Expat@Large

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

"My Boyfriend The Sex Tourist."

Posted in Bruce, hookers, stereotypes, Thai girls, Thailand by expatatlarge on March 6, 2012

Something of a stereotype breaker – at least as far as the “trafficking” situation of some of the working girls in places that cater to mostly westerners is concerned.

At least you can see that not every bar-girl in Bangkok has been dragged off the farm by marauding snakeheads and chained to their beds in a cardboard dungeon. Well, yes, no, not every bar-girl…

via

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It would be an interesting exercise to study the expectations, feelings and motivations of these boyfriends in more depth (say, to the bottom of three bottles of Hennessy) and in a less stereotypical way… If that is, um, like, possible. Nah.

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Bruce of course has had some experience of less salubrious working conditions

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It is depressing and frustrating to wander the streets by yourself in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, browsing in the shopping malls or checking out the temples. You are old, fat, bald, generally unattractive. You are wearing cargo shorts, a loose shirt or tee, and sandals. You know that everyone in the world is making the assumption that you a sex tourist.

It is even more depressing and frustrating when you admit to yourself that this is exactly what you are.
Bruce (in a more contemplative mood than we are used to.)

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Gustave Flaubert, the man who was able to look so profoundly and convincingly into a woman’s heart, was a completely sleazy sex-tourist on his trips to Egypt, reveling in his debauchery… Not that this is any form of excuse…

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.