Ya Ba

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Dear Hillary,

I will soon be back in the beloved Kingdom for some much needed rest and relaxation.  I have discovered in my limited travels in Thailand that I should be polite but plain spoken and to the point in order to get exactly what I want.  I have always had a brilliant time in Thailand.  Bearing that in mind I would put forth this straight forward question.  Some of the boys I consort with smoke a little marijuana. I don’t, but I don’t mind if a few boys split a joint as long as they don’t bring it to my room.  That’s my little rule.  A good Thai friend of mine told me to stay away from the boys who are taking or offering “ya ma”.  He tells me that a farang could end up in the monkey house over this drug.  Please tell me what ya ma really is.  I know most of the others, but ya ma doesn’t ring a bell.  I am not a drug user, but I am curious about this drug and what the legal ramifications might be if a boy brought one to my room unbeknownst to me and got caught somehow.

Paranoid and Anxious

 

Dear Paranoid and Anxious,

It is not paranoia to want to stay out of the monkey house.  Not a very healthy place to be, in fact suicide would have to be considered as a more viable option to becoming an inmate.  Firstly, farangs have been locked up for possessing small quantities of marihuana.  The lucky ones get deported after paying a lot of money.  Secondly, the drug ya ba (which is what I believe you mean) is amphetamine or speed.  Ya ba literally means “crazy medicine” and you’d be crazy to try it.  It is a Class One narcotic here, and it’s jail if caught.  There is also a ya ma, which is roughly translated as “horse medicine”, and is generally heroin (“horse”, H, “heroin”).

As with other drugs, the seller frequently tips off the police and shares the reward.  Stay well away if you want to have a brilliant holiday.  If you want further encouragement, read, “Twelve Wasted Years” by Warren Fellowes.  This is a horrific story of the time he and his friend spent inside, as a result of heroin trafficking.