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The first clue was her English. She said that she'd studied English in the States but as an English teacher myself I could tell that while she had very good comprehension, her use of the language was largely idiomatic, with a lot of slang. You don't usually study slang formally.
The second was an arrogant cockiness, the sort that you usually associate with corrupt cops. The only other Thai women I have met with such an attitude have been successful working girls.
The third clue was her familiarity with the naughty nightlife industry and the ease with which terms used by the girls and customers alike just rolled off her lips, oh so naturally.
The opening piece of last week's column was a lengthy interview with "Pin", the owner of Bangkokmates. I first met Pin a few months back and was impressed with her but I always had a feeling that something wasn't quite right, so when I received an email from an irate Westerner resident here in Bangkok about Pin following the upload of last week's column, I can't say I was altogether surprised.
This gentleman claimed that all was not what it seemed with Pin. He made a few claims about Pin's past and I forwarded the email to Pin who responded that what he had said was nonsense.
It didn't stop there. More emails came in, some making various claims that seemed a bit far fetched. Pin denied what the readers had said. There was no clear evidence as to what people had said being true or not, so there was little I could do. But then I got an email with something which piqued my curiosity. The respondent alerted me to another nickname by which Pin is known, Kexkulu, which he jokingly referred to as rhyming with sex guru.
That was the lead I needed to do one of the things I enjoy most, sleuthing, digging up the past, and generally sticking my nose in where it isn't wanted. The sneaky feelings I had about Miss Pin not quite being who she claims to be appeared to have some credence…
I fired Kexkulu into Google and a couple of other search engines and spent the next hour visiting a bunch of websites where Kexkulu was known, or had posted. What I read and saw sure opened my eyes and made me wonder just what was going on.
Pin appeared to be the former operator of a site called Bangkokdates, a site which would appear to have been the forerunner to Bangokokmates. Many of the girls listed on Bangkokdates were also listed on Bangokokmates though strangely, their details, such as their name, were not always the same! But this wasn't so bad. There could be some sort of explanation… I mean, people often change their nicknames and their job… But Bangkokdates was just the start.
I uncovered site after site. Various sites which seemed to be discussion forums frequented by those involved in the American porn industry where Kexkulu had posted messages saying that she was available for a whole host of photo shoots including this, that and everything else. One post made in October last year said that she had had 4 years in the industry although true or not, who knows? Another site said that she had many friends who were available too. Hmmm…
And then the photos….well, let's just say that if you can imagine it, it was there. No sex shots with men in the picture mind you, but just about everything else.
The screen capture below from a Google search shows that at one time when Bangkokdates was still running, she had her picture hosted on the Bangkokdates site and prospective photographers could view it there.
Pin appears to have been the operator of Bangkokdates which has long since been taken down, although remnants of it can be found if you know where to look. It bears a remarkable resemblance to Bangkokmates. But just why was Bangkokdates taken down? This much is not clearly obvious but I wonder if it had anything to do with that story from the interview with Pin when she said that a girl she had introduced to a guy called her from the guy's hotel room where she was very scared. Had that girl made a complaint to the authorities, the site would have come under the sort of scrutiny that Pin would have wanted to avoid. It is just a hunch, but I reckon that incident and the previous site's closure may be related.
That there are pictures online of Pin in her birthday suit, and that she has made money through involvement and participation in that industry is neither here nor there as far as I am concerned. In fact I'd go as far as to say that I admire her. She found a market where there was demand and she was able to exploit it. That she has made money from nude photography and naughty webcam sites is her business and if anything, she is to be admired for that. Indeed, she tells me that she is rich… Good on her.
On two of the commercial websites where pictures of Pin could be found nude were also a number of pictures of other girls who feature on Bangkokmates, also in their birthday suits. Not just one or two, but many. Note I used the word 'could', past tense. After I sent email to Pin informing her of my findings and my concerns, a couple of these sites went down right away. Not before I had copied the entire contents of them, of course.
Check out the girls on Bangkokmates and then go to Thai Girls Live Dot Com – some of the girls are clearly the same person, just with different names! Also, is that not a picture of Pin on the main page of the site? This site only went live on June 23rd!
I uncovered lie after lie after lie. Pin is not married, and apparently never has been. Thus the claims that she and her husband have helped pair many couples get together and marry would appear to be totally invalid. Pin did not graduate from university as she claimed – and frankly, I should have picked up on that when she said she'd run away from home at age 13. Claiming to have graduated and then having an involvement in such things sullies the good institute's name… Her family sent her to the USA to study English? Bollocks!
She then goes on to say that she has arranged a total of eight marriages between guys and her "friends". So, if all of the ladies on her site are her friends, then surely she knew what they were up to with the webcams? In fact, given that she is the one who does the web design, would it not be fair to assume that it is her who put together the webcam sites and thus that she is presenting certain girls for marriage who she is also using on the naughty webcam sites? That the girls are listed on one site with one name and on Bangokokmates with another only re-enforces the fact that huge misrepresentations are being made.
Despite some reservations, I liked Pin when I first met her and had hoped to promote what was then a very reasonably priced service, a 2,000 baht fee for an introduction to three different girls. But when one promotes someone or something and subsequently finds out that so much of what has been stated is a bunch of lies and untruths, then one has a duty to correct this.
As I discovered more and more, I contacted Pin and asked her if she would be prepared to tidy up Bangkokmates and clean up the riff raff. I can't print her response as it was a private email, suffice to say that no changes have made to the Bangkokmates site.
So, in summary, let me state the following. Some of the girls listed on Bangkokmates are also listed on sites which could be classified as part of the "online adult entertainment industry". While the Bangkokmates site states that certain women are employed in an innocuous enough job, a number are, or have been, employees of various websites where visitors pay to see pictures of them nude doing things of a sexual matter. Not all of the girls mind you, but some. In all fairness, lots of the girls on Bangkokmates are normal, nice Thai girls.
One should never be surprised at how things sometimes unfold in Bangkok but I couldn't help but be surprised at the trail of lies and deception uncovered. All this sort of nonsense tarnishes the image of Thai women and contributes to giving them a bad name.
And Pin isn't even her nickname, not her real one at least…she's got a few!
WHERE IS THIS PICTURE Competition?
It was the Kassikornbank head office.
A bit tricky, this one…
Last week's pic was of the Kassikornbank head office, taken from a few km away. It was far too easy and I really shouldn't have included the bank's symbol which was a bit of a giveaway. This week's pic is somewhat more difficult, to say the least… There are three prizes available this week, one for each of the first three people to email with the correct location of the pic. The first is a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. The second prize is a signed copy of Steve Leather's cult novel set in Bangkok's bars, "Private Dancer". The third prize is a beautiful hand-cast, crafted sandstone sculpture offered by BKIThailand – for this prize, you MUST be in Bangkok. Unfortunately, these prizes are only available to people in Thailand now – either resident or tourist. If you would prefer one particular prize over the others, please do not be shy to tell me!
FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX
I also had some bad experiences at the park near Yao Mo when I first arrived in Korat 17 years ago. Apparently, some things haven't changed. Like yourself, I went to that park to just relax and read the Bangkok Post or a book. Each time I went there, I got hassled by freelance streetwalkers after being there less than 30 minutes. I gave up after my 3rd time in the park and didn't go there again for the remainder of my 2 years in Korat. This never happened to me in Lumpini Park or any of the other parks I hung out in Bangkok. Why do you think this happens so frequently to farang men at this particular park in Korat? Does this sort of thing happen often to farang men elsewhere in Thailand?
America, land of fussy women.
Regarding the women situation in America, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is the WORST on the planet, and even men with graduate degrees, loads of $, and everything else are not even in the game. My best friend in America is college educated, 36 years old, good-looking, a gentleman, worth in excess of half a million dollars and has a great personality and sense of humour. He hasn't had a date for 5 years and gets shot down by fat, uneducated waitresses. It's not just a bad situation, it is virtually non-existent.
Are Thai women easily pleased?
For many Thai women, happiness simply involves the absence of hardship. If her man can put food on the table and he's not a violent, whoring drunkard, she might be content. In the West, happiness is often viewed as the attainment of an ideal (e.g. the Brad Pitt – Donald Trump – John Holmes hybrid man). Whether this is the product of Western thought or a relentless Madison Avenue brainwash, we are nevertheless hard-wired to be miserable! And it's not just American women who are picky. I've seen more than a few Western men growing old in Bangkok while looking for that perfect Thai woman.
Any dream interpreters out there?
A reader emailed Mrs. Stick about his Thai wife or girlfriend who would wake up after having a dream and try to look up the meaning of the dream in a book on a regular basis. Some Asian women are intensely interested in the meaning of dreams, according to my wife, who is Korean. Virtually every night or in the early morning, my wife gets up, goes to the kitchen, and writes down her dreams. She usually writes two or more pages each day. She does this religiously, and believes that these dreams "tell her things," and they very well might in the Freudian sense. What do I know, I can't remember any of my dreams, so my mind must still be a blank slate.
Heaven for the Brits.
The Crown Royal. As a creature of habit, as most of us are, I find comfort in visiting familiar places i.e. bars and restaurants where people know me. I had a new experience last week when I stumbled across the nearest thing I've seen in Asia to a real British city pub. Real pubs only exist in the UK and Ireland. Australia calls them pubs but these are really bars. America doesn't have pubs, only bars. So what's the difference between a pub and a bar? Visit The Crown Royal in Patpong (it's next door to Foodland). Inside, this place looks like a pub. It smells like a pub. It even has British geysers propping up the bar talking crap about football and cricket and what they'd like to do to Clive Woodward. Best of all, the girls that work there completely ignore you. If you're a Brit, you'll love it.
Question: How do you look cool in a disco? Answer: Put toilet paper in your ears!
Here's a suggestion about the noise in discos and bars – wear earplugs! When I was a bit younger, I went to discos every weekend and also to a lot of rock concerts, but I always wore foam earplugs. It is possible to cut them into pieces and just use that a smaller piece, still cuts down on noise by maybe 10 db. Since power scales up exponentially with db, a reduction of noise from 100 to 90 db will cut the impact on your ears by a factor of 10! In a pinch, even a small lump of toilet paper will significantly decrease the stress on your ear drums. I see the payoff from my precautions today, at thirty – my hearing is still perfect, but two of my friends are almost deaf.
Remember your party hat!
I attended a recent conference in Kobe, Japan, on the progress of AIDS in South-East Asia, where the infection rates are growing even faster than Africa. Myanmar and Papua New Guinea are facing epidemics, while Vietnam and Indonesia are experiencing rapidly increasing rates among drug users. In Vietnam, one third of all prostitutes are intravenous drug users. In Indonesia, prostitutes rarely insist on condoms and a similar percentage to Vietnam take drugs, so these countries are going to see spiraling infection rates as the AIDS virus enters the general population. The good news is that Thailand and Cambodia continue to lead the way with sensible awareness campaigns. Thailand's infection rate has dropped continuously for the past ten years now, while Cambodia's has gone down from 2.9% to 1.3% of the population, arguably still very high. So if there is a message here, it is to continue to party with your hat on, and not to stray too far from the Kingdom's borders!
The walk of shame.
I stayed at the City Beach Hotel in Hua Hin and having pre-paid by credit card I thought checking out would be a breeze as I'd only had one bottle of Coke from the minibar and 2 shirts laundered. When I was presented with a bill of over 1,000 baht I disputed this until the guy mentioned it was for 'lady visitor' in front of other people checking in / out. It was highly embarrassing for me. If they had made this clear when I booked or at least had a discrete notice in the lobby or maybe in the rooms, this could have been avoided.
There are two Buddhist holidays this coming week so most of the bars will be closed on the 21st & 22nd. Restaurants or establishments with a license to serve alcohol with food are usually the only exceptions. Order a single plate of food and you can then order as much alcohol as you wish.
Re-opening after renovations, Rainbow 3 doesn't look much different than before and it has to be said that it is nothing special at all compared to the other Rainbow bars. It also has to be said that they have a very inexperienced mamasan which can't
help their cause at all. Hardly the jewel in Rainbow's crown – it is their smallest bar and in a less than ideal spot in Nana – Rainbow boss Num wants to send one of his top mamasans to Rainbow 3 for a month or so to sort it out.
Rainbow 1 continues to do a very good trade, especially considering it is low season. The prime location in Nana helps a lot too!
Rainbow 4 still continues to rule the roost in Nana Plaza and even more so with Rainbow 2 closed for renovations. The management of Playskool can't be too happy for they have reportedly lost between 20 and 30 girls to the mighty machine of Rainbow 4, and Playskool has had to offer higher salaries to combat this loss. Hopefully for Playskool and other Nana bars in a similar position, girls will drift back to the bars they left. Even some of the Rainbow 4 girls are now complaining that there are simply too many dancers working there. A lot of bars have lost both trade and girls to Rainbow 4, which is increasingly becoming a bigger thorn in rival bars' sides.
But Angelwitch refuses to let the Rainbow Group have it all their way. Angelwitch's biggest handicap has been their size – it really isn't that big a bar. In an effort to rectify this, Angelwitch have recently purchased the bar next door, Secrets. The extra space will provide both new ladies and gents toilets, larger changing rooms and an extra row of seating on the left-hand side of the bar. These new changes will be very welcome and along with the recruitment of new girls, Angelwitch looks to be the only bar in Nana capable of challenging the Rainbow Group.
In what seems to be a series of fires in the entertainment areas, Friday night saw Dollhouse on Soi Cowboy alight! At about 11 PM smoke was seen rushing out the doors and a mad scramble ensued with customers and dancers fleeing the smoke. Local workers were then seen checking the electrical connections at the front of the bar but as yet there has been no word on what caused the problem. The fire department never came… Most of the naughty bars have NO fire protection and are filled with wood and other flammable construction materials that give off dangerous fumes when burned and normally there is only one exit, making it only a matter of time before there is a fire tragedy of large proportions in one of these bars. SIT BY THE DOOR!
On Friday night in Soi Cowboy there was a private party upstairs in Sheba's that must have been a birthday party because many girls in birthday suits were seen wandering around. A male member of the Thai hi-so crowd had apparently rented the upper part of Sheba's for what was rumoured to be several hundred thousand baht and dancers were brought in from several of the owners' other bars filling the place with loads of good looking dancers. "Entertainment" in several varieties took place both downstairs and upstairs with the glass ceiling giving customers sitting downstairs nice views of the action upstairs. Anyone got several hundred thousand laying under their pillow? My birthday could be arranged for whatever day you'll be in Bangkok…
I somehow forgot to mention it when it happened but Deja Vu, the new bar in Cowboy, didn't last long before it got slapped with a 60 day closure order! And rumour has it that Midnite is about to be slapped with a 30 day closure. Let me re-iterate that this is a rumour. What isn't a rumour though is that there is serious ill feeling towards Midnite since the new management took over. Long time customers are disgruntled to say the least, and other bars in the soi are not pleased with the new management at all.
Peter from Playskool, Suzy Wong and a heap of other bars has bought Apache on Soi Cowboy. It will be remodeled and be a table top dancing venue. Sounds interesting and anything that offers something a little different is always welcome.
Boss Hogg's will open before month's end and will be renamed to Big Mango. I wonder if we'll see Bar Philips in there?
Continuing the bad news, prices have risen at Suzie Wong's and Sheba's to 125 baht for Heineken and spirits + mixed drinks. Perhaps the most notable difference between Nana and Cowboy now is that at Cowboy customers get to see some dancers in their birthday suits. 125 baht drinks at Soi Cowboy, who would've thought it?
I have yet to write anything about Titanium bar in Soi 22 because…..I have yet to go there. It has been described to me as a modern entertainment spot run by three farangs with a few swanky features such as an upstairs walk-in freezer with a bar area made of ice. Perhaps the feature that will appeal to many however is not the walk-in freezer but the fact that many of the waitresses, who have been described as "hot", walk around in open shirts with no bra. Hmmm, I think this place warrants a visit! To give an idea on pricing, Heineken runs 130 baht a bottle.
Club Electric Blue is having a beach party on July 21st at Pratumnak Road, Soi 5, in front of U-Tong Condo in Pattaya. All the girls from Bangkok and Pattaya will be there to party. There is a free BBQ and drinks and all are welcome from midday onwards.
Sending the management team down the road was perhaps the worst decision Johnny has made at Hollywood in Nana – and that is saying something because he sure has made a few! Not only were May and June Hollywood's worst ever months, but they actually made a loss. Can you believe it! A bar which just a couple of months earlier did 241,000 baht in ONE NIGHT has had such a phenomenal turn around – for the worse! The situation is getting very grave indeed, far worse than even the biggest cynics could have predicted. Johnny seems to be of the thinking that they have made a loss due to the high salaries that they are forced to pay to prevent more girls defecting to one of the Rainbow bars. When Johnny fired former manager Dave and mamasan Ann, he failed to realise just how many of their girls AND customers would go with them. Johnny is actually based in Blighty and flies into Bangkok at the start of each month to handle the accounts, pay the salaries and jet back to London with a few extra baht in his pocket. I wonder if he 's now going to use a cheaper airline? In fact if this keeps up, he might have to bring money out from the UK to cover the bills!
Bill, the Hollywood Strip manager who replaced former manager Dave, has been fired after only three weeks in charge! Bill had left Mandarin to take this job and had prepared a business plan. Johnny accused Bill of not honouring his side of the agreement and Bill was promptly fired! So, what now for Johnny and the Hollywood bars? No manager, no unique concept or competitive advantage, a poor location, and a dwindling number of anxious girls all paint a bleak future! I'll give you a clue, Johnny. Drop your prices of beers and spirits to under 100 baht, drop the barfine to 400 baht and put all of the girls from the two bars into the one bar. A busy bar has a far better atmosphere than two bars. As business picks up, wait until things are busy enough and then re-open the second bar. The invoice for Stickman's consultancy service will be lodged with the mamasan. The last I heard was that Bill had left Bangkok and he was raging, furious at what had happened.
Alex Bar in Sukhumvit Soi 6 has bought Suzie Bar and they are being joined. The new bar will be open early August.
The walk from Nana to Cowboy on the odd numbered soi side of Sukhumvit is just about unbearable these days with seemingly new vendors setting up to sell their crap every week. With so much happening on the ground in Asia walking is usually fun enough, but forget it on that stretch of road. Nana to Cowboy now involves a taxi or the BTS.
I wasn't a huge fan of John Burdett's first Bangkok based novel, "Bangkok 8", but the overwhelming consensus from readers was positive and most gave it the thumbs up. The follow up, "Bangkok Tattoo", is now available in Asia Books branches at the very reasonable price of 595 baht – very fair for a hardback – you can't even get it at Amazon that cheap.
The average Western guy seems to have a thing for the women of Isaan, as opposed to women from other parts of Thailand. They'll say they like short, dark-skinned girls with a 6 year school education but perhaps the truth lies in the fact that Isaan women often throw themselves at the first farang that comes anywhere near them. Now after a few years in Thailand, I am starting to notice something that it, well, takes a few years to notice. I can remember some very nice, young, early '20s, Isaan women who I knew when I was still a new boy on the block. Very pretty they were. From time to time I bump into these girls round about and most are touching 30 now. Oooh, time has not been kind on them. The cute looks they once had have largely disappeared and they have taken on a look which is not entirely pleasant, and even bordering on ugly, if we're being brutally honest. As harsh as it sounds, I truly believe that Isaan women do not age nearly as well as women from other parts of the country.
Now I do not wish to cast aspersions on the management and staff at Gulliver's in Sukhumvit, but running a spyware detection programme on one of the computers from which free internet is provided revealed a perturbing number of programmes, including keyloggers. For those unaware of just what this means, everything you type into those computers is recorded, including your passwords – meaning someone (the person who installed the program) could go back and access everything you have typed on that computer and then access accounts of yours, and even change the passwords to any email or other online accounts you accessed while there. This is not necessarily limited to only Gulliver's – I'd put good money on it that a lot of internet cafes have such programs installed too. The bottom line is that if you want to use the internet securely, bring your own laptop (but even that is not totally secure).
Security at the airport is being upgraded and a new face recognition system is being trialed. At this stage it is not in place at every desk, though I guess it will be soon. If you're a naughty boy who is on a wanted list somewhere in the world, it might pay to head for the lanes that don't yet appear to have the system in place.
For all of the guys who are paying their girlfriend or their wife to be their girlfriend or their wife, remember that she may well be looking at the situation as if it was a "job". She sees you as her employer. So perhaps you should take the same tack and view her as your employee? Just remember that it is the employer that sets the terms and conditions of employment…and when the employee fxxks up, they get sent down the road. Follow this analogy and you'll be right!
Legislation was introduced several months back prohibiting the sale of alcohol at certain times. Strictly speaking, it can only be sold between 11 AM and 2 PM and 5 PM and midnight although bars manage to sell it later than midnight without a problem and little ma and pa style shops will it sell it any old time. Anyway, floating through one of the Tops supermarket branches this week, I actually read the rules they had printed regarding the sale of alcohol. The aforementioned hours are correct, but if you are purchasing 10 litres or more of alcohol, you can buy it any time and the restrictions do not apply! WTF? I cannot work this one out…
There are a heap of Thai personals websites online, a heap of them. Mrs. Stick and I talked about the possibility of setting one up a couple of years back but when we sat down and went over what would be involved, we felt it would be more work than we initially thought and would be fraught with all sorts of potential problems. Well, talking with someone this week who is, shall we say, in the know, the better personals sites see two or three marriages a month. Think about it. That really isn't that many. And some of these sites have HUNDREDS of girls listed. So, whatever happens to these girls? Well, as the notorious Miss Pin pointed out last week, a lot of them are simply paid to attend meetings with prospective partners even though they may not be genuinely interested in that guy, or any farang, for that matter. The more I hear about all of these personals sites, the more it sounds like it's one big dirty business.
I get a lot of emails asking me questions about life in Thailand, and various issues, the answers to which can usually be found somewhere on this site. But if this site doesn't have it, you could try Google. Google is kind of large with billions of websites listed. So, if you want to narrow down the search, you need a good Thai website search engine. Give ThaiWebsites.com a go. It's a web directory for English-language websites about Thailand. Their general directory covers business and finance, entertainment, travel and tourism, Thai media, health and sports. There is an extensive real estate database and a separate directory for industry, manufacturing and consumer goods. There are also original articles and cultural and historical information about the 76 provinces of Thailand. Best of all, it's put together by real people and even the dead links are removed each month!
From my corner of Farangland, New Zealand, comes the report of the prosecution of a local man who was convicted under the Prostitution Reform Act – for failing to use a condom with a prostitute! He was fined over $NZ500 (about 15,000 Thai baht). There'd be a heap of prosecutions in Thailand if such a law existed locally. Actually, they'd probably never be prosecuted as such, but rather settled out of court!
Ask the Sticks
Mrs. Stick is here to answer questions surrounding anything that confuses you in Thailand, particularly issues of the heart. Please note that for general bargirl related questions, Mr. Stick might answer them. It has to be said that Mrs. Stick is not your stereotypical Thai woman. She is not Buddhist and she is not shy to criticise things about her own country and culture, although having said that, she remains proud to be Thai. Mr. Stick will try and answer the questions which Mrs. Stick is not so sure about.
Question 1: I am not based in Thailand but I visit regularly. Everyday I read about troubles in the south of the country, violence, bombs, attacks on policemen, teachers, government officials and even monks. Some of the victims have even been beheaded just as in Iraq. What is the feeling amongst your Thai friends in Bangkok? Do they harbour resentment towards the Muslims in the south? What do you think the chances are of them taking their cause to the capital?
Mrs. Stick says: Thai people are very upset about all of the problems in the south. We don't believe it is about religion because our King gives freedom to everyone to choose their own religion. We don't like what is happening and wonder whether the government can fix this problem quickly. I really hope it doesn't escalate to Bangkok, but who knows? Personally, I think it is more a political issue than a religious issue. Whoever these people are, irrespective of their religion, I am sure God will punish them.
For the last few weeks traffic has been noticeably lighter in Bangkok, especially at peak times. What can be a 35 – 40 minute drive home for me has been just 20 – 25 minutes. GREAT! I have been trying to rack my brain and figure out why. Perhaps the police had installed a new computer system to control traffic? Perhaps it was because it is that time of year when all of the international schools are off. And then the slowest lad in the class, Stick, finally realised what it must be. The price of petrol. Speaking with friends who also drive here, we have all noticed that traffic is definitely lighter. Dare I say it, that is one benefit of the increased price of petrol.
Your Bangkok commentator,