Stickman's Weekly Column November 5th, 2006

That Feeling Of Helplessness



It was my first week back at work and while it hadn’t been too tough – first weeks at school never are as the students don’t want to do much of anything – it was still something of a shock to the system. Friday afternoon and I felt drained, falling short an hour or two of sleep each night for a few days eventually catches up with you. I left the building, wandered out to the car park, jumped into the wagon and fired up the engine. It started. That was a bonus.

I sat there, eased back into the driver's seat and closed my eyes, catching a moment to relax while slowly, ever so slowly, I felt my blood pressure slowly drop.

The engine RPMs dropped and the temperature gauge kept creeping up slowly, ever so slowly. I opened my eyes and looked out of the car. It's that beautiful time of year, the so-called cool season when we are blessed with blue skies from dawn until dusk, day after day. Amazingly for such a busy part of the capital it was quiet, almost tranquil, the only sound apart from the engine idling was the relaxing sound of birds chirping.

I was just beginning to enjoy my first peaceful moment of the week when suddenly there was a CRASH and it felt like the whole car rocked sideways. My eyes leapt open as something smashed against the passenger side of my car.

I looked across and there was a university student getting in to the car parked next to mine. He was a young punk. I didn't recognise him, and he didn't seem to recognise me. He causally glanced at the side of my car and then got into his car. I could not make out any damage from the mirror on the passenger’s side of the car.

I sat in my car and did nothing. That’s right, I sat there and did absolutely nothing!

A young punk's negligence had just likely caused a very small amount of damage to my property and he was clearly at fault, yet I just sat there and didn't do anything.

Why?!

What were the options that I had? Actually, there were a few…

First of all, I could have got out of the car, examined the spot where his car door had opened against mine, and given him a piece of my mind. That most likely would have been about the worst thing I could have done. You see, this young punk would have immediately known that I work in the area, and should have been able to guess that I park my car there or thereabouts every day. If I had had words with him, he would have lost face – and that is never a wise thing to cause a Thai to do. A Thai who loses face and feels aggrieved is not someone you can reason with – even if it was their own negligence that caused the problem in the first place. Had I given him a bollicking verbally there is every chance that he would seek revenge. Running a key down the side of Ajarn farang’s car or doing any of a number of sly tricks would be too easy.

The next option would be to record the registration details of his car and go and make a complaint to the management of the car park, or even the school administration for them to follow up.

I know of a teacher at another school who has been there, done that, and the school let him down badly. In what I can only think of as a huge miscarriage a justice, a teacher disciplined a student and later found that his car was vandalised by the said student. While that happened at a different school across town, the school chose not to punish the student by suspending him, or even expelling them, but by making him buy a flower garland, go and wai the teacher, present the garland, and apologise. The teacher even had to pay for the repairs to his own car out of his own pocket! You’d think the kid’s parents would have lost serious face over that and offer to pick up the bill for the damage themselves, but no, it seems not.

But back to my situation, what other options exist?

There is always the police. If someone damages your property, willfully or otherwise, you could always report it to the police. Now there was damage, but it was negligible. I just know that the average copper would laugh in a case like this, and it wouldn't help that the complainant was a farang and the alleged perpetrator a Thai. In cases like this, the cops typically say there is nothing to answer for and let it go. If the shoe was on the other foot, the farang may well end up forking out – or at the very least his insurance would be running to the rescue.

So, having run all these scenarios through my mind quickly, none of which would provide any sort of solution, I just sat in the car, and didn't do anything. What could I do? What was the best option? I didn’t see a good one so I did nothing!

The car's engine temperature had now reached the point where it wouldn't complain so I pulled out of the car park and headed out of the car park to make the familiar journey back home. I was tired and thankfully it is just a short run and I would be back home before I knew it, away from all of the madness you battle on the capital's roads.

I had forgotten it was Friday. Worse still, it was the final Friday of the month. That means pay day, and everyone is going to go out and have a good time. Traffic was predictably bad and I slowly eased my way through bumper to bumper gridlock, the usual 15-20 minute journey now at 40 minutes, and I wasn't even half way home. I could feel my blood pressure rising again…

There I was, sitting at the lights, listening to talkback radio (it is great for your Thai and quite humorous at times), waiting for them to turn green when BANG, some hoon on a motorbike crashes into the driver’s side mirror of my car! The mirror lurches forward, totally out of shape, and now looks nothing like it did a second earlier. The motorbike stops, pauses, looks at the damage and right then, oh God, not right then, the lights turn green and he seizes the opportunity to zoom off, screaming away from the scene of the crime. Before I've had a chance to react he's 100 metres up the road, now well ahead of all the traffic, leaving a trail of blue-grey smoke in his path.

The Stick-wagon might be an under-powered, clapped out, seen better days mass market Japanese el cheapo, but Motoman is only on a small bike, with a small 125 CC engine. Sending the tachometer soaring into the redline in the first three gears, the engine howls in protest as I ask for every last horsepower, taking off in pursuit of Motoman, the second person to cause damage to my car in less than an hour!

I nail the gas and off we go, racing this time! There's a 1 km stretch of road in front of us. Weaving in and out of the traffic, I am in hot pursuit of Motorman who is by now well ahead of me. Miraculously I somehow manage to get ahead of the traffic and am hot on his tail. Looking ahead I see red lights and with adrenalin pumping through my body a big grin springs to my face. Motorman is going to be forced to stop, and I am going to be right behind him!

The intersection is perhaps 100 metres ahead of me as he eases across toward the median strip and stops in the far right lane. I pull up beside him, applying the brakes too late and too hard, alarming us both as I lock them up. I ease off them for a split second, they unlock and the car pulls up right next to him. He looks at me, and I see the devil in his eyes. He doesn’t look left or right but just nails the gas, screaming off through the intersection, through the red lights, narrowly missing a pickup truck and off to safety. He knows that by the time the lights turn green I will be a kilometre behind him, and he will be gone.

It was a valiant effort to catch him, with some silly, though not suicidal driving, though I am sure any coppers would have initially had a heart attack, and then a field day, as they saw a white face behind the wheel. 200 baht wouldn't have covered that one!

Motorman got away this time and lives to fight another day. Perhaps another farang's driver side door mirror will be the next victim?

But what if he had stopped? What could I have done? Would I have been able to talk to him about the problem? Would I have been able to call the police and restrain him? Would he have even had enough money to cover the damage? Would anyone have actually given a shit?! Not a chance! The same principles of 45 minutes earlier when the student opened his car door against mine apply. Had I got out of the car and accused him of causing the damage, goodness only knows what he would have said. The locals would have gathered around to watch the dispute and the cynic in me says that they probably would have sided with him. And would a cop have been sympathetic to a farang in (an admittedly older, cheap) car complaining that his mirror had been damaged by a poor Thai on a small bike? I have my doubts. There are plenty of good cops out there and those that I know have always struck me as being fair-minded and professional, but with that said, I always seem to meet the less friendly variety when I'm behind the wheel!

In the end the damage to the car was minor. The mirror looked bad at first but it I was able to repair it myself in just a few minutes. Some paint from the bike scuffed up the paintwork but I managed to clean that off and it looks like new, really, you'd never know. There is a very slight paint scratch and minor dent where the door opened on the passenger side, but it is no worse than a number of others I've picked up over the years. Maybe it's not the first time that punk has done it?! I had to wonder if he was a student I failed in the past. Ah, forgot, couldn't have been…no-one fails!

Farangland based fans of Thailand often wonder why Westerners resident in Thailand complain from time to time about many aspects of life in paradise. My biggest gripe is the feeling of helplessness, that when things go against you, particularly if it is a dispute between a farang (you) and a Thai, that you really are on your own and don't have many options. Sometimes there isn’t always a great deal you can do when things go against you.


Where WAS THIS PICTURE taken?

It was Benjasiri Park.

Where is that?!

Last week's picture was at Benjasiri Park, next to the Emporium. This week's picture is the most difficult for quite a while. It was taken from the back of a motorbike at night. The first person to tell me where the picture is 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. Please remember that we do have a prize provider in Pattaya, my favourite bar in Pattaya, Catz. However, there seem to be few people in Pattaya sending in answers. If no-one from Pattaya gets it this week it may be time to pull that prize. 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 that prize!

FROM STICKMAN'S EMAIL INBOX

This has to be a record!

You have to admire this lady from a noted Patong gogo. She looks kind of Japanese and plays it by doing her hair in that awful frizzy Jap style. Tonight I sat in said bar with a friend and clocked her out with a Japanese gent at 9:15. At 9:45 she was already back and changed and chatting up another Jap. Sure enough she was on her way out of the door at 9:49 (really) and back in the gogo changed for action at 10:15. 2 barfines, 2 lots of travel to and from hotels, 4 showers, 4 costume changes and whatever in between in just under 1 hour, (by the way she does not go anywhere for less than 2,000 baht plus 600 barfine). Is this some sort of record, or do your readers know faster performers in Bangkok or Pattaya, because I have never seen any? I am informed that said lady drives to work in a brand new Toyota Camry and has a nice house in Phuket all paid for.

The coyote phenomenon.

I'd been wondering about the term "coyote dancing" but the Post today (Oct 31) sort of defined it as "The dancing, featuring girls clad in short, tight outfits performing flirtatious moves". What got me, down below was… "A Police General criticised the dancing at the Rocket Festival in Nongkhai yesterday by saying that the organisers should have known it was inappropriate." Wait a second! "Inappropriate"? Isn't the Rocket Festival renowned for women strapping on penises and parading about, while the men give in to their inner-katoeys? I do wonder at times.

So that's why everyone is happy.

When you visit Thailand for the first time, it is the most wonderful experience one can ever imagine in respect of the soul and mind. I said to my friend, one night on the beach at Jomtien, I have worked out what the Thai government are doing here in Thailand (understand I was very drunk at the time.) What’s happening is that at 4:00 AM every morning, there are glider planes which fly over Thailand. They use glider planes so as to not create engine noise. Then they periodically release a happiness chemical over Thailand which the visitors breathe in unaware! Thus inducing a semi-permanent state of relaxed happiness. Not true I know but it sounds strangely true!

Unfortunately you cannot please everyone.

Are you looking to get your ass kicked? First you admit to ratting out bar girls, and then explain how you do it, which in itself is rather sleazy…and then you proceed to tell stories about it! I used to really dig your stuff, when you were still fresh and innocent in Bangkok and were gaga about it. Then you got married. You pissed off tons of bar owners because of your biased reviews (were you paid to write about certain clubs in a favourable way?), then you started dissing taxi drivers and other less-fortunate Thais, and now this. One of these days, you might find yourself floating like the rest of the jetsam on Klong Toey.

Haven't tried it myself yet.

Thought I would let you know of a cool, small bar run by an American named Tim. It's called the Sport Corner on Sukhumvit Soi 20, 30 metres down on the left of Soi 20. Theme is farangs who like sports and he has large screen satellite TV plus flat screen TVs for multiple sports channels. They have some good looking girls in there, good beer prices with happy hour prices of 55 baht. Normally I wouldn't comment on pubs but this one is low key, no pressure from girls, great service and Tim's a great host. Just shows you don't have to be big to be successful so how this guy set it up and where it is shows location is critical when purchasing a bar. He's been running it for a couple of years and it's getting better each month. I suppose one of the good things is the great mix of farang customers. Anyway thought I would pass it along. If your passing go in for a beer and see what you think.

The eternal quest for the truth.

I was gob-smacked to read Mrs. Stick's comments about TRUTH! We were always taught: when you practice to deceive etc. You know that one. It is correct! Surely Thailand's problems arise precisely because they do not recognise the value of truth and honesty? Without honesty we simply lose grip of reality. We are unable to distinguish between what is real and unreal! How many times have we been frustrated by someone here who completely 're-writes' facts with lies to suit themselves? Co-incidentally, I have had an issue arise just this week that has caused such personal devastation to a close (Thai) friend. It could all have been avoided IF the truth had been told. Isn't man's eternal quest one for the TRUTH? What a tangled web they weave!

A Thai female writes.

I can say that most of Thai women don't want to divorce, they have a lot of patient and always forgive her husband. And also, it depend what kind of woman that your deal with as well (I mean her background). 99% of Thai woman don't like people talk with them with strong voice. Tone voice is very important, soft voice is mean polite and kind, no need to say please or thank you all time. You can make her love you more, or hate you more and more, it's up to you.

Which Nana Plaza bar is home to quite a number of farang on farang fights, perhaps averaging as many as one fight a week some months? This week's bout saw the latest in the farang on farang contests with the one of the competitors kicked down a set of stairs to cheers and applause from many who seem to revel in watching farangs slug it out.

The busiest bar on Sukhumvit Soi 33 for a number of years, The Office, seems to my eyes at least, to be experiencing something of a slump. There simply do not seem the same number of punters venturing there as there were in the past. Renoir seems to be the busiest bar in Millionaire's Row for the time being. Even Monet, so popular for so long, seems to be experiencing something of a lull in business.

Degas is currently being renovated and the talk on Soi 33 is that it is going to re-open in a format new to the lane with coyote style dancing. Will be worth seeing how well they do. I can't help but feel that trying something a little different like that could be a great success.

Soi Cowboy is attracting the crowds and getting a reputation for being the dearest of the Bangkok's farang bar areas. The Dollhouse is the latest bar on the lane to increase the prices of drinks. Outside of happy hour, beers are now 120 baht a pop which is about typical of Cowboy prices these days. Lady drinks have shot up to 125 baht, quickly following on from a recent price increase which saw them go up to 110 baht from 95. The Dollhouse does remain teacher friendly with their early evening happy hour.

The Big Mango in Nana is stocking Bulmer's Cider at 225 baht a bottle. That might sound steep but this is for a pint sized (568 ml) bottle and the Mango boys assure me you will not find it cheaper anywhere else in town.

Despite many places with uncertain closing times, at least two Sukhumvit Soi 4 venues are open until 2 AM every night. Metro Bar and the Ball In Hand are open until 2, and always have cold beer flowing!

And the Bull's Head, that bastion of British culture (but is actually Thai owned) now offers one of the world's finest mass market beers. Stella Artois is now available at 140 baht.

Is Madrid the oldest bar in Patpong? It celebrated its 37th anniversary Wednesday before last and the often quiet, peaceful bar was packed, with nary a space for imbibers to perch and enjoy the celebrations.

Management at Electric Blue in Patpong, possibly the best bar on the Pong, have to have a word with the DJ who has taken it upon himself to set a new record for the LOUDEST music played in any bar on the Pong. It was so loud that some punters didn't even finish their beer before leaving. Several potential customers walked in the door before getting a "whoa, what the hell is with the music" look on their faces and turning right around and leaving. This guy is costing one of the best bars in Patpong business. Apart from that, Electric Blue rocks.

In Superstar Bar, renovations are going on with new restrooms being built in the left corner of the bar. No news yet on what will be done in the space of the old restrooms.

A male and female couple of do-gooders in their chic Che T-shirts were seen in several Patpong bars taking photos of dancers with their mobile phone cameras. Will the photos appear soon in some exploited girl's story?

Ricky was officially named manager of FLB on Walking Street and got things off to a roaring start with his welcoming party Wednesday night. Typical of the former manager of Angelwitch (Bangkok), Diamond and Catz (Pattaya), the no-holds-barred event featured a bevy of uninhibited beauties and drew an SRO crowd. The new FLB is definitely worth a visit.

Loy Kratong weekend produced a swell of visitors to Pattaya. Celebrated in conjunction with last Sunday’s full moon, Loy Kratong is a joyous time when Thais cast their khratongs (floats made of banana leaves bearing candles, joss sticks, flowers, coins and bad luck) into the sea, rivers and lakes, etc., believing the lotus-shaped vessel will carry away their sins and suffering.

The influx of tourists over the last couple of weeks combined with clear skies and cool temperatures generated illusions of the early onset of high season. Even weekdays have seen more business in and off Walking Street. Many clubs have already bolstered their line-up of dancers, hostesses and service girls. However, numbers have not yet reached high-season levels. Last year, in fact, high season did not materialize until after Christmas. Even then it was short lived.

The Dollhouse tonight hosts the fifth in a series of dance contests featuring 16 gogo girls from Club Boesche, Hooty’s, Living Dolls Showcase, and, of course, Dollhouse. The event – offering 10,000 baht as first prize – gets underway about 9 PM. It’s a popular show, so get there early to ensure a seat. Last Sunday the contest was hosted by Living Dolls Showcase; next week it’s scheduled to return to Club Boesche, which celebrated its first anniversary with a bang-up party Thursday night. Champagne A Gogo, in the up-and-coming Soi LK Metro, hosted a bash last night marking it's first anniversary.

The owner of Blue Lagoon, the gogo bar that opened at Center Condo earlier this year, plans to launch a second gogo bar in the same Pattaya Tai complex. Amazon a-gogo, said Rohr, will open on the ground floor of Center Condo – South Pattaya Road east of Second Road. But Blue Lagoon – despite featuring a glass-encased pool where punters now and again enjoy ogling swimmers in little more than their birthday suits – isn’t exactly overflowing with customers. So why add a second venue in the same complex? “Look how many gogo bars are in Nana Plaza,” reasons Rohr, the Norwegian entrepreneur. Nana Plaza south?

Soi 15 off Walking Street has blossomed of late, attracting punters with such popular clubs as Angelwitch, What’s Up and several others. Now several new nightspots have been launched, including three gogo bars – XXX, Baby Dolls, and Venus. None of the three is particularly appealing or successful yet. In the next few days another venue is set to open on Soi 15, Club 69.

Secrets Bar and Nightclub will host two big bashes over the next two Fridays. Everyone's invited to a bachelor party of sorts on November 17, and to a party celebrating the retirement of two expats November 24. Free food and fun both nights beginning at 8, Soi 14 off Walking Street.

Electric Blue Junior in Soi Diamond has started with a bang and is doing well with some lovely ladies bouncing around the poles. Please note that next Saturday there will be a party to celebrate the birthday of one of the most popular bar bosses, Andy. All friends are welcome. Don't forget to bring Andy a present (I hear that he likes bottles of Jack!).


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

With its first anniversary party scheduled for next Sunday (8 PM, November 19), the Windmill can no longer be called "new", but it certainly has a lot of “newness” going for it. The Soi Diamond gogo bar has a new manager, a new look, new lounge seating, a bevy of new dancers, seductive new shows, and even a new toilet. What more can you ask? Well, for starters, Dave is installing two new massive smoke extractors for the benefit of non-smokers, and already has mounted a huge TV monitor featuring continuous live sporting events. He has redesigned the bar, added San Miguel beer to the menu, and introduced a long happy hour: from 7 to 10 PM – 45 baht for draft beer and two well drinks for the price of one. Russell, the new manager, said everyone is invited to next Sunday’s bash offering a sacrificial pig, ample side dishes, free shots and hot shows.

Loso, one of the most popular Thai artists and my personal favourite, will be performing live at Hillary 2 Bar in Sukhumvit Soi 4 on Friday November 10. Tickets are on sale now.

The latest edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to Bangkok is available now at 750 baht. The Lonely Planet series gets a lot of crap from time to time but for my money they are still the best guide book around. Yeah, I picked up a copy.

In last week's column it was mentioned that a long time reader had a problem getting his Non O visa extended for a year. Visa experts tell me that anyone who was previously in the system with Non O visas extended for a year each time would be grandfathered through. The criteria for new applicants that applies after October 1st of this year means that the option of 400K baht in the bank no longer exists. If you're in this situation, one work around is to go to Singapore and get a multiple-entry O visa which allows you to come and go as many times as you wish in a calendar year with every time you enter Thailand counting for another 90 day visa.

Saying that the 1997 constitution law was abolished after the coup, is right, or at least partially. The top level 'father' law was abolished and is being re-written and a new one proposed but the daughter laws that spawned from the underpinning law still remain as without them Thailand would be a lawless state and open to all sorts of abuse. So the laws mentioned last week and this week are still valid, until amended or otherwise.

Want to get your photo taken next to tanks in Bangkok like so many did? Well, you might just be too late. I went hunting for tanks in the central areas of Bangkok this week and couldn't find one anywhere. They seem to have pulled out, as have the soldiers, notwithstanding that officially, marshal law is still in place. I didn't venture out to the area around Government House so often wonder if they can still be seen out there?

We all have our individual idiosyncrasies that make others quietly chuckle to themselves. One of the funny ones with the locals that I have seen a handful of times over the years is when they say aroi when looking at an animal. Aroi of course is the Thai word for delicious, and I can quite understand someone using the word when they look at food, or foodstuffs. But when they look at an animal, alive and living?! I recently saw some folks patting some rabbits, cute little creatures that they are, when the mother of one of the girls started pointing at the cutest rabbit of all and saying "aroi, aroi"! In this past week I have seen it with a rabbit in real life and with an octopus on TV!

The cops are getting sneakier with speed cameras. A reader spotted one on the 304 Road, just after Phanom Sarakam on the back of a pickup, behind some bushes. Intercity speeds in Thailand can reach breakneck speeds so enforcement of traffic laws is of course a good thing, though I have to say, that like most people on the roads in Thailand I don't always keep to the limits myself.

I saw one of the scariest things of my life yesterday morning. Driving up Sukhumvit Soi 19 at about 8:30 AM, two youngish Thai guys, both probably late 20s and a little rough-looking, ran across in front of the car. It wasn't until the second guy passed right in front of the car that I realised he was carrying an axe! Given the way the first guy looked terrified, I hate to see what happened a few seconds later. I didn't dare even look in the rear view mirror, let alone stop to help. Stick vs. The Axeman? Forget it! In all seriousness, did anyone read anything in the Thai press about a brutal attack or murder in Suk Soi 19 yesterday?

The Kiwi Café – what a great name for a venue – in Sukhumvit Soi 22, has a pie and beer special on at the moment. Get a hot pie and a beer for 150 baht. They have a range of pies including steak and kidney, beef and mushroom and chicken and vegetable. Also, for those who miss it, they have marmite and vegemite sandwiches. Cool!

Mint Bar in Chaweng, Koh Samui, is available for lease, so if you fancy owning a popular and respected nightclub that was one of the original pioneers of the international DJ and dance music scene here in Thailand then this is your chance. To discuss it in more detail drop an email to [email protected].

The Irish Xchange just came out with a snazzy new menu, and in Bangkok we know what that means…”new” prices. I have long been a fan of this fine bar, and have been vocal about the excellent food on offer there, but I do have to wonder if the prices may be getting towards the ouch level for some. 15% odd price increases on a number of items. The food is great and the expat crowd who typically have no shortage of coin won’t look twice at the price changes…but for teachers and the like, hmmm. It makes me wonder that if someone opened a pub with good food at cheaper prices in the area, would the crowds stick around. Perhaps I should dwell more on the positives – the food at the Irish Xchange is great. Let’s leave it at that.

I don’t get into local TV. I understand it but it just isn’t me, though I highly doubt Western men are the target group. But there is one TV show produced in this region that I don’t just like, I love. Football Focus which screens on ESPN every Tuesday at 7 PM Thailand time is a really great one hour commentary show about English football. I was a football fan when I was young, but rugby has been in my heart for the last 20 or so years. That said, Football Focus is a damned addictive show, and the one show I watch on TV every week religiously.

It has been a bad year for televised rugby in Thailand. Fist they dropped all Super 14 coverage, then the Tri Nations and now when England play the All Blacks coverage starts 19 minutes into the game! What was that all about?

Quote of the week “I thought the new airport was excellent and you have to be some sort of half-intelligent dim-wit if you can't find your way about.”

There's a new grocery store on Sukhumvit 11 which is said to target farang. It is said to have a great selection of food and drinks from Western countries and one long-term reader said that he was in heaven when he saw the beer selection. I've yet to check it out myself.

The Singha Challenge is an annual event that tries to establish whether farangs (travellers and expats) can really behave like Thais – can they say the real Thai name of Bangkok; can they perform the Wai Kru dance Thai boxers get into before a bout; can they eat some of the insects some Thais find so delicious! Of course, the participants win prizes (like a meal at Oh My Cod!, accommodation at various hotels, etc.) but the real objective is to break down some barriers, and have a bit of fun. The whole thing is sponsored by Singha Beer, but there are a number of local sponsors (including khaosanroad.com). The first one is on Khao Sarn on November 16 before it moves around the country to a number of venues.

Another quote of the week comes from a friend – "Suwannaphum blows!"

Japanese restaurant chain Fuji is no longer doing refills on green tea, both hot and cold. That blows too!

Extremely nasty rumours are coming out of the new airport. Security for passengers is not the only problem, but for airport staff too. There have been a number of unreported rapes of female staff and others at the new airport. Some female staff are scared when working the night shift. With the airport still some way from being completed there remain a lot of construction workers working on site with so-called illegals from neighbouring countries said to be the main culprits. Airport employees have to take a shuttle bus to and from the terminal which is some distance. Very nasty business indeed.

And still at the new airport, they have admitted that the number of toilets is a problem and more will be built.

A Frenchman went crazy this week and stabbed his Thai darling, killing her. Very, very sad.

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 friend barfined a girl and spent 2 weeks with her. There was no money involved – he just paid the barfine for the time together. About 3 weeks ago he called me saying she was pregnant and that she says he is the father. I've told him about the scams etc but he won't listen. I've seen the scan and it's real ok but for 10 weeks gone you can see the ears, eyes, nose arms etc it just looks like a mini baby. I've looked at scans at 10 week on the net and they're just a blob at that age. Is it possible they are real scans but maybe she has changed the name to hers and maybe got them off a friend, family or even scanned them off the net? At the top of the scan it says ultrasound report, her name, her age but it just looks like it has been typed on a computer. What is interesting is at the top of the scan itself it says her name and the hospital's name with a logo. It all looks like a big scam to me. I think the scans are real but too big for 10 weeks. I think she has dubbed the name out and put her details on the scan. Would bargirls go to this length to scam you for money?

Mr. Stick says: I suspect that you have all of the information you need right there to get a qualified, professional opinion on this. The "I'm pregnant scam" is a common one but I have never heard of it being taken to this length. With the information you have, I would actually make an appointment to see a doctor in your home country and explain the situation to them and seek a professional opinion from them as to whether the ultrasound images you have could conceivably that of a baby at 10 weeks or not.

Question 2: My Thai girlfriend and I have been boyfriend / girlfriend for almost a year. I live in Europe, and visit her 4 times this year. We have been talking about her visiting me in Europe. I asked her if she had tried to get a visa before, and she said yes, 5 years ago. She said an old couple in Europe had tried to help her go to Europe which I found very strange. This old couple had been in Thailand on holiday for 2 weeks and then they wanted this young girl to visit them? After several hours of talking about this and asking her I found out this was a lie. The truth was that she tried to get a visa only 2 years ago, to go with her farang boyfriend. The reason I finally found this out was that I asked about her passport, and it had a stamp with the date she had tried to get the visa. Even after I found this stamp she tried to keep up the lie, but finally admitted it was not true. I was very disappointed because she lied, and now I feel that I cannot trust her and we are not longer boyfriend / girlfriend. She says that she told this lie only because she didn’t want me to feel bad and think about this, Thai style / saving face. For me this is a straight lie. What is your opinion: is this ok for a Thai person or would this be considered as a lie? Did she tell this lie to make me feel good or is this just a trick?

Mrs. Stick says: Your girlfriend thought that this was a situation when it was more important to give you a particular answer than the exact truth. She obviously felt that what you were asking really wasn't significant and that it is something you should not be too concerned about. She was trying to save your feelings and not allow you to get upset over something which was meaningless, which occurred in the past and which shouldn't affect you. This happened in the past, before she met you, and cannot be changed. Is it critical for you to know about that?

Question 3: As I leave the hotel, and usually a bar, I receive a wai. I respond in kind, out of courtesy. I have read, however, that this is not appropriate because you should only wai 'up' as it were, and not 'down'. This does not sit easily with me, as I believe everyone deserves respect, irrespective of their background or education. What is the correct response in this situation?

Mrs. Stick says: Staff will appreciate it if you return their wai with a wai, but they won't expect it and there is no obligation to wai in a situation like this. It really is your choice. Just saying thank you and smiling is enough!



There will probably be a few changes to the column, and the site in general in the very near future. A number of things will change and maybe even the direction of the column will change a little. You will start to notice more and more changes to the site – and I hope that you find them to be improvements. Just how will the column change? You'll have to check in each week to find out for yourself!

Have a great week!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Thanks go out to Bangkok Grasshopper, Claymore and Mr. Write.