It is my third day in Pattaya. All is well in my world. I am relaxed and in a good mood. I really hope it will continue to be a good day, but somehow I just know that something or someone is about to screw it up!
I am sitting outside the Big C Shopping Centre nursing a cold beer in the open air bar area. My young female Thai companion, Tasanee (or beautiful view) is sitting beside me sipping a coke. Tasanee is twenty one years old, tall, slender, demure and very pretty. Not for the first time I admire her parents foresight in choosing such an appropriate name for their daughter.
My reverie is rudely interrupted by the appearance of a large shapeless woman with lank red hair and freckles. She appears to be wearing a dress that was sourced through Millets. My attention is drawn to a large mole on her left cheek. I notice the mole has several long red hairs growing out of it! The large shapeless woman stares at me intensely though thick horn rimmed spectacles. “I want to talk to you” she commands angrily, plonking herself down in the chair opposite. Her eyes glare at me in the manner of an owl tracking a vole. I notice she is not wearing make-up. The sour odour rising from her armpits indicates a similar lack of interest in deodorant. I cannot accurately assess her age. She could be anywhere between 20 and 45 years old.
I pause to consider my response. A crude Anglo-Saxon dismissal is tempting, but I resist it - I do not wish to appear uncouth in front of Tasanee. I resign myself to the reality of our situation. It is no longer a good day!
“How may I be off assistance”, I respond with over stated politeness. I hope she might detect the irony in my tone, but unsurprisingly she either misses it completely or simply chooses to ignore it!
Sara, for I now learn that this is the large shapeless woman’s name, announces without preamble that she is reading for an MA in women, violence and conflict at the Centre for Women’s Studies within York University – yes this programme really does exist, please feel free to Google it! I sense that I am suppose to be impressed, and, or intimidated. I say nothing! Sara has travelled to Thailand to conduct some field research before submitting her final dissertation. The title of her research paper will be: “The sexual exploitation of South East Asian women by immoral, predatory and economically advantaged Caucasian males”.
Sara fixes me with another hard stare. She demands to know what I am doing in Thailand with an Asian woman who is clearly less than half my age. I reply evenly to the effect that I am a nice guy, with a large circle of friends and acquaintances in many countries. “Bullshit”, she responds. Not much liking the direction this conversation is heading, I counter by asking Sara why she has elected to take an MA in Women’s Studies.
I succeed in picking the one subject that will temporarily deflect Sara’s anger away from my personal shortcomings (as she sees them) – namely being a predatory, white, middle aged male. Sara announces with evangelical zeal that she intends to place herself at the vanguard of a feminist movement dedicated to accelerating the transfer of power from men, to women. I ask her how she plans to achieve this. Sara explains there is already a significant presence of like minded feminists with growing influence to be found in the strategically important fields of politics, academia, law and the media. Warming to her subject, Sara tells me that men can no longer be trusted to take a leading role in politics and economic management. Sara continues by stating that historically men have maintained control through the exploitation and subordination of women, which must now change. I ask Sara for an example of how a feminised political hierarchy would differ from the current status quo. Sara tells me that a woman leader would not inflict pain and suffering on others by starting pointless wars (any war?); which men do routinely for reasons of power, dominance and greed or simply to inflate their own insatiable egos. I think briefly of the famous warrior Queens in history such as Boudica and Cleopatra V11, but decide to keep my own council.
I ask Sara if she hates men. Sara says she doesn’t hate men, just the evil that they do and the power they exert over women’s lives!
With a revolutionary glint in her eye, Sara instructs me that one of the first priorities of the sisterhood is to amend the unjust divorce and separation laws. As Sara sees things, current legislation is grossly unsatisfactory, in that it seeks to defend a biological father’s right to maintain contact with his children, whereas most women wish to sever all contact with their unwanted ex-partner. As the law presently stands, women are driven to make accusations of partner abuse and, or, to instruct children on the bad character of their biological father in order to block further contact through the Court system. Sara believes that the law must be changed, so that on separation the default position is that all paternal rights are automatically and irrevocably suspended. I ask Sara whether she believes that severing all contact should include abolition of the long-term maintenance awards which so many divorced and separated women enjoy. I receive a withering look in response and conclude that a ‘Quid pro quo’ arrangement is definitely not on the cards!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sara reserves her greatest venom to rally against the UK’s rape laws. She quotes a conviction rate of only 6.5%, against 34% in general criminal cases – source The Guardian newspaper. Sara believes one of the main reasons the conviction rate is so low, is that such crimes often have no witnesses and without any collaborating evidence come down to a man’s word against a woman’s. The sisterhood believes that the law should be changed to reverse the burden of proof so that to be acquitted an accused man would have to prove that he did not commit rape. Additionally, the woman’s account of what happened should always be believed and thus accepted verbatim by the Court. I conclude that the Defence Council would in consequence lose the right to cross-examine the Plaintiff!
As an aside, Sara suggests that a man might possibly be convicted of rape in cases where the woman consents to sex at the time it takes place (because the man persuades her to do so against her better judgement), but she subsequently regrets her decision. Similarly, sex with a prostitute, or with an economically or socially disadvantaged women (relative to the man), may also be treated as rape. In the same way that under UK law, minors under the age of 13 are protected (in that they are deemed to be unable to consent to having sex), so Sara believes the same principle should be extended to these vulnerable groups of women.
In order to curtail the activities of sex tourists, Sara believes that males should be required to obtain travel permits from the UK Government before travelling to certain favoured destinations (by sex tourists) such as Thailand, Cambodia and The Philippines. To obtain a travel permit, applicants would need to provide a valid reason for wishing to travel to these countries. They would also have to agree not to indulge in any exploitive sexual behaviour once there. Male travellers should additionally be subjected to random searches and invasive questioning on their return to the UK. Where an individual is suspected of violating the terms of his travel permit, then he may be subject to penalties under the criminal law, up to and including rape. As an aside, Sara suggests that foreign prostitutes engaged for sexual activity (whether consenting or not) by British Nationals should be given a statutory right to complain to the British Embassy. Naturally, where such a complaint is substantiated (presumably on the word of the girl alone), then a procedure could be put in place for the now aggrieved bargirl to be further compensated by her customer in recognition of his deviant behaviour in exploiting a vulnerable woman.
Looking for a way to offload this insane Feminazi, I thank Sara for sharing her ‘vision of the future’ with me. Again the irony is lost on her! I broach the subject of what she plans to do next – hopefully this will involve leaving me in peace with Tasanee!
“I will now visit some Go-Go bars to take photographs of the degenerates’ who frequent these places, together with the innocent young Thai women they are exploiting”, Sara announces primly. Perhaps I should have let this ride, but instead I tactfully point out that photography is not usually allowed within the Go-Go’s. I advise her that even where there are no signs expressly forbidding the taking of pictures, she would be wise to obtain permission from the bar manager and also anyone she wishes to photograph within the Establishment. Sara looks doubtful, so I explain to her that both the girls and their customers are now Internet savvy. They are well aware that any photographs posted on the Internet have the potential to remain in cyber-space forever, potentially compromising both current and future relationships. Any girl with one or more foreign sponsors will be especially sensitive to such an eventuality. Sara thinks about this for a while, and then states tartly that she doesn’t need to obtain permission from the rapists and paedophiles – otherwise known as the customers, but being culturally sensitive she would like to consult the bargirls. Sara then demands I tell her how to request permission to take a photograph, in Thai.
It is Tasanee rather than I who responds to Sara’s demand. Tasanee teaches Sara a few Thai words, having her repeat the phase several times until she masters it – much to the amusement of several Thai drinkers sitting nearby. Being the kind and helpful girl she is, Tasanee also writes down the Thai words (using English characters), lest Sara should forget them.
Soon afterwards Sara departs (at last) eager to make friends with some bargirls using her newly acquired Thai language skills. Sara glances back over her shoulder. I notice she has Tasanee’s piece of paper clutched firmly in one podgy hand. Sara waves happily to Tasanee - ignoring me completely!
A few minutes later my wife and her sister (Tasanee’s mother) join us. They are laden down with the spoils of a busy afternoon’s shopping. As I finally finish my beer and we leave the bar, I consider the likely outcome of Sara’s field research. I suspect Sara is about to receive a real life Thai lesson on women, violence and conflict!
For on the piece paper she gave to Sara, Tasanee has written the following:
“ee hee-ah, mae-mung-tai”
This roughly translates from Thai to English as:
“Ms (insulting female title) monitor lizard, I wish your mother dead.”
To call a Thai person "hee-ah" or a monitor lizard implies they are lowly, slimy and unpleasant. In Thai culture, the monitor lizard is considered unlucky. When directed at a woman, this is the equivalent of saying she is a bitch, albeit an extremely strong version of that insult.
Although I try to treat them all equally, Tasanee will always be my favourite niece!
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Further stories by this author, including a link back to this website can be found online at http://www.thai-stories.talktalk.net