Stickman's Weekly Column November 13th, 2016

Finding Miss Right in Thailand


Finding Miss Right in Thailand isn’t difficult but many screw it up and Miss Right becomes Miss Wrong.  It shouldn’t be that way.  Meeting a Thai lady has never been easier and if you look in the right places there are many wonderful ladies who would be delighted to get to know a good Western man.  But the right places may not be where you think.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Working girls (anywhere) typically don’t make the best life-long partners.  Searching for love in venues that offer sex – not love – is not a good idea.

Granted, there was a time when Thai bargirl / customer relationships were common and many found true happiness.  Some luk kreung (half Western / half Thai) children of ladies who once worked in the world’s oldest profession have gone on to become famous entertainers and sports people amongst others, proving that the mother’s previous profession is no barrier to a happy family life and children who go on to flourish.

While there are plenty of successful relationships between former Thai bargirls and their customers, most hark back to a bygone era.

Things really were different and up until around 2008 or so, a not insignificant percentage of working girls entered the industry with the specific purpose of meeting a Western man who would marry them.  The primary reason for entering the industry was not to make a lot of money fast, but to meet a good foreign man.  They’d heard the stories of ladies entering the profession, finding a good man and living happily ever after – and they wanted a piece of the action.

Today, the typical profile of ladies entering the bar industry is different.  With more opportunities for Thai women and salaries much higher, the net effect is that ladies entering the industry these days are not interested in finding a husband at all.  Many are keen to make a lot of money fast while others have issues that prevent them from getting a regular job.  Where once the industry attracted sweet and at times innocent – or at least naive – ladies, that’s much less the case today where many are hardcore and not what you’d be looking for in the hunt for Miss Right.

Everything changed when online dating became mainstream.

While online dating in Thailand can be traced back to the late ’90s when ICQ was the platform some of us inadvertently discovered worked as a means of meeting Thai women, it wasn’t until the rise of Thailand-centric Internet dating sites – as distinct from sites with profiles of women from all over the world – that online dating in Thailand took off.

ThaiCupid and ThaiFriendly opened the country up to Western men keen to make a Thai their bride.  Until the arrival of these two sites, most Thai women weren’t savvy enough to meet Western men and felt they had few options.  But despite the huge number of Thai women active on these two sites, I would not recommend either – at least not as the best place to find Miss Right.  If, however, you’re looking for Miss Tonight, it’s another story!

Yes, many expats have met their Thai darling online and online dating (a generic term to include dating apps like Tinder) is now the way most Western men meet Thai women.   It is super easy for even Mr Average to meet an attractive, sweet lady who would be out of your league back home.  But don’t take that to mean that online is the best place to meet a Thai lady.  I’m no longer convinced that it is.

The two major Thailand dating sites have transformed from a place regular folks meet to an online meat market, as is evidenced in so many profiles.

Many ladies profiles say they are not interested in sex cam or sex talk, a response to all the men who use these sites as a place to meet ladies with whom they wish to have webcam sex with.  Conversely, many men’s profiles have words to the effect that they are not looking to buy love, a reference to the many working girls who now ply their trade on these sites, spamming men with offers to visit their hotel room or condo for money.

Many Thai women on these sites would once have made a great girlfriend /wife / life partner but have been scarred by guys who have lied to and cheated on them.  One lady I know dated various guys she met online, four of whom she went on to become the girlfriend of.  She would later discover that each of these four guys had remained active online and continued to see other women.  When it happens over and over again, the ladies using these sites reach a point where they feel they cannot trust a foreign man again – and may turn off their profile as they are put off foreign guys completely.

Thai women scar as easily emotionally as they do physically.  The word is out amongst a subset of Thai women that foreign guys on dating websites can’t be trusted.  Some Thai women say that farang men are the same as Thai men.  I disagree – Western men in Thailand are WORSE than Thai men when it comes to being faithful.

So if the bars are out and online dating comes with a new set of challenges, what does that leave?

Perhaps it is less about the place you meet a lady, and more about the lady’s profile?  The bargirls tend to come from the lower strata of society, and many of the ladies with a profile online are from the lower strata or the emerging middle class.  So how about targeting well-to-do Thai women, those who are well-educated, perhaps a lady who received her stripes abroad or has been through the international school system in Thailand?

Most Thai ladies from a privileged background aren’t interested in foreign men.  Some are – but not many.  And why should they be when most women are hypergamous.  A foreign education or an international school education in Thailand costs heaps so you had better have the finance resources to impress her clan.  And given that most foreigners in Thailand are far from the best of the West, most genuine upper class ladies are out of most foreigners’ league.

More than ever, I am convinced that the best place to meet a lady in Thailand is not online – as is the conventional wisdom these days – but in everyday life.  The ladies you work with.  The ladies in the clubs / organisations you’re a member of.  The ladies working in the companies you do business with.  Ladies who are friends of your male Thai friends, or the friends of your friends’ girlfriends.  Ladies at the gym.  Basically, any lady you meet naturally and not someone who is hanging around a place where foreigners are known to frequent.

There is an argument that one type of lady to avoid is the Thai lady who specifically wants to meet a foreign man.  I truly believe that Miss Right is the lady who wants to be with you because of who you are, because you’re a good guy and not because you’ve got white skin and a long nose.  She wants to be with you because she sees the qualities in you.

Get out of the bars, get offline, spend time doing real things in Thailand and you will be falling over great women who would love to meet a good guy.  Amazingly for a country with so many beautiful women, many Thai women are single.  Good Thai ladies are everywhere and Miss Right is out there.  Get away from the bars and your computer, get out and about and you will come across many great Thai women, and with a bit of luck you might just meet Miss Right!

 

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Where was this photo taken?

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Last week’s photo was taken in Benjasiri Park next to Emporium, the perspective seemed to fool many with only a few readers getting it right.  This week’s was not taken that far away from last week’s.

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

Thermae, Bangkok’s best bar?

Thermae is the best bar in Bangkok.  I went in at 9:50 PM and it was jammed packed with chicks lining both sides and in the middle bar.  A Leo cost me 100 baht.  I spent a half hour milking my beer.  I should have hung out for another.  The girls were hungry.  Yeah, the place was loaded with Japanese and only 5% of the punters were Caucasian, but the girls were only looking for green.  They out-numbered punters by more than 3 to 1.  Old, ugly me was eyed up and down, and I spent time talking to a girl from Udon.  I saw one big white guy leave with someone way out of his league.  No smoking which you like, though coming in through the main entrance and not via the Ruamchitt Hotel lobby through the restroom you get your share of smoke.  Also, there is no hustle for ladies drinks.  Plenty of lookers nicely made up and wearing nice attire.  Also, NO bar fines and NO pimps.  All there of their own accord.  It also makes one think about the real state of the economy when so many flock to the trade.

Thermae renaissance.

At the Thermae there are some real stunners showing up now, and they are much more farang-friendly.  There was a group of 6-7 hotties standing by the long table and bench seat that is located right in front of the back door.  I saw 2 go out with farang.  Here are some possible reasons for the Thermae’s renaissance.  Besides Nataree, which had hundreds of girls, 3 or 4 other massage parlors have closed down recently, like Ceasar’s.  Some Thai nightspots which focused on live music have had to suspend operations or are very quiet, as no live music is allowed.  And late night discos which don’t get going until after midnight now have to close at midnight.  So all of those massage and freelance girls have to find someplace else to work, and one of the advantages of Thermae is that the action gets going early, around 9 PM.

Gogo bar staff back chat.

In response to your feature about the bars and what makes a good one, the staff make all the difference.  I took a Thai girlfriend in to Rainbow 4 a couple of years ago.  She overheard two waitresses slagging off the foreign customers.  She went ballistic on our behalf and berated the two.  So if you get served by someone with a scowl and an attitude, don’t go back no matter how good the music, lights and girls are.

Dark, foreboding Soi Nana.

Just how dark has Soi Nana become?  I usually stay on soi 4 for a few nights.  A walk this Friday night down soi 4 was depressing with loads of African women working the street deep in to the soi.  It gave the soi a very sleazy, shadowy feel.  I never really mind Thai woman calling out to me as I almost always find them playful and friendly but the African and occasional Russian women encountered give it a very dark, dirty feeling.  Soi Nana today could be almost any place in the world.

Smelly Shark.

Shark Bar has had that foul smell for years.  Sometimes it can be overpowering.  I guessed that it was coming from the toilet, which opens directly into the guest area, so I try to sit as far from the toilet as possible.  I think they now have an automatic system that sprays room freshener periodically, which may mean they can’t fix the basic problem.

Theory on the Japanese.

I have a (completely unsubstantiated) theory that in Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy the lucrative Japanese business follows only after the farang have made a bar popular; and tends to fall off after the farang leave.  This cycle is repeating at Crazy House where the farang are going back, and that is attracting the Japanese once again.  From what I’ve seen, the Japanese tend not to turn a bar in to a success on their own (I don’t know the history of Baccara?).

Rents doubling in downtown Bangkok.

There is an optician and eyewear shop called St Moritz on the north side of Sukhumvit Road, between sois 5 and 7.  It has been there for 30 years and I have been using it for 15 years.  It has the same woman owner and same staff since she started it.  I went in last week for some repairs and she tells us they are leaving in mid-January because the owner / landlord has put up the rent.  When I asked by how much she told me he had doubled it.  To be trying to get 100% increase in rents at this time is ridiculous, but as this shop is about 3 shophouses from the original CheckInn99, I guess he really wants rid of them to get a different concept in that area.  Some other shops in that strip have already left.

The Thai social media love affair.

What is it with Thai women that they think you are lying to them if you tell them you don’t have Facebook or Line.  I’m 53 and I just can operate my iPhone 7+ and my laptop.  I don’t know about you, Stick, or your mates but not too many of my mates have Facebook and what’s the f??? is Line?!  From what I hear my kids say about Facebook I’m glad I don’t have it and anyway, what’s wrong with calling someone on the phone if you want to chat?  Am I right or am I just old and have no idea?!

 

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Girl Of The Week

Let’s call her Miss Buriram
Gogo dancer from the best gogo
bar in all of Bangkok, Billboard

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It should be business as usual in the bars from tomorrow with the restrictions on opening hours on entertainment venues to be lifted in what no doubt will be a shock to the system for bar staff who for the last month have become used to heading for home a little after midnight.

Word is that from tomorrow night Nana Plaza will revert to 3:00 AM closing, and bars in the world’s largest adult playground will not be forced to closed at the official closing time of 2:00 AM.

Some bars dropped dancers’ salary / day rate over the past month, arguing that with the bar trading fewer hours, girls were doing less work….to say nothing of the fact that trade has been down heavily.  Here’s hoping that those bars which were cheeky enough to reduce what they pay staff immediately put the rates back up again to what they were.

Lighthouse recently introduced a daily special on top shelf drinks with a selected drop just 100 baht all night long.  A different top shelf drink is offered every day with Wednesday my favourite when it’s 100 baht Jack Daniels all night long – you can’t beat that price, especially given the quality of the entertainment that Lighthouse provides.  It’s nice to see chrome pole bars introducing specials similar to what is more typically seen in British pubs and more mainstream drinking venues.

It’s just about all over at The Office, for so long arguably the best – and almost certainly the busiest – bar on Sukhumvit soi 33.  Last month it was reported in this column that the boss would finally call it a day.  Tonight is the last night of a 3-day farewell and the party is just about over.  The Office has been a destination for 15 odd years, one of those few bars which offered everything – food, drinks, live sports coverage and women – and did everything well.  It retained a following right to the end, maintaining standards even if staff and punter numbers weren’t what they once were.  In many ways the slow decline in trade at The Office mirrors what has happened on soi 33 as a whole.

Bangkok Beat, the once popular, smallish freelancer venue / live music bar in Sukhumvit soi 7/1 that was particularly popular several years ago is to change name and format.  It will become New Wave II Pool Bar.

The shutters went down today on The Fish & Ship in Sukhumvit soi 23.  It opened 3 years ago and was the renovated version of the popular old Offshore fish and chip shop, arguably the most authentic English-style fish and chip shop in all of Bangkok.  The word is that the space will reopen with a new format under new management.  Boy oh boy, a lot of places have closed this week!

Big Andy of Club Electric Blue will celebrate his birthday next Saturday, November 19th, at his Patpong soi 2 bar.  A mini Nanapong-style dance contest will be held.  I note Big Andy has stopped telling people how old he is :)

And if a mini-Nanapong dance contest doesn’t excite you, there will be a full Nanapong dance contest held on Saturday, November 26, at Angelwitch in soi 15, just off Walking Street in Pattaya.  Girls from the Pattaya branches of Angelwitch, Dollhouse and Club Electric Blue will compete for the usual prizes.  If you’re in Pattaya for the event, expect a wild show!

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In Bangkok gogo bars, the meaning of short-time has changed over the years.  Once upon a time there was no such thing as short time – or long-time for that matter.  It was just assumed by ladies in bars who made themselves available that they would spend the entire night with the guy who invited her back to his room.  That she would stay all night long was a given.  At some point in time – I don’t know when, but long before I ever arrived in Thailand – short-time was born.  There was no fixed time limit on short-time and it used to be that it was about a couple of hours or so.  If there was chemistry between the customer and the lady, short-time might become long-time.  Short-time needn’t be limited to 2 hours, so long as she had nowhere she had to be.  Unfortunately, short-time is not what it used to be and nowadays there is a time limit.  In many chrome pole bars in Bangkok, the lady MUST return to the bar within 2 hours of leaving on a short-time excursion.  If she does not, she faces a penalty.  This is one reason why short-time has become so rushed – the girl is required to report back to duty.  Yes, many bars punish the girl if she is not back in the bar within 2 hours so don’t go thinking about taking her out for a bite to eat or dancing or a drink elsewhere before you get her back to your room, lest she wants to get things over with quick smart!

A few months back I wrote about how some of the larger groups in the naughty nightlife industry were looking to promote their enterprises and some were taking on digital marketing managers.  I thought this could be a growth area and saw possibilities for employment for those to whom the bar industry appealed but who are perhaps not suited to a management role.  I imagine marketing a bar would be fun for many – taking photos of the girls, engaging with people on social media, and also engaging with those of us who have an online presence and readership with a strong interest in the bar industry.  I thought I’d be fielding lots of emails from these digital marketing managers who would do all they could to spread the word about the bars they represent.  Nada.  That hasn’t happened at all.  That makes me wonder how fit some are for the role.  Marketing is basically an extension of sales and sales is all about relationship building.  When I look at a guy like Captain Hornbag who is the general manager of three bars in Pattaya and who still manages to find the time to post a lot of good stuff online and generally makes a real effort to promote his bars and engage people online, I wonder whether dedicated digital marketing managers are really necessary.  If Captain Hornbag can post as often as he does while running three bars, why is a digital marketing manager needed?  Ditto one of the managers at The Strip who posts often to the bar’s Facebook page, updates its websites and produces high quality posters – which he sends out to bloggers and columnists – all of this while managing a popular bar night after night.  It makes me think that digital marketing could be a responsibility of bar managers and that a dedicated digital marketing manager position might be overkill.

Ain’t it amazing how quickly Thai women can jump from one relationship to another – and how that new relationship can be up to full-speed ahead in no time.  Part of me thinks that love in Thailand is all rather disingenuous, something I have written about before.  It takes time for true love to blossom and if anyone declares their supposed love too quickly, beware.

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Are Pattaya’s local English language rags a reflection of a changing Sin City?  10 odd years ago, I would habitually tune in to the Pattaya Mail website every Friday morning for the latest round of amusing newsbytes from Pattaya – at a time when Sin City made Bangkok seem positively vanilla in comparison.  The Pattaya Mail newspaper and website would be trumped by the Pattaya One website as the place to find out about all of the crazy stuff going on in Pattaya involving foreigners.  Pattaya One became the go to site for all of the funny business from Sin City with often amusingly written reports of life in expat Thailand. Pattaya One was updated daily so instead of having to wait for Friday morning to come around, you got to enjoy the Pattaya One reports every day.  The Pattaya Mail website is still going but I have long felt that the online version pales in comparison with the print edition – and that simply isn’t as spicy as Pattaya One.  But in recent times – I guess over the past several months to a year or so – I note that the focus of Pattaya One seems to have moved away from Pattaya and the site seems to have become something of an aggregator of international news with a lot of syndicated stories from other news sources.  I don’t enjoy Pattaya One anything like I used to and tuning in one day this week to be met with the headline “Anti-Trump protests continue around America” was the last thing I wanted to read.  People tune in to Thailand sites for an escape and to get away from all that nonsense!  So I have to ask the question: are the changes in these two websites representative of changes in Pattaya as a whole?  With fewer reports of skullduggery, could it be that Sin City is less sinful than it used to be?  Or is it simply that these two news organisations now put a slightly different slant on the news coming out of Pattaya?  I really do miss the regular reports of ladyboy thefts and Indians finding that she was a he, and all the other fun stories like Sharky bellowing outside Pattaya Police Station late at night, “Give me back my fxxxing gold!”  Are the days of a more colourful Pattaya becoming memories, or are the news reports less reflective of what’s going on?

I note more and more new bars and nightspots are opening in Bangkok and offering craft beers, fusion food and the like.  This might sound a bit like, Duh, Stick, what do you expect – new bars open all the time so why are you telling us this?!  Yeah, I get that, but it’s the sheer number of new venues popping up all over town in the most unlikely of places that has made me sit up and take note, venues that are very international in style.  For many years there really was a limited number of venues for expats craving a taste of home to choose from – a small number of British and Irish pubs, a few American-themed outlets like Bourbon Street and, frankly, not a lot else.  I’ve not got in to the craft beer scene and it isn’t helped by the relatively steep prices.  240 baht++ for a 330 ml bottle of craft beer in a pretty average venue without entertainment?  No, thanks.  On the back of this increase in venues offering craft beers in Bangkok, I also notice a lot more independent restaurants and bars with an international flavour that seem to sit somewhere between a dive bar and a chic, independent, neighbourhood bar / restaurant.  I haven’t really formed any opinions on many because the little time I spend in Bangkok these days I prefer to catch up on old favourite places – where I know I will enjoy myself – than risk somewhere I may not care for.

You can celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24th, at Margarita Storm at the start of Sukhumvit soi 13, which believes it might be the only venue in Bangkok offering 100% American fresh turkey.  They reserved their batch well in advance this year due to the embargo on turkeys.  Below are the details of Margarita Storm’s special Thanksgiving dinner deal this year.

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More and more young Thais are visiting neighbouring countries as free and independent travellers.  Vietnam seems to have grown in popularity with Thais and I hear of more visiting South Korea and Japan, not just the hi-so crowd.  These young Thais are trying new stuff, experiencing new things and you get the impression that the travel experience is a revelation for many as they return to Thailand and come to realise that they had been fed a gigantic porky pie and that Thailand is not the centre of the universe.  That can only be a good thing – not just for them but for the country as a whole – as well as for foreigners in Thailand, both expats and visitors, who hopefully these Thais will now see in a more favourable light.

And perhaps partly on the back of this, I notice more and more Thais are speaking out publicly about acts of social injustice.  A great example this past week is the case involving the driver of a yellow Mini Cooper who belted and tried to humiliate the rider of a motorcycle who accidentally bumped in to the car while on his motorbike.  With the relative anonymity of social media, Thais are standing up and speaking out, and making their opinions heard that certain types of behaviour are not acceptable – which is very different to how things were not so long ago when most were too scared to speak out.  Of course there are some things the average Thai still won’t speak out about but in terms of the wealthy treading on the common man and abusing their power to get away with stuff, things are changing and the average Thai – particularly those in the middles class – are speaking out.  Special thanks to the likes of Apple and Facebook for making this possible.

A long-time Stickman reader has a condo for sale right in the middle of the zone.  This sizeable unit is in the popular Omni Tower, on Soi Nana, just a few minutes walk down Soi Nana past Nana Plaza.  The condo is approximately 95 square metres and is on the 33rd floor with views across Bangkok from its 2 balconies.  It has one bedroom, 2 bathrooms, a lounge & dining room which is all open plan.  There is also a separate kitchen.  The building features a swimming pool which gets the sun all day long.  The vendor is asking just 5 million baht and can provide any interested person with photos of the interior of the apartment and the views.  He can meet anyone who wishes to view the unit when he is in Bangkok, between November 14th and 24th.  The owner can be contacted on [email protected]

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Quote of the week, “In Thailand, for many people status is even more important than family and friends.

Reader’s story of the week comes from Steve Rosse, “With Sincere Thanks to Bannork“.

The estimate of 10 million Chinese visitors to Thailand this year will not be achieved.

Scientists are trying to understand why 70 giant freshwater stingrays, some as big as a car, have been found dead in Thailand over the past few weeks.

The Bangkok Post looks at the lifestyle of naturists in Thailand.

 

SunbeltLegal


Ask Sunbelt

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors is here to answer all of your legal questions related to Thailand.  Please feel free to send any questions to me and I will put them to Sunbelt and run their response in the next column

Question 1:  If the police subject you to a random drug test, what is the penalty if you refuse to do so?  There was a case recently where a backpacker refused to do the urine test, and he was charged with failure to comply with a lawful order.  What is the punishment for refusing to provide urine for a test?  Can this be grounds for deportation and / or blacklisting?  Would you generally advise one to refuse to pee, if one is likely to fail it?

Sunbelt Legal responds:  If the police accuse you of using drugs, you do have the right to refuse a urine test but if you do not show good cause for refusing the test you may be considered as guilty – refusing without any reason could be presumed as guilty and is stated in the Criminal Act.  This means you could be required to prove your innocence later.

However, the police cannot require you to take a urine test outdoors, and the test should be done at the police station.

 

Question 2:  A US citizen friend based in Thailand was never married but had a live in girlfriend for approximately 5 years.  They had a baby together 3 years ago.  At the beginning of the month she packed up and left for the US with the baby (she had received a US visa 2 weeks prior.)  He does have phone contact with the child.  What obligations / child support if any does he have if she does not return to Thailand?  And would they be different if she did return?  Currently she is not asking for anything.  There is a new guy in picture.

Sunbelt Legal responds:  Since they were not married when the child was born, the father is not automatically deemed to be the father.  A DNA test must be taken and the Court must declare the man as the father of the child before any child support can be demanded.  The mother can file with the Courts or he can register and file himself if he wishes.

 

Question 3:  I have a child born out of wedlock.  Is it possible to register myself as his legitimate father outside of Thailand (at the Thai embassy for example) so that a custody agreement by mutual consent can be done before the child travels to Thailand?

Sunbelt Legal responds:  Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors checked with a Thai Embassy and this is not a function they can perform.  To register you must do so in Thailand, obtain a DNA test and get a court order.

 

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Good weather has arrived in Bangkok, the rainy season might just be over for another year.

 

Bangkokians woke up to blue skies this week and the rainy season may well be over for another year.  With the blue skies come slightly cooler temps and at this time of year, Bangkok really isn’t such a bad place to be.  If your corner of the world really is as bad as some of you make it out to be, there is always Thailand.  The weather should be great from now through until Valentine’s Day or thereabouts so if you have some spare time, this is the time to visit.

Your Bangkok commentator,
Stick