Archive for red light districts

Saphan Loy’s Year End Roundup and Shameful Holiday Greetings!

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2013 by สะพานลอย
Time to stuff some stockings.

Time to stuff some stockings.

Christmastime in the red light districts of Bangkok is a special time. The booze flows freely, the ladyboys prance about in a state of magical, yaa baa-induced wonder like sugarplum fairies, and the Stickman takes a moment to reflect on all of the beautiful Thai courtesans whom he assiduously refused to have sex with in 2013. The “naughty webmaster” for “naughty boys” will likely be rewarded for his efforts with big black lumps of coal in a torn fishnet stocking hanging glumly from his limp mosquito net.

Even my special assistant, Lek, is unusually festive as she busies herself around the Saphan Loy executive suite picking up empty beer bottles and scrubbing the stains out of the faux leather divan where, in between long periods of writing and drinking, I have expended considerable fluids in sating the out-of-control, simian-like libido of a brown-skinned idolater. By the way, she despised part one of the Saphan Loy’s Thai Ladies for Dummies™ guide, mainly because she, like all Thais, does not like to have our “dirty laundry” aired in a public forum. Nonetheless, for her insolence, she will be amply rewarded in the new year.

Yes, gentle readers, it’s that time of year again. Time to take stock of what has been an utterly sordid and shameful year in the red-light districts of Bangkok, and for the bloggers who have attempted to type a word or two about their equally unsavoury experiences. 2013 also marked the dramatic disappearance of some from the game, as well the dogged persistence of the few who remain, banging the tired gong of their own misguided takes on why Cambodia and the Philippines are starting to look better and better.

The Departed is defunct. is defunct.

The biggest departure of 2013 was the abandonment of the now defunct Not with a bang, but a whimper. The bloated sex professor most likely abandoned his blog in part because of a new and punitive teaching schedule which has kept him from a dubious hobby that once saw him board a Boeing 757 bound for sex paradise every summer, just as soon as the last of his retarded undergraduate students left his office after complaining about their depressed grades and threatening to have their mothers call him directly. Mercifully, he has even stopped authoring the ridiculous comments in which Professor Ng shares everything from references to pedophilia, racial remarks on the US presidency, and homophobic slurs aimed at Thailand’s transgendered community.

The second departure this past year has been the disappearance of Bangkok Buddy, a gentle soul who only sought out “happy memories” among the cheapest brothels, free buffets, and dive bars of Bangkok. In return, his cadre of Chinese friends, who bizarrely call themselves “The Bay Area Boyz”, turned on him and drove him off the Internet. The story behind his disappearance is complicated, and we have written about the sordid details previously. The lesson in the Bangkok Buddy (and his “Bay Area Boyfriends”) story is that you should carefully evaluate your “friends” in Thailand. Are they mentally ill? Is this mental instability the result of too many drugs, or a strange Syphillitic condition brought on by overexposure to tropical venereal diseases? You must choose wisely.

The "Bay Area Boyz" of Bangkok celebrating Christmas.

The “Bay Area Boyz” of Bangkok celebrating Christmas. Photo courtesy of Chris Madeira.

Still Plugging Along: The Museum Sites

The Stickman of Bangkok continues his efforts at creating the seamless infomercial for all things commercial sex in Southeast Asia, including his oft-featured ladyboy escort sites which he plugs repeatedly. Knowing how much of a prude the Stick is, we wonder if 2014 will be the year he allows one to plug him as well. Now that would be worth a read.

While 2013 saw very little variation in his advertisement blog, he nonetheless did add a widely criticized “Girl of the Week” section, in which he features the homeliest of Thailand’s bar girls who offer a stark reminder that it is better to depart well before the cock crows if one is to preserve the hazy alcoholic image of your bar-fined assignation from the night before.

One of the main weaknesses of this feature is that it throws unflattering light on the girls in question and by extension on the entire bar culture in Bangkok. Without beer goggles, the plain Janes, or plain “Leks” of the chrome pole seem wan and distant and somewhat malnourished. They appear almost as lifeless and uninteresting as a horrid Chris Coles painting. We at Saphan Loy have decided that the Stickman is no longer as relevant as he was, say, in 2002. Therefore, he joins the ranks of Saphan Loy’s “Museum Sites.” These are sites that have not changed their general appearance (think primary colours, slapdash HTML, and banner ads), content, or their format since their ill-advised conceptions. They shrink from technical innovation and change, and are stuck in time, like a Polaroid picture of a bar-girl staining the sheets of some short-time hotel in Pattaya.

Bangkok Eyes: Midnight Hour

Our friend Will Morledge over at Bangkok Eyes is still at it. Although Saphan Loy has teased him in the past, we have to admit that his site has become more interesting as he has started to publish more historical information and archival photographs. Have a look at his December column for some visually satisfying images from the former Mississippi Queen bar in Patpong. In the ever-changing field of Bangkok red-light blogs and websites, Morledge’s persistent longevity is really quite admirable and worth a look every month.

Joy from the Missippi Queen Bar, circa 1970s. See

Joy from the Mississippi Queen Bar, circa 1970s. See

Red-Light Bloggers Still Pounding Away

Mobi d’Ark. Our friend Mobi is also, bless his soul, still having a seat in front of his keyboard and sharing his thoughts and impressions of the world of a Pattaya expat. He is also making available his literary efforts online, and should you be interested in Thailand-based fiction, have a look at his offerings. Mobi, who has endured various hardships this past year, remains a stalwart of the Thai blogging scene. We hope he keeps at it.

Finally, for those of you who miss the Big Mango Bar blog, rest assured that you can still get your fix over at Mango Unchained, a continuation of sorts of the old blog, only a bit more subdued and with a great improvement in the quality of the writing. Graham, who moderates the blog, does an excellent job selecting stories and keeping things moving along.

The premise behind the blog is that these are stories that feature things to do away from the neon glare of the bars themselves, and focus more on expat life in the company of your special Thai lady friends. These are often interesting vignettes into the strange habits and ways of the Thai lady, and how they behave outside of captivity. However, you will still find a story or two about an amusing pub crawl. Well worth a look in 2014.

The Year Ahead

Speaking of special Thai lady friends, look for more of Saphan Loy’s words of wisdom on the treatment of our executive assistant, Lek. As ever, we will task her with various degrading assignments throughout Bangkok, ferreting out information for use in this column. She is quite the สายลับ and she knows the backstreets of our mean city like the back of her graceful, elongated hands.

So, as long as you are sober or sane enough to type a URL into your browser, or remember to make Saphan Loy your main source of information on all things Thai red-light blogs, we will endeavour to type up this column for your edification. Lek and I wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and New Year, and may all of your red-light district experiences be sordid and disgraceful! Who knows? Perhaps we will meet somewhere on Patpong and I will happily autograph your Thai bargirl’s small, boy-like breasts (with No. 2 pencil eraser nipples) with my felt-tip pen. For a nominal fee, of course.

With that, we leave you with Saphan Loy’s Girl of the New Year! Enjoy!

Saphan Loy’s Girl of the New Year:

The Lovely Kim XXX or Manga

Kim XXX, or Manga, Thai German Porn Star
Kim XXX, or Manga, Thai-German Porn Star

Name: Kim XXX, or Manga

Official Website 

Age: 26

Nationality: German

Languages: German and Thai

Special Skills: Engaging in depraved group sex scenes with German men,

consuming the semen of multiple donors, Thai cooking, reading “ka-toon”

Kim XXX, or Manga, is an amazing actress, and a real Thai sweetheart. She is a Thai sex machine who speaks German. What more could one ask for? Her performance range is unlike anything you will likely see in your alcoholically foreshortened lifetimes. She is petite, hard-bodied, and pumped up with enough silicone to firestop a skyscraper. Her twisted German overlords feature her on a site called German Goo Girls (I’ll leave it to you to do your own research), where they make her the degraded object of their Teutonic perversions. Happy New Year, Manga!

The View from Above

Bangkok Buddy Returns….Sort of.

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by สะพานลอย

Bangkok Buddy, who disappeared from the Thailand brothel blogging world after accusing his yaa baa-addicted friend Chris Madeira of rubbing his groin at Bangkok’s notorious Thermae after-hours freelancer club, has returned!

Well, sort of.

While his new incarnation is called a “Photo a Day from somewhere in Bangkok”, he has used this space to post old photographs of very young Asian women and, in a bizarre turn, little children. Meanwhile, his thoughts, feelings, and daily musings remain private for a select handful of likely dwindling friends.

Alas, Saphan Loy is not one to judge, and Lek believes that the pictures, especially of the women who are at least child-bearing age, are possibly meant to persuade his former readers that he may have been (back in the 1980s and 1990s) a devout heterosexual. Whatever the case, it’s clear that Bangkok Buddy is reevaluating his life by way of these oddly selected photos of young Asian women and children, and that the whole lover’s quarrel with Madeira really has upset his emotional equilibrium. We wish him a speedy return to sanity!

The View from Above

Bangkok Buddy Down for the Count?

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , on August 27, 2013 by สะพานลอย

Well, it looks like that gentle, penny-pinching recluse of Bangkok has decided to put away the keyboard, vowing to post exclusively for the handful of remaining friends who have been invited to follow his (un) adventures. Shortly before quarantining his blog from the general public, Bangkok Buddy reported that he was being harassed, stalked, and threatened by his former “friend” Chris Madeira. He even posted a photograph of him and claimed he was addicted to drugs, among other things. One thing is for certain: in the Land of Vertical Smiles it pays to be wary of the company you keep in some of the most notorious red light districts in the world. That said, we wish Bangkok Buddy well and raise a lukewarm Singha to his “happy memories” in greener pastures. Or even nastier dive bars. He will be missed.


The View from Above

Chris Coles and Bangkok Noir Redux. And Redux. And Redux….And Redux…

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by สะพานลอย

Paint by Numbers

Those indefatigable academic men at work from Down Under over at New Mandala have given Chris Coles pride of place in a February 15th posting in which the paint-maker describes, yet again in the event that you’ve missed his bizarre explanations in the past (or if you failed to purchase the book called Navigating the Bangkok Noir), why his art is exactly like German expressionism, why it is important, why writers like Stephen Leather (Banging Bill’s Wife) and Christopher G. Moore (Pattaya 24/7 and The Wisdom of Beer) are part of this “noir” movement, etc, etc. 

It is somewhat surprising that the learned professors who run New Mandala have allowed Coles to drone on and on about this topic, although perhaps less surprising that Saphan Loy’s response to the post was moderated out of existence. It went something like this:

Chris Coles’ guest post has all the hallmarks of a self-serving, self-congratulatory navel-gazing think-piece clearly intended to revive a moribund interest in his book of the same name, and to generate some sympathy for this idea that his work and the work of others somehow constitutes an expressionist movement unique to Bangkok’s grim underbelly. There are so many things wrong with this from an intellectual perspective that it is difficult to know where to begin. First, there is something inherently artificial in attempting to broadly create an “artistic” movement of expatriate “artists” (mostly down-on-their luck expatriates who also happen to spend inordinate amounts of time in Bangkok’s brothel districts while scribbling implausible stories on bar napkins), where there simply is none. Coles lumps his own painting efforts, the macabre neon results of which are perhaps best-suited for the interior of a carnival funhouse, with the scribbling of typists like Christopher Moore, Stephen Leather, and Jon Burdett, whose collective fictive output is largely unreadable and place an undo strain on wood-pulp processing factories as well as the digital backbone of the Internet. In fact, Stephen Leather has recently taken to giving away digital copies of “erotic” short stories on Amazon with titles like “Banging Bill’s Wife.”  The most commercially popular of this sorry lot is Jon Burdett, but even his Bangkok-based stories do little justice to the nuanced reality and cultural complexity of living in a place like Thailand, and they have little to no bearing on Coles’ imagined “noir” movement. What is equally distressing about this whole misguided effort is that the concept of noir, as an extension of the German expressionism that Coles so admires, is essentially being grafted onto one very narrow aspect of Thai urban culture, namely the red-light districts that cater to white foreign men. There is very little of the native Thai voice to be found in his concept of Bangkok noir (or Southeast Asian noir) or whatever; and when Thais do appear, they are merely prostitutes, drug dealers, or murderers or corrupt public servants. One can hope and think and try to will into existence some grand artistic movement until the water buffalo comes home. But if other scholars, writers, art critics, and historians of Southeast Asia are directing their gaze elsewhere, or fail to see any artistic merit whatever in the examples Coles provides, then the overly ambitious Bangkok noir movement is destined to be consigned to the collective digital shrug of the Internet’s ever-shortening memory.   


Now, Lek and I occasionally read some of the postings over on the New Mandala site, which we had mistakenly believed was a place of lively academic debate and rigorous intellectual exploration. (Lek finds anything with too many words “boring”.) Instead what one has come to expect from New Mandala is a small coterie of like-minded individuals, exhibiting all of the mutually masturbatory inclinations of a left-leaning graduate school seminar, who seem to save the lion’s share of their consternation for the institution of the Thai monarchy and the threadbare cliche of corrupt Southeast Asian politics (the amount of ink that has been spilled tilting after this windmill in the Western academy shows no signs of drying, so long as another PhD can be squeezed profitably from the tired hackwork of political scientists flummoxed by Southeast Asia’s historically-grounded patron-client networks.)

Poseidon Massage Parlor

Here is Coles’s take on corruption in Bangkok (or Southeast Asia by extension):

A world where endemic corruption is not only considered to be “normal” and “permanent” but even “essential”.

In most of these artistic works, there always seems to be double helpings of Impunity, disenfranchisement, South East Asia Big Men, a complete lack of any meaningful Rule of Law, almost no actual rights inherently belonging to the individual.

Coles makes clear in the beginning of his post that he is not an intellectual, but an “artist”. He admits this probably to deflect attention from the weakness of his arguments and the implausibility of his observations (generally limited to the area in proximity to Bangkok’s red-light districts). Even so, in a forum like New Mandala, the claims he makes here about the absence of Rule of Law in Southeast Asia, and the lack of “actual rights belonging to the individual” should at least invite some scrutiny or critical circumspection, at the very minimum. Instead, the editors at New Mandala decided that Coles was immune from pointed criticism, and so his post has all of the characteristics of a bully-pulpit, a kind of meandering journey through a painter’s untutored mind.

Homosexual Bars in Bangkok

We will leave this tired story (which shows no signs of going gently into that noirish night) with some parting words from Coles, which have the nasty chemical buzz of paranoia the kind usually associated with psychedelic drug abuse:

Individuals are frequently and arbitrarily subject to state and Big Man violence, selective and biased law enforcement, sometimes even assassination and disappearances. 

The View from Above

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

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by สะพานลอย

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 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

Tastes Like Chicken

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by สะพานลอย

Saphan Loy has harped in the past on the gross violations of good faith that the Big Fat Baby Kenny Ng has exhibited on his ill-fated website He has eschewed all rational ethics (such as they are) and generally-accepted behavioural norms of self-publishing, and has demonstrated an extraordinarily rudimentary kind of schoolyard monkey-mind in his absurd treatment of other writers and bloggers (Saphan Loy included) that calls into question a few puzzling riddles about the kind of man Kenneth Ng really is. What we can glean from his sex tourism blog is that he is quite seriously mentally ill and certainly sex-addicted, with far-reaching fetishes that most likely include coprophagia, a behaviour he shares with dogs.

Generally speaking, most college professors are borderline deranged anyway, but usually in a harmless or quirky way. Perhaps they like crossword puzzles, for example. Or maybe they collect stamps, tea cozies, or antique bottles.  Not Ng. His perversions must certainly poison every classroom he enters, and he likely repels unsuspecting undergraduates with his pornographic avocation worn proudly on his sleeve without shame. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but professors, like any authority figure, should be held accountable to a standard that is elevated. For example, when Jimmy Smithers underwent a colonoscopy recently (see the article and the many interesting comments here), he would not expect that the doctor (were he a male) would be a deranged sex tourist. Indeed, were you or I to find out this information on the operating table, we would likely be dismayed and attempt to halt the procedure by abruptly pulling the IV from our veins and putting on our trousers.

Similarly, were you or I to sit down in a classroom, and the authority figure (the professor) had the reputation of an eager third world prostitute john which preceded him internationally, it would immediately colour our expectations and our feelings of comfort, which may, in turn, compel us to leave (unless of course his course were required). That the California State University of Northridge seems to be heading in the direction of purging their classrooms of deviants is an encouraging sign. In addition, the state’s impoverished university system has far too many other problems to worry about. And when the day comes when Big Baby Kenny Ng is called to the carpet, he will find his worst fears realized: directionless, he will go to Thailand, his head hanging low, where he will be forced to eke out a living there as a teacher in a mediocre university, working like a dog for a pittance of a salary, and having to deal with the indignity of “visa runs” and empty bank accounts for the rest of his natural days.

Which brings us to Ng’s latest salvo in a long campaign of misinformation: the origins of Saphan Loy. We (Lek and I) will not address Big Baby Kenny Ng’s retarded speculations regarding the ownership structure of Saphan Loy. We trust that our readers are capable of informed critical analysis and educated opinion, unlike the fat man’s bogus readership of the criminally insane.

In other news from the blogosphere, there are rumours circulating that Big Baby Kenny is now in Bangkok (see here and here), and it is our hope that he enjoys his sex holiday. After a whole semester spent looking at his unattainable and tantalizing coeds in his unendurable lectures, he needs one of two things: a cold shower or a trip to Bangkok. Teacher Tim Torkildson the Clown has returned to Stickman after a very brief hiatus. He wrote a piece last week that announced his return, and the take-down notice was removed by TEFL International. Due to the highly volatile discussions around his contract with TEFL International and the tense negotiations around his salary, it is nice to see that the details have been ironed out and we can once again enjoy Tim the Clown’s quirky take on life in a Thai classroom, and his musings on having romantic liaisons with Thai women.

On a much more serious note, Mobi over at is having open-heart surgery in Bangkok early next week. We at Saphan Loy wish him the best and a speedy recovery, and look forward to his return. I have to admit that having open-heart surgery in Thailand (or anywhere for that matter) is a courageous act of healthcare, which requires a lot of support and well-wishes. Take a moment to drop him a line.

Finally, in Stickman’s latest and greatest (a boring description of Siam Square), one of his deranged readers submitted a letter that is even more insulting than the feces that emanates from Big Baby Kenny Ng’s keyboard. In essence, the letter (reproduced below) is a horribly disrespectful analogy between fast food and Thai bar girls. It reveals a sickened mind and a non-existent moral conscience. By reproducing it here, it is Saphan Loy’s hope that it will draw appropriate levels of outrage. Who is so callous as to compare a young woman to fried chicken? I put this question to my office assistant, Lek, and she replied with a colourful expression of her own, a derogatory term that combines the words “farang” and bird-shit. In short, we were both stunned by this abortion of a letter penned by some Pattaya vagrant who prefers shirts without sleeves, his beer in tin cans, and his “fried chicken” in plastic buckets. A word of advice for this highly-evolved specimen of humanity: in future restrict the audience of your tortured similes to yourself, your psychotherapist, or your local clergyman only.

Reprinted in its entirety here:

Visiting Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy compared to visiting McDonalds, you have a hunger, you go there for convenience, it’s gaudy, bright and trashy inside, you see what you think you want, you order it and take it away, but when you get outside you realise that what you really have is a bag in your hand that’s full of shit, you know it’s wrong and that you shouldn’t, but you have it anyway.  Temporarily you feel satisfied, you walk away leaving your trash behind!  Comparing the pay for play experience to KFC, nothing at all intellectual about the experience, once you’re done with the breast and thigh all that you’re left with is a useless greasy box to put your bone in!

As ever, we suppose it is of no surprise that there are those who think like this miscreant and who frequent Big Baby Kenny Ng’s site regularly. That Stickman, however, published this “gem” speaks to his complicity in the degradation of prostitutes (who should nonetheless be afforded some dignity and the most basic of human respect) in his adopted city. In our minds, what is far worse than the typing of this atrocity is the publishing it for the general public.

The View from Above

The Hollow Men Operation Part 2

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , on November 7, 2011 by สะพานลอย

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer –
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom

— T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men (1925)

The station chief who came up with the title Hollow Men Operation was apparently a well-read man. Yale educated in the classics, his knowledge was encyclopaedic. Not only did he directly incorporate T.S. Eliot’s poem as part of the vast operation that comprised Mike’s work in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, but he also ensured that the nomenclature of the operation itself would go without detection for so many years. Most government bureaucrats, for example, did not understand the allusion, and they generally followed orders regardless of what it was called. Mike’s decision to tell us the details, marked by many years of soul-searching, but also vague feelings of remorse, coupled with a slow breakdown of his faculties which were the result of excessive alcoholic drinking, truly denote how “secret histories” are often related: orally passed on in dark corners of dark bar-rooms in the company of women who don’t understand a word of what you are saying.

Once the Potemkin villages of the red light districts in Bangkok served their intended purpose, controlling large parts of the military population and providing dollar-denominated currency to the Thai treasury, and once the conflict in Vietnam was over, there were questions that remained. What to do with the actresses and agents involved? What to do with the physical structures themselves? Was there a way to mothball the entire operation? According to Mike, the solution was fairly complex. Rather than keep close tabs on the military population, and to ensure that communist sympathizers were weeded out with efficiency, the decision was made at the top to keep the structures functioning, but now in an effort to attract the detritus of the entire globe who would be attracted to places like Patpong like moths to the flame. In short, it was an excellent way for Interpol and other organizations to follow international vagrants more closely and to monitor seedy business deals closely.

According to Mike, the operation was not mothballed, and an interim caretaker operated the “fronts”, or what we know of as the go-go bars. As their purposes changed over the years in terms of intelligence collection, it was decided that a quasi-governmental organization, comprised of several interested nations, would continue to monitor Bangkok’s red-light districts in order to sort out the various and sundry who come to Thailand’s shores yearly, looking for only God knows what.

We miss Mike dearly. The guy at the Madrid who paid for all the drinks, who shared his thoughts on everything from literature to God to conspiracy theories. He was the master of ceremonies in a time when Thailand needed him most. He was generous with the women, almost to a fault, and generous with his motley group of friends. He will be remembered for his service and dedication. Happy premature Veterans Day.


To be continued……


The View from Above


When it rains….

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by สะพานลอย

Dean Barrett and Chris Coles have been spotted building a large ark-like structure on Soi Cowboy. Apparently, they had a heated argument about whether to allow ladyboys onto the boat: Chris Coles in favour, Barrett against. They almost came to blows, but Barrett backed down after admitting that Viagra has damaged his cardiac muscle and his latest charity boxing match left him with a hernia. Meanwhile, Stickman has taken up residence in an Asoke highrise with a team of drunken rugby players who have vowed to wait out the floods by watching homosexual pornography on a laptop and throwing their empties into the water far below.

The scene from Dean Barrett's hovel.

Big Baby Kenny, meanwhile, is up to his neck, and he’s nowhere near Bangkok. He has been writing about the things he likes to watch on television, particularly shows that old women usually enjoy while crocheting. His problems are amplifying in California, as has been reported on Big Dummy Kenny and elsewhere (you know who you are). We will reserve comment until we have a chance to discuss the matter with the Chancellor in greater detail.

Stay high and dry.


The View from Above



Stickmum Bangkok

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , on July 8, 2011 by สะพานลอย

In a recent column a few weeks back that featured “the lovely Jeab”, Stickman’s quote of the week came from his own mother, whom he had apparently brought to Tilac on Soi Cowboy for an evening of fun. There, in the squalor of a third-world strip bar, she asked him if he ever “bar fines” the young women who danced for their pleasure. At first, Saphan Loy was going to let this pass, thinking that his admission was maybe a joke or meant to illustrate how “progressive” his mother is. But as we ruminated on the subject (and ruminate is often the operative word here), it became clearer that this was an inherently sad admission for the Stick to make. What’s more, it calls into question the very faculty of reason that is often the first to go after long-term exposure to the red-light districts of Thailand.

Saphan Loy finds it extremely taxing to simply shepherd his own mother to Sunday mass from time to time. It is therefore beyond my abilities to imagine a scenario whereby I would take her to anything that even resembles a bar, let alone a Bangkok bar. A bingo hall, maybe. But even that’s a stretch.

An elderly woman enjoys the nightlife.

What is most sad about the apparent admission is that it indicates that perhaps his mother would like to have a meaningful relationship with the Stick, but his years of brothel reportage have impeded that relationship or degraded it to a point whereby they are unable to talk about anything other than Thai brothels. So, in the end, desperate to maintain a relationship with her son, she joins him on one of his outings to his favourite watering hole. But in the course of conversation, the Stickman felt pressured and aggravated by his mother’s questioning of his sex life. If he doesn’t bar fine these girls, what exactly is he doing in the red-light districts? There is a certain saying about a mother’s intuition, which is often spooky in its perception.

While Saphan Loy has heard of men bringing their wives to the red-light districts, and let’s face it, women can be just as curious as men in this area, we have never heard of anyone bringing their own mother to Soi Cowboy. This week’s poll, therefore, is centered around this question: Would you ever consider bringing your own mother to Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza?

The poll is designed to determine who among you would be willing to bring your mother (of course if she is still among the living) into a brothel/bar in Bangkok. Please don’t be shy: we are all adults here.


The View from Above

The Paris Hilton of the Thai Red Light Blogosphere

Posted in สะพานลอย with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2011 by สะพานลอย

As an appendix to our latest meditation on the nature of the free market economy in the global gallery of images, celebrity paparazzi and the like, as well as the introduction of Saphan Loy’s capital (and now a collective of various moneyed interests) into an otherwise moribund market for images of Thai nightlife celebrities like the Big Baby Kenny Ng, here is an update. Despite an overwhelming response from readers, professional photographers, curious Thai villagers, mercenary bar girls, etc., we have decided that, in addition to a solicitation for freelance photography services, it may be a more efficient use of our capital to engage the services of one of Bangkok’s most famous bar girl investigators directly for documentary evidence of the celebrity blogger, Big Baby Kenny Ng, enjoying his demoralising summer vacation.

But rather than poking holes in the maudlin, fictional fabrications of farmers’ daughters from Isarn, which takes all of the investigative skill of the disheveled security guard who salutes you as you enter Emporium, we will directly engage our investigator to dig around a little to unearth the comings and goings of the fabled celebrity blogger, Big Baby Kenny Ng, paying particular attention to the things he does between his more mundane errands like getting his dentition fixed or becoming flustered by the unresponsiveness of his bargain US smartphone. The irony of ironies that engaging a “bar girl” investigator would represent makes us chuckle like a Machiavellian villain, twirling his moustaches while the damsel (BBK) is rope-bound on the trestle of the Skytrain. Perhaps we can pay for not one, but two or more investigations? Who wouldn’t want to see the Bangkok Buddy, for example, eating fried chicken and drinking coffee, or playing video games in the grim prison cell of a cheap apartment building?

Ho hum. One of the things that Saphan Loy is especially vigilant against is the unauthorised photography of our person. This happens sometimes in large cities. We have found that, for the most part, Asian tourists, for some odd reason, find that a photograph of me would enliven their screen savers upon their return to their own countries and perhaps refresh their “happy memories” of their trip abroad. Even more strangely, one day in late spring, I was sitting on a park bench minding my own business, and a young woman, a complete stranger to me, maybe about 20 years old and clearly some kind of art student judging by the dubious way she was dressed, stood approximately fifteen yards away and had the temerity to snap a photograph of me while I gazed into the distance and fantasized about becoming a celebrity blogger like Big Baby Kenny Ng.

The brazen slut!

For once, William Mahanakorn was flabbergasted. That the camera lens was pointed in my direction was unmistakable and not a symptom of latent paranoia. While a few such errant thoughts managed to flash briefly, for example, is she with a foreign intelligence organization?, thus interrupting a serene idyll, my only ultimate resentment was that my image would perhaps appear without explicit permission in some esoteric and largely empty little museum somewhere in the hinterlands, in black and white or, worse, faux sepia tones, matted in an elegant frame with a small placard denoting the photographer and the late-night-marijuana-and-vodka-inspired title of the image, and gawked at only by other photography enthusiasts and art students, or the occasional itinerant who wandered into the museum accidentally in search of a public restroom in order to take a rudimentary bath with the fresh water of the sink.

But we digress. In truth, the question remains. Is BBK the new Paris Hilton of the Thai red light blogosphere? This really is the question that Saphan Loy’s growing (and potential) capital investment will seek to answer. We cannot ultimately promise results, however, because it is challenging to persuade a bar girl investigator that someone who looks like BBK could possibly have a jilted ex-wife who is seeking evidence of his squandering of child-support payments on the red light districts in Bangkok, or his commission of insurance fraud against Delta Dental: a fiction, of course, that the investigator would presumably hope to verify.

One more note on the taking of photographs in the red light districts of Bangkok. And this is in response to the hobo-like Bangkok Buddy’s trembling fears that one of his Bangkok buddies, “the viking“, was taking too many pictures at “the ranch”, which is against the Bangkok Buddy’s “rules.”

met 2 new lounge lizards tonight.  first, there was the viking.  second was the nun.  I sort of took a liking to the nun.  but then, since the priest was there.  I stepped aside.  I wasn’t too comfortable with the viking.  man, he was taking pictures left and right.  and frankly, one of the rules at the ranch is – you can’t take pictures.

Here is a little analogy for Bangkok Buddy’s sleep-deprived mind to comprehend, when he is not playing Space Invaders with his joystick. Say, for example, Saphan Loy Productions LLC wishes to produce a film about an American professor who becomes enamoured with a Thai ladyboy in one of his frequent trips to the brothel districts of Bangkok. They fall in love, but the professor does not realize that “she” is really a “he.” Humiliated, he angrily calls off the wedding. After a fun series of comedies and cultural misunderstandings, and a particularly fun sequence in which the professor travels to the ladyboy’s village and meets a colourful assortment of his relatives and neighbours, the professor vows his undying love for the Thai ladyboy. They get married in San Francisco, and live happily ever after. They even adopt some Chinese babies, and give them caucasian-sounding names like Kenneth and Dorothy.

Now, most of our film will unfold in the red light districts of Thailand, much like Hangover II. We apply for the appropriate permissions via the Thailand Film Office (, and wait patiently (about 14 days) for our script to be approved. Through a Thai production coordinator, we make the appropriate arrangements for locations, interiors, etc. More importantly, we make prompt cash payments to all concerned governmental parties and Thai filmmaking technicians. We rent the expensive cameras and recording equipment necessary from Thai companies. We even hire local actors and actresses. We remember to send appropriate gifts to local politicians (i.e., two bottles of Johnny Walker Blue tied together with a red ribbon) whose jurisdiction includes our set locations. Shooting goes smoothly, and we get all the footage we need of Thailand’s notorious nightlife and lots of fun photographs of places like Cassanova’s or similar establishments. Not only is photography “allowed” on “the ranch”, in Saphan Loy’s illustration, it is actively encouraged and supported by Thai authorities. We bring our Thailand footage to the post-production facility in Los Angeles, neatly edit our unwatchable, poorly scripted film, market it to distributors, and the moronic public lines up to purchase a ticket and a tub of overpriced popcorn with a large plastic cup filled with corn syrup, sugar, and carbonated water.

Saphan Loy’s offer stands: We are looking for candid images of the celebrity blogger and sex tourist Big Baby Kenny Ng enjoying his sex holiday in Bangkok. The photos must be of journalistic quality and be verifiable. All inquiries may be directed to A basic contract will be required, which spells out the terms of the exchange and will be provided for serious inquiries only. All editorial inquiries will be treated with complete confidentiality.

The View from Above