Instead of writing just one story about Pattaya in the book I could easily have devoted the entire “Crime Scenes” section to what happens in the country’s most extreme city. The crimes that either take place there, or are reported in the local press, do not happen anywhere else in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Even running down a few of the more spectacular incidents in the book – like a middle-aged Scandinavian man running amok in a local mall and throwing acid in the faces of Thai women because a bargirl had spurned him – was really just a paper cut in a true crime tome of Biblical (or should that be Satanic?) proportions.
Leafing through the pages, or surfing the websites, of local papers like the Pattaya Mail and the Pattaya Daily News yields a bumper crop of real pulp fiction. As often as not, the crimes are preposterous: a young Brit sticking a brand new golf club down his trousers and trying to leg it out of a sporting goods shop, or a tale of reefer madness that defies even the most basic canine intelligence.
Over Christmas the Pattaya Mail reported that a young Turkish man had smashed a Russian lady’s head into the pavement before running off with her handbag.
Fearing police heat, the robber ran into a local massage parlour, sweating it out in the herbal steam room. That’s where the cops busted him.
Will the young Turk finally come clean and confess to his dirty deed? On the Pattaya Mail’s website it will all come out in the wash.
As a pastime, fabricating sentences and headlines of processed cheese for the Pattaya dailies has become something of an innocuous vice for me.
In Bizarre Thailand I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call this the most “bipolar city in Southeast Asia, maybe the whole world”. For Pattaya has an incredible number of philanthropists too. Just before Christmas, the Pattaya International Ladies Club teamed up with the Jesters Care for Kids Charity (the Jesters are a local motorcycle gang of foreigners whose ‘clubhouse’ is the Tahitian Queen go-go bar, which is the oldest such establishment in the town), to host another event called “Carols and Canapes”.
Do bikers in other places get together over Christmas to sing “Frosty the Snowman” for charity? Not too freakin’ likely.
Over the next few months, stay tuned for more posts of dunces, deviants, dementia and do-gooders in a city that is not really a part of Thailand, or Asia, or even the world as we know it: Pattaya is the party room in the Twilight Zone; it’s the Guns ‘n’ Poses song “Paradise City” come to life; it’s Philanthropy Central and Satan’s left testicle.
Check out Lang Reid’s review of Bizarre Thailand in the Pattaya Mail here.