As a Cal State Northridge associate professor, Kenneth Ng spends his days teaching students the principles of economics: markets, monetary policy, interest rates.
But in his free time, Ng focuses on a very different kind of market: sex tourism in Thailand. For the past year, Ng has been running a Web site that offers insights into the Thai bar scene, such as where to meet beautiful women and how to negotiate
fees for their services.
But he was outed by a group of foreign businessmen who were outraged by what they considered a disrespectful Internet posting. They contacted his employer and colleagues, hoping Ng would be pressured into taking down his site.
It was a post he wrote on another Web site, run by owners of the Big Mango Bar in Bangkok, that triggered the organized campaign against him. In it, he instructed men to look for women near a particular Buddhist shrine. The Big Mango Bar owners
said they found his post disrespectful.
University officials say they will not intervene or discipline Ng as long as his extracurricular activities do not involve public resources.
...Read full article
Update: Self Censored Under Pressure
24th April 2010. See article
An American professors website about Bangkok nightlife has been deleted bar a final explanatory posting:
For those not familiar with Bangkok, many bars, including the Big Mango Bar, are actually brothels. They employ girls who are paid a small monthly salary and get most of their pay from commissions on drinks customers buy them
and from what are referred to as barfines in Bangkok. A barfine is a fee paid to the bar that frees the girl from working for the rest of the day and allows the girl to go out with the customers. Sometimes customers take girls dancing and to dinner
but most of the time they take the girl home for sex. There are quotas and girls who don't get barfined enough or induce enough men to buy them drinks get their salary proportionately reduced.
It sounds worse than it is because the girls are all over 20, are free to quit whenever they want, go home with whomever they please, and, in the end, many actually end up marrying and/or girlfriending men they meet at the
bar. Legions of Thai girls from poor, uneducated, impoverished backgrounds have found opportunity and a better life by working in Bangkok bars and meeting foreign men over the years.
The whole system sounds a bit unsavory to Western sensibilities but the system is ubiquitous in Bangkok among foreigners and native Thais and a form of the same system is prevalent in most Asian countries–Communist China,
Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. It is even rumored that the wives of several high Thai government officials and politicians started out as a hostesses in similar clubs. Before BigBabyKenny.com was turned off, you could have read through the many posts
on the site for more information. Now that BigBabyKenny.com has been turned off, I'm not sure if an equivalent source exists.
The articles were too good at laying bare the economic underpinnings, the inter-personal dynamics, the nuts and bolts, and even the humorous side of The Thailand Girl Scene.
The discussion of The Thailand Girl Scene was too interesting and too revealing about the realities of life in a third world country where the usual ways women advance themselves socially and economically in The World are
The photography was too good at documenting the nitty gritty nature of the various nooks and crannies of the Thailand nightlife industry.
The realities of life, love, dating, marriage, and sex in Southeast Asia and the politically correct western centric view of the world clashed.
Better to live in a make believe fairy tale western fantasy version of Southeast Asian culture and society than deal with an accurate, well documented truth.
Unfortunately, because I am a professor at a big public university, the popularity and publicity surrounding the ideas, the subjects and questions discussed and debated, and, of course, the ground breaking photography at BigBabyKenny.com
became so great that the site had to be turned off.
Read the full article
Some of you may be aware of an issue that recently has received some attention related to a website run by a university
employee on his own personal time with no connection to Cal State Northridge. I am writing with an update about this issue.
Professor Kenneth Ng informed me Thursday night that he is reluctantly taking down his web site on Friday. He will replace it with a brief account of the business dispute that led to the current controversy.
Professor Ng said that he is taking down the site because of the deleterious effect it had on the university's reputation, not because he considered the subject matter and content as unsuitable for public discourse, public
discussion, or public debate.
I thank him for his reflection and removal of the site. I thank the University community for their comments.
I understand that some people will be disappointed that we did not force the site's closure; others already object that university leadership was critical of a university employee's speech.
We are trying to balance two principles that, in this case, clashed. Our commitment to gender equity compels us to see the site as offensive; our commitment to expression urges us to tolerate words and pictures we find intolerant.
As university leaders, we believe open debate is critical to ordering our values and determining our acts. While belief in an absolute right to censor might initially comfort us; our and us has a way of quickly narrowing to you
and me. Then the danger is that exclusion and exploitation, the acts that initially incited us to censor, become the rules of the day.
As with other incidents that have arisen on campus in the past, I encourage everyone to use the issues that have been raised in this matter as an opportunity to examine and talk about how we deal with values and perspectives
that may conflict with our own while balancing the rights of others.
Harry Hellenbrand, Provost