From being seen by some as the most feminine and most beautiful women in the world, to just as frequently being described as gold diggers, available for a price and willing to slice a sausage with the largest knife in the drawer, there's
much misunderstanding out there about Thai women. These misunderstandings have perpetuated many myths about Thai women, some of which are so widely heard that people actually believe them to be true.
What follows are some of the most commonly heard myths about Thai women, with my take on them and an attempt to explain what is really going on.
1. Thai women don't like Thai men
Perhaps the most widely heard myth of all about Thai women, perpetuated by Western men in Thailand, and one also espoused by irresponsible introduction agencies matching Thai women with farang men, as well as farang guys who have married a woman with, shall we say, a questionable past, is that Thai women don't like Thai men!
Easier to refute than any other myth, the very obvious fact that the vast majority of Thai women are married to a Thai man should make anyone realise that this is a fabrication.
While it might be a stretch to say that the vast majority are happy in their marriage, anyone doubting that Thai women don't like Thai men need only look a little more closely at why this myth lives on.
Thai women need to take responsibility for this one as the comments that Thai women don't like Thai men are most often heard from the lips of bargirls doing their best to convince the sort of guy you would not expect her to be with that she doesn't like Thai men. It is of course all part of an effort to get him to somehow miraculously believe that she, perhaps a generation or two his junior, could possibly find him attractive.
So many girls speak this nonsense and so many guys hear it over and over again, that some actually believe it.
For sure, there are Thai women who have had bad experiences with local men and have chosen to go inter, as they say in Thai. But make no bones about it, for 99% of Thai women, a foreign man is not their first choice.
2. Thai women are not concerned about a man's age
It is said that Thai women are not concerned about a man's age and that a Thai woman will marry a guy of any age.
It is true that Thai women are generally more open-minded about a man past his prime than their sisters in the West. With that said, the majority of Thai women seem to prefer a man around the same age as them, with a general preference for a guy who is
perhaps just a few years older.
The older a woman is, the less concerned she becomes about the age of her partner and Thai women aged 45+ seem to be more relaxed about being involved and getting hitched with a much older guy.
Thai women do seem less concerned about smaller age gaps, with up to 10 years ok, and up to 15 years seems to be within acceptable limits. Once it goes beyond 15 years – especially if it is obvious that there are more than 15 years between them, things
change a little, especially in the perception of others.
This myth is equally perpetuated by both Thai ladies and Western guys. Some younger women in the bar industry may tell an older guy that she is not concerned about the customer's age, and vice versa, the older guy marrying the younger woman will tell his friends and family that his age is not important to her. Look closely, however, and the number of marriages where there is a huge age gap between the partners is predominantly found with guys who met a girl in the bar industry. Large age gaps in relationships where the couple met through more conventional means are less common.
3. Thai women aren't concerned how a guy looks
It is said that Thai women don't mind how their guy looks. I would suggest is total fiction!
Thais are ultra image conscious and many believe that the way someone looks says more about them than anything else.
In Thailand, the way the people you associate with, and spend time with look – and act – is also considered to be very much a reflection on you. As such, a woman who is with a man who is rough physically, or who takes little or no pride in his appearance reflects negatively on her.
For Thais, the way you look is not just your physical condition, but just as much how you dress and how you present yourself. Someone who has let themselves go physically, but who wears tidy, clean clothes, and who has some fashion sense will generally
receive a pass mark, irrespective of how large they may be.
Some foreign men in Thailand who have let themselves go claim that one reason they like Thai women is that these women do not care how they look like. Actually, they do – and they would very much like it if their guy shed a few pounds, got a decent haircut, dressed decently or at least appropriately for the place / occasion.
When Thai women talk about Thai guys, they may complain about him being overweight. However, you never hear them complain about him being too slim. He would have to be 6 foot tall and 50 kg or less to be too slim. So if they don't like their Thai guy being overweight, what does a well-rounded Western guy mean for them?
Thai women do look at the guy on the inside and the outside is not the be all and end all. Whether he is kind, gentle, polite and can adopt the traditional male's role are important to her. But looks ARE still important to her!
4. Thai women allow their husband to fool around
Saying that their Thai wife does not mind them sleeping with other woman is a widespread myth perpetuated almost entirely by Western guys who can't help but eat at the buffet. It is a poor attempt to justify their ways, and one of those myths most read on forums and heard in bars.
Desperately trying to justify their behaviour, many point to the behaviour of Thai men who have the reputation for playing around. Through many years observing just what Western guys in Thailand get up to, I am firmly of the belief that they fool around at least as much as Thai men, if not more! Adopting questionable local habits and using the when in Rome proverb is plain poor form.
There is the odd Thai woman who may suggest to her husband that if he plays around he should do it in such a manner that neither she, nor anyone she knows – friends, family or neighbours – could possibly find out about it so that it does not cause her to lose face. This is often a test to see if he will accept the invitation – or turn it down – as she hopes he will.
Obviously those espousing this total myth are ignorant of the fact that genital mutilation happens from time to time in Thailand and Thai surgeons are renowned as the world's best at reattaching a severed penis.
Thai women are very pragmatic and some might realise that the guy they are with just cannot stop playing around. If they have children together, she might look the other way, but don't mistake that for thinking that she is ok about it. She is doing it to keep the family together and make sure the kids have a Dad.
5. Thai women working as prostitutes in Thailand are sold into the industry by their family and are indentured slaves
Whenever you read an article in the Western press, or see a poorly researched documentary on Western TV about Thailand's naughty nightlife industry, the ladies involved are said to be there against their will, are indentured or enslaved.
This is a myth spread by the media, women's groups, religious groups or NGOs. The reports often include sprinklings of the truth with a few verified facts thrown in. Most such reports are total hyperbole.
In the case of women's groups, they know that Western men availing themselves of Thai prostitutes diminishes their value and hence their power over Western men.
In the case of NGOs, perpetuating the myth can result in more funding.
In the case of the Western media which seems to be consistently errant when reporting any red lights in Thailand, salaciousness sells!
In all of my time in Thailand, and in all of the years I have spent floating around the bars, from the red light districts which are known all around the world to small bars in rural areas that may never have seen another long-nose, I have yet to meet a Thai woman who was sold into the industry, or who was there against her will.
That's not to say that there aren't women in the industry sold into it, or who are prisoners. There are, sadly, some women from neighbouring countries whose families may have received financial consideration before they entered the industry.
Or these women may be being kept against their will, and not have the ability to get home. Such women can be found in the Thai sector of the industry but even then they are few and far between.
I am told that once upon a time women from the poorest parts of the rural north may have been enticed into the bar industry with payments made upfront to their family. Whether this still happens today, I just do not know – but for sure I have not seen any evidence of it. Certainly in the section of the industry that caters to foreign men, I have yet to meet a woman who was sold into the industry, or is effectively working as a slave. These women are there of their own free will!
6. A foreign man marrying a Thai woman has to pay a sin sot (dowry) and support her family forever
It is often said that when a foreign man marries a Thai woman he must pay for the privilege and he must support her family for life.
Little gets foreigners married to Thai women so heated as the sin sot (dowry) debate. It is said that Thais will not allow their daughter to marry unless a sin sot is paid.
In the case of marriage between Thais, a sin sot is almost always paid. What happens to the money after it has been paid varies from family to family – and in many cases it is returned to the happy couple.
In the case of foreigners, it is my observation that as many pay a sin sot as do not. Perhaps 1/3 of the guys I know who married a Thai woman paid a dowry. The rest didn't. In most cases the guy disagreed with the concept and explained
that not only was it not part of his culture, the idea of effectively paying for a wife is abhorrent in his culture and requested that the family agree to allow him to marry with no requirement to pay a sin sot. Middle class or more well
to do families generally understand the perspective and accept it. In the case of rural families it seems to be about as popular as suggesting that the family buffalo's throat be slit and he be barbequed up for dinner!
The responsibility of supporting older Thais falls on their children. In the case where there is only one child and a Westerner is married to that child then he may be expected to contribute. Where there is more than one child but some have but a modest income then the Westerner and his wife may, again, be requested to contribute more. What needs to be understood is that there has been quite a change in Thai society and as the middle class grows, many older Thais are doing all that they can to ensure that they are not a burden on their children in what is becoming a much more expensive world.
7. You pay for it with Thai women one way or the other
My #1 peeve, the way so many Westerners in Thailand believe that with Thai women, you pay for "it" one way or the other drives me crazy.
This myth is a pathetic attempt by those who frequently use prostitutes to justify what they get up to. They are effectively saying that a guy who sleeps with a Thai woman who is not a prostitute paid for it one way or the other, be it through dinner, movies, flowers and / or spending a lot of time with the lady. Guys who use prostitutes do NOT have to justify it and should refrain from making this stupid comment!
As any young and / or charming and / or handsome and / or successful guy who has had success with women anywhere in the world knows, women with an itch want it scratched! And they often don't want anything more than having that itch scratched! I am not talking about slappers, but decent women who quite simply enjoy decent sex from time to time!
Many Thai women seek out Western men from time to time for sex – sex and sex only – because they believe a Western man won't boast of his exploits to friends – and as such she will not be seen to be easy, and her reputation will not suffer.
The guy does not have to pick up the tab for anything. Often she will come to his place, do the business and leave. She may be very attractive. She may be highly educated and may have a great job. She wants that itch scratched and does not want nor expect anything more from the guy. There are thousands and thousands of such women in Bangkok online looking for this at any given time. She is not looking for anything long-term and does not linger around at his place, or suggest he buy her an IPhone.
One of the joys about Thai women is the lack of sexual hang ups. There does seem to be an attitude that sex is simply a bodily function, something that makes you feel good and as such it is something they wish to enjoy from time to time, even if they don't have a boyfriend. This attitude seems to be becoming much more widespread amongst younger Thai women i.e. those aged under 30.
You do NOT have to pay for it in Thailand! Do NOT listen to those who tell you otherwise!
8. All Thai women are available for a price
Because the red light industry in Thailand is so well-known and because so many tourists find themselves offered prostitutes wherever they happen to be in Thailand – whether it is what they are looking for or not – Thai women have picked up the unwanted reputation for being prostitutes. That along with the fact that Thai women are disproportionately represented as sex workers in many countries, the reputation of Thai women has been sullied by those Thai women working in the industry and those Thais promoting it.
It is said that Thai women are available for a price and with some women this is true. Some women. In today's Bangkok Post was an article about how this week a Thai actress turned down 500,000 baht to sleep with a politician.
The line between prostitution and financial support is a little hazy in Thailand and with relationship roles more traditional than in the West, there can be a greater expectation that the man will support the woman. Some women may simplify this and see it as an exchange of sex for support, but that does not mean that every woman has her price. Some do, but most do not.
Further complicating things is the prevalence of mistresses, mia nois in Thai, where a man supports a woman whose role could be anything from his private prostitute to his second wife. The prevalence of the mia noi phenomenon admittedly does not paint Thai women in the most positive light.
At the end of the day, prostitution in Thailand, while widespread, only employs a very small percentage of Thai women. How many? Perhaps 1%? Perhaps even less. And those women who make up mia nois are also relatively small in number.
The vast majority of Thai women work outside the nightlife industry and would be aghast at the thought of being involved in it, or receiving an offer to bed a guy for xx,xxx baht!
9. Thai women don't have the same employment opportunities as men in Thailand
It is said that Thai women don't have the same employment options as Thai men do. It may have been true once, but today it is rapidly becoming a myth.
Relationship roles are more traditional in Thailand than in the West but things are changing and many Thai women are shirking the traditional roles as they have more options these days.
Female graduates greatly outnumber male graduates from Thai universities. There is only a small number of disciplines in which males outnumber females. As such there are vastly more females holding degrees than men, and as the Thai economy becomes more
developed and there is a greater need for skilled staff, these positions will be filled by Thai women.
Let's not forget that Thailand is on the verge of having its first female prime minister.
Many foreign business owners in Thailand report that Thai females are often better workers and generally much more reliable than Thai men, and let's not forget that this is a country where it is not illegal to discriminate when hiring based on sex (as well as age, looks etc). There is often a very definite preference amongst foreigners, as well as Thai employers, for female staff.
Thai women have many more employment options now than they ever did, and are often better skilled and more reliable than Thai men.
10. I know my Thai girlfriend / wife loves me because she told me
I cringe when I hear Western men tell me how much their Thai girlfriend of wife loves them – because she tells them all the time!
Many Thai couples, including those who have been together for 40 or even 50 years, have never said those 3 magic words, "I love you!"
Saying "I love you" is not a big deal in Thai. In Thailand, actions speak louder than words and Thai couples place little importance on saying these words. What is important is doing things for your partner that show how they feel.
Bargirls may tell their customer that she loves him and Internet girls have been known to tell guys they have never met that they love them, all of which is a complete nonsense.
And if she says to you "chun ruk khun" (which many Westerners believe is how a Thai woman would declare her love), she's taking the piss.
So the next time someone tells you that they have a great relationship with their Thai girlfriend or wife because she is always saying that she loves him, look at what she is doing for him – and you will get a clearer picture of whether she really does love him, or not!
Last week's photo
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken from inside Washington Square, looking out at the entrance on Sukhumvit soi 22. 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 located on the 5th floor of 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 – Who is at the bottom of the food chain?
I wanted to highlight key points from two different recent opening pieces of your column. Four weeks ago you wrote about "The Lovely Jeab" who runs a match-making service for Thai gals to meet foreign men. She went into great detail about how a foreign guy married to a poor Thai girl must financially take care of not only her, but her family. Last week you interviewed the owner of that massage shop in "An Easy Massage" and she also went into great detail about how most of the poor Thai girls working in that industry have to financially take care of their Thai boyfriends. Every foreign guy who is involved with, or thinking about becoming involved with a poor Thai gal, should see the parallels in these two articles. If a poor Thai girl meets a penniless and desperately poor Thai man, she will work day and night and even sell her body to support him. If a poor Thai gal gets involved with a foreign guy, the guy must work day and night and spend all of his money to take care of not only her, but her parents, siblings, dogs, cats, goldfish etc. Make no mistake about it, guy, we are at the bottom of the food chain!
Nana Plaza here to stay!
Interesting about Nana Plaza but does it really matter? Every trip I see more tailors and other shops turned into bars. The sub soi to soi 2 had a new massage joint and last trip they were trying to pull me in with flyers. After 2 evenings the fun soon wears off. I don't barfine there but the bills add up and I have more fun in the hotel lobby watching the show from a distance without extra costs and expensive drinks. I'm sure some other area close by can be found if gogo bars are so interesting. It seems to me, however, that many other hotels, bars and shops are already there for one reason: farangs and sex. Who would want a condo with Big Dogs and the Nana Hotel car park show right out front unless they intend to change the whole area which I would say is impossible. There are too many rice bowls at stake, including the boys in brown's!
The plaza not for sale?
I read an article in a Thai newspaper which featured the owner of Nana Plaza 6 months ago or so. It was about his life and all the property he owned and in that article he said that he would never sell his properties under any circumstances. Nana is just one small part of his fortune. Not that I trust the Indians from Nana but they have already told owners that after the 12 months left on the lease there is another 18 months to renew after. I hear many rumours about this all the time. Nana Castle says they will not even start to negotiate this for another year but you never know.
Not the friendliest of neighbours.
Your column about Cambodia reflects my experience visiting that country. I would like to add another view that Cambodians have of Thais. I was traveling around Cambodia with my wife who is Thai. She received many not so friendly glances from the Cambodians. My wife said that Cambodians still harbour resentment towards Thais from Thailand's refusal to let Cambodians cross the border during the Vietnam War. This refusal to allow them to enter Thailand was the death sentence for many.
Not just plan B, but C, D and E!
The 3 Thai girls I know best are: 1) A gifted student just out of college, 2) An attractive 24-year old office worker and 3) A 28-year old mother of 3. All of them have a "safe" plan A. 1 and 2 have farangs whilst 3 has a Thai guy, but below them exist a wide variety of plan Bs, Cs and Ds of various creeds and colours who are called upon at certain times and dropped when someone higher up the totem pole is in town. Having been a B or most probably a C for one of them, and an E for another, it's quite amazing how cold they get when there is obviously someone more important around. Right now I think a B is in town as she has deleted her Facebook profile (just in case) and switched her phone off. No doubt in a couple of weeks I'll get a call. And as for condoms? God no, never! I have never known a Thai girl to insist on condoms for a "boyfriend".
Positive experiences with local families.
On my many visits to provincial Thai families, I have always been treated as the honoured guest. Not only by the family themselves, but also by their neighbours or people who just happened to be around. I have had a hard time attempting to contribute to the cost of food or transport. Most of these families were not at all rich. I almost can't imagine how Thai people accost foreigners for money or things; or, if they actually do, how the foreigner can stay around.
Fewer females means more prostitutes.
Your conclusion that a shortage of women would rule out Vietnam for the naughty boys goes against historic fact. Prostitution flourished because of a shortage of women in such places as the Wild West, Alaska's Klondike and anywhere there was an occupying army. When there is a surplus of women, the number of them giving free samples in pursuit of a mate decreases the need for brothels. Vietnam, China and India may have to encourage naughty nightlife areas to avoid riots in the streets by millions of unsatisfied males. The first rule of capitalism: Find a need and fill it.
Will he or won't he?
I could have sworn that August was one of the months you had planned to make your exit. But this week you sign off saying "future direction" and "help to keep the column going for some time to come". What's going on? Has somebody else already stepped into your shoes? Are you writing this from the windy city? Or if you are delaying your departure, does this mean you are having second thoughts? Or do you want to be on hand to officially welcome Thaksin back yourself? They say that Michael Foot's 1983 election manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, but your imminent departure has been giving it strong competition in its length. Obviously we don't want you to leave, but in a land where everything and everyone seem so transient, and any foundations you try to put down are on a bedrock of quick sand, it would be great to hear that yes, you are going to remain here for the foreseeable future.
Popular publican of Boosa Bar in Sukhumvit soi 7/1, Andrew, is selling the lease on the building to an Israeli with a Thai wife. The pool table has gone and all the furniture / fittings are being moved to the other venue Andrew operates, up in Buriram.
Boosa Bar was expected to close its doors for the last time this past Friday.
I wouldn't say they are nervous per se, but some farang bar bosses and managers in Pattaya are much more aware of the precarious situation their job puts them in following the arrest of an Australian bar manager last week. A foreigner availed himself of the service of some lasses on the premises and the boys in brown appeared soon after and the Aussie bar boss was arrested. There is fallout from this incident with some farang bar bosses and managers explicitly telling mamasans NOT to negotiate prices and services with a customer while the girl is in the bar. The barfine can be paid and whatever happens following that is between the customer and the girl. The worry is that merely negotiating services on the premises could be enough for the finger to be pointed at the farang boss who could face charges for pimping. This arrest was not random and when busts like this occur, you have to look closely at why it happened. Bars don't just get busted randomly. So long as the bar bosses keep their noses clean, keep the right people happy and don't rock the boat, odds are they won't have any problems.
Bangkok's pool league has been officially challenged to a tournament by its Jakarta equivalent. The challenge was issued, sponsors have been found, and the challenge accepted. Game on! The first round of the challenge will be held on October 29th in Jakarta, Indonesia. The return leg will be held next year in Bangkok. A meeting will be held on Sunday July 31st, at The Sportsman in Washington Square at 4:00 PM to discuss the details. Anyone interested should either attend, or make sure someone else does that can fill them in. Now that Jimmy White has a condo in Pattaya, perhaps he could be signed up?!
Bully's has expanded their kitchen and taken on a former hotel executive chef who specialises in Western food. The basic menu will remain the same but additional items will soon be added to the menu as Bully's strives to make their offerings the best pub-style food in Bangkok. They believe they have one of the cleanest kitchens and invite customers to take a look – just ask the manager on duty. Bully's management also discovered a stock of decent wine which was priced between 1,000 – 2,300 baht and have decided to discount it by 50% until it's all gone.
Popular soi 33 bar Monet moved in to the same space as Dali and a new entranceway is being built in the front of the building. It's a weird set up with both bars in the same space, with but a wall separating them. Dali, which doesn't seem to
have been doing that well for some time – like most venues in soi 33 – has effectively been halved in size.
The sign here in Thai can be seen inside DC10 bar in Nana Plaza. It's there for the girls, not the customers, and the best translation would be "Smile a lot and you will be barfined!"
Looking around one of the most popular bars in Nana earlier this week, most girls had a look of utter boredom on their face, like they really didn't want to be there. But I did spot two girls who were focused on the task at hand, their mind seemingly a million miles from the bar. As I looked more closely, I realised they were each reading and furiously responding to messages on their mobile, which I guess were most likely from customers or sponsors. That's the way the industry is going; once girls have built up a list of regular customers, their mobile phone becomes more important to them than the bar they operate from.
In last week's column I mentioned that investing in a bar in Thailand may not the best way to make money and at that risk of sounding like a broken record, I repeat the commonly heard Bangkok mantra – if you want to make a small fortune in Thailand, start with a large fortune and invest in a bar. The other side of the coin is that some foreigners have done extremely well in the bar business. A particular Bangkok gogo bar is currently turning over 12 – 14 million baht per month, with a net profit said to be north of 4 million baht, a tidy sum by anyone's standards. Which bar is it? Well, I shouldn't really say, but I'll tell you which bars it's not. Angelwitch has always done well, but nowhere near that well. Rainbow 4 would have the highest turnover in Nana but this venue isn't one of the Rainbows. Tilac has been very popular for the past few years, but it isn't Tilac. So it must be ________!
All things being equal, a night out in Pattaya costs less than a night out in Bangkok, but new bars opening up on Walking Street are not the bargains one expects in Sin City. Walking Street's newest venue, The Moon Club, has Bangkok pricing. In fact Bangkok pricing can be found in a number of the newer and better bars right on Waking Street, like Iron Club, Airport, Fahrenheit and Alcatraz, where standard drinks set you back 150 baht.
But don't think that you will escape with a mere 150 baht for a lady drink. In what seems a suspect pricing system, when you order a drink for yourself, you receive the bill with the amount on it, but when ordering a lady drink you simply receive a slip that states that you purchased a lady drink for one of the girls. When you go to pay, the full damage becomes apparent. A standard lady drink is 150 baht, a drink for an angel (I didn't see any angels in there) is 250 baht and there is a third category, the name of which escapes me, which is a whopping 300 baht for a lady drink! Yikes, who is their market? In a word, gullible tourists! These prices exceed anything that Bangkok and even the Arab can come up with!
But it's not a Moon Club only thing. Prices are moving up on Walking Street with Iron Club having put in place a tiered barfine rate. Barfine a girl for a short time and the barfine is 800 baht. If you want her long-time it is 1,200 baht. Whether
the short-time rate requires her to return to the bar and get up on stage or not is unclear. It does make me think that this tiered barfine system might actually have the advantage of making the girls think twice about agreeing to long-term and then
doing a runner after short-time – but still expecting long-time payment!
And if Sir wishes to purchase more than just drinks at The Moon Club, he had better make a trip to the ATM machine first. The barfine runs a steep 2,000 baht before midnight, 1,000 baht after. The bar's business model is totally different to regular gogos and from what I gather the girls are all agency girls. On top of the lofty barfines, the girls' asking prices are said to be similarly high.
Let's hope that Club Mirage in Soi Diamond which is rumoured to reopen next week, does not have similarly un-Pattaya-like prices. I should know better than to suggest that as a possibility as there is almost no chance, what with its location at the top end of Soi Diamond making it a challenge to get significant numbers of customers through the doors.
Lolita's, in Pattaya's Soi LK Metro, is further diversifying its entertainment options with coyote dancing from Sunday through to Thursday nights, kicking off around 10:30 PM.
Sugar Sugar in Soi LK Metro has only been open a few weeks but has already abandoned their loyalty card. A notice erected in the toilet states that due to what is termed "abuse", loyalty cards are no longer accepted. What's the big deal when the loyalty card only gave a 10% discount? Who cares if members were lending them to friends – as I presume is the abuse the notice refers to?! At the end of the day the cards get bums on seats and keeps the cash register ringing – and surely that's all that counts!
Another block of Pattaya beer bars has been demolished with the complex on the beach side of Second Road that was home to the popular U Too bar amongst others, gone. The entire block is now but a pile of rubble.
I bumped into Glitterman this week, the eccentric Englishman in the golden cape who cycles the streets of Pattaya on intricately decorated bicycles. The show, as he refers to his daily rounds of Pattaya, has evolved, and he is not limiting himself to cycling around the streets of Sin City, but now also takes a slow stroll through the beach-front shopping centres. At around 5:30 PM he enters Royal Garden Shopping Centre and walks slowly through, making a point of covering the entire mall, walking across every floor. He then walks down Beach Road to Mike's where he makes the slow stroll through, before repeating the routine at Central Festival. Walking through all three shopping centres takes about 3 hours and come 8:30 PM or so he has his evening meal at Central Festival before heading home. He is proving to be a hit with the Russian ladies keen to be photographed with him.
Speaking of characters, Michael, the German who has been living rough first on the streets of Bangkok and now on the streets of Sin City, is still living rough. He can be seen in and around Soi Buakhao, Soi LK Metro and Soi Diana. What I find amazing
is not so much how he managed to get to Pattaya from Bangkok in the first place, but that he is still wearing the very same clothes he was wearing when we first started to take notice of him on the streets of Bangkok some 5 months ago. His biggest concern these days seems to be how to make sure what is left of his trousers don't fall down. The last time
I was in Pattaya he asked me a question about a bank, in a cordial enough manner. This time when he saw me he started bellowing, and asking whether I found "it" funny. I never did figure out just what the "it" was, but suspect
that he was referring to his sorry state. He then seemed to forget about me and become more concerned about retaining a sense of decorum in public, and resumed concentrating on the task at hand – holding his trousers up!
A regular reader in Cambodia mentioned that many expats in Phnom Penh had agreed on a limit to which they would support their local live-in, an effort to keep the cost of sponsoring at reasonable levels. I guess they don't want costs to spiral to the ridiculous levels it has in Thailand. They agreed that a fair level was $300 per month, or in real money, about 9,000 baht. It seems that in some circles a few agreed and each person claimed they were paying no more. In fact some were paying $500, and one fellow was found to be paying $1,700! Yikes, that's more than you'd pay if you had a different girl from a hostess bar every night for a month! I wonder if the girls have their own agreed policies. I can just see it now, "Don't put out more than twice a week unless he buys you some gold!"
Thai women working in the sex industry with foreigners can become very resentful of Western men and farang bar bosses can have trouble managing them. You seldom see Western bar bosses micromanaging the girls – this is often left to the Thai mamasan or manager. I notice a popular Pattaya bar was well down on girls and I later heard that more than a few have drifted off to Tim's on Second Road and Living Dolls. The reason? This bar is known for being tough on the girls, telling them not just what to do but when to do it and its ruthlessness cutting the girls' salary when they break the rules. These girls really don't like this sort of discipline – and they are showing their disapproval by finding a new place to dance.
Within 24 hours of the last column going live I had to put a note up to say that there was no need for anyone else to volunteer to have their nuts rubbed! More than 50 readers volunteered to be the guinea pig to help girls train in balls massage at EZ Massage.
Quote of the week comes from a reader who was in the waiting room at the British embassy who overheard a fellow countryman say, "I came to Thailand to buy an IPAD and ended up with a wife instead!"
Reader's story of the week comes from Crash, "So You Want To Be A Bar Owner?"
Lifestyle Asia highlights some of the things to do in Bangkok.
From The Nation, a road rage incident in Bangkok ends in a fatal stabbing.
As if it was needed, results of a survey show that Thais are generally not anti-corruption.
The New York Times explains how Thailand is irresistible to fugitives.
Not Thailand-centric, but still relevant, Newsweek comments on the increase in demand for prostitutes' services.
From the Chicago Recorder, McDang, one of Thailand's most famous chefs, talks about Thai food.
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: My landlord's daughter was in Australia for 4 years going to university. While she was there, her live-in boyfriend got her pregnant. I am not sure exactly what happened after that, except she came home to Thailand and he started to travel around Southeast Asia. She has had the child, a beautiful little girl. She is concerned about her child's future. She is your typical Thai girl protected by her parents all her life, so naive and does not know what to do. Is there any way she can get Australian and Thai citizenship for her daughter? The daughter was conceived in Australia and born in Thailand. The girl has already lost her career. All her education is down the tubes. It would be nice to at least give her daughter a chance at dual citizenship. If it is possible, how does she approach it? Her family has the financial resources to go forward with whatever needs to be done. She has lost contact with the father who was last known to be in Malaysia.
Sunbelt Legal responds: If the father is not listed on the birth certificate then the mother will not be able to obtain Australian citizenship for her child without his involvement. She will need to find the father and have him declare the child his own legally either in Australia or at the Australian embassy in Bangkok. A DNA test may be required. Alternatively, if she still maintains her visa for Australia she could move back and the child live there until it is 10 years old and then it would be eligible for citizenship.
Question 2: Every time I came to Thailand on holiday, and now living here, I ride a motorbike. Having an international car driver's licence, I have been told lately that I do not have a motorbike licence, which is true, and that, in the case of an accident, I will get into trouble. 1. Does one really need a specific licence to ride those bikes? Is a car driver's licence not enough? 2. If I cause an accident, is it true that the insurance does not cover any third part damage (human or property) and it can be very costly? 3. How many people are allowed to ride on a bike and what is the driver's responsibility towards the other people sitting on it?
Sunbelt Legal responds: A driver's license is specific to the vehicle, so a license for a car is valid only to drive a car, a motorbike valid only for a motorbike. A tourist to Thailand needs an international driver's permit in order to be covered by 3rd party insurance. Only two people are legally allowed to ride on a motorbike. The police can fine motorbikes carrying more than 2 people.
Question 3: In the US, a guilty person's criminal sentence is mitigated if he expresses remorse and guilt for his crime. Is this also true in the Thai justice system? If the expression of remorse does mitigate the criminal sentence in Thailand then I would think that guilt is also a Thai value. But, if remorse does not mitigate a criminal sentence, that would indicate that an expression of remorse is not important to Thais.
Sunbelt Legal responds: Under Thai law, the courts may take into account the confession of guilt and remorse in a crime by a suspect when sentencing. However, this would be up to the discretion of the individual judge as to how much of a mitigating factor such an expression of remorse may have.
Some years back I wrote how I had been floating around a couple of discos with nary a foreigner to be seen when a friend called me to meet him for a drink in the farang ghetto. Back on Sukhumvit, it hit me how unattractive the ladies of the night accommodating foreign men were compared to those where I had just been. Something similar happened this week. I was down in Sin City catching up with a mate from home. Walking around, he was surprised that a city known for its naughty nightlife had so many older, big and generally less attractive women. It was hard not to disagree. Upon getting back to Bangkok, the first thing I noticed – and I am not talking about the naughty bars here, but the city in general – was how much more attractive women in the capital are. Pattaya aficionados will no doubt howl – and yes, there are pretty women to be found in Pattaya – but it has to be said that many of the ladies in Pattaya cavorting with foreigners really aren't that easy on the eye!
Your Bangkok commentator,