I was wondering what next to put on the blog and thought I would explain one or two things about the Go Go bars so liked by the male tourists of Thailand.
Believe it or not, prostitution is unlawful in Thailand, but Thailand being Thailand the authorities turn a blind eye. The sex tourism in Thailand brings in a lot of money and even though it’s not the main money spinner it is a big income bringer for certain parts of Thailand.
Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya all come to mind when you talk about Thailand and the Go Go Bars. Even though they are in other areas of Thailand, Chiang Mai included but a very very small version compare to the large seaside cities.
When I have told people that I am moving to Thailand and my girlfriend is Thai, a lot of people jumped to several conclusions, and a lot of the times I end up explaining several things as they assume one of several things.
First of all my girlfriend is not 18 ( she is a few years younger than me) and second she has been living here in the UK for about 15 years. I am not too sure if it’s an indictment on my thought process or theirs. If I don’t get those two things out of the way first, I get probing, but polite questions trying to find out if I have got myself a Thai bride, I am cradle snatching or if she is after a passport or my money. Don’t get me wrong not all people do this but it is not unusual.
Thailand has no welfare service, if you don’t have money, well, you starve, its as simple as that. So if you live in a small village and you are a farmer living from hand to mouth, there are not may choices. A lot of the girls who work in the bar come from very poor familes and they go to the big city to work in the bars.
The girls will earn as money as they can and they send the money bak to their families and become the bread winner. To get out of the cycle of poverty the girls will try to get out of it in several ways.
1) Earn as much money as they can, while they are young enough and pretty enough. Remember there will always be prettier and younger girls coming in to replace the older ones, so competition is always there.
2) Marry a foreigner ( Falang ) who will look after them and their family.
3) Buy a business or start a business so they can earn money for the family and themselves.
I must admit I do respect them for their sacrifice but male tourists have to be careful as many a falling has fallen for their charges and unaware of their motivation. Please do not get me wrong , I am a cynic , there have been lots of good relationships started in Go Go bars and as many they have floundered.
There is a well know thing isn Thailand known as the “Sick Buffalo” Story. Know to those who live in Thailand but not to an unsuspecting tourist.
A tourist will meet a wonderful bar girl and after being with there for a few days and he is due to leave and promise to keep in touch. She will say that her family ware having difficulty and need money to heal a sick buffalo, and ask for help. The man will then send money, regularly to her to help her. Unbeknown to him several men are doing the same thing. What is even more difficult for westerners to get their head around, her Thai boyfriend is also happy with the arrangement.
Like a lot of cultures the Thai culture and attitude is complicated and at times, very simple, and other very difficult to get your head around.