What a city! If someone decides to live here, he or she (from here on, I will use male terms, as most expats are still men) are doing it for a reason - and in a certain way, I’m sure, he loves the place, otherwise he wouldn’t have decided to move there at the first place.
Pattaya, however, has what many call a ‘bad image’. It is renowned for its red light business and thus looked down by many Thais and Westerners - because prostitution is undoubtedly BAD, isn’t it? Who would want to actually live in a city where prostitution is tolerated?
The last sentence illustrates the hypocrisy of this perspective: of course, female (but also male) prostitution exists in every city in the world, whether we accept it or not. There will always be customers for it, and there is too much money to be earned by it to think that the supply will ever disappear. Progressive governments have realized that dealing with these facts and then actively controlling the sex business works out much better than criminalizing it or looking away. Of course, Thailand is far away from being able to openly take this position - the hypocritical take still prevails.
What surprises me though is that even many foreigners seem to feel ashamed by openly admitting that they decided to live in Pattaya! It is as if Pattaya would only consist of brothels and everyone living there would automatically be a daily customer. But as all of us know, Pattaya has so much else to offer! I would propose to openly promote Pattaya as a ‘party town’, a ‘true rainbow city’. You can find and enjoy something of pretty much everything here; great food, interesting people, sports and relaxation, light and dark, rough and smooth, hot and cold. Sex belongs to life as so many other things, and yes, you can also find it in Pattaya. But no one is forced to have it! It is perfectly legal to enjoy the many pastimes the city is offering, but it doesn’t mean someone living here is a sex maniac. Tourists can find something here that they can find in few other places in the world: the many colors and flavors of humanity. This makes it a highly interesting place to be. Did you ever meet a Thai or a Western tourist who wasn’t in a way touched and impressed by Pattaya - and didn’t they at least intend to come back at some point? Would they say they had ‘a great time in Chonburi’? And was it because of the manifold party options or because of the beautiful beaches and roads?
Giving up hypocrisy has to start with the individual. The next time you have to fill out a form, try to write ‘Pattaya’ for a change and see how you feel about it. If you spot someone raising an eyebrow about it, say: ‘I enjoy living in Pattaya: great food, interesting people, many events and festivals and other options to have a good time.’ Would they need more ‘justifying’ explanations - and wouldn’t you think that this person also enjoys ‘partying’ once in a while? Just focus on that and you will find it perfectly justified to live in Pattaya. ;-)
Live the happy life you planned! Richard L. Fellner is head of the Pattaya Counseling Center in Soi Khopai and offers consultations in English and German languages (after making appointments at 0854 370 470).