Stickman's Weekly Column September 3rd, 2006

The Danger Of Overexposure



As a keen photographer I have to be very careful when taking shots in these parts during daylight hours. For much of the day the sun is directly overhead and the light can be very strong. Such bright light is harsh and can give photographs a washed out look. Too much bright light and the camera's exposure system gets tricked – that gorgeous landscape your eyes saw is not quite how the camera captured it.

But photography is not the only thing that can be ruined by overexposure. The same can also be said for women who get too much exposure.

It is often said that bargirls and the women of the night may not be the best for a choice as a lifetime partner. Perhaps it is because they develop bad habits in the industry such as becoming heavy smokers, heavy drinkers, gamblers or drug addicts. Maybe it is because they start to colour in their body with tattoos (though admittedly this may be a turn on for some). Or maybe it is because after a while they begin to see their body and sex as a means of making money. Of course if they have been around for long enough they may have suffered mentally and / or physically. But there is another reason why the ladies of the night don't necessarily make the ideal partner.

If a bargirl continues to work in the bar environment, she has the chance to meet many guys in the bar every night. Some guys are wealthy. Some are good-looking. Some live in Thailand. Some speak very good Thai and have a good understanding of the local culture. Some desperately want to get married to a Thai woman. And when all of the stars line up together, some guys have all of these things.

Guys who meet a lady in a bar, even if they have a great relationship with her, have to realise that she has the opportunity to meet such a large number of guys that it is simply inevitable that sooner or later, someone even more perfect than you is going to come along.

Many traditional, conservative Thai families do not allow their daughters out at night. Bangkok is, after all, a dangerous place for a pretty girl. And even those who are allowed out may have an early curfew, often 9 PM. And I'm not talking teenagers – this can be women well into their mid-'20s! But these girls do have other options such as….

…the Internet. Now the internet *is* a great way for Western men to meet Thai women. If you're sick of the bargirl thing there is no better, nor easier, way to meet Thai women. You can meet some really lovely, well-educated, English-speaking Thai ladies on the internet with great ease, wherever you happen to be in the world. Even if you're stuck in Farangland, you can get your Thai fix chatting online and if you're smooth, charming, good-looking or simply come across as a decent bloke, you can even arrange dates with these women for your next trip. If you're local you can find someone online and arrange to meet them for real. This is all very good and well if you want a bit of fun, but if you're looking for a serious relationship, then Internet Girl, like her bargirl sisters, has real options. She is hit online by serious numbers of guys! In fact it would be fair to say that Internet Girl is now as popular as many of the bargirls, perhaps even more so!

Exactly the same issue exists with Internet Girl as does with bargirls. They have real options. Where the naughty bars used to be the most popular place for Western guys to meet Thai women, the Internet may well have caught up. Thai girls online meet SO MANY guys that they have every reason to keep their options open. Why shouldn't they?

So you've met a Thai lady and are real keen on her. You're a Brad Pitt look-alike, the coffers are bulging and you speak fluent Thai. Why would the interest of other men arouse your lady friend's interest? A long time contributor to this site recently commented on this very situation. "If you are 6'4" tall and have 50 million dollars, within 3 weeks of moving in with you they will meet some guy who is 6'6" tall and has 100 million dollars. It is endless."

In defence of Thai women, it is worth pointing out that internet dating and secret romantic liaisons arranged online is hardly a Thai thing. Internet dating and the use of the internet to arrange secrete liaisons is hardly specific to Thailand. The world over, long-term relationships and even marriages are falling apart because of affairs that started out as so-called "harmless online friendships". I also believe that once married, most Thai women do tend to have a higher level of commitment to it than women in the West, bargirls excluded.

Thai guys are aware of the dangers of their woman meeting someone and are a few steps ahead of us on this one. Grandma Stick tells me that back when she was a spring chicken, the late Grandpa Stick wouldn't allow her to talk with men outside the family home. If Grandpa Stick overheard Grandma Stick out in the backyard chatting with one of the neighbours over the fence, or out in the rice fields sharing a laugh with another guy, he would go running outside and instruct her to return indoors right away. He eliminated the threat immediately.

Investigations frequently take me to the chrome pole palaces of Bangkok, Pattaya and occasionally Phuket, but I've also had to stick my nose into hair salons, internet cafes and department stores, amongst others. Which department store do you think I've had more cases in than all others put together? Have a think about it. A department store. If Stick was asked to go and poke his nose into someone's business in a department store, where in the Kingdom would it be? Think carefully… Could it be Emporium? Nice try, but no. Could it be Siam Paragon? Hmmm, no… I think the women in there are probably more interested in the wealthy Thai guys who venture there to buy everything from the latest Armani threads to a Ferrari. Think about it. A farang dominated area. There is only one department store located in the kilometer that separates Nana Plaza from Soi Cowboy and that is where you will find the Sukhumvit branch of Robinson's department store, the branch that I believe coined the phrase "Robinson's girls" that you so often see mentioned online. Farang guys pass through that branch every day, and a good number of ladies who have worked there over the years met their knight in shining armour there.

Just like the photograph that gets too much light and is ruined due to overexposure, so too can the same be said for women. If you met your Thai lady in a place where she could have, or would have, met many other guys just like you, then beware that it is very likely she has other guys hitting on her all the time. She may also have other guys in the background who she has not yet cut off.

Bars, the internet, and shopping areas in central areas are easy spots to meet local lasses. But just beware that she probably meets, or even gets hit on by, guys just like you every day! And as great a guy as you may be, you can't blame her for keeping her options open.

If you want to meet a really nice woman for something serious, don't be shy to venture a little further afield, into the suburbs of Bangkok, or into the provincial capitals. Thai women in the popular areas of the capital and other tourist areas get hit on by guys like you and me every day. They have serious options, and they cannot be blamed for their continued search for the ideal husband.



Where WAS THIS PICTURE taken?

It was Lumpini Thai Boxing Stadium.

Where is that?!

Last week's picture was taken of the Muay Thai Boxing Stadium on Rama 4 Road, close to Lumpini Park. Heaps of people got it right! The first person to tell me where the picture is each week wins a 500 baht credit at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy. The second person to get the prize right gets a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British Cafe in the Khao Sarn Road area. The third and forth prizes are a 500 baht credit at Sin in Sukhumvit Soi 4. We also have a prize provider in Pattaya, my favourite Pattaya bar, Catz. However, there seem to be few people in Pattaya sending in answers. 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 have a preference as to which prize you would prefer, do not be shy to let me know! Also, if you are in Pattaya, please let me know so you can be eligible for the Catz prize!

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

The charges have been dropped…but the damage has already been done.

This week you wrote that farang teachers in Thailand are getting a bad image due to the John Kerr episode, and that those who work or travel to Thailand are going to be affected by this. Well, lets put this into perspective. If he did commit this crime then it brings shame on his country and culture, not Thailand's, as it was committed there in America. The parents were American, not Thai, and it is not in Thailand he will be put on trail, but the so called civilised West. The fact that he was arrested in Thailand was incidental as he worked in the UK also. Will the US and UK be stigmatised in the same way by the Western press? I think not.

No more Khao San Road PhDs.

If the school doesn't like your degree you are reported to the Thai Ministry Of Education and your name is placed on a Thai website used to monitor farang teachers in Thailand. If you break a school contract or get fired you go on the website. The kicker of the deal is a Phillipino female teacher here in Thailand is helping the Thai MOE and school board / district president run the site. Hooray, the non-native speakers are now running the English programs in Thailand. Why doesn't this surprise me? I guess it's back to running bars for us farangs.

Your English sucks!

Both of my kids went to school in Bangkok. They used to complain some about the English teachers to me, mostly the Thai English teachers. I remember my oldest telling me that he once told a Thai ajarn she sucked at English. She didn't know what it meant and he said it with a smile so she thought it was ok!

Face over-rides quality education.

I have to give you credit for being able to put up with all the incompetent and under-handed goings on in your profession. I could never do it. While your work with children sounds very rewarding, the fact that you have to work for adults who lack even basic leadership skills is very sad. In the end it is the students and the future of Thailand that are being short-changed. Your story a few months ago about the colleague who was reprimanded by his supervisor for trying to control an unruly student who was trying to take over his class was preposterous. Your supervisors have a job to do; and if in doing that job no-one likes them then they have to realise their responsibility is to be consistent and be fair. They have to turn out the best students they can. If they did this they may not win any popularity contest with parents or students but all, including their staff, would respect them.

"Why you try cheat me?"

My first ‘bargirl friend’ made a deal with me. I used to pay a 200 baht barfine per day and give her 1,000 baht (it was a long time ago). After a week she said she didn’t want to work the bar any more and I took her on full-time. I was major pissed when she later asked for 36,000 baht for the 30 day month. I said that didn’t even work out at 1000 baht per day. She said “You are used to paying the barfine + 1k. Why you try and cheat me?!”

That T-shirt got someone's knickers in a twist.

I really got annoyed with that guy who wrote about the "I met your wife in Nana" T-shirt. He thinks he can spot an ex-bargirl in the US by what they wear and by acting like hookers. This is total BS. I've lived in the US and there are Indonesians who dress sexy and have never seen a beer / gogo bar in their lives. Who can tell the difference between a Thai woman and a Vietnamese woman by sight? To dress sexily doesn't make these woman look like hookers. Who does he think he is? I think this guy has a problem with Thai women and just thinks they're all whores. And as for meeting one of his ex's living in the US, that would be a long shot and I would bet they would walk right past him without batting an eyelid. He sounds sad to me.

There is no difference at all.

I have noticed that whenever I bring up the subject of Pattaya while talking to my favourite bargirls from Bangkok, I always get a strong reaction. All of them declare that they would never ever go to work in Pattaya, and generally speaking have a very bad opinion about the place. The best quote comes from an Angelwitch (Bangkok) waitress who told me "I don't like the girls who work in Pattaya". Since I have never been to Pattaya, I would like to ask you, do you think that bargirls from Bangkok and bargirls from Pattaya are somehow different? Is it possible that the girls who choose to work in Bangkok are nicer girls? Just wondering.

A child = someone under 1m in height.

My wife and I took our young niece and nephew (8 & 10 years) who were visiting from out of town to the Lumpini Night Market, and of course when they saw the big Ferris wheel they just HAD to go! As we queued up I read the sign which very clearly, in English, stated Adults 100 baht, Children 60 baht. So I prepared 320 baht for the four of us and presented it to the cashier. At this point she informed me that a child, at least in their definition, is anyone under 1 metre! Neither of these kids were under 1 metre so I had to pay full fare for them. Totally nuts! I wonder if a 40 year old dwarf could get the "children" fare then?

Is there going to be a Lolita's in every tourist centre of the country? We have one in Bangkok, there's one in Pattaya and now there is also one in Hua Hin.

Punters are happy in the capital with both Cowboy and Nana closing most nights at 2 AM. But just to confuse us all, the boys in brown closed Nana on Wednesday night at 1:15 AM.

Mercury Bar in Nana has Beer Lao for 90 baht, the best deal in a gogo bar in Bangkok. Remember you can get it for 80 baht in The Big Mango, and even cheaper early in the evening at happy hour.

Cowboy is Nana. Nana is Cowboy. When comparing the two major farang bar areas on Sukhumvit in the old days, it was Nana that had the business-like attitude, the busy bars, and the high prices. Cowboy was quieter, more relaxed, and cheaper. But these days there seems to have been a complete role reversal. Cowboy seems to be more expensive (although there are some bars with good happy hours it has to be said), the bars there are busy and the women business-like. Doing the rounds this past week, I found Nana superior to Cowboy in every way…

Less than two months after hiring two former dancers with no management experience as manager and mamasan, Shane, owner of New Living Dolls 1, has shaken up his team again. Mamasan Kwan has left and the Thai manager Wan’s duties have been scaled back. Jason, Shane’s son and bar manager, also will be taking a step back. To fill the void, Shane has added former Living Dolls Showcase meter-and-greeter John to join popular manager Steve in running the bar. Living Dolls, one of the most popular gogo bars on Walking Street, has been in transition since early July when Shane bought out his Thai partners, who then took a substantial number of service and dancing staff and opened Angels.

I stuffed up in last week's column when I mentioned that San Miguel Light is a low alcohol beer. It isn't. I was wrong. It is in fact a low calorie beer. Ooops! I hope you didn't get drunk on it this past week due to my errant comments!

…And I take back what I said about the Thermae a couple of weeks back. Dropping by there this past week it was a little on the sad side, it has to be said.

X Zone in Pattaya started a unique happy hour promotion this week. Every night, until 10 PM you can barfine one of the girls and get ALL YOUR DRINKS for just 1 baht. Yes, you understand it good, ONE baht. This is only available up until 10 PM and applies to short time liaisons only. X Zone wants to attract more customers early evening because, as with the other gogos in that area, they are situated at the end of Walking Street, and they realise that most customers come from Beach Road towards Bali Hai Pier, so those bars tend to be busier later on.

A new gogo bar just opened in Korat, right next to the German restaurant, Balus. It’s deliciously called The Pussycat and employs, get this, SEVENTY dancers – and they are hot! The place also features live music. Some, but not all of the ladies, can be barfined and anyone interested simply needs to make their request to one of the managers or the katoey mamasan. I have yet to see it myself but my man in Korat tells ms the place features some serious Isaan stunners. It is so popular that you need to get there early as it fills up around 9:30 PM. Best of all is the closing time, which to really rub Bangkok's nose in it, is 2:30 AM. The Pussycat used to be a café called Paradise Café but the folks who own and run Pailin Square in another part of Korat took it over. There is another place that is always filled every night right next door to the Pussycat called Dok-Mai Café which features Thai music and Thai food with lots of hot waitresses! The Pussycat is nestled right in between Balus and Dok-Mai Café. Prices are a little steep by Korat standards with Red Label at 800 baht, Ben Moore and 100 Pipers at 600 baht. Mixers are 50 baht and a lady drink is 180 baht. Unlike many similar venues in the capital, the venue does NOT put up with any nonsense either. Apparently some of the girls left Coyote to work at the Pussycat. Now you've got another reason to overnight in Korat on your way up into Isaan.

I heard a rumour that a long time bar on Soi Nana has been taken over by an American with watering hole experience in Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh. Upon completion of renovations it is said it will have a decidedly American motif. Again, this is only rumour, but it is said that it will be an indoor / outdoor BBQ joint with burgers and ribs. Good luck to them as there is a fair bit of competition in that area already.

Heavy downpours this past week washed away huge portions of Pattaya beach, flooded sois and thoroughfares, and severely dampened bar trade. By the weekend, skies were clear and business returned to normal – which isn’t saying much at this time of year. Crowds strolling Walking Street far outnumbered those in nightspots. Some of the more popular clubs were filled to the rafters (those that have rafters), but most – including bars all around Fun Town – served only a handful of punters.

The most jam-packed bar this weekend was also Pattaya’s newest: Secrets Bar and Nightclub. Tucked away on Soi 14 off of Walking Street, Secrets celebrated a posh grand opening Friday night, treating hundreds of local expats and members of the Pattaya Secrets web board from around the world to a lavish buffet, pleasant music, dancing girls, a score of lovely hostesses, and an extensive drink menu at reasonable prices, beginning with Tiger draft at 50 baht. Opening night glitches were limited to a temporary delay with drink orders and bins when customer levels peaked. But as the girls familiarised themselves with the POS system, all was sorted out. Secrets is a first-class venue – unique in the Walking Street area. It appears that no expense was spared and every consideration made to ensure a top-notch nightspot. A large, attractive bar staffed by experienced mixologists is surrounded by comfortable seating areas on two levels. Despite its considerable size, the club nevertheless is cosy – exuding an attitude of warmth and comfort in its appointments, furnishings, colours, lighting and décor. It is unsurpassed in its attention to style and detail. A score or more of pretty hostesses and an attractive and congenial staff (cleverly dubbed ‘Secrets Service’) added to the appeal. First night partiers enjoyed an ample variety of delicious foods – farang and Thai – prepared by Secrets’ professional chef and staff in a modern, highly-efficient kitchen. In keeping with the style of the new nightspot, Secrets features what are perhaps the finest hong nam on Walking Street – spacious, comfortable, well-appointed and air-conditioned. Moderately-priced hotel rooms are in the final stages of preparation; the Secrets Hotel is expected to open later this month.

Also busy this weekend, despite exorbitant drink pricing, was the revamped What’s Up, Soi 15, just off of Walking Street. The gogo bar is enjoying a resurgence thanks to its bevy of bathers in the buff. As reported here last week, the brightly lit gogo bar features a new shower, hot tub and adjacent padded stage where performances are uninhibited and continuous. The Candy Shop also is doing sweet business; a relative newcomer to Walking Street, the classy nightclub is attracting sizeable weekend crowds to listen and dance to a talented live band.

In its continuing efforts to provide needed public services, Coyotee’s has identified the best ass in Pattaya. Last Sunday, a panel of judges was forced to study 24 gyrating bums representing five Walking Street clubs: Coyotee’s, Diamond, The Roof, TQ2 and What’s up. Honors went to a Coyotee’s entrant, who wiggled away with 8,000 baht. Second and third best asses were from The Roof (5,000 baht) and Diamond (3,000 baht). All told, Coyotee’s awarded more than 32,000 baht in prize money to the 24 entrants.

In Pattaya, New Living Dolls 1 has been forced to put up the price of Tequila. They had dragged it down to a low 30 baht to entice locals in the low season but too many broken glasses has meant they have had to put the price up to 40 baht per shot. They still have the after 2 AM barfine of 200 baht (for any girl).

From Windmill Club in Pattaya, the bar is undergoing some further building work to redesign the shape of the counter and they are putting in a soapy show table in the top left hand corner and also redesigning the DJ / cashier booth whilst also making an extra toilet, just for the girls. As soon as that is completed a new JBL sound system will be installed and is said to the same spec as that which can be found in the new Shark A Gogo. They don't want the new system to get covered in all the crap from the renovations as the bar will remain open throughout, otherwise they would do it this week. Windmill also had a very sexy new number 2 mamasan start this past Monday night.

A plainclothes cop has been spotted surveying the crowd at Soi Cowboy. There's a bug cart, you know, selling those tasty Isaan snacks to the bargirls, in front of Sam's 2000 and Tilac Bar. The cop was standing next to it keeping his eye on the crowd, really staring, wearing one of those communication earpieces. Various theories have popped up as to just what he was up to. Perhaps he is tasked with keeping an eye out for terrorists, which can't be a bad thing because after all, Soi Cowboy is one of the most vulnerable farang spots of all with no barriers to entry. Drive a van along the soi and boom, you just got 2,000+ people. But maybe that's not the reason? Of course he could be there to enforce the anti-nudity laws, but if he is, he's doing a damned awful job because there was a heap of showing there this past week. Of course, it could be that this plainclothes cop was hired by one or more of the bars to watch out for his police brethren and give a warning if he saw them coming? Has anyone else ever noticed him? Plainclothes cops in Thailand crack me up in that anyone can spot them. Coppers all look the same in Thailand – same build, same hair cut, and even when they are out of uniform they wear often wear their white T-shirt and those spit-shined black shoes!


The ultimate Thai dating site with ladies from all over Thailand!

I have to give the students at school full marks for ingenuity. One of my fellow English teachers gave the students a book to read over the second half of the semester, so what did the kids go and do? They went and sought out the book in Thai, and have been reading the Thai version instead of the English version!

Mobile phone numbers in Thailand gained a new digit this week. All mobile numbers should now be preceded by "08" instead of the usual "0". But there isn't any urgency as there is a grace period through which BOTH sets of numbers will work. You have until November 30, so need to worry about it right now. Kick back, get the Mrs. to bring you a beer, and worry about it in a couple of months when Stick will remind you about it again.

Man, shopping makes me wild in Bangkok, and I am not talking about the crowds. My ancient laptop is on its last legs and it was time to go and hunt for a new one. With a chunk of cash in my pocket, I kept getting told that no, I could not look at one in the shop – and that the specifications sheet should be enough. I was informed that if they turned it on for me, I would have to buy it! WTF! I finally managed to find a shop that allowed me to check one out before buying it. But then I have had to go through exactly the same thing with mobile phones. All of the shops just want you to play with a model replica – which cannot be turned on or looked at properly. You really do have to wonder about the wisdom of some of these vendors.

Bourbon Street celebrate their 20th anniversary for two days on Friday & Saturday the 15th and 16th September from 5:00 PM until late. Pop by for an all you can eat buffet extravaganza featuring over 25 great items, very reasonably priced at only 220 baht per person plus 10% service & 7% VAT. For those less familiar with Bangkok, Bourbon Street can be found in the Washington Square area, just off Sukhumvit Soi 22. It is many expats' favourite American bar and grill style venue.

One of my workmates told us of an hilarious tale of a taxi ride this week. He got into a taxi and told the driver where he wanted to go, the destination quite some distance away. They had been on the expressway for a while and my colleague couldn't help but notice that the low fuel warning light on the dash had been on for the whole trip. With no gas station close by, my colleague – who speaks very good Thai – casually mentioned to the driver that the said light was on and would it be an idea to get off the expressway to get some gas. The driver then cursed my colleague, saying that by mentioning this the spirits would see to it that they would run out of petrol. And as fate would have it, within 30 seconds the engine of the car started coughing and spluttering and a few seconds later, the engine died. Luckily they were able to push the car to an exit ramp and get the car safely off the expressway.

This week's link of the week comes from an article published in the Denver Post which reports on the naughty nightlife industry in Bangkok.

There are a lot of naughty boys in Thailand, and many of them write in great detail about their exploits online, with some even being crass enough to include pictures of the dirty deeds, usually with the girl's face, but never their own, something I always find a bit lame. Well, it might not be Thailand, but it's interesting nonetheless – this article highlights how a Brit has been running amok in China with the local lasses and writing about it online – and now the locals are calling for him to be found and thrown out of the country!

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. 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 fiancée's sister, who is married to a Thai man, has "Na Ayuthaya" on the end of her name, and has a longer last name than her other sister who is also married. What does "Na Ayuthaya" mean?

Mrs. Stick says: This surname name means that they are descendants of the royal family.

So only one question for Mrs. Stick this week. With a few hundred questions asked to her over the past few years, maybe there is little interest in asking her any more questions… Here's hoping some questions for her come in this week, or else she might find herself out of a job!



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Thanks go out to Bangkok Grasshopper, Big Don and Mr. Write.