Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thailand's Sexy Reputation

Sherman Oaks, California

The lead piece in the arts section of this month's Liberty magazine is my review of the books Bangkok Days by Lawrence Osborne and Tone Deaf in Bangkok (And Other Places) by Janet Brown.

The article is not available online, but my point is that Thailand is undeservedly punished for its sexual honesty. In deference to reality, the Thai authorities have set aside four principal places in the country where prostitution laws are not enforced, the most famous being the Patpong nightlife district in central Bangkok. If you're not into that scene, you can easily avoid it. Yet, because of its driblet of honesty, Thailand has a bad reputation as the world's brothel.

Meanwhile, China allows a far vaster sex industry to flourish, one which is so intertwined with tourism that it's difficult for Western men travelling in China to avoid harassment from the working girls. Yet, because China forces its netherworld to operate behind a veil, China is rewarded in terms of PR. No one equates China with rampant prostitution, although anyone who has visited Hainan Island may beg to differ.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous R.O. said...

I for one, have been in the Thailand for the past two days, and I have yet to encounter any prostitutes. Thank you sir, R.O.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

9:30 AM  
Blogger janet brown said...

Thank you for writing about Tone Deaf in Bangkok--and for bringing up the issue of sex in the kingdom.
In Beijing I had a business card slipped under my hotel room door in case I needed carnal companionship while staying there--Bangkok has never provided that particular touch for me when I used to come for visits--
Would really love to see what you wrote about Bangkok Days and Tone Deaf but Liberty magazine is unavailable in Bangkok...is there any way you could slip it into my comments field at tonedeafinbangkok.thingsasian.com
?????

2:11 PM  
Blogger MongerSEA said...

What sexual honesty in Thailand? The legal fictions of the barfine system which allows thousands of bars to operate as de facto brothels? The duplicity of the Tourist Authority of Thailand which shamelessly markets Pattaya, the world's largest open-air whorehouse, as a family vacation destination?

Prostitution flourishes everywhere in Thailand, so long as the venal Royal Thai Police get their cut. They constitute "authorities" only in the sense that they can destroy your life on an extrajudicial whim if their demand for brines isn't met rather than via legislative or regulatory approval to oversee the commercial sex industry here.

10:46 AM  

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