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.