BARGIRLS’ MOBILE PHONES: Have you ever met a bargirl whose phone does not have Bluetooth, email, digital camera, WAP, GSM, HSCSD, GPRS, SyncML, J2ME, MMS and a whole lot more unintelligible acronyms? Neither have I. It always puzzles me why anyone financing an extended family in Isaan, various unwell buffaloes and a Thai boyfriend would invest 15,000 baht in a phone with functions they cannot use. A girl recently asked me if she could download some photos from her phone to my computer. “Me have Bluetooth,” she said, producing a USB cable. “No, Bluetooth is a wireless application – that is a USB cable. Anyway, my computer does not have Bluetooth,” I explained. She looked horrified. “You no have Bluetooth? You Cheap Charlie mak mak.”
LARGE THAI SCHOOLBOYS IN SHORT TROUSERS: As the locals get bigger on their new diet of Big Macs and KFC, there are unfortunate consequences for those overgrown youths forced to wear school uniforms. On the Skytrain recently, a schoolboy of monstrous proportions got on at Ploenchit. He was about 6ft 3ins and 100 kilograms. He had stubble and looked as though he could hold his own in the front row of South Africa’s pack at the Rugby World Cup. His machismo, however, was somewhat dented by his attire of white shirt, very skimpy blue shorts, white socks and shiny black shoes. He was obviously embarrassed. I wanted to burst out laughing but did not dare. I did not want to be beaten up by a 13-year-old.
‘MY FLEND NO HAVE DINK’: This is a relatively new expression among Bangkok’s bargirls. Several times recently I have performed my duty as a mobile ATM by buying a drink or two for a girl. This generosity is not enough. The girl will invariably then point at a morbidly obese jungle bunny sitting morosely on the other side of the bar and say: “My flend no have dink. You buy for her.” Frankly, it is of no concern to me whether she dies of thirst, but I sometimes relent and buy another 120-baht Cola to enhance my reputation as a customer of “jai dee” (translation: good heart or farang sucker).
THE GREEN GOO IN 7-ELEVEN SNACKS: What is this stuff? Does anyone like it? I prefer savoury to sweet but each time I buy a pancake or other bakery product, I bite into it and see this sickly-sweet green goo. The new government must tackle this issue.
RESTAURANT STAFF PAID TO STARE AT CUSTOMERS: I recently had a very unnerving lunch at the Sizzler chain’s Bangna branch. I was the only customer and every move I made was scrutinised by the 10 staff lined up in front of me. It was like being a condemned man eating his last meal before being executed. Each time I sipped my iced tea, the iced tea supervisor came rushing over to top up my drink. When I went to the salad counter, six staff followed me. I know they were just trying to help and were grateful to have a customer, but it was a truly scary experience.
THAI GIRLS WHO SPOON-FEED THEIR FARANGS: This vomit-inducing practice is part of the Thai “taking care” philosophy. It has to stop. I have had enough of looking at middle-aged farangs with smug grins being spoon-fed their khao pad gai. Where is their self-respect? Next time bring a high-chair and a bib, you gormless tossers.
SHOWER FETISHISTS: I know cleanliness is next to godliness, but Thai girls can take it too far. We have all come across the ones who insist on you and her showering more often than is good for human beings. I once entertained one who could barely go more than 30 minutes without a shower. She could not speak English and just kept on shouting “abnam, abnam” all the time. By the time she left, I had spent so much time in the shower that I was starting to rust. At least she added another word to my Thai vocabulary – “abnam” means shower.
FARANG JOGGERS: These misguided fools actually think they are doing themselves some good by running in Bangkok’s heat, humidity and pollution. Wrong. They are also letting down the entire farang community. Thais expect us to spend our leisure time in bars drinking too much and negotiating short-time rates. We should not disappoint them.
THE BEGGAR ON CRUTCHES: You will have seen him patrolling the entrance to Nana Plaza and rudely accosting everyone who passes. He even uses his crutch to tap people on the shoulder. I spent an hour observing him from Big Dogs and, believe me, he does not need your help. I saw him counting his money and it was a very impressive wad. He won’t be swapping begging for factory work.
SLEEPERS: Thai girls appear to have a sleep gene that enables them to slumber for up to 20 hours at a time. I once had an overnighter who I had to wake up at 6.30pm and tell to go because I had no food in my flat and was desperate to eat. At first I thought these girls were staying so long because they liked me, but the awful truth gradually dawned that they just like sleeping. There is only one sound that can rouse them – the opening of a wallet.