Stickman's Weekly Column January 18th, 2015

The Flawed Lady Drink System



The lady drink system is flawed as customers increasingly feel let down by ladies who suggest one thing but do something entirely different. Second only in complaints to the coyote debacle is the nonsense that the lady drink system has become, as ladies down shots of water Tequila and quickly move from customer to customer. It's just another way in which some customers feel they are being ripped off and is, I believe, one of the reasons why some naughty bars in Bangkok are losing their allure.





The lady drink system used to work well. Customers would be approached by a lady who would usually ask if it was ok to sit down, pleasantries were exchanged and chit chat followed. Of course she hoped that she would be offered a lady drink but she would bide her time. If an offer was not forthcoming she might politely ask for a drink. Or if she felt the vibe wasn't right she'd make her excuses and wander off to look for someone else.

Lady drinks were invariably a small tumbler of Cola and would be sipped slowly in what was a show of politeness. While she made money from every drink bought for her, one seldom had the feeling girls milked the system. They really did play fair.

It used to be that ladies might only get one, two or maybe three lady drinks a night. Most bars had a quota system where ladies had to meet a target of xx lady drinks each month. If the quota wasn't met her salary would be cut. This notwithstanding, the ladies generally weren't aggressive in asking customers to buy them a drink.

Change came several years ago when some ladies began opting for something stronger than lolly water. Soon Tequila would become the lady drink of choice – and that is when customers started to feel like it wasn't such a fair deal.

Buy a lady a drink and she would sit and chat for a while, perhaps 30 minutes or so. Some guys had the attitude that for every drink they had they would buy the lady a drink too.

Everything changed when Tequila became popular with many girls. Unlike a tumbler of Cola that would be sipped, Tequila would be thrown down and gone in seconds. It then became a lottery as to how long she would stay with the guy. With the lady drink gone, why should she stick around?!

The ladies conveniently disregard the original purpose of buying a lady drink – being compensated for sitting with the customer – be it merely for company or to see if there may be a spark and a chance the customer might like to barfine her.

Bargirls have come to realise they could do very well from lady drink commissions if they choose shots which can be quickly consumed. A customer who wants to talk with a lady may have to keep buying drinks – and the more she drinks, the more she earns.

The opening gambit of many ladies has changed from, “Hello, what you name”, to “You buy me drink?”

As the number of ladies in the industry declines, lady drinks have transitioned from a means of supplementing a lady's primary income (her salary paid at month's end + the money given to her by customers outside the bar) to the primary source of income for some. Ladies who work the system no longer have to go to a hotel with customers to make a decent income.

Today, lady drinks in most Bangkok expat bar areas run 160 – 200 baht. The commission ladies receive for each drink is around 50 baht. The highest commission I am aware of is paid by Tilac in Soi Cowboy where ladies earn a very respectable 70 baht for each lady drink bought for them.

Some ladies work the crowd and averaging 10+ lady drinks per night is common. That means she takes home, on average, 500+ baht per night just in drinks commissions – a nice earner.

As the girls have become more aggressive in pursuing lady drinks, the term lady drink whore was born.

The lady drink system has morphed in to something very different from what it was and along with the high salaries paid to coyote dancers is a major reason many ladies don't go with customers – or are rather more choosey.

From the ladies perspective, working in a bar has become a more attractive proposition with the need to go with customers to make decent money eliminated. Who can blame a lady choosing to hustle for drinks and make their money from drinks commissions than by traditional means?

Many customers still expect a lady they buy a drink for to spend at least a little time with them and when a lady downs a Tequila and moves on almost right away they can feel cheated.

From her perspective, she deduces the guy will not buy her another drink and as she is not willing to be barfined, there is no reason to stay and chat with him when there are other prospects.

In extreme cases a girl may spend less than 60 seconds with a guy who just paid 200 baht for a lady drink without so much as a thank you. He feels cheated and might move on to the next bar, vowing not to return to that bar. If it happens enough – and some say it is – he says bye bye Thailand, hello the Philippines or Cambodia.

Girls who really work the lady drink system can get 10 – 20 drinks a night; in extreme cases you hear of someone doing 30. Yes, in one night. With bars paying an average of 50 baht commission per lady drink, that's 500 – 1,000 baht per night in commission, a decent earner.

But how many small-framed ladies can down 10 – 20 shot glasses of Tequila? After downing shot after shot, night after night, why is it that come the end of the night they're as sober as a judge? Because in some bars what they're drinking is not Tequila!

The switching of Tequila for water is, in some cases, sanctioned by the mamasan or even the boss. In other cases the girl asks the bartender to pour water in the shot glass. With tiered pricing for lady drinks and a tumbler of Cola often priced lower than a shot glass of Tequila, customers are being cheated in more ways than one.

Downing a shot of water is about as difficult as taking a breath. The girl makes money as does the bar and the cost is almost zero. Had she not wanted to drink alcohol she could have chosen a small tumbler of Cola but that takes longer to drink. Some girls see their primary means of making money as working customers, doing a hit and run, so to speak, by getting a quick drink or two and moving on to the next guy.

There are of course customers who like the fact that ladies choose Tequila as they want to get the lady they're with drunk. That would work if she was drinking Tequila.

The Tequila shot lady drink nonsense may be a relatively recent thing, but the lady drink system has long been flawed. Ladies have never been shy to ask a customer for a drink, making out that she will sit next to him while fully aware that she has to get up and dance in a minute or two, a practice that has long pissed off some customers.

Elsewhere in the region the lady drink system operates a little differently. In Angeles City, when you buy a lady a drink she sits with you and is not required to get up on stage and dance which seems fairer.

In bars with a lady drink system in Cambodia the girls are often reluctant to even ask for a drink and are very grateful when you do buy them one.

Another change with the lady drink system in recent years is that now some foreign bar managers also get a commission on drinks bought for them by customers. A couple of foreign bar managers have gained a reputation amongst some regulars for gaming the lady drink system themselves.

The system in Thai-style bars and bars for Japanese is much fairer. Rather than buy lady drinks, you pay a set fee for a lady's company. Blocks of time are billed. You pay for the amount of time the lady spends with you and she really does sit with you so you get what you are paying for – which is increasingly not the case in the farang bar areas.

What I dislike most about the lady drink system is that foreign bar bosses and bar managers are often in on it. Some condone water being sold as Tequila and customers being tricked although just how widespread that practice is remains unclear. As one bar boss said to me, if she throws back a shot glass of Tequila and doesn't do the Tequila slammer thing with salt and lemon, it's probably not Tequila.

Bar bosses moan and groan about how quiet things are yet at the same time they allow this nonsense, choosing the short-term gain.

It's great that ladies can now make a decent living without having to become familiar with lots of different hotel rooms. At the same time ladies and bar bosses ought to acknowledge that ladies pestering customers for a drink under the pretense that they will sit with them for a while but down the drink in seconds and then waltz away might make you money today, but it could kill your business tomorrow. The lady drink system is flawed.







Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok


Last week's photo was taken in the foyer of the wonderful Scala cinema at Siam Square, many people's favourite movie house in Bangkok. Today's photo shows a typical scene in Bangkok with long queues at Starbucks…but just where is this particular branch?!


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 A theory about the Flying Club.

I read about the Korean guy going off the balcony while having his photo taken. I have read for many years about the Pattaya Flying Club and the suspicious nature of these deaths. I, however, suspect it has something to do with so many balcony railings in Thailand being installed knee-high. Anyone a little tipsy, or pushed by an ill wind, could go flying. I keep well distant of the rail.

Stopped and searched near Khao San Road.

I am a US citizen who has been living in Bangkok for 6 years. On the afternoon of December 31st, my Thai girlfriend and I took the water-boat to Khao San Road, far from Asoke. I got pulled out at random near Phra Atit by cops who extensively searched me in the middle of the street in front of other tourists and passersby. I was so concerned I pulled the cops near the entrance of a 7 Eleven, knowing they always have security cameras. My girlfriend was not searched but they searched her little day-pack. Fortunately, I had in my wallet a copy of my passport. I always do, even back home in California. I have travelled in over 120 counties in the last 30 years and I have never been pulled over randomly for an ID and / or drugs check. I was utterly disgusted by the experience, inasmuch as there was never any mention of the Khao San Road area for harassing tourists in the street. The reason I send this email is to suggest to readers who find themselves in a similar situation to get as close as possible to a place with security cameras such as 7 Eleven or other convenience stores and / or hotels. If I had recently moved in Bangkok, there is no doubt I would have packed up and left. Live and learn.

Thailand ridiculous.

I really enjoyed your Thailand Tragics article, especially since I almost became one of them. The minute Western men step off the plane in Thailand we're magically taller, wealthier, better-endowed and more attractive than we were a few hours earlier. Ordinary men are made to feel like rock stars in an artificial world of denial-ridden bliss constructed by charming and convincing actresses. Perhaps a special category ("Thailand Ridiculous"?) should be reserved for those who refer to the women they regularly pay for sex transactions as their 'girlfriend'.

Mama's still got it!

I was in CheckInn99 a couple of weeks ago and Mama Noi was there. I introduced myself to her and mentioned the interview you did with her. After a small chat she walked away to mingle with others. About half an hour later she came over to where I was drinking and brushed my arm and started to chat. I offered to buy her a drink and she obliged with an orange juice. I was drinking tonic water and she then decided to pour the contents of my can into my glass. As she did this she rubbed my knee suggestively. Man, I didn't know what to do! Anyway, a short while later she walked away and I left for Nana. Only in Thailand!



Working with the girls.

I want to share that there are some good mamasans out there too. As a bar owner, I ran a lady bar for about a year before closing it a month ago. I have employed maybe a hundred bargirls – all unreliable, and one mamasan. The cashier was fair, reliable, hard-working, totally trustworthy and loyal. She never took a day off work sick. A lovely person all around. Her Thai husband would come and help me out with DIY jobs around the bar. When I shut the bar, I found her another job. Also, the mamasan at Teerak Bar in Chiang Mai was always a good friend to us; she helped us with advice and referral business. I just wanted to say there are some nice ones out there. It is also true that dealing with girls who are bone lazy, lie, steal and cheat is not an easy job. People complain about bargirls, but try to imagine how difficult it is to actually work with them as employees!

Cycling in Bangkok.

I ride in Bangkok. I commute to and from work and use my bike to run errands. I'm fortunate in that there is a shower available where I work. As it's less than a 5 km ride, it's convenient and faster than if I were to take a taxi or skytrain. Sure, like many things there are risks involved, but for the most part it feels safer than I thought it would. I've had a lot of experience riding a bike, so I'm ok with it. Car drivers are used to being on the lookout for motorcyclists so that helps. It's a good idea to cut a little bit off the ends of the handlebars to narrow them a little so as not to scratch the sides of cars or take out a side-view mirror. Bangkok traffic is often like one parking lot full of cars waiting for the light to change and then the parking lot moves to the next traffic light and waits again. Yes, the road surface isn't the best with lots of potholes so it's best not to ride a road bike but rather a mountain bike with slick tires or better still a “hybrid”, a mountain bike / road bike cross which is made for commuting. Then it's easy to jump up on the sidewalk when necessary. Sure, it's hot but it is the tropics after all, although the past few weeks have been great! Nice, cool weather. Bicycle commuting might not be the best form of exercise though as the air is polluted. For exercise, it's best to go to Lumpini or Benjakit Park or go for a ride early on a Sunday morning or late Sunday evening when the traffic is light. As for saving money, if I were to total up the money I save from commuting and riding my bike to run errands it would probably be 1,000 – 1,500 baht a week in cab fares. But the best saving is the time I save. The main benefit is the convenience and it's so much fun!

Another farang cyclist.

You mentioned cycling in a couple of weeks ago, emphasising the cost saving issue. I cycle a lot, not necessarily to save money but mainly for exercise. I live in Lad Prao, close to the Union Mall and 30 – 40 minutes every couple of days is a great way of seeing areas that you would otherwise speed past on a motorbike or in a taxi. Cycling is all about exploring little corners such as the Huay Kwang market area or the side sois off Victory Monument. Ok, the traffic can be bad and I avoid trailing noxious buses as much as possible but putting those negatives to one side the pros still outweigh the cons. Many times I've needed to go for example to Panthip Plaza or the Lumpini area on a last-minute dash and cycling from Lad Prao, I can get there in 25 minutes, compared to the hassle of negotiating Asoke on the metro, taking 50 minutes to an hour. Be prepared for people to cut you up, the worst being females in expensive motors who always seem to drive whilst talking on their mobile. It's all about cycling on the defensive here.



Girl of the week

Som, coyote dancer, Strikers Sports Bar, Soi Nana
The stunning Som is 23 years old and is Bangkok-born and raised.
She likes to dance and listen to music. She enjoys swimming and
likes khao tom (rice porridge) for breakfast to start off her day.








Bangkok's expat bar areas are experiencing a roller coaster ride with some nights very good, others not so. This past week one Patpong bar owner told me his bar had its best nightly take ever, while the very same night word out of Nana Plaza was that it felt like low season. Soi Cowboy this week was humming, especially the outside bars which are like popular restaurants with people waiting around for a table to become available. Word's still out on how the high season is going, but it seems to me Cowboy is doing fine. The other two major Bangkok expat bar areas? Mixed fortunes, it seems.

Lips in Sukhumvit soi 33 opened in the second half of 2012 and quickly became one of the soi's hot spots with some of the hottest hostesses in the soi, but it only lasted a couple of years, the doors are now closed and Lips looks to be the latest venue to be consigned to Bangkok bar history. Located on the main soi just past the alley leading down to The Office, Lips was an odd venue featuring hostesses in racy gear and live music and was equally popular with Japanese and Westerners. It was easily the loudest spot on the soi, so loud in fact that when the doors opened for customers to enter or exit you could hear the music from inside other venues. Some local residents complained about the noise levels – and no doubt they will not be sad to hear of its demise.

New details have emerged of the proposed deal which would see the classic Patpong bar Safari taken over by a foreigner. The fellow trying to put the deal together hopes to secure the bag shop next door. If he manages that he could knock the wall out and expand the bar which would deal with the one complaint some have about Safari – that it's rather narrow.

Spellbound on Nana's ground floor has recruited a new manager to replace former manager / mamasan Tukata who left last month. The new manager Tanya is striking to look at – no surprise as she is a former Thai model. With an exotic look, she's going to get a lot of attention but those who want to barfine her are going to be disappointed.

A sight for sore eyes, everyone should visit the middle floor of Bacarra at least once where some of the cutest ladies in the industry bounce around on stage with smiles on their faces and an energy seen in few chrome pole bars. But the question has to be asked: Is there even a single pair of boosoms naturelles on the middle floor at Bacarra? Seldom do you see such small-framed Thai ladies so chesty.

The manager of the Robin Hood, Wayne, has moved on to bigger and better things. His departure from the Robin Hood was nothing nefarious, but a desire for a new challenge. The popular British pub on the corner of Sukhumvit soi 33/1 will be managed by a fellow well-known in British pub circles, Billy Brunsdon. Billy was the manager at the Bull's Head (now the Royal Oak) and was one of the characters behind the ambitious but ultimately ill-fated Sukhumvit soi 33 project, The Bull and Bush.

Following on from today's opening piece about lady drinks, the days of quotas for a minimum number of lady drinks and barfines to be met each month by bar staff otherwise they will be penalised seems to be coming to an end. With bar staff so hard to find, bar managers and owners know that if they push too hard, chastise staff or have too many penalties in the place the girls will up and leave. Besides, the quotas which were often 60 lady drinks and 7 – 10 barfines a month which pose no challenge these days as ladies easily reach them – hence there is no need to have a penalty system in place.

Still on the subject of lady drink commissions, most bars pay the commissions to the girl the night she earns them; she collects the cash either when she is barfined, or at the end of the night if she has not been barfined. The odd bar pays lady drink commissions weekly. It is not the norm for lady drink commissions to be tallied up and paid with salaries at the end of the month.





I stuck my head in Suzy Wong for the first time in many months and it has to be said there are some very attractive dancers. There are also a few veterans I remember from many years ago. I liked the fact that on one wall there is a huge – and I mean HUGE – sign that says "no smoking". Brilliant for us non-smokers! But what is it with the crass shows? Ping pong balls are so '90s!

If you're keen to snap the pretty neon at Soi Cowboy, wait until after 9:00 PM when The Arab (who else?!) finally turns on the neon at some of his bars. In fairness to him, his bars are the best looking. Cowboy comes alive after 9:00 PM.

In a number of big name, long-running Phuket gogo bars, it is not possible to take a lady out of the bar for long-time before midnight. With relatively small numbers of dancers, the girls are encouraged to get a quick short-time or two in before midnight, return to the bar and only after midnight can they make themselves available long-time and what would be the last round of the night. There is some trickery and some will agree to whatever a customer says but once they barfine is paid they will say "Oh sorry, no long time before midnight". Many Phuket gogo bar barfines are now a cool 1,000 baht with Rock Hard at 800 baht. It seems the potential customer base has figured things out and are avoiding the bars until a bit before midnight when they start to fill up. From a good mate who was in Phuket this week, the gogo bar lineups have been described as a bunch of hideous munters. In his words, "Guys pay these girls? – you have to be fxxxen kidding!" At the height of high season the Phuket gogo bars are hardly booming.

There's a cracking line up of coyote dancers in a bar where you mightn't expect them. Strikers Sports bar, the large open-air sports bar / beer bar in the Raja Hotel car park, about a hundred or so metres down Soi Nana from Nana Plaza, is the unlikely bar with a great lineup of pretty, friendly coyote dancers. It's amazing that a sports bar features coyotes more attractive than dedicated coyote bars!



Strikers Soi Nana

The coyote crew at Strikers with Som, this week's girl of the week, on the far left.



I really believe there is a market for guided tours of Patpong and feel they could be a massive hit. Many visitors are fascinated by Bangkok's naughty nightlife industry and it's one thing to spend a few hours having a few drinks in a bar area, but another to be shown around by someone who knows the industry, the area, its history and has industry contacts to provide the insight only an insider can. The tour leader would have to be a foreigner. Thai tour guides are keen to present their homeland in a favourable light – and the history of Patpong would make many Thais positively blush! And that is where the problem lies because tour guide is a restricted profession and not a job open to foreigners. With bars and restaurants dating back to the '60s, Patpong is full of characters who have worked, partied and in some cases even lived in the area for decades. The area's history includes 3-letter agencies regularly holding meetings in the area, Vietnam War operation meetings taking place above bars, international drug syndicates once operating out of bars which all makes Patpong tailor-made for a brilliant night-time tour. Visitors could be taken through the many nooks and crannies of the Patpong area, eat in one of the classic Patpong eateries like Madrid or Mizu's Kitchen, visit a classic old bar and take photos in a modern gogo bar. The sad part is that under current laws a foreigner cannot be involved and as such, visitors are missing out on what could be a really memorable night out.

Certain people will no doubt be relieved that Thailand's top foreign investigative journalist, Andrew Drummond, announced that he has left Thailand, with his reasons for departing including that he didn't feel safe here. His departure does not necessarily mean he will stop writing about the comings and goings amongst expatdom in Thailand.

Fans of NFL can watch the playoffs live on Monday morning at each of the 24-hour branches of Sunrise Tacos – at the mouth of Sukhumvit soi 12 and on Silom Road, as well as Margarita Storm at the mouth of Sukhumvit soi 13. The Packers vs. Seahawks is at 3:05 AM Monday and the Patriots vs. Colts kicks off a few hours later at 6:30 AM.

If there is anything more enjoyable on a Sunday than the buffet lunch at Rang Mahal or Indus – widely regarded as the two best Indian restaurants in Bangkok – I don't know it. Each offers a fantastic Sunday brunch. As they are usually busy, it's best to make a reservation. That, however, is when the problems start. If I book there is never a problem. If the other half books, it always gets stuffed up. We arrive and they claim not to have received our booking, even when we show them a phone record history with a 2-minute call through to the restaurant's phone number the day before. They always manage to find us a table when they mess it up, but the regularity with which it happens is laughable. Why is it that a foreigner making a reservation in English is easy, but when a Thai makes the same reservation in Thai with a Thai national it gets messed up?!





It's several months since the announcement of a crackdown on foreigners staying long-term in Thailand by using back to back visas designed for a short stay, and a good few months since the date in which major changes were expected. That's enough time for things to have settled down and to take a look at what has changed. The first and perhaps the most important thing to note is that border checkpoints and airports interpret the rules differently. Some land crossings are relaxed when it comes to foreigners doing back to back border runs without a visa whereas at the main airport in Bangkok, officers can be quite strict. In the case of a foreigner with a number of visas for Thailand in his passport (yes, they seem to only take in to consideration what is in your passport and not what is in the computer system), officers may ask to see evidence that you are a bona fide traveler and ask to see hotel bookings, a travel itinerary, sufficient funds to cover the trip and an air ticket out of the country. Yes, there have been reports from some who have been unable to show such evidence and they have been declined entry. For those who wish to remain in Thailand long-term, using back to back tourist visas secured from an embassy or consulate outside the country has long been one option – and there seems to be little change with that. With that said, anyone with a number of tourist visas back to back in their passport might face questions when applying for a new visa at a Thai embassy or consulate. The big change has been with ED visas which had become the soft option. It used to be that you got an ED visa and when you entered the country you were granted 90 days permission to stay. Just before it expired you trundled along to the local Immigration Department where you paid 1,900 baht and got an extension for another 90 days. You could do that up to a year and then you had to exit the country and get a new visa, restarting the cycle. That has all changed. What happens now is that you get the visa at an embassy or consulate outside the country and get 90 days when you enter the country. Now when you go to Immigration to extend the visa you usually get just another 60 days permission to stay – and you can only extend it once. At that point you must exit the country, apply for a new visa and the cycle restarts. With abuse of ED visas widespread it's easy to see why that is the visa type the authorities have cracked down on most.

The Shangri La Hotel on the banks of the Chao Praya River near the Thaksin Bridge is a fine 5-star hotel. Why is it then that the hotel has the name on top in the Thai script when virtually all 5-star hotels have their name in English? It's kind of cool they have it in Thai only – I have always liked the style, lines and curves of the Thai script which somehow seems fitting for the name of a 5-star property – but at the same time I wonder why it is.

A printer with much experience in the United States has started a business in the Times Square Building, between Sukhumvit sois 12 and 14. Vic is Armenian but has lived in the States all his life. He can print on virtually everything including clothing, bags, stickers, menu boards, light boxes etc. His firm does polo shirts and T-shirts for some well-known bars and restaurants. The company is called Anoogo and Vic can be reached at : [email protected]





The Strip Bangkok



Quote of the week comes from Dana, "Only in Thailand and Vietnam can you be walking behind a woman and hear your mind say, 'No ass, no breasts…unbelievably sexy!'"

Reader's story of the week comes from Mr. Anonymous, "Patpong Bargirl Experience".

A frisky wild elephant is caught on camera humping a car in Khao Yai National Park.

The New York Times looks at former Chinese soldiers settled in northern Thai villages.

The tourism industry didn't do as badly in 2014 as it could have with December seeing a spike in visitor numbers.

A Finnish gal and an Italian guy caught motor-biking naked in Cambodia are deported to their respective countries.

Thailand's top foreign investigative journalist Andrew Drummond has left after a 20+ year association with Thailand.

The Bangkok Post looks back at the issue of foreigners being stopped and searched on Sukhumvit Road.

Bangkok's illegal street racing is profiled in another excellent special report in the Bangkok Post.







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: I understand that if a farang husband wants to leave Thailand for a holiday by airport with his children (who hold dual nationality) alone and without the Thai mother, you need to bring a written letter from her saying permission is granted for you to take them out of the country (please correct me here if I'm wrong). In case when you as a farang father are granted full custody of the children after a divorce, is such document needed as well? In case the mother is not to be found or agreed to the holiday, what can be done to proceed otherwise?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: Having full custody of the child does not mean that the mother's authorization, custodianship and guardianship of the mother is eliminated. In order to be the sole decision maker, the father must obtain a formal appointment by the Thai court. Should you decide not to proceed with the formal court appointment, you will be required to obtain consent from the mother. Another issue that needs to be taken into consideration is to proceed with the Child's Certification at the District Office (amphur) where the child is currently listed. However, for the long term it would be best to go through the court procedures.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in the Court proceedings should you need it. Our legal advisors are experienced in family law and how it applies to foreign parents.





Question 2: I've had to go through 2 years in the Thai legal process, after being charged with slander. I thought it was finally resolved last year. I was fined a small amount and had to do some English teaching as community service as it was deemed a 'family matter' and a 'first offence'. Sadly, my problem has recurred in that the 'other party' has launched an appeal against the verdict and the sentence I received. There is no new evidence or change of the situation; it is the 'other party' using the Court process and legal system seeking to get more money from me. I have two specific questions:

1. I was advised today that the appeal had been lodged. I have tried to research this online and saw some suggestions that there was a one-month period where an appeal could be lodged. Is that correct, given that the appeal papers are dated 2½ months after the verdict?

2. Again, researching the appeals court process, it seems primarily designed to address matters of law and process and does not review or request additional evidence. I am not required to attend but have to, of course, employ a lawyer to make a report on my behalf in response to the appeal. How does this work and what likelihood is there the sentence given will be increased, given that the appeal is based solely on the plaintiff's view that it should have been harsher?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: Once the court has made the decision, both parties would have 30 days to submit their appeal to the decision; extensions can be granted. The decision whether or not to allow the extension would be based on the judge's discretion considering the reason(s) for each extension. The sentence from the appeal can result in an increase in the punishment, or the sentence made by the Court of First Instance would stand. Such would depend on the judge to consider the Plaintiff's demand / request and the damage caused by the slander.





Cockatoo Bar, Soi Cowboy

Cockatoo in Soi Cowboy has some of the most attractive ladyboys in all of Bangkok.


Readers don't just complain to me about the state of the bar industry, some also complain about the content of the column. The number one complaint used to be the '90s design and the grey text on a black background which some found hard on the eyes. The design gets few complaints these days – I get the feeling that any change to the layout wouldn't be well-received and would be almost like the loss of an old friend. I also think that as display units have improved the colour scheme is more bearable. These days the number one complaint about this website relates to the banners for ladyboy bars and ladyboy escort services, and the occasional mention of ladyboys in this column. Some have pointed the finger and suggest that I am a ladyboy lover. No, ladyboys don't rock my boat but with that said, I did step in Soi Cowboy's only ladyboy bar, Cockatoo, this week – and it had some real crackers! While Nana Plaza ladyboy bars are home to some scary-looking characters as masculine as a rugby player and as aggressive as an unloved pitbull, Cockatoo features many feminine ladyboys. I happened in there with a friend this week who was showing around a couple of open-minded farang ladies – and everyone enjoyed the visit. There will likely be the odd mention of ladyboy venues because, as I have learned over the years, there are readers who are in to them. If you're not in to ladyboys and the occasional mention of them bothers you, get over it!



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Firehouse