Stickman's Weekly Column June 29th, 2008

Naughty Boys And Digital Cameras


Digital cameras have been the electronics phenomenon of the last decade. Who doesn’t own one? And with cameras so small, we can take them with us wherever we go. And let’s not forget that the cameras in some mobile phones produce images of a fair quality.

It was always inevitable that digital cameras would make their way into the bedroom.

A storm formed in Pattaya this week when a daring and controversial new Pattaya blogger ran an interesting article about a policeman who approached a Walking Street bar owner with "photographic evidence" of one of his girls. The man in brown reportedly presented a print out of photos posted online of a girl from the bar in a compromising pose. The bar owner denied that she worked there any more and the copper moved on. Was that the end of the issue, or is it merely the tip of the iceberg?

ASFO, short for the newsgroup alt.sex.fetish.oriental was the first online venue to carry what I term "naughty boy reports", that is guys writing about their sexual exploits. In the mid ‘90s this newsgroup was full of reports from Thailand and neighbouring countries written predominantly by American visitors who had availed themselves of the local pay for play ladies. The reports were often descriptive and genuinely well-written. They had to be. Digital cameras were still of a low quality and no-one likes to take lots of photos with film and scan the images to put them online. So you got to find out everything about the bar scene, the bars, the participants and not least of all, the writers’ very personal experiences.

The way the internet was structured back then meant that it was very unlikely that “outsiders” would stumble upon such forums so there was little attempt to conceal things. Reports were posted to free, public sites with no private areas and anyone could read them.

As the internet developed, the web became the dominant Internet application and so various sites about the naughty nightlife in South East Asia started up and became the new forums for such naughty boys’ reports. The Internet was no longer in its infancy, but neither would you say it was that widely used, yet.

As the numbers of guys travelling to South East Asia for sexual adventure increased, commercial sites followed. With archives of naughty boy reports from not just South East Asia but all over the world, these commercial sites were able to charge for access – and with large readerships the reports came flooding in.

It was around the start of the new Millennium when the cost of reasonable quality digital cameras with 2 megapixel sensors became affordable to the average consumer and so pictures of the girls began to accompany the trip reports.

In 2001 the social order crusade commenced when the new Thai Ruk Thai government came into power with a certain Mr. Purachai keen to be seen targeting the naughty nightlife business. Webmasters were anxious to lower their profile and few free or public access sites and forums allowed the posting of such pictures which resulted in a large movement over to the pay sites where such pictures were not just allowed, they were welcomed.

Digital cameras became more popular, more and more tourists were visiting Thailand and more and more websites started up. As was to be expected, the number of naughty boy sites hosting trip reports and pictures of the girls proliferated.

With sex for sale so out in the open in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket many visitors, especially those new to it all, didn’t grasp that despite its apparent openness, the Thais are dreadfully embarrassed at the reputation the country has as a sex tourist destination. Guys openly posted reports of what they had been up to, with who, where, when….you get the picture!

Today there are many websites with naughty boy reports as well as pictures. They’re easy to get access to and this is where the problems started.

In recent times, and especially over the past two years, there has been a huge increase in the number of free sites with naughty boy trip reports. These reports have got larger in size and become much more detailed. In some cases, guys give a day by day account of just what they have been doing and who they've been doing. These reports reveal WAY too much about the writers themselves who seem to want to tell all and sundry about every last little detail.

I checked into room 407 of the Naughty Boys’ Lodge which was recommended for the sea views. I made it down to Soi 6 and before you knew it I was getting seen to by Nok in the Bird Cage Bar right in the bar. <Here are the pictures.> That night I went to Walking Street and ended up in Dirty Angels A Gogo where I barfined two little hussies. And didn’t they live up to the bar’s name? I felt like a porn star. <Check out these pictures….>

The concept of trip reports is all very good and well and it worked well for a long time. The commercial sites worked well, as you would expect and more and more public sites had a private area where users posted trip reports and those with access could read the reports and view the pictures. The golden rule was that you never showed anyone outside the fraternity and you never told those outside about what is essentially a private club.

But word got out. Passwords were shared. Friends recommended friends and webmasters knew that their site's success depended on new members, so people unknown to the webmaster or trusted members themselves became new members. Reports started being passed around. Not just nude, but lewd photographs did the rounds. More and more guys became aware of what is out there. Customers started showing bargirls the pictures and reports. Boyfriends started to see pictures of the girl they were sponsoring online. The girls started to find out and inevitably, the boys in brown were informed. And when that happened, which is where we’re at now, it had become a problem.

The creation of pornography is illegal in Thailand and any pictures taken of girls in compromising positions would be deemed pornography. How serious this law is, I don’t know. Probably nothing that a good lawyer could not negotiate your way out of without it ending up in court I would think.

But is the problem so much with the boys in brown?

I have to admit surprise that some enterprising but morally bankrupt foreigner has not copied pictures of the girls with reports, tracked them down and then negotiated a deal to go after the guys who took the pics. It would be ridiculously easy. The posting of nude or sexual pictures of women online represents a clear case of defamation in a country where that is a very, very serious crime – and one for which remedy is often sought by civil suit. But is a bargirl going to know that she has legal redress available to her? No chance.

Enter Mr. Unscrupulous Farang. All such a guy would have to do is find the girl – which would be very easy – explain the situation to her and most importantly, that she could be in for a windfall. Young Thai women are so incredibly impressionable that it would not be hard to get it in her mind that half the Western world has seen her privates. You could have her believe that she would not be able to walk down any street in the world without being recognised. When told there was a bucket load of cash to be had and offering to go halves on a deal, they would be in business. They could then track the guy down and demand xxx,xxx baht in cash threatening that the cops be called if the money was not forthcoming. 100,000 baht would in fact be cheap. If it went to court, I cannot imagine how much the settlement would be and any criminal charges would probably result in not just deportation, but blacklisting from ever entering the country again. Talking to a lawyer about this issue anecdotally, he could come up with no defence at all. Not one – and said that he would never defend anyone in such a case.

Of course there are guys photographing bargirls professionally and you often see or hear of photos of the girls ending up on various commercial websites. Invariably the photographer had the girl sign a model release which all of the big websites require along with a photocopy of her ID card proving she is of legal age. The professionals explain clearly what will happen to the pictures, quite different from the amateurs.

As far as photography goes generally, the law in many jurisdictions is that you are freely allowed to photograph what is in a public place and what can be seen from a public place. So if for example you are standing outside a naughty bar, on the footpath or on the road, you can point at that venue and shoot. However, once you are inside private property, you may or may not have the right to take photographs and in naughty bars, you do not. That said, this type of photography is rather different to the amateur porn that is so prevalent these days.

As far as the girls are concerned, most are horribly naïve and have little idea what happens with photos taken of them. Most genuinely do not believe that the images could end up online. They don’t know that all and sundry may have the chance to see them and they would be horrified, even mortified, if they knew that with website caching and the likes of the WayBackMachine, once something is posted on the web it is there – or at least on a server, somewhere – for eternity. Remember these words: The web NEVER forgets. What if her future husband sees them? What if her family saw them? It's a working girl's worst nightmare.

And what of the guys who include themselves in the pictures? Funnily enough, these guys I respect. At least they are prepared to show themselves to the world. But what if the pictures were to get back to their employer in the West? A romp through South East Asian brothels with underage girls (let's face it, that is how many in the West would see it) would be ruinous.

Some bar owners take a dim view of this practice. Remember the tall, bald Brit who starred in many porn productions made starring the girls of Sukhumvit and Pattaya a few years back? When word got back to some bar owners of what he was up to he was banned from some bars in Nana. At least one Nana Plaza bar also re-enforces the message to the girls that they should not allow customers to take nude pictures of them.

It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I can't help but feel we have not heard the last of the naughty pictures saga…

Where was this picture taken?


Last week's picture was taken of the sign outside Lolita's, the naughty boys' favourite afternoon haunt! To be certain, it was the Hua Hin branch, but simple responding that it was Lolita's was good enough to claim a prize. Of course, for all those who got it right it was but a lucky guess! Isn't that a nice golden glow to this week's picture?! The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British Fish And Chips restaurant. The second person to get it right wins a free jug of margarita, valued at 840 baht from Charley Brown's, a popular Tex-Mex restaurant, offering authentic cuisine and delicious margaritas. Charley Brown's is located in the small sub-soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11.

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. The Charley Brown's prize MUST be claimed within 7 days. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per month.

FROM STICK MARK II'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick Mark II.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK The paramilitary uniform and their demeanour IS highly disconcerting.

I'm back in Pattaya after several years' avoidance. Observing the pseudo cops yesterday, I had to ask myself why they wear sinister and intimidating paramilitary black uniforms, strutting around like the Gestapo. Surely if they are there to help the tourists, then they could put on a more friendly face? Or maybe they wouldn't be interested if they couldn't pretend to be members of some SAS troop? I also saw two on push bikes riding along the beach front, they stopped and asked a girl to show her ID. Other girls were hastily standing up and moving away, "tamluat ma". Hey, what is this? Bloody farangs have the right to check a Thai national's ID? What EXACTLY is their mandate? Can you imagine something like this happening in Kiwiland or the UK? Thais dressing up as pseudo cops? Hah, no f%%king way.

The business of getting your money.

Often after reading your page (especially the questions to the Mrs.) I shake my head. After being in Bangkok for 9+ years, I really wonder if the average 'holiday punter' does not realise that the smiles and playing up to them in bars is all just business; the business of getting the money out of their pocket into the bars' and the bargirls' pockets. This is no different to the business I am in, just different products, different customers, different methods and different places. To see the real Thailand, they must go outside the bar areas and probably outside of Bangkok and Pattaya. There they will meet a wide range of normal people just like in the home countries they come from. Some will be great warm people, some will have genuine smiles, some will be fakes, just like the mix I have met back home in Oz. Of course when I first came here I also did the bar scene intensively and thought it was nirvana compared to home. I quickly realised from listening, observing and listening that it was not the real Thailand. But for someone to come here and marry within weeks or months, tells me a lot more about the farang guy than the Thai woman who will marry someone that quickly.

A most bizarre hotel restaurant policy.

Some time ago I asked you whether the Atlanta Hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 2 enforced its website policy of not allowing non-residents to eat in its restaurant. Well they do, and how! I was due to be working in Soi 2 so phoned the Atlanta a week before to ask if I could have lunch there as a non-resident. "No problem" came the reply with a laugh. When I took my three teacher colleagues with me on the day, however, we were stopped at the restaurant entrance by a sour faced woman who denied us entry. There was a sign saying "In exceptional circumstances non-residents would be admitted". I explained I had phoned ahead but to no avail, even when I went over to the desk to explain. We ended up walking the length of the soi to the Ploenchit Centre. The Atlanta restaurant was only half full at the time. Needless to say I shan't be going back there!

Run, Forrest, run!

The guy whose wife pulled a knife on him should get out of that relationship quickly. That kind of behaviour is simply unacceptable and indicative of an unsound mind. I can read enough between the lines to see this guy is jealous, but really, a knife fight? I remain friends with a couple of ex-girlfriends and have met their new boyfriends without issue. AND I've met ex-boyfriends of girls I was dating. It's not difficult to be civilised about these things.

If you make it past the X-ray machine, you're not safe yet!

You mentioned a week or two ago that they are now X-raying suitcases nowadays for duty free. The last three times I've come into LOS (and having been stitched up a couple of years ago, I know the penalties!), I've played the game, but there's been undercover customs boys with walkie talkies cruising the corridors and taking sly looks at people's duty free bags. I've actually been stopped a couple of times and told them in no uncertain terms that I know the penalties and stick within the limit (once bitten 25,000 baht, twice shy!). Off one flight from the Gulf they actually stopped every passenger at baggage claim (before the suitcases even arrived) and wanted to look in their carrier bags. With the amount of money they can get out of this, you can't really blame them, can you?

Monk police? Is this for real?

I think fake monks have always been around. About ten years ago (if my memory is correct) it was a big thing in the news. It was said that most fake monks came from only one province. They could make around 30,000 baht per month. One story I remember very well was that a well known abbot (a real one) was kicked out of a public bus because people thought he was a fake monk. Also, if I'm informed correctly, the Sangha in Thailand has their own monk police. And they should look for fake monks. The monk police are not allowed to use violence.

7 years' bad luck?

My farang friend was in town from Roi Et recently, and we stopped in at Magic Tables in Sukhumvit Soi 7/1, as he'd heard about it and wanted to see it. I'd not been there for a while. The mirrored floor where we were sitting was all corroded over. You couldn't see anything! And there were many cracks, too, right where the lights shine up from below. If you touch where the lights are, they're hot, so no wonder the mirrors have been cracking. Seven years' bad luck for someone?

TLL, the online sanatorium.

I am starting to see what you mean about TLL having some whackos. One gal gave me her phone number and I sent her an SMS just saying hello. She emailed me saying it made big problems with her boyfriend and it was all my fault! She just sent me an email saying "I blame it on you." Now when I go to MSN chat the title above her email says "blame it on you!" Another one's profile says she lives in Din Daeng. So during chat I asked her if she lived near Rachada and she got all upset saying I was insinuating she worked in a massage parlour! Rachada is one of the major roads in the whole city. Another whack job. I am having fun and meeting some nice one's so it's worth the filtering.

Following on from the report in last week's column about girls in a Pattaya bar drinking Tequila after Tequila provided by the bar boss, perhaps it is time for bar bosses AND CUSTOMERS to go easy on filling their girls with such drinks? In the past month there have been two reported deaths of bargirls as a result of overdoing it on Tequila. The first was the terrible tragedy of the 27 year old who worked out of a bar in Queen's Park Plaza. A Scandinavian customer bought her 14 Tequilas. She was so drunk that she needed the help of two friends to get back to her boyfriend's place. With so much liquor in her system, she fell at one point, her head crashing against the floor. She died a few hours later in her sleep, from a brain injury resulting from the fall. There are also reports that a Nana girl died of complications from consuming too much Tequila. Upcountry girls new to the industry are often new to drinking and being small-framed, filling them up with the hard stuff can be a recipe for tragedy. The introduction of Tequila as a lady's drink which is a relatively recent thing has a very nasty downside.

The Sports Academy at Asoke has closed. It appears the reason for the closure is that the owner of the building hasn't paid the electricity bill for four months so power supply was cut off. If that is in fact the case it is hardly the tenants' fault, but they can't open without power of course! Just another reason NOT to open a business in Thailand as it seems you're always at the mercy of others. The staff has been told that it will reopen next week…but who knows? Also, it might be an opportunity for the management to look at the floor of the facility which has this most perturbing habit of shaking when a train passes by.

With Ball in Hand and Sports Academy closed there are fewer places to play pool on decent tables in the main farang entertainment area of Sukhumvit. There's a new pool hall in Trendy Condominium on Soi 13, called Pool 13 but for those really competitive players, you might be disappointed. Four second hand Sovereign tables, cheap cues and dreadful, loud music won't excite many and the clientele is, shall we say, not typical of the Stickman readership – and that's being polite. The atmosphere is seedy and tense.

Regular readers will know that there has been an ongoing scam running in Pattaya whereby dodgy characters approach bar owners and manager in packs and make out that they are from the licensing department of music studios. They point out that the premises are operating without a license for which there is a fine payable, with numbers of 50,000 – 100,000 baht often quoted. This scam has now hit Bangkok. One popular Bangkok restaurant – yes, not even a bar but a restaurant that plays music – was approached by not less than nine officials who just happened to arrive while the restaurant was packed. The customers would have loved that. Only a couple were in uniform, that of the brown variety, with the rest wearing jackets to cover any identifying numbers. None clearly identified themselves nor presented any ID cards – so immediately it was clear they were up to no good! They demanded to see the computer from which the music was being played and "check the music". They subsequently informed the manager that a music license was required. An argument followed in the street outside the bar for about 20 minutes. The bar manager, a cool customer, refused to give in to these scammers and after he had called his boss he made it to the venue in double quick time, surprisingly they backed down – all nine of them – and left. Presumably they wandered off to find an easier mark. The establishment manager sought clarification from the authorities and their advice was, "Don't go anywhere with them. All restaurant and bar issues should be addressed on the premises. They MUST show ID and warrants." The cost of a real license is about 4,500 baht. The same officials did manage to have a successful evening, extorting 50,000 baht from a bar on Soi 7/1 the same night and a Thai bar owner on Soi 22 was said to have paid 80,000 baht for the same offence. It is hard enough for owners with the economic downturn and the large drop in tourists without having to deal with this nonsense too. Scams like this are no good for anyone, not least if all Thailand's image. What would all of the customers have thought when they saw this going on? LOS used to be an acronym for Land Of Smiles but maybe Land Of Scams would be more appropriate?

Now there is a real twist to this story. One guy who was going around scamming bars with dodgy music licenses down in Pattaya was killed last week, yes killed as in murdered! I have always said that Pattaya is not a place to piss people off…

Prices are up for everything and some girls are getting in on the act. In what is without a doubt the highest price request for services I have ever heard, a freelancer asked a customer outside Spasso's earlier this week for 20,000 baht for…..short time! It was a serious request and when he turned it down, she stuck her nose in the air and went back inside to look for her next prey. Did she really think someone would pay that?!

Whether this was an isolated incident or not, I do not know, but amongst the girls looking for a comfortable bed and enough taxi money to get them half way to Malaysia, some Phillipino girls have been putting it out in Gulliver's alongside their Thai sisters. Aggressive is the word one punter used to describe them.

A dance was held outside Suzy Wong's on Soi Cowboy last Sunday, as pictured here. I'm not sure quite what it was all about.

Wonders never cease. One Nana Plaza bar actually has a happy hour! The new, down-sized version of Mercury has 80 baht drinks from 6:30 – 8:30 PM although I wish they could mix a proper Jack Coke. Is it too much to ask for them to actually stir it? My first mouthful tested good but then it was all downhill as I realised that the Jack was sitting atop the Coke, flat Coke at that. The dirty doctor was rather impressed with a few of the lovelies in Mercury it must be said.

The popularity of the bars goes in cycles. Years and years ago, Pretty Lady in Nana Plaza was one of the most fun spots in town. Then it went off the boil as staff numbers dropped and it was much less popular. Things have gone full circle and while you would never say it was back to its best, Pretty Lady is once again very much worth a look. Not brilliant, but pretty good, with lots of friendly staff and most un-Nana like prices, 120 baht for spirits and beers and just 100 baht for a lady drink. If Pretty Lady can be profitable with drinks at these prices, why are some of the other bars – particularly the Hollywoods and Angelwitch so damned greedy?! 160 baht for a Jack + Coke in Hollywood and 150 baht in Angelwitch means I seldom visit.

While it looks like business as usual from the outside with the outdoor beer bar still a lively spot, Voodoo in Nana has been closed for a while and renovations are said to be taking place.

The Big Mango's grand opening will be held this coming Friday, that is Independence Day, 4 July. It should be a fun affair. Things kick off around 6 and they will have free food including their famous burgers as well as Thai food on offer, happy hour all night, and free shots as they make 'em. Come along. I'll be there!

And also if you're hungry, take note that the kitchen at the Big Mango bar is up and running now. Their famous cheeseburger and fries is still a very reasonable 109 baht at happy hour, 160 baht later in the evening.

Bangkok's "official" Independence Day party will be held from 2:00 – 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, July 5th. I am told there will be fireworks, not sure if there was a pun intended or not. Tickets are 200 baht in advance or 300 baht at the door. A shuttle from Queen Sirikit MRT is available as there is no parking onsite. Lots of games for the kids and adults. It's at the Sport Club football field at the Port of Authority of Thailand.

The same night as The Big Mango's official grand opening, this Friday, July 4th, you can celebrate the USA’s Independence Day at Larry’s Dive, Bar and Grille. Beginning at 7:30 PM, there will be finger foods, free beer for the gentlemen and free margaritas for the ladies. Larry's Dive is located on Sukhumvit Soi 22.

It's not quite like breathing Swiss mountain air, but even the non smoking smokers are returning to Bangkok's most infamous underground bar, The Thermae, which like other joints in town is strictly enforcing a non-smoking policy, much to the chagrin of the many Asian customers who dominate the customer numbers.

The dirty doctor encountered the same fake monk last night and proceeded to follow him. The fake monk while smiling the entire time tried to chase the doctor away however the doctor insisted he spend some time with his new friend. After about 5 minutes the fake monk gave up and got into a taxi. The doctor got in the taxi too and rode with him for half a block before the doctor got out and the fake monk fled the scene. According to Nana Disco’s manager, some fake female monks have been seen around too. They are getting to be like gnats.

The recently opened New York Pizza joint between Sukhumvit sois 3/1 and 5 has great pizza! 65 baht a slice for monster slices. I didn't care for the salad and the service is dreadfully slow, but the pizza is really good. The dirty doctor tells me that the pizza joint next to the Bamboo Bar on Soi 3 is better – and cheaper, but the ants crawling over their pizza slices put me off. I'll stick with New York Pizza.

Thai Nakharin Hospital are branching out into the foreign market with a new clinic opened on Sukhumvit Soi 4, just a little down from Nana Plaza and directly opposite the Bus Stop, the bar that is, not a place where large passenger vehicles stop. One of the signs outside being all in Arabic suggests that they are after the market which Bumrungrad has been successful in capturing. I am sure they would do a roaring trade if they promoted STD diagnosis and treatment.

The restaurant in the Nana Hotel has, not unexpectedly, increased its prices…again! I used to be a frequent diner in this most unlikely of spots, but prices have reached a level at which I feel I am better off eating elsewhere. There are a few dishes they do particularly well, my favourite being the yellow chicken curry. But with prices up another 12% or so AND the restaurant now charging for water instead of providing it free, the Nana Hotel is no longer on the Stickman A-list.

Going for long walks around Pattaya, I have noticed more and more Eastern European restaurants setting up. Not just Russian restaurants, but Hungarian, Polish and others. It's not just a Russian invasion but an invasion of the Eastern Europeans. Anyway, it's good to have a few more choices of cuisine in a city in which dining out is, in my opinion, very much underrated. You really can get top quality food in Pattaya for not a lot of cash – if you know where to dine!

It should not be unexpected, but prices rises for airfares from all corners of Farangland to Thailand are soaring. From Melbourne for example, Jetstar has gone from 6 flights week to 3 and this has resulted in fewer cheap seats. Tickets on Thai Airways have gone up from around AUD$900 – $1200 to around $1,750, and fares on Qantas are up to around the AUS$1800 – $2000 mark! Yikes, that sort of money used to get you from Australia to Europe and back. From the US, a reader reports that a return trip to Thailand on China Airlines – generally considered the lowest cost carrier between the US and Thailand – range from a low of $1,260 – available on just a few dates – with fares on other dates over $1,500. Only a year ago this reader was looking at fares to Thailand on China Airlines at $700 – $850!

Pattaya is in the doldrums and with it, so are businesses that ride on the back of the resort city's success. That area about an hour outside of Pattaya on route 7, sort of like a truck strop, that has fast food establishments and bathrooms located on both sides of the highway has many empty spots where businesses used to be. The effects of increased fuel costs and the subsequent drop in tourism numbers are starting to become more and more visible.

I thought I had heard it all, but this just goes to prove how SHOCKING things have got for foreign teachers in Thailand. As has been mentioned in this column in recent months, foreign teachers are required to complete various courses and then sit tests which deem that they will then be adequately prepared and ready to teach in Thailand insomuch that will be armed with a superior understanding of Thai culture and Thai students and their unique needs. To force teachers to do the courses, those who don't will not be issued with a teacher's license and those without a teacher's license will not be able to extend their work permit. In other words, do the courses or there's the door! Some of the groups of teachers compelled to do this nonsensical three days of what is crudely called "teacher training" have been forced to, get this, do Thai dancing! Not write about it. Not recite it. But get up and perform a Thai dance for the course instructors. What has this got to do with teaching English? Or science? Or maths? Is this ridiculous or what? I really thought I had heard it all… And to make it worse, no chrome pole is provided! But seriously, how do you think some of the more experienced foreign teachers feel, those with 10 or 20 years, who are told they have to do this nonsensical course? It is just plain stupid and many are ready to walk.

I am often asked just why it is that Asian guys or guys of Asian ethnicity – particularly those who may look Thai – are not allowed into the naughty bars. The answer to this is actually quite simple. The owners and management of the bars are concerned that those to whom entrance is refused are members of the boys in brown, or alternatively, that they may be the boyfriend or even the husband of one of the girls. There have been issues in the past when a boyfriend or husband of a girl came into a bar and saw his other half with a foreigner and got rather upset. Remember, the girls are just as likely to lie to their other half about what they do in the bars. Yes, they lie to their boyfriends and husbands too! As silly as it sounds, there are some Thai guys out there who believes their girlfriend or wife when she says "Teeruk, I just dance in bar, no more"!

Two weeks ago the state of California passed a new law that homosexuals can now be legally married. I just wondered if a few Thai katoeys might end up making their way over that way and get married. It could be a roaring trade!

Is there a correlation between price and product quality & service in Thailand? Well, of course there is. A steak at the New York Steakhouse is many times better than a 39 baht streetside steak and costs many times more – but perhaps this is a bit extreme. If you look at, say, mango and sticky rice, you can pay up to 200 baht in some flash restaurants for this true treat of Thai desserts, with 150 baht the price charged at many restaurants. The other day I picked up some at the local market for 20 baht – and I bet it was a larger helping than you would get in a restaurant AND no different in quality. Internet cafes are another example. An internet cafe which charges 100 baht an hour might be close to a similar business charging 30 baht an hour – and they have little to differentiate each other in terms of computers, net speed and general comfort and ambience. If there is one thing it took me a long time to work out in Thailand it is that there is not always a correlation between price and quality. Hotels are yet another example. There are some bargains out there if you look with nicer, better appointed rooms than establishments charging two or three times as much.

Quote of the week. “Falling in love is like peeing in your pants. Everyone else can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.”

If you are thinking of visiting the tiger temple in Kanchanaburi below are some credible websites, including National Geographic and Care for the Wild, that are highly critical of the facility.

The US is helping Thailand stomp out their fake passport problem.

Here are the so-called real circumstances behind a recent case of farang suicide.

The BBC reported the death of a Brit in a hit and run in Pattaya. Kinda surprised that they chose to report this one, when it is hardly an unusual occurrence and many perish in much more peculiar, spectacular or suspicious ways.


Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick is happy to answer any questions regarding inter-racial relationships as well as cultural peculiarities that may be confusing or baffling you.

Question 1: I regularly see cute girls wearing a white shirt, black skirt and brown belt around Asoke and Sukhumvit. I realise the clothing is a uniform of something, but I don't understand what it's for. Some wearers look too young for university (do Uni students wear uniforms in Thailand) or work, but some wearers look too old for high school. Do you know where they're from? I think I'd prefer to know so I can decide if it's appropriate to gawk or not.

Mrs. Stick says: They are university students. Some schools have a uniform that is very similar but the brown belt shows that they are university students and not school students.

Question 2: I am coming back to Thailand soon and I thought maybe me and my girlfriend should spend some time out of Bangkok. On our last visit we spent 5 days in Hua Hin and she said she liked it but it was maybe a little boring, so I thought a 3 or 4 night stay in Chang Mai might be good. We could do the temples, elephant trek all the usual things, plus she has never been to Chang Mai. But when I ask her if she would like to go to Chang Mai she just says "I don't know, never been, up to you". This is very similar to when I ask her what she would like to eat. Is it just her wanting me to make all the decisions? Would the average 24 year old Thai want a trip to Chang Mai? Also is there any way I can approach or make her understand I am happy to make most decisions but sometimes it would be nice to have a little input from her?

Mrs. Stick says: Chiang Mai is really nice. The people are sincere and they have their own customs and culture that they are very proud of. I have been there many times and like it very much. I think all Thai people like to take a trip to Chiang Mai so I think your girlfriend will like it. Perhaps she does not know much about it so she wants you to make the decisions. I think she will be happy with whatever you plan. Don't be too serious about that. She is 24 so I guess you are older than her and can make the decisions ok. Don't worry because I think whatever you do you will have a good time.

Question 3: I was somewhat surprised to see you quote "I think this is a common situation today" in response to the weekly (22/6) question 1 from a reader who quote "However, when I mentioned this she went crazy and even threatened me with a knife." Is this response from you just a slip of the guard and perhaps an indication of a general lack of interest in replying to questions this week, or do you really believe a Thai woman is justified on pulling a knife on her husband? To Stick's credit he did interrupt your answer with a more responsible answer, but I am wondering if you had any further opinion to add?

Mrs. Stick says: Maybe my answer will surprise you. Mr. Stick tells me about his emails and stories on his website and sometimes he reads them to me. I hear many stories like this one so the situation was not unique. I think it is very bad but I know that it happens more and more often. But I never heard one of my friends doing this, only the emails to Mr. Stick and the stories he has told me. Of course this is a very bad thing for a Thai woman to do.

Gosh it's hard to write something positive to close the column. Oil prices going mad, readers cancelling trips, venues doing a poor trade, it's all rather depressing. At least the weather has been settled recently. That's what I'll close on. The weather has been pleasant recently, warm, not too hot and not much rain.



Your Bangkok commentator,
opening piece could have been better, but plenty of news and gossip 7.5 – 8/10
Stick

Stickman can be contacted at: [email protected]