Stickman's Weekly Column May 24th, 2020

Choosing To Be Single



Many attractive, desirable Thai women are single. Most would make a great life partner, but they have chosen to be single. It’s a lifestyle choice and in some cases, a lifetime choice.

It wasn’t always this way. Not all that long ago, Thai women choosing to remain single was almost unheard of. Most were very anxious to find a good man who would put a ring on their finger so they could settle down and enjoy family life.

Soon after I moved in to my first condo in Bangkok I got word that all of the reception staff were single. They were all attractive. And all of them were university-educated. They each had plenty going for them, and I bet any one of them would have made a great wife. I got the message – as did other residents – that they were all interested (in something serious). Settling down was the last thing on my mind at that time.

Back then you would often hear how Thai women were desperate to be married before they hit 30. Many would be getting quite anxious come their mid to late 20s if they were not in a serious relationship.

Why is it that today so many Thai women are choosing to be single?

Changes in Thai society have shaken things up. Thai women get a good education and the doors are open to them for the best jobs. They can make a good living and they don’t need the security that a man can provide. Many have come to see that life just might be better staying single.

Thai women university graduates far outnumber Thai men and many of the better, higher-paying and high-status jobs are taken by Thai women. With women earning much the same as men, it is having an effect on relationships.

As Thai women earn more, many really don’t like the idea of being involved with a guy who earns less (or even around about the same amount or only a little more) than they do.

Some of the other half’s friends tell me the guys who can offer them something are either taken already, or out of their league. It’s all very matter of fact.

With the ability to make their own way in the world, modern Thai women today are more confident and are much more independent than their older sisters. Not only are they choosing to stay single, the confidence that being able to look after themselves and not rely on a man makes them less attractive to many Thai men who often prefer a woman with a more feminine, demure character.

Thai women have always been of strong character – and now they embrace it and are not shy to show it.

But it’s not just about themselves. There are traits in some Thai men the modern Thai woman is less willing to accept. The whole mia noi thing is still an issue – and is one many modern Thai women are not willing to accept.

If she has an itch and wants it scratched, she goes out and finds a guy up for it. That doesn’t mean she wants a relationship with him, nor a ring on her finger.

It is quite normal for attractive Thai women who have their shit together to be single these days, and stay that way for a long time. If she can look after herself, why bother with all of the hassles, responsibilities and – to use the word I hear them say often – limitations that come with being in a relationship?

As Thai women become more independent, more are choosing to stay single. What effect this will have on white guy / Thai woman dating and relationships in the future, I really don’t know.


Billboard Bangkok
 

Mystery Photo

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Last week’s photo was taken next to the Chongnonsee BTS station, looking towards Silom Road. Does this week’s look familiar to you?


Nana Plaza
 

Stick’s inbox – the best emails from the past week.

The mystery of the Biergarten.

A friend who lives up the soi from the Biergarten tells me that in recent days the lights have been on inside the Biergarten, which suggests that either some staff are living there or maybe they are starting to clear it out and strip it down. I hope the former. The “BG” is a sad and sorry spectre of its former self, and has deserved endless ridicule the past decade. The strange thing is, I have absolutely no idea who runs it, and neither does anyone else I know. Some of the staff have been there a long time but there is no obvious manager or owner making themselves known. There is a rather sad old German guy who for years has sat on a lounge chair outside (in his bare feet), occasionally getting up to walk around the bar. He never greets or speaks to anyone and I always thought he might be the owner or manager, but I hear he’s just a punter. For all I know, the BG just plods along by itself.

The long flight and an ageing body.

I hate flying. I am six feet, one inch tall, the seats got smaller and I got older. It’s 27 hours from Houston to Bangkok and misery all the way. Time was I could finagle an exit row seat and stretch out but they charge for those now. I’m way past the boom boom scene so why be there when I can be stretching out in Houston sipping wine and watching Netflix? The last few times my wife went without me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be back to Thailand.

The hassles of international travel.

I’m worried about how international travel will become as well. I originally had planned to make 4 trips to the US every year so I can visit my 88-year old mom while she’s still around. Now who knows how many more times I’ll be able to tolerate visiting due to travel requirements.

A holiday, not SAS selection.

Whilst I’m gagging to get back to Bangkok, it’s not at any cost. Like you, I could probably put up with a bit of an increase in flight prices and much as I don’t like them, maybe having to wear a mask on board. But a no hand luggage policy and a blood test on departure would be a complete no-no for me. I’m a travel minimalist and only travel with hand luggage. And like you, the thought of planning a trip, booking leave, a (probably) expensive flight, only to have to be held in suspense, possibly for quite some time for the results of an intrusive test and then risk being sent home is a non-starter! And until further notice we’re subject to two weeks quarantine upon returning to the UK which would make it a non-starter for most. It’s supposed to be a holiday, not SAS selection! And that’s all before you even get to Bangkok. Once in Thailand there may be other restrictions in place. Wearing of masks quite likely and the possibility of hotels not allowing unregistered guests. Having to give your details upon entry to every bar is another massive turn-off for me. And of course this is all assuming there is any significant nightlife left in the first place. The longer this goes on, the larger the question mark.

Why no carry-on luggage?

Couldn’t agree more on what a ball-ache flying is at the best of times. Hopefully the new measures being mooted will be for the early birds who can’t wait to travel again. Scratching my head about hand luggage though. There’s plenty of space for it if the planes have less passengers. Is it deemed infectious?

Lots of rules, many not enforced.

Regarding the “future” of international travel, governments will put in place (if they haven’t already) all kinds of bullshit rules and orders – as you said, mask requirements, temperature checks on the resumption of flights. I predict that within 30 days, 99% of it will be ignored, as is the norm in most places. Airline travel? Airlines will make all these grand promises about extra cleaning and social distancing and wearing masks on planes. They already have – all US airlines require masks to be worn on planes until further notice. Except they don’t. Two airlines (American and United) have informed their crews (pilots and flight attendants) not to enforce the rule. Instead, just politely educate, since there are exemptions for children (proper fit) and various medical reasons – and the airlines don’t want to get sued or be liable for causing issues. Social distancing? No way you’re going to have an airline fly with 6 foot distancing rules – you could fit maybe 18 people on a flight. The US airlines will allow you to move around to distance yourself if there are empty seats and they did say they would leave middle seats in economy open – until someone buys them, and they have been selling all seats (due to cuts in flight frequency, the remaining planes are packed full).

No glamour at 30,000 feet.

Totally agree with your thoughts on air travel. Long since has the glamour of air travel disappeared. At one time people would dress neatly and be on their best behaviour. Now it’s thongs, and singlets to show off their newly acquired cheap tattoos, and that’s just the woman. Once in flight, being loud and acting like pigs. For me now long haul flights are something to be dreaded.


Spankys Nana Plaza Bangkok
 

Things remain grim in the expat areas of Bangkok as bars are still shut and not allowed to open, while restaurants which are allowed to open are for the most part doing miserable dine-in trade. Friends going out for a bite tell me that they have the restaurant all to themselves and the atmosphere is little different to being alone in their condo.

Casanova is one of the oldest chrome pole bars in Bangkok, and the longest running ladyboy bar in Nana Plaza. Add it to the archives of Bangkok bar history – Casanova is the latest victim in the bar industry of Covid-19 and will not be reopening.

The owners of Mandarin in Nana Plaza are undecided on whether they will reopen and are very much 50:50 at this stage. The final decision largely depends on what happens with other bars they also run.

So at this stage, the bars in Nana Plaza that have confirmed they will not be opening when the bar industry finally gets the green light to resume are: Casanova, Rainbow 1, Rainbow 3, Mercury, PlaySkool and London Calling. And to that list you can add the large beer bar out the front of Nana Plaza on Soi Nana itself, Hilary 4. I’ll look at this in much more detail in next week’s column.

There was reason for optimism this week after rumblings from those in power that if infection rates stay low, bars may be allowed to reopen before too long. Those who love to speculate say that beer bars and other bars with an open frontage may be allowed to open before enclosed bars. It is all speculation at this stage and that one I personally don’t agree with. My best guess is that bars will reopen no later than July (while international flights in to Thailand from most places are still some time away, I imagine).

Readers I have engaged with on the topic of when the bars open disagree with me and my timeline. It seems I am amongst a minority who think the bars will open “soon”. If the present trajectory of Covid-19 numbers in Thailand continues, in just a few weeks Thailand will have very few active Covid-19 cases and with the borders closed, the virus is essentially contained – especially when you consider that Thailand hospitalises those with the disease which is a very effective way to prevent further transmission. With so few infected people, why would bars not be able to reopen? Factor in that more than a few bars are owned by people in power, I can’t see them staying shut for that much longer.

On the issue of when the bars reopen, a thoughtful and insightful article ran on the site earlier in the week that offers a lot of food for thought about just how things will be. “How Thailand’s Bars Reopen: Say Goodbye to Anonymity” is definitely worth reading if the bars are your playground.

Following the opening of a branch on Silom Road, Texas Chicken will open another branch at Times Square in the spot on the ground floor where the KFC branch used to be.

Is it any wonder that some expats feel that Thais look at them as the source of Covid-19 in Thailand when there are posters like this. Around parts of the capital these posters entirely in English and featuring a Western family reinforce the idea that Covid-19 was brought in by foreigners. I wonder how well such a poster would be received in the West featuring an Asian-looking family, Chinese script and a similar message?

 

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Photo supplied by a reader.

 

For those of you in Thailand, is your Mrs concerned about you going out when the bars and massage shops reopen? How would she feel about you going out for a (decent) massage? Would she be ok with that? My other half has said a number of times that if we were in Thailand at the moment she would be very nervous of me going out to the bars. She knows it’s a necessary evil (her words, not mine) for me to go out to the bars. But she is not so forgiving when it comes to a rub-down. “Get a massage and don’t bother coming home”, she tells me, as she worries about the risk of contracting Covid-19.

I am not in to drugs, never have been and never will be. Illicit drugs aren’t my thing, and I’m also anti legal pharmaceuticals. I just don’t like the idea of putting chemicals in my body. But if you wish to use them, that’s your choice and it’s none of my business. A reader suggested I mention one of the dangers of using drugs in Thailand. He is a regular user of marijuana but quit recently after his dealer tried to soft-extort him for a 100K baht “loan”. Said dealer said he knew someone who recently had to pay the police 500K baht for possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use. The inference was clear…pay me otherwise you might get a knock on the door. Get involved with drugs in Thailand and you’re dealing with the devil. Thais think nothing about dobbing folks in to the police, even if they were part of it. Said reader knew his supposedly trusted dealer for 2 years and then this happened. Is it worth the risk?

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a Bangkok gogo bar manager had been asking customers for money. Now the shoe really is on the other foot with said foreign gogo bar manager asking some of the girls who worked in the bar he managed for money because he is, allegedly, broke. Maybe he would have been better off playing a game of cards?

 

soi-cowboy-neon-2015

Which foreign bar manager is asking gogo dancers for money?

 

Down in Pattaya, the popular Pig And Whistle Pub in soi 7 off Beach Road will reopen as The Big And Whistle.

While the bars remain closed in Thailand, Vietnam has opened up domestically after 28 days of no socially contracted virus infections. People are out and about as if nothing has happened and the bars are said to be full of happy expats and locals. Vietnam still has zero deaths connected to Covid-19, an amazing achievement.

And over the border in Cambodia, the hostess bars are open but lights outside the bars are out. Trade is said to be lousy.

Speaking of Cambodia, how many expats leave (or should I say flee?) Thailand for Cambodia and things work out for them? Over the years a number of expats in Thailand have found themselves in a situation in Thailand and have taken off in a hurry to Cambodia. Maybe it was a relationship that went bad or perhaps they ran out of money? Fleeing legal proceedings is another favourite. For how many of these people who left Thailand in a hurry or under suspicious circumstances have things actually worked out? Many of these guys were nobodies but some had a profile. I think of a guy like Derek who ran The Wanking Frog pub in Sukhumvit soi 7 who headed for Cambodia 10+ years ago. Whatever happened to him? And what happened to some of the others who left in a hurry? Sure, some expats have done well in Cambodia – I imagine most went there with a plan and weren’t on the run from Thailand. For those who left Thailand in a hurry – and there have been many – I wonder how things worked out.

 

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How do former Thailand expats fare in Cambodia?

 

It is often mooted in the news and in the forums / on social media that Thailand will open up its borders to the Chinese first with other nationalities to follow later. The Thais could easily explain this by saying that China eliminated the virus before other countries but that would only be part of the story. Obviously China accounts for about one third of all visitors to Thailand and the tourism industry is moving towards accommodating Chinese as best they can, often, it is felt, at the expense of others. I wonder how people will feel if Thailand does open up to the Chinese first. Given China is where the virus came from and given the enormous cost to the world due to the havoc caused by the virus, how will this be received by non-Chinese, I wonder?

The Thai embassy in Wellington posted to the local Facebook group for Thais in New Zealand this week, announcing a second repatriation flight for Thais keen to return home. The post included various details about the flight which I found interesting. The cost of putting on the flight was said to be 11 million baht and the entire cost of the flight would have to be paid for by passengers. The ticket price would be calculated by the cost of the flight (11 million baht) divided by the number of passengers. The minimum number of passengers to make it viable is 150. If there were, for example, 160 passengers, the cost per person would be 68,750 baht. If there were 200 passengers, the cost is a still very steep 55,000 baht per person. Thais were not impressed at the high price, especially when compared to the price Thais in Sydney pay on a similar flight home organised by the Thai Embassy in Canberra, which was just $AUD 1,290. When these respective flights arrive in Bangkok they have 14 days quarantine – which they also have to pay for.

 

vitamin-iv-booster

 

Reader’s story of the week comes from RPJ, “How Thailand’s Bars Reopen: Say Goodbye to Anonymity“.

Quote of the week comes from a reader, “Wearing a mask under the nose is like using a condom and wrapping it around your testicles.”

A blog on escort site Smooci asked how Covid19 will change the sex work industry.

John the Yorkshireman has made every mistake in the book in Pattaya.

Thai massage may reopen soon – but for massage from the waist down only.

Khao San Road gets a spruce-up in preparation for foreign visitors returning.

Bloomberg looked at Thailand’s stock market valuation during these troubled times.

Thailand looks at strategies to woo back Chinese visitors.

 

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Wellington this week, not the thriving little capital it was just a few months ago.

I pride myself on my email management. If you send me an email you will get a reply – and it won’t be merely a pre-written copied and pasted acknowledgement. I enjoy engaging with readers and some of these exchanges give me ideas for topics to write about. A brief mention of something may be all that is needed to sow the seed in my mind for a column opener. And in these times of not a lot happening, I sure appreciate new ideas of topics to write about. So if you do have some feedback to the column or simply have something Thailand-related on your mind, drop me an email and who knows, you might just put an idea in my head for an upcoming column.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick can be contacted at : [email protected]