Everyone mocks them, yet there are more bars stocked with them in Bangkok naughty bar areas than ever before. No-one clicks on website ads for them, yet bars and escort services where they feature get huge amounts of traffic. Nobody has ever been with one, yet they make up about 40% of the traffic at short-time bars in Soi Nana. When it comes to Thai ladyboys, clearly some are in complete denial. Just who is doing the ladyboys?!
To find out the answer to this question and others, I spent another afternoon with a bunch of Thai ladyboys. They work with LadyboysBangkok.com, a new Bangkok ladyboy escort service that specialises in fantasies. The friendly ladyboys talked openly about their customers, their dreams and aspirations, and what goes on in the bedroom.
* The discussion took place with 5 ladyboys, some of whom were chatty and some of whom said little. In the responses to questions in the discussion below, each new paragraph are the words of a different person.
Warning! This week's opening piece contains language that some people may consider offensive and includes the discussion of subject matter of a graphic sexual nature.
There seem to be more ladyboy bars today and more ladyboy services. Why are you so popular today?
Ladyboys have 2 types of character in one person. We can be a woman or a man. Our body has the best of two. You can see from the stomach up that we look like a woman but when the clothes are taken off we have something like a man. That's why guys have a thing for ladyboys. We offer more than a woman. When a guy sees our cock he gets excited.
Is that really the case? Sure, some ladyboys look nice, but the sight of a cock would scare me to death!
80% of men like it that we have a cock. The rest think it is strange, ok, maybe not what they are used to but they want to try it all the same.
Is there a difference between the guys who go for ladyboys with a cock versus those who go for post-op ladyboys?
With farang guys, most like it that we have a cock. If a ladyboy is post op, that's another style. Different guys like different styles but most like a ladyboy with a cock.
Tell me about this different style thing.
Asian men like beautiful ladyboys. Japanese guys like ladyboys who look pretty like a woman.
For farangs, they like our style. <I am sitting with 5 ladyboys who are tall, some well over 180 cm and to be frank, a couple are really quite masculine. It's unlikely that even those unfamiliar with ladyboys wouldn't realise that something was "amiss".>
So why would a ladyboy go post-op and get cut if most guys prefer her with a cock?
One guy asked me if I he could take care of me. If I agreed he said he wanted me to be post-op. He wanted me to be faithful and not return to the bar and he thought if I had the full operation then I would stay with him. He also thinks it would be more like living with a woman. I am stilling thinking about it. But I am used to peeing with a cock. If I have a pussy then how will it be and how will it feel? And what if he leaves me and I am stuck with a pussy I don't want?
So is that normal, or what usually happens? When a ladyboy settles down with a guy, she gets cut?
Ladyboys can make more money if they have not had the op because they can be more active, do more things and have more choice.
I'm not in to ladyboys, but if someone is and it makes them happy, good for them. But I really can't get my head around this cock worship.
I have had a lady before. <Squeals all around suggest that the other 4 have never had sex with a lady.> A pussy is for a girl. If a ladyboy has a pussy, it is fake. If something is fake, it can never be real. If you want a pussy, go with a lady. If you want a new experience, go with a ladyboy.
Most guys who go with a ladyboy want someone who acts like a lady but has something different. They want to have a different experience. If the ladyboy is post-op and has a fake pussy, that is not a new experience!
Our body can be made to be very close to that of a lady but we have more options. We have big boobs, a sexy bum and we have a cock! Everything looks the same as a lady but when you take off the clothes it is, wow, so amazing!
<5 ladyboys start squealing in excitement, almost in unison and the couple of mainstream i.e. non-nightlife customers in the restaurant who had already clocked me as some sort of weirdo look over with pained expressions. I'm tempted to respond to their unvoiced question with something like, "Hey, this is Bangkok", but decide against it.>
That's what guys want. Guys want a new experience. Those are the key words. New experience.
So, if a guy wanted to settle down with you, what would you do?
If I am going to settle down with a guy, a permanent relationship, a sponsor who becomes my partner, then ok, I will chop my cock off.
So what is the typical profile of your customers? Where do they come from and how old are they?
It is not about the customer, it depends on the lady. If she is very cute then she will get Japanese guys. They like the smaller and cute ladies.
So more ladyboy customers are Japanese than any other nationality?
No, I'd say most are farang. Maybe 80% are farang. The other 20% would be Japanese and Singaporeans.
What about Chinese or Koreans or Indians?
Chinese and Korean almost never. Indians, no.
What about the customer's typical age?
For the Japanese, many are quite young. You cannot say they are all young, but many are young, like in their early 20s. If you look at Japanese customers in bars say in Nana Plaza, many are young. It doesn't matter if they like ladies or ladyboys, that's where the young Japanese guys go. Older Japanese go elsewhere.
Farangs are mostly relatively young too. Farangs want a ladyboy who is a different style from what the Japanese want.
I can also say that young guys have a different sex style. The young ones fire fast and the older guys take their time and are more relaxed. Also, young guys drink more, sometimes too much.
What about long-time? Is it only about sex or do some guys want to spend the night with you?
Mostly it is short-time. Maybe 1, 2 or up to 5 hours. But usually it is about sex and not companionship. Some guys book us for long-time, but only use the time to chat and when they're done they tell us to leave, so we don't spend the night with them.
I had someone book me for short-time but then he wanted to extend the booking to all night. <They default into rapid-fire, vulgar Thai. One asks her if he was handsome and she says no!>
OK, so you are escorts. How is it different between escorts and ladyboys who work in a bar? In the last year heaps of escort services have started up, and quite a few with ladyboys. Is the service popular?
Some guys don't want to be seen with a ladyboy or they are scared. Escorts are more expensive than going to a bar, but with an escort service there is a means of making a complaint if there is a problem, or the customer doesn't get what he thought he would. It is expensive but customers need not be scared. And there is a guaranteed service standard. There is a lot of news these days of customers having things stolen, sleeping pills being used on them etc but with an escort service there is a guaranteed service standard and it's safe. If something goes wrong, you can contact the agency.
How open do you think your customers are? I mean, how many are open with their friends about going with ladyboys and for how many is it a secret?
For most it is a secret. One reason they use an escort service is for secrecy. One time after sex I was hurried out the door of my customer's hotel room because his friend was coming and he was scared that his friend would see me!
Arabs are particularly secretive. But one time I was with an Arab guy and he liked it so he called his friend to come to the room and his friend tried as well. I was delighted because I made two times the money, but that is very unusual.
More than once I was going to meet a customer at his hotel and a guy flirted with me in the elevator and made plans for me to meet him later. I have also had occasions when I have been leaving a hotel and I have met another guy and gone straight to his room!
I want to know – well I don't, but the readers do – exactly what happens in a room when a guy goes with a ladyboy. Can you walk me through a typical experience. Do you kiss, for example? And, umm, err, do you do the same things to them that they do to you?
When I am in the room I make small talk first. A few simple questions such as where he is from, whether he is on holiday or on business and stuff like that. I try to ask something funny like, ok you have booked for me for 3 days so where will you take me, when actually they only booked me for 2 hours! Then I like to joke and say, OK, I come here only for talk, right, no sex, ok? I like to see how he reacts. It's so funny! I will ask for a drink, and maybe lick the bottle with my tongue to tease him. Next, I will ask to shower. I have already showered but it is best to shower again to be clean. When your body is clean you are confident in bed. Maybe we shower together. Back to the bed. A little dirty talk, a little touching. If I kiss, it's not a real hot kiss, just a little kiss. I don't kiss much because I want to save that for my special partner.
I hate to sound filthy, but let me get this right. You do them and do they do you? I interviewed another group of ladyboys a year or two back and they said about 90% of customers want to be done.
<5 heads are shaking, everyone agreed in their disagreement.>
I think it is about 50 : 50. If he wants it, what usually happens is that we fxxx him first because if he fxxxs us then when he comes he will feel sleepy and won't have any energy for anything more. So we have to do him first and even when we are tired then he can do us.
It's about how you can open the door. I try to kiss their backside and then push my little finger in his ass. Then I ask very gently, like "May I put it in a little, I will not hurt you, you can try". I tell them when they fxxx me I feel very horny so when I do them they will feel the same.
Sometimes if the guy orders 2 of us then we can do sandwich style. We have a system. I love the point when he comes in that position. But so many guys talk about wanting this and that and everything else…but so many let me down. I am excited to try new things with them, but after they have come they are spent and don't have any energy to do it again!
When I go with guys, I feel like I am a tester, like a bottle of tester perfume in a department store. Every guy says it is his first time and he just wants to try for the first time but some guys are so good I know they have been with many ladyboys before!
I had one guy who booked me. He didn't want a ladyboy. He arrived in Bangkok, got online, found an escort site and booked someone. There are so many websites. He didn't know until I had taken off my clothes and he was like, oh my God, you're a ladyboy! He was shocked but I had already stripped and he had already paid me. I said you have already taken care of me so now I will take care of you. He was up for it! He liked it said I started making him hard….and you can guess the rest!
So are guys who go for ladyboys, for want of a simple term, "gay"? What you need to understand is that for many foreigners visiting Thailand, even those who are naughty boys, there remains an issue with homosexuality, especially amongst older and conservative guys. And gay is not just different to them, to some guys gay is seen as bad. What do you think about this?
No, it's different <exclamation all around as if I what I just suggested was the dumbest question they've ever heard!>
You never know if you never try.
Hmmm, I hear that cliché from every ladyboy I interview. You have to do better than that… So do you think that guys treat you well?
We are escorts and we go to hotels. Most customers stay in very nice hotels. They have money, and they pay a lot of money for us. Every guy is different. Some guys have many sex toys and are in to dirty sex. Some guys are very gentle.
I always have to convince guys that while I am big that I am gentle and I will not hurt them. Some guys are very scared of being hurt. When I convince them that I will be gentle – I use a lot of touch and my skin is soft – here, feel – and grab my hand and put it on my skin and then….
Is this a lifestyle choice and what you want to be doing, say, a year from now? 5 years from now?
I just want to be with one person. This is not want we want to be doing. <Agreement all around.> Sometimes when I meet a guy I really like I don't want to go home. It makes me sad to have to leave him. But to be really satisfied or to really like someone is not something that happens often.
This is work, but we have feelings too. We have sex with customers. We don't make love with customers.
You know the Thai word "harm". <It means to forbid.> We have 2 "harms". Harm steal, harm love. You cannot steal because it's wrong and you cannot fall in love because he is a customer so how can it be real love, or go anywhere?
So what are your objectives? Why do you do this?
It's work. If work is good then we make money. We want to make a lot of money. Every ladyboy doing this work wants to stop. No-one wants to do this, but we don't know when that stop point will be. We don't know when the opportunity to stop will come.
I don't wish to be presumptive, but do any of you actually save money? I know some girls in the bars make a lot of money but invariably they blow it or give it away and have very little to show for it, apart from a sour attitude and a hatred of men.
We have so many expenses to keep ourselves beautiful. We like to enjoy our life too. And we have to take care of our family. Honestly, after all our expenses there is seldom any money left over. Saving money? No!
Plastic surgery isn't cheap. <They start pointing at each others' boobs and the costs run from 70,000 to over 100,000 baht.> Hormone treatment is 200 – 300 baht a week, every week, at a clinic.
How does that work?
It can be an injection or tablets.
And what if you don't go to the clinc one week?
If we stop then we will slowly revert to being more masculine. Some people experience side effects. Overdosing can cause problems with our eyes and maybe even make us go blind.
That doesn't sound good. What is the hardest part of being a ladyboy and doing this work?
Sometimes we see a fat guy and we know he likes us but we really don't like him at all. He looks very unattractive. But he paid a lot of money for us so we have to try and make him feel good and nice and give him a good experience. I know myself and I know you can look at my face and see how I feel, so I have to control myself when I knock on the door before the guy opens it. I don't want him to see that I don't like the way he looks.
We get a lot of promises, guys saying they will do this and do that. We hear the word "promise" all the time, but after a guy has come, he forgets what he promised. The word promise has no meaning. I hate this word.
The other half jokes to me that no guy should go with a ladyboy because if they do they will never go back to regular woman. In all seriousness, what do you make of this?
Never try, never know! If you try ass, you will forget pussy!
Have you had any strange or funny experiences you can tell me about?
I met a guy who wanted me to fist him. My cock is small so he wanted me to put my fist up his ass instead. He was already prepared and he put surgical gloves on my hand and I did it. There was no gold in there!
I did that too and he insisted I push my hand as far as it would go. He was screaming and when I pulled my hand out there was some blood. When he saw the blood he was overcome with excitement.
I have had customers doing cocaine offer it to me but I always decline. I don't do that stuff. There is a correlation between customers who use drugs and the size of their tip. Drug users are particularly good tippers. This is well known amongst ladyboys. Sometimes the tip is so big that we call our friends to come to the room too.
I had one customer who wanted to do it in the dark, but with the hotel door open! He was really creepy and I wanted to get out of there so fast.
I had one guy who told me he had never tried before, but when he sucked me he was like an expert! I tried to tell him this but he told me it was his first time. Bullshit!
OK, so the money question, why should a guy go with a ladyboy? And what advice would you have for a guy who is curious about ladyboys but has yet to dip his toes in the water? What should he expect the first time?
So many guys who come to Thailand are sex addicts. They love pornography and they really want to try something new but they sit in front of their computer and get their excitement from porn. They should try ladyboys for real.
You all work for a ladyboy website that specialises in fantasies. Tell me about the fantasy concept. <At this point the owner of the agency steps in and answers the question>
We wanted to create something that is different from other ladyboy escort sites. Ladyboys are often listed on and available through many agencies. Now there are many ladyboy agencies so we wanted something different. If the guy wants to try a ladyboy, there are a bunch of suggested fantasies to get the ball rolling and to make him more comfortable with ladyboys.
Each of the ladyboys has a different character and the concept of the fantasy is matched to her personality. Men often have fantasies or fetishes like sleeping with a nurse or a cheerleader or a policewoman so we apply this concept with ladyboys and dress them up for special fantasies too.
This is something special that they can remember for the rest of their life. If they are going to do it then why not go all the way? Guys can design an experience before they even get to meet the ladyboy. When you pick someone off the website you can select not just the physical attributes, but the very character of the ladyboy. We encourage people to tell us what they want.
What recommendation do you have for a guy who wants to try a ladyboy for the first time?
Don't just get on a porn site, try for real!
Find someone who you feel good with. Don't just think you will try, do!
If you are nervous, use an escort service. Don't get someone off the street. You have a guaranteed service standard and it is safe.
Don't do drugs beforehand or drink too much. Some guys lose control the first time and finish before we start. Try to relax. We feel happy when a guy wants to do it more than once. It means that the experience is good and he wants more.
For the first experience take your time to find the right person. We are professionals! If you get someone who is not a professional, it could end up being a nightmare!
OK, do you have any final words for my readers, the vast majority of whom are straight. One thing from each of you, please!
"I hope when the door opens that the guy in front of me is you and you are handsome!"
"I'm not beautiful, but I am spicy and delicious!"
"Welcome to my hole!"
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken of the entrance to Black Pagoda in Patpong. This week's photo should be familiar to naughty boys.
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 – Unprofessional professionals.
There are so many contradictions in Thailand. The ones I notice are that professionals are usually the opposite of what they should be. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for colds. Hookers are lousy in bed. Teachers don't know anything. Some police are criminals. Taxi / bus / truck drivers are the worst drivers on the road. It seems to me that as soon as someone starts getting paid for something in Thailand they become worse at it!
A preconception of fate.
Thailand is a confusing place. Thais versus risk aversion, now there is a topic. The ultimate, I think, is all the hoopla over safety during Songkran, and then everybody gets wasted on whatever, gets onto their motorbike or pickup truck, then proceeds to drive themselves into the morgue. I feel as though there is a preconception of "fate." If your head was supposed to be embedded in that palm tree by the side of the road, well then, there is nothing anybody can do about it, right? Thus, why worry about how well you can drive your 125 cc Honda Dream when you're blasted out of your mind on cheap booze? It was fate, that's all. You were destined to become part of that palm tree the moment you were born. That may sound cynical, but it does seem to explain the situation, does it not? In any case, the needless carnage on Thailand's highways is disconcerting, to say the least. And who knows how many people are killed or injured and construction accidents, or by faulty wiring?
Why street food is ok.
I had to smile at your question about why folks don't seem to get sick from streetside food. You and I have been raised to fear such practices as leaving meat out or even letting their juices intermingle. Things like E coli bacteria etc. Yet here in Thailand any open market has the chopping block with everything on it. You see half a pig's carcass being transported in a linen sheet on a motorcycle sidecar floorboard in the hot sun. Yet as you say, and I agree, there are not many stories of folks getting sick. I myself have never had any food-related sickness since being here nor in all the years I stayed for a few months per year. Years ago I came up with this theory. I think it is due to the fact that in Thailand, cleanliness aside, we eat fresh. What we eat was probably killed that day or the day before. In the USA I would hate to guess how long even fresh meats were around before we eat them in Hawaii. Especially Hawaii, as it is flown in for the most part. Yet we know meat will turn greenish after a few days even in a fridge, yet in Hawaii I note it is a nice red still. Then you have frozen meats, chicken, fish etc. How long was that dead? Weeks? Months? I tend to think the only way they can do that is to pump the meats with something. I also tend to think this is why so many food-related illnesses happen in the USA. I think these chemicals go off easier or just the fact that the meat is older makes them more unstable or susceptible. I know many times after eating out in Hawaii that I would be ill afterwards. Thailand? Never!
You mention that you are surprised that people do not get sick eating Thai street food. This is not that surprising if you are familiar with the hygiene hypothesis, where it is suspected that the rise in allergies and autism in Western nations is due to excessive hygiene. Our immune systems are thought to need a certain level of exposure to bacteria and microorganisms in order to develop properly. It is perfectly possible for us to adapt to a certain environment up to a point. I wonder what the level of allergies is among Thais.
Why the clean-cut are targeted.
Regarding the stop and search thing, you seem surprised that clean-cut farangs are apparently the target of the cops. To me it seems pretty obvious. As you have made mention, there is a steady increase in the number of young, professional farangs moving to Thailand. These are exactly the type of people who used recreational drugs back in their homelands and therefore would likely do so in their adopted country. They are looking to party, have the cash and are familiar with the buzz it gives them – just look at the soi 11 clientele (in the bars) and you'll see what I mean. If you think about the profile of a class A drug user, is it more likely to be the Singha vest-wearing tourist that frequents Cheap Charlies and moans when his beer costs more than 59 baht or the young, smartly dressed professional out partying late at night, hopping from bar to club at 2 AM?
The economy or sloppy retail practices?
There are some who believe that a good barometer of the economy is what's in the shops. On the surface, Thailand looks strong with the stores full of stuff. But how much is, like so much else in Thailand, just for show? The majority of times I try to buy anything it just isn't available. In the last month alone I tried to buy floor tiles. They said they were in stock, took the order, and the next day called to say they had no stock and we had to wait. I tried to buy several cupboards to fit my new kitchen. Out of stock and wait a month. A rotisserie oven, on prominent display? No have. I could go on. Only once recently have I actually found a store which had what I want in stock. These places obviously keep a very low inventory, surely a sign of a very weak economy with the companies only willing to buy in once they have the order from a customer.
The benefits of experience.
Having been a habitual dater of older girls in my younger years I can list a few reasons why some younger guys prefer older women. Older girls know how things are done. Well. Less beating around the bush and more pragmatic in most ways. Instead of the eternal race of trying to impress younger girls, it can turn the tables and the woman is the one that is happy to have caught the guy. In an actual relationship, it works a lot better in so many ways. In the setting of a naughty playing field, it will likely make the experience, well, an experience.
Phuket losing its lustre.
I enjoy reading your column on a weekly basis and I read the links you post at the end. With this, I've noticed a rise in Phuket articles which are normally in a negative light. I just returned from Thailand last week and my Thai wife and I spent a few days in Phuket during that time. This was our 3rd time in Phuket and I WILL NEVER RETURN. My wife said plainly, "It sucks" and "pang maak". Phuket has lost the plot on tourism due to greed. There is no desire or thought by many businesses in Phuket to get repeat / return customers. The entire system seems designed to get as much money out of a tourist's hand as quick as possible with the minimal effort or service. Unless you're staying in a 5 star hotel (I'm only guessing), many hotels seem to be of lesser quality and more expensive than a comparable property in Bangkok or Pattaya, at least in the Karon / Kata area. Why is seafood more expensive in Phuket than Bangkok? Even on the side of the street? It's an island! Drinks prices are comparable to Dublin and Japan. Oh, did I mention that service was really lacking in 95% of establishments? Phuket will eventually eat itself with its greed!
Girl of the week
Nat, coyote dancer, Club Electric Blue, Patpong, Bangkok.
173 cm tall, the Bangkok-born Nat is the new star of Club Electric Blue.
With an angelic face and an easy smile, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.
She had a stint at Déjà Vu as well as a few days at Bada Bing on her CV.
Nana Plaza has been kind of sanitised for the past week and a half with some bars down on staff numbers, and strict instructions for dancers to keep their bikini on. Rumours of plain clothes cops sniffing around and farang informants lurking have the girls worried and the odd bar manager paranoid. The atmosphere at Nana went sour following the police raid 10 days ago and it hasn't been the fun, carefree place it usually is since. How long the powers that be will continue to show their current level of interest at the plaza is anyone's guess, but as I have said many times over the years, these crackdowns seldom last long.
You know the world has been turned upside down when Thai TV covers a police raid in Nana Plaza and Stickman barely mentions it. The arrest of one girl just below legal age who was taken from the plaza surrounded by a hoard of Bangkok's finest with the sort of media scrum usually reserved for the arrest of a mass murderer seemed to be more about making a point than anything. I don't like to refrain from reporting what is going on, but I have been asked nicely not to go in to any detail about these recent events. Employment opportunities abound nationwide and while bar owners don't wish to hire those not of a legal age, they, like so many businesses, are struggling to fill positions. They drop their standards and the mamasan hires less attractive / overweight girls and when they get really desperate they may take on the odd lady not of legal age. Bikinis on at all times is not the only fallout. Short-time hotels in the general Nana area have notices in both English and Thai stating that anyone under the age of 20 cannot enter.
And at least one bar in Nana Plaza is advertising for new staff with signs up saying all of the usual – pretty ladies wanted, salary xx,xxx baht etc and the one condition I have never seen mentioned before – ladies must be aged 20 up. Sometimes in the past an age rage of 18 – 25 has been mentioned but this time it was specifically 20 up, and not 18 as has traditionally been the case.
The ongoing improvements in the Nana Plaza complex continued this week with part of the entranceway resurfaced. Maintenance on the lifts on either side of the plaza have been upgraded and are now fully operational so the princesses won't have the indignity unbecoming of them to have to walk up one or two small flights of stairs. I also note that subtle changes were made to the Nana Plaza sign this past Thursday. Commonsense has prevailed with the world's largest adult playground slogan removed.
A dancer left a Patpong soi 2 bar with a customer and a huge smile on her face. 2 minutes later she had returned to the bar, the smile replaced by a frown. Outside the bar the guy who had barfined her got cold feet. His wife was waiting back in his hotel room and he could not go through with it. Seeing a couple of thousand baht about to float off in to the night, the pretty lass tried to usher him in to the nearest short-time hotel but to no avail. I wonder how often this sort of thing happens.
Speaking of Patpong, the touts may be no less forward these days, but they do seem to be much less persistent. Once upon a time they would follow you down the soi, badgering you to visit their recommended bar and carrying on about ping pong balls and what not. We often talk about the so-called good old days, but when it comes to the touts at Patpong, things seem to have improved and they are not as bad as they used to be.
And if you do find yourself in Patpong, make a point of stopping by Club Electric Blue which is a real mixed salad. Two of the last 3 girls of the week can be found there and the current line-up features some real lookers, a couple of absolute sweeties and at least a couple of girls who are totally bonkers. Like I say, it's a mixed salad!
Remember the escort Sophia I interviewed a few months back who had a health problem? She found a great surgeon who has been able to help her and she will be back in the business real soon.
In last week's column I mentioned how a bar owner told me that a couple of mobile phones are stolen from girls by other girls in his bar each month. At a photo shoot for an escort agency this week the organiser discovered that some of the cosmetics and items of clothing she had brought along had gone missing. It does rather seem these girls are more likely to steal from each other than from foreign guys.
It's the low season, it's raining, there are fewer customers around and a few bars are undergoing renovations. Eager to get customers, some bar owners have responded with attractive pricing and there are some good deals to be found. While Playskool is closed for a major facelift, the beer bar outside remains open and all drinks – lady drinks excepted – are 80 baht, all night, every night, until September 1st. You can also find 80 baht draught lager until 5 PM at Stumble Inn out front of Nana Plaza on Soi Nana. For ladyboy lovers, it's 80 baht beer all night, every night, at Temptations on the plaza's second floor.
If the open air food court on Sukhumvit soi 7 opposite the Biergarten is a favourite hangout of yours, you might want to swing by when you're next in town because come the end of the year it will be game over. That part of soi 7 is going to be redeveloped and the food court will disappear.
A West Ham United fan vented after his dealings with CTH this week, the company with the rights to broadcast the English Premier League matches. With the start of the season just 2 weeks away, he is anxious to sign up before it kicks off. CTH called and said that a technician would turn up at 2 PM. At 4 PM a taxi pulled up. He peered out the window and a couple of guys in uniform got out. They went to the boot of the cab and retrieved a satellite dish which they carted to his front door. He asks them where they're going to mount it. On the roof, of course! He then asks them how they plan to do that and they reply with a ladder. Do you have a ladder hiding in the cab, he asks, causing them to look sheepish. The two technicians wandered around like Laurel & Hardy for the best part of an hour trying to figure out how to install the satellite on the roof without a ladder. They called base to be told that there are no ladders available. They leave and he is later informed that he will have to wait at least a month for them to return and complete the installation! So much for getting it hooked up before the start of the season. And there still remains a major issue with the Premier League coverage which CTH customer services still cannot answer, that of whether the commentary will be in English or Thai.
How effective life-size figures of Thai policeman in uniform placed in traffic black spots are when it comes to road safety, I have no idea. Do they make drivers slow down, or drive more carefully? I'm unconvinced. The very same life-size figures of Thai policemen in uniform can be found in Panthip Plaza with a notice stating that those dealing in copied software are liable for a fine of up to 800,000 baht and / or up to 4 years in prison. In Panthip I'm even less convinced of their efficacy!
Filipino females are making the rounds in Pattaya seeking donations from foreign men supposedly for Thai children in need, just as they have been in bars around the Nana area. When challenged about where the money goes their response is hazy. That's because they are scammers. Tell them where to go.
The Beach Road widening project and the redevelopment of the promenade in Pattaya is coming along and it is now possible to walk from the northern end of the beach as far as Central Festival with only the odd diversion.
If like me you prefer imported fruits to the local tropical fruits, it's worth noting that the farang supermarkets on Sukhumvit are expensive and you can save plenty by shopping at Chinatown. As an example, Canadian cherries were going for 500 baht / kg at Chinatown this week. Compare that with the original branch of Villa supermarket where American cherries (which are cheaper than Canadian cherries) were going for 1,000 baht / kg. A word of warning though. If you buy nuts in bulk, it's worth paying the 25% premium charged by supermarkets. Nuts sold in bulk in Chinatown aren't always as fresh as they could be.
Since online gambling was made illegal in the US, 2 countries have emerged as favourite destinations for Americans keen to continue their online gambling from. Argentina and, you guessed it, Thailand. So next time you're out on soi 11 or Thonglor and trying to work out what all these young guys who are obviously locals yet can party hard every night do for a living, perhaps they're successful online poker players?
While Westerners have always been welcome in Thailand, more than a few have met their end here and checked out early. The number of cases where a foreigner has died or been killed because a small issue escalated into something more serious and ended with dire consequences is not insignificant. Such incidents didn't use to receive much mention locally and news reports seldom made it beyond the country's borders, the odd exception being when such incidents were reported in the press of the deceased's hometown. It does seem though that some of what happens in Thailand to foreigners today is being picked up by major news services around the world. Even serious and respected newspapers are reporting these incidents. When an Aussie travel agent was stabbed to death in Phuket last year in a drive-by robbery that went wrong, Australians read all about it. And in the last month media all around the world reported the incident of the American killed by a machete-wielding taxi driver in Bangkok after the American allegedly refusing to pay a $2 fare. And now this week we have the case of an American stabbed to death in Krabi after a dispute with a band in a pub where it is alleged he sang for too long! When such respected newspapers as the Washington Post report such incidents, the cumulative effect is going to do nothing for the confidence of those considering Thailand for their next holiday. While raising awareness is a good thing, unfortunately I doubt there will be a reduction in such incidents occurring in the future.
Quote of the week comes from Tommy "Just a quiet night for me, I will have 10 beers and then go back to my hotel room!"
Reader's story of the week is again from Mr. Anonymous, "The Japanese Tattoos in Patpong".
From the UK's Telegraph, Thailand has banned the use of the online currency Bitcoin.
Some of the beautiful beaches of Ko Samet have been hit by oil from an oil spill in the gulf of Thailand.
These fantastic photos show just how bad the oil slick in the gulf of Thailand is.
A police raid shows the ugly side of prostitution with underage, drug-using girls found and an armed customer.
More excellent work by the Thai police finds an underage girl in a soi 6 bar in Pattaya.
There are more bad raps for Thailand's full moon party.
In what is becoming something of a concern, another train derails in northern Thailand.
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: If you have a child with a Thai national (out of wedlock) what exposure / liabilities do you have financially? Can the child make claims against you or your estate in Thailand (property, things of that nature) in the future? Would you be liable for child support?
Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: There are several factors involved assuming the mother is Thai and the father is foreign but unmarried to the mother. If you are listed as the father of the child on the birth certificate and go to the District Office with the mother to register as the father of the child there, your obligations would be the same as if you were married as you are the legal father of the child and child support would be legally required.
If, however, you do not register at the District Office, the mother could take you to the Family Court and require a DNA test to prove that you are the biological father. Once this is proven then she could claim child support. Normally this would be paid until the age of majority, that is 20 years old, although the mother could ask for it through college. Additionally the child would be considered a beneficiary of your assets should something happen to you unless you specifically excluded him / her from any entitlement in the will. It is important to note that even if you were to exclude the child from the will, if they are legally recognised by the courts as your child the child could contest the will to show that it is either unlawful or inaccurate and could be a beneficiary.
Sunbelt Asia can assist you in the negotiation process with the mother if you are recognised as the biological father by the courts.
A few years back I received an email from a tuktuk driver in Cambodia who wanted to advertise. After a few emails he later explained that while he would like to try an ad, he was concerned that if it didn't work it was more than he could afford to lose. He seemed like a nice guy so I gave him a free ad for a while. I'd like to do something similar for Thais, to help those starting out in business who might not be in a position to afford an ad. Ideally it will be for those who could most benefit i.e. someone starting up or new in business. There are a few conditions though. They should not have a foreign partner. Their business should not clash or compete with an existing advertiser. Obviously their target market needs to be foreigners in Thailand. If you'd like to recommend anyone, drop me an email and let me know who they are and what they're doing. In the meantime, I am going to get the ball rolling by running a free ad for Tanya's BangkokBuddy visa run service. I interviewed Tanya a few months ago and was impressed. The feedback about BangkokBuddy has been glowing so if you're looking for a good visa run option, drop by and see Tanya at her office in Korea Town, next to Sukhumvit soi 12. And do let me know of anyone you'd like to recommend for a free ad!
Your Bangkok commentator,