Behind the Smile, the story of Lek, a bargirl in Pattaya

The Story of Lek, a Bar Girl in Pattaya
'Daddy's Hobby'

Lek on Drugs and Alcohol

Lek on Drugs and Alcohol

Lek came from a remote farming village in northern Thailand. It was remote, but not isolated as in the middle of the jungle or on the top of a mountain. It was just way off any tourist routes.

Such a farming community has a policeman, but they are not particularly active. There is next to no crime for them to solve and domestic violence is practically unheard of. The village policeman usually comes from the next village, so they know everyone and vice versa, which means that they tend to turn a blind eye to the only offences that occur regularly - traffic infringements.

They don't want problems and they don't want to live in a community where no-one likes them. So, 10 year old kids get away with riding motorcycles without insurance; adults drink and drive and some people smoke ganja with total impunity.

The police do it themselves too. Maybe not all of them and certainly not all of the time, but it makes it difficult to call the kettle black.

Very few to zero foreigners ever make to villages like these, but when they do, the police treat them as they would a local - very nicely and with respect.

It is hard to imagine a police force being able to control villages like these, if the inhabitants didn't want to stop doing something. Drinking alcohol and smoking or eating ganja are two of those things.

You see drunken people sometimes, sure, but not often and you never see a fight or even an argument. You couldn't live like that in a village of a few hundred - you soon wouldn't have anyone left to talk to. If you upset five people, that would mean five families and that could be a quarter of the population.

In a village you have to live and let live or you will soon be pretty lonely.

Thai women drink just as much as Western women, but they don't smoke as much as their Western counterparts.

So, back to Lek... Lek left her village before she started drinking a lot (like most adults), but soon caught up because she worked in "Daddy's Hobby' bar in Pattaya. Lek liked a 'good drink' and saw no harm in it, never having witnessed the violence of some youth in Western inner cities.

She accepted drinking and driving as a normal, stupid thing that everybody did, much as was the case in the West until 15-20 years ago.

Lek didn't smoke cigarettes and didn't smoke ganja, unless someone passed a joint on to her when she was drunk. She had never bought any in her life. However, many of her friends smoked ganja and she had nothing against them or that.

She had seen problems with heroine and she had seen what it could do to people, so she was very wary of users and would not associate with junkies. She felt sorry for them, but she could not understand why half a bottle of Scotch was not enough for anyone.

Lek had a similar attitude to 'ya ba' (The Crazy Tablet) and the people who used it regularly, of whom there were a few in the village - younger people - but she would never report anybody.

by Owen Jones



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BTS 1: Daddy's Hobby

BTS2: An Exciting Future

BTS3: Maya - Illusion
BTS4: The Lady in the Tree

BTS5: Stepping Stones

BTS6 - The Dream