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
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 foot.
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.
I could 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.