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Bangkok Red Light Cleanup

Started by Taman Tun, June 08, 2019, 11:00:55 AM

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Taman Tun

This from Giles Coren in the Times
tSwap you a model village for a red-light district
Giles Coren

The government of Thailand this week announced that the Bangkok red-light district is to be cleaned up and remodeled in the sedate and wholesome style of a Cotswold village called Bourton-on-the-Water. The news was of great interest to the Coren family, for whom that historic spot is very much a home from home. And, we've been to Bourton a couple of times too.

Ho ho ho. No, it's Bourton where we spend our weekends. I have, of course, been to the Bangkok red-light district but only once and I didn't inhale. Whereas Bourton-on-the-Water is the nearest large village to the converted barn we bought on a Gloucestershire hillside five years ago in a failed bid for rural glory.

I thought we'd shoot birds and ride horses and go for long walks and make friends and the children would build dens and climb trees and shake off the urban stench and grime. But it transpired that I don't like killing things, we're all terrified of horses, long walks take far too long, nobody wants to be friends with us and the kids would rather play on their iPads.

So what we mostly did with our country weekends was drive into Bourton (it's nearly three miles away, so much too far to walk) to buy sweets and comics and watch the village's only traffic light doing this crazy thing of going red and green and orange to mean different things ("just like in London!" yelled the kids).

Bourton is quite nice to look at, in parts. Wool money diverted the river Windrush through it in the late-16th century, giving rise to some pretty footbridges over the shallow water, which differentiates it a bit from the hundreds of other yellow stone villages in these parts, and usually persuades a family of ducks to move in for the summer, which will paddle up and down for photos in return for crumbs. But I don't know what it was about the place that made the Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-Cha, return from a visit there determined to model his capital city on it.

I hope it wasn't Bourton News, because that's long gone. We used to love going in there for a gossip with Phil the shopkeeper and a rummage through the chocolates and small toys and rows of magazines. But then the absentee landlord decided he could screw more money out of the tourists with another awful chip shop, so he closed Phil down.

And I hope it wasn't the Bourton Model Railway Exhibition, because although the toy shop it's located in opens at 9.30am, you can't see the trains until 11, which it doesn't say online and is very annoying.

Perhaps it was Hartwells, the hardware store and last proper shop in the village, where they sell literally everything: every order of rawlplug, fuse, bulb and battery, to say nothing of torches, tea-towels, "welcome" doormats, children's fishing nets and drawings of dead pop stars. I'd warn Bangkok locals that Hartwells won't do you a pad Thai or a happy ending, but in fairness I've never asked.

What else might have grabbed Mr Chan-o-Cha's imagination? Can it have been the well-priced egg and chips at the Croft, Bourton's only survivable restaurant? The hordes of flabby tattooed daytrippers from the wider Midlands who mob the banks of the river all weekend in summer, terrorise the baby ducks, park their mopeds on the grass and leave plastic rubbish knee-deep when they go?

Was it the lovely butcher's shop? No, because there isn't one.

The fishmonger? Ha! (Although there is quite a good fish counter at the new Co-op — everyone's talking about it).

The bank? Nope. Last one closed in 2017.

Was it maybe the famous model village, which is a perfect replica of Bourton, except smaller and with even less to do?

Can it have been Birdworld, to which people flock from miles around to marvel at an old parrot that used to speak a few words of English until he moved to Bourton and lost the will to communicate?

If not these, then was it the fabulous and unique Edinburgh Woollen Mill? Was it Cotswold China and Cookware? Cotswold Pottery? Cotswold Sheepskin? Cotswold Perfumery? One of the small handful of dusty old knick-knack shops that couldn't even be bothered to lever "Cotswold" into their name?

Or was it the thousands of oriental men and women who jam these shops to the rafters all year round, marching hither and yon in phalanxes of up to a hundred, following an old lady with a furled umbrella raised high above her head, sometimes in sheeting rain, at 6am, even on Boxing Day? I used to wonder what they were doing in Bourton, there being absolutely nothing to do. Now I know that they were town planners. All of them. Planning on taking this funny little southeast Asian village back to southeast Asia where it belongs.

Which is fine with me. But if you guys wanted to do something in return, to say thank you to the people of Bourton-on-the-Water, do you think you might be able to help us turn it into something a little bit more like the Bangkok red-light district?
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


Yea rite and the thethaiger.com reports - Phew! No prostitutes in Pattaya's Walking Street – Police

They were glad to report that there was no prostitution being conducted - good to see the reputation as a World Class Family Destination is still intact. :spin
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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