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A Thai girls love for family sends her down questionable path of honor

Updated on October 6, 2011

Honor Thai Family

I grew up in a small village in north Thailand. Just 30 minutes by automobile from the larger city of Chiang Mai. Pai has waves of hills covered in dense green forest with exotic creatures crawling through thick undisturbed vegetation. My parents are farmers who taught my two brothers and me to live off the land. I spent my adolescence tending the fields, feeding the livestock, and sleeping in a small hut using palm tree leaves as a mattress. My diet consisted of jasmine rice, lemon grass soups, and the occasional helping of pork.Life is simple, and we live in the traditional Buddhist manner.In the land of smiles we respect our parents and do what we must to provide for our families. My family has little money and life is much different for me compared to the western world.

When girls like me come of age it is expected of us to contribute for the family. My two older brothers help with the farming. I also helped until I turned 16, but was then encouraged to find another occupation that could bring in more of a profit. In my village families with little money send their daughters south to Bangkok, Pattaya and Koh Samui. These places have opportunities for young girls to work in bars as prostitutes. Tourist will travel halfway across the world to come experience my new bar friends and I dance, serve drinks, and go home with men for the right amount of Baht. The work is so profitable many of the young boys from my town will go through procedures to transform their male parts into the female form. Some will go as far as having their Adam’s apple shaved down, anything to please the customer, even if they have to render the truth to make money for their families.

I now reside in Bangkok, the capital of my country. I live in a two room apartment, with my friend/coworker Mila, near the Soi Cowboy district. This area is literally a street with only go-go clubs. About 50 establishments lined up on both sides of the road covered with enough neon lights to wake sleeping Buddha. Working women in kinky costumes rustle through the streets like its Halloween in Madison. Sexually orientated signs direct street goers into establishment where there fantasies may be fulfilled, baby elephants roam the roads with their owners who hope for fresh tourists to exchange money for a photo, and street vender's sell anything from pad thai to fried scorpions. At night we take turns working the stage inside or holding signs outside Cowboy 2, one of three cowboy bars on the strip, luring in drunken tourists, horny locals which is a majority of our clientele, or whoever else is looking for some entertainment. There is never a cover to get into the bars where I work, but there is a mandatory one-drink minimum. While the customers consume their over priced drink this gives us time to seduce the individual into dishing out a couple hundred more Baht for our attention. Customers are allowed to rent me from the bar for 1500 Baht or 45 US dollars. There is never any sex allowed in the bar so they must pay the bar fee to release me of my work. I usually get the choice to choose weather I want to leave with the person or not. Though, when money is low I have to take what I can get. I usually am not too picky unless the gentlemen is 250 plus, when the man is that big it makes it difficult to work, and they are usually too much for my 120 lbs. frame. In those situations it’s more like a sumo wrestling match instead of sex. Once they have paid the bar they will have to pay extra for me to perform any type of sexual acts. This is where I make most of my money and usually I get to sleep in a quality hotel as opposed to my small apartment. I can also grab a few of the free hotel toiletries to save a few Baht. Hotels will also charge a fee for locals to enter, which my host will have to pay, and when I leave I usually get a cut of that money. I only receive about a third of the money I make a night. A third goes to the bar I work at and the other third is sent home to honor my parents. It is difficult to live on this small sum of money but my country is cheap and my family is proud.

I once had a young Canadian customer ask how I could subject myself to be used for sex. I was surprised by his question and told him it wasn't about the sex and I didn't feel subjected. For me it is just a job. Majority of people around the world don’t work because it is what they love to do but what pays the bills. I’m sure the garbage man doesn't like hauling trash all morning coming home to his kids smelling like rotten noodles and dead fish, a business man doesn't always want to wake up at 6 am primping for work wearing a stiff suit all day and then tearing down a hospital to build a new mini-mall just so he can build his stock. I like what I do and most of my co-workers would agree. Our great achievement is selflessness and seeking to serve others. My family doesn't look down on me and neither do my people, they are proud I work and respect me for sustaining our customs. I am happy in my line of work and feel no shame. Sex is a part of my culture and makes customers and myself happy, in my country working at a McDonald's is looked down upon more than prostitution. Every time Baht are sent home I know my family is waking up in the lush jungles to a beautiful sunrise and food on their table. I have the opportunity to support them and make life better for the ones I care about. It brings me joy to know I am continuing the Thai tradition of honoring my family. This is a concept western cultures find hard to understand, but that is what makes the world diverse and interesting. An old monk in my village once told me “The purpose of our lives is to be happy”. I am happy and will continue to live my simple life in happiness.


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