About this website





 


This site was born in November, 1998.  I had originally planned to stay a year or two in Thailand, but after 8 months I guess I saw that I was going to be here for a while and after months of stopping by the local internet cafe once or twice a week, I relented and finally bought a computer.  Within days this site was born.  It was nothing more than a personal homepage for friends back home to keep up to date with what I was up to in exotic Thailand.

I enjoyed writing about life in Thailand and the site soon developed its own structure with three distinct sections, "Living in Bangkok", "Teaching English in Thailand" and a page I cheekily called "Naughty Nightlife in Thailand".  Each section was a lengthy essay on each of these topics, nothing like the full-length articles you find here today.  There were no photos.  They did not come until late 1999 when I picked up my first digital camera, a basic Kodak DC240, 2 megapixels and almost no features.  It cost a cool 32,000 Thai baht!

The naughty nightlife section was the most popular part of the site in the early days and grew the fastest.  I was fascinated by the naughty nightlife from an anthropological point of view and remain intrigued by the way poor, modestly educated Thai women from rural Thailand can make educated, worldly Western men fall in love with them and go on to make some really questionable decisions.

In 2000 the "Travel In Thailand" section was added.  Back then it was pretty basic and to be honest, I have not put much time into it.

In 2002 the "Naughty Nightlife" section was removed.  I felt awkward about publishing a lengthy article on that subject and would often receive some really bizarre emails from readers who were obviously visiting Thailand for the nightlife.  I didn't want to be involved with them in any way, so I removed it.  The removal of that section upset, even angered some readers and I received a massive number of complaints.  At almost 100,000 words it was one of the most comprehensive articles on  prostitution in Thailand for Western men.  I didn't relent; the article is history.

The first photo gallery was added in 2000 and many followed.  Due to bandwidth constraints, I went on to take most offline.  That has been an unfortunate hallmark of the site over the years, parts go up, and then later get taken down as I reflect on how I have changed and what I am comfortable with.

The turning point in the site's development was the introduction of the Stickman Weekly column, in April of 2001.  It was created so I could include news and views that were time sensitive and perhaps only really relevant for a short period of time.  Each column was dated so it was obvious if the column was read at a later date that the news and views expressed were not necessarily current.  There was so much happening that I wanted to write about, but which wouldn't really fit in to the larger sections of the site that I had to create a new section.

The weekly column became very popular, very quickly and is the most accessed part of the site.

Not long after the weekly column was born, the readers' submissions section began.  Readers can contribute their own stories, anecdotes and thoughts on life in Thailand.  This section started when I received an email powerful that I just had to include it in the site.  Again, there was nowhere on the site where it quite fit in so I started the readers' submissions section.  This is now a very popular part of the site and a couple of readers' stories are posted every day apart from Sunday, when the weekly column is published.  This way there is something new to read.

The readers' submissions section of the site contains some real gems.  The quality of the stories has got better and better over time and there are a number of regular writers including Dana, who has written in excess of 350 stories!  As at February 2013, there are in excess of 8,000 reader-contributed full-length articles and stories.  It is the second most popular part of the site.

Other sections of the site have been added over time, including a section with interviews of Bangkok personalities which was later incorporated into the Stickman Weekly column.  In 2006 I started what has now become the most up-to-date and comprehensive listing of free wi-fi internet connections in Thailand although with mobile internet now so inexpensive I no longer update the wi-fi section.

My life has changed a lot over the years and this has been reflected in the site.  I think it's fair to say that in the early days I used to be rather cheap, and the site really did read like a Cheap Charlie's guide to Bangkok!  That's very much because when I first came here I was on a limited budget, didn't know many people and earned around 30,000 baht per month.  That said, everything was so much cheaper back then!  I had to learn everything myself.  Internet resources were scarce and rather than get online and research stuff, you simply went out and discovered!  It was a great way to learn and the early years in Thailand make up the most enjoyable period of my life.

Without a great deal of money, I chose to learn Thai and managed to reach a high level which I feel has made life more enjoyable and given me a real advantage over those who don't.  That said, I very much wanted to learn the language and learning it to a very high level is, for me, an achievement of some pride.

Over time, my financial situation improved and as began to experience different parts of the city and started to move in different levels of society.  Where once I often ate on the street, today you'll hardly ever see me dining by the side of the road.

It was probably around 2006 when the Stickman brand, so to speak, really started to take off.  I have been invited on to interview panels on TV, quoted in the press and approached by respected media for various interviews and to offer an opinion.  My social circles changed and where once I felt like I was swimming in the toilet - spending way too much time in the red light areas - now I mix in different circles.  With these changes in my personal life, so the feel of the site changed.

If there is one area where I think this site differs to others, I think it is because I am one of few people writing about Thailand who started back when there were zero online resources.  I knew nobody here and I was completely unknown.  Over time I tried harder to be more engaging, to write better and to take better photos.

I do hope you enjoy the site as I continue to enjoy managing it and producing a weekly column.  Thanks for your support!


Best wishes,

Stick

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