Stickman Weekly  22/2/2009

Encounters With Thai Ladyboys

He was one of our group, not a gang because we weren't hoodlums, but our group.  He wasn't the brightest bulb in the room but he had an engaging way and when he had something to say we would listen.  One day he told us that he had a video that we would love to see.  A blue movie, we suspected.  No, better than that he said.  We pressed him for more info but he wouldn't say.  We had to go to his place to watch it.

We all walked the same route home together and his was the first house we passed so that day after school, our first year in high school as I recall, we piled into his place.  In the rumpus room was a video tape paused and queued up ready to go with those familiar squiggly lines across the screen.  We saw that there was an Asian girl's face and we all jeered together!  He'd got his grubby mitts on an Asian porno!  None of us was interested and I distinctly remember various derogatory comments made about Chinese women.  Asian, Chinese, they were all the same to us.  The comments were genuine.  We lived in a middle class suburb with the highest percentage of English-born immigrants in all of New Zealand.  In other words the suburb was white.  Probably 95+% white.  If she wasn't white, well, we just weren't interested.  There were no closet Asian fetishes back then.

He released the pause button and we all went quiet.  The TV showed a dark scene with some artificial lighting on an Asian woman who was laying down.  The camera panned down and we saw her breasts.  We all jeered loudly as if these were the ugliest breasts on the planet!  We were still jeering when he started saying something to silence us to no avail.  The camera panned further down and the jeers reached a crescendo as we saw that she was in fact a he!  The neighbours can't possibly have missed the racket coming from his basement, so loud were we!.  We were dumbfounded and shocked at what he had shown us.  We didn't want to see any more and we were out of there.  He'd shown us an excerpt of the documentary, "Shocking Asia".

It was first time in my life I had heard of a ladyboy.

Sluts with nuts.  Chicks with dicks.  Katoeys.  Transsexuals.  Shemales.  Ladyboys.  There's no shortage of names for them and as visitors know, Thailand is home to many.

I first visited Bangkok in 1997 with a mate and like most first-timers in Bangers we spent a night checking out Patpong.  In one bar we were set upon within moments of entering.  Before we knew it we had a lady on our laps - and gorgeous they were too.  The girl on my lap pulled back her bikini top and invited me to grope her breasts which was all a little much.  My refusal to buy her a drink 30 seconds later had her leap off my lap and start pouting.  I guess some things never change...  The women in that bar were hot and I can remember telling friends back home all about it upon our return.  It wasn't until perhaps 18 months later, some time after I had moved to Thailand, that I realised that the bar was exclusively ladyboy.  Perhaps the moral of the story is that you should grope when invited because had I had a grope, I would have known that something wasn't quite right!

Some ladyboys are so lady-like that it can be hard to tell and anyone who has spent much time in Bangkok or Pattaya has had a quiet laugh to themselves at the sight of a Westerner with a ladyboy in tow.  In fact the very idea for this column came when a friend forwarded me a few ladyboy pics earlier in the week.  I would never have known that she was a he had he not told me.  It is of course a lot more difficult to pick a ladyboy from a static image for the giveaways are often in their behaviour and in the over-exaggerated way they move and mince about.  But with that said, there are plenty of guys who clearly can't tell.

Most ladyboys are clearly that, a boy, yet like I say, there are those who just don't see until it is too late, or those who don't know even after the event.  The funniest situation I can remember was many, many years ago and involves an infamous Aussie expat.  He used to hold court at his Sukhumvit condo on Sunday afternoons and a bunch of us would pile around, perch in his lounge, drink his liquor and BS about what we'd been up to.  They were good times and he was always a generous and gracious host as well as a great storyteller.  "Colourful character" doesn't even start to describe him.  On this particular afternoon, Khun Sanuk, the webmaster of Thai360.com, and I were the first two at his place and he took us through to his computer room.  He was sitting at the computer and we were standing behind him looking at the screen when he opened some photos he had taken of what was clearly a ladyboy - and a rough as guts version at that.  He had a square jaw, the body had no curves, there were gigantic, obviously fake breasts and from the moment the picture appeared on the screen it just screamed out "ladyboy!"  Khun Sanuk and I exchanged knowing glances but said nothing.  "She was gorgeous and had the hottest and hardest body", he growled at us.  "Best bj I've ever had!"  He couldn't see us because we were standing behind him but we looked at each other in horror.  He didn't know...and we never did tell him that he'd been with a bloke!

But perhaps ladyboy love is an Aussie thing?  Similar happened to another Aussie friend in Midnite Bar in Cowboy, way back in 1998.  It was my first year in Bangkok and I was out with an Aussie who had arrived in Bangkok just a few months before me but who seemed to know his way around.  I was the new boy on the block.  So there we were in Midnite, me on the Jack Coke and him on plain old Coke for he didn't drink.  He was being entertained in the bar by what was clearly a ladyboy but me being the polite Kiwi boy just let him do as he pleased and never said anything.  When he told me he was going to barfine her I just sort of figured that I was the new boy on the block and while this was not at all my thing, if they rock his boat then so be it.  The next day he called me to say that she was a he and had been thrown out of the apartment at the moment of truth.  It was oh so obvious but he clearly didn't realise...

...which all serves to remind me that one of the major differences between the bar scene between now and say a decade ago was that many, many bars had a token ladyboy or two.  If you were new to it and they weren't too tall or too obvious then you just wouldn't know.  Contrast that with today where bars are generally either all girls or all ladyboys.

But you do have to be careful with the way you handle ladyboys because they have the viciousness of a woman combined with the strength of a man, a potentially dangerous combination.  A few years back I wrote about a night out I had with a Kiwi mate.  We were making our way along the well-worn path from soi 33 to Soi Cowboy when between Sukhumvit sois 23 and 25 we were approached by a ladyboy.  To cut a long story short, she tried to pick my friend's pocket and he ended up punching her.  It was a good punch but the ladyboy didn't falter.  There was one of him and two of us but with this lot anything is possible...

While I may waste no opportunity to laugh at others' expense, my foray into internet dating was a total disaster.  This is how I described my first ever internet dating experience way back in August, 2000.  (If you're a long-term reader of the site you may have read this before.)

A friend of mine has had a lot of luck meeting Thai ladies on the Internet.  He has been raving about it as the new, easy way to meet nice ladies.  I was free so what better time to start hunting chat rooms.

I got chatting with a few ladies and there was one who really caught my attention.  She was chatty and chirpy and not at all the reserved Thai woman.  Her name was A, she was 26, worked as a financial consultant and as she had spent time in Australia, her English was very good.  We traded photos and the shot she sent me may not have been stunning but was attractive enough.  We chatted about various things over a couple of hours and when she said to me that she had the next day off I thought what the hell, Iíll invite her out.  Expecting to get a polite no, I was delighted when she said that she would love to meet.  It was set!  We exchanged phone numbers and she called me.  Ahhh, the sweetness of the Thai female voice, so soft and demure.

The next day and the time is drawing near.  So, on with oneís best threads, out with the decent after shave and Stick is looking as good as he can.

I stride into Siam Center and canít see her.  No problem, Iíll take a seat and wait.  She canít be very far away.  I notice a figure moving in my direction and at that moment she waves at me and is shuffling my way.  Thatís a funny walk.  Whatís going on here?  Sheís getting nearer.  Somethingís not right.  Iíve got a bad feeling.  I know something is terribly wrong.  She bounds over in a most confident manner, lacking the usual Thai feminine grace.  Somethingís wrong!  That walk, those hands, that chest Ė look at the size of it Ė itís not real!  The hard jawline Ė itís a guy!  Iím outta here and with that I made a fast exit.

This creature called me and I swear, I had no idea it was a guy from the phone call Ė the voice was so feminine.  And the picture that he sent did not look like a guy at all.

One famous incident of ladyboys being light-fingered occurred at one of the Nanapong dance contests.  We're going back many years now so I can't remember the exact details but it went something like this.  At this particular dance contest held at the Dollhouse, during one of the intervals between rounds a pot was passed around and the audience was encouraged to donate to help defray the expenses the Nanapong boys personally took on to organise the contest.  These dance contests were better than any gogo bar show and punters gave generously with many 500s and 1000s thrown into the pot.  Some time after the money had been collected Dollhouse owner Darel's voice could be heard cackling away as he announced that everyone should keep a look out for three ladyboys from a Nana bar who had stolen off with the pot of money, a considerable amount!

Of course much of the bad press Thai ladyboys get comes from the frequent and seemingly never-ending problem of some of their number making unauthorised withdrawals from the pockets of Westerners strolling late at night on Sukhumvit.  The problem area used to be around sois 5, 7 and 7/1 but as that prime piece of real estate has become an over-run cluttered mess of late night booze booths and street stalls they have moved down the road and the current black spot is the area outside Robinson's and the Westin.  They tend to prey late at night, no doubt aware that the later it is, the more likely their potential victims are intoxicated - and an easier mark.

But Bangkok's ladyboys are much less aggressive and nasty than the beasts who prey on tourists along Pattaya's beach road and in other dark alleys of Sin City.  For whatever reason, Pattaya's ladyboys tend to be more aggressive, often hunt in packs and their MO is sometimes more about brutality and overpowering a potential victim than that the light-fingered approach taken by their Bangkok sisters, oops, I mean bothers.

Many readers are no doubt aghast that I have written about ladyboys and this same contingent would be shocked to hear that, yes, these ladyboys really do get plenty of action!  In fact there is one particular ladyboy, Emma, who Mrs. Stick once described as "gorgeous", who gets more action than most.  Many of the Pattaya forums have naughty boy trip reports in the members area and from time to time I skim over them for a laugh.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Emma, pictured above in her usual position on Walking Street, has featured in more photos, videos, trip reports and other attempts by tourists to establish international relations between Thailand and the West than any Thai woman, real or otherwise.  Emma is popular and would seem to be the choice for those keen to experience something new!

In Steven Leather's superb Private Dancer, which is loosely based on various anecdotes the author made in Thailand back in the mid '90s, one of the characters prefers ladyboys and describes how he graduated to them, arguing that they know what a bloke wants more than a woman does.  Don't think Steve was using journalistic licence with this, it's quite true.  No, it's not true that ladyboys are better in the sack - I mean I would not know - but I've heard this argument from a number of long-term Bangkok residents.

And to add more to that argument, the Western owner of a big-name Pattaya hotel tells me that almost without exception, when customers take a ladyboy to their room, be it knowingly or otherwise, when they eventually come back downstairs it is with a huge grin on their face whereas those who take a lady, the genuine article that is, it is very much hit and miss.

If there's one piece of advice I can give when it comes to transsexuals in Thailand, it is that if you think there is a chance that she is a he, then odds are you're right so unless you are the adventurous type, you might move on.

But don't think I am totally against Thai ladyboys.  They make me laugh and can be a laugh.  About the only bunch that really bothers me are that lot on Pattaya's beach road but with that said, that's an area I avoid more often these days as people get increasingly desperate as the tough times start to bite.

Thailand without the ladyboys would be like Thailand without the boys in brown letting you off for breaking the traffic laws for an on the spot fine of 100 baht.  They're part of the Thailand experience!


Where was this picture taken?


 

Last week's picture was taken of the Bus Stop bar on Sukhumvit soi 4.  The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant.  The other prize is offered by ThailandFriends.com, an online dating community that boasts over 50,000 members, hosts live events in and around Thailand and allows basic members to send 5 messages a day for free.  The prize offered is one month premium membership which adds more to the ThailandFriends' experience with unlimited messaging, detailed member searches, 24 profile pictures, and a whole lot more.

Terms and conditions:  The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days.  Prizes are not transferable.  Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per month.

FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.)  Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK - Missing the Wild West!

I'm back in America.  It's been 4 years since I've been here and I don't like it at all.  I don't like the robotic, ant-like, drone mentality.  I miss the wild west feeling of Thailand where you never know what will happen next.  It is just too expensive here.  After living in Thailand just going to Sizzler restaurant here seems incredibly expensive and makes me feel guilty for spending so much after only spending 40 baht to get full in Thailand.  I am not going to stay here.  I can't.  I got here and had the worst culture shock I have had in my life.  I feel like the old Star Trek shows when Scottie would try and beam the crew up but something would go wrong and they would just be little particles floating in the air on the transporter.  Just half there.  That's how I feel here.

Tolerance, one of the Thais' finest characteristics.

A writer to Mrs. Stick asks why there are more gays in Thailand and then wonders whether it has something to do with how they are raised.  Not likely.  There are no more gays in Thailand than in any other country in Asia or elsewhere.  It's just that Thai culture has a more open and accepting viewpoint about gays, cross-dressers, and transsexuals.  Gays can live much more openly in Thailand without the usual social stigma, and so it just seems they are more prevalent because they don't have to hide.  I can recall years ago being in a small village in the Thai countryside and a local teacher was very open about being gay.  The locals were completely accepting of him and really just accepted his lifestyle.  I was quite surprised indeed.  In most every other country, he would have been fired immediately for admitting he was gay - or more likely he would never have been open about it.

Thailand is less gay than the Philippines.

In one of your letters this week, a reader asks why there are so many gay men in Thailand.  I have travelled to Thailand and Philippines many times and I think there is a bigger percentage of gay men in the Philippines than here.  It's actually nice to come to Thailand and talk to straight Thai men.  None of those feminine voices you hear all over the provinces in the Philippines.

Are some cultures ambivalent about sex?

I don't know necessarily whether this is true (i.e. many Thai men are gay), but a gay friend of mine (English) when in India found it no problem to have sex with many married men.  Maybe some cultures are ambivalent regarding sex and just enjoy it irrespective of gender.  I for my sins am heterosexual but have had the odd massage from a man with a happy ending.  I simply enjoy the pleasure of the human touch.

Thailand's gay populace.

The comment about more gay men in Thailand has been dais about the Japanese in the past.  Since I believe that being gay (or a lesbian) is based on a genetic variation it is probable that there are as many gay men (as a percentage of total population) in Thailand as in any other country.  The difference is the openness within society and toleration of gay men.  Thailand has long recognized the "third sex" and they too have become more obvious.


Thai ladies in Bangkok, Pattaya, and all over Thailand

Thumbs down for Rudd & co.

The Australian government's support for its citizens abroad can only be described as appallingly gutless and embarrassing.  This has been common knowledge for a long time.  Aussies are an easy touch by law enforcement bodies when overseas and most foreign governments know it.  I hold dual citizenship and whenever I travel abroad, the only time my Aussie passport gets used is on exit / entry into Australia.  While I'm away I use my Italian passport because I can see from news items that my chances of getting real assistance would be enhanced if I ever got into trouble in third or quasi third world countries like Thailand.  The way that the Australian government abandons its citizens to whatever fate befalls them while overseas is legendary.  I remember reading an article in the Bangkok Post many years ago about corruption in Thailand.  An Australian law firm had sent one of its senior staff over there to oversee the auditing process in a certain firm.  On completion of the audit this accountant had been murdered because he wanted to air some dirty linen about some powerful family who ran the conglomerate and who had been impeding the process at every stage.  This family had recruited some punk to do a drive by on his motorbike and snuff the accountant.  Well it turns out that the Thai authorities knew all along who was behind it but mysteriously were unable to locate him.  We all know what happened in the end.  The journo, a Thai, who wrote the article mulled what the outcome might have been if the victim had been a US citizen or some other nationality.

Soi Diamond service failure.

I walked into a gogo on Soi Diamond in the day time as I was bored.  I buy a draft beer for 55 baht and some girl comes up.  She is cute so I buy her a drink for her company at 110 baht.  Drink one drink and ask for the bill with a smile.  Get back the usual heap of bills with four 10-baht coins disguised at the bottom.  Well, as it was day time and I don't have too much cash, and also I figured I'd already tipped the bar and the girl adequately by spending twice as much on them as on myself, I kept the change.  A plump service girl comes over, checks the leather bill wallet for the tip and on seeing I'd left none (for what, carrying a beer?) she throws the leather bill wallet at me and storms off!  I was the only customer in the place!  I looked at another dancer sitting nearby who witnessed this and clearly also thought it was out of order.  I said to her that I used to have a bar and had service done something like this they would have been looking for a new job.  As I walk out, I get pushed in the back through the door by said service girl!  Obviously I won't spend another baht there, but you have to wonder about what's going on in Thailand.  This is one of many such stories over the last 4 months.  It really is going downhill and I think the base of it is that Thais are making less money and getting pissed off and of course also that they just don't like Westerners anymore.  I just can't see any other explanation.  I lived in Bangkok from 1991 - 1994 and it just really was not like that then.  I feel that they don't want us here any more which is quite saddening when you have decided to make your life here.  The issue here is that this has now become normal behaviour towards foreigners in Thailand.  While they persist in waiing and kissing each others' arses, they treat Westerners like garbage on the street.

The popular manager of Misty's in Pattaya, Paul, celebrates his birthday this coming Thursday so if you're passing by soi 15 off Walking Street pop by and say hello.

Soi Cowboy's Shadow Bar now has free wi-fi for all of you computer geeks who would rather hammer away at your keyboard than flirt with the hostesses.  They will be getting 200 channels of satellite sports next week.  It is also worth mentioning that they are still running their 70 baht happy hour from noon until 9 PM.

Is Google taking photos of Bangkok at the moment for Google Earth?  The Google car was spotted on Petchaburi Road, close to Panthip Plaza at lunch time on Wednesday.

Champagne Gogo on Walking Street has a good happy hour through until 10 PM with bottles of the local poison, Singha, for those of you daring enough to drink it, at just 50 baht.

But it would seem that not all Pattaya bars are interested in giving customers a good deal and some have come up with a new way to rip one particular group of customers off.  A Thai-owned bar with entrances on both soi 14 and soi 15 off Walking Street has been charging the US military men in town an "entrance fee" of 300 baht.  New to the environment and not knowing how things work they have been paying - they do not know that entrance fees are not the norm at all.  The 300 baht fee is an illusion.

I didn't make it to Sin City this week but reports from friends have it that Walking Street is overloaded with tourists but the bars are just doing ok.  Sounds like not much change from my last visit.  Give it a month or so and I would expect things to drop off in Pattaya markedly - as they have in Bangkok already.  I can't help but think that for Pattaya this low season is going to be a fight for the Bangkok expats who flock to Sin City for the weekend.  Walking Street will always be ground zero for the bars so I wonder if they will do anything special to entice expats from Bangkok into the bars?

Speaking of bar business, the word from naughty bar owners in Bangkok is all bad with trade massively down on last year with the consensus that turn over is down about 40% on this time last year.  January trade was down, but not that much but now that we're well into February the bars are really hurting.  To make matters even worse, there is a real problem not just getting girls, but keeping them!  Many pundits predicted that with factories closing in Ayuthaya and some of Bangkok's neighbouring provinces that there would be a massive influx of new girls to the industry.  The opposite has happened and here in Bangkok bars are struggling to get girls, especially in Nana.  The number of girls in pretty much every bar in Nana Plaza apart from Rainbow 4 seems to be way down.

Conventional wisdom is that it is not a good idea, but a friend paying bar in Sweethearts A Gogo in Pattaya was asked by the mamasan to pay not just the barfine, but also the lady's fee in advance.  Now I don't know if this is bar policy or perhaps it was the mamasan looking after particular girls in her charge, but my friend took the risk and paid upfront.  There were no dramas and a good time was had by all.

Krabi is a popular spot for couples or backpackers and not really considered a destination for naughty boys but with that said if you were wondering what the scene was like for frisky fellow, you might be pleasantly surprised.  There are actually 3 beer bar areas where takeaways are available, Luna Beer Bar Complex, Centerpoint and Soi Sunlai.

What happened to the Indians / Bangladeshis / Sri Lankans who used to sell nuts in the bar areas?  I haven't seen them for a while now.  Was business so bad that they gave up?  Did they relocate and try to peddle their nuts elsewhere or were they perhaps banished from the nightlife areas?  Not that I miss them, mind you...

And speaking of blasts from the past, whatever happened to that special type of establishment, the no hands restaurant?  Do any still exist?  There used to be one in the Galaxy complex on Rama 4 Road, about a 3-minute walk from Patpong but the neon sign seems to be no longer so I'm not sure if it is still there.  I have not heard anything about this type of venue for some time now...

Bed Supper Club will open its Phuket branch in Patong around mid-May.  They'll be inside Jungceylon Shopping Complex which is a big site that incorporates lots of big name shops and plenty of little Thai enterprises.  It's only a couple of hundred metres from the top of Bangla Road so an easy walk from the heart of Phuket's nightlife.

I read an interesting take this week on determining how much the sin sot for a Thai woman should be with 10 times the bride's monthly salary being suggested as a rule of thumb.  There is no golden rule but this does provide some sort of indicator.

I'm a movie lover but I don't love these multiplexes that are all the rage these days.  My favourite cinemas have always been Scala and the other old style cinemas at Siam Square.  Scala is a real movie house, an old style cinema with a proper foyer, beautifully decorated with lovely, traditional Thai style murals, lighting built around stalactites mounted from the ceiling all of which gives you a feeling that you are actually going out.  I also like these cinemas because they are not in vogue at all and dead quiet.  They tend to be frequented by an older audience which suits me just fine.  You're less likely to have someone use their mobile in the auditorium.  But all is not well at Scala.  There has been no popcorn at the Siam Cinema in Siam Square for several weeks now, not because their machine broke down, but rather because the machine at the Lido, also in Siam Square, broke down.  Both of these, along with the Scala, are owned by the same company, and since the Lido sells much more popcorn than the Siam, they moved the machine over there.  All of the Siam Square cinemas use an old popcorn machine that is apparently difficult to find parts for.  This is especially disappointing because of the quality films recently played at Siam.  So if you want popcorn with your movie at Siam, give yourself an extra few minutes to go get it at the Lido.

I am generally against the idea of buying property in Bangkok and here is yet another reason why one should be careful if purchasing a property locally.  There was an advertisement for a new condo on Sukhumvit using a picture stating 'actual view' which was taken 3 years ago - and crucially - before another building was completed right in front of it, blocking the view!

Bangkok websites are a dying breed.  Bangkok Bob took his site down a couple of months ago and now Mekong Kurt's site has fallen into the same black hole.  Kurt hadn't published his weekly column for a couple of months before the site's disappearance although archives remained online.  Kurt has been seen doing the rounds in Washington Square so next time I am down that way I will hunt him out and find out what's going on.

Have you noticed the baht's slow but sure depreciation in value against the US dollar over the past two weeks?  It is as if its gradual decline in value is being very slowly and carefully managed.  If this continues, all things being equal, you should get a little more baht for whatever currency you're exchanging.  And my bet is that this gradual decline in the baht's value will continue...

I was with a friend yesterday driving through the central plains on our way to a national park when were waved over to the side of the road by a cop.  He approached the driver's window and asked my pal if he could speak Thai to which he replied he couldn't.  The cop then went on to say that he was doing 128 in a 120 km/h zone.  Rather than play the game as they almost all do, this cop was refreshingly frank and to the point.  "I want one hundred baht!", he said in decent English.  His request was met and we were on our way, the car can't have been stopped for more than 60 seconds.  Usually they beat around the bush but not this fellow!  And the fluency with which he said "I want one hundred baht!" made me think he'd used that line many times before!

Quote of the week.  "Phuket's Patong is now just like Pattaya, only with a nice beach!"

The FT had lunch with Khun Apisit.

The BBC reports on Thailand's success fighting the country's drug problem.

A 34-year old Canadian was gunned down on his birthday in Phuket this week.

The jail gates swung open and Harry Nicolaides is back in Australia after receiving a royal pardon!  And after being released early he is now set to stab the Thais in the back and write yet another of the second most popular genre of books by Westerners in Thailand, a tale of his jailed hell.

Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick is happy to answer any questions regarding inter-racial relationships as well as cultural peculiarities that may be confusing or baffling you.

Question 1:  My wife is pregnant now, six months.  The doctor has advised that we should not have sex at this time because it could cause complications for the baby.  My wife knows I've been feeling a little anxious lately.  We've always had sex frequently.  Well, my wife and mother-in-law are worried that I might do the dirty deed with another Thai girl, being that it's been so long now that we've had not had sex.  Anyway, the mother-in-law approached me yesterday and said that if I could not wait until after my wife had the baby, that she would be more than happy to step in and do the dirty deed with me.  At first I thought she was joking.  Well she wasn't.  I asked her if she told my wife about this and her response was, "Mai pen rai."  To make a long story short, is this normal or part of Thai culture for the mother-in-law to do offer a service like this?  I'm still in shock that she actually said this to me.  And no I did not oblige to her offer.  Please enlighten me on this.

Mrs. Stick says:  This is crazy and I never heard about this before.  It is not normal at all.



I believe in karma.  I really do.  Do good to others because what comes around goes around.  Do you remember Mr. Canada, the star of the column from a few months ago who lost everything and at almost 60 years age is close to destitute.  You do?  Good.  Hold that thought for a moment.  Now, you know on Sukhumvit and on the Beach Road in Pattaya there are Thais in their early 20s with decent English who approach tourists with what is purported to be a tourist survey.  Upon completion of the survey - which is a total ruse and the information is not used for any tourist survey purposes whatsoever - you are told that you have won a prize and that to collect it you have to go somewhere - and they are happy to take you there right away.  What happens is that you end up watching a presentation which is followed by a high pressure sales situation where aggressive, manipulative tactics are used to part the unsuspecting sucker with his baht.  Most have too much about them to fold but Darwin sees to it than the lower common denominator caves in and the scammers make a packet.  Well, I used to always think that these operations were run by Thais with the right connections and that is why they have survived so long.  I was wrong.  They are farang-run operations!  Occasionally you see these con men gleefully celebrating after parting one of their fellow countrymen with his hard-earned.  I despise these scammers, I really do.  Anyway, I just found out something interesting and while I do not like feeling good about others' misfortune, it really was karma at its best.  Mr. Canada is a member of these scammers.  That's what he does.  Karma.  It's real!



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

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Stick can be contacted at: stickmanbangkok@gmail.com.