Anatomy of a Foreign Suicide

Story here. The Pattaya Daily News has taken the unusual step of delving into a recent suicide in that city by a farang (Westerner). Pattaya is about 1-1/2 to two hours from Bangkok on our Eastern Seaboard. It is sleaze central, and farang suicides are rather common. The newspaper has chosen this particular suicide “… as he is a typical example of the increasing number of foreigners who come to Pattaya, fall madly in love after 5 days with a bar girl, get cheated and find no alternative but to commit suicide as the only way out of their dilemma.”

You can argue the guy was a putz, but the story makes for poignant reading. Cheated both by the bargirl he fell in love with after five days and in his new business venture, a double whammy. Besides the what should be obvious fact that you should not fall in love with a hooker you’ve known for five days, there is another fact that setting up a business in Thailand can be fraught with pitfalls, and you should pay a good lawyer to advise you on local laws and your rights. That goes double for buying a bar in Thailand, which is a very bad idea unless you have a lot of experience in the industry under your belt. So many guys have lost everything buy buying a bar in Thailand because they thought it would be “fun.”

The story ends: “If individuals who want to start a bar or business or buy a house or condo after falling in love with a person they barely know, take heed of this story, which is typical of how farangs get taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals. If they take due heed, they might be spared much heartbreak and in the worst case scenario, see no other option but suicide. Remember, Thailand is all too often the land of shattered dreams!”

Be sure to take a look at the other suicide-related headlines immediately after the end.

Although I don’t post to many of your threads (if any), I read each one because it offers me a glimpse into a lifestyle I may never have the opportunity to experience on my own.

But my curiosity is piqued and thus I pose you this question:

I have been reading your threads for a while; in addition, the occasional story gets published in Esquire or in a major newspaper about either bargirls cheating their paramours, turning out to be men, or being in some way responsible for their murders or suicides. It comes up often enough that, before I even knew of you and your observer’s experience, I knew that going to Thailand and getting involved in local business or with bargirls were ideas that were fraught with peril (to understate things)

In your opinion, do the majority of Westerners who go to Thailand have this impression? Are they ignorant of the potential consequences? Do they think that it will not happen to them?

At least in Singapore, they go out of their way to tell you that trafficking in drugs is punishable by death. Is there any such “notice” given by the government to Westerners?

Oh, and is “farang” like “gaijin” in that it has negative undertones? What does it euphemistically mean?
Thanks for responding. Your posts are some of my favorites.

If there’s anything Siam Sam’s threads have taught me, it’s “when visiting Thailand, avoid bars and the girls therein”. Since I don’t drink more than a sip of alcohol, dislike going to bars unless I’m with people I already know, can’t speak Thai, and can’t afford to go to Thailand anyways, it’s probably not a piece of advice I’ll actually need. :slight_smile:

To me the lesson would be, “Don’t go into the bar with a lot of surplus money, or a wallet with credit cards and ID.” Just go in with empty pockets and enough money to get the “job” done.

Interesting that the headlines after the story note almost as many Thai suicides as farang suicides.

Or even, “Know the culture and speak the language before going into business there.”

I think I know enough gestures to conduct all the business I’m interested in. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just replace the word “Thailand” with the word “Parkdale,” and you’ll have some very handy advice.

As a matter of fact that works everywhere.

I come from a third world country myself. We are not anywhere near the poorest nation, but there’s no way around it, there is a lot of poverty and misery here. I always read Siam Sam’s thread because I hear the same things here all the damn time!

A lot of people coming from richer countries have a ‘noble savage’ image of people living in poor tropical countries. “Look at them, so poor and yet so happy!”. Well moron, what do you think they’d do? Commit suicide en masse? Well, yes, Dominicans are generally happy people, but there’s nothing noble about extreme poverty, it crushes your soul, compromises your morals and steals your hope.

Lots of men who would not get a ‘good morning’ from a young pretty girl in their countries come here and fall madly in love with the first young, pretty thing that smiles at them, oblivious to the fact that she may have some kids already and is almost certainly counting on him to get her and her entire family out of their crushing poverty.

I never go to a country without doing some research, it would never occur to me to move to one on my own (corporate moves don’t count) without a LOT of research. I know you Dopers can’t believe it, but I can tell you lots of horror stories I have heard and witnessed.

It is simply not different than some rich dude meeting and marrying the first stripper he meets in the worst development in your own country.

Interesting article Siam Sam. I always look forward to your threads for a glimpse into a life style I am unfamiliar with.

I met a guy on Guam who was looking to buy a bar, and find a LBFM in Thailand. I sometimes wonder how that worked out.

I just came back from Pattaya and didn’t see any foreigners rainning out of the sky… I want my money back!.

On the other hand I passed the diving course with flying colours so I´m happy. :smiley:

Well, that’s because the first rule is “When diving- NOT off buildings.”

Thanks for everyone’s kind comments. I think I can answer Happy Scrappy Hero Pup’s question by saying that Thailand is so far away that many Westerners, even in this day and age of easy travel and instant information, do have notions of the locals as “noble savages.” Perhaps more importantly, Thais and Thailand can be so laid back compared with other countries in the region, such as India and even Cambodia, that it generates a false sense of security. By the time many travelers arrive in Thailand, they have exeprienced so many truly aggressive touts (I’ve actually been manhandled in Cambodia by touts trying steer me to their respective cars for a ride to the border; I was the rope in their tug of war) that they unconsciously let their guard down. Thais are very nice people, not everyone is out to scam you, but there are a few sharks out there looking to take advantage of this relaxed feeling.

I don’t know if “most” Westerners think stuff won’t happen to them, but plenty do. The government does issue a lot of warnings about the jewelry scam, but these guys are SO persuasive that many of the victims admit afterward they’d read all the warnings and STILL fell for it.

I hang out in the bars quite a bit and would not recommend that anyone avoid them just because they’re afraid of being scammed. Just use some common sense and think with your big head and not your little one and you’ll be okay. Most guys don’t end up marrying bargirls or doing other foolish stuff, but those guys are not newsworthy. The minority who get caught up tend to crash rather spectacularly when the time comes. Just remember: Bargirls are nice people, but they are for play, not for real.

And it happens to Thais, too! Check out this story of a middle-aged Thai man who got scammed by a Filipina. :smiley:

And congratulations, Ale, on passing your dive course. I’m, er, sorry? that you did not see any farang highdives, but don’t worry. Go there often enough, and the odds are maybe you will. :smiley:

I like the way some of the stories on that site are written:

“That really set the cat among the pigeons” is my new favorite phrase.

My wife reads the blog of a Taiwanese woman, married to a French guy who was transferred to Thailand. As an expat wife, she’s got time on her hand, and takes classes in Thai.

She reports of the 10 other expat wives in the class, 8 of them have gotten divorced because their husbands were cheating of them with local women. She’s not sure if the other two (and her) are unobservant or forgiving (or fortunate).

She said that for the most part, these women weren’t bar girls, and that there are many women will go after well-to-do farang expats.

She’s Taiwanese, but looks darker than most Chinese, and can be taken for a local. Her husband gets hit up all the time, from shop attendants and what not, right in front of her. When her husband got his cell phone, the sales girl helpfully added her number to his address book.

Living in Japan, gaijin especially Western guys, can get extra attention from some women, but there really isn’t an economical factor involved. For a while, the average salary in Japan was higher than in the States, (although with the higher costs here, the standard of living was somewhat lower) so no one is automatically going to upgrade their lifestyle just by marrying a white guy. That, and very few people come from or are living in poverty.

And speaking of farangs crashing spectacularly, awhile back I started this thread called “A Very Sad Man in Thailand.” This American got burned by a Thai bargirl and proceeded to embarrass himself by starting a website to complain about the whole incident.

Well, there’s yet another website out there started by yet another farang who got himself burned by his Thai girl. I thought about starting another thread on it, but then I thought no, it’s just more of the same that’s in the other thread. But you can see it here. WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Contains nude photos of a professional nude model. I have to say THIS guy really, really goes over the top in his criticism.

And I also have to say that if I WERE to go crazy and lose all of my money and stuff to a Thai girl, THIS is one of the ones I would choose. Mmmm yeah. Oh baby. :smiley:

True, most of Roppongi bar girls are making more money than I am.

Just in case any readers here ARE going bar-hopping alone … remember you don’t have to drink to excess to have a problem if someone slips you a mickey. The US Embassy here issued a warning not too long ago describing recent experiences that foreigners have had, where they wake up on the side of the road stripped to their underwear, and the last thing they remember was having a drink at a bar.

Arggh, missed the edit window:

ETA: The last thing I want to do is be a scare-monger for traveling abroad. Indonesia is wonderful and as long as you exhibit the same common sense needed anywhere, it poses no special dangers. I’ll leave it to Siam Sam to comment on whether things are the same there, but my guess is that they are.

Man, I HATE it when that happens.

Seriously, though, getting hold of a drugged drink is not very common here, at least not in the bars. It has happened that a newfound friend that you’ve met elsewhere may drug your drink back at your place or even in a late-night eating venue you’ve stopped off at, but even that is not too common. More common, but still uncommon, are girls putting knockout drops on their nipples. Licking their nipples back in your room or home is the last thing you remember. This never happens with the bargirls, though, but rather among the freelancers you pick up on the sidewalks. If a bargirl tried it, it would too easy to trace the girl.

There is an ongoing debate among the expats here who do indulge about which is better: Bargirls or freelancers. Many guys swear by the freelancers and say they’ve never had a problem, you just have to choose selectively. There is no bar fine to pay to a bar (that’s the fee you pay to a bar to take a girl away, which is separate from the fee you pay to the girl), and they are usually much cheaper. Other guys stick with the bargirls, saying they like the security of knowing that they’re not going to be drugged and robbed etc. Back in my old salad days, I went with both and never had any problems.

Sorry, I forgot this part. “Farang” means “white Westerner.” It is not in the least pejorative, although some farangs insist on taking offense at it. Those farangs are morons.