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macaroni21

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macaroni21 last won the day on June 10

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  1. Responding to PeterRS above: Interesting that you raised the issue of gender balance. This was one aspect that particularly struck me after a long hiatus from the scene, and indeed I have quite a bit to say about that (how did you guess?) I think this will be the real death knell for the bars. And I hope some bars begin to experiment with a “Men Only” door policy. Here are the social realities: Straight women outnumber gay men at least 10 to 1. Ditto straight men. Once straight women start getting comfortable in these bars, more and more will follow and gay men will be flooded out. Straight men, chasing women, will start to follow the straight women into the bars.That 10:1 demographic imbalance is such that we cannot pretend that a place can ever remain a gay safe space once the women start coming in numbers. We shouldn’t forget that even today, many gay men are still guarded about their sexual identities. I think it was here on Gay Thailand forum when, in another thread, an issue was made about a bar being careless with its videos, exposing faces of customers. This only shows how delicate the matter is. I had a friend who once noticed a (male) work colleague coming into the bar. He was almost freaked out when their eyes met (from nearly across the room). But at least he could say to himself, "well it’s a case of mutual assured destruction if he outs me. If he is in the bar, he’s gay too. To tell anyone that he saw me in this bar is to admit that he too was in the bar." So in that sense, it was still a safe space. But imagine if my friend noticed a straight female work colleague coming into the same bar (perhaps with a gaggle of other women). Immediately, he would be at a serious disadvantage. She could claim the moral superiority of being heterosexual and interested in the male form (socially fairly acceptable), but he would be exposed as gay (in many countries, still socially unacceptable). The threat of mutual assured destruction is no longer there; it is asymmetrical: a risk to the gay man, not a risk to the straight women. I think in the long run, the bars will need to implement either a men-only policy or have differential pricing where women have to pay twice or thrice what men pay. From some idealistic quarters I can hear people cry “discrimination”. Well, how about calling it “affirmative action” to protect a vulnerable group from being swamped out, and keeping a space safe for them? In any case, why is no one screaming hell and damnation for the discrimination that occurs in so many bars and dance clubs every week where, on “Ladies Nights”, women get in free or real cheap? Read this story from ThaiVisa https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/645338-sometimes-you-go-to-a-women-only-lounge-and-its-just-kind-of-depressing/ Ignore the details of the story. The point is that it describes a bar with a policy to exclude male patrons. If it’s OK to forbid entry to men, it should be OK to forbid entry to women. I come back to an earlier sentence: We shouldn’t forget that even today, many gay men are very guarded about their sexual identities. There is no doubt that there has been an Asianisation of these bars. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Consider three factors: The populations of China, India and Indonesia are huge; They will grow steadily wealthier; Their societies remain socially conservative. If we are seeing 200* gay men arriving each day from other Asian countries, some time down the road, we may see 2,000 a day. There is a future for these bars (and massage parlours); the potential market is there. But because their societies are socially conservative, it is important to keep the bars a safe space for them, otherwise why should they come? *A wild guess, not that I have any data.
  2. Responding to PeterRS above: Yes, I vaguely remember that I had posited the idea that to balance the conflicting interests of customers who are ready to off boys, and those who are only interested in a show, a bar might do well to divide itself into at least 2 sections. Each section might be half the size of today’s Hotmale or Fresh Boys. The gogo section would have boys on rotation all four hours from 21:00 to 01:00, make money on drinks and off fee. Because the space would be a lot smaller after division, there should be greater intimacy with the gogo boy moving around the bar (if possible) and giving something like lap dances to patrons (tips expected naturally). Interaction increases the chances of an off. The show section would have its own ticket pricing (which may or may not come with a free drink). Perhaps two 45-minute shows a night say, at 22:00h and 23:30h. The show performers can be outsourced rather than rely on rice farm kids to be dancers. Of course, right now, every time we think of “outsourced”, we think diva-type performances, but it doesn’t have to be so. There could well be very masculine groups doing striptease and explicit shows and making money on that without any interest in being off’d. Why did I suggest something like the above? Because right now, the interested-in-offs patrons who don’t care much for shows are being asked to pay a price that includes shows. And the interested-in-shows-only patrons are actually subsidised by the first group. At today’s prices maybe it should be something like 250 baht for entry and first drink in the gogo section, and 600 -700 baht a show ticket. The show space being small, there will be an intimacy to the whole performance, with audience participation even. Is this still a workable idea? Hard to say. Sometimes, a concept needs to be experimented with to know for sure.
  3. As the saying goes, "All work and no play makes Jack/Mack a dull boy". In Bangkok recently for work, I made sure my evenings were free. Then tacked on a few more days in Pattaya. The first of four trip reports is up at http://shamelessmacktwo.travel.blog with one new report a day. Beware -- these are long reads. Sunday evening upload: Bangkok bars Monday evening upload: Bangkok massage Tuesday evening: Pattaya bars Wednesday evening: Pattaya massage.
  4. One thing that has disappeared was the fluorescent painted body show particularly in Barbiery, but at a few other bars too. The artistry of the painter was amazing. Performed in black light, the dragons, serpents, tigers, or foliage moved sinuously with the gogo boy's body outline barely visible. At its best, the gogo boy would be nude, and there would be the added thrill of making his equipment out amidst the darkness. It think the heyday of this art (and it's the one thing about these bars that I'd call art) was in the 1990s; it began to disappear with the crackdowns of later 1990s, and soon faded out altogether by the 2000s. Does anyone remember this act? It's such a pity no one was allowed to take photos in the bars. I would have built a valuable collection otherwise. By any chance is any bar doing something similar nowadays?
  5. Guilty as charged! It's me. Glad to be back in the region after seven long years on the other side of the planet, hopefully as shameless as ever.
  6. Since I have benefitted so much from lurking and hoovering up the information on this site, I should share my experiences here too. This is from last week, a quick stop-over in Bangkok. Dream Boys Paradiso - newly open. Had about 6-7 escorts generally over 30 and somewhat muscular (not buffed). They were in jeans. Unfortunately, I had to sit through about an hour of the drag queen show (10pm?) before I saw them in a line-up. Drinks: 350 baht. There were about 4-5 other customers. Screw Boys - Over 20 boys, mostly slim/lean, in shorts. Didn't appear to be any show. There were just 2 other customers at 10pm. Drinks 300 baht. Fresh Boys (near Screw Boys & up a flight of stairs) - About 20 boys around 9:50pm in shorts. Show began around 10:05 and lasted about 50 minutes. Though there were a couple of drag acts, most of the performance was done by the bar's crew themselves, with explicit display in almost all show items. Will definitely go back. Drinks 350 baht. The bar was full, i.e. about 40-50 customers. Unfortunately, some of them smoked. Prince massage - had to choose a masseur from the glass aquarium. There were about 20 to choose from (somehow I can't remember what time I was there!), most had bodies that could be described as 'athletic fit.' The one I picked turned out to be Vietnamese. The massage room had an ensuite, but the massage table was placed against the wall. This was as good an indication as any that I was not to expect a good quality massage. Indeed, it was so-so (masseur was nude) and quickly transitted to play. That too was so-so. 60-minute old massage cost 900 baht; minimum tip stated to be 1,000 baht. Urban Male - had to choose a masseur from a line-up of 6-7 guys, mostly average looking. The room had two massage tables and a shower. The massage was even less serious than at Prince, and the afters perfunctory. More importantly, the whole session lasted only about 45 minutes -- as I discovered only on exit. The guy said '10 minutes more' at some point, which I believed, thus hastening the conclusion. 60-minute oil massage was 1,000 baht, minimum tip 1,000 baht. It's off my list now. I can forgive lacklustre massage skills or mechanical pleasuring, but when a manager does not control what can be monitored (the service time provided), it speaks volumes about even basic standards of customer service. Candle-T Spa - I had actually intended to try Sabaidee Spa a few doors away, but the receptionist dd not speak a word of English. It proved impossible to get any information for making a decision. So I walked a few steps to Candle-T. Had to choose a masseur from pictures on a tablet, but there were only about 7-8 guys. The massage was skilled and very relaxing, but after turn-over, it was virtually abandoned. Clearly his interest was to progress to the extra service. This turned out to be quite good though he had difficulty getting hard. 60-minute oil massage 800 baht. Minimum tip 500 baht (not too sure that my memory is correct on this one).
  7. Is no one following the news on this? Those of us outside Thailand at the moment would appreciate some updates from members with easier access to domestic news sources.
  8. The last thing I wish to do is to sound alarmist, but we should not assume we know about all the faults that exist. Wasn't the recent Christchurch earthquake due to a faultline that nobody even suspected was there? An article I read said that because the rock had been laid over with sedimentary deposits over time, there had been no sign that a fault ran through the deep rock until the ground moved. Christchurch also suffered badly because the alluvial soil liquefied; a common occurrence with this kind of soil in such events. Nor are earthquakes always associated with mountainous regions or deep ocean trenches (like NZ, Aceh, California and Japan). The worst earthquake in the US east of the Rockies was that in New Madrid in 1812, estimated to have been 8.0 on the Richter scale. New Madrid was a settlement in Missouri on the Mississippi River. Once again, it was due to a fault deep under the flat alluvial plain.
  9. There's a news report that PM Kan Naoto was so dissatisfied with Tokyo Electric Power, he convened a panel headed by himself to take charge of the situation. Kan himself is no "take-charge" sort of man by nature and if he too had realised it was a needed move, it could only mean that TEP were making an utter hash of the job left to themselves. Japanese companies, due to their slow, consensual management style, are probably among the worst companies when it comes to dealing with emergency situations that had not been rehearsed. (If preplanned and rehearsed, they are probably great at it.) My suspicion is that TEP (1) has little information about what was going on inside Fukushima Daiichi; (2) has no idea about the possible paths the incident can take (therefore poor anticipation of unfolding events) (3) instinctively issues statements to the PM and public that convey a greater sense of certainty and control than warranted given (1) and (2) above, only to be (4) surprised by every new turn of events. Admittedly, it is a difficult situation with next to no precedent to learn from, but after five days a pattern has emerged. Assurances one minute. Surprise explosion/leak/radiation the next minute. More assurances, then another surprise. Their credibility is as damaged as the reactors.
  10. Feature story from the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/travel/coast-on-the-cusp-20110304-1bgok.html Coast on the cusp March 5, 2011 Leisa Tyler explores the long stretch of beaches and islands south of Sihanoukville - unspoilt and ripe for development. When Sydney couple Rory and Melita Hunter discovered Cambodia's tropical coastline, it was love at first sight. Living in Phnom Penh at the time, they hired an old wooden boat from the port town of Sihanoukville for a fortnight to explore the nation's little-known islands. They fished from the deck, lounged on deserted beaches and slept under the stars. ''We just absolutely fell in love,'' Melita says, over a bottle of wine on the deck of their Robinson Crusoe-style house on Koh Ouen, one of two islands known together as Song Saa, or the Sweetheart Islands, which the Hunters now own. Advertisement: Story continues below It is January 2008 and we have just returned from an afternoon of swimming at neighbouring Koh Rong's six-kilometre Techo Beach, a stretch of white sand renowned for its length and seclusion. The sun is setting over the estuary before us, and behind wafts the smoke from char-grilled lobster and prawns bought from a local fisherman. The process of securing the rights to lease the Sweetheart Islands was fraught with complications and included an agreement that the Hunters would develop the islands for tourism. But the future looked exciting - investors were interested and plans were being drawn for a $40 million Per Aquum resort by hotel architect Bill Bensley. Cambodia's 443-kilometre coast, peppered with quaint villages flanking perfect white-sand coves, is a reminder of how south-east Asian beaches used to be before mass tourism. In Cambodia's halcyon days in the 1960s, this coastline was the place to be seen, attracting glamour cats such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Catherine Deneuve, who holidayed here. Then came the Khmer Rouge, the brutal militia that had a particular dislike for the languid coastal towns and their voluptuary lifestyles, and all but razed them. The inhabitants fled - villagers to hidden coves on neighbouring islands, the bourgeois to safe countries abroad - and the jungle reclaimed the towns. But by the summer of 2008, Cambodia's south coast had been rediscovered. The country's property market was booming and the coastline was being touted as ''The last undiscovered paradise! The next Asian Riviera!'' Companies from Malaysia, China, Russia and France were competing for leaseholds on the nation's 60-plus islands and carving off tracts of beachfront on the mainland. Hundreds of residents were evicted and plans for everything from racecourses and billion-dollar casinos to multiple-resort complexes were declared. ''We want to build a tourism corridor from Thailand right through to Vietnam,'' tourism minister Dr Thong Khon told me in 2008. Then came the global financial crisis, promptly bringing the majority of projects - and rumours - to a halt. To continue reading, go to: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/coast-on-the-cusp-20110304-1bgok.html
  11. Because it kept their factories humming. The Chinese govt calculated which was the worse evil - Losing a few percentage points a year on their holdings of US Treasuries, or - Destabilising their export industries leading to lay-offs and worker unrest. To Beijing the second was the scarier scenario. They chose to pay the price of the first. But that is now becoming history. In the last few months the Chinese have finally reached some kind of consensus among themselves that they will have to take some drastic action to redirect their own economy to domestic consumption, for a complex of reasons which I won't go into here. The Chinese will continue to lend to the Americans to enable them to buy Chinese-made goods. Beijing needs to keep the factories humming through the transition while China remakes its economy. But I also think the Chinese will be more aggressive in using their US Dollar holdings to - buy assets from around the world, and - influence US foreign policy (latest Wikileaks have already revealed one example).
  12. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/imf-says-weaker-dollar-would-help-global-growth-20110224-1b5yd.html Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Feb 2011 IMF says weaker dollar would help global growth The International Monetary Fund called for a weaker dollar to help the United States reduce its deficits with the rest of the world and rebalance the global economy, in a report released Wednesday. In the report prepared for a Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting last week, the IMF said that its calculations showed the dollar remains "on the strong side" of medium-term fundamentals, while the euro and the Japanese yen were "broadly in line" and several Asian currencies, including China, were undervalued. To address global imbalances, the G20 should allow the dollar to fall, the Washington-based institution said. "Some further real effective depreciation of the US dollar would help ensure a sustained decline of the US current account deficit towards a level more consistent with medium-term fundamentals, helping to support more balanced growth," the IMF said. The widening US current account deficit -- a broad measure of trade in goods, services, income and payment -- rose a fifth straight quarter in the third quarter last year, to $127.2 billion, according to the latest US official data. The issue of a weak dollar is particularly sensitive in Brazil, where the government has said an international "currency war" is under way with the United States pumping cheap US dollars into its post-crisis economy, while China's yuan sinks in tandem. The IMF report was provided to finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 major developed and emerging economies for their meeting Friday and Saturday in Paris. The G20 countries reached agreement on a series of economic indicators to measure imbalances within and between countries, with the goal of helping nations avoid a repeat of the problems at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis. The IMF urged stepped-up G20 efforts to sustain the global economic recovery, citing elevated downside risks for advanced economies and "overheating" in some emerging economies. Among the threats to global growth, the IMF highlighted "insufficient progress in developing medium-term fiscal consolidation plans, especially in the United States and Japan" and "sovereign and banking sector risks in the euro area periphery." In emerging economies, the key policy challenge is to keep overheating pressures in check and respond appropriately to capital inflows, the IMF said. "In key surplus economies, overheating pressures can be alleviated by permitting currency appreciation, facilitating a healthy rebalancing from external to internal demand." The 187-nation institution also said it "appears highly unlikely" the United States would be able to meet its commitment to halve its budget deficit between 2010 and 2013, pledged at a G20 Toronto summit in June 2010. ------- http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/Story/STIStory_638975.html Straits Times, 26 Feb 2011 Sensible call to devalue US dollar THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has finally advocated - in a report presented to the G-20 meeting of finance ministers in Paris last week - the devaluation of the US dollar to help correct the United States' current account imbalance with the rest of the world. Professor Lim Chong Yah of Nanyang Technological University has long advocated such a view with the caveat that other countries should not devalue their currencies in tandem with the greenback, unless they, like the United States, have a persistent balance of payment deficit. An accompanying devaluation by other countries will trigger a global disaster as nations race to out-devalue one another. Devaluation should be predicated on the Geithner Rule - named after current US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner - that devaluation should happen only if a country suffers a persistent negative of more than 4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The rule will exclude many countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and Thailand from the devaluation process. Concurrently, the US position that the current global imbalance is owing mainly to the undervaluation of the Chinese yuan has two flaws. One, it does not explain why the US has large balance of payment deficits with nearly every major economy. Two, it also does not explain why many countries, including industrialised Japan and South Korea, as well as primary exporters like Australia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, can still have sizeable balance of payments surpluses with China. The IMF should be congratulated for finally recommending a mutually beneficial orderly exchange rate adjustment mechanism for the world. Dr Sng Hui-Ying Research Associate in Economics Nanyang Technological University
  13. A friend went to V Club recently, reported it to be busy, but service so so, and appalled that they've raised prices again. It's now 800 baht for one hour.
  14. http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ann/20110219/tel-thai-soap-operas-become-popular-in-c-1e9e912.html Read more of it from the link above. Further on, there is this bit about censorship:
  15. I too rarely see them. One possible reason is this: With so many hetero arabs holidaying in Thailand, the gay ones (who would typically be deeply closetted, given the social climate in their countries) may not be comfortable holidaying here too. The fear of bumping into someone you know from back home can be inhibiting. Gay arabs may prefer to holiday in parts of the world where few other arabs go. But this is just speculation.
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