My introduction to the Far East was both overly dramatic and prosaically born of a bureaucratic decision over which I had little control. Things were (as they tend to do) heating up in Southeast Asia, a result of the old bugaboo called Communism, and rumors of direct Chinese military intervention that had the top brass (and every mid-level functionary on the way down) fretting and biting their fingernails at night.

Up until that time, my job was relatively painless. As a counterintelligence analyst (with an actual desk to call my own) I punched my time-card like everyone else, and pored over stacks of fresh copy collected from the field. When my work was done (reports read, memos wrought, asses kissed), I would head out into the parking lot in Langley, hop in my beat-up Chevrolet Corvair, and head to the tavern to throw back a few bottles and futilely flirt with Adele, the brunette bombshell from McLean whose brother I happened to know from high school.

I wish at this point that I could say that the day of my departure for Bangkok was like the scene in Apocalypse Now when Captain Willard is thrown into a cold shower in Saigon after a long night of drinking and assaulting mirrors. But in reality I woke up at dawn, put on a clean suit, gathered my belongings into a valise, and was driven to the airport with newly minted travel documents (and a brand new identity.) Aboard the plane, I read some general historical literature on Thailand and Southeast Asia, perused a few Thai grammars, and looked wistfully out the window. But the reality of it (and I’ll always remember this) was that nothing could prepare me adequately for this assignment. All the books in the world couldn’t (and didn’t). My dossiers revealed only the thinnest slice of a picture of the place. In short, while I may have been prepared in terms of what I would do there, i.e., the counterintel assignment code word (it was some bullshit name like “Operation Porkbun), I would not yet know the full extent of the kind impact this trip (and the subsequent years that followed) would have on me.

When I awoke, the plane was landing. Two empty bottles of beer were rolling around on the serving tray in front of me, and the early morning light of Thailand was filling the cabin of the DC-8.

“Saphan Loy” สะพานลอย is the poetic Thai phrase that literally means “floating bridge.” It is a useful tool in navigating a city a like Bangkok. It provides a way of getting across the street, for one. And it provides a vantage point from which to view the unmanageable, clogged traffic and congestion far below.

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© 2010-2014 All rights reserved.

What the critics are saying:

“I love every moment on this blog. I think about it all the time. It is the exotic balm to my workaday business news world.” — Maria Bartiromo, MSNBC Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo

“Saphan Loy is essential reading. Read it. Use it as your guide to life. It is a manifesto of the absurd.” — Leonard Nimoy, television personality

“This guy is the Christopher Hitchens of the Thai Whore Blog World.” — Big Black Gulliver

© 2010-2014 All rights reserved. สะพานลอย Saphan Loy (and all associated content) are protected under standard US, UK and international copyright provisions governing the Internet and as stipulated by national signatories to the Berne Convention. Unauthorized reproduction, replication, or misuse is subject to legal prosecution to the fullest extent allowable in the jurisdiction in which said misuse originates, for example, even in California.

Furthermore, pursuant to Section 4.c.3 of the legislation as amended to the charter for a document meant to govern the lower and middle classes, all characters, excepting actual pseudonymous or active writers, bloggers, celebrities, or artists appearing in this work, are fictitious. The commentary contained herein is for informational and entertainment purposes only. All images have been reproduced in accordance with Fair Use provisions of applicable US Copyright laws. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Viewer discretion is advised.

3 Responses to “About”

  1. David Shultz Says:

    You are obviously obsessed with Thai nightlife but pretend to be above it all. You need to get a life.

    • Dear David: Thank you for reading Saphan Loy. It is, however, remarkably sad that the best that you can come up with, given your keen insight into the author of this blog, is that we “need to get a life.” People are obsessed with all sorts of things. Why, someone like you, for example, may be obsessed with golf, baseball, or some other inane sport that involves large groups of men touching each other. Maybe you like gay bondage videos? Or, maybe postage stamps excite you. Perhaps you like looking for rare birds in far-flung places. Who knows? Only you know, David. However, I have a suspicion that you too suffer the same malady as every other male visitor to Thailand who pretends to be there for the climate, the temples, the food, the Buddhism, the beaches, and the elephants. Whatever the case, that obsession is a mere fraction, or a simple part of your life. It is clearly not your entire life. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be wasting your time typing something that reflects a paucity of imagination, a meagre wit, and a palsied intellect. Thank you for reading….

  2. Marty Funkhauser Says:

    I want to party with Saphan Loy, Lek, Jimmy Smithers, Pappa Percocet , William Mahanakorn, and Lady Yu Hu. Screw Stickman, Bangkok Buddy, Stephen Leather, Christopher Moore, Chris Cole, and the loser ex-pats in Bangkok.

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