Citing the human toll of Thailand's sex industry and its negative impact on the country's image, the internet commentator known for years as Stickman Bangkok announced he will shut down his whoremonger-centric website in favor of a new blog
devoted to traditional Thai culture and family values. He's left, he confesses, with no other option after his latest groundbreaking write-up.
Stickman stunned the blogosphere by leading off his weekly Stickman column Sunday with a 2,900-word
screed against the industry, bars and revelers who not only made his site the leading source of information on Thailand's foreign-oriented sex industry but was considered by many as a connoisseur of the Thai bargirls scene enjoying god-like status.
Illustrating his invective with flattering and less flattering photos of Western visitors to Bangkok and Pattaya, Stickman said he found the sight of rotund and/or appallingly dressed visitors propositioning women in public … crass. He added
that even essays he willingly published within the last week by his heavyweight contributors to the hugely popular Reader Submissions section he found highly distasteful and utterly ignorant.
Many have not even tried to understand
the girls' situation or what they go through, he decried.
Stickman, however, made clear his problem wasn't with the morality of prostitution, but with the effects it has on the people involved and to a lesser extent, the country.
The sector of Thailand's commercial sex industry for foreigners is a major blight on the country's image. The women lured into it often leave in a much worse situation than when they entered. If the industry was shut down, Thailand would be
better off, he wrote This is not a debate about morals, but simply about opening your eyes and seeing the industry for what it really is. It's about empathy and consideration and being honest about how it would be if the shoe was on the other
After promoting the industry through words and advertising for nearly a decade, Stickman is said to be closing the column by saying his eyes were finally open and, rather than simply complain about how badly women get treated in the
industry by foreign pimps and johns, he was going to stand up and do something about it.
I can no longer, in good conscience, continue to publicize and attract visitors to an industry I so obviously abhor, no matter how much the bar owners have
paid me over the years, Stickman was said to have said in a post-column statement supposedly released to the media.
It would be outrageously hypocritical for me to so vociferously condemn the evils of Thailand's sex industry while at the
same time promoting it through advertising, he's said to have said.
In an interview, Stickman said he had considered closing down the website for years and conceded that his increasing numbers of detractors were justified in criticizing him
for being negative and critical of the industry even as it was a lucrative industry not only for the pimps and girls and the website's sex tourist-dominated audience.
Yes, there was hypocrisy and about that I make no contention, Stickman
said. Sure, I enjoy watching scantily clad women dance and I enjoy flirting with them. I enjoy meeting friends in the bars with lovely ladies as a backdrop. So, yes, my perspective on the industry is complicated and contrarian. I would be happy to see
it die while at the same time I wrote about it every week.
Those who know him say Stickman's change of heart comes a change in his own self-image. Whereas he was happy in 2001 to trawl Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza anonymously for inexpensive,
young, hard-bodied pussy , as he called it in his Sunday column, he now sees himself as an up-and-coming, respectable internet entrepreneur.
He now categorizes his twice-weekly (or more) outings to go-go bars as research and denied his
decision to recommend to readers, by number, girls working in a Soi Cowboy go-go was pimping the bargirls, but simply helping them earn enough money to live.
For his part, Stickman isn't worried about his post-Stickman life.
actually keep the site open and just remove all the sex-related stuff and I'd only lose five advertisers, he said. All the other English schools, Thai dating sites and hotels would still want to be there.
Stickman's hopes lie in a new
project tentatively called GoodCleanThaiLiving.com, a site where foreigners can learn to learn more about traditional Thai music and dance and promotes traditional Thai values including modesty and monogamy.
What I did with Stickman proved that
one man can become a great influence, Stickman said: I now want to use my influence for good and stand behind what I truly believe.
The sector of Thailand's
commercial sex industry for foreigners is a major blight on the country's image. The women lured into it often leave in a much worse situation than when they entered. If the industry was shut down, Thailand would be better off. I firmly believe these
three statements to be absolutely true!
The column continues in the same vein and even finishes off with the usual promotion of Bangkok and Pattaya bars.
It is hard to see to see how the column can continue in its
present format. Any continued nightlife news will surely come across with the implied: I don't believe in prostitution...BUT...let me tell you the places to go anyway.
In the modern internet world people choose their communities with the
expectation that their tastes in life will be affirmed by like minded people. Few will want to read nightlife articles that are critical of one's life styles.
Perhaps the column will shift to more general Thai life subjects, but these may need to
establish a totally new audience.
Perhaps there is a more conspiratorial explanation for the slightly unbelievable extreme change of heart.
Interesting to see that Pattaya Ghost did a take on the story on AbsolutelyBangkok.com but the links
seems to have been taken down already.
'Informed sources' from several police divisions have told the Pattaya Times that a very serious crackdown will begin next month to catch foreign business people who are financial backers of gay bars, beer bars and go-gos where there is sex for
sale in Pattaya.
Police investigations will determine who pays the bills and gets the profits. If the person is a foreigner then their visa will be revoked and they will be expelled from the Kingdom. If it is a Thai they will be arrested if sex is
for sale. There is supposedly much concern about organized crime in the nightlife venues, said one official.
Where did the money come from? Who is behind it? Where does the money go? asked one police chief rhetorically.
anyone who has invested in a bar that might be suspected of illegal acts to clear up the problem and make sure they are not associated with any business that is engaged in illegal activities. The Thai police are taking this very seriously. Sure, in the
past we have heard rumors of crackdowns, but I don't think we have ever seen a crackdown like the one that is about to happen, said Drew Noyes , Managing Director of the Pattaya Times Drew Noyes added.
Blue Lagoon A-GoGo was located at the back of the Best Friend Beer Bar Complex on Beach Road.
It closed in November 2009 and made a few noises about re-opening but never did. It is a bit more absolute now as the front wall has been taken away. The
rear toilets are now available for use by customers of the beer bars complex.
A similar fate has fallen on Snowice at the back of the
Nok Beer Bar Complex on Walking Street.
It opened as a coyote show bar in October 2009 but soon released that less clothes is best. The venue redeveloped as a GoGo in November 2009 but this didn't last long. The bar has now been removed and the
space used for pool tables.
Whilst on the depressing subject of ex-bars, Pattaya at Night is reporting that the very sort lived disco, Hospita, has closed on Walking Street. Also the longer lasting lady boy bar, Limmatquai 80, on Soi Diamond has
Graeme, the managing director and majority shareholder of Happy, Peppermint and Beach Club has made a statement about the re-location of Peppermint Palace:
Lets clear the confusion. Peppermint will not close,
in the not too distant future it will be re-located to the ground floor of the marine complex, and something I have always wanted as it will off street access to many new customers. An area has already been allocated and the size will be the same as it
is now and the same concept will be used. This will happen sooner than later but will result in no closure of Peppermint.
As rumored, my group is looking to expand, we have looked at several opportunities but so far,
our only recent acquisition, is Sisters which we will close ending of January for a complete re-model.