Stickman's Weekly Column February 28th, 2010

Patpong Memories



The Beatles were still together, Pelé was knocking them in from everywhere and man had not yet set foot on the moon. The world was experiencing rapid change, perceived as irresponsible excess and flamboyance by some. The arrival of what would become known as Bangkok's first farang bar area in an era of increasing casual sex and recreational drug use was timely. It was the late 60s and in downtown Bangkok there was a bunch of gogo bars stocked with local lasses entertaining GIs over from Vietnam for a bit of R & R. The area was called Patpong.

Patpong is Bangkok's oldest bar area and is spread over two main sois as well as some sub sois. The area feels like it has been around forever. It may have been off its game for the last decade or more and it might be only a shadow of its former self, but Patpong remains the most famous of all of Thailand's nightlife areas, both within and outside the country. Those who haven't visited Thailand may know of Patpong and most Thais, even those who abhor the industry, know of Patpong's reputation.



My first visit to Patpong is hazy. The taxi dropped us some distance away and it took several minutes to fight our way through a myriad of street vendors to reach the main Patpong soi. My primary memory is the pesky touts who were in our face, grabbing us, trying to get us to do things we didn't want to do or go to places we didn't want to go. Our tour of the area was hardly extensive and I don't think we ventured beyond the main soi.

I remember visiting a few bars, one exclusively home to ladyboys, something I didn't realise until a year later. It goes to show just how green we were. In a bar full of ladyboys – and only ladyboys – we just didn't know. In fact we probably didn't suspect that even one was not the genuine article. It's easy to see how you could get sucked in.

"I went to put my hand in my pocket and someone else's was already there!", were my pal's words as we battled away along the soi, and battle we did. The guidebook had warned that pick pocketing was a problem in the Patpong area and so we found out. Fortunately his back pocket was empty.

Our first visit to Patpong hardly inspired us and we left it with that feeling that we had been there, done that, put a tick next to it in the list of places you should visit once. There was absolutely no desire to visit again.

I did go through a phase several years back when I quite liked Patpong, but that came and went.



Patpong was probably in its prime in the 70s and 80s, perhaps through to the early 90s before the night market was introduced and the transformation of the area to a tourist attraction was complete.

In some ways Patpong today is completely different to how it used to be but in others it is much the same. The appearance of the area has not changed much in all the time I have been in Bangkok. Much of the bar frontages and signs are exactly the same as they were in the 90s. Some venues, the Queen's and King's Castle bars and other King's Group bars, don't seem to have changed in more than a decade. Prices haven't moved much in Patpong since the '97 Asian economic crisis. Drinks cost a little less than 100 baht back then, a little more than 100 baht today. In most other bar areas drink prices have doubled or more in that time – as you'd expect. While drinks prices may be low, the girls' asking rates can be high. Prince collusion is a fact of life in Patpong. In some bars the girls are instructed by the mamasan to insist on 2,000 / 4,000 baht, dependent on the length of service. Of course you could negotiate but in some bars the mamasan is such a dominant figure that the girls are petrified of doing otherwise.

The world famous ping pong ball shows and razor blades shows can still be seen every night in Patpong's upstairs bars. If you missed them, don't worry. They're horribly mechanical, have no sex appeal and are entirely degrading. The first time you see it you wonder how they do it, you feel sorry for the girls and if you're like me you feel dirty merely being there. Watching pretty girls dance around a pole I like, but the shows in upstairs Patpong bars are pathetic. The girls performing the shows aren't into it at all and often seem as if they are a million miles away. They're also some of the least attractive girls you'll find in Bangkok bars. I've always thought that the girls in the show bars are only one step above those at the bottom of the ladder, the girls you find in the likes of Lolita's and Kangaroo Club.



If you've ever wondered just how these dreadful razor blade shows work, a small plastic cylinder is inserted into the girl's vagina that has the razor blades tightly fitted inside it. The girls very slowly and carefully remove them, well aware that if they are not careful they could mutilate themselves. Yep, the razor blades are real and very, very sharp. Watch the girls' faces carefully as they remove them, the concentration and obvious fear they have, knowing that a wrong move could really hurt. But most of the crowd isn't looking at their face.

I never saw the live sex shows, a relic of Patpong's past. Up until perhaps 10 years ago or so, in some upstairs Patpong bars, a Thai couple did the dirty right there on stage. They would be lowered down from the ceiling in some sort of giant cup and would be entangled in each other. It wasn't simulated. Rumour has it that the guy and woman having sex were married and they performed at three or four King's Group bars each night. The guy would have made a great porn star! Supposedly when the woman was on her period, her sister would step in and take her place.

One of the odd things about Patpong was that I always thought it was a lot further away from where I lived than it really was. Living very close to the skytrain, it was always easy to get Cowboy and Nana and I always assumed they were the closest bar areas to where I lived when in fact I was wrong. Patpong's location, running between Silom and Suriwong Roads, two of the busiest roads in the heart of Bangkok is as central as you can get.

I guess I've visited Patpong 50 or 60 times over the years which for someone who goes out rather more than he should is nothing. Sadly, when I look back on all of my nights out in Patpong, the memories aren't that positive. Funnily enough, in recent times – the last year or so, in soi 2, I've had fun, but going back a few years, nights out in Patpong were often aborted early and the trek was made over to Nana or Cowboy.

My best memories from Patpong are not so much of experiences in the bars themselves but rather the fun we made for ourselves. One such incident goes back 10 years in an upstairs bar with a couple of mates. One friend was on the far side of the bar engaged in conversation with a dancer. He was a really nice guy but awfully tight with his money. We'd run up quite a checkbin that night including a fair few lady drinks and myself and the other friend thought it would be funny to sneak out of the bar and leave him with the bill. We got down on our hands and knees, out of his field of vision and crawled out of the bar. I don't know how he missed it for every girl in the place was staring at us, wondering what we were up to. We managed to get out without him seeing us and he was furious when he found us later on!



Today I believe the whole concept of bars in the Patpong area faces a real challenge. With so few customers in many of the (older) bars on the main Patpong soi, soi 1 as it's known, management and owners must question the wisdom of the current format. Surely there would be more money in shops selling counterfeit clothes and women's fashion accessories as can be found in most of the soi.

But it's different over in soi 2 where a number of Westerner-owned bars are firmly on the map and are sufficiently different from what can be found elsewhere so as to warrant a visit.

Patpong is a bar area with a split personality, sois 1 and 2 are very different beasts.

Patpong used to be a tourist attraction, for the nightlife as much as the night market, and I guess it still is, but anyone seeing Patpong and thinking it was the pinnacle of Bangkok's famed nightlife would be most disappointed. It is any wonder that so many in the West bag Thailand's nightlife and those who frequent it. If Patpong soi 1 was all that you saw, you could be forgiven for having a really negative impression.

It's hard to recommend Patpong today. I guess if you stay in Bangkok for a long time it is worth seeing, but it you wanted to experience Bangkok's nightlife, a wander around Nana and Cowboy would be a better option.

Perhaps I am being harsh on Patpong. The old style bars have largely gone from Cowboy and Nana but there are still plenty in the Patpong area. Safari is many people's favourite, a venue where the classics are still played on vinyl. The longest running expat bar, certainly in Patpong, probably in Bangkok and perhaps in all of Thailand (?) Goldfinger seems to go on and on and on and remains a favourite with old-timers who experienced Patpong in its prime. There are a number of other smaller venues that have been around forever.

In fairness to the area, Patpong does have a number of good restaurants and eateries, from the ever popular Madrid with ridiculously inexpensive and very decent Western food, to the French restaurants of soi 2.

I never experienced Patpong at anything near its peak, arriving a good 10 years late. In the late 90s Patpong did have the prettiest girls but that was its only saving grace. Even back then the attitudes were abysmal.

The mish mash that Patpong is today with the night market, fancy outlets with counterfeit bags and clothes, French restaurants with real deal French chefs, show bars, gogo bars, ladyboy bars, hostess bars, blowjob bars, rip-off upstairs bars, pussy shows, aggressive touts and first-time visitors reminds me of a schizophrenic with an identity crisis. Patpong can politely be described as faded glory.










Last week's photo

Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was taken at Victory Monument just after sunset and heaps of people got it right. 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" and is 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 WEEKStunners in Sing.

I went to a bistro last night for a beer on the way home from work. It was located in Holland Village, away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore's city centre. I ventured to the outside area and spotted two absolute stunners sitting at a table. When I say stunning, everything was perfect and they were dressed to kill. I think just about every customer and waiter couldn't take their eyes off them. Then I noticed a third drink at their table and saw an old balding guy walk over and sit down with them. That's a bit odd I thought, unless he is absolutely loaded. They were sitting next to the smoking area so I popped over for a smoke. I was in earshot of their conversation and the beauties started talking to each other in their native tongue. I was astounded to hear the unmistakable sound of the Thai katoey. Incredible. The most beautiful 'girls' I have seen in a long time turn out to be Somchai and Satid! Having lived in Thailand for the best part of the last decade I am familiar with how developed the Thai katoey can become and some of them really can look quite pretty, though we can always tell, can't we? This time though I really couldn't tell. They looked that good. Quite frightening. I bet that guy had an interesting night.

The good old days at Nana.

I first visited Nana back in 1999 and it has been interesting watching the place decline over the years. The thing I liked about Nana back in the day was how you could order from Woodstock and they'd deliver to you at another bar. I used to love ordering Mexican food from there and eating it at the Cathouse back when they had the 100 baht all you can drink special from 4 – 8 PM. The very thought of all that Chang beer now makes me shudder but I thought it was a great deal back then.

Santos, a Nana Plaza legend.

About Santos. His Titty Twister gogo was crap, but he also had a bar around the corner on soi 4 where he hired live bands, served Thai food, had a couple of pool tables and a small dance floor. Prices were low. Santos never failed to remember his customers and nearly always bought a round of drinks if you sat there longer than an hour. That's why people liked him, unlike virtually every other bar owner or manager today who can't be bothered with attracting repeat customers. Santos may be in the slammer paying for his sins, but he had a good side to him too.

Cracking down on Farangdom.

This mantra of "blame the farang, blame the farang" is really not serving the Thais well. Yes, there are brigands from other lands hiding out in LOS, because enforcement is lax and there is always the possibility that if you find yourself nabbed, you might have the option of providing adequate compensation in exchange for freedom. But the really bad guys have already nailed down their new identities and if you have those types of resources you'll have thought it through and not be who you really are, at least as far as your documents are concerned. This is true everywhere. Also true globally is that the mules (the minnows) will be caught in the net from time to time. The bags of substances will be found on them. It might well be their bosses who provide the info, a tithe to the boys in brown, if you will. As for repeatedly violent offenders, well, they're on the streets of Pattaya and few will weep if they relocate to the monkey house. But what about all the illegal casinos, arms trading, crazy-horse pill dealing and other core organised black market activities the Thais indulge in day after day? How will a crackdown on evil farang affect that business? Of course, it won't, and needless to add, the vast majority of crime is committed by Thais, on Thais. Some do go to jail, but for this new sheriff to pander to pre-existing xenophobia as some sort of panacea for Thailand's ills is wrongheaded, short-sighted, and oh by the way, did anyone let the TAT know this was going out in the media?

Natural progression.

In regards to some of your recent topics about the industry and life in Bangkok, it's obvious to see that you have matured and I think that's a natural thing and a good one as well. I remember very well how the second time I came to Thailand, Nana / Cowboy / Bangla Road just weren't the same. The kid in the candy store aspect went away. 5 years on, interfacing with the industry feels all the more different and so much less desirable for several of the reasons you have mentioned. After I had become fluent enough to understand what was going on around me, I could really see how I was hanging around with the bottom rungs of Thai society and really wanted to get away from it. I have scary visions of being the 70-year old guy walking down the street with a girl who could be my grand daughter's age. I don't want to be that guy.

Miss Thrifty makes a request.

I recently had a request from my favourite bargirl for some money. Not 10,000 baht. Or 20,000. Or 30,000 or 40,000. She asked me to send her…1,000 baht. Ever heard of such a request before? Absolutely amazing.



That Sukhumvit Road icon, The Eden Club, was sold this week and the new owners will take over from tomorrow, March 1. Mickey, the manager, who has been doing a great job, will stay on. The new owners are the same guys who bought shares in Baccarra in Soi Cowboy and who are behind the new Baccarra in Pattaya. I would expect it to be business as usual, good news for the thousands of Eden Club fans all around the world. In fact it seems these guys have made quite a few acquisitions recently.

At the time of the column going live, the latest from the police is that Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and most gogo bars in Pattaya, will be closed tonight for the Buddhist holiday. However, pubs will open and most probably serving booze. This sort of thing can change so who knows, the boys in brown might change their minds again and allow some venues to open.

Down Pattaya way, the Baccarra / Happy A Gogo boys are continuing their expansion. Their empire currently includes Happy, Peppermint, Beach Club, Baccarra, Sisterz (where remodeling has already started) and word has reached me that the papers are about to be signed for the spot opposite Windmill on Soi Diamond. Previously housing a ladyboy bar in the rear, the front was occupied by a restaurant that hasn't had a facelift in decades, where the most recent pictures on the wall include Elvis and JFK. Its expected format change will be a welcome addition to Soi Diamond.

Will the Arab open his newest bar this coming week, rumoured to be called Scala. It will be in the spot that previously housed Joe's Bar and Tony's in Cowboy. I wonder if there will be the customary pig on a spit at the bar's grand opening. Checking it out this week it seemed to me that much work is still needed before it will be ready to open but they insist it will be this coming week. (The photo here is old, showing a small piece of Bangkok history. The spot is a mess at the moment.)

Spanky's is spreading its whips and a new Spanky's bar will soon open in Patpong soi 2. Construction has started and it is anticipated that it will take at least 3 weeks for the remodel to be completed.

Bangkok gets scarier and scarier late at night. It's only a short stroll from Soi Cowboy to Sukhumvit soi 22 and one I have done many, many times although admittedly more often than not heading in the opposite direction. A nasty incident took place late on Friday night of last week, or perhaps more correctly, on Saturday morning. A long time expat and Soi Cowboy regular was walking home from Cowboy to his place in Soi 22 at around 3:30 AM on Saturday morning when he was set upon, jumped from behind and knifed in the neck first and then as he turned to fend off the attacker he was knifed in the side and ultimately the stomach. He was saved by a good Samaritan taxi driver who stopped to help. The attacker fled on the back of a waiting motorcycle. The victim lost a lot of blood and was very fortunate to be saved by the fast actions of the taxi driver who got him to hospital quickly. Given that nothing was stolen nor any money or valuables demanded makes me think that this was organised. Bangkok is not a place to have enemies…

Following on from the report in last week's column, yet another Stickman reader was drugged this week, this time at a big name beer bar on Pattaya's Second Road. Fortunately he knew something was up and managed to make it back to his hotel room quickly, and alone, where he experienced all of the classic symptoms of being drugged. He managed to sleep it off and eventually recovered with no loss other than one wasted holiday night. This shit is becoming widespread, prevalent in both Bangkok and Pattaya. It's a minefield out there.

Powers Club is a new gogo that will open in Pattaya in the next few weeks. French owned, it will be located upstairs from Champion A Gogo, across from Galaxy.

The original Kinaree Gentlemen's Club is set to reopen next week. There'll be a new team in charge since the original owner had problems with the authorities. Its location is interesting, on Pratumnak Hill, the most expensive residential neighborhood in Pattaya.

Raw Hide has expanded the signature show they share with Long Gun which now includes the song Hell's Bells with a total of 9 girls performing. After each song 3 girls get off the stage and clamber amongst the audience drawing attention to places you can tuck banknotes as the next 3 girls take the floor. Some punters were incredibly generous and I'd guess that each show produced a couple of thousand baht in tips. Given that Raw Hide gets a good few salarymen and given that you merely have to smile at them and say "Money for me" and they dive into their wallet, these girls are raking it in. Not bad for a 20-minute performance twice a night. When I see this sort of thing I understand exactly why so many girls are drawn to the industry for the ridiculously easy money.

The latest round up of Beach Road girls took place this week, something that seems to happen every few months. Girls who were obviously up for it were rounded up, taken to the police station, lectured about loitering in the wrong places, issued with a small fine and let loose…at which point most go straight back to their favourite spot on Beach Road!

Cowboy's flavour is changing as it becomes a soi of big bars. Excluding the likes of Fannies, Cocktail and Joy bar, there only remains Cactus and Dundee as small gogo bars, relics of a bygone era. But then in fairness it seems that today's punter prefers large gogo bars as is evidenced by Coyote Apache's format change from a small gogo to a beer bar.

If #60 in Tilac is one of your favourites and you want to get in touch with her from Farangland, you can do so via her profile on ThaiLoveLinks. Quite a number of her Tilac Bar sisters also have profiles on TLL. I find it rather amusing to see what they list their job as. Self-employed is one of the most popular descriptions, along with "ask me" or "tell you later"!

There's a vandal posing as a punter wandering around Cowboy, defacing and ripping down ads in the toilets. If the bars can't make a little extra money on top of their core business then who knows, they may just decide to put up the price of beer. If you see him in action while you're standing at the urinal, I suggest feigning that you're drunk and peeing on his leg. Now with that said, I wonder which businesses in their right mind would actually pay to advertise in the hongnam?

Speaking of advertisements, if you travel to Cowboy by skytrain and take the underground route rather than crossing the Asoke intersection – which can be a high risk activity – you may have noticed that nearly every square inch of wall space has been consumed with high-tech ads. They have even erected frames on the support columns to put in place flat screen TVs on all 4 sides. When all the space is gone they will probably start printing advertisements on toilet paper as the next unused ad space.

The number of vendors rolling their rot-ken (trolley) into Soi Cowboy and peddling Western food every night seems to be on the increase. Strolling along lovers' lane you now have a full selection of snacks that appeal to whitey, from hot dogs to hamburgers to chips to kebabs. The pick for me is the girl with the German food selling some of Germany's best exports including bratwurst and sauerkraut which go great with beer.

For those bar owners who flaunt the law and grease the necessary palms to ensure that a small minority of customers can enjoy smoking inside their premises, you lot really ought to wake up. More and more readers are telling me that if there is smoking on the premises then they're off elsewhere. For any owner or manager who says that prohibiting smoking will push away regular customers, I say to you that there are plenty of bars that prohibit smoking which are absolutely pumping. One such venue is Tilac in Soi Cowboy which has a no smoking policy inside and which is as busy as anywhere. Sure, enforcement of a no smoking police may cost a venue a few customers but I reckon you'll lose even more if you allow smoking as those who don't like smoky environments turn right around and go elsewhere – and quite possibly never return. I remember my first year in Thailand, returning to my small studio apartment, tossing my clothes into the corner and waking up the next morning to that awful smell of smoke. Thank goodness that's not a problem I have today.

The next Bangkok fetish night will be held on Saturday March 6 at the Music Station in soi 33. Fetish shows will be performed by the mistresses of Demonia which can also be found in Sukhumvit soi 33. If you like the fetish show, you might want to consider a private show in Demonia. Music Station has a new band starting at 10 PM, "Incident Band", another Filipino band meaning they now have 4 sets of rock, pop, and dance music. I hear that Kim, the keyboard player, is impatiently waiting to experience the fetish night so who knows, their performance might be quick this week. Let's hope the band can concentrate on their own performance and not let their minds wander to what will follow. For Friday nights, the schedule of the bands has changed. The Rich Band get going at 9:30 PM and Earthquake comes on at 45 minutes after midnight and runs through until late.

Following on from the rumours in last week's column regarding Soi Seadragon, I am informed that the latest rumours on Bangla are that they plan to move the WHOLE of Bangla back behind Jungceylon shopping centre? This would make things sit much more comfortably with the Phuket authorities who are not at all happy that Bangla Road, the heart of Phuket's nightlife industry, is right there in the heart of Patong – and very much in everyone's face. Behind Jungceylon would make it much less conspicuous although this sounds to me like it would be logistically impossible.

The actions of the Viagra police and the litter police targeting foreigners exclusively is annoying. What is interesting is that no-one has put anything up on YouTube yet. I can't help but think that this whole issue could make for a most amusing YouTube video. This problem is completely out of hand – a reader got stung by the cops in Phuket for discarding a cigarette butt. The problem is that he's a non smoker!

In last week's column I included a link to a YouTube video from 1968 showing US servicemen in Thailand for R & R. The video also showed some women inside a massage parlour. Where are they today? Pattaya, perhaps? Honestly, there are women plying their trade in Sin City who must be 60 odd. The age of women down there seems to go up and up…and up. OK, not so much in the gogos but for sure, in the beer bars there's no shortage of grandmas.

When the subject of Thai Airways comes up many seem to have an opinion. I've generally found the airline to be pretty good. What is interesting though is that on many international routes, Thai Airways is SO much more expensive than the alternatives. A British mate is looking at Bangkok to London and back and wherever he looks, be it local travel agents or online prices, British Airways seems to be the cheapest and Thai the most expensive – at around twice the price. You've got to wonder who pays such fares. What is also curious is that if a flight originates in Bangkok it seems to be MUCH more expensive than if it originated outside Thailand i.e. a Bangkok – London – Bangkok fare costs considerably more than a London – Bangkok – London. I have never been able to work out why that is. Even Singapore Airlines, which has a very good reputation, is considerably cheaper than Thai.

The latest issue of the excellent AfterDark magazine went on sale this week. The ultimate catalogue of the hottest girls in town, it's well worth picking up a copy.

Buy an After Dark Asia 2010 calendar from Angelwitch in Nana Plaza and you will receive a FREE copy of After Dark Asia Magazine worth 195 baht. Furthermore, the After Dark calendars are now half price at just 150 baht. While stocks last, go into Angelwitch and ask Dave, the man with the reflective dome!

I have heard that due to health issues, the owner of Bangkok Beat, one of my favourite venues, is open to offers on his fine establishment.

TranslateThai has a service called SEMS (Short Email Message Service), a proper translation service by real people. They do NOT use machine translations. This novel service has built up quite a following with over 250 people already signed, no doubt because it's very reasonable priced – 1,000 baht for the translation of 11 emails – up to 300 words per email. And all of the people utilising the service have one thing in common – a special lady here in the Kingdom who they communicate with. By helping to overcome the language barrier, this service offers customers the chance to really open up with their emotions, feelings, goals and aspirations which may not otherwise be possible. With that said, if you do open up to a Thai, don't necessarily expect them to reciprocate. The average Thai woman can be a little reserved.

The hot season officially arrives tomorrow but for sure it arrived early. It's as hot as hell here in Bangkok at the moment.

Quote of the week comes from a TLL girl to one of my mates who plays the TLL game, "Tomorrow you take care pussy me 2 o'clock!"

Reader's story of the week comes from Dennis and is titled, "Getting Engaged In The Back Seat Of A Bangkok Taxi".

The BBC probably gave the clearest, most concise report of what happened to Thaksin's billions.

From Australia's Daily Telegraph, Thai cowboys celebrate the Wild West.

A flash-looking Bangkok no-tell motel is highlighted on CNN.

CNN is on a roll this week with an article about gender reassignment surgery in Thailand.

Santa Claus came early to Soi Cowboy this year!

From the FT comes Rural Thais take on the urban elite.

Andrew Drummond does a great job reporting on a recent jet ski scam incident.

From Bloomberg, a fund manager managing $30 billion is avoiding Thailand for the time being.

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 is currently going to school to complete Mattayom 3 level. She is studying English and she having a problem in that her teacher's knowledge of English is far below hers. For example, on a recent test there was this question: _______ you like Thai food? (a) Are (b) Be (c) Do (d) Does. Now the correct answer is obviously (C) but her teacher insists it's (A) and marked her incorrect for writing (C)! This is just one of many examples that I see where her teacher is blatantly wrong and yet continues to teach incorrect English. So now my girlfriend is unsure on how to handle her tests. Does she write the correct answer and risk getting it marked incorrect or does she write what the teacher incorrectly thinks is the right answer?

Mr. Stick says: We argued over this one… I am in no doubt that, in a case like this where it is black and white, that your girlfriend should answer with the answer that is correct and appeal it if it is marked wrong. This is a case of there being an absolutely correct answer. If it were a question open to interpretation or application of theory to a situation, I might answer differently. She will know how to mention this to the teacher in such a way that face is not lost.

Question 2: I see so many say they are seeking a "good Thai wife" then turn around and talk about the meat selection process. They want to test drive the lady before considering marriage and want this within days of meeting her. Ms. Stick, would you advise that a lady who meets a man and goes to bed with him in a few short days was a "good Thai lady"? As a Thai lady, would you consider a man who demanded to test drive or negotiate the amount of sex after marriage to be a "good man"?

Mrs. Stick says: In the traditional way we wait until marriage but actually for a lot of people it means they wait until engagement. After engagement ceremony then her family can accept it. But if she gets pregnant then he must marry her very fast. That's the traditional way but in Bangkok I think it is different now. Someone might be fast but for a Thai man he will think she is not suitable for a wife because she devalues herself so they don't want her for marriage. They think she is only a "play thing". I never heard of a man demand to sleep with someone before marriage or negotiate about sex in marriage. He might pressure but never demand for testing. If someone said that no-one would accept it. That's crazy!



I'm going to be extremely busy over the next few weeks so the next 2 or 3 columns may be shorter than usual. There is also a chance that <gasp> they may even be late! I need to apply myself more to other things during this time and hopefully by mid-March things will be back to normal. So you have my apology in advance if the next couple of columns don't light your fire.



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick