Stickman's Weekly Column December 13th, 2009

The Argument Against Learning Thai


Sunday afternoons spent at the Thai temple in West Auckland over a 4- or 5-month period. Head down in the Linguaphone course for an hour or more after work for 4 or 5 months. 7 months full-time study at Union Language School and late night lessons with a number of long-haired dictionaries. That's what it took for me to get as close to fluent as I will ever be in Thai. By late 2000 my Thai reached a level from which I am not sure it has developed any further.

Have the benefits been worth all of the time, effort, to say nothing of the cost of learning the language?

The Thai language bears absolutely no resemblance to, nor does it share any similarities in vocabulary or grammar to any Western language. It's an easy language to reach survival level in, a difficult language to master. It requires a significant time commitment to get beyond survival level or what we often refer to as taxi Thai. It's not like Spanish where a decent level can be reached quickly and it's nothing like German where so much vocabulary and grammar are similar to or the same as English. The house is red. Das Haus ist rot. And with many Thais speaking English to some degree, you have to wonder if it's worth bothering with.

Many Westerners resident in Thailand function perfectly well and have a very decent life with English only – and little or even no Thai. Bangkok Legend Bernard Trink, whose weekly Bangkok World and later Bangkok Post column precedes my weekly ramblings, is famous for his almost zero Thai ability – yet he managed to write an extremely popular nightlife column, week after week, for over 40 years! The most successful expat fiction writers don't speak much Thai although Chris Moore is an exception and speaks excellent Thai. In fact most Westerners working in Thailand don't use Thai as part of their job – and get by just fine without it.

The level of English spoken in Thailand today, especially in the capital, is getting better all the time and with more and more English language institutes and more English programs in schools – where students study most subjects in English with the exception of Thai and Buddhism – expect the level of English in Thailand to continue to improve.

That Thai is understood throughout Laos and in the border towns of other neighbouring countries hardly makes it an international language. Is it worth the time and effort learning a language that can really only be used in one country? How can you justify learning a language when you don't know how long you will stay or even how long you will be allowed to stay here?

If you live like a Thai, you'll probably need some Thai. If you live in rural or provincial Thailand where there are fewer foreigners and less English spoken, you might be forced to converse with yourself if you can't handle yourself with the local lingo.

Of course if you have lots of cash and are happy to throw it around, high-end venues, be they hotels, shops or whatever usually have English speaking staff so Thai isn't necessary. And if you mix in genuine high society circles, your contemporaries will very likely speak English as well as you do.

For me personally, making the effort to learn Thai was the right decision and I'm glad I put in the hard yards early on – I've enjoyed the benefits for a long time. I've always wanted to speak a second language to a high level and with Thai I finally got there. As anyone fluent in two or more languages will attest, there's a huge feeling of achievement when that day arrives when the clouds part and the sun shines through.

Had I not managed to get close to fluency, would I have been able to do everything I've done and experience everything I have here?

Using Thai breaks down barriers. It shows the locals that you've made a genuine effort and helps you to develop relationships and build a rapport. It DOES get you brownie points and with many foreign residents mediocre in Thai at best, it separates you from the masses.

I would not have been able to investigate certain issues and run certain stories in this column without being able to speak Thai to a decent level. But for me, there's much more to it than that.

I don't like the feeling of not knowing exactly what is going on around me. I take my hat off to those of you who can sit at the board room table while the locals yak away in the vernacular while you catch just a few words. And for anyone attending their own pre-marriage meeting with their bride's family yet have no idea what is being said, I just don't know how you do it. I could not live like that and would find it incredibly frustrating.

But without doubt there are downsides to learning Thai – and I don't mean that mildly frustrating feeling when you are able to explain yourself to a Thai but they reply at full speed and fail to grade their language which only results in blank looks on your part and confusion on theirs.

A common argument made against learning Thai is that it is hard to find anyone to have deep, intellectual conversations with, a lame argument and one I would refute. There ARE many academics in Thailand with whom you can have deep and meaningful conversation. Even university students are often interested in open conversation with Westerners that go beyond the usual fluff and what your next meal will be. The younger generation are much more open-minded than their parents.

Thai is a simple language. Many Westerners claim they moved to Thailand seeking a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle. For this, Thai is ideal! English is a complicated language with subtle nuances that many native speakers fail to master, their mangled usage showing them up to be the moron they are. Thai is a simple language with a much smaller vocabulary, basic rules of grammar and far less nuances. The only really difficult part is the tones but even that is not that hard to master. For those who want a quiet life without any real intellectual challenge, Thai is the ideal facilitator!

Another misconception is that if you speak Thai you'll hear the locals bad-mouthing you behind your back. Discrimination in Thailand is practiced to your face although with that said, the only places you really hear nasty or rude comments about you, or about Westerners in general, is in the naughty bars. Thais are generally polite when they are in public or in the company of those they're not familiar with. Anyone suggesting that the entire bus is gossiping about you, the sole white passenger, is wrong. Since Thailand's most famous Aussie, Andrew Biggs, graced the box and the air waves with his almost flawless Thai, the word has been out that Khun Farang is capable of not just speaking Thai but understanding exactly what is being said around him.

There's a small number of Thais who don't like it that there are Westerners who speak and understand Thai to a high level. I have yet to hear any justification for such a peculiar attitude and can only imagine that are involved in dodgy dealings or perhaps have a deep-set hatred of Westerners.

There are, I believe, two major downsides for the average Westerner learning Thai. If you're in a relationship with a Thai lady and your Thai is better than her English then it is Thai that will likely become the language of the relationship. As language and culture are inextricably linked, you will probably adopt a more Thai way of doing things. You will, in time, come up against some concepts and ideologies that you may struggle to accept. You'll find yourself in a position where you're forced to do things the Thai way. Explaining why you don't think a dowry should be paid is so much easier to do in English than Thai! Some concepts rooted in the Thai language may be considered outlandish in English.

When I look at friends in good, healthy relationships, where each partner is doing their bit so that the relationship is just that, a relationship, and not merely two individuals living under the same roof as most Thai / Farang relationships are, I often think of my old Canadian friend, Whosyourdaddy, who had the best home life of anyone I know. In the early days neither he nor she could speak the other's language but they set out to rectify that, each taking lessons in the other's language. Her English developed faster than his Thai and he had the strength of character to announce that "This is an English household so we speak English here and only English!" I am convinced that is one reason their relationship is so strong. Given that they were to eventually relocate to Canada where Thai would be about as useful as perforated condom, it was the right decision.

There's bad news for lovers of the nightlife, guys for whom it is the primary reason for visiting or living in Thailand. I truly believe that if your Thai reaches a certain level, it becomes much more difficult to really enjoy the bar scene. As your Thai gets better and better you understand more and more, much of it awfully unsavoury and you see it for what it is. It becomes difficult to overlook what goes on and I don't think I know anyone who speaks Thai to a high level and still really enjoys the bars. I don't think it's any coincidence that the better my Thai became, the less enamoured I became with the industry. If you love the nightlife and hope to continue enjoying and partaking of it, don't let your Thai get too good!

If you have plenty of cash and live what could be termed a hi-so lifestyle, you've probably got little need for anything beyond taxi Thai – and you might not even need that. If money is tight or you tend to spend time in areas with less educated folks, speaking Thai is not just helpful, it's a necessity.

While I don't regret for a moment all the time and effort it took me to get my Thai to the level it's at today, most foreigners don't need it. For most I believe it's hard to justify the time and effort it takes to speak Thai to a high level.

Last week's photo


Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was taken of Soi Cowboy, from Los Colinas, the large condominium building located right next door . You could say it was a view members of the Soi Cowboy Flying Club get before joining. You can click here for a much larger size of last week's photo of Soi Cowboy from above. 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 correctly guess the photo wins a signed copy of Stephen Leather's superb Private Dancer, which many refer to as "the bible". It's widely regarded as the best novel set in Thailand's bar scene!

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. To claim the book prize you must provide a postal address within Thailand now. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week!

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 – Does empathy exist in Thailand?

I have moved from country to country more than once in my life and worked in many places in the world. When I transplanted myself from the UK to Canada it took me about four years to really feel at home and ultimately I reached a point where I felt I belonged more there than in my country of birth. Not so with Thailand. I think there are a number of reasons why:
* The language barrier.
* The hot country – cold country, bread culture – rice culture dichotomy.
* The fact that I have never felt wanted or accepted here the way I did in Canada.
However, the most powerful factor for me was the realisation that the things I liked most about Thailand, that I enjoyed when I vacationed here and that made me happy when I first lived here, don't really exist. Thais have a very large front side which they present to the world, but once you see their back sides – and I am not being cute here – there is very little to like, enjoy or respect. While I know, like and respect quite a few Thais, I don't like most of them. They are selfish, childish, vindictive, uneducated and dishonest. Everything they do is motivated by self-interest and, I think this was the final nail in the coffin for me, most are entirely lacking in empathy. That means my time here is drawing to a close. I don't want to spend my final days as a stranger in a strange land. I haven't integrated because I don't want to. I think becoming more Thai would diminish me as a person. I am sure I might come back to visit, but that is a very different proposition than living here.

Dart show bulls eye!

You ask if anybody has ever copped in the eye from a girl shooting darts in a sex-show. Not sure if someone has been copped in the eye, but a photographer from the US working here certainly copped it smack between his eyes a few years ago in an upstairs bar in Patpong. He was not amused and talked about threatening the bar. Would have made an amusing court case, so I guess he decided against it pretty quickly. He went along to his doctor for blood checks afterwards.

"Really honey, I caught HIV from a dart!"

I don't know anyone who copped it in the eye during a dart show. But I recall Trink one time reporting a guy holding a balloon over his head got it in the forehead at the old Supergirls one time way back when. Said the guy started raising a ruckus about it, yelling about catching AIDS and ran out saying he was going to go grab a cop. He never came back, with a cop or to pay his bill.

A reluctant customer.

As for taking a dart, I got one about half an inch under my right eye at Marilyn bar on Walking Street on my first visit to Thailand. I had no desire to see the type of show they were putting on with frogs, fish etc but the girls I was with wanted to go. I felt that the girls wanted to find someone who had a worse job than them so they would feel better about their lot in life.


Thai ladies in Bangkok, Pattaya, and all over Thailand

Massage training, Thai style.

You mentioned to remember to tip massage girls as prices are low now and they spent money on their education. I visit a number of places in Pattaya and one on Soi Honey has all of the girls' diplomas on display. If you look carefully, they all attended a school in Chang Mai. My massage girl told me her boss bought the diplomas in bulk. He simply adds the name and date of graduation! I met one girl that was studying crude drawings of stick figures about how to do a massage. There are some girls that have formal training, but most I have met learn on the job.

Brits prefer the public bar to a private room.

I was sitting in a beer bar on my last visit. Two middle-aged gents, much like myself, walked in with two young, quite beautiful women. The gents ordered drinks and started discussing whatever. The girls started chatting in Thai. As they were sitting at the adjoining table I was within easy earshot. I asked my wife to translate what the girls were saying. She said they were complaining because British men only wanted to sit and talk with other men. Why didn't they want to go to the hotel for boom boom like other farangs? When I go to Thailand I don't plan on speaking to any farangs. I can do that in the US.

Thumbs up for the Dynasty Grande Hotel.

Two years ago I stayed at the Dynasty Grande Hotel for almost a week. Since I was working as a news reporter at the time, I brought along my SLR cameras and several expensive lenses. After returning to the US, I couldn't find a $1400 telephoto lens but I thought for sure I had brought it back from Thailand. I returned to the Dynasty Grande last year to cover the Bangkok Auto Show and upon checking in one of the girls reads my last name aloud. The eyes on the girl next to her go big and she runs away. A few seconds later she comes out with my lens! With a smile she says, "You forget something, sir?" I tried giving them 500 baht each, but the girls refused. While I've accidentally left items in hotels all around the world, this was the first time anything was returned to me.

You don't take on one, you take on 65 million.

There have been a number of reports of farangs and even Thais getting a severe kicking from a group of people, apparently up to ten against one at a time. What on earth initiates such behaviour? There is a very high chance that the victim (in the right or wrong, it doesn't matter) is going to be permanently disfigured / injured or killed. Seems quite inhuman to me. I discussed it with the girlfriend once and she almost seemed proud that the Thais fight in numbers. I explained that to fight like that was cowardly which soon made her lip drop when the talking dictionary translated it into Thai. Then she seemed to agree with my opinion. To behave in such a way indicates that their tempers are on a knife edge for a start, but I really can't understand why they all jump in. I don't think it is an anti farang thing as I have heard of Thais getting attacked by groups. One sign of things escalating in Thailand would make me leave the scene very quickly. Just in theory, the Thais are obsessed about saving face which means they are deliberately polite to each other 99% of the time. That doesn't allow them to let off steam or express their real opinions often so when an opportunity arises to release some aggression then the temper gets triggered and they join in. Doesn't really matter to them what happens to the victim as the police are incapable of doing anything about such things. Another form of perplexing behaviour by the Thais and one to avoid at all costs.

The face of Cowboy is changing with a Cowboy institution, a bar whose name has not changed in a very long time, being renamed. At the eastern end, next to The Old Dutch, Our Place is now known as Rio. It's still under the same ownership and yes, you can expect the same unwelcome encounters with the same thugs who will happily beat you for merely checking the time on your phone. The arrogance of the owner is apparent, the new sign now extends fully to the centre of the soi, blocking the signs of other bars when viewed from the soi 23 end. Ah yes, the Arab will do anything and everything to satiate his megalomania.

Soi Cowboy has been inundated with beggars, flower girls and other pests, many no doubt placed because of the high tourist traffic in the area. Their primary business may appear to be selling you various trinkets and junk but some are also adept pickpockets – so take care if they come anywhere near you. There were many working the soi and its surrounds this past week and expect them to become familiar faces over high season. You do get them in the low season – but in much smaller numbers.

But there has been one positive new development to Soi Cowboy. Months and months ago I lamented the lack of an ATM machine on Soi Cowboy and suggested the placement of one would be welcome. I can only speculate that the executives of Siam City Bank read this column for they have installed Soi Cowboy's first ATM machine.

Raw Hide lady drinks are up 10 baht to 120 baht – and it's probably the same for Long Gun, I imagine. That's still cheaper than many other bars on Cowboy.

Speaking of those two sister bars, Long Gun and Raw Hide, they will host a Christmas Eve party starting at 8 PM. If you have not picked out your own Christmas present, I hear that none of the presents on offer will be wrapped so you can choose exactly what you want!

Raw Hide has added some new seasonal shows. Despite the hallucinogenic painting on the bar's walls and ceiling, the eye candy is well worth a look.

A Stickman reader informed Tilac's #27, Ann, that she was featured in last week's column and the word is now that you'll have to join the queue for her services, gentlemen. Women I have previously mentioned in that bar and others have reported an increase in trade. Maybe I should be targeting them for advertising revenue?!

And Miss Pla, #211, one of the finest specimens in Tilac as well as being The Ancient Arsenal Fan's favourite, seems to have returned from her long-term buyout and is ready for whomever is prepared to pay a premium for her charms.

The frustrations of what has been a difficult year for many exploded on the other side of the window this week in Soi Cowboy, that being the toilet in Tilac – which is separated from the bar by a window. On Wednesday night some tourists had a real problem with testosterone control with fists flying in the confines of the men's room. As the girls on stage all started looking in one direction, so most punters traced their gaze to the toilets where a couple of guys were doing their best Mike Tyson impression. Even the dirty doctor, a connoisseur of hotties pole dancing, took a few moments break from the serious business of perving to watch the mayhem. At least 5 girls had their noses pressed to the glass of the men's room window watching the action. I shouldn't joke too much as there were some big punches thrown and quite a bit of blood at the end of it all.

Plenty of fisticuffs and trouble down in Sin City too with a report received rather late from Pattaya that there was a huge brawl in Marine Disco 2 weeks ago at around 3 AM that involved a number of people.

The Bangkok bars were open on HM King's birthday, but the majority of Pattaya's bars were closed. It used to always be the other way around.

It must be a few months since Tony's in Soi Cowboy closed and according to those working on the renovation, it will be another month before the single-shophouse bar opens again. That estimate is, as with everything in this country, subject to Thai time.

We've still got Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Songkran and various other reasons to celebrate to get through first, but already I'm receiving emails about next year's football World Cup and where the best places to watch the matches will be. Thailand is a great place to watch soccer – the time zone is ideal for English football – and with the world cup being held in South Africa – almost the same time zone as English – it should be no different. The locals really get into it, although it can be a little disconcerting when many Thais cheer for both teams and cheer just as loudly irrespective of which team scores. One thing to be aware of though is that if the last world cup is anything to go by, there is no guarantee that the matches will feature commentary in English or even pre- or post-match comments in our language. If you're a real soccer fan, as much as I hate to say this, you might prefer watching the matches at home where you get commentary in English and expert comments from real experts. For the 2006 World Cup, pubs and bars with satellite TV (i.e. they pick up a signal from outside Thailand) showed matches with English language commentary, but there are no guarantees of that and as far as I am aware nothing has been announced about which language the commentary will be in yet. Remember, while the Thais are crazy about football, particularly English football, it's as much about gambling as anything else. That gambling is illegal in Thailand doesn't seem to bother anyone but the boys in brown. Oh, and you don't need to ask me where the matches will be will be screened. It will be a case of finding a place that *isn't* screening the matches! Pretty much every bar and most restaurants with TVs will show the matches. Finally, I hear Italy, Slovakia and Paraguay are shitting in their boots at the group they've drawn.

There's been something weird going on this week with True Visions, the major cable TV provider nationwide. I, and a couple of friends, noticed that we suddenly had access to all of the channels. All 3 of us have the gold package but now we have access to all channels i.e. the benefits of the platinum package – without paying extra for it. Has anyone else noticed this? You could say that I should call True to ask them what was going on but then they might fix it – and the extra channels will no longer be available!

Locals have been speculating as to when gold will hit 20,000 baht per baht in weight (a "baht" being the local unit for measuring gold with one baht equal to 15.16 grams). It's funny listening to some of the BS coming from these old women's mouths about how much they paid for their gold, all trying to outdo each other. It got up to about 19,500 baht per baht unit this week but has since crept back with the gold price easing back. I've passed through Chinatown a couple of times recently where the gold shops seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

Beware a scam / ruse / call it what you will when playing pool with some freelancers in the Biergarten in Sukhumvit soi 7, pictured right. A reader reports that he met a sexy duo, had a few drinks and asked them if they wanted to shoot some pool with him. They were up for it. Upstairs they went to the area where the pool tables are and shot a few frames. Right on the one hour mark they announced that time was up and that it was time for them to be paid. Paid for what, he asked. For playing pool, silly, please give us 2,000 baht, that's 2,000 baht each, a total of 4000 baht! Now you can have more time and much more fun with two lovelies at the Eden Club for about the same amount of money so this was quite clearly a ruse to extort money from the guy. The two birds got quite nasty at his refusal to pay, claiming that it was their job and they expected to be paid accordingly. Their friendly demeanour evaporated, the atmosphere changed and a feeling of genuine tension lingered in the air. At that point he should have settled the bill and walked, but he didn't. Heavy negotiations ensued and in the end he wound up paying the girls 500 baht, 250 baht each. Perhaps there should be warning signs in the Biergarten that playing pool can be hazardous to your health? I had never heard of this sort of nonsense before.

If you ever face a situation like this where it is clear that someone is trying to trip you off, there's a little trick you can do. It's not infallible but it will probably work. Excuse yourself and go to the toilet where you empty your wallet of cash, leaving just enough to settle the bill. Any extra cash as well as ATM and credit cards should be stuffed in your pockets, out of sight. Return to the bar and simply say that you would love to pay them but you just don't have enough money so it will have to be next time. Make a show of opening your wallet so the girls see you have little cash on your person. This face-saving method should work. Of course, if you had been flashing your wallet or cash around earlier it won't work. But then, if you had been flashing cash around, you deserve what you get!

From staff at what was once one of the most popular hotels on Sukhumvit for farang naughty boys, the Ambassador Hotel, comes a story that shows how the mix of tourists visiting Thailand is changing. Amongst the guests this past month they had two large Indian groups, the first being 5 busloads and the second 6. The hotel, like many in Thailand, is trying to tap into the Indian market. In each case it took over 5 hours for the entire group to check out. The rooms had been prepaid but without exception, every room argued the bill, demanding amongst other things that the mini bar be free etc. When the chambermaids checked the rooms at check out time, a number of rooms were missing items including bed sheets, the icing on the cake was one couple who had the audacity to pilfer the curtains! The hotel refused to check this couple out and eventually looked in their luggage and voila, there were the missing curtains! Obviously those involved have not heard the (absolutely real) story from Pattaya a few years ago where a young Westerner was caught stealing a single towel from a hotel, the police were called, he was arrested, prosecuted and subsequently black-listed from ever returning to Thailand! Good luck, Thailand, you've been driving farang away for a while now. Be careful who you replace us with!

For those who live in Chiang Mai and enjoy eating at Duke's, they have just opened a new branch in the Emporium Shopping Centre's food court.

Bradman's Bistro, one of my favourite spots for good, honest farang food, seems to be getting more and more customers keen to sample the tucker. If the venue seems busy, just go upstairs where you should find a spot – heaps of TVs up there to watch replays of the All Blacks versus the Wallabies – and if it's not on, just ask the friendly publican, Thomas, to put it on.

If you have yet to book your hotel room for your high season holiday, it's worth noting that many of the less expensive hotels are NOT listed with the big internet reservations companies. While it's always a good bet to book online with one of a big internet reservations company like Directrooms, there are some small hotels in and around Sukhumvit that are farang-owned and run but are NOT listed with the big online firms. One such hotel is Town Lodge which advertises with this site where you can get a room on Sukhumvit soi 18, walking distance to Soi Cowboy, from 1,200 baht a night.

I really hate to sound callous, but there is a reasonably high profile story in the local Thai news at the moment about a Thai air traffic controller who was working at the international airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He was arrested and charged with being a spy and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Chatting with a few Thais about the whole affair, they are up in arms about it, not because of the charges but because they feel that no Thai should have to face jail in another country! I then asked them what they thought of Westerners being jailed in Thailand and their not surprising response was that it served those Westerners right! I tried to draw an analogy between these two situations but it was completely lost – and suddenly I was no good for even suggesting the two situations were in any way similar! Sigh. (It should be noted that the said fellow has since been pardoned although the point made here remains.)

Loso, pictured right, performed in Hillary bar II recently. Even if you're not a fan of Thai music, this guy is really, really good and well worth going out of your way for. Some of my best memories from Nana Plaza in its heyday are of chrome pole palaces jam-packed with stunningly attractive women who danced with enthusiasm and vigour but who went absolutely wild when the DJ put one of Loso's hits on.

I do my level best to give good advice in this column but I do get things wrong from time to time. I'm human. One such example is when I gave some advice recently on what one needs to do to get divorced in Thailand – basically just turn up at any district office with your wedding certificate and your passport. One Stickman reader did just that and was told by some incredibly officious individual that he would need to get his passport translated into Thai which is complete nonsense! The easiest thing to do in that case would have been to go to the district office in the next district where, I would bet the farm, no such silly request would have been made and the divorce would have been granted. You do get used to this sort of thing after living in Thailand a while, not that that makes it any easier to deal with.

Reader's story of the week comes from submission-writing maestro Korski, a response to the opening piece of last week's column. Once a Kiwi, a Yank, an Aussie, Always a Kiwi, a Yank, an Aussie.

Quote of the week comes from the inimitable Dana, "We are not part of the tribe and never will be."

The Bangkok Post reports that a taxi driver returned 200,000 baht in cash and valuables to a foreign tourist.

In Pattaya two hos relieve a German of 200,000 baht in cash and valuables.

From the Phuket Gazette, two young Aussies are caught shoplifting at Phuket Airport from King Power!

Is Thailand really the world's friendliest country?

Melbourne's The Age newspaper ran a nice piece about Thai elephants this week.

In Pattaya, there's talk there could be a major crackdown on bars at the height of high season.

From Pattaya One, a Russian tourist is drugged and robbed by a woman he picked up on Walking Street.

A young Aussie joined the Pattaya Flying Club this week – but was his induction to the club voluntary?

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: My Thai girlfriend, aged 29, not from the bar, has some roommates (wow so unique…) but has commented occasionally how her friends like to share her bed (my gal is a knockout). And when we are being intimate, she has indicated that no "guy" ever made her "have so much success intimately" like I can (We are a potent combination for sure.) I am taking this that occasionally she likes to play with her own home team (how lucky can I guy get if she doesn't mind sharing the fun).
(1) Would that seem like a reasonable conclusion?
(2) How prevalent do you think bi-sexuality or experimentation is with 20's Thai girls who don't have boyfriends, but have available roommates of the same sex?

Mrs. Stick says: For number 1 I think you can ask her directly about it. Maybe she tries to tell you that she has experience but I think probably not. If she had that experience before then maybe she would tell you but maybe not. You know many farang men sent questions before like your number 2 but I didn't want to answer. They think that many Thai women are lesbian or had lesbian experiences. Someone said that 90% of Thai women had lesbian experiences. For me, I have not heard of this and me and my friends never did that. So I think it is not true at all.

Sometimes I wonder if I am losing touch with just what the readership wants. I was really not sure how the opening piece of last week's column would be received, but the feedback by way of email and follow up readers' submissions was overwhelmingly positive. I really did not think there was anything particularly interesting or insightful but the feedback was great. It was exactly the same with Fragile Friendships and Living On Less Than A million Baht A Year , both of which received lots of positive feedback, but again, both of which I wasn't that confident would go down well. I'm going to have to rethink just what it is the readership likes most. While I do write for myself as much as for the readership, it's nice when the opening piece strikes a chord.



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick