Rural Thais are people of the land, practical, hard-working and good with their hands. Self-reliance isn't necessarily valued as locals share a community spirit. But not all rural people are the same. Some refuse to give in to modern ways and cling to the Thai values of old. I term them "the classic traditional Thai".
To say that the classic traditional Thai necessarily comes from a rural background would be wrong. It transcends region, socio-economic status, education level and skin colour. Whatever their station in life and whatever situation life throws at them, they don't falter from the traditional, old-fashioned Thai values, a set of morals by which they live their lives. They may be modestly educated, inarticulate and even ignorant of what is beyond the borders of their district, but they make up for this with those most admirable qualities – being hard-working, loyal (a trait not commonly found within these borders) and honest. Honour and integrity are everything to them. Image and face are important like they are to all Thais, but for the classic traditional Thai, nothing trumps honour and integrity.
They're socially conservative but critically, they're not elitist. The true classic traditional Thai is never self-indulgent, but rather generous and kind. Promoting their own viewpoint, agenda or even the Thai way just isn't the done thing. They do what's proper while striving to improve. It's a set of moral guidelines, not a specific way of doing things.
They are relics from a bygone era, those who guidebooks talk about but whom you may never meet. Yes, they do still exist. For the time being at least.
The classic traditional Thai I know best is "Old mother Stick", Mrs. Stick's mother. Growing up in rural Chiayaphum, she moved to the city of Korat as a young lady and married a good man. Her husband was hard-working, the only breadwinner in the family, but died in a tragic accident leaving her with every mother's nightmare, four young ones and no income.
We so often hear of young Thai women entering the bar trade to look after their child after the father did a runner or the grim reaper came calling. It's such a common story you could be forgiven for thinking it the norm. It isn't. For the classic traditional Thai, it would be UNTHINKABLE to enter the bar trade. Not just for them personally, but for anyone in their clan. Absolutely, totally unthinkable! Honour is everything. Even the suggestion of it would be horrifying. It would go against every value they know. They would tough it out and work all the hours that God sends to make ends meet rather than do that. The easy option is not an option at all.
So poor old Mother Stick did the hard yards. For years. She started out with a table, a chair and a sewing machine out the front of their rented accommodation repairing clothes. She fixed clothes by day and raised the kids by night. Alone. She worked hard and invested what she made into a small neighbourhood store selling general goods which she ran while sewing. The profits weren't great but living frugally she was eventually able to buy a small piece of land on what was then the edge of town and build a small house for the family. She continued to work hard, day after day, and saved enough money to buy some plots of land at a time when real estate prices were on the move. She made some shrewd decisions resulting in decent returns. The family home was expanded, all four kids completed high school and she was able to put each of them through university, three to Master's degree level, one to PhD. The academic achievements of her flock bring her immense pride.
It's all the more incredible that this was from a lady who completed only the minimum compulsory schooling at that time – 4 years – a lady who does not speak, read nor understand a single word of English. She is the classic traditional Thai and it is those values that have brought her great success under trying circumstances in that toughest of jobs, motherhood.
When I visited New Zealand earlier this year I was introduced by a friend to a classic traditional Thai and his wife. Resident in New Zealand for 20 years, I was amazed at how he had assimilated into society and adapted to the local way of life. Thais generally don't travel well and struggle to settle outside their homeland. They soon find out that trying to lead the Thai way of life abroad is like trying to play soccer with a rugby ball. It doesn't work. Of course there were things they missed from home but as time passed, they adapted and embraced the kiwi way. Some Thais find they have to change not just their ways but their mindset to survive in Farangland. Certain behaviour that may be ok in Thailand is simply unacceptable in Western society. Being a classic traditional Thai is not about doing things the Thai way all the time. It's about doing things the right way. The classic traditional Thai is in fact quite adaptable.
Getting back to this fellow, he warned me about those who hung out at the local Thai temple that I was planning to visit. As he told the story, many of the Thais there were just plain bad. In his eyes – and these were his words – 70% or more of the Thais in New Zealand are no good. He would never associate with them in Thailand so why should he associate with them there? Liars, scammers and cheats embroiled in unseemly business or nefarious activities, he didn't want anything to do with them. He preferred to hang out with his Kiwi friends.
The classic traditional Thai may not be as overtly friendly as many Thais, particularly those who deal with tourists. They may take the time to get to know you and to size you up before they allow you to get close to them, and vice versa. They are wary about who they get involved with, who they do business with and who they socialise with. They know that the people they are close to are a reflection of who they are.
What I personally like about the classic traditional Thais is that they tend to be somewhat introspective and call things as they see it. Just as the fellow I refer to in NZ slammed the majority of Thais in Kiwiland, so too does Old Mother Stick mouth off about "that lot up there in Isaan"! Sitting in her home in the city of Korat, she, like many natives of Korat, don't like what goes on amongst those who cut corners or take the easy option.
Classic traditional Thais often give a refreshingly honest perspective of life in Thailand and their willingness to voice concerns about their society may mirror the very things long-term foreigners resident in Thailand complain about.
With Thailand changing rapidly, the traditional ways are fast becoming a thing of the past and with that the classical traditional Thai is fast becoming a dying breed. Young Thais are incredibly impressionable, and as many aspects of Western and North Asian cultures permeate Thai society, they are turning their backs on the traditional ways.
As Thailand changes, and as money, or at least visible achievement and success become more important, so the classic traditional Thai is becoming a dying breed. And that's a real shame.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken outside Club Electric Blue in Patpong soi 2 where the birthplace of Nanapong sign can be found. For those of you who were not around back then, Nanapong was a bunch of possessed guys who broke away from a popular discussion forum and set up their own forum, site and organised a number of incredible dance contests. Good times, they were, very good times. The first person to email 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 the picture right wins a fantastic roast buffet at Molly Malone's on Bangkok's Soi Convent. The buffet runs every Sunday from midday until 7 PM and the winner gets one buffet free! I like the buffet and partake of it myself often! The Strip in Patpong's soi 2 is offering a FREE BOOTH. That means that you and one of the ladies enter the booth and the curtain is closed for 30 minutes. This prize has a value of 550 baht, the cost of closing the booth. It should be noted that if you wish to do anything more with the lady than chat then a tip will be expected…
Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod and Molly Malone's prizes MUST be claimed within 14 days. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per month.
FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.
EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Acknowledging the real issues.
The other day I saw a couple of Thais on a motorcycle wearing the flu masks often seen these days, but no helmets. What is wrong with this picture? So far about 81 people have died this year in Thailand from H1N1, but 27 die every day from motorcycle accidents, 80% without helmets on. This whole mask thing is completely stupid although it does reduce the endearing finger in the nose that many crave.
A fool and his money.
I have noticed that crime victims in Thailand are often doing stupid things that put them on the radar of those looking for a chance to score an easy mark. I remember one crime victim a few years ago who stayed at the hotel where I was living. The guy seemed a likable chap. He had a cellphone, camera, watch, wallet and quite a sum of money taken by a young lass he had brought back to the hotel. As I quizzed him about events, I discovered that he had picked the girl up on Beach Road while he was shit-faced at about 3 AM and in his infinite wisdom he didn't bother to check her in at the front desk. He kept all his cash in his room since it seemed like a lot of trouble to fool with the safety boxes behind the front desk. According to what he told me, he owned and ran a successful operation back in London. With this guy's attitude and savvy he would become a crime victim while visiting the Vatican. I wonder how much investigation if any goes into the victim's complicity in all of this crime. I don't know of any countries that can offer travellers total protection against their own bad judgment and stupidity.
Childish and pathetic.
I remember going through the work permit application process in Thailand a number of times and the officer clearly wanted our agent to beg for the permit to be approved. Any questioning from our agent would have resulted in a very quick rejection. I even remember the officer taking one look at me and saying "He cannot work in Thailand" just to show her power. After about two hours of kanom offerings and pleadings I got my permit. What a childish and pathetic situation. I also remember a number of situations when I dealt with Thai clients. During meetings the Thai boss would talk utter nonsense which was never challenged or questioned by anybody and I was advised to keep quiet. What a waste of everyone's time and money. I'm glad to be out.
The delights of drinking with a showgirl.
I had spotted a farang looking girl in Cowboy on several occasions buying dinner from various vendors on Cowboy. I also spotted her carrying food back to her bar. Tonight as I was walking past, the mamasan had her out front calling customers. When the mamasan saw me looking at her she was told to approach me, which she did. Into the bar we went and as I was curious about her farang look I agreed to buy her a drink. 145 baht for a beer for me and 200 baht for a small cola for her. When I looked at the bill she said that was a showgirl. We conversed long enough for her to swallow her cola and then she left; not to appear again until the showgirls began to dance which is nothing to write home about! Is this one of the Cyrus the Virus bars? So to Spice Bar I have only this to say: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me! There will absolutely never ever be a second time!
Another scam to add to the list.
My wife and I observed a scam that I have not read about. A farang was using a jetski and it coasted into a small motorboat. About 6 or 7 Thai guys confronted and intimidated the farang and demanded payment for damage to the jetski. They lifted the jetski and showed some scratches on the underside. Several of us on the beach saw the jetski contacting the boat in the front of the jetski – not the bottom. We were leaving the beach as this happened so I don't know the outcome.
My old TV had a nervous breakdown this week so wife and I went to purchase a new one. We even found an assistant who was knowledgeable and patient as I took an hour or so weighing up all the options, such as make, screen size and whether to go for LCD or plasma. There was one model that was a really good deal, but the picture quality as it played a DVD wasn't up to much although the assistant assured us it was playing a genuine disc and not a Panthip special. So I dismissed that model, until I saw the picture start jerking and pixilating, and knew the fault was with the disc and not the TV. After then comparing it with a model with similar specifications, I bought the model I had previously dismissed. I almost walked away and the store nearly lost a sale, because they didn't want to spend a few hundred baht on a genuine DVD to demonstrate the model. Instead, they'd rather potentially lose many hundreds of thousands of baht as others like me decided the TV wasn't up to spec. Marketing, Thai-style. The helpful assistant revealed that the TV picture looks so great on the display models because it is enhanced by a special box they use, and you wouldn't get the same quality at home! And the sale price shown on the TV I bought wasn't the real price. There was a 'secret' price, 6,000 baht lower, hidden so competing stores wouldn't know about it. In Thailand, nothing is ever as it seems.
Postcard from Vietnam.
I have been in Vietnam recently. Thailand's tourism industry has nothing to fear yet but if they are not careful they will. First, the negatives. You need a visa before you go there so that will keep the spur of the moment tourists away. English is only readily understood in hotels, airlines, restaurants and some retail outlets. Communicating with taxi drivers is shocking and directions difficult unless you have a map. But don't worry, the taxi drivers are very nice and honest. Third, for your p4p readers, you cannot take an unmarried Vietnamese woman into your hotel but no problem bringing your Thai teerak. The positives are: prices are very reasonable, food, hotels and travel much less than Thailand. The beer is very good. The people are very nice and seem very caring and genuine, more so than the average Thai. The dong seems to go such a long way, Vietnamese spring rolls are to die for, the people smile at Westerners and are happy to see you enjoying their country. Another positive is that McDonald's hasn't set up shop yet but KFC and Jollibee's have. There are no huge shopping malls en mass as yet, more mom and dad stores. Hoi-An and Nhatrang are going full speed ahead building luxury resorts and roading and airport infrastructure so soon Vietnam will be able to compete with Thailand. Granted the food isn't as tasty or spicy as Thai food but all the same it is interesting and varied. You have to try the Bia Hoi bars, small corner bars that serve pitchers of fresh pilsner beer, not forgetting the coffee shops and coffee culture that exists throughout Vietnam. And on a final note, every taxi driver and service provider wouldn't half meekly give you the required change – they give you the required change without expecting any tips / gratitude as prevails in Thailand.
The landlord obviously wants the current leaseholders – the bar and restaurant owners – out of Washington Square and this past week eviction notices were served. But following a meeting mid-week, many of those running businesses in the square insistent that they will remain in business for another couple of years, as per the terms of the current leases. Some say that Washington Square area has a quaint sort of charm but to me it's a dump. When the axe finally falls, Bourbon Street will be the major loss – but then I expect Doug to relocate before that happens.
It's the end of an era in Soi Cowboy with Tony's Bar opening tonight for the very last time. Mark won't be there, unfortunately, so Cockney Kob will host the final night. Tony and Kob have been at the helm of Tony's Bar for 6½ years and will bow out with a party tonight which, Cheap Charlies please note, will come with free food. They'd like to pass on a big thanks to all who supported them over the years, a period in which Cowboy evolved from a back alley local favourite to Bangkok's premier farang nightlife area. When they took over the lease, there was little in the way of neon, no Arab and it was Long Gun that set the standard. Boy oh boy, is that a long time ago! The new leaseholder will have to sink in some serious dough to compete which is something that Mark and Kob wouldn't do with the lease expiring and no guarantee of an extension. So Tony's remained something a retro gogo, a small modestly decorated bar in the style of the Cowboy of old – cheap drinks and friendly, comely, hassle-free women. Tony's never really reached great heights but it did have its followers. In fairness, it was never really bought as a money making exercise, more an experience – and no doubt the owners got that.
There were many predictions made about how the recession would mean less tourists which would result in bars going under. This IS happening and when I heard this week of a Pattaya beer bar for sale at 50,000 baht, it rammed the message home. 50,000 baht would barely cover the chattels and the stock. I can only guess that some beer bars are doing so badly that merely paying the rent is a struggle, let alone actually anything. Anyone fancy joining the ranks of bar owners for the tiny investment of 50,000 baht?!
The manager of Coyote bar has taken my advice and shown himself to be one of the brighter bulbs in the room! The visual impairment I wrote about last week has ended, much to the delight of dancers and customers alike. The popular mamasan that was transferred from Coyote to Sheba's is back and with her comes the hope she can lure in some quality talent. Monday night they were doing a good trade as punters were enjoying the all night happy hour as well as the restored view.
Seemingly resting on its laurels, Long Gun plays the same music night after night and the girls perform the same shows as their foresisters have since, oh, the late '90s! If ever there was a bar that needed to reinvent itself, this is it. Whether this is a planned part of the Long Gun experience or not I do not now but some dancers are tired of it, relaying to customers that the bar is not as popular as it used to be with longer-term punters simply saying they're bored of the same shows and music night after night. Management has added beverage and checkbin holders slightly below and along the stage. This apparently will add a few extra seats as during some shows the stage is cleared as the girls spin around and slam their legs down, often just inches away from customers and their drinks.
In Tilac bar, an avid Stickman reader up from Singapore was about to do a privates investigation of Miss #95 as per my many recommendations. He had quite a party going with checkbins falling out of the tumbler and Miss #95 was awfully happy, throwing back drink after drink. When asked if she was worried about her customer's performance after all that drinking, she just smiled and said "If wallet him have power I happy!"
Sheba's has been slowly inching back their start time as, at a guess, the girls are a little more punctual than they used to be. It now seems to be about 7:45 PM. Oh, and Miss M from Coyote, that would be #23 with the big jugs, has followed some of her sisters to Suzy Wong's.
The next party being held at The Strip in Patpong's soi 2 is called The Blues Brothers And Sisters Party and will take place this coming Friday.
More than a few complain about barfine prices in Bangkok but in fairness, you can find venues just as pricey elsewhere. What about that home of rough trade, Far East A Gogo in Pattaya's Soi Post Office? I don't know what I was thinking sticking my head in there this week, but my eyes almost popped out my head when I saw that they have an afternoon barfine rate of 850 baht before it drops to 550 baht after 5 PM and then a reasonable 300 baht after 8 PM. Forgetting the prices of barfines which I thought were steep, don't expect the specimens on stage to resemble a beauty pageant.
It's one of the bars I don't like for I prefer not to see the Baby Dolls-style entertainment, but I hear that Windmill Bar in Soi Diamond is offering 5 ping pong balls for 25 baht. Again, it's not my thing – but it might
There's space for a gogo bar above Windmill and a sign in Windmill's toilet states that the gogo bar upstairs is avail for immediate takeover, a mere 2 million baht needs to pass hands with no rent to pay for a year. I'm always a bit cynical about bars upstairs – punters like to push the curtain aside and see what's going on without having to climb a flight of stairs – but with that said, Heavens Above just a little down the soi is proof that such venues can be successful.
Shenanigans in Jomtien celebrate their first birthday on Thursday August 13 and in Pattaya their second birthday in the new location on Friday September 4. They feature live music every Friday night and Sunday afternoon, a farang duo which is unique to Thailand.
I have yet to check it out but am hearing more and more about First A Gogo in Pattaya, or First A Gogo Lounge as they prefer to be called, which can be found on soi 8 in Pattaya between Beach and Second roads. This could well be my sort of place for the owner tells me it is not suitable for the full-on mongers that just want to feel up or abuse the girls in the bar – there are plenty of venues which will accommodate you lot. The music is older and the volume at a level where you can actually hold a conversation. Is there demand for such a civilized gogo in Pattaya? Time will tell. The initial set up costs have exceeded 5 million baht so they are not going into it half-heartedly. It's interesting to hear that a major unforeseen expense was sorting out the licenses required. In its previous guise, they had apparently been operating without the required paperwork under a bunch of different owners. The only way to receive the proper licences required was to pay the outstanding fines – which dated back over 5 years – and then apply for the correct licences, a process that couldn't be circumvented. Authorities told them that a new licence would only be considered once the outstanding fines had been paid in full, irrespective of the fact that they are a new company and had nothing whatsoever to do with previous owners. (It's worth considering this if you are getting into the business.) Anyway, enough about their problems getting legal, this is a laid back gogo bar, sorry, gogo lounge, and for those of you with the cheapness gene, happy hour runs from 7 – 10 PM with all house beers and spirits including mixers priced at a reasonable 70 baht. Check it out!
From time to time you hear of a Western guy involved with a non-Buddhist Thai. 90%+ of the population is Buddhist, a few % are Muslim and about 1% is Christian. You might think that if your lady friend was Christian then that might be a positive thing as, most Westerners who are religious are, in all likelihood, Christian. But to be honest, I am not sure that it is a positive thing. It is my experience that Thai Christians are simply not as fun loving as their Buddhist sisters – and let's face it, that infectious fun-loving nature is a big part of the reason we're attracted to them. I have no idea why Thai Christians seem to be less fun loving than Thai Buddhists. Maybe it is some of the guilt that seems to be an inherent part of being Christian? I'd better shut up. Religion bores me to tears and I really don't want any religious nut jobs emailing me.
The fastest Internet speed commonly offered to Joe Public in Bangkok was, until recently, 8 Mbps. That has recently increased to 12 Mbps. Whether one will actually get this speed or not, I do not know, but one friend gets 7 Mbps on his claimed 8 Mbps connection, which all things considered is pretty good. The days of super slow internet in Thailand are long behind us.
If you're a chili fan, try the Chili with rice at the Crossbar which you can find a couple of hundred metres up from Soi Cowboy, just between Sukhumvit soi 23 and Asoke. The proprietor was encouraged by a number of customers to enter it into the July 4th chili competition but couldn't find out how to enter, whether he needed a big pot or just small samples or what. Look out next year! He has got his eyes firmly on the prize and a short time with Britney Spears – or whatever American-themed prize they offer.
Away from the downtown areas, there seem to be fewer Westerners around. Over our way, a bit of a hike from downtown, you used to see a few long noses who had somehow strayed from the tourist areas but these days I might not see one in the neighbourhood for days. But perhaps that is not a bad thing? I helped this really creepy, rotten-teethed Canadian who was obviously lost before I had to scamper away when after 10 minutes he considered us best mates.
I don't like to eavesdrop but sometimes you just can't help but overhear conversations and oftentimes in Thailand they are humorous. There I was in a Soi Diana eatery, just me and four Brits at another table. They kept looking my way until they thought I wasn't listening, before resuming their conversation about selling steroids online and dispatching them all around the world. These guys had obviously been doing it for a while and knew the best places to buy locally, how to package to get them through Customs in different countries and so on. Once in full flow were awfully excited about what they were up to and how successful they were. They were also boasting about how much money they made. It's funny what you hear in these parts.
Yes, to end the argument at long last, this video is proof that Thai girls do like black men!
Gary is selling the domain name ThaiGF.com for $350. If you think that's a good deal, drop him an email at : [email protected]
In a recent column I wrote that any foreigner arrested in Thailand could only post bail with cash, specifically Thai baht. A few courts in Bangkok are now accepting credit card payments to post bail and it looks as though this will become widespread and, I guess, eventually be a feature at all courthouses nationwide.
We're far from the peak of the rainy season – figure September for Bangkok when it rains most days – but this has to have been the wettest year I can remember. The rain may keep temperatures down and may feel like it cleans the air but the way it locks up Bangkok traffic early evening makes it a real pain when you want to make plans to meet mates. Of course the locals seem to cope as this snap shows.
Stickman reader's story of the week is the superb Myanmar photo trip report by Bangkok Steve.
Quote of the week comes from a reader talking about his upcoming trip – "I need a break to drink warm Heineken and be molested by middle-aged women."
Thailand's reputation as the Nigeria of Asia seems fair, even if these fraudsters were of Chinese origin.
There's more mileage being had from the Suwannaphum scams with the Associated Press covering it now.
Here's a video of the God Squad outside Nana, preaching to the naughty boys!
Marriage scams in Australia and sadly, a Thai woman is mentioned.
An Aussie drug smuggler gets life in the big house!
Here's an interesting piece about plans to resolve the crisis in the south.
Prostitutes are considered more trustworthy in China than government officials and scientists!
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 am an American living near Ubon Rachathani with my Thai wife and twin daughters age 3. Soon I will have to decide on the children's education and your column confirmed my biggest fears about the Thai educational system. This cultural that is so steeped in saving face translates into an educational philosophy that discourages asking questions and class discussions which leads to dull minds. I was in Bangkok recently and spoke to a teacher at one of the leading international schools. He told me his own son, who attends the school, was told by the Thai teacher who teaches Thai not to ask him questions. Those of us who cannot afford tuition at the international schools are in a real bind. I fear my only option will be to go home (America) when the girls are school age. This will totally disrupt our lives because my wife does not want to live any further than a kilo from mama and papa. Any suggestions. Maybe you could print this so others might be able to give me advice.
Mr. Stick says: This is a tough question. I don't have kids and don't plan on having any so perhaps I am not the best person to ask, but what I can tell you is that there is NO WAY I would want to send a child to 99% of the schools. There are exceptions of course and the schools at the top end are very good. If I had a kid – and a lot more cash – I would send him / her to Bangkok Pattana. My reason for choosing that school is that it, along with ISB (International School of Bangkok), is generally regarded as one of the best two schools in the country. Bangkok Pattana follows the British curriculum, which I personally prefer, whereas ISB uses the American curriculum which would probably be your preference. These schools are expensive and expect to part with in excess of 500,000 baht a year in fees with various other costs on top of that. If you want your children to have the best possible opportunities in the future, these are, in my opinion, the best two schools. I truly believe that giving your kids the best education possible is about the best thing you can do for them. Conversely, I believe that sending them to a mediocre school is an avoidable evil. There are of course other good schools but these are the best two as far as I am concerned. Personally though, I would rather bring up kids in the West. I can't help but think they will be better off overall – but that is merely my personal perspective.
Question 2: When buying gold for an engagement in Thailand, is it ok to take my girlfriend along with me to help select something she will like for sure or is it better to surprise her and make a selection of gold items myself? If so, in your opinion, would you suggest I buy a necklace and a bracelet combination for her or is it more a tradition to buy a single necklace of whatever gold baht weight e.g. between 5 – 10 baht weight? The main reason I would like to know is simply because I could ask Gip's best friend Mai or even her aunty but I think an individual person's advice sometimes is better.
Mrs. Stick says: You should take your girlfriend with you or take her aunty. They can advise you what is the right style of gold. Also, buy the gold in Thailand and not in your country!
I pride myself on updating and maintaining this website in a timely manner. The weekly column is almost always published on time, just before 6 PM Bangkok time, readers' stories are uploaded every day and I do my level best to reply to readers' emails quickly. However, work-related travel over the next two weeks is going to make it difficult for me to be my usual efficient self! Emails might not be replied to as quickly as I would like and there is a chance that next week's column might not be published at the usual time. I will do my very best to get it up on time, but realistically, I think it may be late. So don't be too concerned if the weekly is late next week – it will appear at some time that evening!
Your Bangkok commentator,