Thursday, December 22, 2011

Standing Alone

What is it about the city? It seems that I too often read experiences based solely on the freedom of Thailand, the welcoming aspect of the Thai culture. That's an easy theme I think. A story line that cities and travel shows can tell without a thought to experience.

I think that's also a major drawback to living in Thailand actually. There's not enough people here willing or able to provide a complete picture. I know these people exist, but what I mean is that a true depiction of Thailand is complicated, and one that takes a lot of time to tell.

Television and news people don't have the time. They have a story to sell to viewers with short attention spans and tired eyes. The easy story is best, and that's the one we take home.

I re-read a post awhile ago from a friend that used to write a blog here as well. He wrote that every time he returns to Bangkok he experiences that initial excitement. That euphoria precedes the dip, a deep loneliness that rushes you quietly, a large wave you didn't expect or see on a darkened beach. It's a wave that can't be avoided, because you recognized it too late.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Slow Descent

It's not just about sex. That's what psychologists and scholars keep writing. I'm kind of unsure. With so much out there now on 'sex' addiction. Maybe it's the act that people are so obsessed with. Maybe it's not intimacy at all.

I begin to think that maybe the educated become disengaged from other lives.

Don't you know people who are all about the release? I mean all my straight friends talk all kinds of game about the act of sex. How much they get it, how they get it, and with who --- very few of them seem to broach the areas of love and intimacy when hanging out with friends.

I'm not saying that's me though. I mean I always wanted that but I wanted intimacy too. I want that moment of laying in bed, warm bodies pressed together, talking and enjoying each other. Passing whispers, warm air --- touch.

The trouble may be that they are moments. Fleeting. Passing me by or forgotten as I wake up to another day of monotony or from that almost-unbelievable, wonderful dream.

Moments then are just that. They don't account for biology. They don't account for physical desire. They don't factor in to male discussions of conquests, yearning, wanting more.

I'm not saying I know what it is I want. I'm just saying that I think about it. I think about it often. I think about it every day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A conversation

"Are you a teacher at ____ University?"

It was a text message he showed me at DJ Station. Standing there, music blaring. Everyone doing their best to look cool and disinterested. One thousand men trying so hard to mask discomfort and desire from fellow queers.

A show and gathering seems to do that --- raise your guard.

He was my height, shorter. Eyes set apart, full dark hair, compact but strong. A playful animal with little worry, just a drive.

He left his shirt partly unbuttoned, an attempt to accentuate his body. Pehaps a concsious memorial of his intention. He wasn't there to dance.

I wrote on my phone. Showed him the typed message.

"Yes."

He started talking to me in Thai, asking me about my students, my classes. He held my eyes confidently, using his boyish language to indicate intimacy and bravado. It was desire as well; he had that too.

He bought me drinks. Started touching me, trying to dance close. I told him no. I said that I was professional and didn't sleep with students.

"I'm not one of your students."

Very well I said as his lips found mine in the club. He was putting his hands in the waistband of my underwear. He slipped his hands in, everyone around us could see.

He was whispering in my ear, grabbing for my hands with his free one. He held them tightly, pulled me for the door.

Resistance.

"I'm a teacher," I pleaded, "please don't."

He put his tongue in my ear. "No one will know."

He pulled at my hands again. There was no more fight in me. I acquiesced. I went with him.

I can still smell that motorbike. Gasoline, exhaust, speed, alchohol. His hands on me -- moving -- caressing as he drove.

His apartment was dirty, a slum area not far from the clubs.

He was one me. Kissing me. My body shaking. Hands broke free. Clothes stripped away. Soft kisses. Harder ones. Pushing and shoving. Holding. Positioning.

I could see us from a mirror. It was a long distance shot, two moving bodies struggling for a form of synergy. Dominance and attraction dictating placements, muscled stomach on slim, conforming back.

Soft light again floods my memories of that moment. It might be slightly hazy now, a romanticized version of the actual scene.

The springs in the bed were squeaking. I closed off, starting to wonder about our movements. The dictates of biology.

Short-term moments -- enjoyment -- ultimately leading to a conclusion.

An ending.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Abandoned

Did I ever tell you why I left?

I know I didn't. That was a rhetorical question. Thinking about it now leaves an unsavory taste in my mouth. A mix of candy and tart lemonade. Too much of everything. There's no straight or honest way to broach it, and it's like so many parts of me. Conflicted, truthful, dishonest.... a contradiction.

I could write about it. I guess I've already decided I will, and I am aware of the need. I have no one else to write it to again. In a sense, I'm alone. That's it probably. I need to vent --- in a public but less-than-open way. Who knows why I can't just tell someone.

I feel in so many ways that I am going back in to the closet only to come out again. It's this consistently inconsistent manner of dealing with myself and my sexuality. Nothing is so open, but nothing is so deep that it escapes a day of conscious thought.

That's why I stopped writing maybe. I felt that anonymous blogging became too secretive. A place that no one knew me and therefore served as an unhealthy outlet for my thoughts I couldn't otherwise share. I was back in the closet.

I don't know why, but I need to write. A perpetual state of coming in and going back out again.

That's scary and freeing.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Do As I Say...

As a gay guy, I have a low tolerance for hypocrisy. I think mainly because I have lived a life where I was told that my feelings were wrong ---that being gay is unnatural and against 'God's Law,' only to see my 'authority figures' caught up in indiscretions of their own.

I still experience the after-effects of low self esteem and self worth because of gay feelings I now know I couldn't control.

Anyway so, as a gay man, when I see a television preacher or conservative politician caught with his (and it is always a man) pants down, I get angry. It's probably the same feeling most gay people have when a man like George Rekers (the outspoken advocate of a homosexuality 'cure' ) gets caught with a gay prostitute after traveling Europe on the taxpayers' dime (Florida and South Carolina to name two States). How can he judge gay people, and moreover, why is he so dishonest with himself?

I have no answers to these questions. I can only say that I am a hypocrite too. I have decried commercialism, and gone out and bought my favorite designer. I have told students to be kind to peers and strangers; then, I rudely cut in line if I am tired or just want to get home. I say I want equality but wouldn't mind if I got a little extra money back from my taxes this year :-P.

It's not just me, I know that. Prime Minister Abhisit says he wants to give Thais the freedom to speak, but then prosecutes opposition leaders who do so. He's a politician! My boss believes in fair treatment for everyone, but always lobbies a little harder for the English language department. He's a politician too! My mom says she loves everyone, but my brothers and sisters and I usually get the leftovers from family Thanksgiving dinner (sorry to all my cousins :-P). She's just my mom :-)!

There's varying degrees of hypocricy of course, and it's not just the people we follow, but the mechanics that drive them. Capitalism, democracy, socialism, and market theory are all plagued with PR problems associated with inherent unfairness and hypocricy. We live it every day, but I just get so worked up about it sometimes.

I have to deal with that and be honest with myself. Long term anger isn't a positive emotion and I have to overcome it.

I think it starts with admitting who I am. I am flawed and weak. I make poor decisions some times :-P. I am also a person that does generally care about other people though..... and I'm gay :-). I admit to all of these things and that I am still working every day to accept myself, to overcome negative emotions, and to examine the reasons behind my feelings. I want to work harder, be more mindful --- I want to be a better person.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pie in the Sky

I probably should be going out more. My friends that haven't fled the country are still hanging around Silom and DJ Station. They're hanging out with the same guys, trying to pick up some new ones, or offing money boys from a go-go bar. Some have asked me to go down and hang out, but I've been pretty lazy after teaching a full load of classes. I have 28 hours per week in the classroom this semester, with Saturday classes too :-).

I've been staying in then, and that means I have alot of time for Thai politics. That might not be a good thing?

As I've said, the latest government movements seem to center on emphasizing the 'road map to reconciliation' and prosecuting opposition figures both in court and the press.

This 'road map' is always a source of interest for me. Prime Minister Abhisit says he is confident that it will assist Thailand in the 'healing process,' but will only happen, says Mr. Abhisit, if 95 percent of Thai people buy in to this plan. That number, he admits, will be difficult to achieve, but he does say the plan will work.

Of course, I'm not sure that anyone really knows what the 'plan' entails. I've seen no draft released to the public; I know only that it is a five-point plan designed for 'reconciliation,' whatever that means. To me, it certainly seems difficult to achieve 95% support for a plan that no one really understands, so perhaps Mr. Abhisit believes this strategy provides him plausible deniability. If the long view (history) does actually evaluate Mr. Abhisit's performance, perhaps they will see that he at least 'tried' to gain consensus with a plan, albeit one that no one understands and supposedly requires 95% support from a population that, as a whole, probably does not support his party.

There might be another method to Mr. Abhisit's current tack. As he continues to press for 'reconciliation,' his government continues to pursue terrorism charges against opposition leaders and their associates. By silencing opposition to the current government, Mr. Abhisit can gain control of public opinion, perhaps paving the way for further salesmanship. If the Prime Minister controls the public forum, he can sell his new plan and his version of events, explaining to the Thai people what 'really' happened the past two months.

I just saw a story today that reinforced this idea, as it looks like Mr. Abhisit has requested the government pay whatever is necessary to control tv satellites, which previously broadcasted the opposition's message. Mr. Abhisit says it's a matter of national security: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/38817/govt-warned-thaicom-a-trap. A matter of national security or the security of his party?

I know I've been spending too much time at home, but I can't help myself. It's too interesting; I have to read more :-). Maybe I should go to DJ Station this weekend....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hangin Downtown

I don't go to the Sukumvit area downtown too often. It's pretty famous in the straight world though :-). Walk down a couple streets from the fancy shopping districts of Siam Paragon, Centralworld (at least the unsinged half), and Gaysorn (still standing, maybe the red shirts believe in tolerance?), and you come upon the world of straight and transexual women plying sex to legions of tourists from around the world.

Soi Cowboy and Soi Nana are the most famous strips of go-go bars in this area, and if you are interested, you can find thousands of Isaan and foreign girls working the bars for some cash. My door doesn't swing this way, but I have friends that... oh, I don't want to make you uncomfortable :-).

Anyway, I am always interested to walk around this area because there are people from areas of the world that I have never visited. I see Russians, Libyans, Iranians, Pakistanis (I know because they told me :-P), and many people from African nations. I've talked to many of these people just to see where they're from, ask them about life in Thailand, you know :-).

Many of the Africans seem to live here full time, and some of them, I've noticed, speak Thai very, very well :-). My boyfriend says there are a couple guys of African or Thai-African decent that speak Thai perfectly. I'm always impressed by that, because I know how difficult it is to truly speak the language. Many of us might be able to understand now after living here a couple years, but getting the tones and complex structures correct is a really challenging goal to attain.

Anyway, the Africans are here, and they seem to concentrate themselves in the areas surrounding Sukumvit Road. I always wondered what they do for work down there, and have received many different answers from the local populace.

"Buying things for Africans."

"Learning the Thai language."

"Selling clothing."

"Selling drugs."

I gotta be honest, the latter response is the most often used when I ask a Thai this question. Many of them here seem to believe that most -- if not all -- Africans are here selling or buying drugs. Honestly, I'm not sure what many of them do, because I have never had a friend or colleague from Africa here or in the U.S.

That was until I came to my current university where I met my first African colleague. He is a late-30's Nigerian with a rather large chip on his shoulder :-P. Everyone in Thailand, he thinks, believes Africans are inferior. I can tell you that in my office that it is certainly not the case, but I'm not discounting that everyone has stereotypes and illogical thoughts regarding people considered 'different.' I realize that.

Then again, I do have to admit that many of the Thai people here believe that Africans or people of a darker skin complexion are poor and of lower class. I've written about this before, but I seem to hear alot from Asian people about Africans. I wonder what they would think after comparing my bank account to many Africans living here. That might be a good surprise :-).

Anyway, I can see why my colleague has that rather large chip permanently affixed :-). He's pissed that everyone treats him differently, and that treatment is largely based on stereotypes. One day, I asked him why he thought those stereotypes are perpetuated, and his response was a kind of confession. admitting that many of the Africans here are selling drugs and prostitution.

"That's what the people here want to buy! Africans are businessmen," he tells me.

I can't disagree with him there, except about that idea of 'businessmen' --- I'm not really sure what that term means. Anyway, this country, for all of its quirks and beauty, is quite welcoming of many western imports. This includes Louis Vuitton, KFC, and Chrystal Meth. I can't figure out which contributes more to tearing the social fabric of Thailand, but we can definitely agree that the last one is bad for your physical health.

I do sympathisize with my colleague honestly. because I understand his predicament. He isn't selling meth or prostitution, just teaching English at a university, supposedly (just kidding!). But still, he has to shoulder stereotypes every day from the uneducated and the uninformed. He thinks America would be better, and I have to say that he might be right --- maybe just a little bit. If someone thinks they're going to avoid stereotypes and racsim by going to America, then she or he needs to read some stuff before hitting our amber waves of grain.

I for one am really interested in the people living here, Africans, Pakistanis, Burmese, Fillipino, I want to know about them all. Just to confirm, I don't believe any of the stereotypes out there, except the one about older Chinese people always stealing toilet paper or taking the unairconditioned bus to save two or three baht. I believe that one.

So, if you're a foreigner living in Thailand, and are in the market for a friend. Here I am. I'm taking applications 24 hours a day, and I'm available for story-telling or KFC any time :-).