Free Bird

I finally met the great Stephen Cleary, the blogger formerly known as Steve Suphan, in person just over a week ago. (Richard, you’re next!) Unfortunately, we didn’t have a camera to document our pleasant evening. But nonetheless, a few of points to ponder came out of that few hours spent over a few beers at a Langsuan pub.


Pick a language and stick with it

When I called Steve up, I wasn’t sure if I should speak English or Thai. So I started in English. Then he said something in Thai. I said something in Thai. The phone connection was bad. I thought he said something in English but he was actually speaking Thai. Eventually, I just stick with English. Hahah.

The language confusion continued on when we met in person at the pub. The waiter was fully prepared for Steve’s ordering in English, but Steve speaks Thai. You can see him/her did a double take. Then he pointed to me, and since I was speaking English with him, I blurted out my order first in English then I corrected with Thai.

Yes. We left a pretty good amount of tip.

What you see is not what you get

My brother and my dad first were notified that I was going out to have a beer with a friend at the pub a few doors down. Then I let dad in on the fact that I was meeting a writer who writes for the Nation and he is a dude. Then they both found out that I was meeting a writer who writes for the Nation who is a married farang man from Suphanburi coming to town for the night.

Well, easy to say the conversation I walked in on before I left the house was this:

Dad: Have you been tho the Pub Three Doors Down?
Brother: Once or twice.

Me: So have I a few years ago. Was there with my friends for dinner. That place was packed.

Dad (nodded then to brother): What kind of a pub is it?

Brother: Some locals go there but it’s mostly farangs. And much later, “those girls” would come in to pick up the drunken tourists.

Me (glaring): How exactly would YOU know THAT?

Brother: *shrug*

My family? Passive aggressive? Never!

I didn’t want to return fire but seriously though. Find me one of “those girls” who wear thick geek glasses. I dare you. *sigh*

Anyway. There we were, Steve and I at the pub. Two blogger-peas in a pod, sipping our beer, chatting away, and confusing the hell out of the waiters. Haha. Obviously, we were not farang tourist and a Thai hooker like any innocent bystanders would assume.

But can we help it if people are to go ahead and think that? We can’t.

Any Thai girl who says that they don’t care what other people think would be lying. To actually say that “we don’t care what people think” already means that you have thought about it. We do care because we go into public forum to talk about it, to fight stereotypes, to claim our rights to just be “any other Thai girl” instead of a “potential Thai hooker”.

We do care, but we choose not to let it get to us.

I asked Steve to one day write an entry about what it feels like to be a farang guy married to a Thai girl living in Thailand. You always hear the Thai girl side of the story, but what is it like for the men? Do they feel the same pressure of stereotype? I am curious to know.


With a few story ideas in our pockets and a memory of our first face-to-face meeting forever linked to the house band rendition of “Free Bird”, we parted way.

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
There’s too many places I haven’t seen
And if I stayed here with you, now
Things just wouldn’t be the same
Well I’m as free as a bird now,
And a bird you can not change.

Until next time, my friend. Until next time.

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