Big Baby Kenny (Gangnam) Style and Some Thoughts on Stuckman

Before we begin this latest installment, a word of sincere thanks to William R. Morledge, Jr., whose recent mention of Saphan Loy over at Bangkok Eyesore has really generated an impressive spike in traffic figures here at The View from Above. Also, while Lek and I are no experts on Lenny Bruce, the comparison Morledge makes is a flattering one. Lenny Bruce is a name I vaguely recall my grandfather mentioning in between sips of red wine. At 9 o’clock in the morning. While driving me to elementary school.

That William Morledge “gets it” is a testament to someone in the red light blogosphere who at a minimum has a sense of humour about the whole thing, or who at least doesn’t take writing about red light districts in third world countries to absurd heights of self-importance, like the self-styled authors of the red light pulp books do, or other “webmasters” who consider their work “important” beyond the very narrow confines of converted Chinese shop-houses-cum-brothels in our favourite decadent Southeast Asian city that we call home, or even the absurd paint-making of Chris Coles who turns the red light districts of Thailand into a seedy laboratory for his masturbatory experiments in appallingly offensive applied finger-painting.

That said, and moving on. If anyone has ventured a visit to the now moribund Big Baby Kenny Ng site, one will witness there the final gasps (yes, we have been saying it has been on its last legs for some time now) of a perverted and reclusive non-productive member of the academic community at the California State University at Northridge. Lek was reminded of Big Baby Kenny Ng recently when she stumbled upon this crazy Korean “Gangnam” tune that has attracted more than 438 million pairs of eyeballs on Youtube.

When we had the misfortune of looking at the unspeakably offensive video, we were amazed by the bizarre resemblance to Big Baby Kenneth Ng. Could it be?

Why Stickman No Longer Matters

When Stickman began his project to digitally chronicle the red light districts of Bangkok in the late 1990s, his site was an instant hit. He recognized a market need and filled it. This is the hallmark of a good entrepreneur. It provided a central place where once could obtain information about everyone’s favourite red light districts in Asia, and it molly-coddled elderly pensioners wishing to blow a wad on beer and hookers. He more or less picked up where the ailing and ageing Bernard Trink left off at the Bangkok Post, the old “mosey on down for a shandy” that appeared every Friday and of which Saphan Loy was a loyal reader.

The Stick’s site was, and is, garish and colourful. He tinted his writing with a gosh-golly-gee tone that served him well initially, but which now seems quaint, prudish, and paradoxical. He was able to attract the eyeballs of older sexpats everywhere, while not putting them off with confusing jargon or pointless technicalities. His site was (and is) a kind of “Thai Prostitution for Dummies”. He was “inclusive” to a a very limited extent by allowing his“readers” to submit pointless stories, the better of which he awarded special “green stars” (much like a school-marm would dole out) which in turn became a distinction that a cast of certain characters relished. In a real sense, Stickman’s reader submissions were a precursor to the ways that the internet would change over the years with more or less instant commentary, threads, and robust discussion forums. And this is precisely the direction that the red light sites ventured. Except Stick’s.

We have written in the past that Stick is stuck in the late 1990s, and these days, while digital information is moving at speeds well above what the Stickman may be most comfortable with, it is clear that the Stick’s stuck site may not be as useful as it once was, or as lucrative.

For starters, it is not optimized for mobile platforms (just like others hosted by geriatric webmasters which his site is coming to resemble). Secondly, who bothers to read the “Green Star” submissions, when similar stories are on offer in blogs like the Big Mango Bar Blog, where the commentary is often more elucidating than the submission itself? And finally, with the proliferation of sites like Tagged.com or Thai Lust Links, or whatever, the Internet has made possible all sorts of assignations that render a bar essentially a quaint holdover to an earlier time, when the Internet or even the telephone was less optimal in enabling the delivery of willing and able-bodied young women (or, in Stickman’s case, young ladyboys) to a man’s doorstep.

By extension, it may be argued that the whole red light mirage in Thailand may soon find itself evaporating in the humid night air along with the decline of the structures that support it, namely the old Western men who will (and have) been expiring in the Land of Vertical Smiles while pursuing the brown nymphs of the rice fields. When will the property values of the red light districts in Bangkok surpass any conceivable business reasons to maintain brothel bars for the long-term?  In our estimate, the time has already come.

The View from Above

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6 Responses to “Big Baby Kenny (Gangnam) Style and Some Thoughts on Stuckman”

  1. keepitfun Says:

    “Optimised for mobile platforms”??? what, so the gen Y’s and Z’s can peer at their tiny screens with their 20:20 vision while sitting next to their non existent real world friends sipping organic wheat shakes. I and most stickman readers are likely happy this mob will pass the site by.

  2. Older&Wiser Says:

    The joy of the Internet is getting multiple sources of information from a variety of people. Unfortunately, my only takeaway from this site is that the author is very young & inexperienced, and his whole shtick is ragging on his elders, whom he will join soon enough, in awkward prose that soon grows tedious. There is nothing new here, and I shall not return.

  3. I think you miss on of the points Saphan Loy is making as well as not understanding the technology.

    Stickman has a business model in place. He is earning money from the ads on the website. The amount he can justify for each ad is determined by traffic.

    Increasingly, PC and notebook sales are declining while smartphone and tablet sales are increasing. Travelers, myself included, don’t take our notebooks or PCs with us.

    In the past I would go to a net cafe or use the business lounge computer in the hotel. Now I surf anywhere and anytime I want, such as sitting on the rail at Golden Bar while enjoying a glass of Tiger.

    I have far from 20-20 vision, but I can still read on my tiny 4.5″ smartphone screen without glasses because I can zoom the text to be 1.5x, 3x or whatever size I want. The mobile format support rescaling the text so the lines wrap to the screen to the new scale while the full image is still in view. If I try that on some of the sites that haven’t been updated to support new html standards or platform optimization the images and ads (and some of the text) still scroll off the screen or won’t resize at all.

    The last carriage manufacturer had 100% of the market before they went out of business due to the steam train and automobile… You can either adapt technology or be a casualty of it.

    • Agreed. I think that one of the glaringly obvious reasons that Stickman does not render his site in a mobile-friendly format is that it would effectively eliminate his antiquated banner ads entirely. Furthermore, judging from these comments so far, it proves that the Stick’s readership is skewed toward the elderly with their very basic internet literacy and their fear of technological change. Fine. However, if one thinks about this as a business model (a very flawed one at that), it means that his advertisers are merely reaching a certain demographic that is old, tired, tethered to desktop PCs in farangland, and prone to dropping like flies, no matter what they may or may not have in their dwindling retirement accounts.

    • ….most of all, a demographic that has been proven to be unwilling to spend money, just as they are afraid of technological and social change (the first comment perfectly illustrates that).

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