Daily Archives: August 5, 2006

Butt of the joke

This week has been the “Thai Whores” week for me.

First, I was watching “The Matador”, a movie about a hitman (Pierce Brosnan) who has a meltdown. And then there were these:

“I look like a Bangkok hooker on a Sunday morning, after the navy’s left town.”

Haha. Somehow I knew that was going to come up, judging by the hitman’s character, the globetrotting, sexual deviant sociopath. I knew the subject of Thai prostitutes was going to come up somehow.

“I wouldn’t do that for all the teenage twat in Thailand.”

Aww. Come on, man! Two lines in the same movie? Now, that’s not fair. I’d give you credit for one.

In a way, I’m laughing at how ridiculous this gets. I can’t really get offended though because there is truth in the stereotype.

It’s not a surprise that the world still sees Thailand as the prostitution captial of Asia. You can’t really deny it.

It’s not a surprise to me also that some people had asked my husband if I was “rescued” while he perhaps was in Thailand with the Marine Corp. It surprises me that someone would dare to ask that question to the husband of a Thai woman! (And for the records, for those who didn’t know, I met him while I was working at a dot com in the U.S. during my graduate study. Thank you very much.)

As much as the country tries to cover it up, as much as I try to defend my country’s dignity–and obviously my own, at a certain point, you can’t really argue with it any more.

I used to get angry when people start joking about Thailand and prostitutions. But now I just joke along with them, and sometimes I even throw it back in their faces. It’s interesting to see people’s reaction when a Thai woman joke about Thai prostitution right back at them. Oh, the beauty of the stunned expression and awkward silence is just priceless!

You can fight all you want when the truth is that prostitution still exists in Thailand. Actually, it is more like underground fuel for Thai economy as much as we don’t want to admit it. It is true that there are child prostitution and forced prostitution and the “teenage twat” free agents. Go on, deny it. When you can see it on the streets and all over the internet (oh yes, there are video romps of tourists with Thai girls all over the internet…don’t ask me how I know), and folks still fly out of the country talking about those lost souls, you can’t really go on refusing that it exists.

We either embrace it, or do something about it. Sititng around complaining about how the world sees us as prostitutes is not going to do any good if nothing is being done to change that image. Good publicity and PR is useless if the truth lurks just behind that front we put on.

All I can do now is laugh along with the joke.

Then, of course, I was watching some other television show and something about Thai whores came up.

*sigh* Okay. I give up.

Phra That Choe Hae


Phra That Choe Hae, Phrae

Year of the Tiger: If you are exploring Northern Thailand then the city of Phrae is worth a visit. The old city, surrounded by a wall and moat, still retains many of its original buildings and temples. However, the highlight of any trip to Phrae is Phra That Choe Hae. This temple is about 9 kms southeast of the town. This Lanna style temple was built during the Sukhothai period. The relics in this chedi are believed to be the left elbow and strands of hair of the Lord Buddha. The octagonal shaped chedi is 33 metres high with 12 indented corners. It is made of brick and stucco and glazed with gilded gold. The name “choe hae” comes from the fine cloth which is wrapped around the chedi. In a nearby building is a beautiful Buddha image similar in style to the one I photographed in Phitsanulok. Phra That Choe Hae is an important pilgrimage site for all Thai people and in particular for people born in the Year of the Tiger.