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...
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...
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’s Pattaya Like?

What’s Pattaya Like?

The lights of Pattaya reflect off the water and add colour to the velvet blackness of the night. It’s 1 am and the rooftop pool is a languid green. It’s a tiny lagoon about 12 metres square trapped between the thrusting towers of the surrounding hotels clawing their way toward the sky. The Pattaya city lights are changing colour and glowing,  flashing in the darkness, sending out sparks. We catch the tiny elevator downstairs still in our swim wear. The door opens and we are caught snogging by a fat, rural Russian and his fatter wife. This gives me great pleasure and amusement and for the first time in Pattaya we make a Russian look away. England 2, Russia 0. Get in there! Back on 2nd road another Russian steps so close to me that I say, ‘ what do you want?’ He lurches and looks surprised. There are so many of them and they are everywhere. This is no longer ‘our’ place. The Western star is waning. The Slavs all stare and stare with no sense of grace or warmth or even sentience. They stare at Annie because they have never seen anything like her and they stare at me because in their own hideous country anyone different is likely to be hunted down and attacked. Physically handicapped people, gays and people of colour stay indoors. Neo-Nazi skinhead groups roam the streets of Moscow looking for someone to vent their anger, frustration and dissolution on. It is however a country of great contradictions. The Russian soul is indeed a beautiful thing, sad and yearning for a lost age...