Stickman's Weekly Column May 19th, 2013

Timeless Patpong


Patpong was Bangkok's first major bar area and despite being spread over a huge chunk of real estate in the heart of the commercial district, the city's most famous entertainment area is still alive and well. Not only does the Patpong area remain much the same, some of the venues that were popular in Patpong at the height of its popularity are still in business today. Bars and restaurants with the same name, in the same location, operating in the same format, and in quite a few cases even with the same owner and original members of staff. That's quite something given that the area dates back to the 1960s!





Patpong

Today Patpong is a confusing mish mash of red light bars, live music venues, tourist street market and restaurants. Patpong became popular in the '70s but it was when tourist numbers swelled in the '80s that it is said it was at its best. While I sat at home watching Magnum PI, those in the know were flocking to Patpong where some bars were jammed with more than 200 dancers! Those halcyon days might be but a memory, but throughout the Patpong area remain a number of venues with much history. Some are almost hidden, reached by venturing down dodgy passageways. Others continue today just as they did 20, 30 or more years ago, behind large, uninviting doors.

Here's a roundup of some of the legendary venues of Patpong, establishments that have all been around since long before a young Stick first set foot in Bangkok.



No mention of timeless Patpong venues would be complete without SuperStar, the long-running gogo bar on Patpong soi 1. In the area's heyday, SuperStar drew more visitors than any other bar. Old Asia hands tell me that for a time it was the busiest and best bar not just in Thailand, but the entire region. Back in the good old days, SuperStar produced a nude calendar featuring dancers from the bar.

In his autobiography, "Mr. Nice", Howard Marks says that during the '80s SuperStar was a hangout for DEA types. A friend who was in and out of Bangkok during that period remembers seeing Westerners sitting at tables at the back, conspicuous by their ear pieces and ignoring the entertainment.

Today SuperStar is in a rather sorry state. The linoleum floor resembles one of the mamasan's teeth – all stained, chipped and cracked. The statues of Elvis and Marilyn remain, their slim forms lost on the dancers, some of whom obviously enjoy a Western diet. Like the decor, the music is stuck in the past. With a handful of well-run bars in Patpong soi 2, SuperStar fell off the map a long time ago.



Star of Light

One of a few houses of oral relief found in Patpong, unsuspecting mainstream tourists passing by would be shocked if they knew what went on inside the Star of Light. It may be one of the smallest venues in the area, but it's been around forever and is consistently the most mentioned Patpong venue on the forums.

By nature of the format of the bar it's very basic inside, with a couple of plastic-covered booths on opposite a few stools at a counter bar. Thought has gone in to the materials used inside – there are no cloth fabrics and all the surfaces are easy to wipe down.

Is there any other venue in the area which gets so many people sticking their head inside and then quickly retreating? The big question is whether they merely wanted to see what it looked like inside, or whether they were actually put off by what they saw.



Candidography



Serge's Le Bouchon has been serving French bistro style meals in Patpong's soi 2 since the '90s. There are other older, established eateries in the Patpong area, yet its classic French style makes it feel like it has been in Patpong forever.

The decor is basic as is the service – neither are anything to get excited about – but the food is great, unmistakably French. Not much bigger than a hole in the wall so it's often full.

Le Bouchon is not the bargain that Cafe de Paris (another French bistro that operated on Patpong soi 2 for many years, but which closed a few years back) was, but it won't break the bank either. It's a great spot to start the night in the area.



Madrid Bangkok

One of the great dames of Patpong, Madrid opened in 1969 and has been popular with generations of expats. Hundreds of bottles of alcohol are stacked behind the bar, yet the single-shophouse Madrid with small booths along one wall is more restaurant than bar.

In a city with unlimited dining options, Madrid still compares well. Madrid opens early and the eggs Benedict is a favourite. There's a daily special but Madrid is perhaps best known amongst expats for its pizzas, amazing given that pizza is the one item of farang food that polarises expats. Who doesn't think the best pizza comes from their hometown?

The area above the bar is said to have been a CIA safehouse in the '70s, a place where clandestine meetings were held and planning for many missions over Laos carried out.

I've always thought Madrid is what Washington Square could have been. Staff are friendly and efficient, the food is decent and inexpensive and the premises have been well maintained while retaining their original character.

Easy to walk past, Madrid is located on the main Patpong soi, about 50 metres or so along on the left-had side if you enter from the Silom Road end.



The Old Other Office Patpong Bangkok

The passageway next to Le Bouchon which leads to the Old Other Office could be mistaken for an alley to a public toilet. It's so undistinguished that even when you enter the bar proper it takes time to register just what it is. An eclectic mix doesn't come close to describing the decor which features confederate flags, anti-Thaksin paraphernalia, buffalo horns, John Wayne portraits, Thai football team pennants, cats, dogs and vintage artistic prints of nude Thai women. All this and more inside a bar with solid brick walls several inches thick. If Madrid was the CIA's safehouse, then surely this was their bomb shelter.

The lady behind the bar first started working at The Old Other Office in 1965 and has been the boss for the last 28 years. She's proud that it predates any of the gogo bars in the area and claims that it's the oldest bar in the Patpong area, and that it has been in business for more than 50 years.

Beers run 100 baht, mixed drinks 120 baht, and the venue has an easy, relaxed atmosphere. There's a pool table, dart boards and like many bars in Patpong it has mix of Thai and Western regulars.



Mizu's Kitchen Patpong

Legend has it that Mizu's Kitchen was born out of a relationship between a Thai woman who fell in love with a Japanese soldier at the end of World War II.

With a gaudy mix of fading Japanese product posters dating back to the middle of last century, chequered table cloths and wine bottles straight out of a trattoria and heavy red curtains that look like they should be covering a cinema screen, it's not clear initially what sort of venue Mizu's Kitchen is. Walking in feels like stepping back in time. And stepping back in time you are, for the doors of Mizu's Kitchen have been open for more than 50 years!

The restaurant's menu is a mix of Japanese and Western with the most famous dish beef served on a sizzling plate and priced at a very reasonable 220 baht.

Like many of the older Patpong venues, Mizu's Kitchen is easy to miss. It's about 50 metres from Suriwong Road end of Patpong 1. Like Madrid and The Old Other Office, it was many years before I even realised it was there.





Once a gogo bar, Safari has long been famous for its music with a DJ who plays vinyl.

Unfortunately Safari has gone off the boil in recent years. Even 5 years ago it was a decent enough gogo bar with pretty, friendly girls and good music.

Today there are stuffed toys placed on stage and it seems to operate more as a hostess bar than a gogo. I guess Safari is facing the challenge more and more bars will in the near future – being unable to find staff. The venue remains, but the format has changed. Worth a drink purely for old time's sake.



Pussy Collection is another Patpong soi 1 bar that has been around forever. Featuring novel embossed female torsos on the exterior, that seems to be the highlight these days.

Safari isn't the only long-running bar in Patpong that has failed to recapture the glory days. Thigh Bar, Kiss, Pussy Collection and Safari all lack any luster, none threatening to draw trade away from the popular bars on Patpong's second soi.

There's no shame in being unable to maintain the same standards decade after decade, but it's a shame to see little effort made to turn a venue around. Staff can be old, but they needn't be ugly. They needn't be ultra friendly, but they shouldn't be insulting. The problem with these old bars is there seems to be some bitterness on the part of the staff, perhaps due to their lost glory?



Cosmos Bar Bangkok

Cosmos is one of four hostess bars on Patpong soi 2 near Foodland, the others being Crystal Palace, Patpong Cafe and the Crown Royal. You know you've stepped back in time when you're presented with a cold towel upon arrival and a small tumbler of complimentary peanuts, pleasantries long lost in most of the hostess bars or soi 33.

Cosmos features booths around the outside and counter seats at the main bar in the centre. The air-conditioning always seems to be a degree or two cooler than elsewhere and the lights dimmer, so I guess what they save on lighting they make up for on temperature control.

The girls at Cosmos can reasonably be called ladies. You'd never call them whores, or slappers, or any of the many other derogatory terms used for sex workers. Even the generic and rather innocuous "bargirl" seems a tad harsh. The venue appears to hire ladies more to the Thai spec. Foul-mouthed and heavily-tattooed are two phrases you wouldn't use to describe the ladies in Cosmos. This is all reflected in the customer base with an even mix of Westerners and respectable Thais.

The Thai owner is often on the premises, sitting in the corner, quietly observing the comings and goings. He has a calming presence and despite the dim lighting, if you're looking for a bit of touchy feely on the premises, you'd be better off at Star of Light.

Cosmos dates back a couple of decades. If you're looking for a hostess bar with good service, a venue that doesn't try too hard to be something it isn't, then try Cosmos. The bar successfully retains the atmosphere of hostess bars from the '90s with pretty, friendly, yet non-pushy girls who won't drop their knickers to the first guy who opens his wallet. Some of the girls are choosy, an unknown concept in other bar areas these days!



Madrid Patpong

Capitals all around the world are slowly losing their individual flavour as migrants head to big cities and international chains and multinationals spread their wings and set up in new markets. With the Thais love of all things shiny and new and the lack of any real notion of sentimentality, places which once held a place in people's heart disappear with barely a goodbye.

Slices of the Bangkok's rich bar history remain and Patpong is the heart of it. These timeless venues in Patpong won't be around forever. These bars and restaurants aren't run because the owner has an ego the size of Texas or wants to operate a drinking den for him and his mates. The owners run these venues because that's what they like to do. They're passionate about it, they love running their establishment and this is what sets Patpong apart from other bar areas.





Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok

Last week's photo was taken from The Old Dutch looking back at Soi Cowboy. There is a 500-baht voucher for Firehouse in Sukhumvit soi 11, known for its excellent hamburgers for the first person to email me the name of this filthy bar.

Terms and conditions: The prize is only available to readers in Thailand at the time of entering and is not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week!

FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEKCan't help looking ridiculous.

I'm over 190 cm and while under your stated metric of 120 kg, I'm a large-framed Western guy. I'm sorry you find it “creepy and borderline disturbing” if I enjoy the company of a slight Thai lass, but to be frank, it's your problem, neither mine nor hers. If you dress well, smile, speak a bit of Thai and behave respectfully, most Thai working girls respond positively regardless of physical size. Being jai dee and bring sanuk to the party are the attributes they enjoy. As for the sanuk part, when it comes to Thai women, “It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog!” I've had lovely Thai women half my size toss me on the couch and show me what's up. And don't get me started on the pillow fights!

How bargirls retire in 2013, the Stickman Weekly retirement plan!

For months we've been bantering about women with full-back tattoos, and this one in particular, and you name her STICKGIRL OF THE WEEK? You don't even LIKE tattoos! Oh man, now she's gonna want 9K baht just to eat a bowl of noodles! OK pal, now you gotta find me another one with serious tattoo coverage and NOT name her girl of the week. Congrats, now she can retire with her new house and throw hubby off the balcony once he's paid up.

Stick expelled from the No Tat Fan Club!

I am an avid reader of your column each week and I have gone to Thailand each year for 3 months or so for the past 9 years. I think you may have missed the boat with your choice of girl this week. I don't know about your other readers but tats are a turnoff for me. The one you said was a real contender gets my vote.

The Thai coyote bar option.

Maybe I'm getting fussier but there didn't seem to be much talent in the bar you featured. Reading the column makes me feel justified in avoiding Bangkok's generally poor gogo scene. The regular girls are generally not great, in looks and attitude and the coyote girls are nothing special compared to what you find at Thai style coyote clubs. Most guys don't realise that many coyotes don't "go" and if they do it will be at a silly price. A few years ago before I got married I took a mate down to a coyote club not far from Seacon Square and we were instantly hooked. The girls are miles above what you find in the gogos and as long as you're looking after them they will stay right with you. For guys looking for instant action this type of entertainment may not suit but if you like a challenge, can speak a bit of Thai and don't mind putting in the groundwork it can be a blast. The trick is to see the same girl for a few weeks, and build up a good rapport. If you're a reasonable sort you've a good chance of persuading them to go out with you but not always. Unlike their gogo sisters, very few of these girls have Thai boyfriends and a lot seemed to be uni students trying to earn extra cash. I have spent my fair share of time in the gogos but in the last 7 years it's been a rarity. Why would I want to spend time in a girly bar where the girls are below average in general, drink prices are high and in the main the toilet facilities are disgusting. A Thai wouldn't tolerate this – and neither will I!


Good, but kill the boxing.

With respect to your intention to dwell on Patpong for a few weeks, I can relate that Pink Panther continues to have a really nice selection of good looking dancers – who dance on small stages throughout the bar – and who actually move – quasi coyote style. But, they still shut the whole place down every might around 11 PM for their idiotic Thai boxing show. Inexplicable from a business standpoint as the crowd flees en masse!

Snow coming!

Regarding Patpong taxis, if the authorities were actually serious about enforcing the law that says taxis MUST take you to your requested destination and use the meter, then all they would have to do is stop a taxi immediately after it had refused the fare and issue the 1,000 baht fine. Of course, it is likely to snow in Bangkok first.

Peas of a pod.

I have never seen you comment on how similar Thai people are once one strips away the layers. I firmly believe that the rice picker from Buriram is no different in the long run from the pretty, white-skinned Bangkok girl. They both want a Mercedes Benz, they both want an IPhone 5 and they both definitely put their family WAY ahead of any foreign husband! Not their fault really, it's just the way they have been taught. Anyone who doubts this need only to go and observe any Thai market selling Thai street food. 2 million baht cars nestle alongside second-hand motorcycles, and their owners all spoon down the same 35-baht bowls of noodles, whilst discussing the same topics…that almost always revolve around money!

Flips scamming region-wide.

We have our share of Filipino scammers here in Phnom Penh as well. Along the riverfront there are groups that work in unison to get people to join in a card game they can't win. When I go to the river I always try to get a few shots of them. One guy claimed he was from Malaysia and on another occasion a guy told me during the Khmer Rouge period he went to the "brobince". Despite the Tagalog accent tourists still fall for their shit. While taking a photo of two of them another scammer girl approached from the side and asked what I was shooting. I told her the line dancers, of course. Should have told her those Filipino scammers and that she should watch out for them. Next time. The not so pretty Filipino girls wear purses to blend in with the hookers and the guys try to look Khmer as well. I have a few Filipino friends that are disgusted that their countrymen are here doing this.




Girl of the week

First, dancer, The Strip, Patpong soi 2.

31 years old, Bangkok-born with an Isaan Dad and a Bangkok Mum.

At well over 170 cm she towers above the other girls in her bar.

She's been around the traps and switched over from the Thai scene.

First takes great pride in her appearance and goes to a spa for skin treatment every week.



Bangkok gogo dancer



Bangkok gogo dancer



Bangkok gogo dancer



The Strip Gogo Bar Bangkok



The parties behind Lighthouse, Soi Cowboy's newest bar, are no newbies to the industry but their new venture has not been without teething problems and has already suffered an early hiccup. One of the security staff pissed off someone he shouldn't have and Wednesday was payback time with the venue closed.

Las Vegas on Nana's top floor has been renamed to Tokyo Player, making it fairly clear who their target market is.

And the Japanese boys will be able to reach the top floor of the plaza in the spanking new lifts which are being installed, but are not functional just yet.

Pretty Lady Bar, on Nana Plaza's ground floor, a bar I recently said was the best bar of its genre in Bangkok, will have a Full Moon Party next Saturday, May 25th. There will be free food, shows and a lucky draw. Everyone is welcome!

Reports have reached me about an increase in the cost of making withdrawals at ATM machines in Thailand from a foreign bank account. Such transactions used to incur a 150 baht fee but now it has gone up to 180 baht at some ATMs. Whether this is limited to just a couple of banks – I've heard it from guys who have used Siam Commercial Bank and Kassikornbank ATMS – or whether it is all banks, I do not know. You can still make fee-free withdrawals using an ATM card from your foreign back account at AEON ATMs.

If you wanted the best Thai food in the world, where would you go? One of the big name Thai restaurants in Bangkok? The better 5-star hotels with a Thai-themed restaurant? Or is it possible that the best house of Thai cuisine is outside Thailand? Did you know that the only Thai restaurant in the world with a Michelin star is owned by a foreigner? Kiin Kiin restaurant sounds like it's worth checking out if you find yourself in lovely Copenhagen.

Is Nanaland a glimpse of the future of the Nana area? A series of display signs can be seen on the stairway down from Nana BTS station to soi 11. There is a growing feeling that that is the direction the Nana area is moving. Not sure what I mean? Check them out for yourself!

Sukhumvit's soi 11 is booming with bars, restaurant and hotels springing up all over the place. Needless to say, land on the soi has soared in value and those establishments not that profitable are making way for new developments. An institution for many Western visitors for decades, the Federal Hotel on soi 11 is about to be torn down to make way for a spanking new condominium building. Word about town is that 850 million baht was paid for it which would mean that it sold for just a trifle more than a certain entertainment plaza that changed hands not so long ago.



As we drift in to the depths of the low season – it was very quiet out and about this week – Thai-owned businesses are responding to a lack of customers in the only way they know how – and putting up prices. Along Sukhumvit soi 22, a number of massage houses have increased the price of massage by 100 baht an hour. Regular massages are up from 200 or 250 to 300 or 350 baht an hour and oil massages are up to 400 baht or more. Many venues have neon signs with new prices stuck over them which look just awful.

Around the same time that boots seemed to go out of favour in gogo bars, a change in hair style, or rather, a change in hair length happened. You only have to go back a bit over a decade and many of the girls had waist length hair which really was quite striking when the only thing they wore was a pair of boots. How many girls have hair anywhere near that long these days? Most seem to get it chopped when it reaches their bra straps.

Making the rounds this week, there weren't many customers about but there were plenty of Japanese. It makes me think that if you were to invest in an establishment at this time that a bar for the Japanese would be the way to go. That's where the money seems to be – and it's easy to see why Las Vegas has become Tokyo Player.

I was asked about Boom, the friendly lady profiled in this column last year who was ceremoniously tattooed with the logo of Bar Bar on her derriere. The question was whether she is still in the employ of Bar Bar. I am pleased to report that she certainly is. I had a chat with her this week and she was her usually bubbly self, happy with her life just the way it is.


Boom of Bar Bar, Patpong


One of the peculiarities of Thailand that can cause Western men involved with a Thai woman to get bent out of shape is the way that some Thai guys openly give their phone number to a Thai lady who is obviously already in a relationship – and be brazen enough to hand it to her in front of the guy she is with! The part that seems to bother some guys is that she actually accepts it. The Thai woman's logic is that it is easier to accept it (and later discard it) than cause a scene by explaining that she is involved with someone already. It's an issue that has caused angst to more than a few Western guys involved with a Thai woman. When I told one lady what would happen if a guy tried this in my country, she was shocked.

Why is the name of the north-eastern region of Thailand often written in English as "Isaan" when in fact if you were going to transliterate it into English the spelling should be more like "E-sarn". I have a hunch that this goes back to the title of the book, "Isaan, The Forgotten Provinces of Thailand", a photo book that sat on the shelves in Asia Books branches for years. With the word "Isaan" written large on the cover, I wonder if some of the farang pioneers perhaps adopted that as the spelling, started to use it, and it was picked up by others. Certainly, "Isaan" – the way I happen to write it – would not seem to the best spelling of the word when transliterated into English.

This week's column is light in the news department due to a combination of factors. The main reason is the time of year – the low season – and there's just not a great deal going on. On top of that I haven't been going out much and didn't talk to any of the movers and shakers this week. Usually I try and tap up a few owners and managers for tidbits but didn't catch up with any this week. There is also the odd item of news and gossip I haven't covered because either it is just too negative or I have been asked to refrain from mentioning things by concerned parties. It was very clear however that not only are there fewer customers around, there are fewer girls in the bars than you'd expect. What came first? Fewer girls, or fewer customers?


Bar Bar Patpong


Reader's story of the week is "Queen Genie's Club", Korski's observations of an unusual celebration in Phnom Penh.

A Phuket Brit on a 2-year overstay is caught and a search of his room finds whacky backy.

The last of the death railway Brits passes away.

A special tourist court in Thailand gets a mention in a UK newspaper.

In Phuket a French couple is charged with illegal entry to the country after accidentally taking a wrong turn at the airport.

A German who had 600,000 baht disappear from his Thai bank account is fighting Kassikornbank for a refund.

A Thai woman is warning others about an American she had sex with who caused her dignity to be tarnished!


Ask Sunbelt Asia 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: This is my first year on retirement stay in Thailand as a single man. No earning income activity here or abroad. Is it legal not to file an income tax here? If yes, can I obtain an official document to confirm it. Thanks.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: It's difficult to get too specific on the limited information but a broad answer would be that firstly it would depend on the length of your stay in Thailand. According the Revenue Code anyone who stays in Thailand for a total of 180 days a tax year are deemed a resident of Thailand for tax purposes and must file Thai taxes if they are earning income either domestically or overseas.

You will then need to consider the type of funding used to apply for your retirement visa (your savings, your gratuity or your pension). According to the Revenue Code under Section 40 funds like gratuity and pension will also be considered as income.

Has this funding been taxed at your home country prior to the transferring into Thailand? If no, then you will have to file (pay) taxes in Thailand. If yes, you will need to check to see if your home country has entered into a Double Taxation Treaty with Thailand. If you country has entered into a Double Taxation Treaty with Thailand, then you will not have to pay taxes in Thailand, but if there is no double taxation treaty, whether your source had paid tax on the transfer funds back at your home country, you would still need to file for Thai tax.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors has an experienced accounting team, well versed in handling expat tax issues. We can provide assistance in helping you determine if you owe taxes or not..

Question 2: A friend of mine (US citizen) is considering retirement in Chiang Mai. He is over 50. He has a wife of about 40 and 4 kids all under 15. Obviously he qualifies for a retirement visa, but what of his family? Will they fall under some sort of umbrella covered by his visa? Any information you can offer would be a great help.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: In order for his family (legal wife and children) to be eligible to apply for dependent visas, he must have an extension of stay based on retirement, that is a one year retirement visa that was obtained domestically from the Chiang Mai Immigration Office.



Question 3: I am going through a divorce settlement with my Thai wife. I have now found out that she was previously married to another non-Thai man and lived overseas. I do not know if they were legally married in Thailand, and if so whether she was still legally married when she met me. Is it possible to search Thai marriage records to see if she was ever legally married to obtain a visa? Is it possible to find the name of the person who sponsored her visa?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: You could check the Thai citizen's profile at the district office; you will need her full name and identity number. But please be reminded that the local District Office will not be able to identify her marriage registration if your wife’s previous marriage was registered overseas and she did not inform the Thai embassy / consulate. There is a variety of visa and permit types that an individual could apply for depending on the qualification of the supporting statement of the applicant. The information about who sponsored (or is / are being listed as reference) would be found at that country's embassy but they may or may not release that information as private.

Sunbelt Asia can assist you in searching local records at the district office to determine any previous marriages here in Thailand.



Question 4: I have been legally married to a Thai since 2004. We lived in Australia for a few years and then I quit Australia to return back to the UK in 2011. We went to the UK last year and my wife entered on her Australian passport. To cut a long story short, we returned to Thailand last November and the relationship has more or less petered out. A couple of months ago I paid her airfare and gave her spending money so she could go to see her son in Sydney. He is 19. 2 weeks after her departure to Sydney and a fistful of arguments which soured her departure I ended up falling for another lady. We were legally married in Thailand and now live here, but are separated. If we divorce, does she have the ability to get my stocks and shares in the UK? I have asked this question to 3 or 4 Thais and 3 of them say she cannot get access to my assets as they are in the UK and it is not enforceable under Thai law. However, one lawyer said she could employ a UK lawyer in the UK to get at my assets.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: Thai law states that she is eligible to claim half of all assets acquired after marriage. You will need to verify with receipts and evidence to the Thai courts that the assets were acquired before marriage. Thai courts cannot enforce payment from overseas assets but the UK courts will probably have similar laws. Sunbelt Asia can assist you in negotiating a settlement or represent you at the Family Court if you divorce here in Thailand.




Chiang Mai


If you didn't read the news links in this week's column, please go back and take a moment to read the final link, a short article from the Bangkok Post about a 39-year old Thai woman in Chiang Mai who contacted an American who had placed an ad in the local newspaper looking for a wife. Said lady met said gentlemen twice, sleeping with him on each occasion. After the second time they met she had not heard from him for a week so she sent him a message. He replied, saying that he had found someone and she should not contact him again. Confused because his ad was still running in the newspaper, she had two friends contact him. He replied to each of them and was willing to meet, suggesting he did not have a girlfriend at all. It would seem at this point she got pissed off and made a complaint against him. He had not done anything wrong legally, but a foundation she complained to in Chiang Mai took the complaint seriously and it has since got a lot of press, not just in national newspapers. Last night it featured with a half-hour slot on the Thai talk show Bark Bong. I was amazed that this woman would complain about what happened. She is, after all, not a young woman, she admits to having had at least one foreign boyfriend before, she can speak English and it just seems that she is either pissed off that she missed out on snaring a wealthy guy or she didn't like the way he ended it. What could however become an interesting issue, and one which the talk hosts admitted she had a point with, was that the guy was advertising to find a wife, but it was felt that he may in fact be using it as a ruse to meet and sleep with women. This woman felt there could be many other women who had contacted him, slept with and then found themselves discarded. What was not explicitly said but was certainly implied was that such women may have slept with him if they felt it would lead to marriage, but they would not have done so if they felt he was just playing around. It will be interesting to see if more women come out of the woodwork and the story gains traction. It could put the spotlight on the many Western guys in Thailand who are fooling around with Thai women. No doubt most will say that simply because this guy did not break any laws per se that what he did was ok. Things don't always work that way here and it if is perceived that a foreigner is deliberately and systematically taking advantage of Thais then there could be a backlash. The whole notion of Western guys dating Thai women could come in to the spotlight. It could get interesting…



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Firehouse