Thai-Farang Prostitution = Bad. Thai-Thai Prostitution = Good

I ran across Asian Sweetheat’s post about an epidemic of farangs marrying Isaan girls. In her post she gives us her take on a Thai documentary about this phenomena. According to Asian Sweeheart:

The host told of how common it is now for very young school girls in Isaan, when asked what they want to do when they grow up, to say “marry a farang”. The people on the show talked a lot about how many Thai people are very unhappy about that, and what should be done about it. It was sort of vague at that point, because after all what could/would be done? But I have a feeling a change is coming, maybe another push for preserving Thai culture. We have those campaigns now and then. Maybe this time it might be a campaign to discourage Thai women from marrying farang.

There’s really no way to discuss an entire region or country without generalizing a bit so please indulge my broad strokes. According to Asian Sweetheart’s post this so called epidemic has resulted in 16,000 Isaan women getting married to farangs in a two year period. Sixteen thousand out of a population of 20 million. Any rational person would laugh at those statistics and tell people to calm down there’s no epidemic. But, politicians are not rational people. Their success or failure in politics is often linked to fixing perceived problems rather than real ones. So if the people of Isaan feel that Thai culture is at risk because of the introduction of all these farangs to the countryside then you can rest assured that some politician will campaign to fix this real or imagined problem.

Of course, what most people think is a threat to Thai culture is actually the fact that these farangs are rolling into Isaan villages with their new Thai wives and building mansions which reminds the locals of the shit cards they got dealt in this life. I don’t want to put words in people’s mouths or feelings behind the words they’ve written when they can be construed in multiple ways but Asian Sweetheart’s words read to me as if she agrees with this position.

That’s baan farang, and the Thai woman who lives there is so pleased she can look down on all her neighbors now that she is married to a farang man who bought her the house, a car and gold.

Umm, well, I’m pretty sure that this fits in with Thai culture pretty well. Ever see a group of hi-so girls trying to out shop each other at the mall? Introducing wealth into the area has nothing to do – positive or negative – with Thai culture. The backlash is simply a result of people not wanting their lot in life being thrown in their face. And especially not by some farang! Running the farangs out of town (and out of sight) is much easier than fixing the underlying problems.

There was video of some of the Thai ladies showing off their houses and talking about how great life was since they married a rich farang. One of the ladies sat with her German husband and talked about how she only married him because of his money. The man just sat there smiling stupidly.

Or perhaps the guy doesn’t care why she married him. Maybe the German guy thinks that living a relatively stress free lifestyle in a Thai mansion with a beautiful young wife willing to cook, clean, and take care of the kids is better than being back in Germany working his ass off to barely earn enough for a two bedroom flat and being married to a hag of a wife who can only nag him about him not helping around the house the second he walks in the door from working a 10 hour shift at a job he hates.

And while she may prefer someone closer her age, that speaks her language, and shares many of her cultural beliefs . . . exactly where is this Thai Romeo? Asian Sweetheart mentions that all the women in this video are in their 30’s and 40’s. Umm, she’s well past her prime in Thai society. Her chances of finding a Thai man willing to marry her aren’t very encouraging.

Love is a great concept and many singers and poets have made a living writing about it but for most men the difference between love and lust is often a grey area. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in love many times before so I’m not knocking it. Given a choice between love and lust I’ll take love. I mean, let’s look at two scenarios:

You have a woman who is beautiful, good hearted, easy to get along with, and who enjoys your company. And you love her.

You have a woman who is beautiful, good hearted, easy to get along with, and who enjoys your company. Only problem is that while you lust after her you don’t necessarily love her.

Now, I think most men would pick option one but let’s face it, option two isn’t exactly a hellish scenario. I mean, our German buddy is 60’ish so he’s only got another 20 or so years left on this earth. Does he really want to spend those remaining years going around the single’s scene back home hoping to meet his soul mate? What’s he got to look forward to except for coming home to an empty flat for the next 20 years? Hell, if I was him I would take option two and die a happy man.

Would I prefer option one? Sure but I would also prefer to win the lottery and spend my days sipping pina coladas on the deck of my yacht. Preferring something and having it happen aren’t the same thing. And that’s especially true when finding your soulmate requires that she also feels the same about you. It’s not exactly something you can will into happening. Believe me, if that’s all it took I would be posting my wedding photos with Jessica Alba.

Sometimes we have to settle for the cards we’re dealt and play them the best we can. In my case, since I didn’t win the lottery, I’ve clawed my way up the ladder working at companies where I enjoyed my work and where I could earn the kind of money it takes to live a comfortable lifestyle. Personally, I’m relatively young so I’m still holding out for option one but if you see me smiling stupidly on Thai television when I’m 60 years old while I sit there with a beautiful wife who’s only married me for my money don’t waste any pity on me.

Time Shift: I read Asian Sweetheart’s post last week when she first posted it and I responded in her comments. I guess others did as well and some sent her emails because she posted a follow up which I don’t think really does anything to clarify the situation.

I think the main point they were making on the show might have also been missed. They were concerned and upset that more and more young girls in the villages are thinking it is ok to go to work as a prostitute in one of the tourist areas because it is an easy way to meet and marry a farang man. The kids in the village see all those girls come back from places like Pattaya with a farang husband who builds them a big house and buys them gold. And they want it, too. Is that bad? If it makes them want to become prostitutes then yes it is bad, obviously.

What I would really like to pose to Asian Sweetheart is the question of why there is no similar documentary on what happens to the other 90% of women who go into prostitution in Thailand? What happens to the hundreds of thousands (collectively in the millions across several generations) who worked on their back in the Thai on Thai prostitution racket for the three or four years they weresellable and then had to go back to their village with a fraction of the money the girls who catered to farangs has made? You know no Thai customer is ever going to marry her. There’s no gold or nice home at the end of that rainbow. What’s the best she can hope for; becoming amia noi for a few years until the guy wants to upgrade to a newer model? Where is the public outcry over that? Why is Thai culture not being harmed when Thai women are forced into prostitution with Thai men?

I think what both Asian Sweetheart and the documentary maker miss in all of this is that it’s not about prostitution. Because what does it say if the averageIsaan girl’s life is so bleak that she would actually prefer to become a prostitute than serve out her normal place in Thai society? No “respectable” Thai would ever marry one of these brown girls so their options for improving their lot in life by marrying another Thai are limited. But that’s no different from any society that has a massive gap between rich and poor. The only difference here is that no Thai guy who has both feet firmly outside the pit of poverty is going to give a brown girl the time of day no matter how attractive she may seem to afarang . At least in the West there’s enough cultural diversity where a rich white guy wouldn’t think twice about marrying a sexy looking Spanish woman, or a black woman, or an Asian woman. Nor would a rich black guy think twice about marrying a . . . okay, you get the picture. In the West we just don’t give a shit about that type of crap as much as Thai people do.

So farangs are sort of like Prince Charmings. The girls haven’t thought it all through yet because . . . well, young people don’t tend to really think. I mean, how many farang boys say they want to be doctors, lawyers, firemen, or astronauts but never even consider what it will take to enter those professions? But, for most of these girls, marrying afarang seems like a much more attainable goal than does, say, getting into a good university and getting a high paying job. She may not have access to a quality education (most educational spending goes to schools in and aroundBKK), she may not be able to get into a decent university, but she can marry a farang and become much wealthier than the girl who has all of those advantages.

So of course these girls are going to say that they want to marry a farang. The more they see it around them the more realistic an expectation it becomes for them. How many doctors or rich businessmen do they see in their villages as role models? But I bet if if the interviewer asked how many of the girls would be willing to work in a blow job bar on Patpong for a chance to meet their white knight (no pun intended) they would have gotten a much different response much in the same way many boys give up their dreams of becoming astronauts when they find out it involves slightly more than wearing a cool flight suit and pretending to be weightless.

And to bring it full circle; for most of the women who go into prostitution the choice is not whether to cater to farangs or to stay virtuous but whether or not to cater to farangs or Thais. The Thai government tries to downplay the number of prostitutes in Thailand by laughably claiming only 75,000 or so practice the profession while NGO’s put the number as high as 2 million which is roughly 9% of the entire female population of Thailand. Of that, only about 10% work in the farang side of the prostitution game. So a staggering number of women go into prostitution not to service farangs but to service Thais.

Just to quote some figures from a reader submission to Stickman’s website:

According to reliable surveys of sexual behaviour, every day at least 450,000 Thai men visit prostitutes.

Other incidental figures produced by the survey indicate that 81% of respondents had visited a prostitute within 6 months prior to the survey, 97% of military conscripts (2 year compulsory service) regularly visit prostitutes and 73% of the conscripts lost their virginity to a prostitute.

So, it would seem that if the Thai people are really serious about not wanting their precious snowflakes to get into prostitution they should first lower the demand for prostitutes across the board. But that isn’t what people really want. The Thais are perfectly okay with turning a blind eye if it can be discreet. As long as she’s able to send money home to mum and dad they’re more than willing to pretend they don’t know what she does for a living.

But farangs don’t seem to understand the meaning of discretion. While there are more Thai brothels than 7-11’s in Bangkok they aren’t pumping the music to 11 and having half naked touts outside trying to lure men in. Similarly, when Thai brothel girls go back home for a visit their entire wardrobe doesn’t consist of clothing that screams “WHORE!” And, yes, when a farang meets a girl and goes back to live with her in her sleepy Isaan village he isn’t going to buy some modest Isaan home. He’s going to build himself a mansion.

I read an interesting letter awhile back from a Thai man who expressed his anger when the world media makes Thailand synonymous with prostitution. But then he went on to say that it’s good that it makes him and other Thais angry because if they don’t get angry nothing will ever change. He recalled how when the world put a big spotlight on Thailand for turning a blind eye to child prostitution it forced Thailand to recognize how immoral it is. He ended by saying that the anger Thai people feel should be directed at themselves for not recognizing their own problems sooner.

So that is what I would like to submit to Asian Sweetheart and documentary filmmakers and anyone else who think it’s terrible that young Thai girls want to go off and become prostitutes in order to marry a farang. If prostitution is immoral on Soi Cowboy it’s just as immoral when it happens in a brothel hidden behind the facade of a normal business. It’s completely hypocritical to call prostitution a farang problem when only 19% of Thai men haven’t slept with a prostitute in the last 6 months and almost a half million Thai men are shagging prostitutes each and every single day.

If prostitution is indeed immoral then why do you shake your finger at only 10% of the problem? The 10% who pays almost double what Thais pay thus compensating the girls better. The 10% who from time to time do actually end up marrying some of these girls and giving them a better life than they could ever have imagined. The 10% who were raised in a culture where men are taught to respect and protect women.

If prostitution is indeed immoral then why are you not shaking your finger in outrage at the other 90% of the problem? The 90% that is caused by a corrupt government that has channeled wealth from the farmers into the cities thus economically forcing them into the only trade where they can make any sort of decent wage. The 90% where many of the women are sold into the profession against their will (often by their own parents to pay off gambling and other debts). The 90% where the bulk of remaining child prostitution still occurs.

And while it may read as if I’m defending prostitution or making excuses for it I am most certainly doing no such thing. I think the place for debating the pros and cons of prostitution and the reality of prohibition is an entirely different post. This post is meant to speak to those who have already made up their mind that prostitution is immoral and to throw the ball back into their court to defend why only prostitution with farangs needs to be stopped while Thai culture doesn’t need to be defended against Thai on Thai prostitution.

I’ll end by telling you about an experience I had a few days ago which has happened to me several times with Thai women over the last few years. We were chatting quite nicely and she had mentioned that she had recently taken a job in Phuket. I told her that I had just been to Phuket on holiday. Her response was “Did you fuck any of the whores from Bangla ?” I wasn’t going to go for the bait so I simply asked her why she would ask me such a rude question hoping that by pointing out her rudeness we could end this ugly little exchange. Instead her response was that all farangs come to her country and want to fuck whores so why should I be any different. Like I said, this is not a unique experience. It’s happened to me on several different occasions both live and over chat. I’m guessing a lot of these girls have been burned by farangs before and they’re bitter. Anyway, my response is always the same “You know, a recent poll showed that 81% of Thai men have had sex with a prostitute in the last 6 months. Me, I haven’t been with a prostitute in the last 6 months. So if you’re looking for someone who knows about whores, maybe you should ask your dad, your brother, or any of your guy friends. Sorry, I can’t help you.” I’ll let you guess how that goes over 🙂

32 thoughts on “Thai-Farang Prostitution = Bad. Thai-Thai Prostitution = Good”

  1. Issan also produces non affluent girls of color that choose a career and/or completing university and have no trouble finding a Thai man to marry. Usually the educated Thai woman (any color) does not want to marry the motorbike driver or the sexpat types, but a person of comparable development.

    Seeing other village girls find relative affluent foreign men and the financial rewards is a great attraction to some, but not everyone.

    It also creates and perpetuates a pattern of circular thinking that negates intellectual and personal development. I guess one could reckon it with countries having public assistance. Some recipients say to hell with work/study/trade when they can get their checks for free and money for nothing.

  2. If you would have asked me at 15 years of age would you like to marry a movie star I would have said yes of course.

    Whats the difference, the Thai girls see Farangs as an opening to have a movie star life style compared to what they are used to.

  3. Would be just fine to hear some dreaming for a better life, we all do. But if in that way of “hunting” farangs in places where they are known to “converge” does one think the best and sure the easiest way, I personally think it’s unfair; however; can’t blame them. Easy money is the word.

    This blog is very informative, it seems to reveal what the culture really is in some aspect. Would be a bit unfair to label all but if the statistics is true then could say Prostitution is just a way of life here. Morality is not an issue then.

    Perhaps the oldest profession is helping in terms of the economic stability of certain individuals or family at some point, only in a farang’s expense, but then it’s never a crime here. Maybe they settle for that than facing more petty crimes. Kinda if I were a con, I’d rather have that choice as I can for sure earn without being really a criminal and liable to my actions. They got the price of higher HIV-AIDS though.

    It’s a question too why a certain local could suspect a certain farang of using prostitutes when they’ve been to some places here. Seems there is a reputation and a common knowledge or thinking about it. I don’t know who’s to blame, whether the farangs themeselves or those doing the “business”.

    That thai-thai prostitution and farang-thai issue is clear. As the author mentioned, the first is basically discreet while the farangs are out there in the open. In some positive way, I think that experience of you being asked after a Phuket holiday was simply checking what kind of farang you are. As maybe that person has high regards on you and possibly she thought you are not the same as the kind of “tourists” who come here (again intial thoughts in Farangs). Perhaps, checking if you’re just one of them kinda and if you didn’t then you could just have said, you were not the type who do that kind of thing, period.

    Lastly, guess the issue could be OKAY depends on who sees it, first, whether prostitution is fine in general and who’s who on it. If one believes it isnt a good thing then one must simly avoid being with anything related to it……

  4. Thailand and paticularly Pattaya has a reputation and deservidely so to some extent but it depends on who you talk to, if you ask a middle aged guy to comment on the womans knitting circle of Rio, brazil he would have no idea or interest but ask a western woman who has watched a BBC documentary about Thailand and hey presto an expert.
    Thailand/Pattaya is not just the sex scene but a big part of Pattaya is for a middle aged divorced/widowed/single guy because there is a lot here for him, he cannot meet his needs in his own country sexually which is not all down to the average fridged woman with a bad attitude, so they come to Pattaya.
    Mostly when I read long boring missinformed hazzard a guess type posts from the average so called expert who has not the first clue about Thai people and thier culture and how they even see sex, I very quickly get bored so I only last about half of it.
    So to all the people back in the western dream you stay there, mind your own business and leave us Happy middle aged guys be, I can still see my ex English wifes face now which reminds me how lucky I am to be here, also I can often read between the lines when I read those posts as to the sort of people are who write them which also reminds me how lucky I am.
    Incedentally I am happily married here in Pattaya, I play golf, I dont cheat on my wife, I drink beer and have a few western woman friends who dont interfere with things that do not concern them.
    I also have quite a few Thai friends (not bar girls) whome I have learnt a lot from which makes some of the posts look rediculous.

  5. one of the best blogs i have read so far.
    thai women in general are loving caring and very respectful and its our duty as men to give the same back, ( thats a rose colored glass view of course) because most men wouldnt be capable.
    one of the reasons i dated a thai lady is quite simple, just walk around the millions of council estates in uk and you will see why farrang men hate farrang women.
    the other half of the women population are great but they are mostly too high maintainance.
    living in thailand or any part of asia would be heaven on earth in my country its wall to wall scum with half the male population retarded and the women pissed as farts.

  6. You white men are just lowlife who can’t compete with women in developed countries. I think you’re the one that’s bitter. You’re nothing to us when we have choices, but something to those who are losers like you. What a perfect match. Congratulation on finding a desperate girl who’s willing to be with an old white trash. Some may be pretty at some point in their life, but give it time and the beauty will fade. I am offended by what these Thai little sluts are doing and what all these white men go there for; not because I’m bitter or had a bad run in with American men, but because it’s shoved in my face when I went there for business. I am 34 years old and I have my 6 years of college education. I don’t care about these girls circumstances, but if they truly are a decent human-being they would not be doing what they do. There is no excuse for this behavior. I’m lao, 34 years old (look 20), look like the models you see in Victoria’s Secret, lost her parents at 6, and came to the US in 1984 and raised by Dutch America. These girls put me to shame. You men are pathetic. I’d rather die and eat dirt than do what these girls do. It’s disrespectful to myself, to my parents (assumming they’re good parents), and to the God I believe in. Enjoy you life on earth because eternity won’t be good for those of you with loose morals. You will pay for your behavior. Live now and die hard.

  7. I bet your a big fat lady, you have a chip on your shoulder, its women like you with your attitude that make guys Love the Thai ladies so much.

  8. What you must be referring to is that I’m actually 34, look like a model, have a 6 years of college education, and I am Lao; may be a load of trash to you because you are in denial with your little Thai slut. Sorry, everything is true, old man. You’re a load of trash that goes around not believing in someone that can do better than you with a bad circumstances. The truth hurts, now your little lady is calling you.

  9. The only thing that is a load of trash ,old man, is my fake name and my email. My name is actually Tammy… My Lao name is Bounthom. Yes, it’s easy to buy a house or build a house there in Thailand. You are nothing to me and all the beautiful western women. Pathetic as you left and pathetic as you will remain.

  10. Yeah sure you look like a model, a model bus no doubt and a 6 year college education, wow what does that make you a brain surgeon, I can see by your post your level of education.

    Who said I was with a Thai slut, you really need to get a life, what ever you look like and your education you really have a bitter attitude eating away at you, I don’t have any problems with Thailand, I came to understand the People and the country and don’t believe for one second your an educated lady from Lao, but hey what do I care I am not bitter and twisted I live a happy life.

  11. Oh, I have a lot to prove to you. You’re nothing to me. No, a 6 year college education does not make me a brain surgeon, old man. Give me a break!!!

  12. Bla Bla Bla, Elle go get laid or something & enjoy life, ha ha ha ha stop being so bitter twisted and as for the white trash thing, Racist.

  13. Look who’s telling me to get a life. This isn’t exactly a place for me to use dictionary words and show some maturity. I’m sorry I disappoint you with how I write my post.

  14. & if that’s a 6 year college education in the USA, your English Grammar, they have failed you badly.

  15. Idiot. I’ll take that as a desperate attempt to be funny. You don’t know how to read. We’ve been together for 14 years, something you can’t comprehend?!

  16. I am back from a nice Days Golf.
    By the way Elle, your 6 year education, ? what is Kodos ??? ooops I think you mean Kudos, hahaha

  17. Poverty and no education are the 2 major issues. No young girls would dream to become prostitutes when they grow up. I don’t believe so. Even though cost of living in Thailand is very cheap but it’s not easy to make good living. College students who graduated from so so colleges make only 8,000 baht/month. Government have been trying to help these girls to get out from prostitution by providing them jobs(e.g making artificial flowers) 80 baht/day. They couldn’t live of that money so they went back to Pattaya again. Yes, it’s true when you people said “Life is about choices” but how many of these young girls would have that wisdom to see those better choices when back home-there are parents, siblings who really count on her. I’m a 100% Thai woman from Isaan who grew up in a nice home and had an opportunity to go to a private university in BKK.
    I feel for these girls and truly understand why they do what they do.

    Better school and better education for these girls would guide them to something better than being in Pattaya waiting for some farangs to sweep them off their feet. We don’t even know what kind of farangs they are. Very sad. I have seen and I have heard many bad stories. Surviving seems to play an important roles than morality over here.

    A Chicago base Thai flight attendant

  18. @Venita

    guess the standard of living in Thailand is far better than some other South East Asian Countries, if you can speak on poverty here, you can also imagine how is it like in the rest and yes, they are worse .

    I agree, it’s not easy not to be able to buy some needs and getting the responsiblity of supporting the family but I think the bottomline there is again CHOICE. There is also a saying of LIVING to WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. If one doesn’t have the ecnomic ability for some things, one has to better let it go and focus on the little things that are within ones budget.

    I have to add, everybody sacrifices to get better and a decent life. It is also known, that others do sacrifice as well to get some quick and more cash. It’s the methods/way how can a man uplift his income status incorporating what’s right and wrong in attaining the aims. And the ISSUE gets there.

    I have to add and I’m not judging but guess the issue of morality has been taken advantage. It doesn’t mean that because one is very poor then that morality must be taken away, AS for those who have much money. It doesn’t also give one any excuses of deeds in opposed to propriety because one is poor. If one wants to get away clean with a thing one knows isn’t good, it’s very easy to pass the blame on poverty. Really. In some other cases some say because of “loneliness” and even “love”. 🙂 Nonetheless, regardless of the reasons and excuses, it never changes the nature of the action.

    Going back to the subject, we have known this for years. That’s why the oldest profession still exist.

    On the other hand, the one you shared on the bad experiences among the girls is expected, I guess. May be not true to some but talking about those places they are working, could be a one in a million chance finding a DECENT man to be in there, so what can we expect?or What should we expect?

    Although life is oftentimes unfair, life indeed is an echo and it will find its way to give you what you truly deserve.

  19. I have a question if anyone call help me to find the name of the movie that was made about young asian girls forced into prostitution. I believe that it was a hollywood movie from a couple of years ago. It showed a young country girl being sold by her family into prostitution. It may have been about Thailand or Cambodia?
    It was very well done and very sad.
    I need to find the movie for a school report.
    Thank You

  20. Hey, lay off the prostitution tag.

    I been trying to sell sausage to Thai girls for some time now, and I put down the lack of uptake to articles like this.

    Give a guy a break!

  21. Shame on the last poster on November 11th. You mention “Girls” and your e-mail address is disgusting, demoralizing and I hope happens to you!
    I also hope that the FBI hunts you down and finds you and that you meet with a punishment fitting someone who wants to keep women and girls in a demoralizing slavery situation. Wake up THEY DON’T LIKE YOU!!!
    Obviously you don’t have a partner that does like you.
    Those Thai “girls” are someone’s sister, daughter and will be mothers. They deserve to be respected and treated as if they are of value.
    I will pray for you. You should seek therapy and God.
    You actually could use your life and energy to help this very sad situation.

  22. Suz,

    Nobody deserves anything. Every mass murderer is someone’s child and sibling. Does that mean they deserve respect? Hitler had a mother so does that means he deserves respect?

    I’m not attempting to compare anyone with Hitler. I just want to point out how retarded your statement is.

    Respect is something you earn.

    And you seem to be all uptight about the term “girls” yet I’m pretty sure that you’re unaware that that is how younger (under 30) Thai women refer to themselves. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard them refer to themselves as anything other than Thai Girl or Thai Lady. And Lady is usually reserved for married women or someone older.

    I don’t defend the comment you are responding to. Personally, I think the commenter is an immature idiot. But that is no excuse to respond in even a more ignorant manner. At least he was trying to be funny.


  23. Have to laugh at Dave’s juvenile ‘attack’ on Elle’s grammar and perceived lack of education. The guy can’t even get his ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ right. Poor, very poor Dave. Back to school for you son. Do not pass GO and do not collect £200 pounds

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