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...
Why are there so many Ladyboys in Thailand?

Why are there so many Ladyboys in Thailand?

Thailand has the highest rate of Transsexuals throughout the world. According to some academics, the numbers differ from about 10,000 to (unofficially) 300,000. Even if the number of 10,000 is an accurate one, it would still represent an incidence substantially above that estimated for transgender people in most other parts of the world. To explain the case for this high number of transsexuals, some academics refer to the impact of Buddhism in Thailand and how it leads to an understanding of transsexuals in the current day. The terms ‘transsexual’ or ‘transgender’ are rarely used in Thailand. Instead, “Kathoey” is a common term. It was originally used for hermaphrodites (human being who have both sexes- male and female), but nowadays it is mainly used to describe the transgender male. Looking up the word “kathoey” in a Thai language dictionary, we get the following definition: ‘the characteristics of a kathoey is someone who cross-dresses (lakka-phet), a male who likes to act and dress like a woman and has a mind like a woman”. Ladyboys themselves favour the term, Ladyboy over kathoey, considering it a politer form of address. Interestingly they use the catch-all term to include males who behave in a feminine way that in the West would be described as ‘camp’ this regardless of whether the individual has undergone surgery or not, has long hair or not or wears make-up and female clothes or not. The number of kathoey in Thailand is surprising to the American or European traveller and the reasons for their number may, at least in part, lay in religion and religious attitudes in Thailand. The main...
What was Sky TV’s Ladyboys series about?

What was Sky TV’s Ladyboys series about?

The Sky Living TV series, Ladyboys was aired in the United Kingdom in April 2012 and at the end of the year in Australia. More recently it has been shown in the Phillipines and seems to be repeated constantly on Sky TV Due to copyright control I am unable to feature Ladyboys on this site. Here, is a synopsis of each episode in Series 1, from an ‘inside’ point of view. Episode 1-Beauty Queens I have spent hours of my life watching Ladyboy pageants and as far as I am concerned they are hours I can never get back! Annie loves them of course especially as she was a cabaret dancer in Samui herself. Tiffany’s is a profitable commercial business and I think that it is important to remember that. The transgender people featured in this episode are following their dreams and the chance to win 10,000 USD. For an entry fee of 500 USD and a lot of beauty treatment, fame and a cash prize of 10,000 USD awaits. Although they may be lovely people they can rarely compete with Thai Ladyboys in terms of feminine looks or grace. It seemed to me, as an observer, that the most feminine did not get into the top rankings. The only ladyboys who are able to compete on equal footing are Phillipino, Thai and to some degree South Americans although they tend to be a little bigger. Now, I am not suggesting that all Thai ladyboys are paragons of beauty and grace or even that they all look exactly like women. In fact, very few ladyboys could be mistaken for...
Annie Andasuk.

Annie Andasuk.

Annie’s tight, round ass is rolling in time with the Isaan music blasting across the seated throng. You hold her hips clad in her little denim shorts. She dances raising her hands in the archetypal V sign adopted by all Thai people. She thrusts her ass in your face, laughs and tells you she loves you as you kiss and drink together. You cannot compete with her in the eyes of the watching crowd. Your farang statehood usually draws all eyes but tonight this ladyboy is stealing the show. Tonight you are the Base and she is the Flyer. She is the entertainment and you are the support she needs. Like all exciting dancers she needs to feel something solid beneath her, holding her, loving her. You like this job. You realise that you love her and that the horror and pain of your last Thai ladyboy relationship is almost forgotten. Perhaps not forgotten but accepted, resolved in part and without the sharp pangs of heartache and sadness that have been flooding your emotional landscape for as long as you can remember. Tonight you feel you are waking from a bad dream and like the rest of Thailand, drying out after the floods. The morning light no longer seems so depressing. She smiles, ‘I love you so much my husband, I love YOU’! She shouts over the music. You smile. You believe her. That’s a new experience. But it almost never happened, did it? You remember Pattaya in September. You have gone to fetch her back to Bangkok realising you want to be with her but the face and...
Soldier X | Part One, Home

Soldier X | Part One, Home

      Home   I am Soldier X. I am the backbone, the spine upon which the flabby meat of civilisation hangs. There absolutely is evil in the world and soldiers stand at the border where civilisation meets savagery Because I do this, you don’t have to. I do it because I am orphaned from a thousand homes I do it for adventure and to confront the place where I end and darkness begins       I was saying goodbye to my Father. He was standing on the doorstep as I was leaving, going home after a visit. My sisters and stepmother were watching through the lounge window like a tragic chorus. The pressure was immense. He was about to have surgery to remove a cancer. The operation could kill him. If he survived that the cancer was going to kill him anyway, everyone knew that. He was 86. He and I, we both knew that this moment could be it for us, until the next world.   Suddenly on that very ordinary porch I was drowning in the memories that swam up and swallowed me whole and I wanted to tell him that I forgave him for making me cry when he was carrying me past the shops and I leaned out towards the window and he was rough and angry and that I forgave him for calling me a ‘big girl’s blouse’ in front of my friends. I wanted to tell him how much I would miss his belief in me and I remembered how he always sat with me on every childhood hospital visit....
What does ‘Sabai’ mean?

What does ‘Sabai’ mean?

I look at her one last time before leaving. Her smooth skin, provocative neo-amazonian jaw-line and her bottom, stealing from beneath the covers like my favourite little moon. A glimpse of pubic hair on a round little olive belly as the music begins playing through my earphones and I close the door on the best girl I have ever known.   Pearl Jam suck me back in time and give me cause to compare my first effort at love in Bangkok to today’s ease of heart. Their words hold no pain now, their blowtorch flame burnt out by a brighter but gentler light. Sheets of empty canvas Untouched sheets of clay Lay spread out before me As her body once did In the West, the girl wrapped in my sheets would be referred to as enigmatic because she could not be understood. But she is complicated only as Rubik’s famous cube is complicated. Her complications and contradictions do not come from within and while she may be a puzzle to others she is not to herself. A woman is exercising alone in the entrance to a food court. Her moves are part thai-chi, part step aerobic. She is someone’s grandmother. A monk is begging for alms from a tiger skin clad woman in dark glasses sitting at a bus stop. She is politely refusing his appeals. Thailand is never what it seems. The guide-book Thailand is just a ‘rule of thumb’, a kindergarten sum of its parts. All five horizons Revolved around her soul As the earth to the sun Now the air I taste and I breathe Has...