THAILAND’S CLIMATIC CHANGE AND ITS EFFECTS
Regarding the weather, there appears to be some serious climatic changes going on around the world. Initially, I used to class the three traditional Thai seasons alongside the tourist seasons. The ideal time to visit Thailand remains the cool season (akaat yen), which usually starts in November and goes through to the end of February. The vast majority of foreign visitors flood Thailand during this period. But, shortly after the flood of visitors, the drought begins. In March, the hot season (akaat rorn) commences and can last into June. Then there is an inconsistent period, where the seasons transcend from hot and dry to wet and humid. The rainy season (akaat fun) normally starts some time in June or July and lasts until the end of October. The transition from the hot season to the rainy season can cause quite a few locals to fall ill. Also, the temperature change from the rainy season into the cool season sees many natives nursing coughs, colds and fevers. After all these years living in Thailand, I now suffer the climate change almost as much as the Thai people do.
In saying all that the climate has been very haphazard for the past several seasons. The weather is all over the shop! For example, we had rain in January this year. What was that all about? This confused climate certainly keeps us all guessing. The cyclone that has claimed many thousands of lives in Burma (Myanmar) is yet another mystery of mother nature. Fortunately, Thailand has not been affected by the cyclone, but the weather can change within minutes. The mornings can be refreshingly cool, but then the sun beats down to torture us in the afternoons. By nightfall, it can become very humid and on some occasions, the rainfall can suddenly catch you by surprise. These days you can experience all three seasons in just one day. How do we plan a strategy for this? I am not sure, but what I do know is that I keep a much closer eye on the weather than I used to. The moral of the story is to be prepared for climatic change, no matter what the season is in theory.
SINGING THE LOW SEASON BLUES
Previously I have classed the tourist seasons as comparable with the cool season, hot season and rainy season. The cool season is “high season,” the hot season is “slow season” and the rainy season is “low season.” While this is generally the case, this time around the low season has hit Thailand hard and fast. This year Thailand’s nightlife scene virtually skipped the slow season and has dropped steeply into the low season. For various reasons many bars and clubs in Bangkok and Pattaya are battling to make profit. If you exclude the top ten venues from each nightlife area, the rest are either ticking over, or trying desperately to at least breakeven. Because the weather has been so inconsistent, I fear that we may have the worst to come. The heavy rainfall so far has been sporadic, but if the monsoon rains start to fall heavily and frequently, this will create even greater problems. While Westerners’ start to enjoy the summertime in Farangland, many bars across Thailand brace themselves for a rough ride. The transition has been remarkably quick. In no time at all, high became slow and slow became low!
WHY IS A BAD LOW SEASON OF SUCH IMPORTANCE?
Well, the obvious thing is that people can lose their jobs and some bars will definitely close. Regarding customers, the whole atmosphere changes too. Bargirls and cheerleaders outside vacant venues start to get worried. Therefore, they resort to desperate measures. Already, I have noticed door staff at quiet beer bars and go-go bars raising their voices. “HELLO FARANG” bellows out at considerably higher decibels. Some bars look like they have everybody and their dog “cheering” every single farang that walks by. However, we must remember that the Thais live from hand to mouth. If you had little to no money, I am sure you would be worried too.
There is no doubt that some Bargirls will be very pushy, as they feel forced to go for the hard sell. Bar owners look worried and some bark at their staff out of frustration. In some places, everybody starts to feel the pressure. Therefore, the atmosphere changes and deserted bars are often no fun at all. When bargirls say that they do not have any money, some of them are telling the truth. The impact of this low season will take its toll on the Thai people. Some go-go girls are getting very few barfines and tips. Whilst the frugal folks enjoy taking advantage of the low season blues, they should remember that it is a tough period for bargirls.
TRAGEDY IN THAILAND
There was a terrible tragedy this week in Bangkok. A 25 year old go-go dancer from Rainbow 2 was killed by her Japanese boyfriend. They had been seeing each other for 5 years, but the Japanese boyfriend was obsessively jealous. Following a fight he beat and strangled Biw to death. He then lept over the 5th floor balcony resulting in his own death. This is a heartbreaking tragedy that lead to the unnecessary death of a 25 year old Thai woman. The incident happened at Nana Condo in Sukhumvit Soi 4. The sincere condolences from us all are extended to Biw’s family. (RIP).
BARGIRLS SHOULD OFFER DIFFERENT PRICES FOR HIGH AND LOW SEASON
From the other perspective, I do think that bargirls should be more sensible with their prices during the low season. This especially applies to the less attractive bargirls who should have two different rates for high and low season. My advice is that quite often it’s a matter of face, so don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Some bargirls will go with you for a reduced rate. However, it’s best to be discrete, because Thai girls don’t like it made public knowledge. I never cease to be amazed that grown men are afraid to negotiate. Lack of communication is one of the main reasons for disappointment. Failing to communicate effectively can completely spoil the whole experience. I know that the old fashioned among us don’t like to be drawn into negotiations. Nowadays unless you know the girl well, negotiating the deal in advance can be essential.
LOW SEASON HITS PATTAYA HARD
The US Navy have now left Pattaya and several people have described parts of Pattaya as totally deserted. Unfortunately, some Pattaya bar owners are saying that this low season is already far far worse that last year. A few even said that it is their worst ever year. One long-term Pattaya resident said, “As soon as the US Navy left, the low season has come down like a hammer.” This year it will undoubtedly be a case of survival of the fittest.
CHEAP CHARLIE CLAN
The low season has arrived and the Cheap Charlies are out in force. Although the go-go game is all about pay-for-play, they feel they have a much better “chance” with bargirls in the low season. They have to realise this is the business of pleasure, not a dating game! I still have an issue with some of the Cheap Charlie Clan who get irate when a bargirl asks them for a drink. That’s like saying that sales reps aren’t allowed to promote their products. Quite often, if you buy a product from a company, they will try to sell you a service, or some accessories. There is nothing wrong with that, but the Cheap Charlie Clan go nuts when they are asked. Some cheapskates will say, “I’m leaving this bar, because she (a go-go dancer) asked me for a drink.” How sad is that? He threw his teddy in the corner because he was asked for a drink! Some of these guys should appreciate the fact that a bargirl even approached them.
People like this are so mean-spirited and miserable. They sit there with depressing stern-faced expressions, as though they are on death row! As a good mate of mine says, “These losers will die sad and lonely.” As grown adults we can just simply say, “No thank you.” OK, I realise that some bargirls can be irritatingly persistent, but they are working girls. Decent guys definitely have a problem with the lack of understanding that bargirls are working to support themselves and there families. Although bargirls may be “loser friendly,” they are definitely not charity workers. Furthermore, Thailand is not a welfare state. As the Thai people say, “No work no eat.”
Some of these cheapskates must be delusional if they think that go-go dancer #69 has fallen head-over-heels in love with them. Perhaps these Cheap Charlies are living in a fantasy world, whereby they think they are a Tom Cruise lookalike. The truth is that they are often not good looking, have more than a few screws lose, clearly knocking on in years and yet, they are still trying to be a rejuvenated teenager! I dare say they might even think that the bargirls should buy them a drink. I think “delusional” is a fair description. A good friend of mine who runs a successful business said, “These damned cheapskates should sort their lives out and go and get a proper job.” Meanwhile those guys who are living in the real world are pleased to enjoy the party. Whilst celebrating my anniversary of first arriving on Thai soil 20 years ago, I try not to become a “Jaded John.” From time to time, we all need a reality check. One night while we admired the line-up in Angelwitch Go-Go Bar, my friend Jim commented, “It’s a different world to the Dog & Duck in Farangland.”
TOLERANCE IS AN ADMIRABLE THAI QUALITY
We also have to be aware that in the naughty nightlife areas, they are not very diplomatic or sophisticated people. I always say, “Don’t fight it if you can’t change it!” Furthermore, as foreigners, we should learn to acquire one admirable Thai characteristic, and that is to be more tolerant of others.
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Dave The Rave — Go-Go Guru.