Stickman's Weekly Column April 7th, 2024

The White Man In The Gun


The mainstream news in Thailand has been riddled with reports in recent weeks about foreigners who have been up to no good, arrested and charged with various crimes. Even Thais with zero interest in foreigners in the country are aware of the crap that has been going on. There have been so many incidents of foreigners misbehaving that the reputation of  foreigners has taken a hit. But it’s not foreigners in general. It’s a subset of foreigners. The miscreants for the most part are Caucasians.

Foreign men assaulting Thai women. Foreign men assaulting Thai police. Foreign men causing road accidents in which Thai citizens die. Foreigners working in prohibited occupations. Foreigners overstaying their visa by many years. Foreigners working without work permits. The list goes on and on. Every day there’s a new bad news story about a foreigner. ฝรั่งอีกแล้ว the news readers keep saying, “Yet another white guy!”

He Clinic Bangkok

This past Friday, the Bangkok Post reported that over 400 cases have been filed against foreigners in Phuket alone, with the visas of more than 100 foreigners cancelled.

Now, even seemingly innocuous events concerning foreigners have Thais up in arms online, and baying for blood. This week, a news report showed a car being driving on the beach in Phuket. Many Thais were furious about this as if it was a truly heinous crime. The perp was assumed to be a foreigner and they should be punished in the harshest possible way, Thais wrote online. Some of the comments were so extreme that it was like a foreigner had gone to the beach with an AR 15 and lit up the landscape.

Word was that a foreigner had rented a car, driven it on to a beach in Phuket and, rather foolishly, veered down to where the waves were lapping up against the sand. It’s a dumb thing to do but is it really that bad?! The reaction of the Thais was outrage. I got the distinct impression it was less about the crime, and more that it was a foreigner. ฝรั่งอีกแล้ว A foreigner again, as the Thais have come to say.

CBD bangkok

In this part of the world, driving of cars on the beach happens all the time and is perfectly legal. It’s almost a rite of passage for young Kiwis to drive their first car along the nearest beach, show off and generally be a bit of an idiot. I believe driving on beaches is also legal in Australia. And for all I know, it is perfectly legal elsewhere too.

But in Thailand, driving on the beach doesn’t fly. What this foreigner did was wrong, illegal, and I am not arguing their case. They should not have done it. If it’s illegal then they have to answer for their actions. The concern is the reaction of many Thais to this and other incidents involving white foreigners.

There was huge press over this incident….and then it turned out that the driver was Thai and the whole story went quiet!

Currently, it seems like whenever there is an incident or a crime involving a white guy in Thailand, many locals are baying for blood. It never used to be this way.

wonderland clinic

For so long in Thailand, everything was laid back. Many expats worked without a work permit and made a visa run every 3 months. Of course the authorities knew all about this but nothing would ever happen unless that foreigner, or the company they worked for, did something seriously wrong or pissed off the wrong person. Only then would there be consequences.

And it used to be the case that many minor (and even some not so minor) crimes could be sorted out quietly without charges laid. I’m not suggesting that things should go back to that but certainly for many it was part of the appeal.

Currently, it feels like the pendulum has swung the other way. Do something wrong – anything – and you can expect to receive an on the spot fine, or face criminal charges.

It feels like there are Thais looking for reasons to be indignant at foreigners. The moment a foreigner is reported to have done something wrong, armies of Thais rant online and call for their deportation, and blacklisting – but not before the court system has thrown the book at them. Again, it never used to be this way.

You know things are serious when the Minister of the Interior is quoted as saying authorities in Phuket should get tough on foreign law-breakers.

Things in Thailand used to be so laid-back. Do something wrong and you’d be given the message to mend your ways. Someone would have a quiet word with you. Or perhaps you’d get an off-the-books fine and be told to cut it out, lest things get really serious. Those free and easy days feel like the distant past.

I’m not condoning foreigners breaking the rules. What I am saying is that the laid-back ways of the past were very appealing and the current climate in some parts of the country where the white man may be seen in a less positive light is disappointing.

Perhaps it’s just Thais venting online and there’s nothing more to it than that. Perhaps it’s largely a Phuket thing. But certainly, all of these high profile cases seem to have had an effect on the attitude of some Thais towards white foreigners. It has become cool in some circles to point the finger, and rant when whitey does something wrong.




Mystery Photo

Where is it?

Last week’s photo was taken of the bridge which connects MBK with Siam Square. This week’s photo was kindly provided by a reader. As per usual, it’s somewhere in central Bangkok.



Stick’s Inbox – The Best Emails From The Past Week

It’s the end of the world!

Oh, man, the new barfine proposal at Nana and Cowboy! Prepare yourself for the avalanche of responses that will be coming your way. Absolutely ridiculous and it will never work. Someone will see an opportunity for themselves, and it will all come crashing down. Might be an opportunity to revive trade across town in Patpong. Can’t wait to read some of the emails next week.

Mango madness!

6,000 baht for short time? Prepare for a mass exodus from Nana and Cowboy. Punters will monger elsewhere. Although I haven’t dabbled for years, I hope this only applies to these two sois. And for punters’ sake, let’s hope this lunacy stays in the Mango and doesn’t make it down to Pattaya. Whoever pays this much for 90 minutes has more money than sense! Another nail in the coffin.

No incentive for a lady to perform.

The biggest issue I see paying 6K baht up front is that the lady knows she’s being paid and her incentive to “perform” may be lessened. How does the bar owner deal with a complaint that she spent too much time in the shower, bathroom, or on the phone? You’d hope there would be a service guarantee just as there would need to be an understanding that the lady is treated well by the customer.

Melbourne is cheaper than Bangkok!

They might pay once but unless they are rich, most mugs won’t pay what is the equivalent of 260 Aussie dollars for one hour of fun. It’s cheaper here in Melbourne and there is no airfare, no hotel and there are heaps of Asians to be had if you have yellow fever. It’s just pure greed! Hell, the freelancers are going to be very happy and very busy. Thank God I was there when it was real value for money.

If you are going to take her out of my bar, make it worth my while!

Interesting topic this week. It will be interesting who starts this, who doesn’t, and who doesn’t last. I see this as a consolidation by the larger players, promising riches to smaller players to support. Is it voluntary? With financial support? Or with a dark underlying threat? I haven’t taken a lady from a gogo bar in years. Apps, local bars, beer bars and contacts have given me more than enough options. However, I’m a regular at a few gogo bars for a beer, chat and to enjoy the show. Maybe this is less about the girls’ revenue and more about, “If you are going to take her out of my bar, make it worth my while.” Does it also make them pimps, and get them into a sex trafficking grey area?

Seller beware!

6,000 baht? This new idea can be summed up with two words: human trafficking. Seller beware!

More Readers’ Emails

6,000 baht is too much for expats.

Personally, I’d choose to spend 6,000 baht in a high-end massage parlour rather than a gogo bar. 6,000 baht for a barfine and service is about the maximum a middle-class westerner can afford or would probably spend. It will probably work during high season, but I’d think a lot of expats will no longer be able to enjoy the gogo bars of Cowboy and Nana other than having a drink and watching the show. Coupled with some bars charging 2 lady drink minimums, the Cowboy and Nana bars are becoming nothing more than tourist traps. They’ll make more money, but at what price?

Thermae to boom.

Regarding your feature on 6,000 baht being paid up front, I could see venues like Thermae becoming more popular.

6,000 baht won’t work.

I expect you will get an enormous amount of responses to your 6,000 baht fee. I, for one, will not participate for many reasons. First, I like hanging out with a lady long-time rather than the rushed boom-boom in a squalid short-time room. The options: Patpong, myriad of beer beers, internet sites, freelancer ladies, street ladies and ladyboy bars. The 6,000 baht program may capture horny off-the-plane tourists. But I suspect 6,000 baht will be a major turn-off for most punters. I would not be surprised if bar owners see barfine revenue go down. The marginal ladies will not get barfined at that price and will move on. The bars that are suffering from that policy will relent. It’s not exactly like an OPEC Cartel. Nana and Cowboy do not control the pussy trade. Just my one satang opinion.

6,000 baht is already being paid by some.

Your April Fool’s was good jape and worth the delay. Last night I went to a ground-floor bar in Nana Plaza with a couple of friends, one of them Indian. He decided to barfine a girl. 1,000 baht to the bar, and she wanted 4,000 baht for 1 hour, all paid in advance. So not far off the mark with your tale. He refused to pay in advance and agreed to pay 6,000 baht for 2 hours. Then he saw another girl he liked more, so he agreed to take her too. Back in his room, he liked one more than the other, and had her stay all night for extra money. But he ran out of cash! So, he let her leave with his passport as surety which sounded a bit risky to me. All good though, she came back later in the day with his passport for her money, and they spent most of the day together.

Shame on bar managers that support this nonsense.

This week’s column and the THB 6,000 barfine is an April Fool’s joke, surely? <Yes, it was, but *many* people fell for itStick>. If this is true, it will alienate most people going to the bars who may on the odd occasion fancy sharing a bit of company with one of the ladies by barfining her, going to another bar or club or even for a meal. Not everyone visits the bars to barfine a girl and take her quickly back to their hotel for a quick bit of the old in out in out. Crikey, this is Bangkok where many popular bars and clubs have freelancers, and then there are massage parlors and street walkers and so on. The girls in the bars will soon get peed off not being barfined because 6,000 is just too much. And what if the girl is useless in the sack and the guy or girl who paid the barfine decides to complain to the bar? If he or she doesn’t get a partial refund, they are unlikely to visit that bar again. It will be a disaster and if it does take off I doubt it will be long before a few bars pull out of this ridiculous idea. Shame on any Farang bar managers who support this nonsense.



This Week’s News, Views & Gossip

So you knew last week’s column opener was an April Fool’s Day prank, right? No-one could possibly have been fooled, right? Actually, you’d be wrong. And it wasn’t just many of you who were fooled, one Patpong bar industry insider who shall remain anonymous read last week’s column and got all excited by it, thinking this mad policy would drive punters away from Sukhumvit, and towards Patpong. I wonder how he felt when he realised it was a prank. Last week’s opener generated *a lot* of email and the Emails To Stick section of this week’s column is but a small selection of the emails received. My best guess is that around 60% of you who emailed about it thought it was real, while 40% knew it was an April Fool’s Day prank.  * It should be noted that last week’s entire column has since been removed – more about this in my closing comments, at the end of the column.

Next week is Songkran, a time of year I loathed so much when I lived in Thailand. It’s a time when the bars tend to be quiet, for a couple of reasons. First, many bar staff take off back to their home for a week or two – and plenty of bars can have but a skeleton crew. Some bars, like Spanky’s in Nana Plaza, close for a few days over Songkran to give all staff a decent break. And second – and perhaps even more importantly – there is often water warfare in and around the bars which makes getting to and from the bars and remaining dry a huge challenge. As such, many decide to give the bars a miss over Songkran and seek fun elsewhere.

Some bars will open over the Songkran period with revised hours. In Soi Cowboy, Suzi Wong will open from 2:00 PM over the 3 main Songkran days, April 13 – 15.

Still in Soi Cowboy, Shark will be open during the day on those same 3 days April 13 – 15. The exact hours have not been confirmed but last year it opened at midday.

It is also believed that Baccara will open at 2:00 PM. In the case of all of these bars being open during the day, it’s just the outdoor patio area. The interior bar proper will not open until the usual time, between 7:00 and 8:00 PM.

During the 3 official days of Songkran, Soi Cowboy can be quite a sight. My advice is very simple: Only go there if you are prepared to participate in a big water fight and get totally drenched. If that does not appeal, then do not go!

The beer bars of Sukhumvit soi 7 will open around 12:30 or 1:00 PM during Songkran and there will be the usual water battles. I hear that last year was a lot of fun but very wet!

Speaking of the soi 7 beer bar complex, the rolling 6-month leases are due to be signed on May 1st. There is the usual speculation on which bars may not renew at this time. The feeling is that 1 or 2 of the smaller bars on the Biergarten side may disappear as fewer customers walk through that side compared to the original side.

There will be a Songkran party at Mandarin and Red Dragon in Nana Plaza, as well as Shark in Soi Cowboy, for 7 days, running from April 10 – 16.


Beautiful artwork coming soon to Nana Plaza.


The 6 images above are some of the beautiful artwork coming very soon to Nana Plaza. These designs will brighten up the stairways and corridors of the plaza.

Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy is running a happy hour special throughout April. Every Sunday and Monday this month the long-running bar will have happy hour pricing all night long. That sounds like a good reason to stop by. Happy hour prices apply to customer drinks, and not lady drinks. Happy hour prices means most local bottled beers are 95 baht and the likes of Jack Daniels, Canadian Club, Jim Beam, Tanqueray, Smirnoff and Absolut are 110 baht. If I was in Bangkok, I’d drop by for sure.

In Soi Cowboy, Crazy House generates plenty of feedback with readers complaining about issues with lady drinks. Punters are not pleased at ladies who come back with two drinks when they thought they had ordered her just one. It’s the same old story, she will apologise, down the drink and leave him in 60 seconds with a 400+ baht bar bill. Don’t be hard on the ladies with those whose English is good enough explaining that it is management policy and the girls don’t have a choice but to return with the dreaded double lady drink. Unlike in some other bars where we have managed to get some change – menus which outline the rules and staff instructed to explain that a lady drinks means two – the first a customer in Crazy House knows of this is when the lady returns with a drink in each hand. This, sadly, is not where the complaints about Crazy House end. An ongoing peeve of some customers is being ushered to a seat and not allowed to sit where they wish. Multiple readers have said that it appears Asian customers get the best seats, white guys the worst. Despite these issues, Crazy House remains popular and consistently one of the busiest bars on Soi Cowboy. How can that be? Probably because it’s the one bar where many ladies are naked. Which just goes to show that everything else is really not that important – when the girls get their gear off, the bar will fill up.


The Chao Praya River this week. Is Air France diversifying?


A number of readers confirmed the report in last week’s column about long waits at Ekamai for the bus to Pattaya, and ditto for the return trip. With my preference to run emails which referred to last week’s April Fool’s Day prank, I simply didn’t have space to include more emails this week, hence I mention here what was said last week – don’t get to the bus station and think you’ll be on the next bus. It might be a bit of a wait, as in 2 or more hours. Of course, if you plan your trip you could buy a ticket in advance. How far in advance you can buy a bus ticket these days, I’m not sure. Of course, many hotels offer a taxi or private car service – and often it’s just 1,500 baht. I am sure you could hail one on the street for less.

Many foreigners rant about how they go to Immigration, a government department (or even some banks) and they can never get things done. They are told their documents are incomplete or they have the wrong forms or something. Sometimes they can return later that day but in some cases, they may have to return the next day or even later. It’s never like this in their homeland blah blah blah and it’s the Thais out to get them, they rant! This is not an issue only for foreigners. Thais regularly complain about exactly the same thing when they have reason to interact with government departments. A lack of clear information online. Different staff saying different things. Confusing, misleading and at times plain wrong information. It’s exactly the same for Thais as it is for foreigners. My other half and her friends complain about this sort of thing all the time!

A reader asks: Does anyone know where one can buy the Bangkok Post these days? I know Foodland in Patpong has about 5 – 6 copies per day. It would be nice to see a revival of the humble newspaper, and you could help promote that revival. I had no idea that the newspaper was hard to come by these days, and I guess it depends where said reader lives / hangs out. Is it really that hard to find a copy of the Post in Bangkok these days? I know newspaper circulation isn’t what it was but I thought bookstores and news-stands as well as those small Ma & Pa stores that have most newspapers would carry it. And to the reader who asks the question, have you considered subscribing / getting it delivered every day?

What’s the biggest difference between my friends in Thailand and my friends in New Zealand? My friends in New Zealand are avid rugby followers while most of my friends in Thailand prefer football? No, it’s not that. My friends in New Zealand prefer potatoes and my Thailand-based friends eat more rice? Again, that would be true but it’s hardly the biggest difference. When I think about the big difference between my friends in Thailand and my friends in New Zealand, it is something you’d never guess. My pool of friends in Thailand is diminishing reasonably fast because many have died. I made a list this weekend of most of my friends from Thailand from 20 years ago – and 1/3 are no longer in the land of the living. Two died in accidents, the rest died from what I think we can call “lifestyle diseases”. Compare that to New Zealand where not one of my friends in New Zealand has died in 40+ years. My one and only friend to die in this country was a school friend who died tragically in a house fire, in the early 1980s. As my other half said to me this week, we really should get back to Thailand soon because if we don’t, how many of my friends in Thailand will pop their clogs before I get back?

23 years ago tomorrow marks the day the first Stickman Weekly column was published. It’s crazy to think that I’m still writing it after all this time.

Thailand-Related News Articles

This video shot inside the King’s bars in Patpong gives you a good idea of the bar’s vibe and current line-up of ladies.

The two Burmese found guilty of murdering two Brits 10 years ago have demanded a review of their case.

The Daily Mail looks at what it is calling Thailand’s last untouched island.

The Phuket Provincial Court will reopen its tourist section to help visitors settle court cases following a surge in cases involving tourists.

Barry Kenyon looks at the taxing issue of expats in Thailand and overseas income.

In another moment of madness on Phuket, a smoking Austrian passenger attacks a taxi driver.

A task force reports 400 cases have been filed against foreigners in Phuket.

Closing Comments

I like to be open with readers, hence the following comments. The opener of last week’s opener was an April Fool’s Day joke, something this site has a rich history of, and something many readers have come to expect. I woke up this morning (Sunday, April 7) to a flurry of messages to learn that last week’s entire column had been removed overnight. A message about “responsible reporting” was inserted in its place. It would seem that some precious bar owners were upset by the column, notwithstanding that they knew it was an April Fool’s Day joke. They complained to the site’s owners and the column was removed. While I respect the fact that the site owners ultimately have the final say on what is or is not published, I disagree with the decision to remove the entire column.

There will be no column next week. This has nothing to do with the controversy of last week’s column being removed. In the past, I would take a week off from the column a couple of times each year. I haven’t had a week off for some time, save for a week in February last year where a cyclone came through and the whole city lost power, all phone and internet connections were down, roads in and out were impassable, and we were cut off from the world for a week. This coming week is Songkran, a quiet time for the bar industry – and an ideal time to take a week off. The column will resume on Sunday, April 21st. Happy Songkran.

Your Bangkok commentator,


Stick can be contacted at :

nana plaza