We are so lucky to be living in Pattaya that we often take it for granted.  As time passes, we tend to forget what the outside world is like and what we left behind when we made the move to this exciting city.  Only when visitors or tourists remind us of ‘reality’ or when friends send us letters or e-mails telling us about their problems and dreary lives do we realize the alternative to living in Pattaya is unthinkable.

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Sometimes it happens that we have a good friend or know of someone ‘back home’ whose life has become so miserable we take pity on him.  Perhaps he has never been out of the country – or state – and we just know he would benefit from seeing the life we now lead.  I have such a friend who I have known since we began university together at the tender age of seventeen.  For six years I have been trying to get him here for a holiday but his excuse was always that he had something called ‘work commitments’, whatever that is.  I did look it up in my dictionary but could not find a satisfactory explanation.  When I learned he recently lost his beloved job, I decided to e-mail him and use reverse psychology.  What follows is a transcript of the e-mail.
“Dear Ian,
So sorry to hear about you losing your valued job.  It must have come as a shock.  I’m sure you did your best but it seems some employers demand too much of their staff.  Turning up on time, actually completing assigned tasks, remaining sober during working hours are truly Draconian practices.  And now, without meaningful labour to look forward to, it must be difficult filling in your days.  Remember I did it for almost a decade and, believe me, after the first eight years it can get a little boring.  It is also a shame about your girlfriend leaving you.  Her timing could not have been worse, coming as it did so soon after losing your job and moving into the caravan park.  Taking all your furniture while you were out registering at the dole office was another bitter blow.
In view of your situation, I have had second thoughts about you coming over to Pattaya next year.  In light of some recent events, I don’t think it is a good idea and I humbly apologize for even suggesting it in the first place.  You see, I had a religious experience the other night.  A friend called and invited me to a Thespian Festival; at least, that’s what I thought he said.  Following his directions, I arrived at a Go Go Bar where the only theatrical recital in progress involved 12 gorgeous, innocent, naked, ladies on stage performing what could only be described as a ‘lick-fest’.  After five minutes or so, two were eliminated by a panel of unseen, voluntary judges and it was down to 10.  Another five minutes and two more were eliminated and so forth, until it got down to the two ‘winners’ who shared the prize.  At that point I realized Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing on Pattaya and the level of degradation to which I have sunk had hit bottom.  I cannot, in all conscience, allow that to happen to another human being, let alone a fellow Australian to whom middle class morality and the Protestant work ethic are of paramount importance.
The following afternoon I went to another bar only to have – in spite of my barely audible protests – the firm, silky hand of a 22-year-old Hostess assail my personal space as if she was trying to remove a gravy stain from the front of my shorts.  Before I even got my beer, my manhood was being manipulated!  It occurred to me that she had not even asked my name and, perhaps, she was not interested in my personality or my opinions on the American involvement in Iraq.  I felt so debased that, once we finished having meaningless sex, I left vowing to boycott that bar for at least a month.
Ian, this is not ‘normal’ life and I yearn for Australia, a mortgage, a white picket fence and Saturday nights’ Over 30’s parties at the local RSL.  Oh, to be back chatting meaningfully with women my own age – or much older – as they feed their pension cheques into poker machines while I casually snatch a glimpse of Race 6 at Dapto dogs on one of the 400 television monitors.  To join a book club, or the chess club, and do charity work on weekends for Meals-On-Wheels, spoon-feeding gruel to local fossils, are activities devoutly to be wished.  Instead, I am in this hell hole still having problems with one 23-year-old Go Go dancer who will not talk to me any more because I had sex with her friend one night when she was not there.
To make matters worse, a new dancer started work at my favourite watering hole.  This is the place I kept for relaxing and socializing, not for getting horizontal.  In spite of my moral resolve not to sin with any ladies in this sanctuary, the gorgeous recent addition presented a temptation too great to resist.  The problem was, if I suddenly entangled myself with her after two years of keeping a safe distance from the others, they would lose face and never speak to me again.  It may even create group resentment towards her.  But there was a solution.  Before leaving home I cut a drinking straw into ten pieces of equal length.  At the bar, I declared so all could hear that I was going to have a short time with one lucky girl but could not decide who it should be.  To be fair, they would all get an equal chance by drawing straws.  Every one happy to play the game was offered a straw but I made sure to include the new lady.  Then I went around comparing each girl’s straw, not by measuring it but by tasting it.  When I got to the object of my desire, I declared her the winner.  Some of the smarter ones smelled a rat but I explained that I had put honey inside one of the straws and the only way to tell the winner was by tasting the straw.  A few of the losing brigade then tasted their own straws and found no hint of honey.  No-one was going to test the winning straw after I had sucked on it so they had no way of checking my story.  I felt so terrible about deceiving them as I walked off with new girl, but my conscience cleared once I discovered she was excellent at playing Space Invaders.  Later, she confessed I was the best she ever tangled with.  Bless her lying heart.
I have lost my morality and forgotten every tenet my parents tried valiantly, but vainly, to teach me.  I do not want to see this happen to another soul so I strongly advise you to reject any notion of visiting Pattaya in the future.  I will not be a party to your corruption.
So, my friend, I wish you all the luck in your constant fight for a fair and reasonable redistribution of wealth.  As for an overseas holiday, may I suggest New Zealand or Tasmania.  The exchange rates for the NZ Bead and the Tasmanian Peso are still favourable with the Aussie dollar.  Both countries share a similar attitude towards Australians and I’m told the local women your age – or much older – have a familiar approach to men and life as that of our homegrown variety.
All the best, mate, and I wish you a Happy New Year of the Dog.  (By the way, I think it is very nice of the Chinese to dedicate an entire year in celebration of your past girlfriends.)”

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