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Thai Hookers! [ 2007.04.26 ]

The other day, by chance, I decided to watch up a Danish dark comedy, “Blinkende Lygter” (“Flickering Lights" in English). I was bored and in a mood for something that could make me laugh.

It was a story of four dysfunctional gangsters who escaped a crime scene with a large sum of money, hoping to start a new life somewhere far away. Fate had it that they ended up in the middle of nowhere, where they somehow they managed to open a restaurant.

As the story progressed, more information on the backgrounds of the four men was revealed, showing how their pasts dictated their present circumstances, with a certain inevitability. It was wickedly funny! I was even tempted to immediately watch it again, though the lateness of the hour stopped me.

The only thing that I resented in the film was a mention of a 'Thai hooker'. This was not the first time I had heard something like this in a Western movie. Years ago, while watching "The Usual Suspects" for the third time...I suddenly realized that one of the cops referred to an injured man in hospital as babbling like a 'Thai hooker'. That came as a shock. I liked that movie a little less since then. I just couldn't help being upset.

How convenient! When people want to find an adjective to describe a hooker, they automatically put the word Thai in front of it. When people want to refer to Thai women, they call them hookers. How so very kind of the international community!

It reminded me of how a friend used to joke around with me about how prostitution in Thailand should be supported because it brought lots of money into the country. Another friend commented that Thai people are hypocrites because we present ourselves as the land of Buddhism but, at the same time, the sex trade is evident everywhere. I know we are world (in)famous in this respect, and there is a segment of the Thai population who actually are proponents of prostitution, but give me a break people! It’s just basic economics--no demand, no supply! If Thailand is bad because we have prostitutes then what about those tourists from other countries who spend their big fat money to keep the industry going?

I used to get very embarrassed when discussing this subject with people. When the World Wide Web started to take off, I explored many chat rooms and practiced my English by talking to strangers. One time, I met a German online (he may have been drunk – there’s no way to tell this online!) and proceeded to have a very heated (and, in his case, extremely profane) discussion of the problem of child prostitution in Thailand. I finally told the guy that I wasn’t Thai. Of course, I felt SO stupid afterward for lying. I was ashamed of myself for not being able to stand up for my country.

After that I thought to myself that I should start to make a difference. Every time the issue came up in the conversations among friends and acquaintances, I tried to explain about the situation, talked about other good things we had to offer and emphasized that the majority of our people do not support the sex industry. Still, it seemed that there were too many ignorant and narrow-minded people left in this world, such as a friend of a friend who recently declared that she would never visit a dirty country like Thailand because Thai people support child prostitution.

So after getting tired of talking, I then simply turned really mad at people who made such comments. I usually got unreasonably defensive about this issue. Many times, I came very close to ending some friendships! After a while, I realized that there was no point being mad. It only hurt my head. People have the right to think or say whatever they please. If people want to stay ignorant then let them be. Now I just laugh it off and try to forget about it. Those who don’t want to visit Thailand, eat Thai food or use Thai products will never know what they miss!

Seriously, I think that people are just jealous that we have the most beautiful women and (young boys) in the world!

Wallapak Polasub (PhD), Professor: Dept. of Economics at Kasetsart University


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