Many ladies have been featured in this column over the years, as girl of the week as well as being highlighted in the news section. Every one of these girls has a story. But sooner or later they disappear, often never to be heard from or seen again. I have always found it interesting to know where these ladies end up. Do they look back on their decision to enter the bar industry positively, such was the opportunity that came from it, or do they return to the countryside and the treadmill to nowhere?
She was the queen of The Strip and the most popular lady ever featured as girl of the week. The combination of silicone, a ready smile and her love of sex – which she was not shy to tell punters about were a winning combination.
First jumped off the stage in The Strip, ran over and hugged me after she was featured as girl of the week. Every day for more than a week Stickman readers went hunting for her at The Strip. One fellow even flew up from Singapore to Bangkok especially to meet her. Another customer gave her a handful of US hundred-dollar notes after spending a short time with her. One night there was one Stickman reader with her and another two waiting in the bar to meet her.
Looks, genuine personality and a willingness to please, First had it all. It didn’t matter that she had been around the block and had crossed over from the Thai scene.
But the perfect bargirl she was not. First could be quick to anger and she never really fit in at The Strip. On more than one occasion First fought with other girls and because of her size – she stood around 1.75m tall, she towered over the other girls – she could handle herself. On one occasion it took 6 girls to stop her beating the crap out of another girl outside the bar.
There are always cliques in the bar industry but First just did her own thing, like she was in her own little world – and she could afford to because she was the best-looking bird in the bar. First was either dancing on stage or with a customer. You almost never saw her alone.
First was so popular that it was inevitable a customer would fall for her charms and make an honest woman of her. First was whisked off to Australia and the last I heard was that she was happy there. Maybe there are happy endings in the bar industry after all.
Once described to me as the hottest thing in the Bangkok escort industry by the owner of a rival escort agency, Bonnie is someone I always enjoy chatting with. She is open and happy to talk in detail about her life outside of the bar, her dreams and her aspirations. Even the really personal stuff, she talked about her gigs (fxxx buddies) – both Thai and foreign, something few Thai females are ever open about.
Bonnie was really popular and I’d often bump in to her around Sukhumvit / Asoke / Terminal 21. It was embarrassing when she was walking with a customer but would still come over, say hi and start chatting. I don’t know if it was more awkward for me or the other guy. Interesting footnote: These guys were always young. I’d always assumed that those using the services of escorts were older guys or moneyed-up guys but from what I have seen with Bonnie that may not be the case.
She may once have been described as one of the hottest escorts around, but I imagine she is looking less glamorous and less sexy now. The last I heard was that Bonnie was pregnant to a local lad. Hopefully everything works out and she and her partner will have a long and happy family life together back in the countryside where she wants to return to.
The baby-faced Fiona was not the teenager she made herself out to be, but actually in her early 30s! Fiona spoke great English and had a calmness about her that I always thought made her well suited to being an escort. Fiona was someone who when dressed up you could be comfortable presenting at social functions, which is not something that can be said for many escorts in Bangkok for whom the term call-girl seems a more fitting term.
Fiona didn’t last long at all in the industry and was swept off her feet by a young, wealthy American who became enamoured with her. He made her an offer she couldn’t refuse and while I was previously told the details, I cannot remember them exactly but I seem to recall it involved a ring, a house and a sizeable monthly salary.
In fairness to the women of Thailand who are often chastised for accepting generous offers to stay at home and do nothing, is it really any different in the West? Would a young Western woman from the country side offered a house, a ring, lots of money and a lifestyle beyond her dreams turn it down? Unlikely! Hell, if some hot bird came along and said she was going to buy me a house and pay me a monthly salary I’d consider signing up!
The last I heard was that the happy couple was well along the path to happily ever after.
If I was a naughty boy, Nina would top my to do list. She is a woman and not a girl – and in a country where so many adult females retain a disposition more like a child than someone their age, the idea that a woman is a woman appeals to me. Nina has a genuine confidence about her and none of the false pride found in so many girls. The super sexy dancer has curves in all of the right places, a husky / sultry voice and unlike so many girls in the industry she looks you in the eye when she talks to you.
Nina disappeared from The Strip some months ago – and when that happens in this industry it usually means she has hooked up with a guy. Nina had met a good guy who she was happy with, but at the same time she felt bored and missed the excitement of being in the bar and around her friends.
In her 30s, Nina has a maturity and sensibility not commonly found amongst industry girls. She explained how she felt to her man and they agreed that she could return to work in the bar – as a mamasan and not as a dancer. Going with customers was totally out of the question, but working as mamasan was fine.
It was Nina who was there to help Miss Awkward who had a medical episode in the bar, and who looked after her, put her in the recovery position and made sure that she was taken care of.
I’m no fan of most mamasans but Nina strikes me as perfect for the role. She knows the industry and has been there done that so to speak. She knows what the girls go through and she has a personality type that makes me think she is ideal for the role. It was a shrewd appointment by The Strip whose management was keen to keep her on.
One of the most popular features of this column in 2016 was the story of Muay, the dancer at The Strip who was the victim of a savage knife attack inside the bar which left her physically scarred for life and which could have killed her. That story pulled on the heartstrings of many readers and my email inbox was flooded with messages of support, including some who pledged to help her financially.
A bit over a month after the attack Muay returned to dance. That didn’t last after she suffered an accident at home where she was burnt while cooking, curtailing her return to the bar.
Muay has left the bar and returned to her Thai boyfriend, the father of her first child. The last I heard was that she had stopped dancing at The Strip and it looks like this time it’s for good. She is a few months pregnant with her second child and hopefully this will be the impetus she needs to leave the industry once and for all.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week’s photo was taken of the British Embassy from the roof garden of the Noble Ploenchit development. I was surprised more of you didn’t get it, especially as so many have must have stopped by. This week’s isn’t too challenging…
FROM STICK’S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.)
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Where to from here?
Your opening and closing paragraphs said it all: you’re having an identity crisis, not personal but professional. And not without good reason. Thailand, well the Thailand you write about (essentially Bangkok and Pattaya), has undergone changes that would have been difficult to predict when you first started. Back then not many foreigners were looking that far in to the future; they existed in the moment. Many still do. But you understand the reality of your position: if I keep writing for my dwindling audience I’ll eventually have to become a medium. But that doesn’t translate in to site visits or revenue. I’m not offering a solution, just a few observations from my last trip in December. Older expats didn’t appear to be aging well. The middle-aged and older visiting westerners seemed fewer in number than I remember from a few years ago. The swelling number of non-western visitors – an ever-increasing number who are female and single – seek different experiences. The new male visitors tend to travel in small groups and probably have more than one Thai immigration stamp in their passport. They know exactly why they’re there and maximize their sanuk. They may make visits to Nana, Cowboy and Patpong but they’re there for the laughs and not for takeaways. They quickly move on to venues the upscale locals favour at the moment or places that specifically cater to them. The female visitors, who also travel in small groups, are there for the same reason and are as likely to find it in the show clubs off Suriwong – once the private reserve of gay males – as they are in the hi-so scene. But unlike their male counterparts, they do take away. The bottom line: visitors or expats of both sexes are unlikely to help fill the coffers of the bars that were once templates for ways to make a quick buck from farang. I don’t know where you go from here but if you can figure out how to capitalize on it, more power to you.
Immigration easier than ever.
Just a thought on something you said in your column. I actually find immigration getting easier. I do retirement extensions because they’re the least amount of work. I self-insure so there’s no problem exceeding the minimum bank balance, and I have doc files of the forms that I just change the dates on when I go in annually. So a trip to the bank for the letter and less than an hour in the immigration office and I’m done. Since they’ve instituted online 90-day reports I only have to see them once a year for the extension.
The mix of curiosity and contempt.
The biggest problem is that nobody tells you how things are beforehand. Even now, if I research like crazy, I can’t find anyone who’ll say simply what really bothers me about living in Thailand. Because really, how do you explain your experience? That at the same time you’re treated well (mostly while spending money) and how you’re discriminated against (mostly in the workplace, promotion, having your own business or even trying to better yourself through education). How do you explain that strange mix of contempt and curiosity Thai people give out when they look at you? What makes a place are its people. And it’s hard to notice that Thai people are saying no to you as a foreigner all the time because this is done gently, with a smile, a very gentle discouragement. A lot of criticisms come with a smile. It took me a while to realise that nobody ever said something nice about me and my work (surely I did something nice to someone sometime. A fluke? An accident? God knows I tried to do good). It took me a while to understand that Thai society is a can’t do society, only it’s hard to figure it out because it comes with a smile. I think a lot of foreigners mistake, “Thai people are very kind” with “Thai people are very gentle.” No doubt, Thai people are very gentle. Being gentle doesn’t mean being kind. You can be gentle to someone while gently letting them down. You can be very gentle to someone yet have no empathy for them, or helping them out when they’re having a hard time. And last but not least, and I won’t sugarcoat it – most expats in Bangkok are just fxxxing jerks.
Blocked by Starbucks.
Yesterday I was in Starbucks in Edgware Road, London. I was using their wi-fi and looking at videos of Thailand that travelers had uploaded. Plenty of information any sex tourist would find invaluable was available. The price of girls, what the girls would and wouldn’t do for money etc. Lots of nightlife videos were accessible on Starbucks wi-fi. You may wonder why, if I wanted information on Thailand, I didn’t go to Stickman. Well I would have done….if it hadn’t been blocked! It really is a crazy world we live in.
Lack of confidence in the men in white coats.
It is little wonder I sometimes get so frustrated and angry where I live. One of our dogs, Mini, developed a problem and after not eating and being listless for two days we took her to the local vet. After a ‘thorough’ five-second examination he declared she had an upset stomach and gave her a couple of injections and some pills. When she was no better after a couple of days, in fact worse, we took her back to the vet and, fortunately, found he couldn’t be bothered to open his business that day – not unusual in Thailand, where people often work only when they have nothing else to do. I say fortunately, because we had to go to a different vet who conducted a test and found she had a dangerous virus with only a 20 percent survival rate. She was put on a drip as well as given injections, and we were instructed how to administer the drip at home as that vet too – a 100-km round trip from home – would be closed the next day. We were told that if she survived until Tuesday she would be okay, and within hours of coming home she was a little more lively. So things are promising. What makes me angry is that we were told to keep her away from our other dogs – a bit late after four or five days of not having done so. So, because of the total incompetence of the first vet, we were in danger of losing all five of our dogs. It was actually no different to when a local doctor told me I had bronchitis and after I continued to get worse I was taken to another hospital and told I had severe food poisoning and would have been dead in two days. A friend who had a heart attack was told he had indigestion. I am absolutely certain that many doctors – and now vets – qualify by buying a white coat. How else to explain that they are so useless at their job. Either that, or they get through the exams they supposedly have to pass whether they are any good or not. There is a culture in Thailand that no-one is allowed to fail so that they don’t lose face.
Girl Of The Week
Gogo dancer at Billboard.
Of course Tattoo Girl is not her name or nickname, but as I don’t know it,
that is what I call her. She will appeal to those who like a lady with tattoos.
Her upper chest, all of her back, & shoulders are covered in tattoos.
Photos kindly supplied by the Nana Plaza Marketing Department.
The owner of Bangkok Bunnies cannot make his mind up. All positive about the live music venue which was set to give punters another reason to visit the plaza, the live music venue got going this week….and then stopped with the concept abandoned before it had a chance to gain traction. Word is that not only did the owner discover he wasn’t so keen on the music, the noise from inside the bar scared off those punters sitting in the outside area of the bar. I hate to say I told you so but….!
And in one of the boldest decisions made by the owner of a large gogo bar, Bangkok Bunnies is set to reinvent the wheel with all of the bar’s mamasans fired this week! In the boss’s opinion, mamasans annoy customers – and this time I agree with him. Who can argue with that?! In many bars, girls have to tip the mamasans or pay them commissions to stay in their good books – and ultimately it is the punters who pay for that. The mamasans are usually the culprits behind the forming of cliques and it can often seem like the mamasans are playing some angle or running some scam where they are working for themselves and not for the best interests of the bar. The mamasans’s skulduggery can confuse girls and contributes to a vibe that is not always one of fun. Some girls enter the industry as sweet, sometimes even innocent girls but in the space of weeks can become bitches. So often it is due to the mistreatment of the mamadragons. Bangkok Bunnies being mamasan-free brings a whole new meaning to the term girl-only bar.
Word from friends in Bangkok is that Nana and Cowboy were both buzzing this week but Patpong was off, King’s Castle 1 aside which is recapturing the glory days when Patpong was the place to go in Bangkok. So why is King’s Castle 1 all the rage again? It’s not rocket science – fill a bar with hot ladies and the punters will come.
Bob Mcindoe, the legendary barkeep from the erstwhile Hog’s Breath Saloon, the Nana Plaza bar that had a cult following, passed away this morning. Bob Mcindoe was Canadian, and was around 75 years old. He had a quadruple heart bypass operation 18 odd months ago and never fully recovered. He was hospitalised about a week ago, and apparently knew that the end was nigh so he asked to return home. Bob and his Thai wife ran two of the bars at the start of the old Sukhumvit soi 16 which later moved to Nana Plaza, Three Roses, and Rosemary’s. When the city declared eminent domain and seized the properties for demolition to accommodate the new design of the road, the Mcindoes received some sort of compensatory payment. They went up Sukhumvit to Soi 4 where they reopened Rosemary’s and the Three Roses on the second floor of the mainstream shopping centre that today is known as Nana Entertainment Plaza. Bob also opened a bar at the entrance….a bar was called Lucky Luke’s. You could say that Bob’s bars were the seminal origin of Nana Plaza. Woodstock may have been the first bar in what is now Nana Plaza but Bob’s places lay claim to be being the first girly bars. Later they would sell all three bars and open Hog’s Breath Saloon – on the middle floor of Nana Plaza, and another two branches in Hua Hin. Hog’s Breath was famous for its Sunday afternoon chili feasts. Bob would bring in a HUGE pot of chili and many loaves of sliced white bread, all of which was served at no charge. Needless to say, the bar would be full by early afternoon. The bar was known as a hangout for guys doing contractor shifts – oil workers, folks working for Bechtel, Bilfinger and Berger, Halliburton, and similar – think military guys, embassy guys, spooks and the usual assortment of Bangkok characters and old Asia hands. Many were so happy to be back in Bangkok and away from the sand that they would ring the bell. A friend in Bangkok recounts how on at least three or four occasions around 2001 or 2002 he walked in to Hog’s Breath just before 1:00 PM on a Sunday and before he even had a chance to find a seat, the bell rang. He would find a seat and a barmaid would bring him a Kloster. The staff knew every regular’s tipple. After a swig or two the bell would ring again. So now he is a few slugs through his first beer and a second bottle is sitting in front of him. And so this pattern repeats throughout the afternoon and he eventually leaves the bar without getting a chance to so much as order a drink – and he’s wasted! This happened numerous times. The beer was cheap, the contractors were rich, the times were good and they hoped it would never end. But the party would come to an end the demise of Hog’s Breath Saloon coincides with the beginning of the end of the bar scene as we knew it. Around the start of 2009, Bob’s Thai wife lost both of the Hua Hin Hog’s Breath Saloons as gambling losses. Kammy was a drunkard and gambler. And then she gambled away the farm on the Hog’s Breath in Nana Plaza. Everything was in her name, of course! Part of what was Hog’s Breath became an expansion to Angelwitch; most of it became Spanky’s – which also took over the spaces where Rosemary’s and Three Roses had been. This YouTube video is full of photos from Hog’s Breath Saloon. Rest in peace, Bob.
A new awning has replaced the dilapidated neon that no longer illuminated all of the letters that spell Cactus. Inside the Soi Cowboy bar which just like Hog’s Breath had a cult following, Cactus John has made some compromise in not joining the neon war, instead settling for new LED lighting for the stage. Inside, two decades of dust, dirt and smoke residue has been scraped away and a fresh coat of paint applied. The music has been upgraded and the play list no longer featuring hits first released before the dancers were born. The sound system needs work and sounds more like a boom box than something fitting of a Soi Cowboy bar. Cactus John says it’s all a work in progress and he is hopeful that everything will be done by Songkran. In Thailand, anticipated deadlines are at best, a wish.
Part of the reason for the date and location of the next Nanapong dance contest (February 4th @ Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy) is that it marks the anniversary of the death of the bar’s co-founder, Darel, who died on February 5 last year. Nanapong dance contests will keep Darel’s spirit alive. The 9:30 – 10:30 nightly 50-baht shot happy hour is perhaps another tribute to Darel who had this pesky habit of passing around shots and insisting you down them. He used to hate it when I tried to sneak away (I don’t care for shots and have yet to acquire a taste for Tequila). On more than a few occasions Dave The Rave would tell me to sneak my shot glass to him and he would slug it back on my behalf.
Work is progressing at the new Glamour bar on Patpong soi 2, opposite Foodland. Word is that they have completely changed the inner configuration of the bar. There is no indication as to when it will open but some time in February might be a good bet.
Still in Patpong soi 2, The Strip will host an Up In Smoke party this coming Friday, January 27th. Beer is just 70 baht before 9:00 PM and there are free glasses of bubbly.
And if you find yourself in Nana Plaza this coming Friday, Mandarin A Gogo is celebrating Chinese New Year with a Red Hot Bunny Party. The smokin’ Mandarin maidens will be shaking their bunny tails while you chow (mein) down on a free buffet and win prizes for each drink you buy. Mandarin’s bunny parties are always a red hot ticket, so get there early!
At the corner of Sukhumvit Road and soi 6 is a huge vacant plot that has been empty for as long as anyone can remember. That is empty apart from the vegetation. That plot of land must be worth a fortune and I can only hazard a guess at just how much. A couple of billion baht / 60 million US dollars, perhaps? That’s my best guess. It has become overgrown again. Every so often a small team comes along and cuts everything down. But this is the tropics and it grows back in record time and the cycle repeats a few months later when the team comes back and cuts it down again. It doesn’t matter how well they clear the land, it all grows back again. It’s currently overgrown and looks like a long, straggly overgrown beard in desperate need of a trim.
Many Thais will tell you how much they love eating and how food in Thailand is so good. Many genuinely believe that the food served in Thailand (both Thai and foreign) is better than what you get elsewhere. But I wonder if Thais are the foodies they believe themselves to be. I think many Thais – particularly employed middle-class Bangkokians – are actually bored and one of the main reasons they are so big on food is that it is the one thing that alleviates the boredom, something that they get simple pleasure from and something they can look forward to multiple times a day. I think they may mistakenly believe it’s because the food is so good (which it may be) rather than the fact that there are things missing in their life and they seek pleasure from food as opposed to doing other things.
If you enter Thailand without a visa and are travelling on a Western passport you may be given a brief photocopied information sheet that states that travellers can only enter Thailand twice per year at land border points without a visa. I mentioned this because some readers emailed this week to say that the visa rules are not changing (it’s true that for some types of visa, there haven’t been any changes) but for sure, things are getting tighter, especially for those who come and go regularly and do not have a visa.
When 100,000 baht is stolen from a Pattaya restaurant, staff go to news organisations instead of the police who have been unhelpful when similar has happened previously.
Thai police hunt an HIV+ bisexual Czech allegedly spreading the disease in Thailand.
Visa incentives may continue in an effort to attract more visitors to offset the drop in Chinese tourists after the crackdown on zero-dollar tours.
Sunbelt Legal Advisors is here to answer all of your legal questions related to life in Thailand. Send any questions you have to me and I will forward them to Sunbelt for their expert opinion.
Question 1: I am planning to apply for a retirement visa and currently have over 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account. However, these funds have been deposited in Thailand from employment in Thailand. I have read that for a retirement visa, funds need to be sourced from outside Thailand. Does this mean I can’t use these funds when applying and therefore need to make arrangements to transfer additional funds from a bank account held outside Thailand? Also, I am wondering if I can transfer from a non-immigrant education visa to a retirement visa or do I need a tourist visa before applying?
Sunbelt Legal responds: If you already have an existing visa then you do not need to show proof that the money has come from abroad you just need to have a letter from the bank that the money has been there for more than 60 days along with a copy of the bank book.
You will need to cancel your ED visa with a letter from the educational institute stating the end date of your education. They should also provide you a signed and stamped copy of their license and the ID of the director. Once you have these and the letter from the bank, you can go to your local Immigration office to cancel the visa and apply for a retirement visa. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors has extensive experience in converting to retirement visas and can assist in this process.
Question 2: I signed a one-year lease on a brand-new condo in Ari a few months ago. It turns out that many of the units in the building have yet to be built out and there is construction noise on a daily basis, even sometimes on weekends. I work from home during the day and am finding the constant drilling and hammering to be intolerable. Do I have any legal recourse for getting out of my lease early (and salvaging my security deposit)?
Sunbelt Legal responds: Whether or not you can get out early depends on the lease agreement. If you had inspected the condo prior to signing and the juristic person had assured you that there was no more construction then the condo owner has proven to be negligent and you as the lessee would be able to end the contract and get your deposit back. However, if you had seen that the condo was still under construction then you would not automatically get your deposit back unless something is mentioned specifically in the lease agreement. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors has a team of experienced lawyers who can review your lease agreement to see if there is a possibility of recovering your deposit.
2016 saw a number of Bangkok and Pattaya bar figures pass away, and alas, we’re not even a month in to the new year and already we have lost another with Bob Macindoe succumbing. While it isn’t proper to predict anyone’s demise, talk in some circles concerns who is going to be next. There are a couple of prime candidates. It’s so sad when you see someone deteriorating and they spurn your attempts to help them. I fear that this year’s toll could exceed last year’s. I don’t normally wish for it, but I truly hope that I am wrong about this.
Your Bangkok commentator,