Your Say

 |  October 28, 2011

♦ Straight Shooter

I’d like to congratulate with you and Boontawee for the beautiful and very creative portraits. He’s indeed on his way to master light!

Well done.


Alberto Cosi

♦ Comedy of Errors

Nice job making the photos in the City Events larger in this issue… save my ol’ weak eyes from straining way too much.

Luxurious Dining on a Shoestring: A Primer, failed to mention Chiang Mai Bakermart (Citylife advertiser) as an even better source than Yok where prices are no better than Bakermart but one can get help from English speaking staff if needed.

Thanks for the article on disabled folks…remembering your outburst about the sellers of lottery tickets at the malls having to sell outside of the aircon some years ago. Not much changes does it? Interesting that James Barnes would be giving such a plug for Soho Bar…I think a column focused on the gay community wouldn’t need to be pushing one bar over another…or any bars for that matter!

Thanks for your editorial putting the present government comedy into some other context than fear and loathing…I hadn’t let my mind wander to the comedy of the situation…and it’s just beginning…

Have a happy one or ten!


♦ Faces

It was good fun doing the shoot with Hee and his assistant [for the Faces of Expat issue]. Flaco, the cat, also enjoyed himself.

Hee is a talented photographer. He did a great job shooting these portraits, particularly the hauntingly beautiful photo of Shauna Marie Pugh. Hee and his assistant (sorry, don’t remember his name). Having worked with, and for, professional photographers in one of my many past lives, I was very impressed with the professionalism of this team. My respect for your intelligent staffing.

Thanks for including me in this article.

With warm regards,

Ronny Lavin

♦ Issues

Regarding your Urban Light article in September – I admire what Alezandra is attempting to do [Urban Light] – although I think she is somewhat naive and should wake up and not believe everything she is told, and Kimberley who wrote the article should, in my humble opinion, have checked the facts. I would like to raise a few points.

1. Urban Light is not the only organisation helping male prostitutes, what about M Plus (and I am sure there are others) who have a drop-in centre, an education programme and offers a ‘way-out’ to these guys – should they want it. Citylife has done several items with M Plus previously.

2. Upwards of 10,000 baht – having lived in CM for 10 years – I can tell you – I have only ever heard of one guy paying that amount – the average for one night is 1000 baht.

3. The guy’s mother died from a heroin overdose – I did not realise heroin is easily available in the ‘poor villages’. Oops sorry – she says that the 14 boys all come from one village – is she sure?

4. The whole article seems to imply – even by omission – that it is only westerners who ‘exploit’ these guys – well again if your interviewer did a bit of research – she would find out the majority of the guys who visit these bars are not westerners but Thai.

5. I know of at least two companies who are looking to hire labourers – and one pays 300 baht per day – so to say there are no choices – I disagree.

6. Most of the guys in the sex trade do not offer anal sex. I bet Alezandra is not aware of that.

7. Whilst I believe there may be under-aged guys available – I never see them in the GoGo Bars – which are strictly regulated and IDs checked, ALL the guys in the GoGo Bars have a choice and they can (and sometimes do) say no to a customer. If Alezandra knows of under-age bars – has she done anything to try to stop them – the police I am sure would go after the paedophiles – and rightly so!

Whilst I believe Alezandra is doing a good job and deserves praise – I think she is naive and your interviewer could have checked out the facts prior to publication. Maybe Alezandra and her team should actually go to a bar – and check out the facts!


♦ Fish Have Feelings

In a recent issue of Citylife in the ‘This Is Thailand’ section, you mentioned that Baan Suan Pak had a vegetarian/ vegan restaurant. I am sorry but I must correct you on this point, it is actually a macrobiotic restaurant, since on certain days they serve fish, hence it is not vegetarian.


Martha Hurst

♦ Melodrama?

Regarding your Urban Light article in September – helping people is always a good thing, but I am not sure what Alezandra is attempting to do. I think she appears in the article to be na?ve woman watching a sitcom TV show.
Here is why?

“I sold my wedding ring to start Urban Light,” Russell tells me, “It was the first of many items from my past that I gave up to start up my organisation.” – Melodrama.

“The pain of being sexually exploited on a nightly basis is what drives the boys to Urban Light.” – melodrama. They are not underage and they decide to work in the sex industry by their own volition.

Another falsehood in this article: “Boys as young as fourteen are ‘bought’ every night by male sex tourists mostly from the west.” Again making melodrama.

“The boys stream into bars from a poverty-stricken village in the north, hoping to make upwards of 10,000 baht per night, about 335 USD.” – Melodrama. Is she serious!!!

“Ten years later, after meeting Russell and going to Urban Light, he has stopped going to the boy bars to earn money.” The boy probably is not attractive any more after ten years in the business… The article is full of melodrama and falsehood.

In conclusion, it is obvious that the whole purpose of this article is to collect cash from donors, but what is pitiful is the approach of falsifying facts and melodramatising the issue for this purpose.


♦ Wounded

The article about the exploitation of youngsters was, no doubt, well intentioned. It was also facile, ill-reseached and arch in tone, and in no way addressed the root causes of the malaise. I don’t belittle the integrity of those trying to help, nor condone the abuse of any child (or adult or animal) but sticking a plaster on a gaping wound is at best temporary and certainly no cure. The same applies to lumping together in one sentence the drastically different issue of sex tourism and sex trafficking – the latter being organised crime. Sex tourism has been rife in Thailand for decades (e.g. the glory days of R and R, by US troops escaping briefly the horrors of Vietnam, way back in the 70s), in Pattaya. In that location – even more than Bangkok given the population – it is rife and goes on as police sit outside bars where young teens are offered to tourists. The causes are deep and nowhere analysed by the piece which fantasises, as some kids might, that 10,000 baht could be earned in a night in Chiang Mai. Nonsense. The causes begin in neglectful families and – as in most countries in the world – with the sexual abuse of children within the domestic unit by relatives and friends, generally thought to be 90% of all sex offences committed to both sexes. Blame also rests with the inadequate education system and the later monetary exploitation of young workers who are paid below the minimum wage and work under dangerous conditions. They are then obliged to work for extra cash in the oldest profession. The cure rests with the authorities…the establishment. A first step would be to legalise the age of consent – the same for both sexes then rigorously enforce it. Ideally 16 as in most developed countries. Once the law is set and a true commitment entered into such worthwhile organisations as Urban Light can do the valuable work of other charities and offer a safety net for those slipping through the official one.

I am writing this email – not because you have done an article on gay issues, but because what is written is so clearly wrong. Other articles your team writes I hope are more factual and not made up of lies, hence I do not write to complain.

Mark Whitman

♦ Sucking

The floods suck, inflation sucks, my girlfriend sucks, the dollar sucks, the government sucks, the construction sucks, my hair sucks, my eyesight sucks, street dogs suck, non-specific urinary tract infections suck, music sucks, consumerism sucks, veterinarianary bills suck, police checkpoints suck, sweet mayonnaise sucks, cats suck, divorce sucks, chicken-on-the bone-sucks, my ex-wife sucks, the ex-kids suck, unfulfilled potential sucks, prostrates suck, 57 sucks, television sucks, nasal hair sucks, dreams suck, love handles suck, the internet sucks, work sucks, people suck, modern life sucks…

Glad I got that off my chest. I feel much better already. I blame the floods.

Anon in Ayutthaya

♦ Covering it

I don’t know how you keep coming up with such great covers. While some are simply brilliant, there have been some pretty awful ones over the years, but on the whole, Citylife covers tend to make me do a double take. Often creative and conceptual, at times beautiful, sometimes awkward, occasionally wrong, but always interesting.

Colin Engle

♦ Good Deeds Indeed

The expats going green is a good series of features which show our Thai neighbours the value expats living in Thailand can generate and contribute to their adopted homeland. I would suggest you make this a regular thing, find more expats who are doing a variety of good things in various sectors such as charity, creativity or education and shine a well deserved spotlight on them. As to Olga’s exotic travel articles, which I see published in your magazine every few months, I just want to know where I can sign up for her life.

Humphrey Cardwell