Stickman's Weekly Column May 30th, 2010

Keep Your Big Fat Farang Mouth Shut!

Foreigners are welcome in Thailand. Foreign products, especially luxury goods, are especially welcome, even sought after. Our expertise and knowledge in certain areas we're known to excel at is desired. Of course our money is more welcome than anything. But there's one thing about outsiders that is not welcome in Thailand. Our opinions. Especially our opinions when it comes to Thai affairs. As an outsider, voicing your opinion in Thailand publicly can get you in hot water. This week a couple of Westerners found that out first hand.

mens clinic bangkok

Guys who find themselves lacking in popularity, who struggle to make a decent living or even those who have become outcasts in their homeland may find themselves treated particularly well in Thailand where they can have a much better lifestyle than back home. They mightn't get even a smile in their homeland, but here in Thailand they receive not just smiles, and laughs, they are accepted and perhaps they are even loved. They are treated much better here than anywhere else.

Thais can be very gracious hosts. They put up with so much, including often rude and disrespectful visitors behaving in ways and doing things that very much go against their culture. Thais can be so damned passive.

The favourable treatment received by many foreigners can make them become quite protective, or even defensive, of Thailand, Thai people and Thai ways. No country is perfect and this place is not marketed as Amazing Thailand without reason. Some crazy stuff goes on and there are some things that you could reasonably say are indefensible. But no, there are foreigners who feel that they have to step in and defend anything negative said about Thailand or the Thais.

This phenomenon manifests itself in many ways. Thailand discussion forums have been infiltrated by Western apologists who defend the country to the hilt whenever anything negative is said.

Some will even stand up and say what they believe in public, away from the anonymity of a discussion forum. They will take a stance. They have balls the size of watermelons. And often a brain the size of a pea.

During the course of the red shirt protests some foreigners felt the need to get involved. They felt that they had to defend Thailand, or at least one side that was involved in the conflict. Some of these foreigners dressed up in red paraphernalia and joined the red shirts' cause but with that said, one wonders if they were merely hangers on.

A couple of foreigners did more than just get dressed up. They spent much time at the rallies. They hung out with the red guards. One even got up on the main stage and ranted about what he considered were injustices and improper behaviour on the part of the Thai government, the soldiers and the security forces. These two foreign red shirt supporters became high profile.

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A few weeks back I ran the photo above and highlighted the Westerner in the lower left corner who was obviously involved in the red shirt movement. He was decked out as a red shirt guard and seemed to be actively involved with them. When foreigners approached the fortress, he was pushed to the front to answer questions. I commented in this column that this was no place for an outsider and felt it was imprudent for him to be there. He either isn't a Stickman reader or chose not to heed those words, something he no doubt regrets today…

Shortly after the Central World shopping centre was burned to the ground, the following video clip appeared on YouTube. Shot on Rajadamri Road 4 or 5 days before May 19, the day soldiers retook control of the Rajaprasong intersection and surrounding area and the day protesters burned Central World to the ground, the cameraman is approached by a foul-mouthed Brit who says that he is going to loot Central World and burn it to the ground. The video, which I linked to in last week's column, can be seen here.

This video spread like wildfire on local discussion forums and generated massive discussion. Most who viewed it were aghast that anyone, not least an outsider, would make such threats.

And it wasn't long before the authorities were aware of the video, no surprise with many keyboard warriors saying they would forward the link to the CRES (Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations). As the video spread, it became apparent that the fellow was known. He had been interviewed by the BBC earlier in the week. It wasn't much longer before the man was identified as a British expat living in Pattaya, Jeff Savage. Shortly after the video had gone viral in Thailand, he was arrested in Sin City.

Before his arrest, Savage was contacted and conformed that he had been involved with the reds for more than a year, had been involved in the protests in Pattaya last year when foreign dignitaries had to be rescued from the roof of a luxury Pattaya hotel and also admitted that while he had been present at the burning of TV's Channel 3 building, he was not at Central World when protesters set it alight. The photo below is a crop from the photo above.

But Jeff Savage was not the only foreigner getting involved in the protests. Irish Australian Conor Purcell performed on a more public scale. The Thai government had already warned foreigners against getting involved. We weren't gagged per se, but voicing negative opinions publicly was not welcome.

Conor got up on the main stage at Rajaprasong, speaking in front of thousands of protesters at the main rally site, and hundreds of thousands or perhaps even millions on TV, he berated the Thai government, the military and the security forces for their handling of the situation. He made various claims about being in certain places at certain times, but like some of the claims he has made about himself – such as being a member of the Australian SAS which was later shown to be complete nonsense – it remains unclear whether the claims he made are genuine or not.

Conor took a stance and presumably he believes he understands the Thai people, what they are protesting about and why they are protesting, yet when he got up on stage he spoke in English! Can we presume that he cannot even speak Thai? To have the audacity to get up on stage and rant about the authorities' actions – but having to do so in English because his Thai is crap – reduces his credibility immeasurably!

Conor's speech was picked up by newspapers and he was featured in a major English daily. His actions were discussed at length in expat circles. Not once did I hear a positive word about him nor what he had to say. The Australian Embassy was most concerned about the involvement of this Bangkok English teacher with the red shirt movement and intimated that he might be well-advised to board the next plane for home, advice that shouldn't have required the benefit of hindsight. Conor's rant can be seen here.

Conor was arrested last week in Bangkok, at around the same time Savage was visited by Pattaya's finest. When you hear details about the arrest of each of these two, the impression of them just gets worse.

Savage had overstayed his visa, which is initially why he thought the boys in brown had come knocking. Granted overstaying is not the most serious crime, but it is a crime nonetheless and the reason why more foreigners in Thailand are arrested than anything else – and as some embassies attest, arrests of their nationals for overstaying their visa in Thailand can outnumber arrests for all other crimes put together.

Purcell reportedly didn't even have a passport and had been issued a travel document that would allow him one way travel back to Australia where he could apply for a new passport. Such emergency travel documents are issued with the idea that they will be used immediately, yet Conor appeared to have no intention of leaving!

The political protests have dominated the news in Thailand for months, and even dominated this column, and both of these cases went all the way to the top, with government spokesman Dr. Pitinan, and even the Prime Minister himself, referring to the arrests of these two foreigners.

Despite being known for oppressive prisons and particularly harsh sentences, the Thai authorities are remarkably flexible when it comes to resolving problems and whitey is often given an opportunity to step out of the trousers he shit in before he is required to stand before the judge. However, when something happens on such a large and public scale and comes to the attention of those at the top, it cannot be buried and facing the judicial system is inevitable. These cases are hot and no private settlement will be reached.

On their respective first appearances in court early this week, Messrs Savage and Purcell handled things rather differently.

Tough guy Savage's real persona came to the fore in the court room, the macho man image we saw on the YouTube clip replaced by tears and pleas for help. Between sobs he talked of how his 80-year old mother had become distressed at the predicament he has found himself in. He comes across as an impressionable moron, a Thai apologist who was probably the laughing stock of those around him, many of whom I bet were bemused at his very presence.

Purcell refused to rise for the judge in the court room and barked that the court had no authority over him as a foreign national. That's bad enough in a Western court but worse in the Thai judicial system where all parties in the court room must show the greatest respect to the judge. Hell, in Thai courts many lawyers won't speak up even when a judge has something wrong! Purcell really does seem to have gonads like watermelons, reportedly screaming out in court that he is the leader of the red gang!

These two cases are being watched with much interest by expats. How things pan out will be interesting indeed. Will they be made scapegoats?

Talk of the death penalty, which has been mentioned in cases of terrorism, as in Savage's case, is over the top. With that said, I would not be surprised if the Thais throw the book at each of them, making harsh examples, almost like a warning to other foreigners not to meddle in Thai domestic issues.

In the case of Purcell, the evidence is very much against him. He was filmed speaking publicly at the rally, openly criticising the Thai authorities and making claims that he might later be required to somehow prove have veracity. No charges have been laid yet.

In the case of Savage, I can't help but feel pity. The guy comes across as a moron, highly impressionable, someone who engages his mouth before his brain. He made threats about events which later happened, but in fairness, these same threats were made by others. In the column a couple of weeks back I wrote how the girlfriend of a friend went into her old workplace at Gaysorn Plaza to retrieve some personal belongings. When questioned by the red shirts what she was doing they said that that it was a good idea of her to collect her stuff because if the area was stormed by security forces they would burn it to the ground! Footage from as far back as January shows some red shirt leaders encouraging the protesters to destroy much of Bangkok if the authorities clamped down on them. While Savage mouthed off, there has been no mention of evidence showing that he was actually involved in the burning down of Central World. But he has been involved with the red shirts for some time, and who knows what will come out in the investigation – and what charges he may face?

I'm all for freedom of speech, open dialogue and discussion. But when it comes to Thailand, and the Thai authorities, our opinions as foreigners are not wanted, least of all public criticism at a time when the country is facing a major civil disturbance. The best policy really is to keep your big fat farang mouth shut!

Last week's photo

Where was this photo taken?

Last week's photo was taken at Panthip Plaza and a heap of people got it right, the prizes claimed within 2 minutes of the column going live! The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at
Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The second person to correctly guess the photo wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the very best farang
food venues in Bangkok, and the home of
Bangkok's best burger, in my humble opinion, Duke's Express. Duke's is conveniently located in the Emporium shopping centre in central Bangkok.

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. The Duke's prize must be claimed by March 2011. 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 – Are the good times behind us?

A lack of customers will not lead to bargains in the bars but to closures, less choice for punters and less girls going to work in the industry. Isaan girls going on the game are hard-wired, so less gogos will only mean the girls go to work elsewhere
– freelancer joints, karaoke bars, the street. But that is not equivalency. All those alternatives are fine for expats and people who are 'in the know' and know which bars to go to at which time. But it's not tourist-friendly
like Nana, Cowboy and Patpong where the punter straight off the plane doesn't have to be in the know and merely rocks up to the bar. And don't expect the girls' attitudes to do a reverse and go back to what they were in the
80s and 90s as they seek to lure declining customer numbers. Their expectations have only been going in one direction over the past 20 years. They won't drop their prices and they won't drop the attitudes. Logic demands they must,
but bargirls and logic are only very distantly related. Is this a hasty prognostication, in the midst of unusual circumstances? Perhaps. But then again, these trends have been bubbling under for some time, and the sudden drop in punter numbers
plus the curfew may be casting a light upon them that was easier to ignore previously. You, and others, have documented – long before the Red Shirt business began – that tourist numbers were heading south. And replacing farang and Japanese
visitors with Chinese and Indians will do nothing for the business. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but I really get a fin de siècle feeling about this. The good times may be over for good.

Fleecing their own.

My wife hates the red shirts with a vengeance now. Earlier on she just disliked them because her uncle and cousin were convinced to go to Bangkok as paid supporters. Once they were there no money was forthcoming and when they asked they were always told
"tomorrow". Of course what happened was they ended up spending the money they'd brought with them on food and by the time they'd had enough of the BS they didn't have enough to get back to Khon Kaen! It was several
days of waiting around until they managed to catch up with family living in Bangkok to borrow money. I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise that somebody was lining their pockets with the money that was supposed to be going to supporters
but I wonder how many others were tricked into supporting the cause this way. The final straw as far as she is concerned was Central World being burnt down. Another cousin used to work there and was the main breadwinner for her family. Now
that she's out of a job the whole family back in Isaan is going to be hurting. Multiply that by a few hundred or even thousand and the red shirts could find they've lost a huge amount of support.

Is your exit strategy in place?

Watching things unfold here has the same gory fascination as looking at the results of a road traffic accident. I wish I could tell you that I felt optimistic about Thailand's future prospects, but I do not. The red shirt 'problem' in Bangkok
has passed for now but the red shirts are not going away. Abhisit's government is far too weak and one-sided to do anything that could be seen as being genuinely conciliatory. Witness the current charges now being brought against odious
Thaksin for terrorism. How does this help anything? For a society that has often felt to me as being only a few short steps away from complete anarchy, this is not good. Imagine looking at Thailand today from the point of view of a board room
in Tokyo or Seoul or Mumbai or Shanghai. Would you continue to invest there, or would you have a good hard look at Indonesia instead? Sadly, I think I know what they would decide. My own exit strategy is in place.

Looking for Thai girls? Look no more – you just found

Institutionalised corruption.

I am well aware that corruption is widespread in Thai society, but this particular story brought it home to me. A friend of mine was talking to his girlfriend about her attempts to secure a new job. She is, by the way, university educated and has previously
worked for a US multinational in Bangkok. She is now trying to secure a job with a government department. Apparently there are some ability tests which she has passed. However, to actually secure the job she was expected to pay 300,000 baht
up front as a blatant bribe to her future immediate superiors. As far as I am aware, this is not a job where she would be able to supplement her salary with tea money. And what is the salary for this fantastic opportunity?
12,000 baht per month! Yes, she would in effect end up working for nothing for over 2 years. Needless to say, she is again looking for a job with a foreign multinational. Good luck, Thailand. With all your political problems and widespread
corruption, how will it ever become a fair society and grow into a first world country?

Thais and Western medical care.

I know many Thais here in the UK. Without exception, they never visit a UK dentist, even if in pain, but wait until they go back to Thailand on holiday. The reason? English dentists are too expensive! If on death's door they may visit a UK doctor,
but normally not. They will delay until visiting Thailand. The reason? English doctor not understand me! They buy massive amounts of medication – even such things as Paracetamol which is cheap in the UK – in Thailand and bring it to the UK.
But there is one area where the Thais, and all other ethnic minorities resident in UK for that matter, are more than happy to rely on UK medical care. Childbirth. Have you ever heard of a Thai going back to Thailand to have her baby? I don't
think so. Now can anybody think of reasons why?

Western haters of the establishment.

In my experience there are so-called do-gooders from the West who cannot mind their own business, who hate successful people and governments, that get involved with the Palestinian cause for example (and get crushed by bulldozers or shot) where they get
involved with the "bad" or "wrong" side and don't realise it. Also the ones who try to "help" the Africans and don't realise that it's a lost cause. Their work is unappreciated, believe it or not.
Or the ones who try to go mountain climbing on the Iranian border and get captured and jailed for a long time who try to prove a point. It is the same as the Aussie who got arrested in Bangkok. We call them rent a crowd, people who don't
like the establishment, who want socialism of free this and free that and don't want to work a day in their lives. His public viewpoints are seen as treason and he is a mercenary who fought or supplied aid, either in mind or in money,
to the enemy of the government. He could be tried and imprisoned in Thailand for many years. These people don't see the consequences of their actions.

I got it wrong in last week's column when speculating whether the bars would open during the period of the curfew and how quiet it would be in the city's farang-oriented nightlife venues. Sunday and Monday, when we had a curfew of 11 PM – 5
AM, saw most, but not all bars, open. Amazingly, it was the Arab's bars that were the last to open. With the curfew relaxed from
midnight – 4 AM after that, all bars opened their doors with revised hours, most with a full contingent of staff. From 6 PM, when most venues got going, many bars were well supported with punters making the effort to venture out earlier than they
usually would.

The curfew presented a real chance for opportunists. If timed right, it was an opportunity to get long time at short time prices. Yep, especially when the curfew ran from 11 PM until 5 AM, if you had someone in your condo or hotel room,
she may not have been able to leave which could be seen as a bonus, or otherwise.

Throughout the period of the curfew, the big problem was public transport which for the past week and a half in Bangkok has been a real nightmare. Up until yesterday, when the curfew in Bangkok was finally lifted, the skytrain and underground ceased service
at 10 PM – even when the curfew ran through to midnight. That left the city's taxis, many of which refused to go to many destinations – even if it was nearby and the curfew did not kick in for another two hours. It wasn't even that some
taxi drivers were asking for outrageous amounts of money – there were some areas they just did not want to go to, possibly out of fear of not being able to return the cab to base and get themselves home before curfew time. It became a nightmare
for those of us who live more than walking distance away from the bar areas. I was out one night when the curfew started at midnight. I went to get a cab at 9:55 PM to take me the short 5 km / 10 minute ride home. After 25 minutes waiting, I only
saw a small number of available taxis and not one taxi would take me. And then the heavens opened! I must have made sorry sight, sitting on the back of a motorbike taxi in the driving rain, having agreed to pay twice the normal fare to get me
home. Thank goodness the curfew is over. It really dampened any party atmosphere.

Needless to say, many bars were pumping in Bangkok last night with a fair number of punters out and about and catching up for lost time.

Spare a thought for the Thai staff who are employed in businesses which open at night. In MANY businesses, from bars to hotels to restaurants to even some small shops, the Mothership (the Nana Hotel) included, staff who braved getting to work were too
scared to go home late at night for fear of failing to reach home before the curfew started that they chose to sleep in often very basic conditions at their place of work. How's that for dedication?

And speaking of the Nana Hotel, word is that less than 100 rooms were occupied this week, in what is quite possibly the world's most (in)famous sex tourist hotel. That's an occupancy rate of less than 30%! Given that the Nana Hotel is
often fully booked and doesn't seem to suffer any drop in occupancy rate year round, this is quite unreal.
Word on the street is that there are plenty of hotels in Bangkok that would welcome a 30% occupancy rate, so bad is business in some hotels at the moment that they have an occupancy rate in single figures.

Even with the curfew and bars closing early, Peter (who own Shebas and Suzy Wong) kept to his happy hour! So drinks were at half price even though he was opening early and closing early! A greedier guy would have stuck to normal prices! It's not
hard to see why Peter is real popular with many locals.

And how about this for a stupid bargirl… It was during the curfew and even though Shebas was shut a group of guys barfined some of the girls for a party in soi 10. Because of the curfew the girls had to stay over and one of them woke up
next day when her customer was going out for a massage. Half an hour later she got a call from the mamasan telling her to get back to the bar. She had to leave without her money so someone out there got long time with a stunner for free!

It's party time most nights at Baby Dolls in Pattaya, but tonight there promises to be an even bigger party as the bar's owners celebrate their second anniversary in charge. Kicking off around 8 PM, there'll be heaps of food as well as
the infamous Baby Dolls party games.

Which bar will be first to create the M79 cocktail? A potent drink it will be too…

A friend has asked where you can get Absinthe in Bangkok, a high alcohol content drink that sounds like it is some sort of loopy juice. Never heard of it myself. Can any readers assist?

#169 in Tilac is perhaps a little too "jungley" for my liking, but there's something about her smile and demeanour that makes her very attractive to my eyes.

The rigged taxi meters that I have talked on and off about over the past couple of months is indeed widespread. I had yet another one this week.
As best I can tell, the most predominant scam is that while the meter is rigged, it shows the correct distance travelled but not the correct fare. The fare accelerates faster than it should, so when, for example, the taxi has travelled 14 km and
the fare should be around 100 baht, it shows something like 150 baht. What I found in the cab that was running this scam this week was that the meter schedule – which by law they are obliged to display at all times – was missing. If you suspect
the meter is rigged, check it against the meter distance / fare schedule which is usually strung around the rear of one of the front seats. If the fare seems high and the schedule is missing, I'd say there's a good chance you're
in a cab with a dodgy meter.

I used to really like Cafe Pitini in Pattaya's Soi Buakhao and am pleased to hear that the guy behind it, Paul Pitini, has finally opened the doors at Coffee Pitini in Korat. They've been in business for a month now and are doing a good trade.
They have all the favourites from the old Pattaya outlet including a full English breakfast – which apparently local Thais are enjoying, fish and Chips as well as their homemade pizzas.

CNN's Bangkok front man Dan Rivers was much maligned for what some perceived as biased coverage of the red shirt occupation and protests, especially as things started to heat up and the protests turned violent. It would seem that this past Monday
Khun Rivers quietly slipped out of Thailand. The question on many people's minds is whether he left voluntarily…or otherwise. Was it prudent to leave or, gulp, is there a possibility that he was threatened and felt it best to get out of
Dodge? He sure did upset some Thais and there were no doubt quite a few didn't want to see him fronting any more reports coming out of Thailand.

Which popular Bangkok expat bar manager partied a little too hard during the curfew and had to unwittingly get a hotel room and stay the night downtown rather than return home after curfew and face being caught by the coppers?! This happened not once,
but twice!

As much as bargirls may annoy me, sometimes you have to feel sorry for them. I heard two quite separate stories from girls this week, each of which made me feel rather sorry for the girl concerned. The first concerns a lass in one of the most popular
Soi Cowboy bars who will not go long time with a customer because of a traumatic experience from her very first night in the industry. She was barfined by a white American tourist who took her back to his hotel room where he tied her up and lashed her with his belt. When she made it back to the bar the next day she told the mamasan what had happened and the mamasan said she would do something about it.
The guy never showed his face in Cowboy again and nothing was done. If you're that guy, probably best you don't return to the bar because if you do you're going to face a bit of rough justice.

The second story concerns a girl in Lucky Luke's in Nana. A customer asked her if she would like to accompany him to Ko Samui for a few days, to which she was thrilled. She quoted him a price for her time to which he agreed. They went to Samui and
when they came back to Bangkok there was an awkward moment when they were to part ways with him heading back to Farangland. She put out her hand expecting to be paid at which point he explained that he had already spent xx,xxx amount of baht on
her while they were away which comprised of air travel, meals, drinks and what not and that that exceeded the amount she had quoted him and as such more than compensated her. Amazingly, said girl just left it at that. There really are some cruel
guys out there. Just because he presumably had a nice time on Samui does not mean that she did. She was doing her job and he stiffed her. It was not like she was away with her boyfriend, or her friends or family. She was working,
you pig!

Second-hand bookstore Dasa Books has had many customers unable to visit the past few chaotic weeks so they have decided to extend their anniversary sale. Until June 10 all second-hand books in stock will continue to be discounted 20% off the regular price.
You can also take advantage of their mail order service and receive the discount. The last day to place mail orders during the sale period will be Monday, June 7.

Why are there so many Brits in Bangkok who are America / American haters? It really gets on my nerves. I was out one night this week with an American friend and we bumped into a British friend who is otherwise a decent enough sort. Once my British realised that I was with was American he started to rant and rave and go on and on and on about America and Americans, showing a complete lack of class, complete lack of social skills
and no sense of decorum. This is not the first time it has happened and it often makes me reluctant to introduce one Bangkok friend to another – irrespective of nationality. This does seem to be a Thailand expat thing – we know that there are
a lot of odd people here – but you know what, I never hear the Americans scoffing off at the Brits.

Local food delivery company Chefs XP made a right bungle this week, sending out an email to all their customers via a distribution list. The problem was that the settings on the distribution list were screwed up so that all replies sent by customers to
that email from Chefs XP went not just to Chefs XP but to everyone on the mailing list – resulting in email after email after email coming in to everyone on the list. As people replied to Chefs XP to do something about the problem, so those emails
also went out to everyone on the list, perpetuating the problem! Some Chefs XP customers emailed me about this and they were irate! Whoever screwed this up at Chefs XP should get a bollicking because the company just lost a few customers to their
rival, Food By Phone.

If you find yourself in the Sathorn Road / Narathiwat Road area, the Patisseries de Hui bakery on Chan Road Soi 18/7 is well worth going out of your way for. In Bangkok it can be hard to find decent bread and pastries at Thai prices – you can get Western
quality alright if you go the 5-star hotels, but you pay Western prices – or sometimes even more! This small bakery has genuine Western quality bread and pastries at Thai prices.

With less and less nightlife info in this column these days, the naughty boys amongst you might want to check out a true naught boys' forum. Punter69 recently reached 5000 members and is fast becoming a leading whoremongering forum.

Quote of the week – "My mate said he could tell the gogos have hit rock bottom cos he went into Rainbow 1 and some girls smiled at him!"

Reader's story of the week comes from Jacann and is titled, "To Each Their Own".

A Dutchman caught on video vandalising property in Chiang Mai is arrested by Thailand's finest.

The Australian clown arrested in Thailand berates the judge on his court appearance!

Heartland Thailand is still deeply divided, claims the New York Times.

Some British schools in Thailand come under the microscope.

An Aussie supporter of the red shirts who got up on stage and spoke in their favour was arrested this week.

The Brit caught on video saying the red shirts would burn down Central World is deep in the brown stuff.

Ex Prime Minister Taksin faces charges of terrorism in Thailand.

While some farangs will see it as confirmation of their own prejudice, perhaps this is the kind of self criticism that is needed to help things move forward in Thailand.

Ask Mr. Stick

If I receive any interesting emails to which I think the answer could benefit other readers, I may include the question, and my response, here.

Question 1: My Thai wife and I have been married for 23 years and we have two nearly adult sons. I have decided that we are going to divorce. I have always treated her family with much respect, socially and financially! I now wonder if I have to worry
about her brothers. I really don't want to wake up with a bullet hole in my head next time I visit Thailand. The wife has had her own job for 22 years and makes a good salary. She will continue to have a good comfortable life here in Sweden
but with a little less money without me. What do you think about my situation? Is it between the wife and me or am I fair game for her family?

Mr. Stick says: Sorry to hear that you're going to be parting ways with your wife. I shouldn't imagine you have anything to be concerned about from her family members in Thailand. Unless you have somehow gone out of your way to scorn them or to cause trouble for them, I don't imagine they will be concerned about you. Unless you have done something really bad to them, members of the family or your wife, I should not expect there would be any reason for them to seek out revenge. If you are particularly concerned then just make sure you avoid the family when you are next in Thailand which really should not be too difficult.

In last week's column I mentioned that there was not much bar news and that not much was happening in the bar industry – which was quite true and is just as applicable this week with the curfew still in place in Bangkok. A couple of
readers emailed me about this, one offering to provide info from the bars alluding to some goings on that I had missed, another saying that I could just pick up news from other sites (which?!) and include them. I only write about what I have seen
with my own eyes or what I have been told by reliable people I know personally – and they are few in number. I never pick up news from other sources as others may and that is why some weeks there is less bar news than others.

Your Bangkok commentator,


nana plaza