Stickman's Weekly Column May 7th, 2006

Blame The Driver!



Having taught at the same school for many years, there can be a tendency to find things become a bit routine, a bit same same and find myself a bit bored. The job gets boring, you feel bored, and the desire to get out of bed each day to face another day of the same, just isn't there.

So when management asked if there were any teachers who would like to be involved in some voluntary work, teaching English to underprivileged kids – in lieu of a reduction in hours from our regular schedule to compensate – I was the first to put my hand up. I knew that a change in scenery would invigorate my interest in teaching and give me the sort of new challenge I needed.

But it wasn’t going to be easy. I’m actually trained to teach English to adults, and that is where I am most comfortable. My day job sees me teaching teenagers, something which was a challenge initially, but I have adapted to it well. But this challenge was to be a little different. We would be teaching under-privileged kids from 10 – 12 years of age, whose English skills were very basic. It was said that perhaps they could write the alphabet and knew a few words, and that was about it. What the hell, I’ll give it a go.

We started off with just one school a few years back. It was a temple school, meaning that the school was attached to a temple which funded kids at the school who all came from poor backgrounds. Though poor is an unusual term in Thailand these days because a few of the kids had a mobile phone.

For the most part, the kids were absolute darlings. As the van from our school pulled into the grounds of the school we were going to teach at, you would see dozens of sets of eyes wander from the blackboard to our van, and once a certain number of eyes saw us – and critical mass was reached, a huge cheer would start in one classroom, and then go up around the whole school. There’d be a minute of chaos as the kids in some classes would run to the windows, and some would even run outside to greet us. It wasn’t a riot, but it was a hell of a buzz. OK, it’s not quite the feeling Beckham gets when he leads England out at Wembley, but it wasn’t far off!

In the early days of the program teaching these poor kids was both fun and rewarding. We had carte blanche freedom to teach what we wanted and rather than follow a low level book to try and get the students’ English to a certain level, our self set objectives – there were two of us doing this – were to simply increase the kids' English vocabulary, help them with pronunciation, and most importantly, get them comfortable around Westerners and learning English with a native speaker teacher.

The first year was a dream. The kids at the school were really nice. The staff at the school were also really nice, and at the end of the year there was a big party held in our honour. We felt a sense of pride and achievement, and we got to see another part of Thai society that we'd never seen before. Everything was going well.

The next year the program was expanded and instead of teaching at one school, we taught at three. The students at the two new schools were not nearly as nice, nor as willing or keen to actually participate in the lessons, and for both myself and my Aussie colleague, the whole feeling was not what it once was. We were enjoying it less and less. Even though we only taught at each of the schools for a couple of hours once a month, our enthusiasm was seriously waning.

To make matters worse, one Friday morning, while preparing for lessons, I was told that the school van was waiting and that we were off to school number four. Yep, a new school had been added to the program. I barely had time to throw together a lesson and photocopy some materials before we were in the school van, off to the new school.

The new school was located not far from our school, but no-one had been there as yet. In the van there was myself, Mr. Australia as I’ll call him, and the two senior Thai teachers, one of whom was our boss, who always accompany us. Of course there was also the driver.

Only a kilometre or so from school the driver started making noises that he did not know exactly where the school we were going was, and asked if anyone knew where it was. We were in the general vicinity of where it should have been but we could not nail down just where it was. The van reached a T-intersection where we had to turn either left or right. The driver asked us which way. We hung our heads out of the van, trying to see if we could spot the school. We were in the middle of the city, in an area with rows and rows of shophouses, all grey and drab, with little to help orientate us. We had no landmarks as to where the school was. Eagle-eyed Stick then notices the words "Rong Ree-In", the Thai words for school, a couple of hundred metres down the road to the left. I yell to the driver that I have seen a school on the left hand side, and he makes the turn and heads down the road. It is indeed a school, and he turns the van into the main schoolyard and parks up. There we are in the main school play area, a concreted area the size of a couple of tennis courts with four storeys of classrooms around us on three sides, a la Nana Plaza.

With the van we get out and see a gentleman exit from the administrative office and stride over towards us. Adorned in an official government uniforms he has to be one of the Thai teachers. My boss introduces herself and asks the man if he is the School Director. He replies that he is the Assistant Director. The other Thai teacher in our party introduces us all and explains that we are from a prestigious local high school and that we are there as part of a community program to teach English to the kids. The Assistant Director responds that he knew nothing about this and mentions that the Director has been very busy recently and had failed to mention it to him. We are invited inside his office.

What follows is the usual routine where we are offered all manner of foods, some a treat, others a nightmare. The food on offer varies from school to school but include 3 week old biscuits (after 4 weeks they get REALLY bad – you can still eat them and even partially enjoy them at 3 – trust me, I am an expert on this now), lukewarm coffee with a minimum 3 teaspoons of sugar – though thankfully it is never stirred. That said, at one school the maid stirred my coffee with her little finger while giving me a huge toothless grin. I thank my lucky stars she had already seen my wedding band, the grin was bordering on the glad eye. They say that whenever you are offered water in Thailand it is safe to drink. I don't think this statement includes schools though. But really I should not be so mean. We've been offered everything from a freshly picked bunch of bananas to meals that really were fit for royalty.

Inside his office, the Assistant Director was totally in the dark about the program though in my experience this is not unusual in Thailand. We told him about the program, the schools that we were already teaching at, and various other things about it. He was really excited and sent out a message for the teachers of the classes we would be teaching to come down to his office immediately. As it happened both of these teachers happened to speak good English and we had a good old chat, going over what we had just talked about with the Assistant Director. They were both very excited that their students would get a chance to study with native speakers. They left the office to go and tell the students to get ready.

We’d had more than enough coffee by that point and had already gone way past the proposed start time so it was decided that it was time to get the lessons underway.

There is always a little bit of trepidation the first time a teacher enters a new class for the first time. Will the students warm to the teacher? Are they well-behaved? At just what ability level are they? Will they understand anything I say?

I strode into the classroom, wearing my most colourful necktie and with a smile on my face. The smile quickly turned into a grin as all at once the entire class stood up and in what can only be described as a well-versed chorus all recited, "Good morning teacher, how are you today", a familiar cry from classrooms around Thailand. It is perhaps the only sentence in English many Thai students can get right, but that is a whole other story.

I could immediately tell that this class was going to be fun. There weren’t too many students in the classroom, there were more girls than boys (girls are MUCH keener on English than boys), the class was well laid out and I spotted some of their English work on the walls – and it was pretty good given their age.

The class went silent. They were ready to study. 30 sets of eyes were trained on me. They had been given a wonderful surprise today. They’d found out they would have a couple of native English speaking teachers coming to see them every month. To kids with very little, this means a great deal. It is the little things like this that really puts a smile on their faces.

The eerie silence of the classroom was punctuated by my boss’s mobile phone ringing. I don't mind her sitting in the class observing the lesson, but the classroom is no place for a mobile. I looked across at her, unable to hide my annoyance. She listened intently and then I heard a very proper woman yelp "Die laew!" Bloody hell! My boss just said bloody hell!

She then ran to the front of the classroom, grabbed my arm and said, "We go, we go now." What? I had only just got started! What was going on? A look of absolute bewilderment was on the faces of the kids. It was as if they'd just been given a present only to have it ripped from their hands just as they were about to unwrap it!

We stopped in the next classroom, grabbed Mr. Australia, and hurried down into the Assistant Director's office. Less than 5 minutes after exiting his office bound for the classrooms to teach, we were back. "This is not the right school. We have come to the wrong school! We have to go, very sorry." My boss was all apologetic as we scooted off to the van where the driver was made scapegoat and given an earful for delivering us to the wrong school. It could never have been a teacher’s fault…!

Up the road we went to the correct school, which was barely a couple of hundred metres up the road. Much quicker introductions this time, no 3 week old biscuits, no lukewarm coffee and into the classroom we went.

After 15 minutes or so, just like clockwork, the syrupy coffee and stale biscuits were delivered. There was also a glass of water.

Luckily the kids at the first school weren’t to be disappointed for long. We now teach there every month and the kids at that particular school are amongst the nicest of all the community schools we teach at.

Next time you want directions, don't ask Stick the way!


Where WAS THIS PICTURE taken?

It was Pra Artit Park.

Where is that?!

Last week's picture was taken in Pra Artit Park, right next to the Chao Praya River. The building behind the pavilion is one of the two towers of apartments next to the Pinklao Bridge. The first prize for telling me where the picture is, is a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar and prizes 2 and 3 are a 600 baht dinner voucher for 2 at Sin in Sukhumvit Soi 4. The prizes are only available to people in Thailand now – either residents or tourists, and must be claimed 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 a prize.

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

Caught on the job.

I saw something I haven’t seen before this week. I am used to bargirls running out of the bar to answer a call on their phone (obviously pretending they are somewhere quiet rather than in the bar), but this week I saw a policeman running out of a bar to answer a transmission on his walkie-talkie!

Not enough fingers to keep count?

I know this has been written about before, so I guess my email is just a refresher. Last week I went to the pool bar above Country Road in Soi 19. Up 2 flights of stairs. A lass challenged me to a game and so we went at it – pool, that is. When I'm serious, I'm a handy pool player, if not the champion I used to be when I was young and fit (25 years ago, on a visit to my home town's working man's club, I played for 9 hours straight and lost only 1 game). The lass sensed I like a serious game and proceeded to give me a great challenge, so we kept tabs on the score. Finally, too tired to continue, I ended the session – about 9 wins to me and 3 for her. Yet the bill, when it came, registered 17 games. Perhaps it's why these kinds of pool parlours don't have chalk boards to note the wins and losses. I could have protested, but decided to pay up the extra 100 baht and leave. I won't be going back – at least not on my own. A regular customer is lost. Pity, as it's a nice place to spend a couple of hours.

Slow season and Pattaya becomes the wild west?

My wife's cousin, married to a farang, was robbed by 4 men riding two motorcycles, 2 of the men armed with guns. She was driving a new truck. All she lost was her purse with 2000 baht. She was on her way home from a Third Road disco. A friend of my wife was robbed of a 3 baht gold chain. Once again by a pair of men with a gun riding a moto. Now that the slow season is upon, Pattaya crime has become a major business. I will be there in July, but will be more cautious than usual.

Opting for the used Toyota.

I could not agree with you more re your Ferrari analogy. As for me, five years ago I met and fell in love with an older model "Toyota". Four years ago we were married. She had only one previous owner and was (and still is) in terrific shape. She is low maintenance, never complains and her "performance" suits my needs fine. Granted there are a lot of higher performance Ferraris tooling around Bangkok, where we live 75% of the year, and there is always the temptation to take one out for a short test drive, but when I get home the payments are reasonable and I get reliable transportation every day. For those who choose the newer, faster and more glamorous "Ferraris", I say best of luck to you in the long haul.

Making friends at Thai Town.

After a year of living back in L.A., I finally made it to Thai Town (the largest city Thai population outside of Bangkok) with my two American / Thai daughters. I am a single dad so it was just the three of us. We had a great time, some of the best Thai food I have ever had and I met some of the nicest and well educated Thais I have ever been in contact with. It was refreshing to say the least. I did see a couple of farangs that managed to look so foolish with their obvious bargirl wives. We met a couple from Bangkok and now living in Los Angeles, they fell in love with my kids and at the same time were shocked at my fluency in their native language. They took us to the best restaurant and then for the best Thai sweets… They paid! In turn, I invited them and their family to my house for a BBQ today. We had a great time, listened to Thai music, most importantly I found the long lost art of sanuk!

A genuine candidate for Thailand's dumbest farang.

A friend who has been here for 15 years married a gal about 4 years ago. He paid the family three million baht for the dowry even though she was an uneducated bargirl from Isaan. The understanding was that if the marriage did not last the family had to return the money to him. Two days after the wedding she began staying out all night, gambling according to him. So on the fourth night he put all of her belongings in the hallway and locked her out of the apartment. Then he thought about the money and what could possibly happen to him in a random, accidental way if the family had to return it. He was scared so he went to the airport and hung out there for three days before returning to his apartment. He never asked for the return of the dowry money.

Gabon and Thailand, same same?

Reading the piece written by Mr. Write on Steve Miller brought back some memories from when I lived in Gabon in the mid 90's. At that time many of the expats had local Gabonese girlfriends, and as you would expect, there were a certain percentage who were more than a little mercenary. You had to be particularly careful when it was time to leave Gabon on final departure, as your girlfriend could scoot down to the local gendarmerie to have you arrested. The story was always the same – I was a virgin when he met me, I was underage (21 being age of consent there), he kept me chained up, he raped me, I was a slave, etc. This was the same girl who you saw cheerfully doing the rounds of the nightclubs in Port Gentil just the week before. Invariably, the buy out for oil company workers was US$25,000. 1,000 went to the girl, 12,000 to the police, and 12,000 to the magistrate. Elf and Total paid a small fortune to get their people out of trouble and back to France, and a friend of mine at Shell who had the law breathing down his neck only escaped with the help of one of the company pilots (an unlisted passenger on a flight between Gamba and Libreville). If you were very, very unlucky, and were not a French citizen, you could end up dead in the jungle.

Just a reminder that the bars may be closed next Friday May 12th for another of the numerous Thai holidays.

There are currently a lot of Japanese around, due to a big holiday in Japan? They have been flooding the bars in Nana Plaza.

You would think Rainbow 2 and Rainbow 4 would be making enough money already with some of the largest numbers of truly attractive women up on stage in Nana, but it seems they want to make even more. Order water and they will charge you 120 baht for the privilege. But if you think that is bad, you don't even get an unopened bottle, but a glass. A solitary glass of water which came from God only knows where. All of about 250 ml of, for what we know, could be tap water. Tacky.

At this moment Erotica VIP in Nana is being redecorated. This means that yesterday, today and tomorrow the ground floor is closed. What is happening? Outside the bar will be redecorated, and that was really needed, new stairs, plexi walls and some lights will make the entrance look new. The ugly black color from inside will be burgundy red now, new lights, light effects like a laser show, smoke machine, 300 watt spots, the bartenders place will be rebuilt in the next week or two, dance floor will be redecorated. Customers will see a whole new Erotica.

What is novel is that a Japanese customer brought in some sort of ranking book of gogo bars in Nana Plaza! The top three are Rainbow 4, followed by Erotica.

Beer drinkers are rejoicing across the capital with the wonderful news that Beer Lao is now available! You can find it at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy and Bangcockney Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 6. For many beer lovers, Beer Lao is considered the best, or one of the best, of the beers brewed in South East Asia. Many an expat has ribbed his Thai friends and colleagues that Beer Lao has never been available here in the Kingdom – because it is far superior than any of the locally brewed Thai beers, and to let it loose on the market and outsell the Thai beers would be an unimaginable loss of face! Fancy that, the neighbours from a country that many Thais often consider not that clever producing a beer that trounces anything brewed in Thailand…

Big Mango is the first bar in Nana Plaza to offer free wi-fi internet access in the bar. Now it must be said that from time to time you can pick up a free wi-fi signal broadcast from nearby establishments elsewhere in Nana, particularly Cathouse, but this is the first bar to actually install it and offer it for customers. GREAT stuff!

150 baht for a drink doesn't sound cheap, but for some drinks it is. Absolute7 bar in Sukhumvit Soi 7/1 is offering Guinness at 150 baht a pint on Fridays through to Sundays, from May through to July.

I was really impressed with Catz bar when I was in Pattaya last week, and am even more impressed with what one of the owners told me. In every bar there are a few popular girls, girls so popular that they are barfined every night. In barfines alone, these girls make a lot of money for the bar, to say nothing of all of the repeat custom they attract. But as girls get more popular in the industry, they tend to develop bad habits, and these bad habits can upset customers. Catz Bar had two particularly popular girls who were very good for business, but customers complained that outside of the bar they were "problematic". So despite the fact that they were good for the bar's bottom line, the bar put punters' interests first, and sent the two girls down the road. Great stuff. A few other bars could do with implementing a similar sort of policy.

I saw a funny one in Bacarra Bar in Soi Cowboy this week. There I was sitting in the bar observing the goings on when in walk a couple of guys. They just had to be English teachers – they had that look about them. And then I noticed that one guy had a shirt on with LA English on it. LA English is a local language institute. Nothing unusual in him wearing his work clothes, but to make matters worse, his name was embroidered on the shirt. Fancy that, here was a foreign guy who works locally as an English teacher, in a gogo bar, wearing his English school shirt, with his name on it. Oh dear. Now a lot of local teachers spend time in the bars – and who am I to talk, for I am a teacher myself – but you really shouldn't broadcast it to all and sundry!

In some good news the music level inside Club Electric Blue has been lowered to a more tolerable level making watching the large group of good looking dancers a much more pleasant experience. This bar must have set records for the volume levels in a gogo bar. And in some sad news Mickey from Club Electric Blue had to return to England recently to attend the funeral for his father. Our condolences go out to him.

And still in Club electric Blue, a friend who was there with his wife had the unsettling experience of having one of the door girls come over and ask the wife if she could sit with the husband and have him buy her some drinks. As expected the wife politely declined the offer. After a few meaningful looks from the wife the poor patron had to try and explain that he had never seen the girl before and had no idea why she approached with this offer. While she was quite cute, under different circumstances the poor guy might have bought her more than one drink, but maybe the management should hold some training sessions and explain to the girls working there that it is NOT a good idea to ask a patron who entered with another woman, a Western woman at that, if he would buy her some drinks. The only good thing is she asked first. Imagine if she had just plunked herself down and asked the patron for a shag?!

What is going on with Super Star? It used to be a nice bar known for having loads of dancers but this Friday at 10:30 PM the line up for the first pod of dancers was 4 ladies of dubious quality to put it mildly and the second pod was 1 lady and 2 ladyboys. Super Star has hit rock bottom. While the outside sidewalk section is doing real well, the inside was devoid of customers on Friday night. It seems the huge salaries being offered at other entertainment venues may have drained the talent in several bars on Patpong. Can higher drink and entertainment charges be far behind?

In the surprise of the week, Pussy Connection has transformed itself from a bar with a few ugly girls and no business, into a vibrant bar with a whole new dancing crew that contains more than a few eye catching women. This past Friday it was one of the few bars at the Pong that was doing real good business. The old saying is true – have good looking dancers and the customers will follow.

Why is it that so many expats in Pattaya have a their name tattooed on their arm in Thai? I think it looks really daft! And I'm not joking when I say that Wolfgang seems to be the most popular, followed by Chris. I guess it is better however than having some bird's nickname tattooed on your arm. Still, it's not so often that you see that, at least not compared to the girls who frequently have a Western guy's nickname tattooed, often on a really conspicuous part of their body. It is even worse though when they have had some sort of corrective action to remove, or smudge it.

If you find yourself ending up at Starbucks all the time for a coffee, you might want to give Coffee World a try. Not only is it about 25% cheaper, but I personally prefer the coffee there. That's not to say it is better, just more to my taste.

Has anyone in Phuket seen Tony Chandler? Tony built a house and had a Thai girlfriend who ran a massage parlor. He was a representative for a few jewellery companies. Friends have not received any communication from him in over a year and are worried.

Just because it has the best reputation of all of the hospitals in the country doesn't mean that it is always the best. A friend of a friend went to that hospital, you know, the best one, supposedly. He admitted himself with chest complaints. After much testing he was told that he had major heart problems and would have to undergo a triple bypass. Yikes! But I have to go to England in the next few days he told the doctor. Not a chance the doctor told him. Wanting a second opinion, he did a search for whoever was supposedly the best heart doctor in Thailand, found the said gentleman and arranged an appointment. He went through the same battery of tests, was given three different lots of pills and told to be on his way. Sure, his heart was not in good shape, that much was verified, but it wasn't that bad. Of course this sort of thing could happen anywhere. It simply re-enforces the moral of the story which is that when it comes to medical care you really should get a second opinion. And it's also a reminder that hospitals are not that different to schools. No matter how good the reputation of the place is, it all comes down to the individuals who treat you.

From the unusual source of an airline employee in Australia comes news that the Thai government has made some changes to immigration laws. Foreign nationals who are visa exempt or able to obtain a visitor permit for Thailand (that's the 30 day stamp), no longer require passports to be valid for a period of six months. All that is required for these nationals is that the passport be valid for at least the period of maximum stay allowed (i.e.. 30 or 90 days depending on nationality). If the passports expiry date is less than the maximum period of stay, visitors may stay up until the expiry date of their passport. For example Americans can travel with passports valid for at least 30 days and should receive the 30 day visitor permit or should the passport be valid less than 30 days, they will only be permitted to stay until the expiration date of the passport. This is a very welcome amendment to immigration laws. I used to always think that the requirement to have 6 months left on your passport essentially meant the expiry date on your passport was 6 months earlier.

Quote of the week comes from a reader. "Prolonged exposure to the 'Land of Smiles' eventually makes even the most optimistic of us incredibly cynical."

Reflecting on my week down in Phuket recently, I reckon that the locals down there seemed to be that much more happy than locals in Bangkok. And when I think about it, it may be the same can be said for the guys in Pattaya too. When we think of negativity in Thailand, and moaning and groaning from westerners, it is the Bangkok based guys who seem to be the worst.

Do you remember the young lady I wrote about in the opener of the column a month or so back entitled, "Maybe She Really Is Different". I vowed to myself never to pop back into that bar, because I didn't want to go in and find out that her willpower and had been broken. I didn't want to be disappointed that one really sweet girl had become corrupted. Well, I couldn't help myself, I really couldn't. And besides, she works in one of the few bars I really like. So I ventured in and there she was. She had lost a bit of weight and I was a little concerned that she had perhaps not had enough money to buy food. We chatted and I noticed a change in her attitude. The soft, delicate, sweet nature had been replaced by something a little different. She volunteered that she had decided that easy money was the way to go and she had allowed guys to pay the barfine for her… She had changed, big time, and it wasn't for the better. Quite frankly, it was all rather sad. But then it was not unexpected.

Anyone want to put a wager on when the price of premium petrol will hit 30 baht a litre? I reckon that that psychological barrier will be hit sometime this month. 29.2 baht and counting – and upcountry it must be close to half a baht more per litre in some areas. In fact, if you go to some of the most far flung corners of the Kingdom, I bet you can find 30 baht a litre. If you see it, send me a photo!

For those of you who think the murder of the Kiwi in Pattaya highlighted in last week's column was an isolated incident, think again. Last week a Kiwi, this week a Brit.

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 simply offers the perspective of one 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: My girlfriend always says I LAB YOU, I LAB you, instead of I LOVE you. After reading Mrs. Stick and her comments on 'darling / darkling' I got suspicious. With reason?

Mrs. Stick says: I guess that it is just her pronunciation. There is no specific meaning here, or no negative connotation like there was with 'dak ling'. Of course, at a stretch, it could mean "I am sleepy" but I doubt that is what it is.

Question 2: With regard to the Western values of compassion and forgiveness, do most Thais see those values as a weakness or as a strength? I am asking because I am starting to sense that Thai people see compassion as an exploitable weakness. Am I being far too cynical in saying that ?

Mrs. Stick says: To be able to answer you in the most precise way we need to look at an actual situation but to give you a general idea, I think it depends on the people themselves, as opposed to the situation. I see these things as a strength, but I am not talking for all Thai people. Some people will see these as a weakness to be exploited, for sure. To those who try to take advantage of these values then obviously it becomes a weakness. I don't think you can apply the same rules to different people in different situations with different circumstances. In summary, it is different for different people.

Mr. Stick says: I thought this was a really excellent question. In my cynical view, forgiveness is one area where some less scrupulous Thais may attempt to take advantage of a Westerner.


The story about the late Steve Miller run in last week's column brought a very positive response from readers. Many people sent email saying that they enjoyed the story, and almost everyone was shocked that this sort of thing happens. A number of people also raised the issue as to why they had never heard about it nor read about it, notwithstanding that they read the two major English dailies every day. As I have lamented many times, the Bangkok Post and The Nation are largely written for a Thai audience – it just so happens that they are in English, and not Thai. OK, certain supplements may appeal to farangs, but so many stories that you would think should be reported never make it. Over the years this site has become a repository for stories of the evils of entering into long term relationships with women of the night. It would be nice to see more about what happens to farangs when things go wrong, the stories of questionable deaths and unresolved inquires into suspicious circumstances. If anything happens to a friend or anyone you know, do write up the story and I'll be happy to run it. After all, the major English dailies are unlikely to publish anything like that…and I just know from your responses that you want to hear about it.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Thanks go out to Bangkok Grasshopper and Claymore.