Bangkok News, Gossip & Opinion
I take a long walk after lunch every Sunday which gives me a chance to think about the week's column, particularly the opening piece, and any changes that could be made. During today's walk I realised that today's opening piece needs a
lot more work and at least another week to percolate. With this in mind I'm sorry to say that there's no opener this week.
There's still plenty of news, gossip and opinion as well as readers' emails and the Sunbelt Legal section, about 6,000 words in total.
I hope you enjoy the column.
Last week's photo
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken outside Tilac Bar in Soi Cowboy. Surprisingly only a small number of readers got it right – about 10 or so. The first person to email me with the correct location of the photo wins a 500 baht credit at
Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The second person to get it correct wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the 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 utilised by March 2011. Prizes are only available to readers in Thailand
at the time of entering and are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week! If you wish to claim a prize, you must state a preference for the prize you prefer, or list the prizes you would like in order of preference – fail to do so and I will award the prize to the next person to get the photo right.
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 – Can she survive without her family and all things Thai?
I took a university-educated, office worker on her first trip outside the Kingdom. We spent 2 days in a foreign country shopping to her heart's content, sleeping late in a magnificent hotel suite, and eating in the best restaurants in the city. The
second night found us in one of the most beautiful places imaginable. The waiter in this five star restaurant put her order down in front of her. She stared at the plate for a few seconds, her lower lip quivering. Without warning, she burst
into tears and cried "I want my mother, I want my sister, I want to eat Thai food!" Without a word I speed dialled her mother, and handed her the phone. When she was finished chatting with everyone in her home including the dog,
I cancelled the rest of the meal and hailed a taxi to go to a cheap, run-down, squalid Thai restaurant I knew, where she sat gorging herself with a huge smile on her face. I always encourage my girlfriend to spend as much time as possible
with her friends and family. They keep her sane, and keep her on the right track. If she does something wrong they will be ones to correct her, and they will be the ones to punish her. She likes my money, she needs their support. All of us
hooking up with Thai ladies are sophisticated world travellers, and we sometimes forget that the girls we are with are not. While they are street smart, they are not that worldly, and the foreign sights and sounds that thrill us may scare
them. I always try to put myself in their shoes, imagining how I would feel, the first time abroad, faced with strange food. Just like the first night I stayed in Isaan and ate Isaan food I was less than happy, it is the same for many Thai
woman finding themselves anywhere from Hong Kong to Newcastle.
So that's why they don't like me!
Reading this week's article makes me miss Thailand so much; it's so sad to read about Thermae because I went there! But being the American fool in 2009 I didn't know it was a Japanese only bar! No-one even as such looked at me, except an
old lady who literally looked liked she had been at the bar since the Vietnam days. So I couldn't help but laugh when I read your article because it was humiliating that NONE of the hot Thai girls would talk to me because I was white!
It was quite a blow to my ego and I'm not old!
My first trip to Bangkok was November '91. Dropped off the luggage at the Nana Hotel at 1 AM and a friend dragged me to Thermae or the "T-Room" as we called it. You walked down a dark alley, then inside past the men's bathroom, past
the kitchen, made a right turn, walked down 6 steps & made a left. There it was! A small place – looked like a rec room – with over 500 people packed inside. A few tables, a jukebox, wall-to-wall humanity including some of the worst female
talent in town! We'd drink, schmooze, dance & get shit-faced 'til the sun came up. What a blast! You could choose from old babes, assorted freelancers, the occasional gogo girl, even a group of deaf regulars. For farangs it was
all about having fun. For the girls of course it was primarily about business. But the vibe was awesome. A far cry from the Thermae of today. Now when I go to Thermae it feels like I'm at a high school dance – the girls stand on one side
of the place and have little interest in socializing unless your last name is Yamaguchi.
The Phnom Penh option.
Thailand's nightlife is declining. I've just spent a week in Cambodia, the first time I've been back in 6 years. What a difference! It was like getting that first breath of fresh air! It doesn't compare at all to the free flowing Pattaya
in terms of nightlife and in fact I've heard and read the Phnom Penh police can be quite sticky and cash hungry about certain activities if you are caught. But Phnom Penh has its good venues and good bar streets. And you can always go
to mini-Pattaya, Sihanoukville, with its much better beaches. More than that though, most (especially the young) people can speak good English unlike the Thais. Khmer folks are far friendlier and smile easily unlike today's Thais. Booze
and cigarettes are far cheaper, although food is not so much cheaper, more like Pattaya prices. It's easy to walk around or you can take a moto taxi. The visa situation is very simple and straightforward for long-stay expats and there
are signs everywhere that Phnom Penh has got a good start in its desire for a better future. Look out Thailand!
More Thermae memories.
I think I remember the Thermae from my days in Vietnam. When I say think, what I mean is that when we left for R & R from Da Nang we always had a bottle or 2 of Jack Daniels for the trip and we were fairly pickled by the time we arrived in Bangkok.
I don't think the sign over the door was in English then (mid to late '60s). The girls were great. I don't think there were short time or long time concepts. If the girl liked you she would stay with you until you gently removed
yourself from her. Sometimes this was a problem as when you finished up with one you might want to go get another for variety. Believe me, the pickings were plentiful. In my experience the girls were always treated very nicely. Back then I
got the idea that we were highly respected and something of a curiosity. You know, the girls were much nicer then, at least to my taste. Today many have piercings, tattoos, weird hair styles and that garish eye make up. The 60's bunch
was right off the farm with that soft natural beauty so common to Thai women. They were so sweet and, for lack of a better word, innocent. The going rate was about $US 5 give or take. That could be long time if she liked you.
The hand ritual explained.
I reckon the 'hand signal' the guy was asking about when he barfined the ladyboy is probably the one that is used in any bar; the girl who is barfined then goes around to her friends or all the dancers and sticks her index fingers into the 'hole'
made by the other girls' hands, simulating the nasty. This is supposed to bring them luck in getting their own customer for the night. I've tried telling these girls that the elaborate rituals (such as the one with the wooden cock
slid between legs around opening time) are useless and if they want a customer maybe they could try something radical like saying hello! Deaf ears. You mentioned last week that so many of these girls get into trouble with gambling, and it
got me thinking that belief in good luck and bad luck is an absolute curse for these girls. It provides a ready-made excuse when things don't work out for them, rather than facing up to their own poor decisions.
Is Krispy Kreme a fad?
Interesting to note that Krispy Kreme recently went bust in Australia. The brand went through a similar upsurge here a few years ago, if not quite as manic as in Thailand. The brand is a classic sugar hit – skyscraper highs of euphoria followed quickly
by a crushing low. In Sydney, Krispy Kreme reached its nadir when schools started promoting it at their tuck shops. I raised hell when my daughter brought home a box, saying her school teacher had told her to sell them for $3 each to raise
funds for a computer. So much for the government's push to reduce obesity. So I'm not surprised the Thais are going nuts over it. They're born followers of Western trends, having little creative spark or originality of their
own. They'll drop it like a turd once word gets out Krispy Kreme is going the way of the dodo in the west.
It's a total fiasco at Suwannaphum, Bangkok's international airport, with queues reported to be almost as long as a football field facing passengers arriving, as well as those exiting the country. Arrivals are met by huge queues that go back
down the slope and well back into the airport concourse, with the Immigration booths not yet in sight. In the departure area, queues run through the terminal and outside into the heat. Anecdotal reports suggest that the delays are due to many
Immigration booths being unmanned but I wonder if perhaps there is more to it. Could there be a problem with the computer system, or maybe a new system has been implemented which is experiencing teething problems. Given that the queues have been reported for much of the past week, SURELY it could not be down to a lack of personnel. Local problem solving skills can leave a bit to be desired at times, but
it could not be as simple as inadequate staff in duty? There's not much you can do about it on arrival, but as one reader said, you might want to plan on arriving at the airport 4 hours before your flight departs. It can actually take longer
to get through Immigration at Bangkok Airport than it takes to fly all the way to Singapore! You've got to hand it to the Thais, successfully making a profound impact on people's feelings both before they've even entered the country
proper, as well as when they are leaving it!
The Check Inn on Sukhumvit, very much a hidden night spot, which is reached by a narrow alley off the main Sukhumvit Road not far from soi 5, is scheduled to close its doors for the last time at the end of March. The venue which has been around a long
time is another piece of Bangkok bar history about to disappear.
The Stumble Inn, that's the new beer bar on Sukhumvit soi 4 where the Nana Minimart used to be, will open early this week. They will be running a promotion for at least the next couple of weeks with drink prices a very reasonable 65 baht for bottled
beers, and 70 baht for selected spirits, all day and all night. Carling draught will be priced at 140 per pint.
The sub-lease for the Hollywood bars on Nana Plaza's top floor has been taken back by Nana Castle and a new leaseholder has been found bringing renewed hope that the Hollywood bars will reopen soon. With that said, it looks to me like plenty of work
is needed before that can happen. With Cascade and Carnival the only two bars open on the top floor, along with a bunch of freelance hairstylists, not that many punters make it to the top floor. For some time now Nana has felt like a 2-storey
bar complex rather than the 3-storey complex it is. Will the reopening of the two Hollywood bars breathe new life back in to the top floor? It might, *if* the new owners can fill them with girls, not an easy task given the size of the two bars.
Chinese New year is almost upon us and many Chinese-owned businesses in Bangkok will close for anything from a few days to up to a week and a half. This being the year of the rabbit, you might see rabbits being sold around about, but some have got the
Chinese year all wrong, and in the car park of the Nana Hotel there are no rabbits for sale at all, only a bunch of dragons! Yep, the pickings outside the Nana Hotel are grim.
The movie rights to some of the most popular Bangkok novels have been sold over the years but which will be first to actually see the light of day? Pinchas Perry bought the film rights to the classic Bangkok bargirl novel, Steve Leather's
Private Dancer, and has just spent a month scouting out locations. No need to do that really – just go straight to Nana Plaza! I'd really love
to see it on the big screen and if it does see the light of day, I wonder who might be cast as the main character.
The newest expat bar in town, Clubhouse in Sukhumvit soi 23, will open its doors at 5:30 AM on the morning of February 7th to show the Superbowl. 595 baht gets you a huge breakfast as well as a bloody Mary.
The appearance of Soi Cowboy has changed a bit. There was a stringing of lights across the soi giving it the sense of being a colourful tunnel. I'm not sure if this is temporary or not, but it makes the soi feel somewhat more appealing, almost a
little like Khao San Road.
The number of holidaying punters at Cowboy seems to have dropped off and familiar faces outnumber visitors. The peak of the high season is already behind us.
But with that said, the young lady selling German sausage outside Long Gun reports that this high season has been great and she is delighted with how her business is going. She has been running out of Bratwurst and other German fare well before the night
comes to an end. She's the Stick pick for a late night snack on Cowboy.
There are signs that some naughty bars are seeing more female visitors…who enjoy females! The sample is not sufficient to say this is actually becoming a trend, but some Cowboy girls report being barfined by female customers is happening more frequently
than it used to. I wonder if perhaps Soi Cowboy has been mentioned in a lesbian travel magazine or website?
There are a bunch of new girls at Toxic, including the two below. Some are seriously cute! Toxic opens at 7 PM and can be found on the ground floor of Town Lodge, at
the end of Sukhumvit soi 18. It's walkable from the main Sukhumvit Road, but if you don't feel like stretching your legs, there's a bunch of motorbike taxis at the mouth of the soi who can run you down.
The latest issue of Pattaya's bargirl catalogue, After Dark magazine, can be found at all the usual outlets – that means various chrome pole palaces in Bangkok and Pattaya as well as some convenience stores and pharmacies in and around Nana. After Dark makes a great gift for someone back home (there's no naughty bits so don't worry about it causing you embarrassment when crossing international borders), as well as a nice souvenir. I
wouldn't be surprised if one day it becomes something of a Thailand aficionado collector's items, not so much from the point of view of classic photography or genuine beauties lining the pages, more as a piece of Thailand's bar industry with all of the bar adverts and period news etc.
We know and respect that they're in it for the money, but just how much are some guys – ok let's be clear – the Japanese – willing to pay girls to keep them exclusive? I heard the story this week of a well-dressed, good-looking
Westerner who found a girl in one of the Rainbow bars very much to his liking. He approached her but she waved him off, claiming that she had a booking that night. He returned the night after and tried again. Again, she said no. He really
fancied her and was keen to get to know her better until she told him that she only goes with Japanese. That didn't deter him and he upped the offer to 3,000 baht, or in simple terms, $100 for an hour of her time. She smiled and
declined. Not willing to give up, he ups the offer further, this time to 5,000 baht. She turns him down again. He really is taken by her so he makes a genuine offer of 7,000 baht for short-time! Again, it's a resolute no! Disillusioned, he
abandons Nana Plaza and heads to a nearby disco where he sees another girl he likes. This guy has very good taste and once he again he finds himself in front of a fair-skinned, slim beauty, what I guess you could describe as a look not typically found in Nana.
He approaches the beauty who quickly tells him that she is waiting for someone. He is seriously horned up and super keen and offers her 5,000 baht right away. She declines. About 5 minutes later a Japanese guy approaches her and they leave together.
The Japanese must be REALLY generous!
For a couple of years I really stuck my neck out for Cowboy's Tilac and proclaimed it to be best bar of its genre in either Bangkok or Pattaya. I guess a small part of the appeal was that while the girls dance in bikinis, they dance knickerless.
You very seldom catch a glimpse of anything, but it's fun to try. The girls used to flirt and occasionally you might catch the briefest glimpse. Light-hearted fun and everyone knows that if you want to see the real deal,
you just had to walk a few metres down the soi. Things have changed a little and these days you can get nasty looks from some girls if you try to catch an eyeful – and you very well may get an earful of obscenities in Thai too! With that attitude,
the bar may as well remove the knickerless policy as it all seems rather pointless.
The number of beggars seems to be on the increase in and around soi 23 and Cowboy again with babies teamed up with women obviously not their mothers as well as plenty of youngsters selling flowers well past midnight. The police may have been doing some
beggar cleaning in the wealthy Soi Thonglor recently, but the coppers from that same police station which has jurisdiction for Cowboy and soi 23, don't seem to have the same interest in doing a similar clean up of Soi Cowboy and its surrounds.
A few weeks back I mentioned that one of the bars in Queen's Park Plaza had been taken over by new management and would be converted into a venue which would, amongst other things, show live rugby. A competition was held for readers of this column to name the new venue with 1,000 baht beer credit offered as the prize. In the end the new owners decided on the name Sin Bin which came from a friend of the
new owner. That notwithstanding, the owner has agreed to provide a 500 baht beer prize for each of the two "runners up", being KM and CP (who should have been contacted already). Sin Bin will have an opening do this coming Saturday,
February 5th, with free food and discounted drinks all night long. There's a map of the exact location of the bar on the Sin Bin website.
The Nana Hotel has been home – yes, *home* – to a number of genuine characters over the years, old-timers who have been coming to Thailand since before some of us were born, characters who often have some incredible stories to tell. For the most part
they are Americans, many of whom first visited our fair city on an R&R break from the Vietnam War. One particular fellow who called the Nana Hotel home was an Aussie. Aussie Alec. Alec was a long-time resident of the Nana and on his sabbatical
back each year home his room would be let out. If your erotic delight was to have 4 different girls from Robinson's and various bars knock on the door during the night, then you'd queue for that room. If not, after a couple of nights
you'd beg to move! From all over town, they knew that all that was needed was a knock and Alec would be there. If he wasn't there, he'd be back in an hour or so. His rule was, "If you've not had any luck or are feeling
lonely, stop by and I'll give you some taxi money home." And that's about all he did. After getting some small change, the lucky ones would be told to open the wardrobe and take something from the shelf. Alec passed away this week.
Another good one has been taken from us.
As much as I admire the Thais' willingness to befriend total strangers and the heart they often show to those in trouble or in need, I struggle with the endemic corruption and flagrant dishonesty that can be found at every level of Thai society,
and which now seems to be exported. A friend who lives with his wife in Thailand, but travels abroad for work, swung by a certain Thai consulate this past week. He has been married for 20 odd years and has used this consulate many times to apply
for a multiple entry non-Immigrant O visa. It's usually issued without any fuss, or at least that is how things were when the consulate was run by a Westerner. Now there's a Thai in charge and it's rather different. Not only did
they demand that his wife submit a letter confirming that they really are married despite him providing the original marriage certificate, they have a petty scam going. They told him that the passport-sized photo he submitted with the application
wasn't clear enough, a complaint I have never ever heard before. Given that most passport photos are taken with a digital camera with a zillion megapixels and then downsized to a print an inch or two, even if the photographer missed the focus
by a country mile, the downsizing would sharpen the photo up and it would almost certainly still be fine. But no, this consulate would not accept what was a perfectly sharp photo and insisted that he go to a nearby Thai-owned pharmacy to get a
new set of photos. While he was there, two others who had submitted visa applications to the Thai consulate but been declined came in for a new set of photos, all of which suggests it's a scam. This fellow is no walk-over and when he protested
that the photo was sharp, the message was clear. If you don't get new photos done at this particular pharmacy, you can try your luck at the embassy (hundreds of kilometres away)!
From time to time I am asked to make a recommendation for volunteer work in Bangkok. Search the web and there are all sorts out there, but is there anywhere that is well-organised, the work is worthwhile and they don't have the cheek to charge you
a fee?! I've done some voluntary work here in Bangkok over the years. I taught in schools attached to temples, where children from very poor backgrounds attended, many of whom were orphans. Just seeing the joy on the kids' faces when
arriving at the school, before even making it into the classroom was reward enough. I also taught a bunch of police officers which ended up with me becoming an on-call translator for one Bangkok police station. Most of the translation was about
bail conditions as opposed to interrogations related to alleged crimes. Maybe they didn't trust me with the really juicy stuff? Admittedly my motivation was not entirely altruistic; police contacts in Thailand can be useful. I am obliged
to point out that technically, voluntary work in Thailand is illegal and in a worst case (but in my opinion VERY unlikely) scenario, you could be charged with working without a work permit, fined, deported and maybe, just maybe, blacklisted! Anyway,
if anyone can recommend some places to do such voluntary work in Bangkok that is worthwhile, well-organised and you don't have to pay, please let me know.
Quote of the week comes from a reader, "The poverty in Angeles City is so bad that you never see a dog, cat or rat!"
Reader's story of the week is a quite brilliant travelogue from Akulka, "Forgotten Corners of Asia – My Journey Through Absurdistan".
The Thailand jet ski scam makes the mainstream press in Australia.
From the Bangkok Post, erosion could cause Pattaya Beach to disappear completely!
From the UK's Telegraph, if Thai ladyboys are your thing you might consider
flying on the new local airline, PC Air.
The Thai cop accused of killing a Canadian is found guilty of murdering his own wife.
The New York Times reports on the follow up and investigation into the deaths in last year's Bangkok protests.
Two Thais are arrested in Thailand and face extradition for the murder of an Aussie back in Australia.
A raid in a Thai nightlife soi in Pattaya finds numerous girls test positive for drugs.
CNNGo highlights 8 things you might not know about Panthip Plaza.
Ask Sunbelt Legal
Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column.
You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.
Question 1: I spent over 13 years in Phuket until I sold up and relocated to Singapore 3 years ago. Life in Thailand was great but I could see that Phuket was being overrun with
non-local Thais and things were headed in a downward spiral. My Thai wife and I built a large villa in Phuket which was in her name. We sold it to a Swedish expat who paid for the place by depositing cash into my account back in Canada. As there
were no issues with the place we agreed to share the same expat lawyer who had started a company to allow the Swede to retain 49% of the property and have Thai directors hold the other 51%. This deal fell through as the government put a stop on
this and we ended up drawing up a lease agreement (30 + 30 + 30). The lease was completed about 3 years ago and we have confirmed from land titles that it has not been registered with them and the property is still in my wife's name. We also
have heard that the individual that leased the property is terminally ill and has only a live-in Thai girl residing on the property. I understand that if a lease is not registered within 3 years it becomes void and that a lease cannot be inherited.
What options would I have to secure the property should this fellow pass away?
Sunbelt Legal responds: A lease that is longer then 3 years must be registered at the local land office. Failure to do so would result in it being applicable by law for only the initial 3 years.
However, you would need to review the lease agreement to identify each party's obligation. Example: How was the rent to be paid or whether the agreement stipulated whose responsibility it was to register this lease with the land office, the
option to assign this lease to any individual designated / nominated by the Lessee. If all the rental has been paid in advance to cover the 30 years, while you did not register this lease, his legal representative may proceed with legal action
against you for breach of agreement.
Question 2: I might be getting married to a Thai girl later this year and want to do a prenup. Do I forfeit any rights if I have a Buddhist ceremony, but do not register the marriage at the Amphur pending signing of the prenup for some
months later? Can she lay claim to assets that were in limbo during this period? I wish to get all my affairs in order to give me piece of mind (fixed deposits due to mature, family trust etc.) in Australia.
Sunbelt Legal responds: A Buddhist ceremony is a blessing for the bride and groom and for the reputation of the family. You will not be considered legally married until you have registered your
marriage with the Amphur. For a prenuptial agreement to be applicable and recognised by the government, such agreement must be presented and registered upon registration of the marriage. The agreement must specify all of the assets that you intend
to exclude from the marital assets. It should be noted that in the case where you have a fixed deposit account, even though you may have excluded this from the list of marital assets, the fruits (interest) derived from this shall be treated as
marital assets as it was earned during the marriage. Assets that you inherited from being one of the beneficiaries shall be excluded from being categorised as marital assets.
Question 3: I am currently 10 months into a one-year apartment lease in Bangkok. The week before last I learned that the 'building manager' to whom I make all payments has disappeared with the majority of the rent I have paid, plus my deposit.
The owner of my apartment, along with several others in my building, lives in Krabi and has been notified of the situation. I have now been told that not only might my contract not be renewed at the end of March, but that the deposit of 2 months
rent that I paid may not be returned as the payment was never received by the owner. The owner's signatures on my lease agreements have turned out to be forgeries hence my contract is null and void, according to them anyway. I have receipts
for all of the payments that I've made, deposit included, signed by the then manager. The owner was under the impression that the previous tenant was still occupying my apartment, and apparently has said that if I want to reclaim the money
I have lost, I should pursue the ex-manager, who I have no means of contacting but I understand to be living in Udon now. I have no idea why the owner was unaware that payments on my apartment were not being received and am still unable to get
their contact details from the new management staff, who say that they want all communication with the owner to go through them. Can you offer me any advice on how I should proceed if I can't get assurances that my deposit will be returned
and choose to move out at the end of my contract.
Sunbelt Legal responds: Look at the lease agreement – who executed the agreement on behalf of your landlord. If the lease agreement was executed by a representative, you would have to
see whether there was any power of attorney made from your landlord to this representative to act on his / her behalf. If such a document exists, your case would be geared towards both your landlord as he / she had already executed a power of
attorney so that this representative could act on his / her behalf and that representative.
If no power of attorney was granted / issued, and it is not the signature of the landlord who executed the lease agreement, then your case would only be towards that representative, who may have defrauded you in entering this lease agreement.
In the case if that agreement was executed with the Landlord's signature (even though you are unsure whether it is the real owner who executed this agreement), your case would be geared towards both the representative and the landlord based on a civil case for a breach of the agreement.
You may want to contact the new management staff. If they are still under the same juristic identity as your previous building manager, (that is if your ex-building manager was an employee of this current management team) they may be able to resolve and may be held accountable for their employee's act. See the receipts issued to you.
It's fun to read the email that flood in following upload of the column, a deluge that lasts a good 18 hours with email volume returning to normality some time after midday Monday. With so many emails, it's never easy to choose the best to run in the next column. I tend to give preference to those which refer to issues raised in the current column, those with a funny or amusing story and those which are representative of the common viewpoint from readers. It took me a long time to realise that no matter how accurate and representative of the majority view some emails may be, if they paint things in a negative light, they may not be well received by others. I have become judicious with the emails I choose, notwithstanding that I may be refraining from publishing emails that hold a common or widely held view. Over the past year or so, but certainly in the past few months, there has been something of a backlash against the bar industry by some who were amongst its most ardent participants. I have chosen not to include many of these emails because my view on the bar industry is fairly well-known and I don't want to proliferate negative comment. But for sure, even amongst some who were once ardent fans of the nightlife – and thought they always would be – are starting to turn their back on it. You could argue that this is the norm and most eventually get bored – and there is some truth in that – but some are guys who have been emailing for years, and who I think could reasonably be called "hardcore", for whom the industry is pretty much the only reason they visit (or live in) Thailand. What is interesting is that many have gone on to visit Cambodia, and they are raving about the nightlife over there from the prices to the attitudes to the variety. Interesting times ahead, I reckon…
Your Bangkok commentator,