Bangkok has many massage shops, venues where massage is not necessarily the only thing on the menu. This week I sat down with the manager at EZ Massage, an advertiser on this site, and spoke to her openly and candidly about massage shops, the girls who work there and the customers who frequent them.
* This interview was conducted in Thai so if the manager's English seems rather good and her "voice" does not sound quite like a Thai, that's why!
Tell me about the history of EZ Massage.
Actually, it started out as just a website about escorts, 2 people making a website. As we got more customers we decided to find a place to start our own massage shop. That's when we realised we needed more people help to run the place. We started the shop in February and before that we had an escort website for just a few months. And then, basically, we had friends helping us out to do the business.
Where do you recruit girls from?
Everywhere! Friends, friends of friends, people who came to the website, people who apply in the shop. Everywhere! We put notices up to recruit girls around here. The girls who work here come from all walks of life.
So do the girls have experience before they come here?
Some do. Some don't. Experience as in what? Massage?! If they come to us from other massage shops then they have experience. If they don't have experience, we train them and once they are up to speed they can work.
So it must be a fun job to train them? Is that your job?!
No, it is not!
So this is a simple business to run?
It may seem to be easy on the surface but there is so much to think about, much more than you think! You need to realise that these ladies are real people! They have problems of their own, problems with their family and their boyfriend. I know many customers don't know about that but there is another side of these ladies. As I have come to know them, I realise they have complicated lives. This is just a job for them. They have boyfriends and they have families.
Many of the ladies have problems. They have boyfriends. Some of these boyfriends, Thai guys, bully the girlfriend. Usually he doesn't work and she works and supports him. Some of the girls are quite young and they are willing to make a sacrifice to support him. Some of the girls here have been deserted by their boyfriend because they had a kid and he did a runner. Some of the girls are here to support their parents and send money to their parents. These girls' lives are not rosy at all. These girls have real problems, personal problems. And they do get heartbroken.
You have a real mix of ladies here <as my eyes drift across at one rather well-rounded lady, something not lost on the manager>.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One man's meat can be another man's poison. Every lady from thin to fat, short to tall, dark or fair, there is always a guy who wants her no matter how she looks! We have a wide selection of ladies and every one of our ladies has customers no matter what her shape, looks or skin colour. The more meaty girls appeal to Arabs and Indians. That's what they like. The dark girls the farangs like and farangs like them too. And the fair-skinned girls are the group the Japanese guys like.
But on your website all of the girls look white!
The girls' photos on the website are taken in a studio and you know Thai studios really like to make people look white, because that is what Thai people like. We think white skin is beautiful! We tell the studio to keep the skin colour of the girls natural but they don't listen! The girls look fairer in the photos than they really are. What can we do?! I guess we need to take the photos ourselves and not let the studios Photoshop them to make the ladies look really fair, which is how they like them, but not how we want them to look! We want the photos on the site to be a fair representation of the girls!
I guess that is good for the Japanese customers?!
Yeah, I guess so!
I imagine in this business there must be some funny stories. Can you tell me about some of the strange or weird stuff you've seen?
I had a farang guy email me a photo and say he wanted to work as an escort for us. He is a German living here in Thailand. But we could not accept him because we are not in that type of business. I think we should have a varied set of girls on the books, but nothing that unusual!
We had one customer who had a ladyboy girlfriend. He said he wanted to have a sandwich with his ladyboy girlfriend and one of our girls. We get some weird requests like that but we do not reply to them.
We have also had customers asking about lactating ladies!
I remember a story from my homeland where a madam of a brothel said that she could command a $500 premium from guys who wanted to sleep with her when she was pregnant – and apparently there is always demand for that!
Yes, we get that too.
I want to tell you that we need volunteers to come here so we can train the girls to do balls massage. The problem we have is that we do not have someone to practice on! We have a couple of girls who can do this but the rest of the girls are not sure how to do it. If any of your readers would like to be the person the girls can practice giving balls massage to, they can email me. We have many ladies to train so you will get a free balls massage. We are serious about this. If you want a free balls massage, we need you! But please don't be shy! There will be a lot of ladies looking at you and your balls because we need to teach them how to do it properly. Please email us. Don't just turn up. We have to make arrangements for the ladies to be here for the training. <Please note EZ was overwhelmed with volunteers and no more volunteers are required! – Stick, 19/7>
You know when the girls are trained in massage here that they practice on girls. Girls can practice massage on girls, but our customers are men. And girls don't have balls so how can they practice?!
Do customers request this type of massage often?
Some are interested in trying it. Some ask about it because they are curious! Like I say, we have some girls who can do it but most can't. I think some guys like to try something they have not tried before!
Have the girls actually trained in proper Thai massage?
Some have trained at massage schools, and others have been trained by us. There are many massage schools in Thailand and they can study for as little as 2,000 baht.
Who are your customers?
We accept everyone, from Japanese to Arabs to farangs. We advertise online and in G Diary and Raku Raku <The two popular Japanese print nightlife publications in Bangkok – Stick>
How do you think about customers from different countries?
For farangs and Japanese, we think they have nice personalities. For Indians, they always take the full option service and they always want to negotiate the price. They ALWAYS ask for a discount. Farangs and Asians never ask about a discount. For Japanese, they are very particular about the girl's looks and if they do not find a lady to their specification they will pass and go somewhere else or come back another time. For farangs, they are more relaxed. I used to think Japanese were the best customers but actually they are a little choosy and they do not tip. The girls love farangs because farangs are very generous tippers and tip the girls. We love farangs!
We have cases of Indians who are very generous so these are just general impressions and not accurate for all customers. Everyone is different!
Have you ever had any problems with customers?
Yes, we have. Some customers who have ordered outcalls haven't paid. I had a customer who called us very late at night and requested 2 ladies. They went to him and did not receive payment. They performed their duty and the customer said he had no money on him and they should go to an ATM machine together. He had a motorcycle outside, got on it and took off, and was gone with the wind! He lied about where he was staying! He said he was staying at the hotel where the girls went but actually he had just rented the room for a short time! Now we do not send girls to a short time hotel to avoid that sort of thing.
Tell me more about this rotten sod!
He was a farang and he said he was English. He was a tall, slim, dark blonde-haired Englishman who speaks Thai and rides a brown Fino. Tell us if you know him!
We don't necessarily ask for money beforehand so we were shocked when this happened! The two girls worked and performed their duties. These ladies are working for their family and to support their children so when this happens the guy is cheating the girl and her family. That is really bad! It is not only that we think it is bad, it is sad. Why would someone do something like this? What would he do if he worked and did not get paid for his job?!
Now we know that if we send girls to a 5-star or other good hotel there won't be a problem like this. These hotels do not rent rooms for an hour and if there is any problem with the customer not paying we can talk politely with the hotel about it.
Is this common?
This has happened a few times. Another time was with a guy who was similar. He called and booked a lady to go meet him in the Asoke area. She did not collect payment from him beforehand. After they had finished he opened the door of the room and just ran away! She had paid for a taxi to get there, had to pay for a taxi to get back and had performed her duty. So she wasted time and money and he just ran away. I just don't know what to say when this happens. I really feel bad and I don't know why people do this. These girls do what they are required and then they are cheated like this. It's just not right!
But we have had good experiences with customers too. We have customers who tip 2,000 baht. Wow, that's really good. If a customer is gentle and tips the lady so well, it really makes her feel good and she feels like she is respected. We feel like people and the customer is honouring us. We are real people and we want customers to know that!
Some customers are just happy to chat. That is what some want, someone to chat with and to listen to them.
But some guys are really rude! "Suck my cock!" "Lick my balls!" "Suck my nipples!" They order us to do stuff like we are some sort of sex machine. It makes us feel really bad. What can I say? We know this is not an honourable job and it is considered dirty by many people. We know that already but you don't have to rub our faces in it! When customers treat us well and make us feel good then we try harder to make them feel good too. We are humans too!
We had one man take 4 ladies. Wow! He was jai dee mark mark. He enjoyed himself. We could tag team and when one lady was tired the others could step in! Wow, he had a great time!
Do the girls sometimes fall in love with customers? I mean, fall in love for real, not faking it!
Yes, some do! One lady here did and she really loved the guy but he was married already.
One guy said that he loved a girl and she said that she loved him. He said that he would come back but after returning to his country he never came back. I think some customers lie about things like this. I know in some other shops of stories where the girl has fallen in love with the customer and they have got married but that has not happened here.
It's amazing that people from different countries can fall in love like this and then move in together and get married. But actually most of the time it ends in disappointment. For those who it ends in disappointment it is to be expected, but I tell the girls not to wait for a guy because we just do not know what his real situation is. He might have a wife and family in his country. How can we know?
How do you choose which girls to hire?
At first we did not know how they will be. Of course, if they look good and have a good body we will hire them. But if they don't provide good service and / or customers complain a lot then we have to let them go. We cannot accept a pretty lady or lady with a nice body who does not provide good service.
We have rules, such as how many days per week they work. Also, if they are in a foul mood or have problems with their boyfriend or things outside the shop that affect their work then we don't want them.
Girls don't come to work every day so some girls need to be booked. We can tell the lady to come to work at a certain time if she has a booking. Of course, guys can visit either shop any time to see who is available. Also, guys are welcome to talk to me and tell me what they are looking for and I can help them choose.
Do some guys make unusual requests?
The ladyboy guy was probably the most unusual since we have been in business.
We had a customer who came here with his wife and his child! His wife was really open-minded and she waited downstairs while he went upstairs. They talked about everything beforehand and she waited downstairs while her husband went upstairs with a lady!
Some guys are sadistic. They want to do crazy stuff like take their shoe and slap a woman's face. It's sinful! Other guys have asked a girl to piss on them but the girl said that she did not want that and she wanted to escape from the room. Yeah, there are some weird guys.
Also, we get some guys asking for women aged over 50! Maybe I should call that lady over there who sells som tam and see if she is up for it!
I have a customer from Greece who thinks we are a match-making agency and he wants to find someone to marry! He wants to get married but I think he came to the wrong place because a matchmaking agency we are not!
What about the other outlets in this area?
Most are fairly similar. I have heard from some customers that other places force you to pay for full service up front whereas here we think it is better that a customer pays for a massage only and anything more is between he and she. Some places insist on payment upfront for more than massage.
When are the busiest times?
Normally at the weekend, both day time and night time. During the week, nights are busiest. For outcalls, we get calls at all times, 4:00, 5:00 or even 6:00 AM!
You have ladies available at that time?
Sure, but the choice is limited! Most we cannot contact at that time because, come on, they are sleeping!
OK, so why should guys come here? There are massage shops all over town!
We strive to provide the best service we can here at EZ Massage 1 and 2. If there is anything that you are not happy about then tell us and we will do everything we can to put it right.
Yes, there are many massage outlets, but we really do want to make our customers happy. We have a lot of repeat customers in our first shop so I think we must be doing something right. For us, it is very important to make customers happy. Oh, and I think we have the biggest in-room mirrors in the soi!
Last week's photo
This week's photo
Last week's photo was taken of the Orchid Cafe, the wonderful a la carte restaurant in the Sheraton Grande. The photo was taken from the walkway leading to the Asoke skytrain station. 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 Duke's Express voucher MUST be redeemed by June 2012. The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. 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 – failure to do so results in the prize going to the next person to get the photo right.
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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 – Suspicious name for a restaurant!
While stuck on Rachadapisek, waiting to take the right into Sukhumvit at the Asoke intersection, I noticed to my left a new neon-lit establishment by the name of The Pearl Necklace. Now, we men of the world would recognise that term as a euphemism for a particular form of climax to a particular kind of congress, so I immediately thought perhaps this was some derivation of the Lolita's theme. However, outside said establishment there was a sign advertising Korean BBQ. Is this some kind of odd business fusion I wondered, or is the Korean BBQ somewhere else down the adjacent laneway or is it genuinely just a restaurant that has unwittingly chosen an extraordinarily misleading name? Stuck in traffic as I was, I was in no position to further investigate.
Thoughts on Cambodia.
I agree with you that Cambodians are refreshingly unlike the ethnocentric Thais who regard their neighbours as savages. Have you ever noticed how few Thais fly between Bangkok and Phnom Penh? When flying that route, I feel as if I'm back in Farangland, what with all the white faces. If one more Thai tells me "Cambodia same same snake," I'll go nuts. Oh, one more thing, I loved the Cambodian Immigration form replete with a colour image of Preah Vihar. I'm sure that it will irk Somchai to no end!
Cambo chicks versus Thai princesses.
I always wondered what the statistics might show – which non-working women make the best wives for farang men : Thai or Khmer? It would be interesting to compare the success and failure rates but I don't suppose anybody has carried out such a survey. For example, I asked a few Khmer girls if they caught their husband cheating, would they forgive him, or chop off his todger? The set answer seems to be they would threaten to do it, but never actually carry out the ultimate punishment. Still, if the bloke didn't play in the first place he wouldn't have to sleep with one eye open!
Vietnamese in Cambodia.
Allow me to expound on your comment about there being less Vietnamese "commercial women" in Cambodia. Although, like you, I do not partake of such indulgences, I keep my ears and eyes open. On my last visit I saw many Vietnamese in as far away as Ratanakiri on back to Phnom Penh. Less so in Phnom Penh but the Vietnamese gals abound in Sihanoukville. One venue we visited had nothing but tall, thin, very attractive Vietnamese women in evening dresses. I think the place was called The Ranch. Anyway, we hit the pavement when three SUVs pulled up with nasty looking guys in shades. The mamasan suggested we leave. I believe they were Cambodian Mafioso. Their arrival resembled a bad Soprano's episode, Cambodian style.
Sukhumvit Road now R18?
This afternoon I found myself wondering along the Sukhumvit pavement market for the first time in a while. It was hard to not fall over a vibrator and the number of stalls peddling Viagra, or similar (presumably fake,) seems to have multiplied. At least those selling porn kept some discretion. Whatever is the place coming to? It has become a disgraceful and disgusting place where I would not take my children.
Investing in a bar.
On the bar investment issue, it never ceases to amaze how idiotic some people are with their money. Assuming these investors are most likely 45 years plus, and likely at the tail end of their career, surely placing money in bonds and deposits is a far safer option. If they have significant money, I would sooner invest in a good safe in a vault and stack it with gold bars, a Rolex and a packet of condoms. It's incredible how they waste money in these bars. Anything would be a less painful experience than investing in a whorehouse methinks!
Why the Airport Link terminates where it does.
The piece last week regarding BTS station locations prompted me to write in connection to the complaints regarding the airport rail link 'central station' at Makasan. So many people ask why the Airport Rail Link has its main station (and city dumping off spot) at Makasan where the traffic is terrible, where there's little in the way of transport connections, housing or tourists areas. Simple, the State Railway of Thailand owns a huge amount of land in that area which makes it easy for them to build (without land acquisition issues) and imagine how much more the land will be worth once idiots jump on the band wagon and start to develop the area stating ‘only 5 minutes from the ARL’! Worse is to come once they show the proposed connection of the ARL to Bang Sue and Don Meuang.
Great customer service in Bangkok!
I had pre-booked accommodation at Centerpoint, Sukhumvit Soi 10, at the rate of 2,500+10% per night. A fantastic rate for a 76 square metre apartment. A few days before the trip I got an email from Centerpoint advising that during July and August they have a promotion and therefore will be reducing my rate from 2,500+10% to 2,000+10%. So it is not true that all Thais are trying to rip off the farang. In this case I would have happily paid the 2,500+10% and been none the wiser – but the integrity of the management resulted in them telling me of the lower rate. Oh, and by the way, 2000+10% per night is an absolute steal for what you get! I would stick my neck out and say it would be the best value for money in the whole city. Top marks, Centerpoint! You'll get my business for another 10 years for sure.
All eyes are on Nana Plaza as what was for more than a decade Bangkok's hottest farang gogo bar area may not be of this world much longer. An offer has been made to the owners of the land on which Nana Plaza sits by another Indian Thai group, for a whopping 756 million baht. In real money that is the nice round, much easier to get-your-head-around figure of $US 25 million! The land on which Nana Plaza sits, and the surrounding area makes up a lot of approximately 3,400 square metres. This, I am reliably informed, could accommodate a condo development of some 30,000-square metres. This group is not to be confused with Nana Castle, the current leaseholder which sublets to the bars. This offer is payable in cash within 90 days of acceptance. If Nana Castle trumps this offer and the plaza was to remain in its current format, one imagines the key money and rent would shoot up. Whether Nana Plaza as we know it could survive, who knows? It would probably require a complete makeover and move upmarket with flasher venues and higher prices to pay what would we expect to be higher rent. Is the future of Nana Plaza an entertainment area run by real businessman offering the sort of quality that few bars in the plaza currently deliver? One thing's for sure, if Nana Castle is unable to keep the lease, Soi Cowboy is going to be the big winner. The land owners don't appear to be interested in releasing, but rather selling the land. I have said it before, and I will say it again – the land on which Nana Plaza sits is much too valuable for a bunch of gogo bars, some of which generate bugger all revenue. My prediction? In 18 months Nana Plaza will be history and the soi 4 we have come to know will change forever.
No names mentioned here to preserve the fellow in question's privacy, but the guy who is widely considered the most influential foreigner at Nana Plaza suffered a serious stroke recently and the influence he once had in the plaza would seem to be a thing of the past. I also note another bar baron, of the same nationality and similar age, also has major health problems. Rumourmongers are already speculating about what might happen in the future to the two groups of bars these guys each head up, with a combined total of 20 odd bars, across Nana and Cowboy.
There was no goodbye party at the Bull's Head after a bunch of removal men i.e. local heavies stripped it bare on Sunday night, just a few nights before it was due to close. Everything that could be taken was taken, leaving but the shell. What a sad way for one of Bangkok's longest running expat pubs to sign out. Some of the Bull's Head staff can now be found at The Barbican, over on Soi Thaniya.
What's going on with the construction of the new Bourbon Street on Ekamai? Owner Doug intimated that the new branch would open months ago, yet construction is moving at a snail's pace. I don't like to talk out of school, but I am starting to wonder if slow workers really is the reason for the lack of progress…
Speaking of Dougs, the American who used to operate Cathouse in Nana Plaza and who fled the country after what might politely be termed a business dispute, is back. It seems that Doug is interested in leasing the same spot in the plaza where Cathouse once was, and which until recently was home to Bunnies. The lights have been out on Bunnies for the past few weeks. If Doug manages to secure the lease, would this mean a return of the Cathouse, and its signature promotion, the beer buffet? Cathouse was known for its 4 – 8 PM beer buffet which was the cause of more fights in Nana than all other bars put together!
It can be confirmed that the No Name Group (Sheba's, Suzy Wong's and a few more) lost the lease to Apache which is under new ownership. The landlord was not at all happy with the No Name Group because the gogo license was lost under their watch. Now you know why it changed from Apache Coyote, the gogo bar, to the Apache beer bar. You really didn't think a beer bar on Soi Cowboy would be more lucrative than a gogo bar, did you?!
There will soon be a little more competition for the Sukhumvit branch of Lolita's, with a new venue, The Lollipop 1, to open in soi 10, in the little D-shaped alley on the left, a few metres into the soi. Turn left at Paradiso Hotel into the sub-soi and it's the building straight ahead. They are aiming for a soft opening today and a more formal affair on August 5. The famous Som, ex Lolita's, is one of the 3 owners and is in negotiation with a number of ex-Lolita's and Star of Light girls to work there. The new venue is attempting to recruit cuter girls than what you find at Lolita's in Bangkok. The venue will be the largest venue of this genre in Bangkok, spread over 5 floors with 12 on-site rooms. The first floor is a bar area, the second floor has services similar to Lolita's and I guess you could say that the fun increases the higher you go! Prices and services will be competitive with Lolita's. There will be different types of rooms with a session in a curtained room costing 700 baht or 1,200 baht. The difference in pricing? Umm, it depends where you put your lollipop! One other intriguing service they plan to offer is an airport / hotel pickup option which they will price at a very reasonable 2,500 baht. A customer gets picked up from the airport or their hotel and, depending on how Bangkok's traffic is that day, enjoy an hour or so journey, for 2,500 baht all up.
A couple of new venues have opened in Pattaya in the past couple of weeks. On Walking Street is Moon, which is said to be decked out like you're up on the moon, and on Soi LK Metro, opposite Club Blu, is Sugar Sugar, a new spot with coyote girls which is said to have some pretty lasses dancing. I hope to check them out and write a bit more about them in the next couple of weeks.
I know my comments won't endear me to some bar owners, or those with interests in bars, but I urge anyone interested in investing (note the VERY deliberate use of italics) in a bar in this part of the world to be very, very careful. In this case, I refer to investing money in an existing bar, not actually starting a new bar, or buying an existing business outright. The number of tricks that a very small number of shrewd players get up to are quite unreal and I simply put this out there in the hope that anyone considering investing in a bar doesn't get tripped up like many before them. There are numerous tricks employed, most of which aren't easily spotted, even if due diligence is carried out. Perhaps the most common ruse is that there are often more investors in a bar than there appears and total shares in the bar exceed 100% i.e. there might be 25 people who each bought – and believe – they have a 10% share in the bar. The next most common ruse, linked to the previous ruse, is that documentation isn't forthcoming so a sum of money is handed over – often 1,000,000 baht in cash, of course – and the buyer never gets any paperwork to show that he actually has a share in the bar. He may be told that documentation is coming, and coming…and months later, after various excuses, it is still coming! Next is the way that some bar bosses expense everything in their life through the bar's accounts, to include a fabulous condo, trips around the country, meals in high-end hotel restaurants and various other expenses, which are listed in the books as expenses related to the bar, but they aren't at all. A common enough strategy in small businesses, but essentially the investors are funding the initial investors' personal lifestyle. You also hear stories of bar bosses going on "scouting trips" for new bar staff or locations for a new bar and blowing ridiculous sums, like 50,000 baht or more in 2 days. Now don't ask me why, but a number of the guys carrying out these cons hail from the same part of the world. I'll give you a clue: It is NOT Australia, New Zealand, the United States or Canada! If you your heart is set on investing in a bar, go through a business brokerage like Sunbelt, or get a very good lawyer to draw up the documents!
There's a bunch of pretty girls in Spanky's in Nana Plaza at the moment. Don't believe me? The photo below shows just some of the girls found there at the moment.
Just over the hill from the main part of Sin City, Thappraya Road and the new Jomtien Second Road is now about 90% complete – that is after 3 long years! Perhaps City Hall should consider using the same contractors building the beer bars and market complexes to finish the surfacing in between building the bars? They would get it finished quicker!
Still down Pattaya way, Fair Properties, AKA known as UnFair Properties on the forums, the Pattaya real estate office that closed its doors a year or so ago amid rumours the owner had fled to Cambodia whilst owing a few clients substantial amounts of money, still has a website running with new properties being listed. However, no contact numbers or office address are given. Renters and buyers beware!
If you're not sure of what to do or where to go in Pattaya, here's a good list of a bunch of Pattaya excursions and trips. See, it's not all about the nightlife!
What a joke the no alcohol weekend turned out to be. With two Buddhist holidays back to back, there was supposed to be a prohibition on alcohol sales on Friday and Saturday. In Patpong it was business as usual. Soi Cowboy and Nana were lights out, but
the Golden Bar in Soi Nana had alcohol available in paper cups. It was the same story in Khao San Road where pretty much everywhere served alcohol, poured into paper cups. They weren't even discreet about it, pouring alcohol direct from a beer
bottle into a paper cup at the table, in plain view of everyone. Kind of humorous really!
A good mate spent time with his Mrs.' family, up north. In his most recent email he mentioned how all and sundry in the village had expected him to treat them to this, that and pick up the tab for everything. He is not short of a few bob, and is generous, but he felt they were taking the piss which made him angry. I mentioned this to a mate in Bangkok who also visits his wife's family upcountry from time to time and asked him if he went through similar crap. He explained that when he and his Mrs. go upcountry, he gives her 3,000 baht and makes a point of having no money in his wallet. Whenever anyone asks or expects him to buy something, or expects him to treat them, he explains that his wife has the money and they need to ask her. That very quickly puts an end to it. So if the natives are taking the piss when you're visiting the village, try this strategy!
An article in Monday's Bangkok Post reported that Vietnamese families prefer male offspring and today many families in Vietnam abort females in the hope of trying again and getting a male. This phenomenon has become so widespread that the country faces a serious imbalance of males: females, similar to that in China and India. There is relevance to Thailand, and to Thailand's naught boy expats. First of all, many long-term Thailand naughty boys look over at Vietnam, some believing that it may become the next Thailand, in terms of sex tourism. However, with fewer women, there will likely be increased demand amongst Vietnamese men to snare a wife and as such there could be fewer women entering prostitution – a good thing. Secondly, it might just create demand amongst wealthy Vietnamese men to look further abroad for a wife and who knows, perhaps they will look at Thailand, thus decreasing the number of women here? A stretch, perhaps, but you just never know… The bottom line though is that anyone looking to Vietnam for naughty boy activities should look elsewhere.
Quote of the week comes from a reader, "For Thais, passing time by pecking at one's mobile has replaced picking at nasal hair!"
Reader's story of the week from Korski is the brilliant, "A Note on Sex, Women and Marriage: To My Son on His Twenty-First Birthday."
The Wall Street Journal commented this week on what it called Thailand's ungraceful losers.
The Guardian newspaper looks at whether the next Thai government will conduct another killing spree on drug dealers.
Armed bandits fire on Aussie teachers in Thailand!
Is this woman in America who chopped off her husband's penis Thai? The MO is certainly Thai!
CNNGo highlights 8 Bangkok cocktails inspired by Thai culture or cuisine.
Rehab tourism is a growing sector of Thailand's tourism industry.
Australia's 7 TV Network was due to run an expose on Thailand's Full Moon Party tonight.
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: If money is remitted to a bank account in Thailand, from an American company, for consulting services provided by a Canadian citizen who is non-resident in Thailand, would that be subject to Thai taxation? What if the consulting was offshore / external to Thailand (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Gulf, etc)? If it is subject to Thai taxation, what rate would be assessed? Can such monies be deposited to NRBS and NRBA accounts, allowing flexibility in moving to other overseas locations as well as for making investments (from an NRBS)?
Sunbelt Legal responds: If you were to deposit to a Thai bank account on a regular basis then your account would be reviewed by the Bank of Thailand and investigated for clarification by you before handing the case over to the Immigration and Labour offices. Less scrutiny will occur if a individual transfers the money personally rather than have a business do so as that would raise questions. At Sunbelt Asia we strongly advocate to our clients to pay any required taxes due. Taxpayers are classified as resident and non-resident. A resident taxpayer resides in Thailand for more than a total of 180 days (not necessarily consecutive) in any tax year. A resident of Thailand is liable for tax on income from sources in Thailand and on a portion of income from foreign sources. A non-resident would only be liable on tax from sources within Thailand. You cannot deposit the money to NRBS or NRBA accounts in Thailand.
Question 2: Does the Thai government's retail banking deposit scheme apply to foreigners? And if it does, do foreigners with money in a Thai bank account have to be resident in Thailand or can they be resident overseas and simply have funds deposited in the country?
Sunbelt Legal responds: Most banks require a visa of some type in order to open a bank account and many will also require a longer term visa such as a Non-Immigrant O visa. It depends on the bank branch and manager if they will allow a foreigner to open up a bank account as a non-resident. It is important to note that foreigners with a Thai bank account may receive no interest. You will receive the same interest as a Thai citizen if you purchase a certificate of deposit, however.
Question 3: If I am ever questioned, or arrested, by the Thai police, do I have the right to remain silent? I read every day in the newspapers of suspects pressured into confessing or speaking without a lawyer present. Do I have the right to silence as I do in America?
Sunbelt Legal responds: Yes, you do have the right to remain silent. However, it is often the case that suspects are offered a more lenient sentence if they confess to the crime. Best to talk with your lawyer first.
As I scratch my head over the future direction of this column and wonder what I can do to keep it interesting and to reinvigorate my own interest, two things come to mind. Photos and food. More photos and more about dining out. What I really am passionate about and what I think I do reasonably well, is taking decent photos. And eating out in decent restaurants is, to me, much more enjoyable than watching bored country girls dance in a bikini. While I don't really want to change much because I really think the column's mix / format works well, I can't help but feel that more photos and perhaps a little less text might reinvigorate my own interest and more importantly, help to keep the column going for some time to come. I'll see what I can come up with without changing the flavour too much…
Your Bangkok commentator,