Singapore Pink Dot Gets Round The Law

On January 21 we reported that the Singapore government has clearly become embarrassed by the increasing success of the annual Pink Dot Day celebrating Gay Pride in the absence of a Parade which is banned.

The 2016 Pink Dot Participants against the Singapore Skyline – pinkdot.sg

The 2016 Pink Dot Participants against the Singapore Skyline – pinkdot.sg

Presumably in an effort to emasculate the event, last October the government banned overseas-based companies providing financial support. At first this seemed it might deal a major blow even resulting in outright cancellation. 13 companies like Goldman Sachs, Apple, Facebook and Google had been supporting the event with cash for some years. Others provided goods in kind.

Dressed in Pink

Now, though, the Pink Dot organisers have not just given a middle finger to the cheapskate mandarins in the government, they have hit the pavements and raised funds from locally-based companies. So far up to 50 companies have pledged sums between S$1,000 and S$10,000 with the total so far making up 70% of the amount required. All this before the official fund-raising campaign started on March 26.

Proudly Pink

Typical of the response of the new local sponsors is Xpointo Media which has contributed S$5,000. Managing Director Kathy Teo said, “Diversity and inclusion are important values to our company. Broadcasting our commitment to these values is good for business.”

We hope the government officials in the Ministry for Home Affairs who banned overseas funding will now have egg on their faces – their pink faces!

AGN Gay News and Updates

(c) AsiaGuys.NET

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Thailand’s Gay Chat Forums… Do They Have a Future? – Part 2

The weirdest thread on gaythailand is one with by far the largest number of views and posts – over 240,000 and 3,250 respectively!! This contains photos of young Asian guys, naked only from the waist up with an occasional nude rear shot. Not a dick to be seen! WTF! Weird? Well, yes, because you can see vastly more revealing photos on several dozen tumblr sites every day.

This semi-naked photo thread was started by a poster named ‘Fountainhall’. Over the years he has flitted between most of the Boards. From what we have read his posts are sometimes painstakingly long. To be fair, though, they do contain some interesting historical background. Having lived and worked in Asia for more than three decades, or so he claims, these posts carry a certain authority, despite their length!

Gaybutton Thai home page – Click to see full sized image – gaybuttonthai.com

Gaybutton Thai home page – Click to see full sized image – gaybuttonthai.com

Defections from one forum to another are not unusual. Nor is posting on all three. One who left gaythailand at the time of Scooby’s take-over was ‘Gaybutton’ who lives in Pattaya. Having been a moderator on gaythailand.com for years, he decided to set up Gaybuttonthai.com, taking a number of gaythailand regulars with him, presumably many of them friends in Pattaya.

Unlike the other two owners, Gaybutton posts almost daily on his own site. This has a fair amount of useful information about gay bar openings and closings, cafés and restaurants and general goings on about Pattaya and Jomtien. But the posting membership is really small, perhaps because Gaybutton is also known for the “iron fist” which he resolutely wields when he thinks a discussion has got out of hand. He has banned a number of posters who then reappear on other sites and gleefully write unpleasant things about him.

Sawatdeenetwork.com, the longest lasting Thailand forum, has had a chequered history. It was noted for having more of an edge about it, and also being more “in”, in the sense that more members seemed to know each other personally and would happily slag each other off.

For some years the forum was run by the owner of a Pattaya go-go bar named Neal. Not a well man, he eventually became a vastly disliked tyrant who gaily posted lurid and libellous comments about his own members. Eventually he sold the Board to the present owners. Soon after, he died on a flight back to the USA. Few mourned his passing.

Sawatdee Network home page – Click to see full sized image – sawatdeenetwork.com

Sawatdee Network home page – Click to see full sized image – sawatdeenetwork.com

Now owned and run by two guys from Vancouver and Moscow, sawatdeenetwork is becoming more of a general travel site with an excellent section, Siam Roads, offering genuine gay tour guides in many Asian locations. The chat room forum still has its petty fights from time to time. The poster ‘Arsenal’ is now working somewhere in China but judging from his posts he thoroughly dislikes the Chinese! His desires are straight money boys. Another with that same desire is ‘Latintopxxx’, who has also lived in Asia but talks with utter disdain about the boys he “uses”. Whether Latin’s activities – and indeed Latin himself – are mere figments of a bored imagination or actual fact, no one really knows.

And isn’t that a key problem with many chat room forums? Who is real? Who is fiction? We just don’t know. As far as the Thailand chat room history is concerned, some posters have definitely been fiction. Just recently gaythailand banned a clutch of trolls and sawatdeenetwork banned a hydra posting as two quite different characters.

The most outrageous troll, though, was a rather fascinating character using the name ‘Beachlover’. Purporting to be a successful late-20s Asian business owner living and brought up in Sydney, Beachlover pulled the wool over many readers’ eyes for a very long time. He liked a lavish lifestyle for one so young, with a preference for 4- and 5-star hotels on his quarterly visits to Asia.

His first posts were mostly inconsequential one-liners. Soon, though, he was taking aim at a number of regular posters, especially those who lived in Pattaya which he delighted in calling Shitsville by the Sea! So obnoxious did he become that owners finally agreed he be consigned to history. Whoever he was – probably some wizened, lame septuagenarian eeking out a mediocre pension in Pattaya – he had obviously spent considerable time fleshing out his fake identity.

Gaybuttonthai’s heavy moderation combined with his forum being much more geared towards Pattaya-based expats probably means there is less room for trolls. But that Pattaya base is inevitably small and barring a recent very long thread about Donald Trump, it is obviously of interest only to its existing members and some regular visitors. In a recent poll taken about that Trump thread, just 14 posters bothered to vote, a sure sign this long thread is dominated by a tiny number of posters.

How many members each site has is difficult to work out, if only because names of posting members are maintained even though they haven’t posted for many years. We decided to look for ourselves at the number of posters and non-posting viewers to each site to see if this would provide a better guide to a Board’s popularity. On Sunday February 12 between 07:00 pm and 14:30 pm GMT, we found the following –

Gaythailand.com: 27 posts/20 other members viewing/464 guests viewing
Sawatdeenetwork.com: 8 posts/75 other members viewing/1,853 guests viewing
Gaybuttonthai.com: 30 posts/8 other members viewing/200 guests viewing

So, a tiny number of posting members but far higher guest viewership. Yet even these figures are misleading. Gaythailand only lists members viewing over the previous 60 minutes; gaybuttonthai those over the last 24 hours; sawatdeenetwork only those online at the moment you check the site. Taking that into consideration, though, sawatdeenetwork obviously wins hands down.

A snapshot flash poll is understandably unfair. Also, the gaybuttonthai numbers are skewed as a result of the popularity of that one Trump thread accounting for 22 of the 30 posts. Indeed, as we write, that one topic has reached almost 1,000 posts – far more by a long chalk than all the other posts put together during the period it has been eunning.

Based on these very simple findings, though, not one of the gaythailand sites is the hive of activity we expected. Given the number of gay tourists Thailand regularly attracts we had thought the chat rooms would be more varied in terms of topics and membership from different parts of the world.

Amazing Thailand!

Amazing Thailand!

The obvious question then is: why are so many viewing the various forums but not bothering to contribute? Who are these lurkers? Where are they based? What are they seeking? A vicarious thrill from just reading of the sexploits of others?

The second question is for how long will the owners continue to pump time and cash into the sites when the advertising dollars they attract can be no more than peanuts. Also, in the early days of the internet some gay domain names could be bought and sold for large sums. No longer!

So where does that leave Thailand’s forums? As we suggest above, without more participating members we suspect two may be living on borrowed time – or will continue only as long as the owners remain interested. Of the three, sawatdeenetwork seems to us to have more going for it, and is therefore likely continue for longer. Nevertheless we wish all three and their readers well.

Read More: Part 1Part 2

Contributed by David Burton and Mike Sutherland

Our thanks to those members of the Thailand forums who generously gave of their time and experience. We are pleased to respect their anonymity. We also wish to stress that the views expressed above are those of the writers and not necessarily of AsiaGuys.NET

Please take a minute to VOTE in our related members POLLS

What’s your Favourite Thailand Gay Forum?

What’s your Primary Reason for Visiting Gay Forums?

How Often do you Visit Gay Forums?

(c) AsiaGuys.NET

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

How Often do you Visit Gay Forums?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Thailand’s Gay Chat Forums… Do They Have a Future? – Part 1

Do you live in Thailand? An expat retired there? Perhaps you visit occasionally? Or is Thailand on your plans for the future?

Think back for a moment to the 1980s and 1990s when it was a must-visit country for many from the west and the Antipodes. Where else could gay men of all ages be so free? After landing at the old Don Mueang airport, you could cast aside all your inhibitions, all the prejudice back home, and just relax in wonderful tropical heat amongst some of the most beautiful and willing young guys on the planet.

If you were one of the lucky ones, we wonder where you picked up your information about the gay scene then. We suppose the further back you go in time the more likely it was either from friends who had visited or guides like Spartacus, then a bible covering much of the world even though its information was not always current. The internet then brought a flood of detail. Soon the delights of Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket all unfolded on your computer screen. Thailand became even more desirable for those who could afford it.

Yet more useful information began to emerge as a variety of gay chat forums sprang up. A few evenings glancing at some of the Thailand forums would give a first-time visitor almost all the nightlife information he’d need to cover a full fortnight’s itinerary.

Gay forums, though, inevitably pose a series of problems, two key ones being ownership and posting membership. Starting up and maintaining a basic chat forum is not expensive. As long as an owner has something to say and can attract a group of members keen to post their views and experiences, in theory he can keep it going until either he gets fed up or just dies – and both have occurred in recent years with Thai forums.

The members are a different kettle of fish. Some are enthusiastic and post regularly, a few regarding the forum with a sort of proprietorial air and getting pissed off when too many contrarian views appear. Some merely comment occasionally, expanding a dialogue rather than originating new threads. And, of course, there will always be the handful of lurkers whose aim is disruption. The cloak of anonymity offered by the internet breeds a certain domineering type for whom there is a need solely to criticize and generally act like a spoiled brat. Take this to extremes and the trolls and hydras appear, those pathetic bullies whose only desire is destruction in one form or another.

Just as Thailand’s gay scene rose up and is now in the process of some decline, so its chat forums are seeing some problems. We decided therefore to take a brief look at the three main Thai sites still operating – gaythailand.com, gaybuttonthai.com and sawatdeenetwork.com.

Gay Thailand home page - Click to see full sized image - gaythailand.com

Gay Thailand home page – Click to see full sized image – gaythailand.com

Gaythailand.com is a great site name. You’d expect this to be every newcomer’s first choice. It appears to have started up at least 15 years ago. According to our sources, the original owner was one who still posts under the name ‘Michael’. An American, he travels extensively. Each year he makes long multi-week visits to Thailand where he admits to having two long-term boyfriends who always stay with him. Oddly, at least we think so, both are bi-sexual – one reportedly has a wife and a son. How this ménage-a-trois works, given that Michael has also posted of his many other very gay sexcapades when in Thailand, is another curiosity – but obviously none of our business. Well, that’s our official answer – but we sure would love to know!

About six years ago Michael decided to sell the site to an American gay couple. They were to be moving to Chiang Mai a couple of years later and planned to run the site as a retirement hobby. These new owners rarely post on their site. When they do it’s under the name ‘Scooby’, for years accompanied by a huge cartoon of a dog! Now the dog has mercifully disappeared. But who Scooby really is, no-one seems to know or care.

Whether Scooby really cares about ‘their’ site is a different matter. For gaythailand is not just a forum. It purports to be as much a travel site where anyone can pick up a mass of information on all things gay in Thailand as well as a good deal more. So on its messy home page you can click all manner of boxes. City guides, endless lists of Bangkok’s go-go bars, restaurants, hotels etc. and the same in Pattaya and elsewhere. The problem is: these lists are out of date.

In the Bangkok listings, we’re told several go-go bars, massage spas and restaurants have been closed for years. Then there’s the quality of the information. Clicking on an establishment opens a short thread linked to it. Not a good idea in some cases! One poster writes about Café des Fleurs: “80% of the information in the listing was meaningless, misleading or wrong!” Ooops!

That refers to Scooby’s initial description of the café. Surely a pretty lousy start for any newbie visiting your home page! That critique got up the nose of the poster ‘Firecat69’ who replied: “Anyone who thinks every listing should be perfect has too much time on his hands and thinks that everyone sits on their ASS reading and correcting listings on Forums.” Ahem! Excuse me! What, we wonder, is the point of including gay venue listings on a gay site if they are inaccurate or don’t exist?

The Chiang Mai listings are worse. Of course in an ever-changing gay scene maintaining up-to-date lists is a big job. But if site owners are not prepared to do that, why include listings in the first place?

Two of the most frequent posters on gaythailand are this same ‘Firecat69’ and ‘Vinapu’. The former, an American in his 60s, spent some years living in Bangkok. He now travels extensively on business, stays in 4- and 5-star hotels and returns to Bangkok regularly where daily he beds money boys mostly from the gay apps. As befits his screen name, he sometimes betrays little patience with other posters. Firecat69 is not one to cross!

Vinapu’s screen persona is a more gentle character. His passion is massage. This guy loves massages and writes extensively about them. Also on gaythailand many members are into muscle boys, the type employed at Bangkok’s famous Tawan Bar.

Less than a handful of posters are non-westerners. Most of those visiting seem to be on a budget, certainly where hotels are concerned, no doubt to free up enough cash for regularly nightly sexcapades. Some, though, have oodles of cash. In a thread about security for valuables, one named ‘Voldemar’ openly boasted, “I keep gold in several self-deposit (sic) boxes throughout the world!” Wow! Wonder if he sails to Thailand on his yacht!

This is also the forum to check if you are into very detailed trip reports with the most intimate 24-hour details of entire holidays in Pattaya and Bangkok, even down to the shagging in all its variety. If that’s your turn-on, there’s plenty here. But it really does get pretty boring (unless it is about a genuine new travel experience as in a recent series of posts about Myanmar). Isn’t a shag a shag, whether you are top, bottom or in the middle of a sandwich? Who wants to know who plays what part, how big dicks are and how far a barboy cums? One man’s meat, I suppose.

Read More: Part 1Part 2

Contributed by David Burton and Mike Sutherland

Our thanks to those members of the Thailand forums who generously gave of their time and experience. We are pleased to respect their anonymity. We also wish to stress that the views expressed above are those of the writers and not necessarily of AsiaGuys.NET

Please take a minute to VOTE in our related members POLLS

What’s your Favourite Thailand Gay Forum?

What’s your Primary Reason for Visiting Gay Forums?

How Often do you Visit Gay Forums?

(c) AsiaGuys.NET

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

What’s your Primary Reason for Visiting Gay Forums?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Hong Kong Leadership Candidate Dares to Mention Gay Marriage

In the contrived world of Hong Kong politics, one candidate in the election for Chief Executive due on March 27 has thrown a spanner in Beijing‘s carefully choreographed electoral dance. Carrie Lam, a former Chief Secretary, recently told a radio programme she would “not rule out consultation” on gay marriage.

Really? Can we soon get married in Hong Kong? - tumblr.com

Really? Can we soon get married in Hong Kong? – tumblr.com

What? Gay marriage in Hong Kong? The religious and anti-LGBT groups immediately jumped on her. Pressed to clarify her position, she also jumped, this time up onto the fence by adding, “but if the time is not ripe for legislation and we still push for it, then this may trigger a backlash against gay people who will face hostility and discrimination.”

This later comment is so typical of the government’s views in the 1980s when it was being pressed to get rid of the old 1861 Victorian law and decriminalize homosexuality. “Chinese culture will not accept it,” was always the mantra. In government, when you come across division, retreat to well-worn if out-dated positions. Yet after it was forced by the Law Reform Commission to go down the decriminalisation road in 1991, the local Chinese community has had absolutely zero problem openly accepting the LGBT community.

Carrie Lam electioneering - South China Morning Post

Carrie Lam electioneering – South China Morning Post

At least Ms. Lam had the courage to even mention a gay issue in her campaign. If successful, hopefully she will be found to have no skeletons in her cupboard, for several nasty ones have recently been rattling the upper echelons of power.

Too many Skeletons Dancing in Hong Kong - blinddogbooks.wordpress.com

Too many Skeletons Dancing in Hong Kong – blinddogbooks.wordpress.com

Hong Kong, once regarded as one of the cleanest territories in Asia, has seen its reputation take a huge knock. It was believed the Independent Commission Against Corruption introduced in the mid-1970s had massively helped the territory all but get rid of high level corruption and achieve its enviable “clean” reputation.

That reputation is now in tatters. Last week Hong Kong’s former Chief Executive from 2005 – 2012, Donald Tsang, was sentenced to 20 months in jail for corruption whilst in office.

Donald Tsang leaving court - South China Morning Post

Donald Tsang leaving court – South China Morning Post

“Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from such a height,” said High Court Judge Andrew Chan. Tsang is the highest-ranking current or former official sent to prison for misdeeds. The judge announced he had planned to sentence Tsang to 30 months in jail but took10 months off because of his good character and contribution to Hong Kong over many years.

Prior to becoming Chief Executive, Tsang had been the first Chinese in Hong Kong’s history to hold the position of Financial Secretary. He had won plaudits for the way he steered Hong Kong through the Asian Financial crisis and repulsing a sustained attack on its currency by hedge fund speculators.

Tsang’s jailing follows that of his Deputy Rafael Hui who is serving seven and a half years after being found guilty of accepting almost US$2.5 million in bribes from the city’s largest developer SHK Properties.

SHK Properties 118-storey International Commerce Centre - wikipedia.org

SHK Properties 118-storey International Commerce Centre – wikipedia.org

And retiring Chief Executive, the hugely unpopular C. Y. Leung, is facing his own legal probe into allegations of secret payments of over US$6.5 million from the Australian firm UGL prior to becoming the city’s leader, an illegal act under Australia’s foreign bribery laws.

Clearly finding a “clean” candidate for the next Chief Executive may not be easy in no longer so squeaky-clean Hong Kong. Hopefully, if Ms. Lam does come out on top, she will ensure the issue of gay marriage does not remain permanently up there on the fence.

AGN Gay News and Updates

(c) AsiaGuys.NET

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

What’s your Favourite Thailand Gay Forum?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Bangkok’s Soi Twilight Go-Go Bars to Close?

Jupiter to Move

For several years there has been a string of complaints from gay tourists and residents about falling standards and rising prices in the famous Soi Pratuchai (usually called Soi Twilight), home to the original sleaze go-go bar that started business at the end of that soi at the top of Suriwong Road. Some seven go-go bars presently operate here along with a slew of open-air beer bars and massage spas.

Bangkok’s Soi Twilight - redshirtliving.wordpress.com

Bangkok’s Soi Twilight – redshirtliving.wordpress.com

According to a post in one of the Thailand gay chat rooms, the German owner of two of the bars, including the ever-popular Dream Boy, had a meeting with his staff last week. He announced that he would be closing his bars within two years. He is getting on in years and no longer needs to make money from the bars. Once these bars disappear, the belief is that the character of the soi will totally change and lead to the end of go-go bars in that area.

Four factors have contributed to Soi Twilight’s problems. First the rapidly changing ways guys meet guys. The apps have taken over and it is much easier now to meet a Thai money boy on-line. Why spend a hour or more in a smoky bar, spend US$25 on drinks for yourself and the boy of your choice, another $15 for the bar’s off fee, perhaps $15 for a short time room and then $50 or so as the tip to the boy?

Soi Twilight Bar Boys

Soi Twilight Bar Boys

Second, the failure of the other owners to adapt. Old-timers talk lovingly of the old Barbiery go-go bar just across Suriwong which in the late 1980s and 1990s was packed at the week-ends with up to 100 boys and a full house of customers with many standing at the doorway – a mix of some westerners but more Thais. Now Thais are rarely seen in Soi Twilight go-go bars.

Thirdly, though, economic and social conditions in Thailand have changed dramatically since the first bars opened in the 1970s. Whilst there will always be economically disadvantaged young guys seeking work in a sex industry, this is now much less so than before. Also the government has been making it very clear since 2001 that it does not approve of Thailand’s reputation as a sex tourism destination.

Hotmale, the Reincarnation of the Original Twilight Bar

Hotmale, the Reincarnation of the Original Twilight Bar

Lastly, the older westerners who always made up the bulk of the clientele are disappearing fast. Now it is younger Chinese and other Asians who visit. But their aim is not to take a cute guy off for a good time. They go for one drink, see the show and depart. Bar owners have seen off fees shrink and so drinks prices have shot up to make up the difference. US$12 for a 50 ml bottle of water?? Excuse me! The business model which worked so well for about 35 years may finally be collapsing.

Closing Time: the Twilight of Soi Twilight?

Closing Time: the Twilight of Soi Twilight?

The news is not all bad, though. The owner of the also popular Jupiter go-go bar has announced he will close in the present location and move over to Silom Soi 4 where Telephone and Balcony Bars are situated. As Soi Twilight has been in decline, Soi 4 has been thriving. This new addition may make for even more visitors to the soi.

Even better, Jupiter’s landlord wants to take back the property to try his hand at running a go-go bar. So maybe there will be two Jupiters in due course, although the present Jupiter is usually packed with Asian rather than western tourists.

The present Jupiter Go-go Bar off Suriwong

The present Jupiter Go-go Bar off Suriwong

And for those who remain interested in sleazy type go-go – i.e. a few boys on a dimly it stage who do nothing other than stare into their phones and hope you might still fancy one to get him a drink – there is still a cluster of bars close to where the muscle bar Tawan and Mango Tree restaurant is located.

AGN Gay News and Updates

(c) AsiaGuys.NET

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail