Here’s a weird story that is funny on the face of it but may well open some kind of Pandora’s box – Thai social media users have reportedly uncovered a clip on a video sharing site that shows scantily clad ladyboys on Soi 6/1 in Pattaya as they explicitly offer their services to a foreign walker on his way to the beach.
Wow, you may think, these smart ass Thai internet spies have been as fast as the speed of light to uncover this particular gem. Because in fact, there are thousands and thousands of such videos posted on YouTube and similar sites. They have been there since the invention of digital cameras and the Internet.
Why? Because ladyboys, like them are not, are popular on the Internet, perhaps more popular than in the real world, and demand determines supply, full stop.
The clip in question, Pattaya One suggest, was originally posted on LiveLeak in 2013 by what appears to be an American national who lives on the Philippines and goes by the username “J Sukalamea”. The two-minute clip, sarcastically titled “A beautiful morning walk to the beach”, has since also been shared on YouTube where it has attracted more than 150,000 views. For what it’s worth, we’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post so you can judge for yourselves. (Why are we sure you will scroll down now? Lol.)
As for Thai internet users who discussed the controversial clip on unnamed “social media channels” (we presume it was some Thai-language Facebook page), guess what, their reactions weren’t just “mixed”. Pattaya One reports that in fact, “many condemned the foreign video-maker for posting the video instead of condemning the actions of the ladyboys.” Huh. Bit like shooting the messenger, ain’t it?
Coconuts Bangkok quote a Thai channel that reposted the clip on Facebook as commenting:
This is not truth in Thailand. You tourists make Thailand look bad because you choose to go to places like this and never experience the real normal Thai community.
These places are dirty and all you see is foreigners and prostitutes everywhere. You ever wonder why normal Thai people are not there. That’s because we are not dumb. Don’t ever think that this is normal Thailand.
Well, dear good Thai netizens, may we ask why “dirty places like these” exist in your country in the first place? Now that’s something to ponder, ain’t it? (And no, it’s not because US soldiers of the Vietnam War era imported prostitution or sex tourism. Without prostitutes there’s no prostitution. It takes two to tango, period.)
Beyond that, no one has ever claimed that Pattaya and, in particular, Soi 6 represented the “real” or “genuine” Thailand. Like many seaside resorts around the world (take Benidorm in Spain for example) Pattaya is essentially some kind of concrete shithole that promises fun (loads of it) for a certain type of tourist – as much as it promises good business for certain types of Thais. Soi 6 is nothing but a side-street of 300 metres in a country of some 67 million. It’s as little representative for Thailand as Hamburg’s Reeperbahn is for Germany. Even the dumbest sex tourist would probably endorse this fact. Otherwise he (or she) can read up on it here.
Anyway, what concerns us somewhat more than Thai Facebook users and their xenophobic comments is that the honourable president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA) also shared his opinion about the controversial clip on Facebook. As any good Thai citizen, the man is reportedly
annoyed at the video which he states “depicts Pattaya and Thailand in a very bad way” and “people outside of Thailand will not understand the video and interpret it in the wrong way”.
Ah, yeah, sure. Stupid foreigners might misinterpret the visible facts and receive the false (sic) impression there were transgender streetwalkers and prostitution in Pattaya. Ugh! Unthinkable.
The video is “annoying” not because of the ladyboys’ antics but because it depicts Pattaya “in a very bad way”. It damages the face. Do you remember that public blowjob in a club on Walking Street last summer where a bar girl gave head to her Korean John and pictures of the act were posted on Facebook, causing an outright “uproar” not only among Thai Facebook users but also the police and tourism officials? As we commented then,
not the act itself was so “shocking” but the fact that someone recorded it with his/her camera and published it on Facebook where the media were quick to take notice of it. At this point, denial and face-saving didn’t work any longer.
Thai society is hypocritical in more than one way, especially in matter of sex and sexuality. And what the PBTA director obviously doesn’t get is that ladyboys, blowjobs, and all that “bad” stuff, is just the way Pattaya is.
To get back to that mediocre ladyboy clip, Pattaya One now even wonder whether local authorities will
accept what occurs in Pattaya or do they make attempts to clean up the city so videos of this nature are not posted in the future?
The saying “bite the hand that feeds you” comes to mind. Because if local authorities ever cracked down on ladyboy streetwalkers and bar workers in earnest (and we don’t mean those regular show raids on Beach Road) we don’t think they would or could stop there. The entire sex industry – and Pattaya was built on sex, not rock and roll – might be next.
Ladyboys and ladyboy clips posted on YouTube and similar sites, in a way, are some kind of tourist draw. And as much as we dislike ladyboy streetwalkers and the petty crime they often entail ourselves (they’re a pain in the rear and detrimental to tourism and should promptly disappear from the nightly streets) we would never, under no circumstances, want to see that, would you?
Pattaya Daily News further quote the PBTA director as commenting that Pattaya’s “good image [sic] is always damaged when videos [like the one embedded below] are posted on the internet.” He urges “concerned sectors to control and deal with those who spread videos that destroy the image of the city.”
Ah yes, we were waiting for that. Persecute those evil foreigners who share videos of Pattaya’s nightlife and sex industry on YouTube and show the city as it is, effectively promoting to the world what most tourists come here for anyway – sex. There might even come a day when we are forced to remove all those “naughty” nightlife clips from our website and pretend Pattaya was a great place for families with beautiful beaches etc. blah blah.
(Don’t get us wrong – Pattaya is much more than red-light districts and can indeed be a great place for family vacationers. But the city’s nightlife and sex industry that initially laid the foundation for the city’s tourism boom since the 1960s continue to be an integral part of the overall “Pattaya experience”. Period.)
If this – deny the existence of a “bad” tooth in the smiling face of Pattaya – is what Thai officials really want (and we’re actually not so sure about that – the sex industry is a massive industry), wouldn’t it then be more efficient to extract the bad tooth completely rather than just polish and laser-whiten the malady time and time again?
Then again, as we noted above, we’re afraid that would be akin to biting the hand that feeds Pattaya. We think: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.