A Little of Fortune

         Not until two years ago, I came to realize a shocking aspect of  Thai women as my friend told me, “Foreigners reckon us, Thai women, being cheap; the women find a tough time aboard being looked down on and prejudiced even though they go as students.” The story scared me picturing myself falling into that position; however, the perverted image disturbed and upset me most. Asking myself how that can actually be, the picture of a Thai woman dressing tidily and giggling modestly with her boyfriend popped up to contrast the scene, which I have seen in movies, of a blond girl hugging and kissing her guy on a road. Dating in Thailand emphasizes very little on physically intimate interaction, at least in public. Our culture and society strongly reprobate premarital sex. Girls are kept virgin and na´ve. There are very few numbers of love scenes in Thai movies; not a single erotic episode appears in a soap opera.
         However, I admit that Thailand has a large number of prostitutes, the fact which essentially effects Thai women’s image. This tragic happening results from the country’s economic growth which leaves to its society a destructive gap of wealth among the people. Materialism spreads out acutely faster than the distribution of wholesome education; insufficiently educated women get trapped in a money-orienting whirlpool. Some of the women sell themselves expecting a luxurious life, and many others are either tricked or forced to work in a brothel. Being na´ve as the society expects them to be and lacking good education, they can not clearly see dolorous consequences from involving in the sex market and are easily deceived. They may be lucky, being able to escape from the miserable life; nevertheless, in most cases, the women get stuck there. Many of them are exported and never be back home again. Recently, officers at a Japanese immigration claim arrested a suitcase filled with a Thai girl who was brought by the yaguza.
         Nevertheless, not only Thailand but also other countries encounter this problem: the detrimental expansion of flesh  trade. For instance, in one of the richest countries in Asia and in the world, a lot of teenagers sleep with middle-aged businessmen as a sideline job, to earn money for purchasing new clothes; many girls from the old, great second-world country become prostitutes, available in brothels in most major cities all over the world. However, solely Thailand is labeled as an international symbol of sex trade. Once, the Longman Dictionary gave a definition of Bangkok “the capital city of Thailand with many prostitutes.” Why does thing turn out to be that way?--I will say…We are unlucky. Thailand does not possess another worldly significant aspect that others tend  to talk about instead of the issue of prostitution. Dissimilar to Thailand, the success in economy of the former very much attracts others’ attention, and communism prevails the topics of a conversation about the latter.
        Therefore, Thai women are not cheap but poor. They are put in a pathetic position: either bearing the humiliated image or becoming a prostitute. You, the readers, if you are more fortunate, please understand their situations and think of them with the least prejudice. Thai women are as capable as other people in the world and, definitely, do not possess any less virtue than the others have. We, Thai people and the government, have been putting much effort in improving the situation by means, for example, educating the women and their parents, especially the ones in remote areas, of why they should and how to protect themselves and their daughters from falling into prey of a brothel’s agent; closing illegal brothels and the ones where women are brutally harassed; providing asylums for abused women where they will be helped recover both physically and mentally and trained for careers; promoting understandings between the others and us about our problems and situations. We have been on our way, and your cooperation will indeed help. Beside the understandings, if you happen to go to a brothel, go there as friends: if you find that a woman is compelled to do her job, please do not make her do and, if possibly, help the woman liberate herself. Moreover, the younger the woman is, the less seemly you should pick on her because she is more likely to having been a victim of the corrupt cycle. Thanks for making us a little wealthier

. Narisa Laplamwanit. 08/26/97