Thailand’s imperfect mix

shows its smiling face to the modern world as a fait accompli with little knowledge of the particular punctuations in its cultural evolution, and semi-deliberate masking of some of its more onerous social problems. Many, if not most, third world countries have grievous social problems. It might even be considered a rite of passage into a higher orbit of civilization if the bumps in the road weren’t so painful sometimes. Unlike the problems of racism, drug economies, violence, corruption, and stealth that other third world countries suffer, the main social problem in Thailand is the ‘victimless’ crime of prostitution, and its convenient scapegoat, poverty. Like other victimless crimes such as gambling and drug use, prostitution is especially difficult to eradicate since it can be a selling point for tourism that brings in the much-needed hard stuff, cash, that is. The much-needed physical love that so many Western men lack in their own ‘femi-nazied’ countries gets filled by professionals in the service of industry, so no one gets hurt. At least that’s the idea. The reality of course can be somewhat different. For one thing, most up-for-grab Thai women aren’t especially professional. Many wear their hearts right on their sleeves, and those hearts can get hurt or hardened. For another thing, the tourists go home, usually. The Thais are left in a society where Buddhist merit making frequently takes second priority to materialistic meretriciousness. Of course, many tourists decide to stay and live or retire, and many Thai women go abroad with their newfound boyfriends and husbands. I wouldn’t say they’re Thailand’s largest export yet, but their numbers are significant. But that’s not the real problem, of course.