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...
An Alternative Night Out in Bangkok

An Alternative Night Out in Bangkok

If you have been to Thailand or even if you haven’t you have probably heard a lot about Thai Ladyboys; some good and some bad but probably all interesting. Some of the negative reports you may have read are no doubt true. Some are not or are only reporting the ‘truth’ from a singular point of view. In general the red light areas of Bangkok are not places where you are likely to meet a representative sample of Thai people. Cities like Pattaya, even less so. This is also the case as regards the Ladyboys you may see or even meet in those types of places. Despite superficial appearances Thailand is a very conservative country both in manners and appearances. The news media tends to report on cases of violence and theft far more than acts of kindness. Ladyboys suffer a bad reputation earned for them by a certain demographic but often the focus on bad deeds are rooted in homophobia and prejudice even in an ostensibly tolerant society like Thailand. To make a balanced judgment or even see the world as it is rather than we are often told it is we need to seek out the alternative experience.  If yours has largely been in the permanent midnight of the entertainment venues in Thailand or on Kho San road and in Silom you may not have seen Thailand in all it’s glory. You may have noticed Ladyboys around you in shops, banks and restaurants but that is coincidental. While seeking an alternative view of Bangkok and its Ladyboys may not sound like a fun night out, think again!...
How to Buy the Book

How to Buy the Book

Bangkok Baby-Ladyboys–Special Edition     Available NOW at Amazon. TEN new chapters and 50 original colour photographs !!NEW!! Available in PRINTED format delivered to your door or as an EBOOK! This is almost a completely new book. Bangkok Baby is still intact telling the story of my nine months amongst the ladyboys of Bangkok and the new book tells the story of my life after meeting Annie and appearing on television. I hope you like it! Buy from Amazon or if you want the ebook at a cheaper price than quoted there, direct by email TO davidbonnies@gmail.com. Bangkok Baby The Inside Story of Ladyboys  ...
Ladyboys the Documentary

Ladyboys the Documentary

Ladyboys the website began like this, one evening in Convent Street or Soi Convent, Silom; It’s hot, fucking hot and humid and just getting dark and I am sweating as I listen to question after question as we stand on the road together. In the way that only journalists can, Charlie and Dee press on regardless, earnestly, sympathetically, apologetically but pressing on is what they must do because they are deep in the shit now. They have made a mistake and now they are making another while trying to undo the first. They are too deadline orientated to care that while they may be able to extract information about Thai ladyboys from inside of my head they will never be able to truly ‘know’ that knowledge; not in their bodies the way that I know. Knowing in the body is where it’s at. Anything less than experiencing with the body is just ‘talking the talk’. Now they are asking me to tell them precisely what ‘walking the walk’ means, assuming that I am able to do that. That assumption is mistake number three, a repeat of mistake number one: asking questions without understanding the source of the answers and believing blindly what they are told. After reading Bangkok Baby, they have asked me to to help them write about Thai ladyboys and tonight they are lucky. I know some of the answers and all of the questions. The where, what, why, and how of ladyboys is galloped through without pause, without understanding. It’s becoming tedious. Then just like that, the night snapped its fingers and the quality of the...

Satri Lek (Iron Ladies)

This is a great little movie about prejudice and triumph. It’s not over intellectual or inordinately gritty taking instead a lighthearted perspective on the challenges faced by Thai transgender people. It is typically Thai in its approach, in my opinion. There are English subtitles....
Thailand: Everyman

Thailand: Everyman

She is back in my bed again. She is back in my heart again. As we exit the MRT at Huay Kwang the sky is heavy. ‘It rain’, she says. ‘Storm come’, I say. I ask her why she wants to pray. ‘I think you know Dawid’. I have no idea but I feel nervous for a reason I cannot tell. She holds my hand as I almost trip over the shoes piled at the entrance to the Papikanet shrine at Rachada, Bangkok. Papikanet is what Thai people call Ganesh, the elephant headed god of the Hindus. The Thai animist form of Buddhism adopted Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. The heavy smoke of incense hangs in the air. Can you smell it floating in the humid, still air of the shrine and street outside as it mixes with the cooking smells coming from street traders and car exhausts as the traffic rushes past this place of ornate and fragrant holiness? Sweat is pouring from my head. It is difficult to see. A garland of yellow flowers and a bunch of joss sticks are thrust toward me. She looks at me quizzically as if I should know what to do. She takes my hand again, leads me to a space on the floor. I kneel beside her. I am the only farang (white foreigner) in the shrine. ‘You must have a wish in your heart, koh jai mai, (understand?)’ she asks. ‘Yes’, I say numb with something spiritual? Something momentous feels as if it will happen, something otherworldly? We pray. I glance at her and see she is asking for...