name: that girl in pink
location: Somewhere, India
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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Removing the rose colour glasses.

And the weary world traveller is back! Ok, to be honest, I don’t really qualify as a world traveller. Actually I barely qualify as traveller, unless you count alternating visits to Delhi and Goa as travel. And a three and a half hour flight to Thailand is definitely not what you’d call a major international flight. And nope, I’m not weary either, having pretty much lived in style in the Land of Smiles, as against our original plans of slumming it out and spending the money on shopping. (I say roughing it out only suits the adventurous white folk who’re eager to soak in the local culture and see a country for what it really is. For us Indians there’s nothing like a comfortable hotel room with a giant TV, tea/coffee maker and bathrooms with free shampoos, conditioners and lotions. Doesn’t matter how bad our currency conversion rate is.) So anyway, as anyone reading this may have guessed (that’s anyone who still visits here after my shamefully long leave of absence) my 6-day trip to Thailand is just an excuse for the aforementioned shamefully long leave of absence.

But because the world today is a terrible place full of war and bad reality TV shows (which if you think about it could really be the same thing…) we blog junkies have a responsibility to not be too harsh on each other and forgive and forget our erring friends.

So back to the trip to Thailand which was of course a great cultural experience! I certainly didn’t go only for the shopping and beaches or out of curiosity to see the famed go-go dancers. That would just make me an uncivilised boor! I made sure to include a half-day tour of a palace in our plans, much against the protests of my husband who’s sweet but not as culturally inclined as me, but that’s later.

First stop Pattaya, the Thai word for “Land of gross white men with young Thai girls on their arms”. Also the first time in my life I’ve ever experienced culture shock. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no puritan who judges people on their personal choices. I pride myself on being quite the opposite really. And I haven’t been living under a rock either. I knew about the sleaze in Thailand before I went there. But nothing quite prepares you for the scene you witness in Pattaya. For as far as the eye can see, all there is, is old/young/fat/skinny/poor/rich white guys roaming the streets with young Thai girls. You strain your eyes to see maybe one other couple that actually came in to the country together and speak the same language as each other but you can stop straining ‘cause you aren’t going to see any. From a McDonald’s to a local beer bar, every place was just full of these pairs, strangers who met just a few days ago and were now holding hands and sitting in silence. Neither speaks the other’s language (the lack of English speaking locals is surprisingly dismal for a country that thrives on tourism) and so the couples just sit and eat or drink or whatever in silence. Every one in a while, one of them will point at a funny looking ad or laugh over a hard to slice chicken piece and then its back to silent hand-holding.

Good manners were completely forgotten as I found myself staring at these strange couplings. I get the concept of paying for sex but I couldn’t understand why everyone here had to behave like a couple in love. This was strictly a monetary transaction with an expiry date, so what was with the lunches and the walks on the beach and the attempts at conversation? He was going to go back and next week she’d be going through the entire rigmarole with another guy. So what was the point?

The answer of course was obvious - every guy who came here came looking for more than just a night of paid for sex. He was looking for companionship and for the experience of being in a relationship, however short lived and fake he knew it was going to be. He wanted a tiny hand to hold as he walked down the pavement, someone to buy pretty things for, someone who’d stroke his hair and chide him for smoking too much.

And the girls? Each one of them hoped that one of these days, one of these guys would fall in love with her for real. And they’d get married and move to his country and live in a big white house with a picket fence. And until that time, this might be the best way to make money.

As this realisation dawned upon me, so did a sense of disgust. What kind of a loser travels so many miles just to experience a fake relationship he’s paying for? That was just sad. I mean, lose some weight and get yourself a real girlfriend already!

But even as I was thinking that, I knew it was bullshit. Just who gave me the right to judge anyone else’s actions? Sure, he was paying for this act and he knew that none of these girls would give him a second look if it weren’t for his white skin and the promise of the dollars it represented. But all said and done, that right there, that hand holding and chicken sharing, was real. The conversation, however broken and funny it was, was a real connection between two people.

As for the girls and their choice of careers, I’m not even going to get into that. I have no idea why they got into it. Was it a wicked uncle who sold them to the brothel, Hindi movie style, or was it a conscious decision? As far as I can imagine, any woman would rather be doing anything else in the world than this. It’s dangerous and it can be deadly. But on the surface, these girls look happy enough, so who am I to go rescuing them?

I guess it’s true that money can’t buy you happiness and love. But it can buy you a few days of a lovely illusion. And well, that can’t really be so bad.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m never going there again. The guys are welcome to their make believe fantasies. I’m not gonna judge it, but I’d rather not watch it.

Posted by that girl in pink  | 1:03 AM  |  33 comments  

33 Comments

at 2:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To understand Pattaya you have to understand what has happened to Western women over the last 20 or 30 years. They have ceased wanting to be women and are now determined to be men. The is only one gender in the Western world and that is 'male'. Women want to get a job and be independent of men. If they do get the urge to have a baby they may get married but they always have an exit strategy in mind since more than half the couples who marry get divorced. So they prepare for divorce even before marriage.

The idea of a woman caring for a man and a man taking care of a woman is no longer present in the West. It's every man for him/her self. This is a huge change from what was present for thousands and thousands of years before the 1960's.

Western men who come to Thailand are pleasantly shocked at how they are treated by the women. Unless they are very old they've never experienced a woman acting like a women until they come to Thailand. They last thing they want then is a Western girlfriend. All that will mean are battles for control of the relationship and an eventual divorce with half your assets gone.

Western women should learn from Thailand but I fear that most of them are unable to learn. They are brainwashed by the womens magazines which tell them to "look for your hunk" or "get a better career". How many magazines have you seen with articles like "how to care for your man?"

 
at 1:28 PM Blogger SanjayBhaiMBA said...

I completely identify with what would have gone in the writers mind. If you look from a white man's perspective, its just an escape from his life. A sense of misplaced adventure where you have nothing to lose.

 
at 11:44 AM Blogger lemontree said...

hey pink!!!!

glad to have you back
from pattaya from the real world into blogospehre

nice post. the pink insight and sense of humour remains intact

lemon

 
at 5:21 PM Blogger Lalit Singh said...

Bhelkum back Pink!!
Its been a while but I always knew that one of these days I will see a new post and here it is.
Well I seem to now know a lot about Pattaya and the people visting there (not u sweetheart)... but I will observe silence on the issue and rather not speak my mind. To each one his/her own.
But a very interesting account of things nevertheless. I am sure thats not all u did in those six days. Put up some pics and things about the other places.

 
at 10:43 PM Blogger Quicksilver! said...

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!That girl in Pink is back *dances wildly*

 
at 10:18 AM Blogger Jason said...

@anonymous
Just a little curious!
If the men go to Thailand because they long to be cared for, to compensate for the lack of attention they get from their women back home, where do the women go when the career and other things become boring and insignificant and being cared for becomes the priority?

 
at 1:42 PM Blogger Vijayeta said...

Oh my god! Someone gave you a looong lecture already, albeit anonymously! Sigh!
And yes, WELCOME BACK! An unusual take on Thailand, I must say though you're very right. Usually the thing to do when in Thailand is to wear blinkers and focus solely on the food and shopping!
The one place that leaves me as confused is Dubai... All the rich sheikhs' wives' covered from head to toe shopping for ultra-sexy killer expensive lingerie at Agent Provocateur. It's an experience!
But then again, a holiday is a holiday is a holiday. Glad you could manage one :)

 
at 9:32 AM Blogger Jenn said...

Western women = unfeminine, as in, they don't take care of their men, so men have to go get 12-year olds in Thailand or Vietnam or Cambodia to feel like a man.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Because naturally, a woman should only look as a career as a prelude to marriage after which she can be content to be barefoot and pregnant...oh dear, stop me, I'm going to rant.

But seriously Pink, welcome back. One of my best friends in Australia (white male) married a Thai woman (note: woman, not girl). She's a Phd student and so warm and candid (she tells her husband off without a second thought and he loves it). They have one of the best marriages I know of.

Pattaya is a bit of a dump and if you've seen one tiger show, you've seen them all...

 
at 10:39 AM Blogger that girl in pink said...

dear anonymous , i'm afraid i'm going to have to disagree with you completely. and if i start tearing apart each point you've made, that'll be a post by itself.

i do wanna point out one important detail. you say, "Western men who come to Thailand are pleasantly shocked at how they are treated by the women." um, these women are treating them that way cuz they're being paid for it. in any country you can pay for services. please don't mistake this for actual affection or care.

you say, "Western women should learn from Thailand but I fear that most of them are unable to learn. They are brainwashed by the womens magazines which tell them to "look for your hunk" or "get a better career". How many magazines have you seen with articles like "how to care for your man?" "

oh dear...

 
at 10:46 AM Blogger that girl in pink said...

SanjayBhaiMBA: yeah, i guess it is a sort of escape. but all of us do that in some way or the other. so who am i to cast a judgement on this particular choice of escape?

thanks lemon! now that i can, i'm gonna have to ask you, "when are you posting next??!"

hi lalit! thanks for keeping tha faith! :)
the rest of thailand was fabuluos and i had such a good time! except for the part where my dear husband's century old camera completely collapsed on us and all my posing and preening at various spots in bangkok are now only part of my memory. i'm so pissed with that bloody useless piece of junk!!

wow quicksilver, what a nice reception! i feel so wanted...sniff! :-D

 
at 3:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pink!!!

yay!!! you're back :)

Ur post made me laugh, think, smile and curious... wanna know more abt ur trip!

-UrPublicist

 
at 11:34 PM Blogger Sue said...

Hullo, you're back too!

Have you heard of the Sarong Party Girls? I think that's what the are called, the Singapore girls who try to marry the white tourists. There was quite an uproar over this book by the name.

 
at 11:33 AM Blogger Grey Shades said...

Yes it can be quite disheartning to see it and Thailand isnt the only place it happens in! You'd be surprised to see this happen in the US too. Only, its difficult to spot these 'couples'! Good to see you back lady!

 
at 12:06 PM Blogger that girl in pink said...

jason : good point! you know i was discussing with someone about why there are more female prostitutes than male ones. and the simple fact is that it's just not that difficult for a woman to get laid. men are far more willing to sleep around with no strings attached so a woman really doesn't need to pay for sex.

but i never thought about the caring bit, or in thailand's case, the "fake" care and affection. i guess if you have the money, you can get yourself a hunky toy boy. if movies are to be believed that's what italy is for!

hey vij! yeah, i'm glad i had the vacation! bangkok was so good!! bangalore really seems rather dull now...

hey jenny jenn jenn, i completely get your indignation at that remark. i myself didn't reply to it immediately cuz otherwise i would've just ranted on and on and on!!
i have to admit that after a day in pattaya i was wondering if this is what all thai women do. but bangkok immediately dispelled any such thoughts. the women there are smart, really fashionable and work very very hard.
and they have such pretty feet! lol. i felt like quite the big foot in that petite country.

thank you publicist :D i will be calling you soon!!

sue: googling Sarong Party Girls now!!!! how's baby doing??

hey grey: thank you for the warm welcome! its nice to be back!

 
at 12:18 PM Blogger that girl in pink said...

http://sarongpartygirl.blogspot.com/2004/04/why-white-expats.html

who can argue with such compelling arguments?

thanks sue for introducing me to the term!

 
at 7:30 PM Anonymous essar said...

hey pink! finally you surface ...and I thought I was bad!

don't know about pattaya - but heard its pretty sad, though, i still think its better than india where the state of sex workers is just plain sad.

 
at 12:58 AM Blogger Nautilus said...

Wow, that first comment by Anonymous was completely surreal! But hats off to you Pink...weren't you aware of Pattaya's reputation? I knew I didn't have the stomach for the "strangeness" that Pattaya has come to be associated with...went to Chiang Mai and Phuket instead...didn't see any paedophiles there(Thank God!)

 
at 2:10 AM Blogger the wannabe indian punkster said...

Yay, youre back! Woo!

I like this take on Thailand, its very surreal.

And I second Vij; when in Thailand wear blinkers and focus on food and shopping!

:-D

 
at 2:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, your comments on Pattaya were copied on a chat site and let me tell you, you have raised hell about India and the attitude of the 1% population of rich bitches who should look more closer to home before making comments on places like Pattaya...

Anyway, being an Indian myself and also as a strong fan of the Thai people, especially the girls, I can confirm to you that the Thai experience is not just sex. The companionship of most Thai girls is an ideal, not only to the whites that you talk about but also to a lot of us Indians. I have been to Pattaya over 20 times since 1996....

 
at 7:16 PM Blogger Sue said...

You're welcome. And he's busy gurgling at the walls and trying to decide if the time is ripe to throw off a few howls or not.

Those SPGs suddenly seem to have an easy life of it! :)

 
at 8:11 AM Blogger Jenn said...

Pink, why don't you bar these bastards who don't have the balls to comment as themselves and hurl invective under the cloak of anonymity?

 
at 10:46 AM Blogger that girl in pink said...

hey essar! i guess living with your blinders on is the easiest thing to do! what you don't know can't be so bad huh?

nautilius! pattaya was a little icky but bangkok was great! had a really good time there. i hear phuket is beautiful...maybe next time!

thank you for the warm welcome punkster :) actually thailand really is a beautiful country. one of the few places where the locals treat indians as well as they treat the goras.
except in pattaya ofcourse...

dear anonymous, what you do in thailand is your business. and what i write on my blog is mine. and i'm definitely getting into a this-is-what-i-really-meant explanation of anything. read the whole bloody post before you leave a comment.

either ways, glad i could spark off a discussion on your chat site.

and i'm just going to attribute your bitterness to the pots of money you have to spend every year just to get laid. i'd be pissed too!

 
at 11:15 AM Anonymous Milind said...

Hi that girl in pink,

I only quoted what was happening elsewhere in response to your post. Sorry if it sounded like my opinion. I appreciate and respect your opinion and am not here to hurl invective as one of the readers put it...

Since I have been accused of being anonymous, let me also correct that by including my name. I don't have a webpage but can be reached at milindind@rediffmail.com But let me confess...I'm not a blogger and am unlikely to contribute much..

I might as well state my opinion since you seem to have assumed my point of view. Here's what I have replied to Jenn as regards my opinion (I am including it here only because I see a wrong assumption on my stance) of your post

Quote "I think the post is very balanced and gives a fair view of an observer to Pattaya without assuming any moral or pontificatory role. However the author seems to looked at the relationships there only from a monetary standpoint while assuming that emotions if any, are superficial or are very transient which may not be true"Unquote


Neither did I ask for an explanation...insofar as i am concerned this is a fair observation of what one sees in Pattaya.I only added an opinion that the handholding etc need not only be related to sex. There are many handicapped and 70 year olds (who can not have sex even if they wanted to) who come to Pattaya for affection...it's something similar to what goes on in Japan where you can hire a daughter, sister, grandfather or whoever you want...

The last part of your observation too needs clarification. I have a good friend in Pattya (a girl who works in a bar)who I and my wife have known for 5 years and who is likely to visit us in Bangalore in January 2007. Thais make great friends. I have never been cheated in Thailand. I love the food. I love their hospitality. I have stayed as a guest with families in Isan and Buriram...This is what I meant...

Milind

 
at 8:11 PM Blogger It's me said...

Good Golly Ms Molly - I think your post-holiday blog is turning out to be more exciting than your trip itself.
Opinions flying fast and furious :)
I think it's great that your post has sparked off such an interesting discussion.
Glad your back. Been checking regularly in hope of finding that blasted writer's block unblocked!
Talk to you soon.

 
at 7:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooh Pink! Ur comment section suddenly seems to be more interesting than your post on Thailand ;)

-UrPublicist

 
at 10:00 PM Blogger freespirit said...

Its certainly a great post and i totally get what you are saying. I live in KL and go to Thailand on work all the time (atleast once a month) and see this "odd coupling" all the time. What you may not have seen though is the crowd in the US and UK embassies (or is it high commissionsn there?). The embassies look like a marriage bureau, I'm not kidding! You walk in to the US or UK embassy in Bangkok at given time of the year, you will find a zillion white guys(well described in your post) with the demure Thai girl on their arm, applying for a spouse visa. Its bloody surreal. They do actually get married, it looks like. I was amazed!

 
at 11:49 AM Blogger that girl in pink said...

hi milind,

ok, i think i jumped the gun there. and since you've been so gracious as to offer an apology (when really it was i who misunderstood you), please accept my apology in return.
that sounded rather victorian! :)

obviously, i'm not out to judge all of thailand and it's people. and if i ever get around to writing part 2 of my great travelogue, the bangkok chapter, it will only be full of praise (and some envy - those thai women are so slim!).

i do hope i'll see you back here again. next time, i'll get my lawyers to read the comment before i fly off the handle.

just kidding!

i'll just get my publicist to take a look...

 
at 11:54 AM Blogger that girl in pink said...

it's me:now i get the importance of travelling. he he!

publicist: is that good or bad?!?

hey freespirit! i guess people get together for all sorts of reasons: love, money, security, a green card. who're we to judge these reasons, eh?

 
at 5:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good, good, good !!!
And the response to Milind's counter-response is very apt - am sure he'll become a part of the adrent & loyal readership of urs. U're the best :)

 
at 5:03 PM Blogger IRIS said...

Hey that's an interesting take on how ALL barriers are broken to become one.....ofcourse on a temporary basis:-)

 
at 4:00 PM Blogger P.W.F said...

maybe everyone is so busy today that the only way to have someone to share some time with you is to pay for it.. money can buy anything, u just need to know where to look.. how can u say that the love you or i have is any different than the one money can buy? its just an emotion..

 
at 5:25 PM Anonymous Achtlandia said...

whoa what a read! i have had to limit my blog-visits to lunchtime reads, but gawd this was good...and not just the post itself...! i'm in bahrain now, and the scene is not as bad as pattaya or dubai, but it really is sad. and to untrained eye, they are just slim, pretty chinkis out to have a good time on a weekend until my husband tells me otherwise. and even tho i'm not into the judgment deal myself, it makes me cringe. like if they came nearer the air would become soiled! i do judge myself for thinking like that, but what to do, all i saw in Delhi pubs were rich guys trying to pick up girls, but real dates. not paid. i suppose, pink, it is for people like us to quietly look the way.

moi sad.

:-(

unable to post comment on your site.

sadder. achtlandia.

 
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