Stickman's Weekly Column February 26th, 2006

The Day My Nokia Learned To Fly



The Night My Nokia Learned To Fly

I had an appointment to meet someone. I rocked up to his place of work and let the secretary know who I was and who I was there to see. I was told to take a seat, and wait.

I waited…and waited…and waited. While I was waiting, one of the farang staff walked past and introduced himself. Michael, a new member of the team. We exchanged pleasantries and chatted briefly before he returned to his office. I resumed waiting.

Some 25 odd minutes past the appointed time I asked the secretary for an update and was told that the gentleman was still in a meeting but that he should only be another 5 minutes. Suk puk neung <just a moment>. I waited 15 minutes more and as it was obvious that this meeting wasn’t going to finish in a hurry, I told the secretary that I couldn’t wait any longer and that I had to go. I wrote a note to the guy I was supposed to be meeting, including my name, Michael, and my phone number, and then I left.

I had barely walked out the office when the meeting ended, he appeared and it was a case of better late than never.

We had our meeting and then went about out respective lives.

That evening I found myself out at Soi Cowboy on assignment. I finished the job and made it home at around midnight. The Mrs. was still up and asked me where I had been to which I replied that I had been in the Asoke area, doing an investigation. The Mrs. jumped into bed and I jumped into the shower.

Then one of those only in Thailand things happened and at about 15 minutes after midnight my mobile rang. Who the hell could it be at this hour? It had to be a Thai as farangs never call it at that time. But a Thai? I'm not close enough to any Thais, apart from the Mrs., for whom I would consider it acceptable to call at that time. I usually turn my phone off before I go to bed to eliminate unwanted wrong number calls interrupting my sleep, but that night I’d forgotten. Never mind, I hadn’t gone to sleep yet.

The Mrs. grabbed the phone and brought it into the bathroom where I saw from the display that it was a call from another mobile, a number I hadn’t saved into the phone’s memory, a number I didn’t recognise. I answered the call to a heap of background noise. It sounded like someone was calling from a bar or a disco. A Thai woman was on the line saying, “Michael, Michael, where did you go?”

What?! She knew my name. But who was she? I didn't recognise the voice.

I told her that I didn’t know who she was to which she responded that we had just been together and that I had just left her. What?! My mind went into overdrive trying to work out what was going on, but I couldn’t figure it out. I told her that she must have called the wrong number and I cut the call off. The Mrs. took the phone back into the bedroom and I continued in the shower.

A minute or two later the phone rings again and I roll my eyes, thinking it is the same girl making a nuisance of herself, and quietly cursing myself for not turning the phone off. This time the Mrs. answers it herself. She converses with the person on the other end of the line in Thai while standing in the doorway to the bathroom. A black cloud forms over her face as she chats with the woman, the very same woman who had called just a couple of minutes earlier.

They talk for about a minute and then the call ends, no polite wishes or goodbye at the end, all very Thai style.

The Mrs. tries to conceal her fury but is unable to do so. “Where have you been tonight and who were you with?” she half asks, half yells.

“I was at Soi Cowboy investigating a girl. You know that already”, I respond indignantly.

“Why did you say you were at Asoke?” she counters with.

“I was at Asoke. Asoke runs right down one side of Soi Cowboy and it was at the Asoke end of Cowboy where I jumped into a taxi before coming home.”

Dollair!”, she screams <The Thai word for bullshit!> and at that point my Nokia very quickly learns to fly, from the bathroom door, into the bathroom, smashing into the side of the bath.

I leap out of the bath and scream a few obscenities, the situation very quickly getting to a point that I'm not at all comfortable with.

“Why the hell did you do that?”, I scream.

“That girl wanted to know why you rushed home. She said that she had been dancing closely with you on the dance floor and that you left Asoke 15 minutes ago. She was angry that you left her there. What the hell is going on, Michael?”

My mind was spinning. Good question – What the hell was going on? Yes, I had just come from Asoke. I had been at Cowboy and I had done an investigation. I had not danced with anyone though I had watched a number of girls dancing. I hadn’t given my number to anyone and as far as I knew, no Thai women had my phone number.

The phone had broken up into four pieces, the main section, the face, the battery and the SIM card. None of them appeared to have any damage and when I put it all back together and tried the power switch I was pleased to see that the phone leapt to life. I called back the number of the woman who had called, but got a message that the phone had been turned off. HELL! I kept calling but kept getting the same message. It was a mix of emotions, confusion and anger the strongest.

Mrs. Stick went on to explain that the woman on the phone had told her that she had been dancing with me at Asoke up until 15 minutes earlier and that she was very disappointed that I had left, and by the way, just why was a woman answering Michael’s phone?!

Mrs. Stick explained that Michael was her husband, which the woman at the other end of the line countered by saying that Michael had told her that he was single!

I re-iterated to Mrs. Stick where I had been, and what I had been doing. But everything added up in her mind to me having been a naughty boy. Another woman knew my name, my mobile number and exactly where I had been at exactly the right time. That part I couldn’t explain and even I was confused.

The Mrs. cooled down slowly, but I didn’t. I was livid. Furious.

The next morning I tried the number of the mobile and…it rang. A girl answered, a girl who was most contrite. She had realised that she had made a very grave mistake…

It was the secretary of the guy who I had been to meet earlier that day. She had been out with Michael, the guy from her place of work who I had met in the lobby while waiting the previous day. While I was investigating at Soi Cowboy, they had been at the Ministry Of Sound, which is just around the corner from Asoke and from all accounts had been getting close on the dance floor. He must have left and she went hunting for his phone number and somehow still had the note I had written to her boss. Given that Michael and I had the same name, and in all likelihood with no shortage of alcohol in her system, she mistook my number for his number.

There is a reason that Nokia is the world’s most successful mobile phone company. Not only can their mobiles fly, but some models are damned near indestructible, and when they come in for landing, even a crash landing, they often survive.

But forget Nokia for a moment. This story is about Thai women. Even the seemingly most decent of Thai women can crack. While totally innocent of any funny business, the evidence appeared to the contrary. In fact as far as the Mrs. was concerned, the evidence was irrefutable. When Thai women feel betrayed, look out!

WHERE IS THIS PICTURE Competition?

It was the Paradise Hotel in Phuket.

Where is that?!

Last week's pic was the distinctive looking Paradise Hotel in Patong Beach, Phuket. This was the first high rise in Patong. This week we're back in Bangkok. The prizes are only available to people in Thailand now – either residents or tourists, and must be redeemed within 2 weeks. You MUST say that you are in Bangkok and able to claim the prize or I will consider you ineligible. If you do not explicitly mention you are local or will be in town in the next two weeks, you cannot claim any of the prizes.

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

The Alphabet Club!

I had an Ae in Chiang Mai. And a Bee in Pattaya. Cee came from Yala. Dee was from Roi Et. Ee, Eff and Gee were bargirls. But I've never met an H. In fact, if any of your readers have the telephone numbers for H, Q, R, S, V, W, X, Y or Z I can hopefully complete the full set. Mile High Club be damned, I would be the founding member of the Alphabet Club!

Who is the English tout?

When I was in Patpong 2 two years ago, there was an Englishman on the street outside the entrance of an upstairs bar. He was a street hawker evidently, trying to get people to go up to the bar. The bar itself looked shady, like it was not a place to go because you'd probably get ripped off. I was at a beer bar across from it during the day and the girls at that bar were all 40 years old or more. I had a great time conversing with them for a good part of the day since 3 of them spoke really great English and could even understand western humour. An Australian couple also came by and the main girl behind the bar recognised them from previous visits. Evidently they vacationed in Thailand a lot in the past, and each time they stop by to see her, not caring that she's a hooker, or former one at least. Anyway, the girls clued me in that the Englishman across the street had run into trouble back in England and couldn't return, not without problems. So he lives day to day working as a street hawker. He looked pretty far gone when I saw him two years ago.

Air Asia get the thumbs up!

I would just like to give the flip side of the coin in defence of Air Asia. My friend and I made a number of flights in January and could hardly fault them. For a start not having to traipse back and forth to a travel agent to get various tickets was a welcome change to the norm. And the flights themselves? Bangkok-Phuket, immediate check in and on time. Phuket – KL, quite a long check in but on time. KL – Clarke, immediate check in and on time. Clarke – KL,1 hour delay but arrived only 20 minutes behind schedule. KL-Bangkok, immediate check in and on time. For a total flying time of 13 hours approx. The fares came to around £190 or 13,000 baht and they were generally last minute fares and not as cheap as they could have been given more time. The equivalent of London to Bangkok / Singapore for less than two hundred quid! And then there's the cabin crew….wow! My friend and I have got a good many flights under our belts since the early '80s and can't think of any airline that has had so many stunners. I wish I'd had the front to get my picture taken with some of them, like one of the flight crew did between KL and Clarke! The odds are we'll get shafted next time and if only they didn't bang on about Manchester bloody United!

Teachers try elsewhere.

Your article on teaching in Bangkok shed some light for me on whether I would care to work in your city. After teaching stints in Japan, Korea and now Taiwan I consider myself very experienced and dedicated to my profession. I can't comprehend how anyone would want to live in BKK on a paltry salary of 30,000 baht / month. If these people are truly teachers then they must be putting in some long hours both in & out of the classroom and to me that would justify a salary of AT LEAST double the 30K. If many / most of the young male teachers are in BKK simply for the easily available pussy then they should consider another Asian country. The 3 countries above have heaps of lovely ladies who don't charge $ for their companionship, are gainfully employed or at a Uni. and are very eager to have a foreigner boyfriend. And if it's only one-night stands you seek, there are clubs everywhere to find such lasses. Now while these gals do not possess the Thai "feline" look we all know and love, they are certainly very attractive, very available and everywhere. What's best is you can make a salary where you are living quite comfortably and actually SAVING $. Not just blowing it on bar girls. I'll stick to the above 3 countries where I can bank some coin, have a plethora of available ladies to choose from who aren't just after my $ and a job that gives me 2 long holidays a year when I can fly to LOS (or elsewhere in the region) if I so desire.

No receipt, no problem!

Just a note to let you know that when my wife applied for her new passport here in Canberra at the Thai Embassy, her old one was taken away and will be sent to Thailand. No receipt given. Cost of new passport $54. No receipt given for the payment. What if my wife needs to go overseas while waiting for the new passport I asked? Then we'll give her an emergency travel document. I don't know what happens to her if the Thai Embassy is closed when she needs this document. Maybe she should get one just in case. Immigration Dept (OZ) has told me that they will provide my wife with a resident return visa to accompany the Thai emergency travel document. But this is done doing office hours. What happens if my wife needs to travel on the weekend? Immigration then said they have officers at Sydney airport who will check her status and make arrangements so she can return to Australia. Just imagine, no passport for the 4 weeks it takes for her new passport to arrive from Thailand!

Isaan, the next place du jour?

Not this year and not next year but ten years from now Isaan might indeed become the place du jour simply because every other place in Thailand has been ruined. Prices are ruinously high in Phuket and there is no intelligent zoning in Chiang Mai to offer two examples. Long term investors should probably be buying raw land in Isaan. Preferably near the borders because if legalized gambling never comes to Thailand then the border nations will build jillions of casinos and the land in Isaan at the border will be a goldmine.

Not sure when it happened as I do not drink in there often, but Pretty Lady in Nana has sneaked their prices up to 120 baht. They were perhaps the final big bar in Nana to put their prices for a standard beer up to this level.

There's something to be said for experience. Those with it tend not to make the same sorts of mistakes that those without it do. Well, it would seem that the new owner is going about accruing a number of experiences, fumbling his way through Bangkok bar ownership. He was once again the subject of the authorities this week. Some of the other bar owners are not pleased at all of the unwanted attention that he is bringing to Nana.

Pink Panther in Patpong will close next month for re-modelling and reformatting. The big stage will go along with all the gogo dancers and the new format of the bar will be a "Coyote" type bar with girls dancing on the bar and various small stages scattered around the place. Rumour has it that they are recruiting girls from Caribbean and other Ratchada type venues so they should be a cut above your normal Patpong girl. The Thai boxing will remain there as well on certain nights.

Quality workmanship has seen good old Ricky's work habits at Babewatch get thrust into the public domain. A punter noticed Ricky through the window working away in his office – but Ricky could not see people peering in at him. You see the window is one way glass, but they installed it the wrong way round!

Big Al's kitchen is the latest addition to Babewatch. Big Al has now taken over the cooking and is now serving up his famous Tex – Mex and English food. It's proving very popular especially with the late night crowd. Also, in a very sensible move, Babewatch lady drinks are now only 90 baht.

Catz A Gogo, also located in the new Covent Garden complex off Walking Street, is holding two parties early next month. The first on Friday March 3rd promises to be a lively affair with my favourite, the pig on a spit, and various promotions during the night. The second on Saturday March 11th is being touted as Mikey's birthday banana bash with competitions / prizes on offer for the girls as well as a free buffet for all. Be warned though – Catz isn't the biggest bar on the block and these events are sure to be popular so get there early!

Former Club Electric Blue manager Phil is settling into his new venue, X Zone in Covent Garden. The Covent Garden complex is getting a lot busier every day and with few Walking Street flag followers and families out for a stroll, it's the new home for the party crowd in Pattaya. Phil is rather proud to have got rid of some of the more well-rounded dancers that he had, one of his first tasks there. The rumours about him providing a free membership to a gym in Isaan and strict instructions to stay off the KFC have yet to be confirmed. Phil now claims that X Zone has a regular stable of 60 girls and 15 show girls. This Wednesday, 1st of March, they are hosting their first X Zone Tequila Party with Tequila at just 1,000 baht a bottle. Every time a girl drinks a shot, you can mark it on her arm in Roman numerals, so everyone can see who the merrier girls are. Come down and watch the girls drop! An original concept this!

It's not all rosy red at a Pattaya gogo bar that has been getting good press in recent times. One of the owners is said to make his disdain of the dancers clear when it comes pay day. More than a few women complained that he would basically throw their salary their direction with a back flip of the hand. This is very insulting to Thai people and something that shouldn't be done under any circumstances!

Soi Cowboy USED TO BE relaxed and laid back, a place where pleasant conversation could be easily found. If my experiences there on each of the last two Friday nights are anything to go by, the days of Soi Cowboy being a pleasant spot to relax are over. It might be a LITTLE bit more relaxed by Nana, but really, more than ever, Cowboy just feels like a satellite of Nana Plaza these days.

The phenomenon of upcountry girls attending universities in Bangkok and doing a bit of work on the side in Bangkok is not a new one. Many years ago I can remember talking to a number of girls in the Thermae who were university girls. They had started out in the Thermae as a way to provide some supplementary income, but sadly, some gave up their studies and started doing the Thermae thing full time, a clear example to me of when the easy entry into the bar industry is a bad thing. There are also a number of girls working in soi 33 bars who are full-time students but work there to make a bit of money. This has been going on for a long, long time. Some of these girls will only sit and talk with customers and cannot be barfined, whereas others are available for a bit more. University students can also be found in the Soi 7 Biergarten and at some bars in Soi 22. Over time, most do seem to become available. An interesting story reached me this week that there are yet more university students plying their trade in the industry, with some of the Rainbow 4 girls claiming to be university students. If the girls' claims are true, then this is a new one, something I have not seen before. It's a real shame to see girls drop out of their university studies and into the industry.

Livingstone's had a pool party last night that included amongst other things, a sexy coyote. What is this?! This word seems to have taken Bangkok by storm. Coyote this, coyote that, but I for one remain ignorant as to just what it is! Anyone like to offer a definition?

There is no shortage of pitiable folks in this part of the world. People with the most heinous injuries are often forced on to the streets to beg, sometimes of their own volition, but sometimes as part of a controlled gang. A friend found himself on Sukhumvit late one night, met an amenable enough girl and they went and had some noodle soup together. He enjoyed her company and invited her back to his place. She was awfully reluctant to take her clothes off and when eventually she did, he saw the most horrendous scars on her legs, and the lower parts of her legs appeared to be much slimmer than would be expected. She managed to explain that she had been in a God awful motorbike crash and had virtually had the lower halves of both legs ripped off, but surgeons managed to re-attach them and they had done a good job, in that while they didn't look quite right, they functioned ok and she could walk. In a country where the way you look is quite a big part of who you are, you have to feel sorry for a girl like this.

There has been much mention both in this column and in the press for some time regarding the rapes of western women in Ko Samui. I have been informed by someone privy to some behind the scenes information that this has been an ongoing problem for years. Most girls don't want to press charges and are in a state of initial shock. Many of them just want to get out of Thailand as quickly as they can. You can't blame them as in most cases, there are no witnesses, the victim has been drugged and can't remember anything that happened, let alone identify the attackers. Until recently, the Thai justice system showed little regard to victims of sexual assault – their details could be published in the paper, their name might be released including personal details and they might even have to undergo a re-enactment of the crime. Then, unless there was strong evidence against the attacker, they would need to give evidence in court – which would require the need to fly back at their own expense. According to my contact, while it happens elsewhere, he was sure that the overall numbers of western women being raped on Ko Samui dwarf those of other places such as Phuket or Bangkok.

Cope Tiger is finishing up in Korat with the American soldiers heading back home. Many girls went to Korat from Bangkok, Pattaya and other places to make some cash. One Western friend who has lived and worked in Korat for many years now reports that it is not always a popular period when the soldiers are in town. It is said that they ruin it for the local expats by doing stuff like leaving 200 baht tips for a 400 baht bill, acting stupid by doing things like dancing on tables, making suggestive comments to any Thai girl they see (many assume all Thai girls are prostitutes), and exhibiting generally lewd behavior in what is actually a very conservative city. Said friend was in Bule Saloon, a popular Korat night spot, one night with his girlfriend and her sister. It was quite obvious that they were a couple but the moment he left to go to the bathroom a drunk soldier comes to his table trying to hit on his girl!

The daily fine for overstaying your visa in Thailand will increase to 500 baht per day, from the middle of next month, up from the current 200 baht per day figure. The fine still maxes out at 20,000 baht, so whether you overstay for 40 days, or a year (or more!), the maximum fine is 20,000 baht. As I have said many times before, overstaying is a really bad idea. Don't think because the fine is so "low" that you'll just pay it upon exit.

Checking out Asia Books this week I see that there are a number of new self-study Thai language courses and resources available. There's a really good collection of materials available. In the past I recommended the Linguaphone course, but as good as it is, it is very expensive. Anything from Benjawan Poomsan Becker is also good. But probably the best thing to do is to check out the materials and see which one looks best for you.

Idiot of the week goes to a farang living in the Ekamai area. New to Bangkok, the guy fancied the idea of some weed, so went to a motorcycle taxi driver and asked him if he could get him some. 1,000 baht was the agreed price and the motorcycle rider took off to get some, only to never return. The absolute idiot then decides a day later that he should go and nick the motorcycle guy's bike. You can guess the outcome….

For those of you who are brave enough to make it down to the south of Thailand, the manager of the Buzz Stop in Songkhla advises me that his little Irish bar now has lots of Irish decor as well as Guinness and Kilkenny on tap. I'd love to pop by, but the south sort of makes me nervous!

Following on from the article about English teaching and the serious issues I have raised about the suitability of English teaching as a job in Thailand, a few people have asked me whether working as a bar manager is a suitable alternative? Truth be told, for a lot of English teachers, managing a bar is probably a dream job. But do bar managers get paid handsomely? The average Western bar manager working in a naughty bar in the Kingdom earns around 50K a month. The lowest salary I have heard of for a Westerner in this role being 25K a month, and the highest, a bit south of 100K – funnily enough this is much the same salary band as is available to English teachers. For those really into the nightlife it may seem like a dream job, but I think it is much harder work than people realise and unless you have some bar experience, I imagine it'd be tough. Further, most bar bosses work at least 6 days a week, and some are even on the same timetable as the girls, two days off a month only. Last time I looked www.BangkokBarManagers.com was still available, so my guess is that there aren't too many job vacancies in the industry either. The bottom line is that you're stuck with English teaching, whether you like it or not!

A number of new websites have opened up recently. Dave The Rave's column can be found here. MyBkk.com is the newest online discussion forum aimed at Westerners living in or who frequent Bangkok. ThailandStories features fiction by amateur writers. For me though, my favourite Thai website remains Thailandguru.com.

For anyone looking for a place to stay at Patong Beach, Phuket, here is a recommendation. Casa Summer Breeze Hotel is located on Soi Sansabai, meaning a two minute walk to Soi Bangla where all of the nightlife is and about a 7 minute walk to the beach. The rooms are very nice, the large rooms, which feel much like suites, are very good value at under 2,000 baht a night and they have the one feature which so many of us require – hi-speed internet available in the room and included in the cost. This hotel gets the thumbs up.

But reflecting on my recent trip down to Phuket, I have to wonder about the pearl of the Andaman. So much is made of Phuket being the premier destination in Thailand. Sure, it has a lot going for it, but I have to admit getting rather sick at the snootiness shown by many of the Phuket locals towards Pattaya. Truth be told, Pattaya kicks Phuket's ass in many ways. First of all, the prices for just about everything are astronomical in Phuket. Most things in Pattaya are much more reasonably priced. In terms of choice of hotels and affordability, again Pattaya is hard to beat. As far as food goes, I reckon that once again Pattaya is the pick, although this is somewhat subjective I must admit. For bars and nightlife there is little doubt where is better. In fact, apart from natural beauty and better beaches, Pattaya is a very real alternative.

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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. Please do try and limit the length of questions to Mrs. Stick to about 100 words. We get many questions that are entire stories of several hundred words which I'm afraid are just too long to run here.

Question 1: Recently I did an experiment in a well-known Thai dating web site. I created two profiles. One is a typical middle-aged man who is a humble professional living in the cold part of the world and is looking for marriage. The other is a twenty something young business man who is rich, tall, handsome, little arrogant, and lives in sunny California. His option is a bit open. I thought the young man would be overwhelmed by demands. But the results surprised me. After one month, the old man got 20 responses from women age 20 to 46. The young man received nothing. Zip! My explanation is A) Thai women prefer older men or, B) Thai women have low self esteem so they are shy away from high calibre guys or, C) Most “women” in the web site are scammers so they take older guys as easy target. What do you think?

Mrs. Stick says: I think you have to look at the type of Thai women on the site. I know there are many different websites and different sites and chat rooms attract different types of women. Most Thai women online are university students, or within 5 years of completing university, which means they are aged 20 – 30. Maybe some of the women simply felt the 20 something guy was too young for them? There may have been something else about him which put people off, or something about the older man which got women's interest. If you let me know the profiles I can tell you what I think.

Question 2: I am going to my son's wedding – he is US and she is Thai. She has a bachelor's degree in accounting but they asked for a large sin sot which did not make the rest of the family feel really good (large even by your average standards in your article). The wedding is at her parents' house, about 2 hours from Bangkok. We will be staying next door (my son & I) at her mother's uncle's house. Since my son is paying so much, and I think most of the wedding costs, I don't want to give them a lot of money myself. But I would like to bring some presents that the family would like (for giving "face" like the kanom). My son had given her father a bottle of wine and her mother a food chopper, neither of which were appreciated (I think they threw away the wine). Candy or sweets in exotic boxes? Something small that they could show off and get comments on? Something from Colorado (where I live) that they couldn't get elsewhere? Am I on the right track here? Whatever else, my son is a good kid (at 30, not a kid), not a bar hopper or a drinker really. All I want is that he has someone who will care for him, and I'm hoping that is what he's getting.

Mrs. Stick says: At a wedding it is customary for parents to give cash or a substantial gift. Candy or sweets would make a nice gift from you for members of her family but are not things typically given as wedding gifts in Thailand. It is best to give something that is long lasting with the marriage and sweets are just not really suitable in this situation.

Mr. Stick says: I have got to add this here. If they are asking for a sin sot figure that seems unusually high, it should be talked about now. There is no reason to pay an unusually high figure. Also, if your son is paying for the wedding, every envelope of cash should be given to him. If it is not, then that is a MAJOR red flag.

Question 3: I have just returned from Bangkok. I met a 25 year old Thai girl on Khao Sarn who had been married and divorced to an Italian guy. But the weird thing was she insisted on paying for everything. We met in Gulliver's and she seemed totally different to all the other Thai girls I had ever spoken to before. More educated, less childish, very well dressed, toned up muscular legs and in general a very relaxed person; you could feasibly see from her manner she had lived in Farangland for a while. She had an Italian passport – I saw her speaking Italian to an English lad I met who happened to have an Italian father – and she told me she was from a well-off Thai family. Also, despite some of my cross checking questions she never slipped up, although some times a little vague in her answers I never bothered pressing it. The next 3 nights I was out on the Khao Sarn I kept meeting her, and of course kept scoring. So my question is, from my description above, is this girl a liar (I did see her Italian passport) and from a poor working class background who had struck oil with a wealthy farang or is she a 'cut loose' middle class girl? What are tell tale signs of a middle class girl? And finally, what is the scene on the Khao Sarn, a blend of hookers and middle classers?

Mr. Stick says: It is probably easier for me to answer this one than the Mrs. From what you have said, it is impossible to say just what her background is but I think the big clue is her age. If she met an Italian guy, fell in love, went through the Immigration process, got a visa, learnt the language stayed there for long enough to get citizenship and then divorced him and came back to Thailand, well, let's just say that wouldn't happen overnight. It would likely happen over a period of a few years, meaning she probably went to Italy at a very young age, likely 20 or 21. A girl from a hi-so family would simply not be allowed to shoot off overseas like that at that age. That she is now refined is in all likelihood the positive influence she got from living in Italy. My best guess is that she has been a Khao Sarn Road good time girl for some time, and that she had a stint in Italy with a guy she met on Khao Sarn (or a similar area). Yes, Khao Sarn is a blend of hookers, students, middle class, and even some nouveau riche.


For those of you who don't like it when I make any comments about politics, tune out now.

OK, for the few who are left, a few comments about everything that happened on Friday night. If you somehow missed it, Prime Minister Taksin dissolved Parliament and a snap election will be held within 60 days, mooted for early April. The reason for calling the snap election was in response to the recent high profile protests against Taksin led by Sondhi. By calling a snap election, if he wins, Taksin's response will almost certainly be something along the lines of, "I gave the people the choice and they re-elected me so perhaps it is about time you shut up." It needs to be understood that Taksin's party Thai Ruk Thai is one ultra powerful, ultra efficient machine. Everyone I have spoken to expects Taksin to come straight back into power at the snap election and it will be business as usual.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Thanks go out to Sunpup, Farangman and Bangkok Grasshopper.