Expat@Large

What To Do In HK – An Expat-Tempore List

Posted in beach, expats, food, hiking, Hong Kong, tourists by expatatlarge on May 20, 2012

A friend asked E@L to suggest some things for a buddy to do while he was in Hong Kong. E@L has no idea how long, if not forever, his buddy would be there.

This prompted a quick thought and an even quicker burst of the automatic writing that E@L used to think he used to be infamous for… Gods of Blog Spontaneity be damned, there has been quite a bit of editing from the original e-mail, for obsfucational clarificational purposes in the vain hope of making it more understandable/coherent.

This means that while there are still plenty of errors, distortions, misrepresentations, exaggerations and arguably hypocritical opinions and comments in this list – not to mention geographical fuck-up – E@L holds these truths be evidence of his experiences there.

E@L apologizes in advance to local experts and tourist-guides for making the wrong call on so many things, but this is how he remembers it… Many of the local bloggers would scoff at and deride E@L for this superficial list, but as they don’t follow him anyway, eh, who really cares?

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Hey friend, person of ill-repute,

An embarrassingly incomplete list of gwailo/tourist things to do in Hong Kong for your buddy – not in any order. Choose any four.

The Peak – make sure it is clear weather (i.e. winter) or forget it. This time of year, dodgy. Take the funicular tram up. It is steep, about 45deg. Goes past my old place. If you want to have a baby, Matilda Hospital up here has the best views of anywhere on the island.

Walking/Jogging Path – Bowen Rd path on Midlevels (where I used to live – merely coincidence that my first two recommendations are for nearby). There is a 4km track level path straight across the hills above Wanchai to Causeway Bay. Goes past the enormous mansion of Feng Shui master guy who earned (cough!) billions from “eccentric heiress” (batshit crazy rich bitch) Nina Wang by a) telling her where she should put his water spout to best effect, and b) forging her will. Great story there, someone should write a novel. About 0.5km along, climb up to look at Lover’s Rock. Rock, yeah, right, bit of mis-spelling there. But first, look down over the fence to see if the heroin addict guy who tends the rock still lives there. Keep an eye out for some little statues and joss sticks every now and then along the path. Forest gods, IKYN. The jogging path around The Peak is also nice (when the weather is clear!!!)

ICC building – The 100th floor viewing platform on the big fucking building over Kowloon MRT (118 stories!) Same weather warning. When it is clear you can see the other big fucking building (IFC2) quite well from here. My buddy Spike, former Wanchai Vortex ™ surfer and now camera geek, has taken some great nighttime pictures of HK, btw.

South African Food (wtf?) – The Stoep on Cheung Sha beach Lantau island is something of a hazing ritual for tourists / new recruits. The lamb shanks, what can I say? There might be time for this after checking out the Big Buddha. Ditto warnings with the weather.

Hong Kong fishing village restaurants – There are plenty, all equally toxic exotic. Lamma island or Cheung Chau island. The Lamma one needs you to walk a bit (or you can if you want… not 100% on this?). Get the scallops with garlic – sorry I mean garlic with scallops. Also razor clams. (And WTF are those giant penis things?) Haven’t had cholera there for years now. Nah, seriously, great food. You’re more likely to get ill eating in your hotel.

Junk Trip – absolutely a must – you get seasick easily? This is the ride for you! They’re all good. Take a bunch of buddies of course, these are communal affairs, plus it’s affordable if you share.

Swimming – Are you crazy? Head out to Tai Long Wan beach way out past Sai Kung (take the junk trip!) if you want to avoid the majority of the shipping lane effluent.

Crap “Local” Food – Lan Kwai Fong’s Rat Alley is famous for its… rats. Seriously. Unbelievably bad, yet popular, like most blockbuster movies. A favorite for back-packers and poorly paid F.I.L.T.H.

Sai Kung – well worth a visit while you’re at it, as you can take a long hike to Tai Long Wan as well, if you are feeling suicidal in this heat. Or jump across to play golf on Kau Sai Chau – bring plenty of balls, it can swallow three per hole, easy. (This is not a metaphor, or do I mean not a double entrendre?)

Stanley Market – the most amazing part of this trip is the ride on the No 6X bus. Take the top deck and sit at the very front. Your worst roller coaster ride will seem dull after this. Some things are OK in the market, but a market is a market is a market. Buy books, if you must, at the Dymocks [if it is still there] that I was going to set up before I came to Singapore.

Portugese Food (wtf?) – ferry to Macau, tell the taxi driver “Fernandos” – it’s on the arse end of the other island, Coloane, past the Venetian. You’ll get just as good if not better chicken and potatoes in town but, hey, you’re a gwailo, a tourist, you have no common sense.

Chinese Noodles, etc… – the first place you come to anywhere is bound to be brilliant. OK try the Honolulu Coffee Shop in Stanley St near Lan Kwai Fong. Recommended by insert name of common friend. Unlike many of the eateries in this great former British colony [founded by and for heartless drug-runners] they have an English menu.

Dim Sum – man I love this Cantonese junk food. Noisy and very noisy are your choices for restaurants. Everybody likes the ancient, sullen aunties and their steaming trollies at the City Hall in Central, where the Star Ferry and Queens pier used to be… (gone, sad.) Get there before 10 or you’re screwed. Not the best, but hey, you’re a tourist! [Most locally patronized yum cha places are upstairs in mold-scarred buildings that certainly don’t look like restaurants from the outside. They are gate-kept at the bottom of the stairs by harsh women who speak into tiny microphones and never tell you anything. No, no English, what were you thinking! Even your Cantonese friends are scared of these women.]

Spa/Massage Parlour – the only legit spa/massage place that I know the expats go to is Sunny Paradise, in Lockhart Rd conveniently. At least that is where it used to be. Get a pork bun or two. This is not a metaphor.

Hiking – weather permitting, must walk the Dragon’s Back on HK island. It’s not a hard climb – steps all the way, great views (what did I say about weather?) and bring water, it’s frackin’ hot this time of year. Finish at Shek O and eat and drink (you’ll need a San Mig or fifteen – bottle only, never can) at the Thai/Chinese restaurant there on the left of the carpark as you enter, an excellent gwailo tradition best upheld in the partaking.

Sleazy Fat Old Men – No visit to Asia is complete without checking out the sex-tourism – oh that’s right, these are local expats, not tourists. Ah, Wanchai… (eyes go dreamy…) Want to see some feeeelthy old expats leering at local (Philippines is nearby, right?) girls? Try the Old China Hand on Lockhart Rd, there or the new Queen Victoria Pub a few bars up. However, while these are “normal” bars, yet somehow the genuine girly/stripper, feel-my-tits if you buy-me-drink bars, or the meet-market clubs at Laguna and Fenwicks along this strip seem somehow less sleazy than these two places. [Say hello to Bruce and E@L while you are there… Sleazy is fine if you are drunk, and who isn’t drunk in Wanchai?] If you pass the girly bars early in the evening, you will see (and smell) mamasan burning Monopoly money and joss-sticks in an orison for a good night.

Legit Wanchai – right next to the girly bars and sleazy old men joints are some nice bars and restaurants. Do not eat at the American Chinese Restaurant – it’s another gwailo tradition to mock it. Good rock music at Amazonia. Free mike night at The Wanch. Dance on the bar at Carnegies. Have a whisey at The Stag. Have a 3am 4am kebab at Ebeneezers.

3rd Gen Entertainment – in the hills above the tourist crowd in LKF on pissing up on Friday night, you will find Wyndham St, now the Friday night piss-up place for Execs and bankers-wankers. Don’t expect Cantonese to be spoken here. Eat somewhere near Staunton St, up The Escalator (note the capitals) to SOHO (south of Hollywood Rd). Around here [E@L is too old to have ever found out where, exactly] locally born but still expat (3rd Gen) brats hang at bars, or so I believe. Walk all the way down to Jaspa’s Restaurant, don’t eat there FFS, and turn right. There are some tiny makeshift bars here, not far at all away from the great unwashed tourists. Don’t expect English.

“Real” Hong Kong – anywhere, just not near Wanchai, LKF, Central or TST.

“Antiques” – walk along Hollywood Rd under the escalator and order antiques to your exact specifications. Interestingly, some of these places do sell genuine antiques. Those antique porcelain horses which look like they have been sprayed with mud, are really brand-new plaster horses that have been sprayed with mud. If they have these in the windows, move on.

The Dark Side – (Tsim Sha Tsui – TST) – high tea at The Peninsula (book now). Dinner of brilliant Indian somewhere in Chunking Mansions on Nathan Rd. Do not buy cameras in this area though (head back to Stanley St in LKF). After dinner drinks at the Wooloomooloo bar at The One on Nathan/Granville/Carnavon Rd, just up a bit. Awesome views at night (weather permitting), but closes at midnight. Spend lots.

More Beaches – Past Repulse Bay (get off the 6A or 260 bus on the way back from Stanley and walk or taxi the 2km down to South Bay Beach. Gay friendly, which means all the homophobic obnoxious gwailos steer clear – you’re comfortable with your sexuality, yeah? Drink four million Coronas under the faded umbrellas in the restaurant above the change rooms – just grab the beers from the fridge yourself or you’ll die of thirst. Make sure you shower if you go swimming. The water in the beach is relatively OK (shudder, for HK) but the shower is nice place to make new friends.

That is all – too much already, yeah? Geez, I miss Hong Kong.

Cheers

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E@L

sgBlogs

Posted in blog stats, expats, Singapore by expatatlarge on March 11, 2012

E@L was wondering recently about where all the Singapore Expat blogs had gone, the few that were extant back when we all (MercerMachine and E@L) attended the Blogger.SG.2005 seem to have evaporated. Just as have many of his favorite political bloggers (MollyMeek and Xenoboy). He was looking for other Singapore blogs for that earlier post and found this site: sgBlogs for what it is worth.

He is not sure if people still troll for new blogs. E@L for one has enough to read already thank very much. But nevertheless Expatalarge is not their list so maybe a few potential abusers and flamers are missing to chance to call him a racist, xenophobic, foreign-talent sponger.

It’s true that Singapore is not main focus these days. Nothing is: E@L is both myopic and…the other one…exophthalmic? no!…presbyopic, when it comes to blog topics. Eclectic, that’s the word. No, unfocussed is the word. However, as he has noted earlier, his documentation of Orchard Towers with Bruce on the prowl is one of his most popular posts, and that’s about Singapore.

Now that SarongPartyGirl=Izzy is no longer his flatmate, has moved to Holland and effectively stopped blogging there’s not so much second-hand sexual excitement going down at E@LGHQ either.

E@L is not sure if he will meet the criteria of being Singapore “focused” anymore. In his employment E@L is responsible for the entire South-East Asian region, with very little Singapore contact these days (not that he ever had much), so he is more likely to find things that shock and horrify him elsewhere in SEA. He has abused Singapore enough for the moment and is quite inured to many of its peccadilloes. These only grate when people are new to town (nearly 8 years thank you very much, send flowers if you will) or, for him, whenever there is an elect…[sneeze – aaahh-ahfascism]…ion looming

So anyway, if the editors are agreeable that the historically Singaporean focus early on in E@L’s blog, particularly in its early incarnation, Expat-at-large, back when all things Singaporean irritated him, qualify him, they might, just might, let him onto the list, and ye who search for blogs from this region might find E@L and send his stats way up there… to somewhere just below Xiaxue…

Not that he gives a rat’s arse. (Then how come so many of his recent blogs have stats focused?)

Sigh

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E@L is attempting once again to get onto his extended semi-fictional documentation of the last 14 years. BTW.

E@L

[Addendum: all I’ve got out of this so far is getting Xiaxue on my FB feed.]

Some Old E@L Opinions, Observations and Tales

Posted in AEI, expats, Hong Kong, stereotypes, Thailand by expatatlarge on March 6, 2012

E@L was contemplating the implications for himself of the previous post so he went hunting for some of his previously stated opinions. Found these from his abandoned blog (it was crashing all the time locking people out, even E@L – moved to Blogger in 2008). Most of these snippets, if not all, are from posts in 2004 and 2005.

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One comment, not about hookers but about the legal system: Expat Nation – Farang Affairs

Ah Thailand. It’d be tragic, if it wasn’t so tragic.

Just seemed appropriate.

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A classic. One of E@L’s first concerning the scene… The Charisma Card

You see, with any (valid) credit card, E@L and the thousands like him, acquire the neon-halogen glow of true SuperStars, of party animals out to bring it all down! He pulls out the card and *Charisma* comes to him and flows from him, billowing behind like a cloak. Charm wraps itself all over his body – he is Mr Popular, he is Johnny Love. The crowds part, the band stops playing, the most beautiful girls turn to him, wonder who he is, whether they’ll be lucky enough to go home with him tonight. Their voices rise, entranced at the power of his presence, to call out in an irrestible song of the sirens…

“Hello. Welcome! What you like drink? Beer, Carsbuck, Hinick?”

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This post from 2004, Expatriatism! Easier to spell than antidisestablishmentarianismistically, (stupid title) is in response to the review (by Pico Ayer) of a book by an American expat in Japan. Pico, presumably paraphrasing, spoke of the expat who complained that wherever he was, he was not at home. E@L (who can count only to five in about four, no three, Asian languages [the number six just won’t stay in the LTM!]) took umbrage at this, somewhat unfairly in retrospect.

Expatriatism! It’s our favorite ‘ism!

What does it mean for the E@L? It means a chance to experience and explore different attitudes to life, to traffic, to sexual mores, to food, to work, to worry, to family, to pretty much everything. To see things being done differently and for different reasons. To realize that an incomprehensibly varied range of motives drive the people in those countries that are not our home reference point (if we have one!) It’s not in order to become like a native, for that’s merely exchanging one limited world view for another. As Joyce might say, to exchange a rational and coherent mistake for an irrational and incoherent one. (Not that Australia is rational and coherent, but I had to get that quote in somehow, somewhere in my life!) The idea is to gain experience and glean insight – not necessarily to judge, though one might criticize (just might!) – maybe in order to make some more sense of why things are as they are at everybody’s version of home.

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Apropos that, here’s E@L complaining that Singapore is not Hong Kong (let alone Australia). Going Troppo – it had to happen!”.

The fact that the restaurants and nightspots he wants to go to are shut on the weekend! The fact that it takes 7 mintues between trains and not 2 minutes. The fact that they say “6th Storey”, and not “6th Floor”. The fact that “Mannings” is “Guardian.” The fact that taxis disappear after 10pm. The fact that Singlish is nowhere NEAR English. The fact that those taxis have manual transmission and every drive-chain in Singapore is ruined because the drivers don’t understand how to use a clutch! The fact that there is nothing but a sticky, sweaty summer here. The fact that the ground is all horizontal and not vertical (there are no views!) The fact that it has the death penalty and the cane and no-one cares. The fact that the entire place looks like a golf course – step out of bounds and it’s a two stroke penalty. The fact that everyone is only concerned with getting E@L’s money…

The touts come at him… “Like some more?” says the one at the next restaurant … ” Have an Indian dessert., sir” … “Chinese, Thai, Chili crab.” …

“Get … out … of .. my … WAY!”

His voice rises…

“FUCK! I HATE THIS FUCKING TOWN!”

He hasn’t? He has. He has vocalised that. He said that out loud. Out VERY loud.

He smiles at some tourists, walking towards him, slowing down, staring at him… He frowns.

The touts step back. They’ve witnessed such breakdowns before.

Tourists think: “Mmm. The local madman. Gone troppo, not doubt. Every town out here has one. Yes, the humid charm of the Quaint Orient takes it toll and here is one of it’s victims! It’s all that gin, to fight the malaria, destroys the brain too! Say, let’s buy some chili crab, as this honest looking waitress is offering a meal at what promises to be a discount rate!”

Woah, stand back from this lunatic. No, it’s OK it’s safe to near him now, he won’t bite. His medication, not Inderal as mentioned in the post, but the mood stabiliser Lamitrogine, which fortunately and off-label kills 95% of his peripheral neuropathy agony, and perhaps seven years of acculturation have tamed this beast down. Mostly. Unfortunately for the popularity of this blog, he has calmed down a lot since then.

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This post, A common HK expat pastime…, is also from 2004 (when E@L was almost articulate). Not so much in Singapore as domestic helpers do not necessarily get a day off (you should read some the tales told by domestics looking for new employment – damn, lost the link) as they do in Hong Kong, the following is more applicable up there. E@L has now heard of it as called The Tea-Party (nothing related to that misguided bunch of billionaire-funded tax-avoiders in USA – Note: E@L is legitimately not required to pay tax in Australia).

A good part of the Sunday afternoon and early evening of many a Hong Kong male expat is taken up with prowling Neptune II, New Makati, Fenwicks, Dusk Till Dawn and the like in Wanchai for prospective replacement maids. …

This sort of behaviour of the male expat does entail a fair whack of double-think, because he knows he is being used, just as he knows that he is doing a great deal of the traditional colonial-style, white-man’s-burden “using”. It’s not so much repicrocal altruism as mutual exploitation. No money changes hands in the usual scenario, but there is a debt incurred and a debt repaid. The girl gets a day in a decent flat, even if she does have to clean it up, she gets a bit of (let’s face it, girls need their lovin’) sexual attention and simulated affection – which is a lot more than she gets during the rest of the week (unless “Madam” has a headache and “Sir” is feeling horny) – and she gets the chance to plead her case for rescue. The guy gets his flat cleaned up and his seminiferous tubules purged. Win-win.

And so the world advances. Well it rotates anyway.

Never was successful there, never tried very hard. All that conversation… As the pundits sing: “You couldn’t score in Wanchai!”

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Here are E@L and Bruce, um, E@L means Bruce and another Bruce, trudging through Bintan in search of a mythical pub and finding an Indonesian version of the fish-bowl: The Quest,

L-G[aka Bruce], being a more hardened campaigner, checks out the age, looks, and size of the women on offer. He asks the eventual question and is shocked. Here in this grimy, peeling-paint, malodorous sex-slave camp, the broken-smiled, cigarette-reeking, oily-haired boys-in-charge are asking tourists such us E@L [aka Bruce] and L-G to pay for a forced shag on some stained and uncomfortable mattress in a noisome room upstairs a price that could be easily be negotiated in the comfort and sophistication (tongue-in-cheek) of Orchard Towers in Singapore and for much prettier, more intelligent and enthusiastic (the benefit of free-enterprise) companions de nuit at the accommodation of your choice. Even L-G abandons the idea of utilizing this offensive and unethical establishment and comes outside to find E@L seeking further enlightenment as to where the more conventional and somehow less tacky and exploitative local outlets of the Assisted Ejaculation Industry are located.

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E@L is again pinpointed as a sex-tourist. And he’s only at the airport! Scenes Of The Crimes:

Walking up to the counter for a Limo-taxi, the girl immediately asked “Taxi, Pattaya?” Yep, even disguised with a long-sleeve shirt, long trousers, socks and shoes, E@L still exudes the aura of a depraved sex-tourist.

Ah, the ineluctable tyranny of stereotyping for the foreign fat-man.

He fired her a rather fierce look and said, “Klong Tooee, Conrad Hotel, karp koon krap.”

“Oh, you bin Thailand before? Speak Thai?”

“Nit noi,” he mumbled, rapidly approaching the end of the line for his Thai language ‘skills’… He paid his 700Bht for instant access to a clean car that shouldn’t break down, and took off for town.

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[Addendum] OK. One more. Unscientific Research (slight return)

And so. Here he is. Fat, forty-something, bald, single. In a sexually charged environment. He is a stereotype. A cliche. Someone’s vision of all that’s wrong with Asia. His own vision from not that many years ago, in fact. He has become his own worst nightmare. At least he is not cheating on a wife somewhere. The X said recently to him that she was amazed that he could even contemplate doing the things he does now. He would never have gone into a brothel, she says, when she knew him. And she was right. There are early E@L stories of transactions declined, and anecdotes of great mirth concerning such exploits. He hates himself for exploiting women; he hates men who exploit women; he hates how men can cheat on their girlfriends and wives so easily so blatantly. He knows that sex is not good enough reason, no matter how one rationalizes it. Deep down he knows this. Is he right? Or is Dr Kinsey? …

… Anyone can look quickly into a crowd here and only see the old, fat guys with their chicks, because they are the ones that fit your prejudice, that fit your anticipated result… But if you try hard and actually COUNT them…

So, here are the stats for the first six guys that walk past with a slim, semi-dressed local girl :

Age:
20s – 3,
30s – 2,
40s or higher – 1

Weight:
Slim – 5,
Pudgy – 0,
Fat – 1

Appearance:
Normal – 4,
Little Bit Weird – 1,
Out There – 1 (Kris Kristofferson in Blade look-alike)

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Aiya, Jesus wept… E@L is crying here. OK, you get the idea. Giving up at this point, it’s lunch-time. How many of these post are there? Too many? Not enough? Put ’em into a book man!

E@L

The Whole World As The White Man’s Brothel

Posted in books, defenestration, despair, expats, hookers, sex, stereotypes by expatatlarge on March 20, 2011

I swear by the holy hand-grenades of Antioch, I think I’ve heard in bars, clubs, pubs and dinner parties throughout Asia, in Hong Kong, Beijing, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Dubai, Saigon, Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Vientiane (and I haven’t even been to Laos!) and Singapore, EVERY one of the comments, and a few more, that are contained in the following text. It is an excerpt from a book I am reading which reviews the history of Western attitudes to their experience of sexual life in what we historically call “The Orient”.

Nothing is new under the sun, nor under the sheets (Japanese pornography excepted).

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Flaubert’s sexual adventures in Egypt were exceptional in his life and not repeated. For Burton, however, Eastern sexuality was a life-long preoccupation. To be sure, it was always a fascination among a minority of Western men, with the vast majority falling in love with, and being sexually drawn to Western women. But Burton prefigured something that would happen when the mixing of civilizations became common and some men would develop a veritable cult of the Asian woman, who seemed to them more sensuous, less inhibited, more sultry, slender, fragrant, feline and languid, less competitive, less demanding of absolute fidelity, and for some or all of these reasons, more desirable than Caucasian women. Burton felt that way. The cult of the Asian woman among Western man – her erotic elevation – didn’t originate with him, but it received validation from his writings and his experience. From the very beginning in India, he and others like him extolled the virtues of the bibi over the white women back home, both because she caused less trouble and because she was better in bed. None other than Anglican bishop of Calcutta, Reginald Heber, admitted that he had difficulty keeping his eyes off the local Bengali women he saw bathing in the river at dawn, confessing that “the deep bronze tint was more naturally agreeable to the human eyes than the fair skins of Europe.” With slightly different reasoning, first Viscount Garnet Wolseley, field marshal in the British army, admitted that he consorted with an “Eastern princess” who fulfilled “all the purposes of a wife without any of the bother” and that he had no intention of marriage with “some bitch” in Europe, unless she were an heiress.

The East, The West, And Sex: A History, Richard Bernstein. Vintage 2010, pg 117. (empahasis mine)

More about The East, the West, and Sex

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Of course some Asian ladies still find the antics of the sex-pat, the modern equivalent of Flaubert and Sir Richard Burton (the explorer not the actor, you philistine!) to indicate that the perfidious perpetrator is some kind of abberation, to be despised and/or mocked, as he (it’s always a he) is doing something unheard of and shocking! (Hollyjean’s post is perhaps not the most sterotypical example of such sterotyping there is, but it is indicative of the genre.)

The “can’t get laid at home” sex-pat, or indeed sex tourist, might just enjoy the East for EXACTLY that reason: they cannot get laid at home. But this is nothing new at ALL!

Sigh.

It may not be comprehensible to the beautiful people of the world, the modern world and the old world, those of them who climb all sort of exotic (ha, means ‘from another country’!) sexual territories in order to shag other models and other six-packed atheletes exclusively, but unattractive people do have sex drives, similar to theirs.

Ugly people (old, bald, beer-bellied: people like E@L, in short) like to fuck too. Not only do they like to fuck, they NEED to fuck. They should fuck, and if they can fuck, let them fuck. They were commanded by God The Creator in the Garden Of Eden to fuck. And they can fuck, thanks the sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil, for as long as they fucking want.

Can’t get laid at home? Can get laid in Wanchai, the 4FoW or Nana Plaza. Problem solved. And with a lady whose beauty and demeanour may complete utterly their deepest sexual fantasy. Why the fuck not?

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[E@L doesn’t want to stir up a fist-fight here, he just being honest about it from a certain Occidental point of view. He is completely aware of the horrors of sexual slavery, people trafficking, and child exploitation, drugs, etc… but these things are not limited to Asia or to the last 40years and the book I am reading is at pains to point out. The Americans soldiers on R&R in the 60s and 70s did not invent the concept of the caravanserai of mobile brothels following troops on their marches to war. “Hey you pedites, and even you, old bald fat general, you’re all probably gonna die tomorrow, gimme a coin or two and let’s FUCK!” (So I can feed and educate my children back in Rome, living with my mother.) Nor did the modern sexpat invented the concept of the harem, as Bernstein points out. Once the secret key to the mystery of the harem was limited to the Sultan, now it available to anyone with 2000Bht. But the fishbowl of Ratchadamburi Rd is still essentially a harem.]

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Other complications may arise (no pun intended) for the sex-starved and often love-starved sex-pat. The repeated [Rule of Three, blog to come] plaintive statements of real need and the earnest protestations of true love can burn through the rational misgivings (they pretend to like you, and you pretend to believe them) of even the most cynical owner of the hardest heart and create new neural pathways in his dopamine driven brain.

When this happens, as it will, the cannot-get-laid-at-home man no longer distinguishes the “lub you long time” of an exploitative (and exploited, of course) bar-girl, from the “I love you oh so passionately, Roger, my heart melts as I swoon in your arms, and I’ll never leave you, kiss me, you fool,” of something from Jane Austin or from some other trash Romance novelist.

And before you know it, reality intervenes, as does our exploited lady’s boyfriend, and our sad and tragic hero is doing the Pattaya swan-dive* from the twelfth floor of his lost-love hotel.

But such dramas are not for discussion here…

E@L

Related Posts: The Fishbowl, Brad Pitt and E@L – Separated at Birth?

* Hat-tip to Chuck Woww.

The Marquis De Sade In The Tropics

Posted in expats, humidity, Marquis de Sade, shit, Singapore, tropics by expatatlarge on April 3, 2010

First as tragedy, then as rubbish. One of the issues to deal with when you’re living in a tropical island… molds, mildew and fungi.

Damn.

Looks like there have been consequences of a spillage from the small ever-humming wine-fridge several months back.

Due to an oversupply, some of my books are resting directly on the floor, a step below the dining area where my wine-fridge sits. I (someone) had accidentally left the door of the fridge ajar and a considerable amount of condensation resulted. I mopped up the fridge but it looks like some water had trickled down over the step that I had missed.

I have preset the air-con to run two hours a day even when I’m not here to cut back on the humidity at bit so that it sits at around 40% or so, however that’s not enough to prevent mould growing in a WET book.

A well-thumbed Juliette and well-thumbed Justine have all their pages stuck together (this time without prostaglandins as glue), Shakespeare is looking tragic, Nicola Barker’s “Behindlings” is behind me now, Susan Sontag is going to have to write about mildew as a metaphor (not shown in photo), Roald Dahl has come to twisted end, The Great Labor Schism is not looking so great and, ironically, a tome on book-collecting, “Patience & Fortitude”, not worth keeping. A terrifically interesting book on the plague has swollen up and died… (the rat > flea vector was only determined 100 years ago, in Hong Kong, by an independent researcher who couldn’t get government funding or support.)

And I probably can’t get a replacement for the de Sade in Singapore. Is it banned here? I think it is.

Twelve books are beyond saving. What’s that? SGD$250- $300 or so.

Shit, damn.

At least this makes room for some other volumes currently sitting doubled on many of my other shelves.

Or no, perhaps I shouldn’t stack books directly on the floor. I have no insurance.

Vote: replace the lost books or not?

Sigh.

E@L

APEC Card = Get Out Of Jail Queues Free

Posted in APEC, expats, immigration queues, small dog with a wet nose, visas by expatatlarge on March 22, 2010

The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (God bless their Aryan hearts) issues a Business Travel Card for the countries in the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC). This gives a pre-approval of any visa requirements for a wide range of peri-Pacific countries. This means I don’t have to apply for a visa for most of these places any more, I just rock up at the Immigration Control, choose the Diplomatic/APEC queue and skip the long lines.

Brilliant.

If you’re an Aussie expat a frequent traveller from an APEC country and are frequently visiting a lot of other APEC countries (you don’t HAVE to be either an Aussie or an expat – my bad, thnx Laurence) and you don’t have one of these cards, you’re a bloody idiot. I use it when I go to Indonesia to play golf and ignore the $10 visa fee.

My current card expires in August, so at the moment I am filling in the forms for renewal. I just came to this question:

How do your activities, while travelling, relate to trade, investment or business development? If insufficient space, attach an additional page.

Mmm. My activities… Special massages, short-term girl-friends (singular and plural), VERY short-term girlfriends (singular and plural), pole-dancing in go-go bars whilst drunk at 4am, grievous offenses to most civilized sensibilities, generalized unethical and immoral debauchery involving nudity or not, with some nihilistic hedonism thrown in for good measure… Things you wouldn’t, as a rule, do in your home country. Surely they know what expats get up to in the post-colonial (though you wouldn’t realize the ‘post-‘ part) tropics?

Additional page? I’d need to attach my novel!

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Oh, oh, they mean what I do AT WORK while travelling! Phew, I thought I was going to have to own up to a range of misdeeds and maybe compromise my application, not to mention my reputation!

E@L