Stickman's Weekly Column October 25th, 2020

Thai Women & Friendships



Thai women may be known for their friendliness towards foreign men, but they really struggle to form friendships with foreign women. Why does it seem to be so difficult for Thai women to mix with foreign women, especially outside of Thailand?

Here in New Zealand, all the Thai women I know only have other Thai women as their friends. Not one Thai woman I know in New Zealand has a genuine friendship with a Kiwi woman. When they do have a non-Thai friend, it is more often than not another Asian immigrant, most often another South-East Asian.

While I don’t know any Thai women here in New Zealand who have a genuine friendship with a local Kiwi woman (of any ethnicity), some do have genuine(ly platonic) friendships with a Kiwi guy. Despite working with colleagues and living amongst Kiwis, Thai / Kiwi female relationships just don’t seem to be a thing.

Why is it that so many Thai women outside of Thailand just don’t seem to have non-Thai friends? And to be clear, I am not only talking Thai women who are recent arrivals but Thais with dual citizenship who speak English to a good standard i.e. language is no barrier.

Thinking about it, there seem to be two main reasons why these friendships don’t bloom.

Many Thais – especially those aged 30+ –just  don’t have a curious mind and as harsh as it sounds, many are just not that interested in anything non-Thai. Oh, they want to visit all of New Zealand’s hot spots and they want to try all the best restaurants and whatnot, but usually to tick the box and say they have done it. Ultimately they gravitate back to everything Thai. Even here in New Zealand, some 10,000 km from their homeland, Thais socialize with other Thais and for many the local Thai temple is their social hub. They gossip chat about what is happening in the local Thai community. Most not only closely follow what is going on in Thailand, many don’t give a shit have little interest in what is happening in their host country unless it has a direct effect on them, such as changes in visa rules or new government allowances they may be eligible for.

The average Thai comes across as disinterested in things that aren’t Thai – and that doesn’t help when making friends with locals.

Of course, part of the issue is the local Kiwi women. Plenty of New Zealand-born women seem to have little interest in being friends with Asian women. There is definitely a preconception about Asian women – and it isn’t positive. And this is not lost on Thai women. Quite the contrary, they pick up on it real fast.

Do Western women still feel threatened by Asian females? Are they worried that their husband might show an interest in an Asian woman or somehow be stolen by her? I guess that prejudice is still going strong.

This can be an issue for the local boyfriend / husband of the Thai woman.

As we get older, for men to become friends it helps if their respective wives / other halves become friends too – or at the very least are on good terms. In Thailand that’s easy because most Western guys living in Thailand have a Thai partner. Outside of Thailand that’s not the case. Here in Kiwiland, a lot of Kiwi guys with a Thai Mrs. fall in to social circles with other Kiwi guys with Thai wives in this weird microcosm of Thai culture in the West.

Or do I have it all wrong and this is not a Thai woman thing at all, but simply that we prefer to hang out with our own kind? As a middle-class, middled-aged, white guy, all of my friends – both here in New Zealand and in Thailand – are white guys. That’s not to say I have anything against the idea of having Thai friends or black friends or whatever friends, but I tend to make friendships with those similar to myself.

It doesn’t actually bother me that we’re shunned by those who aren’t interested in being friendly with a couple where she is Asian. If that’s a problem for them, no doubt other stuff will soon be too and we’re better off not having them as friends.

Since moving back to New Zealand from Thailand I have found that my social circles haven’t got a lot bigger – and I believe it’s because the other half is Thai. The couples we have become friendly with are mostly other Kiwi / Thai couples.

But perhaps this shouldn’t come as any great surprise. Few foreign men in Thailand I know have a genuine friendship with local Thai men – so using that logic, why should Thai women in Farangland be any different?

Thais just aren’t that comfortable away from their own kind, and just don’t seem to mix well with others. Thais forming genuine friendships with non-Thais seems to be very much the exception rather than the norm.

 


Billboard Bangkok
 

Mystery Photo

where-photo

Last week’s photo was taken at the Asoke skytrain station when it was closed due to the street protests in the area. It was provided by my old friend Big Greg. This week’s photo was kindly provided by a reader. Where is it?


Nana Plaza
 

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

A Covid solution to a Thai family problem.

A Swedish / Thai couple I know visit Thailand every year for 5 or 6 weeks. Demands from her family for gifts and contributions, and the time the couple are expected to devote to family activities all become tiresome. I talked to them this week and they are somewhat relieved that they can’t go to Thailand this year.

How to impress a Thai maiden.

Your other half made an interesting comment about Westerners only wanting to talk about themselves to Thai women. I’ve long taken the opposite path and made a point of asking them about themselves, their family etc. It makes them feel that you are interested in them, they find that flattering, and always respond positively. If you want to impress a Thai girl then that is the path to take. And not just Thai girls. Surely it applies everywhere. Make her number one, not you.

Farang love talking about themselves.

I too have experienced farang talking non-stop about themselves to other farang. Even in email. Most emails I receive from other farang are all about themselves, the house they built, how beautiful their Thai lady is etc. Very rare to have a genuine two-way conversation to discuss our common interest of farang life in Thailand. For this and other reasons I’m about to give up on contact with my fellow farang. Looks to me like many other long-stay farang already have given up. Sad, eh?

A window on Sukhumvit.

Last Saturday night, I went into Bully’s for a burger at a little after seven, the first time I’d been in there in over six months. It wasn’t very busy, maybe six or eight people in and out during the two hours or so I was there, but that’s not what surprised me. The showstopper was that I sat in that front booth by the window looking out at the sidewalk along Sukhumvit and I’d bet you not a total twenty-five people walked past in the almost two hours I was sitting there. Heck, last year you’d see twenty-five people on that sidewalk in a single glance out the window, but now ten minutes or more would pass without a single human-being in sight. Not one. It was bizarre. Almost frightening. Like something bad had happened out there and I was the last to know about it.
When I finished eating, it was a little after nine — this was on a Saturday, remember — and I thought I’d walk down to Nana Plaza and see just how quiet it was over there. That turned out to be one of the strangest experiences of my life. In the walk up Sukhumvit and then right on Soi Nana all the way to the entrance of the Plaza, I saw not one single farang face. Not one. The line of motorcycle taxi boys was in place at the corner, on the other side of the soi the food vendors were set up as always between the police box and the entrance (although there were fewer of them), and a scattering of girls were in their usual slots in the Nana parking lot. But it was if a neutron bomb had wiped out all the visitors and simply left all these people standing around like extras waiting around a movie set. It was downright eerie.
I felt so conspicuous being the only potential customer in sight that I turned around without actually going through the entrance into the Plaza and turned around to head back up the soi. When I did, I walked up Soi Nana all the way from the Plaza to Sukhumvit — not on the sidewalk, but right in the middle of the street — and I didn’t encounter a single car or tuk-tuk or even a bike. I was alone in the middle of Soi Nana at 9:30 PM on a Saturday night with the motorcycle taxi boys and the food vendors and the hookers gathered on both sides of the soi just staring vacantly at me. You could have shot a horror movie right there without changing a thing.

It’s not just the bars hurting.

The thing that struck me of the photo of a quiet Soi Cowboy was not only that the bars are suffering, but the lack of urchin businesses that thrived on foot traffic. From the roaming vendor who wove bracelets, to the body piercer, the souvenir / dress vendors and all the food vendors, the whole armada of vendors who moved in at closing time. I imagine some of the more mobile carts have scoured the city looking for a new spot, but what about the less fortunate fixed businesses like the mom and pop shop across from Lighthouse? And how about the Polaroid guy at Patpong?

Is Thailand really the best place for YOU to retire?

It never ceases to amaze me the number of foreigners who don’t enjoy heat, Thai food, non-romantic relationships with Thais, learning to read / write / speak Thai, who are distrustful of Thai healthcare and annoyed by Thailand’s lack of developed-world order, yet insist on living / retiring in Thailand! It just tickles me that so many try to recreate their home country conditions in Thailand. I mean, if you are an American who likes temperate weather, western food, noise ordinances and reliable, world class healthcare, Colorado (among other places) is calling. But hey, to each his own.

 

Girl Of The Week

Patty, Spanky’s, Nana Plaza

23 years old, from Sa Kaeo
Patty likes tattoos, fast motorbikes and rock n roll.

 

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Spankys Nana Plaza Bangkok
 

 

loy-krathong-spankys-2020

 

I don’t know about your corner of the world but here in New Zealand the street protests in Bangkok have received almost no press at all and have been drowned out by the latest reports of Covid-19, along with the Trump & Biden show. The protests on Bangkok’s streets have been terribly disruptive for businesses and are the latest round of bad news for Bangkok business owners. As protests took place simultaneously at various locations around the city (the Asoke intersection, right next to Soi Cowboy being one such location, some days), the skytrain and the underground were shut down. That made getting around the city a whole lot trickier and no doubt caused many expats to stay home. The word from business owners was unanimous – trade on Sukhumvit earlier this past week might just have been the worst the bar industry has seen in decades.

In Pattaya, on week nights and non-event weekends, business is dire. Bar openings and closures are happening so fast it’s hard to keep up. Amongst the big-name bars, Sensations has reopened and Bliss has closed. And owners of multiple bars seem to be rotating which venues they open, in some cases doing renovations on the closed ones.

But down in Pattaya the past couple of days have been busy as expats from Bangkok and elsewhere flocked to Sin City for the long weekend. Some hotels put up the full sign, bars are doing good trade and it feels a little like the Pattaya of old. Enjoy it while it lasts.

To be fair, while the past week was not great in Bangkok it’s not all doom and gloom and there are bars in Bangkok making money. Just what the situation is in any one bar is hard to know. One bar doing ok is Suzie Wong where the manager confirms that they are breaking even. Well done, you can call that a win in the current climate. Readers tell me that Suzie Wong is up there with Kazy Kozy and Baccara as the bars to go to on Soi Cowboy at this time.

Also on Soi Cowboy, if you find yourself out on Wednesday nights then make sure you drop by Lighthouse where customer drinks are just 100 baht all night long.

 

erotica-loy-krathong-halloween

Erotica babes decked out ready for Loy Krathong AND Halloween which fall on the same day this year.

 

Reports of the demise of Krazy Kozy are greatly exaggerated. In fact, on Thursday – the night before the Chulalongkorn Day holiday – it was Soi Cowboy’s busiest bar. Krazy Kozy has seen a surge in both customer and girl numbers, with small groups of Japanese guys doing what Japanese guys do: pull a few girls off stage and make their own private party in the corners. The bar has seen the return of a number of dancers from upcountry who found they just weren’t making any money or having any fun in Isaan. On Thursday about 20 girls were on hand, more than double a few weeks ago. Krazy Kozy has started a nightly drink promotion with all local beers just 100 baht until midnight.

Still on Soi Cowboy, you might also want to drop by the flashest bar on Soi Cowboy, Oasis, and ask for a Bangkok Fun Card which are being given away. With the card, pints of Heineken, Tiger, Chang, Asahi and Federbrau are just 89 baht all day, all night. This deal is only available to cardholders – so make sure you get one. The card can be used at other bars in the Stumble Inn Group and entitles you to various discounts and special promotions.

For Brits bemoaning the sorry state of the Pound, you now have reason to celebrate. You can now buy a pint of draught beer for one lowly quid at The Old English Pub. Every day from 2 – 3 PM weekdays and 1 – 2 PM at the weekend you can get a pint for a pound at the only British-style pub in Thonglor. How much is that in real money? 40 baht for an ice-cold draught pint of Leo beer. In addition to this “Crazy Hour”, The Old English still has its all-day happy hour, with pints of draught Asahi for 129 baht (1/2 pint 85 baht, 690 baht tower), and pints of Hoegaarden for 179 baht (1/2 pint 99 baht), and, from 10 AM to 7 PM, bottles of domestic beer are 99 baht each and there are half-priced cocktails. The best drink deal at the Old English is on Wednesdays which is a throwback to the old Wednesday nights at The Londoner when it’s buy 1, get 1 free on all drinks from 5 PM until the end of the night.

Further down Sukhumvit, many of the smaller massage shops on soi 33 are closed. A lot of the closed venues were popular with Japanese and Korean men.

 

soi33-massage

Many of the naughty massage shops on soi 33 have closed.

 

Soi Nana is said to be a mess at the moment – that is the actual road surface. Work has been carried out on the pipes to improve drainage – which it seems didn’t work so well with the soi flooding badly the week before last. The issue is that a new surface has yet to be laid on the soi and readers tell me that currently Soi Nana is a right mess.

In recent weeks I have talked up Nana Plaza as the one bar area that has something of a vibe. That is reflected with work taking place on a couple of new bars, one of which has opened. Relocated from its long-time location on the stairway to heaven in Nana Plaza, Erotica has taken over the space that was previously Playskool and the new bar is now known as Playskool Erotica. To celebrate, Playskool Erotica is rolling out a series of special promotions through until year’s end, the first of which rewards guests who follow the bar on the Line messaging app. Follow Playskool Erotica on Line and get an e-coupon offering you a free drink when you buy a lady drink. Click this link for more details. And for those on a budget, Tiger draft is 90 baht for half a pint, all night long. I am informed that Playskool Erotica currently has some very attractive dancers.

Still in Nana Plaza, progress is slow in the bar that was Rainbow 1 which closed a few months ago and the lease was taken over by a new leasee. One imagines that the new operators – who have other properties in the plaza – aren’t in a great hurry to get the new fit-out done while trade is at current levels.

Party season is around the corner and the last two days I was bombarded with emails from bar owners keen to get the word out. This year Halloween and Loy Krathong fall on the same day. So what is a bar to do? Throw a Loy Krathong night, or a Halloween party?

 

halloween-crystal-club-pattaya

 

In Pattaya, Crystal Club on Soi LK Metro will throw both a Halloween party and a Loy Krathong party at the same time! How can they manage that? This coming Saturday, October 31st, outside Crystal Club will be the traditional Loy Krathong revelry with palm trees and the PR girls done out in traditional garb. Inside the bar will be a Halloween theme. Also inside the bar the renowned Crystal Catz showgirls will be doing special shows. If you find yourself in town, do drop by.

In Bangkok, no bar does Halloween like Angelwitch and this year Nana Plaza’s original show bar is celebrating with traditional thrills and a new twist on a traditional bottle promotion. Decorated year round with bats and skeletons, Angelwitch will have all its girls in full All Hallows Eve costume. All customers who show up in costume or with Halloween makeup will receive a free Spooky Shot. Order a bottle and the fun really starts. With every bottle of spirits 750 ml or larger, two ladies will join you free for the rest of your time in the bar and at your own private after-party. Note: that includes 2 x free barfines which are usually 900 baht each. Not included are mixers, condoms, tips etc.

Next door from Angelwitch, Spanky’s will throw a Loy Krathong party. If you haven’t been out to Nana Plaza for a while, this coming Saturday sounds like it could be a great night out.

And over in Patpong, Black Pagoda will celebrate Halloween with what they’re calling a Crazy Halloween Weekend. There will be a free welcome shot, bottle promotions, spooky decorations and more. The party takes place on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st.

Just a stone’s throw away, XXX Lounge on Patpong soi 2 will also throw a Halloween party. Their offer of free zombie sperm shots all night long doesn’t sound the most appetising, it must be said. Which genius came up with that name for a drink?!

And still on Patpong soi 2, Glamour will celebrate Halloween on Saturday night. The party kicks off at 8 PM with the bar decorated and the girls decked out in Halloween-themed outfits. I’ve always liked Glamour and I’m sure it will be a fun night.

 

black-pagoda-halloween

 

Popular Pattaya publican Mister Egg and another bar boss from Soi LK Metro both came down with dengue fever in recent weeks. Mister Egg collapsed in hospital and the other bar boss collapsed in the bar causing a frenzy as an ambulance was called to cart him off to the krankenhaus. Both have recovered. Word from the hospital is that there has been a big outbreak of dengue this rainy season.

Thai men going out to places where women are available may refer to the women as “dek” – which just so happens to be the Thai word for child. When used in this context, dek means hooker, and not child. Don’t go translating the word dek literally and think that Thai men going out for a naughty are looking for a child. They are not.

The Big Mango by Jake Needham was first published 20 odd years ago and remains one of my favourite novels set in Bangkok. I know many feel the same way. “There’s no room for improvement”, Bernard Trink wrote in the Bangkok Post when it came out and, “It’s as good as it gets.” Reading it now is almost like a trip back to Bangkok in the late 90’s, a time and place much missed by many. Jake is offering a free e-book copy of The Big Mango to anyone who adds their email address to the list of readers who receive the occasional emails he calls his Letters From Asia. I’ve been on Jake’s readers’ list for years and enjoy his commentaries from Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He doesn’t write all that often but when he does he always has something interesting to say. Add your email address to Jake’s readers list here and he will email you a link to download a free copy of The Big Mango.

 

the-big-mango

 

Remote working is becoming more of a thing as some people prefer to work from home, avoid contact with others which reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19. When Thailand’s border reopens could we see more people relocate to Thailand while still working for an employer on the other side of the world? This is nothing new and people are doing this already but could it become even more of a thing?

I don’t want to sound like I am revelling in the chaos of the Bangkok street protests because I am not, but at the same time I have to admit that I have enjoyed following them. It doesn’t feel anything like the other protests going back to 2006. This time around the protesters are better organised, and their message is clear. In interviews, protesters have delivered their message with humour and are winning over the neutrals with charm. On that note, some of the slogans the protesters have come up with are clever. Many young Thais have used sarcasm, impressive in a country where sarcasm isn’t really a thing. Many signs, particularly those in English, are filled with double-entendres and not infrequently, sexual innuendo. “I don’t like dictator but I do like dick!” was on a sign held high by one attractive protester. A couple of times this past week we stayed up late Kiwi time (we’re currently 6 hours ahead of Thailand) to watch the protests live on Thai TV. At times it felt like a game of chess – where the protesters were a grandmaster and the boys in brown a mere amateur.

 

wrong-generation

Protesters leave a message at a BTS station.

 

This Week’s News-Feed / Thailand-Related News Articles

Reader’s story of the week comes from Michael Cameron in Amphur Meuang, “Living in Rural Thailand, So What….

Businesses in the tourism industry are hopeful visitors will be back before too long.

A Kiwi teacher makes the tough decision to leave Thailand after 13 years there.

Thailand is feeling economic pain from the latest round of protests.

Voyeurs are selling photos of women at the protest online.

A young German is caught with greenhouses and marijuana plants at his Chiang Mai property.

Foreigners will be allowed to fly back in to the Philippines from next week.

The SCMP summarised where things are at with the current round of Bangkok protests.

 

bar-streaming-thailand

Live-streaming from the bars has taken off recently.

Next week I plan to write in more detail about the phenomenon of live streaming from bars. I still can’t get my head around it while at the same time it is taking off and there is real money being made from it – considerably more than many bars make from regular customers. That alone makes it an interesting story. It looks like a few late nights for me this coming week – or is that early mornings – watching live streams from Pattaya bars.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick can be contacted at : [email protected]