There are a few things that guys in Thailand should learn fairly fast. Don’t touch girls under the age of 18. If you get yourself in trouble, take the very first opportunity to pay your way out of it. And if you do have to deal with a problem, deal with it yourself, or pay those who help you deal with it.
Today’s epistle looks at a young American who ignored all of the rules…
There once was a young American English teacher plying his trade in Bangkok. He had discovered Thailand, and was enjoying all that it had to offer, availing himself of its many pleasures. Life couldn’t be better. He had secured a job teaching in a pleasant neighbourhood, well away from the madness of downtown Bangkok. And he shared a nice apartment with an American pal of his, also a teacher.
Not bad in the looks department, he had a steady stream of genuinely attractive women pass through his apartment. He had discovered the trick to meeting regular Thai women, and the women who shared his bed were the sort that most guys dream about. Young, nubile and not in it for the money.
He wasn’t looking for a steady girlfriend and he led a number of girls on. Knowing that girls often "give sex", in the hope of "getting love", he played the game well, from his viewpoint, but once the girls realised that he was only interested in them in the bedroom, they soon moved on.
In fact he wasn’t always described as the nicest guy in the world with women, making them pay their way, even if they were just catching a movie, or a light meal. Romantic evenings out and small gifts, the sort of things that Thai women absolutely lap up, were not in his armoury.
Over time he developed something of a reputation. The staff in his apartment got so sick of him bringing in so many different women and later seeing them walk out of his apartment almost in tears that they would gossip about him at a volume for all to hear when he brought a new one back. Their comments included such favourites as “Oh, that’s the third this week”, or the one that put more than a few girls off, “What sort of girls is he picking up and just where did he find them?” – inferring that they were money women. They weren’t, but they soon got the picture about his exploits!
He did have one girlfriend, sort of on and off for a while, but he slept around on her constantly, and apparently the poor, innocent thing never caught on.
So one day, our hero takes a swim in the swimming pool at his apartment building. He notices a new member of staff, a young lady. Perhaps it was her exotic Isaan look, or perhaps it was the uniform, but our hero decides that he wants to kiss her. He approaches her, says hello, takes her hand and kisses her! She squeals and gives an awkward smile, exactly as you would expect a Thai woman to. But this is a Thai smile, not a Western smile. A western smile conveys content, happiness or pleasure, but the Thai smile can convey any of a thousand meanings, and in this instance it was one of great discomfort.
Our hero thinks he has charmed another local maiden and goes in for a swim. When he comes out of the pool, he approaches the little lady, and he grabs her hand. Now this is where things get interesting…
Already scared from his brazen exploit of kissing her – which would have many Thais aghast – she runs downstairs to the main security desk on the ground floor where she tells the shift supervisor that he had tried to pull her hand down on to his crotch.
This is a serious complaint. The girl is just 16, and for a man to attempt to touch a 16 year old girl is an offence, a very serious offence.
Security approaches our hero and state that what he did was wrong. He asks just what the alleged problem is and they explain that he had tried to force the girl to put her hand on his you-know-what. He denies the claim saying that that was not what he had done. He claims that he was just being friendly.
Nice guy. He has a girlfriend but he seems to have momentarily deleted her from his mind. Not a first.
Security explains that he cannot behave like this and he must pay the girl in question 5,000 baht in compensation.
His response is not unexpected and he erupts, refuses and tells security to get lost.
The police are called and a complaint is made.
Now our hero has a real problem. Sexual contact with a woman aged between 15 and 18 is only allowed in Thailand with the consent of her parents. (That many Westerners believe that sexual contact is allowed with someone of this age in the absence of a commercial transaction is absolutely wrong!)
It is now a case of he says, she says. She claims that he made an unwanted sexual advance towards her in a public place including sexual assault and he claims that he was just being friendly.
While it is impossible to know just what happened, my feeling is that the girl exaggerated the story and I'll tell you why. This guy may have been a bit of a sleaze, but he didn't care for women from Isaan. Dark skin was not his thing. Added to that, the security girl was said to not set the world alight in the looks department.
But this is Thailand and the guy is now in serious trouble. He doesn’t know what to do, so he goes and calls his (sic) girlfriend. He explains the situation to her and somehow she accepts what has happened and offers to help. She calls a lawyer friend of hers and they discuss the problem.
Our hero is summoned to appear at the police station where the police will establish what has happened and what, if any, charges will be laid (or monies paid!). The 16 year old girl gets in contact with her family up in Isaan and they sign a declaration stating that they absolutely did not give permission for our hero to have any sexual contact with their daughter.
Our hero's girlfriend has all the contact with the police and after consulting with her lawyer friend, she explains to our hero that he now must pay 20,000 baht compensation to the girl. He goes berserk, screaming and yelling that he did no wrong.
It is then put to him that failure to pay will result in charges being laid and the case going to court. The expected outcome would be compensation for the girl in the range of 30,000 baht, and a jail stint of up to 10 years.
Facing such a predicament our hero finally does the right thing and says he will pay the 20,000 baht. He is then told that he will also have to leave the apartment building and stay away from the girl, to which he agrees. He gives the ok, and the 20,000 baht is paid by his girlfriend on his behalf.
He later moves out of the apartment building, dumps his girlfriend and doesn’t pay his long suffering girlfriend back!
He might have been hard done by with the security girl seizing the opportunity to make some cash, but he was out of line in the first place. Flirting with a young Thai woman in a public place – and kissing her – was just plain dumb. Given the chance to smooth the situation over easily, he declined. He then gets his poor girlfriend to help him out and doesn’t pay her back.
Is it any wonder Westerners in Thailand have such a bad rap when the locals see this sort of carry on?
This story represents a few of the very basic rules that Westerners should learn about life in Thailand. Keep your grubby mitts off young girls.
If you have a chance to pay your way out of a situation where you are genuinely at fault, or the cost of prolonging it might be almost unbearable, take it at the first opportunity.
And always remember, the security guards at your apartment see everything! And if they see things they don't like, they might just say something.
These are the real basics of living in Thailand.
Where was this picture taken?
Last week's picture was taken of the Peep Inn, a salubrious venue on Sukhumvit Soi 33. Many people mistakenly thought it was the Korean Plaza near Sukhumvit Soi 12 which admittedly looks rather similar. The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod and the second wins a free jug of margarita to the winner of the competition, valued at 840 baht from Charley Brown's, a well-established, popular restaurant, offering authentic Tex-Mex Cuisine and delicious margaritas. Charley Brown's is located in the small sub-soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11 and is a firm favourite with many expats and their families. They're offering a jug, that's six big glasses, so it definitely needs sharing!
FROM STICK MARK II'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick Mark II)
EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Fight not to drown in darkness.
The small things are a mission here. That's probably the most annoying thing. Second the lies / cheating problem. Third would be the local fascism. Fourth would be the no tomorrow attitude. Fifth is the constant guile they have and their stupid personal pride. On the plus side are the availability of girls and the western infrastructure. I am surprised that even sheltered in a 5 star hotel, I get the Bangkok blues sometimes. I think if I lived at Khao San, I would be a mass murderer by now or high on drugs. I clearly can see now that the environment has a lot to do with how you become as a person or human being. It's true, Thailand makes you a worse person in many ways and you have to fight not to drown in darkness.
The 90 day rule.
I don't have any answers on the 90 day rules but here are two things I heard. First, from a Thai lawyer, "Don't bother doing it." Second, from a Thai Immigration Official, "It doesn't apply to you since you travel outside of Thailand on business. It only applies if you are here and NEVER travel outside Thailand." Obviously, I never bothered, and have never been asked.
A call for kilted men!
Scotland play Italy on Saturday 17th of November. It's the final game in Scotland's quest for qualification for the Euro 2008 competition. Could you please ask via your weekly page for any Scots expats who want to watch the game together in BKK to get in touch with me? Also if anyone would be interested in getting involved in a Bangkok or Thailand branch of the Tartan Army. (Tartan Army is the name for the Scotland supporters.) We are also looking for anyone with a set of bagpipes and drummers too etc. My UK mobile +447957 249932, SMS for enquiries etc or contact by email@example.com
Thais medieval? Well, with my anthro leaning, I’d say that reflects a European historic progression that’s not quite applicable. Thais I’d describe as animists believing in spirits with their minds and hearts still in the primitive jungle but now living in a world of skyscrapers. I love them for it.
Why they replaced the local brew?
There might be a logical reason behind Changi Airport replacing their local Tiger beer with Thailand's Chang. A few months ago I was in Rovaniemi on the Finnish Arctic Circle, and discovered that none of the bars appeared to have the locally brewed Lapin Kulta on tap (it's a decent drink). It had been replaced by Koff (another decent drink, so no problem). I mentioned this to a friend who lives there, and she suggested that Lapin Kulta was so common people probably stocked up on it at the supermarket and wanted something different when they went out. There was still plenty of Lapin Kulta on tap in the capital, Helsinki.
The changing face of Patong.
In Phuket, where I live, there have been very noticeable changes, especially over the last 5 years. Especially in Patong, which once saw almost no-one but single men, the streets are now packed with groups of Asians on guided tours, families and 'Derby and Joan' oldies, very few of which spend any money in the bars. They just walk around gawping at the ladyboys and glaring at any farang male who sits, talks or walks with Thai girls. Could this be the future of Pattaya? Patong used to be a smaller Pattaya, nowadays it is more like Hua Hin. To the starers and glarers I would like to say, get a life people, what goes on here is well-known, and if you don't like seeing it go somewhere else. If you did not like the cold, you would not go whale watching in the Arctic, would you?
I was walking along the streets yesterday, at about 1 AM on Ploenchit Road. All of a sudden I hear something very frightening and I thought a bomb had gone off next to me. But it was some electrical sparks from bad wires which were about to ignite a fire to a small shop. So stupid me, I tell the security guard of the next building about it. Well, what do you think happened? He would not come to see what was going on. I tried my best in Thai, but he simply would not move his position. There was no other person in the street, so I could not tell anybody else. I mean in Africa, in India, in South America, people would go see what's going on, but not here in Zombieland.
Going out of their way to remain ignorant.
Next time you have an enquiry to make this course of action might produce a different result. "Excuse me but I would like to establish whether or not you have any face? In the event you cannot answer my questions, that will by definition mean not only have you lost face, but maybe that you didn't even have any face to begin with." From my experience, what I find so staggering about Thais is not so much that they know nothing about their job or work, but they seem to go out of their way to remain ignorant, basically having next to no interest at all in their product or what they are doing. For instance I now no longer ask them if they know the name of someone, I ask them does this person have a name. In the West if you do not know something then for sure you are at a disadvantage, when this happens over a number of occasions your credibility sinks to rock bottom, so why is it that Thais seem to excel with a total loss of face when they say mai me?
Rainbow 1 had a ripper of a night on Friday, with 109 out of 112 of their dancing girls turning up for duty, an almost unprecedented percentage of the girls. More often than not 20 – 25% of the girls simply don't show, or are away on long term barfines, upcountry, or maybe with their Thai boyfriend. Anyway, if one is searching for the best eye candy, Rainbow 1 is quite possibly the place. It doesn't have the best atmosphere of all the bars in Nana, but for sure, the view is outstanding. What is kinda funny is that the girls in there have been complaining recently. They have been moaning and groaning that there haven't been enough Japanese visitors in recent times. By the way, if you have issue number 4 of After Dark magazine, pooying #150 in Rainbow 1 is one of the featured girls.
Doing a quick round up of the bars in Nana this week, Spanky's seems to be quiet most of the time, at least whenever I poke my head in the door there are almost no customers at all. Mercury is doing ok although I am not a great fan of the venue…there's something about it, that I can't put my finger on, which I just don't like. Maybe it's the old, Patpong style feel to the place which is almost a bit decrepit! Mandarin is doing ok – but should be doing better as they have a great line up, much better than any bar in Nana apart from the Rainbows – and I include Angelwitch in that bunch. And that little #77 who dances upstairs is a real ball of energy!
Spice girls is kind of open for what it is worth downstairs anyway on the Cowboy 1 side (the left). It was very clearly rushed with wet and running paint not yet dried. Upstairs is still a work in progress, with construction material all over the show. The Spice Girl side (the right) is still down to the bare walls and looks to be at least one or two weeks from completion. For the moment there is only table dancing and the girls wear skirts, think topless Pretty Lady and you've got the idea. 70 baht Heineken happy hour. It looks to be a good bar as long as the pricing and drinks don’t follow the other bars owned by the same person.
In Rainbow 4 on Wednesday night there was what can only be described as a dreadfully-dressed ugly guy throwing banknotes around which of course got the girls all excited. He soon had some of the hottest girls bouncing on his sorry lap. Was he trying to replicate the girl I wrote about a few weeks ago who dispersed 500 baht notes to her friends?
There are big changes mooted to be coming to Hollywood upstairs in Nana soon.
There's no change in situation at the Farang Connection in Nana which remains firmly closed. Ah, the ills of gambling…
There's a novel new product on offer at Charley Brown's, one of the prize providers for the where is this picture competition. They just started selling alcoholic ice cream. It's 5% alcohol content and it is fantastic! They have available B52, margarita, cosmopolitan, rum and raisin, almond toffee vodka, sangria and mimosa flavours. Customers are raving about it so do stop by and try it.
If you find yourself in Pattaya this coming Friday, that is October 12, do swing by Sisterz and help Ricky celebrate his birthday. He wouldn't tell me how old he is, but 21 he isn't – but then neither is he expecting his letter from HM The Queen just yet! Free food, heaps of booze and all the usual. All friends are welcome, new and old.
Shooters, located on the Second Road side in Soi Diamond off Walking Street, Pattaya has a heap of upcoming events. On Thursday, October 11, starting 8 PM, "Sam's American & Mexican Grill" will open officially inside Shooters with a Party! They will offer free samples of their food, freshly prepared in their recently upgraded kitchen. The menu includes various hamburgers, sandwiches, chilli con carne, chicken nuggets, wings and more. There's also an extensive section of Mexican food with burritos, tacos, quesadillas, carne asada, and more! There'll also be special priced drinks all night! Everyone is welcome! On Saturday, October 13th, Shooters hosts a Country & Western Party, featuring a live appearance of Rockin' Jerry Hill from the USA! That'll feature free food and special drink prices. Yeehah! It all kicks off around 8 PM.
Coyote in Cowboy now has private dances upstairs according to new signs erected. Some perverts have no problem getting their fingers wet downstairs, so I can only imagine what sort of carry on takes places upstairs.
Dark Beer Lao is becoming more readily available. It is available in Tony's Bar on Soi Cowboy and going down very well judging by customers' comments. It's available for 80 baht at happy hour which runs until 8.30 PM after which it is 120 baht. Regular Beer Lao, that fabulous lager, goes for 60 baht during the happy hour and 105 baht later in the evening.
I keep hearing more and more stories, some from people close to me, of farangs doing a runner from a cop who requests them to stop their bike or vehicle. Now you've probably seen the comical scene before, Thai cops running backwards and forwards across the road at a checkpoint, as unlicensed drivers and riders without a helmet zoom past them as the cops seemingly make a show of trying to stop them. It's an hilarious spectacle, but there is a serious side to it. Failing to stop for a cop is a serious offence! Hell, in my country they would pursue you at high speed and may eve call in a helicopter, dog units and motorbikes to chase you down! What the hell are these guys thinking? It could be argued that one is simply doing as the locals do, but that is of course a totally invalid argument. I reckon one day one of these farangs who refuses to stop for a cop is going to wear some lead. Really, I do.
But unrelated is the targeting of farangs by the boys in brown around the Asoke area. A close friend told me this week of how we was stopped on Asoke, the main Asoke Road that is – which is only a bit more than a stone's throw from where all of the other similar stops have occurred. Slightly different story this time. He was exiting the building where his office is housed when two cops came up behind him and waved him to pull over. He was told to exit the vehicle and he was then searched, thoroughly. His pockets were turned inside out and he was patted down, from head to tow. The cops then spent what he estimates were 10 long minutes, turning his car upside down, taking out every last thing, and examining it thoroughly. What on earth were they looking for? They never explained to him what was going on – and being asked to pull over was not for any sort of traffic infringement as he'd only just exited a building on to the road. I'd love to know what they are looking for.
Close by our apartment is a large house. A very large house. The owners appear to be a large, extended Chinese family and looking at the size of the property, the number of vehicles parked outside, and the marques of the vehicles, this is one wealthy family. But what I cannot understand is why they seemingly have all of their clothes washed by hand. There's a bunch of Isaan slaves, oops, I mean hired help from Isaan, and every morning I see this bunch of young Isaan girls scrubbing every piece of clothing thoroughly, dipping it in and out of various buckets. It is as if this palace with fine automobiles parked outside doesn't have a washing machine inside. Now if you have seen Thai women washing clothes manually, they do a pretty good job of destroying them, totally shredding them in fact – so why would they get the hired help to do the washing, and not use a washing machine? Surely a washing machine would be more economical – and easier on the fabric?
Isn't it horrific that Thailand has signaled that it will turn away Burmese at the border who are fleeing suppression in their native homeland, but will allow those who are smuggled across the border (to satisfy the Thai men's demand for white-skinned women, or to work as salve labour in Thai factories, or to work as illegal housekeepers, maids, cleaners etc. in the mansions of Thailand's so-called elite). Man, don't you just love Asia?! You can't complain about the human rights here because there's none to complain about!
It's school holiday time and traffic is way lighter than usual. Oh how I wish it was like this all the time. You can pretty much drive anywhere, any time and not get stuffed too badly by choking traffic jams.
The wool has been pulled over Stick's eyes! Remember the piece I ran about Tony and Ning and their upcountry swingers' club? Well, it seems there was some information that I didn't manage to dig up, information which puts a slightly different slant on the whole business. Tony moved to Thailand from Spain where he was previously married. Together the happy couple run a very successful 6 bedroom swingers hotel near Alora, inland from the Costa del Sol. It was called Finca Los Etera and it is now operated as a nudist resort. There have been some very serious allegations made about what went on there and I am afraid it paints the whole debacle in Udon in a completely different light. I shan't be printing what I have dug up, suffice to say, it is very nasty business.
Who was that plonker who took a bird and a brand new golf club into a gogo bar and then leaves, forgetting the golf club? Maybe Dave The Rave could use the club to rev up the girls who aren't moving enough on the dance floor?
I still cannot get over the cycle lane that runs east of soi 33 on Sukhumvit Road. The huge outdoor flower shop outside that famous Villa Market encroaches over it totally and there are spots where on either side of the cycle track you have vendors selling their copied knick knacks and the usual junk. Who was the moron who put this cycle lane on such a busy stretch of road?!
Quote of the week goes to a certain Bangkok webmaster. "What's with those seats? They look like toilets!" He was referring to the peculiar seats downstairs in Mandarin in Nana.
Miss Udon is here to answer questions surrounding anything that confuses you in Thailand, particularly issues of the heart. Feel free to send questions in for her to answer and get the perspective of a Thai female. You and I may well disagree with what she says. The purpose of this section is to provide a Thai woman's perspective!
Question 1: I often see Thai women on the back of motorbike taxis sitting side-saddle. I understand that the reason for this is that they do not want to sit too close to the rider and also, if they are wearing a skirt, it might be rather embarrassing! I wonder how these women manage to balance so well. For sure if it was a farang woman her fat ass would fall off the bike within 50 metres, but Thai women do it with such ease and oh so gracefully. How do Thai women manage it?
Miss Udon says: We were told to not sit like a man on a motorbike since we were kids as it is not polite. And when we first sit on a motorbike absolutely that we have to manage ourselves to not fall off on to the street. We do that often and we get used to it and then it becomes easy for us. In many things, not only the way we sit on a bike, if we always do it we will be good at it. Just keep practicing.
My apologies for the column going up online late today. I had a late night last night. I make every effort to get the column up on time, 6 PM Bangkok, but this week that proved just too difficult. In the end the column was only an hour late…better late than never!
Stick Mark II