Welcome to my website. Unlike the universe, this website has a purpose: to offer rants, tirades, opinions and discussion about books on Thailand, give an overview of nightlife in Thailand and, yes, to provide a few news items which might not appear elsewhere. And to have some fun.
Bar, club and restaurant owners who would like to send material on their special events, birthday bashes, anniversary parties, etc., are welcome to do so but please remember men in Thailand are a bit jaded so if you’re just going to offer the usual free gourmet food and free full band entertainment and free beautiful and eager-to-please women, well, the lads have been there, done that. So do try to offer potential patrons something special. ;-)
There is a contest every two weeks when this column appears and the first to answer the question correctly or identify a photograph correctly will receive vouchers worth at least 3,000 baht in food and drink, i.e., 500 baht each, from Larry's Dive, The Old Dutch, Electric Blue, The Big Mango, PJ's Steak & Rib Grill, and Bourbon Street Cafe. The prizes will build up in case anyone doesn't win it immediately so the bonanza for the eventual winner could get quite interesting. It will double to 6,000 and, if still no winner, to 9,000, etc. Second prize is a "I Support Single Moms" T-shirt. And please remember a part of all money received from the sale of my books goes to needy Thais (in the form of payment to go go dancers, waitresses and hostesses).
Soi Cowboy is lots of fun and there are a lot of lovely ladies standing about wondering what happened to all the customers. Remember, this is low season, if you don't look like a "hansum man" to the ladies now, you never will. Even the elephants look lonely.
As usual, rain came down during the July 4th celebration at the American picnic (held on 30 June) but anyway kids had a good time. And here are a couple of Emporium clowns, um, clowning. The rain has definitely been affecting business at Nana Plaza as some punters simply stay home rather than muck about in the wetness of the Plaza.
A friend of mine who speaks fluent Thai was on an escalator in a shopping mall behind two early middle-aged Thai women who were having the most sexual conversation in Thai he had ever heard. One was telling the other that she came three times and providing lots of details, etc., etc. At one point the other woman turned around and warned her friend of the farang behind them but then they decided that a farang would not understand them. So he continued on down the next escalator to hear more even though he had planned to get off. Finally, at the bottom, he politely told them in Thai that they should be careful because some farangs speak Thai. He said as he walked away he could hear both of them roaring with laughter.
The latest lovely addition to the Londoner Pub staff is khun Pat, fresh in from Germany. She speaks some German, fluent English and of course Thai. Click on the first picture and you can see her dreaming of having a tryst with a handsome older man such as myself. And then we have a back-scratching couple of cuties.
Meanwhile, news while it is news from that dynamic duo, Nick and Michael of
Nana Plaza's famous Big Mango bar/restaurant. The boys are starting a new
promotion night, beginning the Wednesday after this column appears. On
Wednesdays only the fine tasting Beer Lao will be only 60 baht all night long.
They are also arranging for special Beer Lao gear for the ladies who work there
as well. We are promised it will be sexy, yellow and green Beer Lao
dresses. One more reason to leave the computer and head for Thailand's
famous nightlife areas. As if I need a reason. When I think of all
the novels I could have written if I hadn't decided to live in Thailand or if I
had never got off that plane in Bangkok when I was 23 years old. But I'm
not complaining. There have been compensations.
I wandered about Patpong Road a bit and went into one of my favorite bars in the 1970's: the Safari. Now, I would have to say it may qualify for the worst bar on Patpong. There are two small stages. The stage at the back had one dancer; the stage near the door had none at all even though a few dancers were hanging about talking with a few of the hostesses. Hello! Is anybody home? I know it is Thai-owned but isn't there any management? Hello! Hello the bar!
Electric Blue was swinging and I saw no sign of ladyboys whatever. If some of the beauties such as numbers 26 and 27 are ladyboys then call me a monkey's uncle. I do, however, continue to get reports of ladyboys up on the stage at Angelwitch Pattaya. I hope that is not correct as I hate it when supposedly straight bars mix ladyboys up with women. Who wants to sit in a dark bar checking as to whether the "chick" cadging a drink has an Adam's apple or not? Or if the Adam's apple has been surgically shaved? I will check out Angelwitch Pattaya soon and let you know what I find. And don't forget to stop in at Coyote's Bar, Pattaya, as they will have a dance contest soon, 23rd, I think, their biggest night of the year. The winning dancer gets 20,000 baht and a chance to go to bed with Dean Barrett. Well, OK, maybe I made up that last part but she does get the 20,000 baht. Meanwhile, back on Soi Cowboy, the lane that shows it all, Rawhide girls get better and better looking, girls in Dollhouse are great as well. At 9:30 Baccara girls upstairs removed their blouses and within minutes the place had filled with Japanese guys. Both in Pattaya and Bangkok I have heard of idiot tourists of just about every nationality giving large amounts of money for shorttimes. Great way to ruin things for the rest of us!
"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded
- Charles, Count Talleyrand
There is a new bar between Electric Blue and BarBar called the Strip. Some cute girls hanging about outside. Rumor-Control Headquarters has it that the bar is owned by the owner of BarBar. In any case, it has taken over the space where BarBar used to have a downstairs ambiance similar to Demonia on Sukhumvit soi 33. So the whole shebang (so to speak) has now moved upstairs, whips, ropes, handcuffs and all. Speaking of good looking Asian women in leather, be sure to catch Bruce Willis in Diehard 4. A really great looking Korean chick wearing boots and leather kicks the shit out of Bruce Willis (well, until he gets fed up with "this kung fu shit" and throws her down an elevator shaft). Anyway, it is a fun film and the Asian chick is puuurfect as the beautiful, evil villain. I wonder if she would let me be her gig. The computer stuff in the movie is also impressive. But I can't help wonder if a real computer expert could draw up a list of what they did which is impossible and why.
Khun Leigh's Corner
Khun Leigh is a savvy local expat who keeps in shape by hitting most of the bars of Nana Plaza as often as possible. From his vast experience, he will enlighten and entertain us with his recollections of the bar scene be they humorous, tragic or somewhere in between.
There are so many things that I love about
living in Thailand. What I really love the most is how fun-loving and polite the
people are. I have changed my daily routines and the way I react to certain
events since I have lived here. Most notably, I now have what the Thais call a
"cool heart" which means I don't allow myself to get all tense and frustrated
about little things. This is such a huge problem in the west, where a large
percentage of the population resemble a ticking time bomb. During my last trip
to the U.S. I couldn't help but notice that there is a very successful book
series entitled "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff." Thais really have mastered this
philosophy! Anything that is not fun (mai sanuk) is to be avoided.
People who are always tense and upset are to be avoided like the plague! A very
good friend of mine opened a bar down in Pattaya, and hired a dozen Thai staff.
On the first day of operations he lectured the entire staff about all of his
rules and regulations concerning employment. This guy had a list three pages
long of all his requirements! A really uptight western guy to say the least. I
had earlier informed him about the fun loving nature of the Thais, and how he
needed to foster a relaxed atmosphere if he wanted to retain staff. After all,
to the Thais if there is no fun at work, might as well quit. Imagine his shock
and horror when only two of the original twelve staff showed up for the second
day of work!
I recently found that five of my favorite go go dancers had relocated to Rainbow 4 from their previous place of employment. I told them how this was a good move, as Rainbow 4 has tons of customers and I am sure they will make a lot more money than they were making before. However, the leader of the pack (every group of gals has an unofficial leader) told me that they weren't really concerned about how much money they were making at the old place, and that they had relocated when the boss told them that they were forbidden to eat while at work!
The Thais generally live one moment at a time. What happened yesterday, or what may or may not happen tomorrow is of very little concern. I find this to be a very charming quality (as long as you're not working with them or married to them.) I recall sitting at one of my favorite haunts enjoying a Singha beer and pleasant conversation with a lovely young lady named Lek. She had an adorable little puppy in her lap and every lady in the place was kissing and petting this lucky little guy. Lek then tells me that she had bought the puppy that very day, and that his name was Harry Potter. I proceeded to ask her if the management of her apartment building allowed pets. All of the gals laughed hysterically at this question! What a ridiculous little detail to be concerned about. Well, two days later I happened to see Lek in the bar and her face was red and swollen up like a balloon. She told me that she had been crying for two days straight, and that the mean man who runs her apartment building made her get rid of Harry Potter. I must admit that I almost envy the childlike innocence that causes them to refrain from worrying about the cause and effect of their actions!
I was chatting up a few young, cute waitresses in my favorite Thai restaurant the other day. They were quite curious as to why I relocated from a rich country, where I was making very good money, to Thailand where I live on a modest fixed budget. I must admit I was having some difficulty explaining to them how much better the lifestyle is in Thailand as compared to my old home in Antisepticville. Just as I was becoming tongue-tied, the older female manager interrupted and very confidently stated that she knew why I had moved to Thailand from my rich home country." Because in farang country, everyone have money but no one happy. But in Thailand, no one have money but everyone happy." Wow! In her broken English she explained it more clearly and concisely than I ever could have.
I am constantly amazed at how many guys say they want a Thai girlfriend, but they have absolutely no interest in learning even the most basic aspects of Thai culture or even about the lady herself. Last week I was chatting with a European friend when he received a phone call from his Thai girlfriend in Udon Thani. Well, his Thai is poor, and her English was apparently not much better, so he asked me if I would speak to her in Thai. He had recently procured a visa for her November to January there together. He stated that it would be winter and therefore very cold there, and he wanted me to ask her if she knew of a cheap place in Bangkok where they could buy winter clothes for her. I chuckled and told him that if it was even sixty degrees outside she would refuse to leave the house, and he would literally have a baby on his hands that he would have to wait on hand and foot. He insisted I ask her, so I relayed his request. Her response was "I won't need the clothes. If it is that cold outside, I won't even leave the house." I told her that it would be so cold there that even ice and snow is possible. She said "why would anybody want to live in a place like that." I didn't have an answer. I hope she likes delivery pizza!
I hate it when I do stupid things. I had a small bag of computer disks I bought at Fortune IT. I also had a small bag of two videos I had to return to Blockbuster. I left the apartment without the videos (CD's, actually) and went back to get them which I did without putting the light on. When I got to Blockbusters and gave the guy the bag he looked at them and at me. He had a strange look on his face so I looked down and sure enough I had brought the wrong bag. Duh.
Still reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I love the book but I wish he wouldn't be so shy and tip toe around his feelings about the god of the Old Testament: "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." And let us not forget, "psychotic delinquent." Come on, Richard, tell us how you really feel.
Rachadapisek Road is still going strong; kind of like the Las Vegas of Bangkok but a lot cheaper and more interesting than plastic Las Vegas. Lots of entertainment clubs, massage parlors, and clubs with "models" to choose from. And, yes, farangs are welcome as well as Asians. And thanks to the lovely subway, it is now very easy to get out to these places without getting stuck in traffic.
Did you see where the manager of the Novotel Siam Square had to make a very public abject apology to homosexuals and ladyboys because a transvestite was denied entrance to their disco recently? I don't have a dog in this fight, so I don't much care, but I didn't like the way all gays threatened to picket and take their business elsewhere, etc., etc., if the hotel did not apologize; it was a bit too much like blackmail, in my opinion. Anyway, I wonder if it is true that lots of Russian women go there to be picked up for cash. Speaking of which, in Pattaya, the police just rounded up a lot more Uzbekistan women of the night, and claimed the police are losing the battle as there are more of these women coming in all the time. Well, if more and more Entertainment Providers are showing up in Thailand from around the world, maybe Dawkins is wrong: maybe there is a god.
A Patpong Road card (when Safari was great) from the late, great 1970's.
During the 1970s Thailand was fighting the communists in their own country and they made up comic books and leaflets to hand out. In this leaflet, the front shows the contrast between communist Chinese teaching and teaching at a Thai school. The back asks people to report suspicious activity, strangers in the area, etc. The Thais had better rewrite the leaflets to deal with the Islamic threat in southern Thailand.
God, there is no better way to start the day then saying goodbye to the succulent, brown beauty who spent the night, putting the coffee on, opening the morning paper, to find that we may soon be bombed again:
The army has warned of a possible new round of bombings in Bangkok, with densely-populated areas of the city the likely targets. First Region Army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha issued the alert at a weekly meeting at the Metropolitan Police Bureau yesterday. The warning was later conveyed to Gen Montri Sangkhasap, the army chief-of-staff.
I love the Penny Black Hotel on soi Cowboy. Sooo relaxed! I approached the (outside) desk and told the girl that a friend of mine would be staying there in a couple of weeks and gave her his name and the dates. She said "OK".
Me: "But, um, don't you think you should write it down somewhere?"
She then fumbled beneath the counter and came up with a kind of notebook and handed it to me. So I wrote his name and date, for what it is worth. Actually, for anyone who likes to be close to the action, about 1300 baht for a really good room on the sixth floor or above is a very good deal.
Many people around the world watch Animal Planet but not everyone watches it the way we do at Frank's Corner at the Londoner Pub here in Bangkok. If you click on the first four pictures above you may understand why we luuuuuve to watch Animal Planet (the Tiger Beer girl) go by. Yep, we's bad. Here me roar! Tiger, Tiger, burning bright, on the backside of the night! And by the way when I told friends that she had changed her outfit into a blue and then back to black they said I was drinking too many black russians. But here is living proof that I never miss a change of clothing of the beer girls.
The two pictures at right are of the Madrid Bar on Patpong Road, July 4th celebration. The Madrid was opened in 1969 and Dang makes sure it keeps going. Yes, that is indeed Les Strouse on the left (right-hand picture), Air America's chief pilot in Laos during the Vietnam War. Lots of other spooks about too. In fact, so many "spooks" about (who of course weren't there during The War) made me feel I was in a haunted house.
The following letter appeared in the Nation but of course the Muslims-are-wonderful, self-censored Bangkok Post wouldn't print it:
I read with dismay that each year 80 Thai Muslims will be sent to study at Egypt's al-Azhar University in Cairo. The university is known as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. Professors who disagree with their fundamentalist teachings of Islam are fired and cannot work elsewhere in Egypt.
In 1980, the university employed as a lecturer Omar Abdel Rahman who is now in an American prison for being instrumental in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre. A former professor of Islamic history who challenged the fundamentalist beliefs of the university was denounced and fired and imprisoned. When he decided to convert to Christianity, his own family disowned him and on several occasions attempted to kill him. He has since fled to the US, changed his name, and written a book "Islam and terrorism". If it is the Thai government's goal to inculcate Thai Muslims in intolerant, fundamentalist beliefs, sending them to al-Azhar University is a wonderful idea. Dean Barrett
I hadn't been to the River Kwai/Kanchanaburi area for decades so I hired a car and driver to make a day trip out of it and to get away from the computer. I had been hearing rumors that there was indeed land beyond the Golden Triangle of Nana Plaza/Soi Cowboy/Washington Square. And sure enough there is! These photographs are from the main cemetery in Kanchanaburi. When you think of the suffering the Japanese and the jungle put those young guys through until they died, it is incredible. Next column I will have photographs of both of the museums dedicated to that period of World War II. The column after that, the great Nakorn Pathom chedi. The suburbs around Bangkok are anything but attractive but once through that, you begin to spot long stretches with trees and eventually hills and small mountains. The air is better and everything seems fresher. Yes, there is land beyond the Golden Triangle.
"One of my all-time favorite jazz pianists is Thelonious Monk. Once, when someone asked him how he managed to get a certain special sound out of the piano, Monk pointed to the keyboard and said: “It can’t be any new note. When you look at the keyboard, all the notes are there already. But if you mean a note enough, it will sound different. You got to pick the notes you really mean!”
I often recall these words when I am writing, and I think to myself, “It’s true. There aren’t any new words. Our job is to give new meanings and special overtones to absolutely ordinary words.” I find the thought reassuring. It means that vast, unknown stretches still lie before us, fertile territories just waiting for us to cultivate them." Interview on writing - Haruki Murakami
And what is happening in Pattaya? I mean besides the obvious observation that business is slow and there are about a hundred dancers for each customer. Well, on the cover of the Pattaya Mail we find "Runaway Truck Bursts into Flames" and "French Murder Suspect Caught." Inside the paper headlines range from "Fake Police Volunteer Attacked by the Real McCoy" to "Laotian Robs Gold Shop to Pay his Way Home." And, of course, no edition of the paper would be complete without a headline similar to this as is on page 4: "Foreigner Dies After Mysterious Plunge." From a Jomtien condominium, no less. The Frenchman, by the way, is accused of killing a German on behalf of the German's guy's Thai wife to whom the Frenchman was once married. Whew, and you thought Pattaya was an uncomplicated, quiet town by the sea.
"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
- Forrest Tucker
Remember I said recently that in his speech to the FCCT the Communications and Technology Minister said that YouTube was a non-issue because he would unban it the following week? So he got off the hook a bit with that announcement and several overseas newspapers reported it as if it were a done deal. Well, he has yet to do it and folks are beginning to wonder if this guy wasn't being straight with people.
Liar, Liar, pants on fire?
Two of the Coyote Girls at Mojo's, Sukhumvit, soi 33, once upon a time a jazz bar, remember, kids?
A lawn we would all like to mow.
Hi Dean, Khun Leigh is really quite
clever. I think you made a good decision to add him to your website.
I think I am seriously addicted to Thailand now. I am considering a week trip there, because I have a couple of days off. Think about it, I am thinking to travel 35 hours by plane (direct JFK-BKK Thai flight is 17 hours), plus airports and taxi travel time 8 more hours. Plus being jet lagged the whole trip and then being jet lagged for a week or so when I return. Is worth it? Hmmm, Thai beauty, with perfect body, saying "Tilac." No brainer, or course I am coming. Cheers, Mark D.
Dean, Good advice regarding keeping at least a copy of your passport on you at all times. Last Sunday I got off the bus from Pattaya and was THOROUGHLY searched by the police. My clothes bag emptied, toilet bag emptied, padded down……the whole deal. The crazy thing is that none of the other 46 passengers were stopped. I’m not why they picked out a middle aged, bland, boring, businessman from the Midwest while half the other passengers had the appearance of either extras from the movie “The Beach” or candidates for the Al Quaeda recruiting class of 2007. Nevermind, TIT I guess. I still love this place. David Simpson
Hi Dean, Thanks a million for the old photos of Patpong and Pattaya, Pattya number 4 was the old Dinos Bar or Hanks Hideaway when I was there in '74. I recognise the Building in old pattaya2 but I never went in there, And the Patpong at night Pic just blew me away. I'll look forward to you next column as always. I'll camp out again by the PC, Cheers, Steve
Dean, One more thing. Here’s one of the reasons why I love this country and why I intensely dislike people who make sweeping bargirl generalizations. Two weeks ago I barfined one of the best looking girls in Mandarin Bar. It was the first time I had barfined her. The idea was to go short time with her because I had to start work early the next day. Anyway, she turned out to be fun so before we left the bar we had a few drinks and then a few more and so on. After we had been drinking for a couple of hours the girl picked up the bin and checked the bill. She then turns to me and says, “I always get 1,500 or 2,000 Baht short time. Sometimes 2,500. But you cannot give me that OK? You buy me too many drinks. You give me 1,000 Baht”. I thought she was joking and then I realized she was serious. I wanted to give her a big hug right there and then. You won’t find that in Las Vegas or London or Hong Kong. Cheers, David Simpson
Dean, I still have the issue of Grunt somewhere with cover of the sarge being interviewed about adopting the orphans. Just had to comment. Still debating about the Philippines or Thailand as a residence. Rich
After seeing that reporter's photo on your website each and every time, I felt even better when he was finally released by those Islamic shitheads! Thanks for always reminding us of this imprisonment that's over. - Sean Bunzick
Did you see this item in a local paper not long ago? Phone sex in Bangkok?! And they were making big bucks! Who would need phone sex in Bangkok? I thought that was only for poor Western guys stuck in Western countries where play for pay is prohibited or too expensive. Now there are charges that TOT was involved in the deal, or at least some of the staff. Not sure. They also said college girls were making money on the deal by taking calls. Good for them. I never tried phone sex because I figured you don't know who you are talking to, what she looks like, or if it is even a she. But some group tried to link phone sex to girls who disappeared after being on the phone. I can't quite fathom what that is about and given the lack of investigative journalism in this town, we most likely won't know if there is any truth to that or if it is bullshit. But in a town where sex is um kind of hard to avoid, and um inexpensive, why would anyone go for phone sex? Curious minds just want to know. As for the college girls who were making money taking the calls, I wonder where their next paycheck will come from?
"The raid followed a complaint by the Mirror Foundation that phone sex services were being provided by Thai Televoice Co, an operator of a 1900-prefix phone number. The firm allegedly offered the services through this phone number which charged clients 13 baht a minute. The company earned at least 175,500 baht a day from its business, police said."
Links You Might Enjoy
A video of a five-minute walk down Soi Cowboy. Click here and then click "preview videos."
Like to check out some bars in Thailand? Try
Like to know what music is playing where in Bangkok each week? Try http://www.bangkokgigguide.com.
Like to know more in depth about what music is playing where in Bangkok each week? Try this great site:
Tired of shoveling snow? Check out Bangkok's sunshine.
Bangkok's weather report.
A great site for listening to Thai Morlan music and other folk music of Southeast Asia.
A bit of black leather never hurts. But she does.
Our Lady in Black
Like to learn a bit about retiring in Asia?
Maps of all the provinces of Thailand
Contact Direct Line for Travel Insurance in the UK
Links You Might Not Enjoy
T-Shirt Hell: for lovers of very black humor only.
Politically incorrect rants and raves from Uncle Fred.
Girlfriends looking for Taliban boyfriends.
Taliban Singles Dating Page
Do you have a product or service you would like to advertise on this website? You can, you know. In fact, you don’t have to have a product or service at all; you can just send me money. Or perhaps you would like me to plug a product or service that you are involved in? Sure, just send me cash. Be sure, however, to mark the outside envelope:
“Birthday money for Dean Barrett –
Absolutely No Bribe Enclosed”
Got feedback to this column? Got information on Thailand you would like to share? Happy as a dung beetle to be living in Paradise? Been ripped off? Just write me.
So enter and win 3,000 baht in food and drink vouchers, second prize is a "I Support Single Moms" T-shirt, courtesy of Peter, PJ and Jason, third prize the usual Nada diddly-squat. There were dozens of correct guesses to last column's contest. It was, of course, Soi Thaniya, taken from BTS station at Saladang. OK, let's see you literary types get this quote. This column's prize is worth 3,000 baht in food and drink vouchers. Just be the first to tell me the name of the work and of the author of the work and which character said it:
"Yes, now you know. Now you know! That's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those...of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another. Now you know - that's the happy existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness."
That's all for this fortnightly column. Drop by again. Explore the rest of the website. Meanwhile, as the girls used to tell me during the 1960's: "I no lie you, GI, I love you long time; you number one!" And, remember: nothing says goodbye like a bullet. And the more people I meet the more bullets I need.
Dean Barrett can be flamed at: email@example.com
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More news on "The Religion of Peace"
FREED AT LAST!!
You gotta love this picture: "Gay Muslims for Peace and the Destruction of Israel"
Report from www.theReligionofPeace.com
Click here for an article on Muslims in America
Glasgow Airport - How much more Islam can Britain take? Or is this just an example of Islamic global warming?
Here is a short article from a former Muslim fanatic in Britain who writes of how they used to laugh whenever a British politician blamed Britain's foreign policy for Islamic terrorism in Britain when the terrorists themselves knew it was their own Jihad imperative in Islamic theology which was responsible.
People enjoying London's Tiger Tiger Nightclub which was targeted by Muslim car bombers. Nana Plaza next?
This is an absolutely wonderful, short video of a brave Arab woman telling off Muslim clerics. I only wish Western leftist assholes who make excuses for Islam would watch it: IslamicWoman.htm
Teaching in Saudi Arabia
Two weeks after the terrorist attacks in London another Saudi student raised his hand and asked: "Teacher, how can I go to London?"
"Much depends on your reason for going to Britain. Do you want to study or just be a tourist?"
"Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in London, again. I want make jihad!"
"What?" I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: "Me too! Me too!"
Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of them were thinking. I was incandescent. In protest I walked out of the classroom to a chorus of jeering and catcalls.
My time in Saudi Arabia bolstered my conviction that an austere form of Islam (Wahhabism) married to a politicised Islam (Islamism) is wreaking havoc in the world. This anger-ridden ideology, an ideology I once advocated, is not only a threat to Islam and Muslims, but to the entire civilised world.
Edited extract from The Islamist by Ed Husain, published by Penguin Australia, $24.95. Copyright Ed Husain, 2007.
"The government will not allow militants their goal of a separate Muslim region, he said. "That's impossible. What we can do is intensive local participation in administration in accordance with their unique religious and cultural characteristics." Thailand Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas
In other words, shariah law, which would be a disaster for Muslim women and for any Muslim who would want to leave Islam or who would dare criticize the Koran. The so-called "unique religious and cultural characteristics" of Muslims are almost always antidemocratic and misogynistic. And the Thai government would then bring about this poor excuse for peace in the south and claim victory and compromise. What a sick joke it is when a government has no will to fight. Great letter to the editor below:
Cut to the quick: It has just been announced that Iran is proceeding with the stoning to death of a couple imprisoned for the last 11 years on a charge of adultery. In light of the offence to sensitivity arising from this public stoning, may I recommend that all Iranian films be withdrawn from the Bangkok International Film Festival? DANTHONG BREEN Chairman, Union for Civil Liberty