of booze and just buy mixers. Besides not spending much money they annoy the other customers by standing near the bar "dancing" amongst themselves, Thai disco style, waving their arms around, singing at the top of their lungs. There is bound to be a problem if they continue…in fact it is mighty surprising that the gogos even allow them in, most farang-oriented gogo bars refusing entry to Thai males.
It should be noted that despite belief to the contrary, anyone holding a non-immigrant visa, regardless of category (e.g., B, O etc.) can apply for a work permit if they have the required documentation and evidence. The categories of non-immigrant visas are only an internal system used by the Immigration Bureau. The related laws do not stipulate that a non-immigrant visa must be category B in order to get a work permit. The reason that applicants are told they must have a Nom-Immigrant category B visa is due to the misunderstanding of the law or self-discretion among Immigration Bureau officials. If you want to know more about visas, check out www.visathailand.com, which provides additional information.
The HIV conference to be he held this week in Bangkok prompted the government to ask (not order) schools in Bangkok to close, to reduce traffic congestion in the city. Many schools obliged and even some schools located on the other side of town from where the conference is being held have closed. What an awful waste, a whole week of school time lost.
This week's promotion at all branches of Subway is another cracker. With the purchase of a bag of chips, you can buy 1 footlong and get another footlong free.
I notice Sunbelt is looking for an investor for a new VIP visa bus service starting soon. Run by an expat for expats, it offers luxury coach travel to Poipet return as well as onwards connections to Siem Reap and Angkor, all inclusive for only 2100 baht. Anyone with $30K to invest should contact Sunbelt ASAP.
O'Brians is doing really well and the food getting rave reviews in terms of both value and quality of food. They have a promotion at the moment, buy one draft Singha and get another free. A glass is only 49 baht and a pitcher is 129 baht.
A small group of film makers are currently working on a documentary about Thai woman and the fascination western men have for them. They are looking for a single American, preferably from Los Angles or California, who is interested in going to Thailand for the first time to meet a love interest. Since this is a documentary there is no budget and all expenses are coming out of their pockets but they are willing to pay for the single American man's air flight and stay at a hotel in Thailand. Sounds like a good deal! They are looking for: a single American man, must be looking for a love interest, must be interested in Thai woman, must be willing to be filmed the entire time – good times and bad, from start to finish. He will have to pay for his own, food and recreation. They will pay for the flights and hotel stay. If interested, get in contact with Banyan Entertainment at [email protected].
Dean Barrett will be signing copies of his latest book, "Murder at the Horny Toad Bar & other Outrageous Tales of Thailand", at the Texas Lone Star Saloon, Washington Square, Sukhumvit Soi 22, Saturday 17 July, from 2:30 to 4:00 PM. Dean will also be signing his previous books set in Thailand. And if just meeting Dean and getting an autographed copy of his book was not enough, there is a free lunch at 3 PM too!
I don't know if it was the full moon or whether the DJs have all gone deaf but last week a regular reader was forced out of 3 Patpong bars by the extremely loud music. At Kiss Bar the music was so loud he didn't even bother to go inside. Next stop was Goldfinger and normally the music is great but on this night it was like a jet engine running. He talked to the DJ and asked him if he thought the music was a little too loud and his answer was that one customer gave him 100 baht to play the music loud! He then talked with the owner who just shrugged his shoulders and left it up to the DJ. So for one customer's 100 baht tip he took his business elsewhere and they lost 1,500 – 2,000 baht business! Trying to find a quieter spot he then tried Super Star but that night the DJ had the sound cranked up as loud as it would go! While there spoke to the owner of all those bars and more and told her about the problem and she said she had talked to the DJs at Kiss the last time I told her about this problem but the DJs turned the music down and as soon as she left they turned it back up. WTF! Can't the owner control her own employees? The bright spot of the night was found at Pink Panther where the music was just right and it was enjoyable to watch their girls having fun on stage.
A reader informs me that the reason that the bus does not take the tollway on the way back from Pattaya is that people get off before the bus station at Ekamai, one example is across the street front he Central City Shopping centre, which is of course below the tollway. On the way down to Pattaya people get off in towns that are past the exit of the tollway but not before that.
I've had a friend from home in Thailand for the last 4 weeks. This is his 11th trip to Thailand in 10 years and in the past he spent a bit of time in the bars, though that was not his primary motivation for coming here. This time, not only did he not go to the naughty bars, he didn't do anything naughty either. Not only has he changed, but he feels that Thailand is changing too. Am I right in thinking that the bars are less of an enticement these days? I cube totally wrong, but that is my feeling. Exactly why is anyone's guess, but it seems that these days the guys who I know, work with and hang out with don't really enjoys them any more apart from first time tourists.
Quote of the week comes from a reader. "The downside of living in a 'free' country, is having to listen to the complaints of the other 'free' citizens, who do not like the things that the free, freely get up to."
This year's 4th of July American Independence Day celebration at NIST grounds were great. First off there was NO RAIN and more shade tents and chairs than previous years. The grounds were full and there were the normal games of tug of war, egg toss and lots of kids games. Food was the normal fare for 4th of July with hot dogs, hamburgers and great BBQ ribs at the Marine Corps booth. There were several bands playing. Things went great and concluded with the traditional fireworks display and that was when things went downhill. The fireworks were going off right overhead of the crowd and small pieces of ash started falling onto the crowd then some of them went off so low several people in the crowd were pelted with pieces of the exploding fireworks. No major injuries but the pieces hit with enough force to leave little red marks and momentary pain.
Just a heads up: I know you have interviewed David Young in the past. I wanted to let you know that Dave and I are publishing his latest book online before it goes to press. It's called the Hot Season, and it once again takes place in Thailand. The first two chapters are up now, the next should be posted by the 15th, with a new chapter every two weeks. Should be fun, as readers can all follow along at the same time. http://www.lookatlao.com/press/hotseason/
Mrs. Stick's Corner
Each week, Mrs. Stick answers your questions about Thai / farang relationships and general issues that baffle the average Westerner in Thailand. Mrs. Stick likes to think of herself as an open-minded Thai lady so go ahead, ask anything because you won't shock her. Please send questions for her, via me, at the usual email address. Two 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. Please note that I may not necessarily agree with what she says. Unfortunately, she doesn't have time to reply to your inquiries via email. Questions for her should be limited to 100 words. Mr. Stick may answer the odd question in place of Mrs. Stick of he thinks he can do a better job.
Question 1: I recently met a lady from Khon Kaen I like very much. She works as a “presenter girl”, displaying skin products in stores. Her English and my Thai abilities
are a bit low but we communicate ok. Our first date was lunch with her colleagues. Our second date was dinner. We each brought a friend. The 2 guys ordered one meal each. The 2 girls ordered 6 meals, three with shrimp! They only ate about 1/3 of the food (the guys also ate about 1/3) and 1/3 my date nonchalantly told the waiter to take away. They also each ordered a cocktail they didn’t drink. So for a food and drink bill of 1,500 baht that I was stuck paying for, about 500 baht went to the trash. After the meal, they didn’t thank me, just said good night when they got in a cab. She calls me every day and wants to see me again, but I don't answer. What’s the deal? Does she just think I am farang, so have unlimited pockets? Why no “thanks for dinner?”. I don't believe they would order the same way if they went out alone.
Mrs. Stick says: A traditional Thai meal consists of several different plates of food, usually a great variety such as something fried, a soup, a curry, something deep fried etc. as well as a variety of different meats, beef, pork, chicken shrimp etc. I'm sure the Thai friends shared a bit from each plate. Recently I took Stickman out to one of his favourite Italian restaurants. I treated him and I ordered bread, a salad, a pasta and a pizza even though I had very little to eat myself. This is quite simply the Thai way of eating. We like to have a variety of different dishes when we dine. I know from my husband that sometimes Westerners see it as a great waste of food, and money. What can I say? The Thai way and the Western way are different. Not thanking you for dinner was rude though.
Question 2: My question is about the dowry. There is not any serious talk yet, just some joking around (from both me, my girlfriend and her family). When it's time fore a more serious talk should I expect to give more than when her older sister got married or is it okay for me to use her sister's dowry as a reference. Her older sister's dowry was 29,999 baht and one baht gold when she married 8 years ago to her Thai husband.
Mrs. Stick says: There are many variables that determine the price of the dowry and I think I answered a question similar to this, about how it is calculated, a few months ago. If the two sisters have a similar education level and their respective backgrounds are similar, then it would be fair to assume that the dowry should be about the same. But you are farang, and as you are planning to get married many years after the first sister, you might get asked for more. Thailand has become more expensive in this time. While you have not said much about the lady in question, this amount does seem very low.
Your feedback about this column and the site in general is always welcome. I strive to cover and include a range of subjects which I believe appeal to Westerners living in and traveling in Thailand. Don't be shy to let me know what parts of the column you don't like, and any parts you would like to see more of.
Your Bangkok commentator,