I have just returned to England after three weeks in Thailand - Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. I had the curious sensation of feeling that I was returning to a Third World Country when I landed in England. Everything in Thailand seemed to work more efficiently. There was no graffiti in Thailand, there was no litter. England was gloomy and wherever I looked there were marks and paint and words on the walls, meaningless and stupid words. Driving through Pattaya with a friend who lives there I saw my first Thai graffiti, I thought. My friend, who speaks and reads a little Thai, stared at it carefully and said, “No Parking”.
But there is one thing which is a problem and a threat to the good life and that is the foulness of fumes from your many vehicles which do not have restrictions on their emissions. London is a vast city with just as many vehicles as Bangkok - but the air was positively sweet compared even with the road running along Pattaya Beach. We in England have got pollution from vehicles in hand. You have a serious problem which will not go away, will get much worse, is already causing many premature deaths, damaging crops and is a menace. It is something which needs addressing at national level, but it needs local complaints to get things moving. But I shall still come back to the Land of Smiles, even if the smilers cough from time to time.
In response to A Californian in last week’s Letters (Complaint Department) section:
Thais who travel to Berlin, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, St. Louis, Tokyo, etc., comply with the local customs of these cities. They do not write letters to the local print media in an attempt to change local habits and laws. Why, they don’t even walk in the streets, for goodness sake!
Perhaps we should accommodate ourselves to the customs of Pattaya, rather than trying to make this beautiful place resemble the place we come here to get away from.
T. I. T. This Is Thailand.
Brad at LAX
The ‘Gay Festival’ topic appears to be creating as much controversy as the American ‘mastodon’ who used a chap’s car-bonnet as a walkway some time back. To add my own baht’s worth I have to say Frank Lee’s letter (PM 23/2/01) sums up my own attitude as well as most other heteros I have heard talk about the issue.
Thais appear to have no aversion whatsoever to homosexuality which in itself is an admirable trait. Homosexuality is not an affliction to be ‘celebrated’. It is one usually brought about by either genetic disorder or traumatic experience with the opposite sex and those afflicted deserve to be left in peace. That is until they demand that those of us who do not so suffer bear having the burden of homosexuality rammed down our throats.
Like any other member of the community Gay Brian is entitled to have his views heard. I don’t, however, accept that his sexual preferences mark him as part of a “valuable group” any more than do my own such preferences.
As to his references to raising money for the HIV/Aids cause perhaps it should be borne in mind that it is no coincidence that it is a charity dear to the gay community’s heart. The truth about this condition has needed to be distorted for years on end to protect the gay community. It is first and foremost a disease that is primarily transmitted by males to whoever they copulate with and one which has curtailed homosexual activity worldwide.
As Brian correctly points out Pattaya owes a lot to the sex industry. Many in fact would say it owes everything to the sex industry and without which it would merely be just another ordinary seaside resort. As he also points out though the gay aspect of that sex industry is (thankfully) only a small part of it. If anyone is deserving of a festival isn’t it the many bar-girls who have attracted so many visitors? Now there would be an event to be appreciated.
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.