Life Beyond the Pale or Is Living the Dream just a Fantasy?

Life Beyond the Pale or Is Living the Dream just a Fantasy?

The phrase “beyond the pale”, according to the Urban Dictionary, dates back to the 14th century, when the part of Ireland that was under English rule was delineated by a boundary made of such stakes or fences, and known as the English Pale. To travel outside of that boundary, beyond the pale, was to leave behind all the rules and institutions of English society, which the English modestly considered synonymous with civilization itself. It’s commonly held meaning is behaviour or a lifestyle that is unacceptable; outside agreed standards of decency. It’s a term often used about those who choose to live in the Orient in certain circles. The price we pay for a life of our own choosing may be criticism and one may often find oneself defending the choice to live in Thailand by citing the food, accommodation, cheap hotels and friendly people and if one is bold enough, the beautiful women as our reason, but is it true; are we truly living a dream worth defending? Sitting in the Dusit Thani hotel, Hua Hin, Thailand seems like the perfect place to reflect on some observations that Annie and I made about life in Thailand while on our travels in Great Britain last month. Ironic isn’t it? Perhaps one needs to be away from one’s home culture in order to observe it dispassionately and one needs another culture to compare alongside it. I imagine there are still people who would consider my relationship with a Thai ladyboy or simply the fact that I live in Thailand to be ‘beyond the pale’. I had very little idea how people...
Thailand’s Real Black Magic

Thailand’s Real Black Magic

The village centre is a rough circle of beaten earth. A long chute made out of corrugated tin stretches from the edge of its only solid structure to a stone well that collects rainwater and mounds of rubbish sit heavily on either end of the clearing. They make a good home for the many ‘Ngu How’ or Cobra that live alongside Annie’s extended family.   Her grandfather has just died and she and her relatives are stoically washing his body and preparing him for the afterlife, reincarnation or whatever end we all go to.                                                       A shirtless man with one arm stumbles into the clearing. He is joined a few moments later by a man with one leg., together a kind of grisly double act. The arm was lost to a tree felling accident and the leg to a cobra bite. Hospitals were expensive until the introduction of the 30 baht act. That was too recent for the double act, they are in their 50’s or perhaps their 40’s. People age quickly in the chonderboat, the Thai name for the countryside. Countryside is too quaint a word for the Thai hinterland that makes up the majority of the country. I have no idea who these men are. Hardship is written on the many faces. There is no nobility in poverty. It is often difficult to identify the precise nature of relationships in Thai culture as there are so many aunts, cousins, second cousins...
Is it possible to have a relationship with a Thai ladyboy?

Is it possible to have a relationship with a Thai ladyboy?

About Us-A Trans-gender, Trans-cultural Relationship Facebook can be a curse or a wonderful aid to communication. Here in Bangkok it’s a terrific ladyboy dating tool and in the summer of 2011 Annie and I met for the first time. I had been living in Bangkok for a little more than a year when I met Annie and in that time I had spent time with lots of ladyboys, found out the hard way never to date prostitutes and quite literally, written a book about my experiences, called Bangkok Baby.Buy it here. This story is mine and Annie’s. We are very different but just as you and your girlfriend are different, you and I, we are the same in many ways. I came to Bangkok and was done with all ‘that’ love, that unreliable motive for living. I buried it, or more accurately slaughtered it and dumped the body, car and murder weapon. Then I flew away. After screwing anyone I could pay to screw me back for a few months to keep my distance I noticed bubbles rising from the dead-pool. Loneliness, or something like it popped on the surface. Loneliness is not an attractive state and so it rarely gets a mention in thrillers about private detectives traversing dark cities as it repels more than attracts the subject of its craving, like leprosy or a runny nose. But, a little lost, I listened to it’s baby voice, found a girl or something like it and guiltily, whitely, ripped out most of the pages of the book called, Never Love A Whore. It’s recommended reading but I recommend that...