Bangkok Girl

2005 ,    »  -   124 Comments
358
8.40
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Ratings: 8.40/10 from 282 users.
Storyline
Bangkok Girl

"Farang"... meaning "stranger" or "Western tourist" is one of the first words that children in Bangkok learn. In this tourist heaven what makes the headlines is not the exquisite Thailand countryside... but the sex trade, and the "Farang" who come to exploit it. An estimated 800,000 girls and women work the night scene in Thailand. This is a story of one...

Bangkok is Thailand's modern bustling capital. Day and night, six million souls are on the move. The guidebooks call it "the land of 15 million smiles", something that attracts almost 12 million tourists every year. They say that if you can't find it in Bangkok then it doesn't exist. There almost everything is up for grabs and the reason is pretty simple - lack of jobs and poverty.

In Bangkok a typical day's pay is $8, and in the north $2. It's no wonder young girls from up country head for the bright lights and the opportunity to work. Sex sells, it always has. It blossomed during the Vietnam War and now it thrives. The first time when Jordan traveled through Thailand he was in awe of this paradise and its welcoming people, but somehow in that brief glimpse it never occurred to him to look beyond the smiles.

But when he came back wanting to film this unfamiliar world, he met Pla - a 19-year-old who worked in one of Bangkok's countless bars. Pla was willing to reach out and share her world with him and in the process changed him and touched his life in a way he never expected. This is that story.

Sex tourism prostitutes in Bangkok normally work in any of the pimp bars, but on the streets it's mostly underage girls and HIV positive women still applying their trade. As a westerner on the streets of Bangkok you get constant hustle. Not just hookers, shopkeepers and taxes, but everything.

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124 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bob Trees

    Man it was easier understanding Pla than that English chick magnet!

    You could see that she was playing up everything with the overt smiling and laughing. I really thought she looked sexy when she was talking about her incident with her right hand. No, not that talking about someone's misfortune is sexy. It was that she was no longer putting up a front.

    Really sad to see the ending of this. I wonder if this is somewhat typical of the region?

    RIP beautiful one.

  2. Enzu

    That English teacher guy in the video made me sick... Unfortunately a much too common sight in Thailand...

    It´s guys like this that give all farangs in Thailand a bad reputation.

    I must say though that almost none of the girls that are working in the bars (haven´t heard of anyone, but that´s not to say they don´t exist) are forced to do so. The unemployment rate in Thailand for the past decade have been around 2%. Not many countries can boast with that.

    No, for the ones who decides to do this kind of work it´s usually all about the money.

    In recent years the salaries have gone up quite significantly in Bangkok (still very low compared to western standards). And as a result the girls who ´want´ to work in the bars/sex industry have declined.

    I´m not defending the sex industry in any way, quite the opposite. Just trying to clearify how it works a little bit.

    I´m definitly no expert on Thailand, but I have to say that this doc didn´t impress me. The guy that made it were in Thailand on holiday once, and then came back to shoot this documentary (his words). It shows in the doc how little he knows and understands Thailand. Props for him still for making it, but it just doesn´t give the topic justice, sorry...

  3. Guest

    About her death being written off as a "heart problem" is sadly VERY typical in Thailand. Many suspicious deaths of both thai people and foreigners are handled like this.

    If Plas death as a prostitute in this manner are typical or not i can´t really say. My impression of her in the video was that she seemed to be under influence of some substance. Regardless if she were or not, it´s a fact that many of the bar-girls take various drugs (who can blame them?) to stand the kind of work they do.
    A possibility is that her "heart failure" was due to a drug overdose...

  4. nicole

    Thank you so much for this documentary. I beleive this girl with the most beautiful smile was sincere. Enzu laughing is not always a sign of being under influence . It can be also a sign of being shy. And a lot of songs written under influence are still beautiful songs. The people under influence are under influence but not fool or crazy. Did you read in her eyes that she wanted us to discover who she was really and that the language was a stop for her to say things that she wanted to say? . This documentary touch me so much. I just would like that that the end is not true.

  5. Nikita Kade

    The first words that came to mind when I'd finished watching this film were "cognitive dissonance": whenever Pla appeared to be on the verge of a genuine emotion, the Smile appeared--wide, lovely, but completely at odds with what she was saying, or had been saying a second before. Sadness, confusion, uncertainty--these could rarely be read in her expression, even when the words she spoke made one expect to see them there. In fact, there was something "off", unreal, about her entire persona, as if it was a mask invented for the onlooker--all coy gestures, subtle manipulation, flitting eyes, too-loud laughter, too-wide smiles, in place of genuine feeling. And it wasn't just Pla; the same disconnect seemed to apply to all the women who appeared on camera. I wonder if the "bar girls"--if perhaps most of the women in this sexist bastion called Thailand--aren't taught to slip into this persona very early on (at the age, say, of the two toddlers opening the film), adopting it as a way to survive bitter, ugly lives filled with Western males who use and dispose of them as easily as condoms.

    Jordan never seemed to come close to the heart of his subject, but I didn't feel that was the fault of the film. If he'd been able to follow Pla for a year, he might have been able to get behind her mask.

    But maybe not. There is a point at which a mask stops merely covering, and instead insidiously replaces what used to be behind it. It can no longer be taken off, and the feelings hidden from the viewer become just as inaccessible to the wearer. In Pla's case, we will never know what was there be revealed or rediscovered. I wonder if the filmmaker would be interested in returning to Bangkok again, this time to follow the life of an older woman. For what happens to these thousands and thousands of Thai girls like Pla when they are no longer girls, and when they do not die young?

  6. Enzu

    Hi nicole.

    I´m sorry, but I think she fooled you too.

    I agree with you regarding the meaning of a smile. It is very true that it in Thailand (and in a number of countries in S.E. Asia) often means you are uncertain or shy.

    I never insinuated that she was foolish or crazy.

    Basically what I meant was that it´s impossible for the filmmaker (Jordan) to have spent so little time in Thailand to even get the smallest hunch of how things work here and how the thai mentality works.

    I certainly don´t after almost 8 years in Thailand.

    Believe me, things work VERY different from that of a westerners viewpoint!

    The documentary really doesn´t give the topic of "Bangkok Girl" any thruthfulness to it regardless of how sad you think the story is, and how lovely you think Pla is.

    For example: Jordan states in the text in the beginning that the word farang is one of the first words that thai children in Bangkok learns. This is not true.

    What so many westerners don´t realize is that Bangkok is very, very big. It lives approximately 14-18 million (Jordan states 6 million) people in Bangkok. Most thai people never have any direct contact with farangs, and usually they don´t give a rats ass about farangs, why should they?

    He also states that the reason that many girls become prostitutes is due to a big ´lack of jobs´ and therefore widespread poverty. Also not true.

    Yes, there are poverty in Bangkok and Thailand, BUT if you are relatively young and not in a wheelchair, it´s practically impossible to NOT get a job if you want one! The unemployment rate in Thailand for the last decade have been around 2% !!!

    And therefore the reasons that Pla is working as a prostitute because she is forced to do so is not true either.

    Again, the reasons for basically every prostitute in Bangkok and Thailand is the opportunity to make a lot of money and/or to find a farang husband with money to take care of them and their family financially. This is how it works...

    There is basically no social "safety nets" from the government in Thailand. So the family is EXTREMELY important, as almost everybody is dependant on their family to help them economically when they get old and can´t work any longer.

    Actually I watched it one more time before writing this reply.

    I realize that this might sound cold and heartless and cynical to some. But I honestly think that Jordan got screwed by this girl after I watchied it again.

    First of all, I´m positive that Pla sent the police to his hotelroom. NO WAY the Police would have came and taken his stuff away, and making him pay to get it back if someone hadn´t told the police about it. And who knew he was making a documentary without working permit, and knew which hotel and what room he stayed in except Pla?

    She lied to him from the start saying she didn´t work as a prostitue, just as a bartender.

    The goldnecklace she got after disappearing for a couple of days (with some guy she wouldn´t go with for 7 months, and then goes with him all of a sudden) is a bit fishy.

    The way she goes on about her mother being sick and needing expensive treatment but still keeping her gold necklace. Big warning sign!

    Making him barfine her to protect him against dangerous scammers in broad daylight, but sending him off to probably the least safe red light area 04.00 in the morning to interview a gang of ladyboys

    The way she "acts" throughout the film.

    Then she mysteriously disappears (dies). This is actually not uncommon or unheard of at all if some bargirl don´t want to see someone again... Think about it, Jordan gets told this by some unnamed former "colleague/friend" of Pla.

    Sure, this is only speculation, but it just doesn´t add up or make any sense no matter how sad and dramatic Jordan sounds when narrating her "story"!

    After watching it again I truly believe this over-naive sucker got screwed by this "lovely" sex-working veteran!!

  7. ZTC_G

    On my way back from Shanghai two weeks ago, many people recommended Thailand for a visit as it was my first trip to Asia. Instead, I went to Japan, and I'm glad I did. Coz in Thailand,I would end up in prison for being a serial killer of these Farangs. How pathetic, self loathing low life does someone have to be to take advantage of the misfortunes of these people.

  8. ZTC_G

    Another possibility is that a Farangs killed her and got away with it. U seem to have a tendency to put the blame on the misfortunate girls as opposed to owning up the root cause of demand and supply. Accept the fact that Thai girls are not in any position more inclined to prostitution than any other girl. It's an economic and political spectrum that is fostered by western politicians and creeps alike.

  9. hernandayoleary

    Westerners don't make easterners sell their pussies.

  10. fewoptions

    Such a sad doc of the low value of life and that's your comment 'leary'. I think its a matter of survival not a choice of life style. If u was left with no option 'leary' would u sale your body to survive? difficult to imagine having to make that choice but that's the case for some ppl(around the world not just thailand).I advise u need watch doc again or just ask yourself does she look happy or pleased after going with farang to help pay her mom medical bill? (Lying to her mom indicated she wasn't proud of her actions.)would u done the same for you mom?(I doubt it u seem to self centre to help others tbh) She was obviously upset she done it but felt no other option was available. I have feeling that teacher was the guy she went with. I noticed how she mentioned the farang had been after her for a while. a tourist would have moved on but this farang must been local to bar to be able to keep asking her, which makes me think that dodgy/creepy teacher was the farang. The Thai are very proud ppl and im sure there not proud of this dark side of the country. Its a beautiful place that stuck in 2 different times. you have modern and traditional times and the country is split. Hense this mess of exploitation, greed and ethics. I don't think traditional Thailand would except this ethical mess happening. I would love to know the Thai royal family opinion on this mess. A lot Thai ppl look up to these folks and be good for nation if they did speak up but I know it cant happen as its classed as politics which they cant comment on. Thailand like rest of the world is losing its love and compassion for life. Its all about power, money and greed. The times of helping a stranger is long gone! its now more about survival or exploiting some ones situation (in this case poor Pla).............. R.I.P. Pla such a sad end of life. you be missed by many friends and family im sure.

  11. oQ

    There is a "lottery" going on in Thailand, and the cost of that ticket is to prostitute yourself, the prize of the lottery is that you get to marry or give a child to a farang who can't (or at times doesn't want to) get laid in his own country anymore. If you're lucky you get to move to that farang's country where you'll be able to send money to your entire family back in Thailand.
    I know quite a few who have married women from Thailand, Cuba, Brazil, Africa....and the story is always the same.
    I don't blame the women, perhaps in their situation I would have done the same.

  12. hernandayoleary

    Its a choice, do you not realize the majority of women in Thailand don't do this. There are alot of ways to make money, but for someone who doesn't want to work hard this is the easy way. No different than an American girl who becomes a porno star. She isn't a victim. If she is left with no choice but to sell her body then she should be thanking westerners for buying it, becauses its not even that nice. I will watch the doc again and get back to you on that point.

    Yes Thais are proud peopele, they should be no more shamed or viewed down on, or seen as victims than white western women. IMO it is people like you who view these 3rd world peoples as problems to be solved, rather than free people making free choices. No one is exploiting thais. Thai men do not want to work and would rather their girlfriend go and hook and bring them money so they can play pool all day at the bar. That is not exploitation because thai girls like money and choose to hook. Westerns offer money in fair exchange for sex and receive what they want. If thais stopped selling sex westerners would leave, this is a 1 sided problem

  13. Axel Vanderoost

    Dude you really sound like a Farang...
    Your vision, observations, analyzes and understanding are the ones of a Farang.
    Not sure how long or how often you've been to Thailand but for sure you don't seem to know much about it and got fooled.
    This girl was playing you as she was obviously looking for something very real and tangible... Money or the Farang Husband and the life that comes with it.
    As she said "...Nobody ever cared about her..." (except for what her body had to offer that is...)...
    Your voice is the one of an idealist out of Lalaland. That's why she was with you... cos you appeared childish enough to be a good potential for marriage. But at the end you acted selfishly just like every other Farang, and despite saying how much you loved her, yo obviously never offered her what she was looking for... Her Freedom and True Happiness....
    All Thai girls are liars and actress... they are ALL after the Farang for the Money or e Wedding... unless they are from rich family in which case they most probably despise the Farang that you are.
    To the contrary of the appearence, Thais are very racist and hate the Occidentals. We are all their customers. That's it.

  14. fewoptions

    I believe u to be wrong but I can tell there no way to convince u otherwise. I could tell from your heartless first comment(which angered me tbh) that u very self centre and u have no respect for women. so theres no point trying debate with u ! have u been to Thailand to make this point of view of women choosing to do this profession. u remind me of the guys in the video, u think u doing them a favour yet its plain and simple exploiting of a situation. yes it happens in the west but it a lot worse in the east . a lot these girls grow up around sex as tho its normal to sell there body for food or drugs in worse cases(crystal meth is big problem there). I been to Thailand and thankfully only passed through Bangkok on the way in and out of airport. I think until u experience there way of life then its difficult to imagine how hard there lifes are there(its a real eye opener). I have a lot of thai friends and nearly all grew up being bar girls. all wanted away from it for obvious reasons so don't think for one moment they got a choice because I can tell from my experience of talking with them, that they got NO choice. there only chance in life is to marry farang to help them out the situations, and also to help there family members. thai ppl are very kind and caring and sickens me ppl like that teacher who use and abuse these women. Pla reminded me of the innocents of the country just like the film maker......how behind every smile theres IS a story of pain and struggle but I guess u never struggled have u leary so u find it difficult to relate to there senarios. so....as I said earlier theres no debate here as u think u right and I know u wrong I just hope u may think abit more about what u say rather making comments like 'westerners don't make them sell there pussies' lol such shallow a comment. im sure u mom must be proud lmfao.

  15. Axel Vanderoost

    Couldn't agree more with you.

  16. sly875

    (Jordon) just got played!! He didn't even pay her for filming, oh yeah he paid the bar fine lol no wounder her friends told him she died lol

  17. sly875

    completely agree. and at the 34.20 min mark, that's what happens when you don't pay!! google it!!

  18. Enzu

    Hey kid! Stop making more of a fool out of yourself than you already have!

    Both you and me know that you have NO thai bar girl friend!!!

    Honestly, it is so easy to see who have ever been to Thailand except as tourists, and have the slightest miniscule of knowledge about how it really is here, and those who have never been, or maybe have come here as tourists for a short while.

    The ones with no real knowledge are usually proclaiming that they have just that (for some strange reason) and are coming up with all kinds of crazy defenses for Pla that makes no sense whatsoever!

  19. Enzu

    ...

  20. Enzu

    You really have NO idea whatsoever of how life works in Thailand, sorry...

  21. Enzu

    I´m sure that I have pi s s ed alot of people of with my recent responds in this disqus section regarding this "documentary". My intent was not to make people angry and pi ss ed of though...

    What I want is for people to undertstand that this "documentary" is a fake/fraud. Even the site IMDB have changed it from "documentary" to "drama".

    I understand that people get fooled by this film and this girl Pla, but please believe me when I say it´s a fake. If you don´t believe me, please atleast do your own "investigation" about it...

    This "documentary" needs to be taken off TDF as it destroys TDF:s otherwise impeccably history in my opinion...

  22. sly875

    i agree with the number off deaths of heart attacks in thailand because nothing is properly regulated there!! i.e the red bull's / m15 are very dangerous!! i was warned many times to only have 1 or 2 a day because they give you heart attacks.

    i also believe pla is very much alive and well, she doesn't want to waste anymore time with jordan!! and i've never ever see a thai on drugs, they hardly ever drink!! let alone drugs!!

  23. sly875

    The only genuine emotion i seen was at 34.20 lol

  24. Enzu

    It was actually I who wrote that post, I was gonna re-write it and deleted it,but it then just stayed on as a "guest" post...

    Yes, M roi hasip (M-150)
    and KatengDeng (Red Bull) is dangerous stuff in LoS (Land of Smiles - Thailand), much stronger than in europe...

  25. sly875

    They do it by choice! and not by misfortunes! yes i agree that teacher was a complete prick but i can honestly say i've never seen anyone act like that! and i've traveled 90% of the country.

  26. sly875

    you know more than me lol

  27. oQ

    How do you know what i have knowledge of?
    I have travelled in Thailand north and south several times and seen many fat white ugly stupid guys brandishing beautiful Thai women on their arms.
    And yes some guys are a lot better and younger, and yes some do get married and yes i do know a few and yes i also know a few who live near Pai with wife and kids. No i will not give you names and i couldn't care less what you think of that.
    I am not sure of the ratio, but possibly 1 out of thousands gets to win the matrimony "lottery"(figure of speech) but girls call most of them butterfly.

  28. Achems_Razor

    Do not tell commentors to shut up or ask for any personal contact info ever, from anyone.

    Warning 1#

  29. oQ

    a link?

  30. xyz yer

    Thai's and not the farang invented the massively big massage sex industry for Thai's - check out Chewit the master of the Bangkok sex business - hes now a politician.

    In the early days of AIDS a farang couldnt even go to the multi billion baht luxury girl in a fish bowl establishments - they were exclusive for Thai's.

    So the story is flawed as prostitution although illegal in Thailand has been going on for 1000's of years.

    If you go to the North of Thailand in the Issarn areas then it is a full on business where girls make it their mission to hook a farang to sponsor the whole family. Websites, internet cafe's, translators are all provided for a fee to get a farang with money.

    These doco/films are pure nonsense - i know that Thai men are more trafficked into being labourers or fishermen than young girls.

  31. Guest

    I tried to comment on this the other day. For some reason it doesn't seem to be showing up,perhaps i accidentally deleted it, anyway. While this doc is not perfect, i feel the maker of the film, while his intention seemed good, he seemed very detached from it and very monotone through out for such an emotional film.I am from America and a photographer and have traveled in Europe and Asia.Not Thailand but the Philippines and its similar there. I never got involved with the hookers for one for fear of illness,and i had a girlfriend at the time.But i saw all this, the sadness,the lack of hope etc and it is heartbreaking. While some of them don't mind it,may do it anyway,it seems a large percent seem to have no other real choice.

    I'm sure this happens all too often all over the world but the way this film ended brought tears to my eyes. I saw this girl and wished i could help her. Even though she may have been more into the game than she let on,i truly believe it was not what she wanted and was a good person. I agree with the other comments that talk about the sex tourist. They were disgusting. That a--hole at the end made me want to vomit. They way Asian women are perceived and treated is really appalling.Yes some work in the sex trade,others do not,but they are all human beings and deserve to be treated like it. As an artist my art deals with the sad sides of life as i believe that is where powerful reality is found and there was such a beautiful sadness about her. Only wanting the things everyone wants. A normal life, home, clothing, to take care of her mother and she herself feeling so insignificant as we all really are. She mentioned Buddhism. I too am a Buddhist. I can only pray that she finds the happiness in her next life that she could not find in this all to short and tragic one.

    There may be more to the story than we know, im sure there is.Both good and bad in her favor im sure. But the point is she was still a human being and seemed a genuinely sweet person and deserved better than what she got.I found the ending very haunting and sad, I grew up Catholic before becoming a Buddhist so ill say for all my Christian, Jewish and Islamic friends, God Bless Her.

  32. hammad

    prostitutes must be ilegal

  33. Nikita Kade

    Enzu, I'm sorry, but I don't quite understand your response to my post. What "fantasies" and "bull" did you think I was trying to "spread" as "truth" that required "homework" on my part? In no way did I mean to present myself as an expert on Thailand or its culture; I simply watched the documentary and commented on it. I had a visceral reaction to Pla, the other Thai women, and how they appeared on film, and that was what I wrote about.

    In fact, in reading some of your other comments, I thought we agreed (if not for the same reasons, perhaps) on a number of things. I felt that Pla, like sex workers all over the world, might be adopting a persona that was one of the few options open to her--one whose aim is to play on the emotions of males (including filmmakers) in the hope of material gain, whether it comes from outright sex for cash, money gained through sympathy and hard-luck stories, or the bigger prize of marriage or a discreet "arrangement" with an infatuated stranger. I suspected that Jordan was seeing not the real person, but someone who was feeling out the possibilities inherent in having engaged the attentions of a Western videographer. In no way was I suggesting, however, that this was anything but my opinion, or in any way Pla's fault; my point was that so many women, especially in countries where higher education and subsequent career opportunities are lacking, often feel they have few options other than sex work and the emotional charade it involves. The problem (and as a healthcare worker, on this I DO consider my opinion to be an informed one) is that this charade is very hard to drop even if a woman tries to leave the sex industry--whether she is Thai, Canadian, Congolese, or American.

    Since you say you've been a Thai resident for eight years, I'd like to hear more about your insights into the culture, and where the documentary, and perhaps my perceptions, went wrong in your opinion. Thanks for reading and responding.

  34. Nikita Kade

    I have to admit, that segment kinda floored me too...

  35. Peace Bewithu

    So it's ok that we western men exploit them?

  36. Peter Brown

    Hope that A**hole sees himself on this Docco!

    May the Blessings Be Pla. I think Pla was a angel trapped in a human condition!

  37. Enzu

    So by having been to the Phillippines you automatically think you can speak for how it works in Thailand? Or how all Asian women are treated?

    That´s like saying that because you´re from the states, then you know how it works in Guatemala for example, Or that you can speak for all Latin American women...

    I don´t have any doubt that most of them probably don´t want to sell their bodies as prostitutes.
    But no one is holding a gun to their heads... It´s the money and the hope to find the rich (farang) man that drives them...

    I´m sorry my friend, but you have been fooled by this girl, or maybe even by the filmmaker, but 1 thing I PROMISE, you have been FOOLED...

  38. Enzu

    There´s still MANY places where a farang aren´t welcome...

  39. Enzu

    Google it, or check out IMDBs messageboards... I know that ain´t rock solid proof, but believe me, had you ever been to Thailand yourself, for a longer period of time, you would get it...

    You can CLEARLY see that all who have been here for any significant time dissmisses this as a fake straight away, and are very united, while most other people are coming up with various crazy storys, one worse than the other, in defense of Pla...Also check comments on the youtube link... Same thing there...

    And naturally the maker of the film can´t be found for a comment...

  40. Enzu

    Good post! I agree with 98% of it.

    Altough the VAST majority are the way you describe it, you can´t say that all are.

    I live in Bkk with my girlfriend (thai) since many years. She has a normal 9-5 job, she have never wanted any money from me (except the occasional 100-500 baht here and there, but I borrow that of her equally much).

    Yes, she is in a BIG minority, but good and "normal" people do exist in Thailand...

  41. Enzu

    Sorry for being rude in my last post, I was coming home from a night out and was quite drunk...

    Still I disagree with your first post, because even if you have the odd farang friend in Thailand you don´t seem to understand how it works here in the slightest...

    And again, this isn´t about if you agree or disagree whether prostitution is ok or not. It´s about this so called "documentary". And anybody who´s lived in Thailand, and not just been here as a tourist will tell you that the "documentary" is no good.

  42. fewoptions

    lol I not even going bother reading rest of this comment telling me I not been Thailand your a m*ron . I recently got back last month from a couple months trip. Ive travelled a lot(beautiful country) and seen a lot so don't make me out to be some kind of liar. by sound of things u got burnt by a bar girl and im pleased if u did because like leary u have no respect for these girls. I know theres alot bad ppl in the bars I spoken to them and I heard the storys. I know a lot more about this subject than u can imagine. so don't try to be-little my comment. ty for calling me a kid lmfao as im far from it. just because I have sympathy and respect for these girls that u slag me off. unfortunally we all live a selfish and ugly world.ppl like u and leary anger me. as it m*rons like u both that give westerns bad names. these girls deserve more respect, there humans aswell.maybe u should go back to FB to carry on your trolling KID ! lmfao saying i never been to Thailand great being of a debate calling me a liar lol well done it achieved nothing but making u look a id*ot! (WELL DONE,CLAPS SARCASTICALLY). I stated IMO these girls have NO choice and my reason for saying this is that I know from experience talking with thai girls living in UK(my neighbour is thai hense how I got to talk to these girls). where I visted (phitsanulok)does not have this awful sex trade industry thankfully. reading bit of ur comment and learys reminds me just how miserable and selfish westerners are. I hope to live in Thailand soon as there so much happier and positive ppl yet they have nothing in comparison to us westerners. so I can say happily bye bye to the dump of uk and negative ppl like U . LOL! OH JUST INCASE U WONDERING I HAD THIS FEWOPTIONS NAME FOR ALONG TIME AS IT REFLECTS THE WORLD WE LIVING IN.

  43. a_no_n

    so you criticise him for making a blanket statement about women in asia...and then proceed yourself to make a blanket statement about women in Asia...

  44. fewoptions

    well said darknight32, nice to see someone with a heart and respect for others no matter what situation or back ground they have. Pla is a sad loss we can all agree on!

  45. 220VOLTS

    Yes sir ... and show me an American woman who would reject a rich man. Men see sex - women see security and babies.

  46. 220VOLTS

    And please view my post on Jiraporn. Thank you.

  47. 220VOLTS

    Yes, and I can show you sections of American cities where a "Farang" of a certain stripe would not be welcome.

  48. 220VOLTS

    Well, my friend, all women are liars and actresses using your take on life. To each his own. You, my friend, if you manage, sell, or control other people in the workplace, you are an actor.
    It's life ... enjoy it.

  49. 220VOLTS

    Same "lottery" in the states - it just works at a different level. Jackie Kennedy didn't wed a "Joe the plumber." See?

  50. 220VOLTS

    Case in point; Honolulu Hawaii. I lived in Hawaii for years and I can tell you folks, Honolulu has a vibrant and active night life. Given the proportionality of populations, I could match it with certain Asian cities hands down. The difference? The price - easy.

  51. bringmeredwine

    Not at all. These young and beautiful Thai women are human beings. Using them for their bodies is taking away their dignity, no matter how willing they appear to be.

  52. Enzu

    Your comment once again shows that you have absolutely no clue as how it works here...

    But, please go ahead and be fooled by this video... Feel sorry for you when the the truth will hit your naive way of thinking...

    I never got burned by no bar girl, quite the opposite, I lead a happy life in Thailand with my thai girlfriend (not a former bar girl) since many years. I don´t buy in to the "Land of Smiles" where every thai is is born with a smile on their lips and an endless will to please you. Boy, have you a surprise waiting for you if you ever decide to move here for a longer period of time and start to learn how it REALLY works in Thailand.

  53. Enzu

    Yes, I agree totally with your post as you will see if you read any of my original posts.

    What this is all about is that this video is a fake.

    People post about how sorry they feel for Pla, and how sad it is that she died... Please show me any evidence that she died. And everyone who have spent any longer time in Thailand recognizes that she is playing the guy for a fool and how completely condescending to thais the filmmaker is and how wrong he is in his attempt to show and explain the sex industry in Thailand

  54. Axel Vanderoost

    OK I recognize I exaggerated on the "ALL Girls" part ...Obviously there are normal people living "normal" lives with "normal" jobs, "normal" family life and "real" persona ... like everywhere else I guess... just in much smaller proportions....
    And to the contrary of what some are saying a huge proportion of these Girls love what they do and are no victims... to the contrary they believe they are in charge because the guys need them... it's a game and they love it. It's their source of Power of Freedom...
    Many of them travel to rich countries around the region and get paid fortunes for a night out of fun with one or more nice Farangs who treat them real good.
    They make far more money than your average European or US Joe with a "normal" 9 to 6 job...

  55. Axel Vanderoost

    Spot on....

  56. Enzu

    Hello Nikita.

    I apologize for that response, I made it when I came home last night, quite drunk... Not an excuse, just saying as it was.

    I think part of why I´m coming off pretty strongly in some of my posts is because I feel so hopeless and upset that people are scoring 10s on this "documentary" when anyone who has spent some time in Thailand, more than a couple of weeks or maybe a couple of months as tourists, and see Thailand in a more "real" way, and not just the smiles and hospitality of the thais, recognizes that it´s a total fake..

    Sure, thais are a wonderful people, I love most of them! But people who think that they always are like this (LoS) is simply just naive.

    And the filmmakers version of the topic he is trying to describe is both condescending of thai people and just wrong!

    I would love to (try to) answer any question(s) that you have regarding Thailand.
    As i stated before, I´m no expert on Thailand, far from it, but I like to think that I have acquired atleast some knowledge after spending some time here.
    Just write down what you want to know, and I´ll do my best to answer it.

  57. bringmeredwine

    Really? American women would never turn down a rich man? "Security and babies"? Come on now!

  58. Enzu

    I didn´t tell him to shut up. But I agree that it was perhaps a bit much. I´ve apologized and edited the post.

  59. Enzu

    No, I made a statement about a very small group of women (and men e.g. katoys) in Thailand.

    And my statement can be confirmed by anyone who spent any significant amount of time here more than the ordinary tourist, and have some insight on the matter.

    If you have any knowledge disputing my statement, please share...

  60. sly875

    No they exploit them self's. There's plenty off work there and they do it by choice! for the two reason's

    1. To marry a farang

    2. To live like a thai celebrity, they only need 2 or 3 clients to send them money every month.

  61. johnconnolly25

    The filmmaker is either naive, an imbecile, or a bad conman.

  62. issue23

    Jordan is just a creepy man with a camera and too many questions.

    I'm sure Pla (and most other young Thai women in her position) would rather turn a trick than have to put up with his sanctimonious, melancholic, intrusive questioning, being whispered from behind a camera lens.

    What's more, it's a rudderless documentary that doesn't really know what it's trying to communicate. He's obviously written, filmed, edited it all himself, without the input of anyone else. It shows. It says more about him than what (what??) he was documenting. Don't bother wasting 40 minutes of your life on it.

  63. issue23

    Anyone who starts a sentence with "As an artist…" loses any credibility they might've had, as it just makes you think they're too preoccupied with themselves and so thus have a shaky opinion of anything else other than subject: them.

    I just switched off when I got to that part of your post, which is a shame, because you might actually have redeemed yourself (there was quite a lot text left with which to do so) and made some valid points.

  64. issue23

    I second that. One could argue that it's USAs proliferation of materialism that drives these young women to sell their bodies for a quick buck.

  65. issue23

    One more thing, don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing that a high percentage of women go into that trade because it's the only way of making money. Thailand isn't third world. It has a burgeoning, strong economy, with a massive manufacturing base and a thirst for 'first world' trappings. It's just that the money won't be as good in, say a factory, nor will it be as much fun.

    My experience of Bangkok, having spent quite a lot of time there, is that most of the women there aren't in some sort of hellish servitude. Most of them are empowered and in control of their life and destiny.

    This documentary maker makes it look like some sort of carnal slavery. Which for the vast majority it isn't.

  66. Guest

    Well issue23 that is you is your opinion and you're welcome to it,and i can even see where you're coming from in some respect.I would feel the same way if someone said "As a person with a high IQ,or they grasp of something you wouldn't understand" Implying they're smarter than everyone Id say yes they're a pompous douche bag.But I was only stating "As an artist" as what i do in my work,not just as a photographer for newspapers but in my personal art,how i do it, what my themes are etc.So what you said is a bit silly and overly judgmental.To think that phrase is something that requires redeeming from,or to dismiss what i've said or might have said after based on that phrase is well, silly, makes you sound like you're the exact kind of person you're accusing me of being, which i'm not egotistical, but again, it's your right to do so.

  67. darknight32

    Thanks pal, nice of you to say. Well i feel that people that need the most compassion are the ones from back grounds that are not so neat and tidy.

  68. Peace Bewithu

    A lot of Thailand experts in here

  69. Guest

    Listen man you and the other fella on here are really focusing in like a laser beam on one fraction of a statement i made in a much larger post and missing the point entirely.Nothing in my post said i was an expert,nor do i think I can
    speak for all Asian women.But i have seen it here,in the u.s and a lot of other places and the scene and many motives for involvement look very similar to me.And I dont believe I've been fooled ny anything.We've all heard the hooker with a heart of gold story a million times.And we all know money drives 99% of people from the hooker to the senator. i said some would probably do it by choice anyway. By i think she felt she had no other choice.

    So I'm no Asian culture expert,I apologize if my comment was offensive or too generalized.It was not my intent. I dated a woman from Manila for years. She was not a hooker,she worked in a hospital and i am no farang so yes there are other options for income but just like in the U.S some make bad choices,feel hopeless,like i feel she did and i just felt bad for her was really the bulk of my point. Not my expertise on anything.

  70. Guest

    Listen man you and the other
    fella on here are really focusing in like a laser beam on one fraction of a statement i made in a much larger post and missing the point entirely.Nothing in my post said i was an expert,nor do i think I can
    speak for all Asian women.But i have seen it here,in the u.s and a lot of other places and the scene and many motives for involvement look very
    similar to me.And I dont believe I've been fooled ny anything.We've all heard the hooker with a heart of gold story a million times.And we all know money drives 99% of people from the hooker to the senator. i said some would probably do it by choice anyway. By i think she felt she had no other choice.

    So I'm no Asian culture expert,I apologize if my comment was offensive or too generalized.It was not my intent.I studied Thai buddhism and I dated a woman from Manila for years. She taught me about her culture.She was not a hooker,she worked in a hospital and i am no farang.Neither of these things matter to this subject but my point was this is where a lot of my knowledge comes from and yes there are other options for income but just like in
    the U.S some make bad choices,feel hopeless,like i feel she did and i just felt bad for her was really the bulk of my point. Not my expertise on anything.

  71. Enzu

    No, I didn´t miss your point at all. Your right that this hasn´t got anything to do with asian culture. And it doesn´t matter one zilch if you have "seen it" in US or anywhere else. This is about Thailand!

    You can study thai buddhism all you want, it still won´t give any credibility to your opinion of understanding the topic that is "Bangkok Girl".

    Tell me why you so strongly feel so bad for this girl, and are so unquestionably certain that she speaks the truth except from the filmmakers preconceptionally phony "documentary"? And how he has edited the film in his "victimizing of all thai women, I´m a westerner and come from a superior moral way of thinking"-kind of way and her quote on camera that "nobody cares about Pla"?

    What is it that makes you so certain she has no other options in her life, and why is it that we should feel so sorry for her?

  72. Enzu

    Not everything in this world is dictated on the base of how things are/work in the USA...

  73. 220VOLTS

    What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

  74. 220VOLTS

    I used to be an American resident - trust me, every American city of any size has escort services. Heck, our Congressmen and governors support them. America is full of hypocrites.

  75. darknight32

    I don't know why it replied as a guest.It did it to a couple of my comments.Maybe a glitch or some mistake i made.But it was me that replied to you.And again i meant no egotistical premiss about it and i dont think i came off at all snarky .If you're going to reply to the "guest" comment of mine under this,reply here so i surly see it. Take care.

  76. hernandayoleary

    Respect for women? And tell me more about this 1 way respect for women that involves s*itting all over western men and blaming the blue eyed debil for all your problems.

    So Western men should abandon Thailand, but Thai women will go on Western tv (like filipino women are now) and ask for Western men to "adopt their kids" like on child fund and for western men to send their money. Its only exploitation if a Western man gets something in exchange for his money. But its not exploitation when we give away billion in aid to these women. Is it western man fault that thai women grow up around sex or thai government problem? Thailand is not that poor that someone HAS to sell their body for sex. Its not north korea, thailand is a place Westerners go to have fun, its not poor.

    "there only chance in life is to marry farang to help them out the situations, and also to help there family members"

    Thailand was the only asian country that wasn't colonized, there is no blame whitey here. and I am not white. They have no one to blame but their corrupt government. Think about it, the only chance of Thai girl is to marry a foreign guy. This is not a farang problem but a thai problem. With all the tourist why is the only choice to marry a foreigner, how about open up a hostel for farang? How about work in hotel? How about sell goods to farang? They just looking for an easy way out that involves no effort. Their family are a bunch of leech who don't want to work, they want to live of farang while blaming farang for their incompetence and laziness.

    This is not a racial problem. In every region you have industrious peoples who despite being poor build their country up (Germans, swiss, etc in Europe, Jamaicans in Carribean, Argentines and Brazilians in South America chinese and japanese and malaya in asia, angolan, south african, nigerian in africa. and then you have the lazy people in every continent who want to blame the foreigners for everything. In America we have people like that we call them welfare queens and hillbillies or hippies.

    O yes, life is just a big cake walk in the Americas, there is no struggle, no one is poor, we are all rich and we always stay rich. The difference is Americans don't wait around for a rich farang to marry them and suck them dry of money. Unlike Thai men, Farang have to go work and have a job, we can't play pool all day in pool hall and drink while our girlfriend is out hooking. In America we call that man a pimp. And most pimps in America are richer than men with real jobs so I really don't know what thais are complaining about. If Western farang left, Japanese Farang would just take over because thai women would still sell. All that would happen is that women would sell for less.

    And why are you mad at me, thai women sell their pu**ies, men aren't paying for their brain or the s*upid s*it they are saying are they? If there are farang pAying for thai women to speak to them, tell me where and I will open up a club.

  77. sly875

    Well said, And even the poor in the rural area's have a good life, very little money yes! but they live a free and healthy life in a self- sustained communities.

    They live a better life than most westerners believe it or not! Amazing too see.

  78. issue23

    Well said – I totally agree.

  79. Enzu

    Good post and very accurate in most regards! Certainly a lot of thai men are the way you´re describing it, but definitely not all.

    Thai people, well most of them, are very racist just like you write! Many people don´t realize this. A lot of places in Thailand have signs outside where it says: "No arabs allowed" or "No blacks allowed".

    And, yes, right again regarding the "japanese farang", except the fact that there already are many joints (mostly karaoke bars) exclusively for japanese, where the "white farang" aren´t welcome. But sure, this would probably just expand even further if the "white farang" stopped travelling to Thailand.

  80. fewoptions

    I understand now, u ranting from your soap box in good old America the land of the rich. I cant take your rant serious as u cant put yourself in there shoes. I understand some do choose this career path but im pretty sure most don't want to do it and some are forced to do it. I know it hard to imagine from your Disney land usa but a lot of these don't do it for pleasure its just a way to get a income to be able to sleep with roof over there head and eat well. I do be grudge anyone who does this to survive its been around for thousands of yrs and will always be around as there will always be a demand.

  81. fewoptions

    im surprised u say it not that poor a country, why u think so many westerners go there as its cheap.the locals are doing well if u earning £5 a day, that's a ok income. I never knew what it was like till I seen it myself and it was defo a eye opener made me feel a lot more humble.

  82. fewoptions

    lol I thought I hadn't been to Thailand according to u and now u ranting at me if I move there. whats that got to do with this doc lol. I was commenting about the doc..... I know what to expect. I spoke to enough of these ladys through my neighbour to know a lot of them didn't have a choice I do agree some do choose to do it for the extra money, some can make a lot money but others not alot. regarding if this doc is true, even if it not true we know in are hearts that's there IS a lot of Plas in the world that have little if any choice on what they do with there lifes.

  83. Enzu

    Wow man! (Or is it kid?)

    Judging by your spelling and the way you write,(putting lol between every other word for instance), I can´t decide if you´re a troll, a kid or both!!

    Anyway...

    So, you acquired your vast knowledge of thai bargirls by speaking to some thai ladies through your neighbour(?!) did you...?

    I´m sure that must have been some really deep and personal discussions, where they really opened up their hearts to you!

    Well, why don´t you run over to them again, and let them tell you some more bedtime stories, while you let the grown-ups do the talking here...

    (I´m sure my spelling isn´t perfect either, but atleast I get to use the ´not from an english speaking country, thus not my native tongue´-card) :)

  84. hernandayoleary

    You are right I should have specified not all. Many thais men are good and decent peoples. But some of these women are coming up with ridiculous arguments that blame their short comings on farang men. If white farang left, they'd all have to sell to japanese farang at lower price. They don't want farang to pay for sex, but they are fine if the farang marries a thai to "give her a chance" and pay for her whole family to have a free ride. In otherwords, its exploitation to pay women for sex; unless of course you marry her and pay her more money.

    But its not exploitation for women to marry you, take all your money and give it to her family spend it on shopping and her side boyfriend and not have sex with you, while you are working yourself into an early grave.

    Women don't have a problem with sex for money (see that is why they are ok with marrying rich men). They have a problem with sex for money at a perceived low price. Ie. you pay $50 for sex with woman "your exploiting her". You pay $50,000 for her and marry her etc. and give her and her family a bunch of money, your "giving her a chance"

  85. hernandayoleary

    Cheap is not poor. The price is cheap for farang because the cost of living is low. Farang countries are expensive, they aren't really truly rich for the most part. In Thailand, the same amount of things cost less per income. $1000 go farther in thailand than in america or london or antwerp.

    The locals live with their family, often have no rent to pay. Its not truly poor, its not North Korea where there is no job, its bad but not impossible. Alot of these thai people have a gift of living in a city where so many foreigners come, alot of young farang are looking for cheap places to stay. They could make alot of money just renting out rooms in their house.

  86. Nikita Kade

    Hi, Enzu--
    First, apology accepted, with all humility...I'm sure I've sounded a lot worse than you did when making a response fueled by alcohol....

    I thank you for offering to answer questions about Thailand, of which I think so many Westerners have many. It is such a beautiful, yet dichotomous, place for foreigners--it ain't Disneyland, the kind of place you buy a guidmap to, take a train through, and leave. Yet it's become a huge tourist destination (not just because of the sex industry), and I wonder what impact that's had on the native population.

    I'll try to keep my questions down to three, and thank you for taking a look at them:

    1) I recall going to Bermuda once and noting that the usual sunny weather had disappeared for several days; I asked a saleswoman when she thought the clouds would clear up, and she replied sourly: "When the tourist boats leave." Do you think most Thais enjoy their new position as workers in the "service inudstry", or is the Happy Face just put on for foreign clientele?

    2) Do you feel that Thailand is a safe destination for a tourist alone?

    3) Do you think most of Bangkok's sex workers go into the field by choice, or are pressured to do so by their families?

    I'd be grateful for any information you can give me about this fascinating and compelling place.

    Again, thanks for reading, and I'll look for your answers.

  87. hernandayoleary

    Should America be apologizing for being rich... maybe to african americans, maybe to native americans maybe even to irish americans but not to thais. American farang owe thais nothing. America didn't still thai land, didn't bomb them, didn't force them into slavery. The real question is why did Japan modernize, why is China modernizing, but Thais not building up their nation with tourist money but instead blaming evil farang.

    If I was a thai, I'd be renting out the extra room in my house to a farang and get rich. But that takes effort so of course so some won't do it.

    Most thai women aren't forced into selling sex. If they are being forced, who is forcing them? Not Farang. So again this is a thai problem, either bad government, or bad thai man or bad domestic abuse laws that don't protect women but farang can't run for office can they? Can farang change thai law? No.

    I wonder how anyone in thailand even lives when the only way to put roof over your head is through prostitution, why are there so few prostitute in a nation.

  88. Enzu

    Hello Nikita.

    I just came back after a night out again. Might seem like I´m some kind of alcoholic (kee mao). But really I´m not, circomstances just had it so at this time... This sunday it´s a pretty "big" holiday in Thailand as well (Loy Khratong), so I will try to get back to you later this week regarding your questions.

    Thank you for accepting my aplogy, and I won´t make the same mistake again (writing while I´m drunk).

    Cheers

  89. Nikita Kade

    Enzu, you are obviously having more fun than me, so carry on! In fact, it may be for the best that you're taking some extra time to answer me, because despite my sober state, I still forgot to ask you the most important questions of all: how and why did you choose to settle in Thailand, and where did you live before?

    Happy Loy Khratong (I intend to find out what that is, so I can do some informed celebrating myself). I look forward to hearing from ya; take all the time you need.

    Salut!

  90. Lincoln Chase

    'The world breaks everyone. And many become strong in the broken places. But those that it can not break, it kills. It kills the very good , and the very gentle, and the very brave, impartially.' Ernest Hemingway

  91. joe

    a good film. has a perspective maybe a few people miss in the comments. this is about the situation thru the eyes on one woman in the business. jordan wasnt supporting it one way or the other. he was following this one person. and maybe you all missed the last comment he made -- that a week after he returned home Pla had been found dead. that is the sad thing here. a young woman of 19 had been found dead and no one seemed to care. even at the beginning she said that everyone has a story including her -but no one cares about hers.

    maybe you missed the point.

  92. calbs

    Joe, your a real sucker if you fell for this crap doco. I tell you what, i'll sell you the Sydney Opera House CHEAP.
    There is no substance, no research, no proof & it's full of fraud.

  93. calbs

    Derrr... it's the western men who are being exploited. Do u really think Thailand would accept being exploited by naive, stupid westerners. How dare you and others think you are superior to Thai's.

  94. calbs

    you have no right to impose your selfish morals upon others.

  95. Peace Bewithu

    Exploited Western men... Now that's an oxymoron

  96. calbs

    Reality is the right word.

  97. calbs

    Hey Jordan,
    Get your facts right.
    Farang does not mean stranger or western tourist.
    The typical day's pay in the north is not $2 per day (the minimum basic wage is far more than that).
    The streets are not mostly underage girls & HIV positive women plying their trade.
    etc etc....
    Next time you visit Thailand go somewhere beyond the red light district, where it seems is the only place you spent your time.
    You have no understanding or knowledge of Thailand, nor it's people. You discredit this country.

  98. Vlatko

    I've personally moderated your comment. Read the comment policy (which is the same for the last several years) and don't post too many links in one comment. The system will automatically flag you.

  99. Cate

    and that will help with the situation how .... by creating more underground child sex slaves?

  100. Nikita Kade

    Hello, Enzu--
    Thank you for your wonderfully detailed response to my questions. And may I offer my apologies for getting back to you so slowly: my mother is very ill, in critical condition, and dealing with that situation has naturally consumed most of my time.

    But I found your answers to my questions to be most informative and interesting. Firstly, I didn't know you were Swedish; that adds a lot to the mix. I'm making a broad assumption here, but I'm assuming that, if you're a native Swede, you don't look much like a native Thai. And so you may perhaps be perceived, in some situations, as a typical Westerner--just another farang on the make.

    On the other hand, you've lived in the country for a pretty long time, and it seems as if you've gone out of your way to explore the culture--far more thoroughly than the ordinary passerby does. That always makes a difference to the observed people who are, in fact, observing you. When the masks drop, a lot happens: a culture's highs and lows are revealed; a day-to-day understanding, unavailable to the two-week tourist, is laid bare, and the intricacy of a system, as it works in any particular place, begins to surface.

    Thus we come to Question One: how much does a culture surviving on tourism really relish being in that position? Your answer was pretty decisive. Of course, it depends on the nature of the country's resources, and what the tourists take from it and bring to it. Thailand has become infamous for its sexual liberalism; that, however, must take a terrible toll on the country's psychic health. How would any nation feel if it knew that it was famous primarily for the availability of its young men and women for paid sex with strangers? How strained must the smiles be when the people behind them are thinking, "Yes, you come to my country to do what you'd never dare do at home with your own children; ours will be forgotten five minutes after you pay the fee..." What I saw in your answer was a confirmation that Thais can be welcoming and friendly, but there is an undercurrent that becomes more and more apparent the longer one is there, and the more one shows what they are primarily there for.

    Your answer to Question Two--how safe is one in Thailand as a singel tourist?--surprised me. I was expecting you to say that no one should plan on coming to the country alone, without resources, for any length of time. But you gave me the impression that Thailand is no more unsafe than New York City, if one uses common sense, keeps one's wits about them, and doesn't go looking for trouble. One wouldn't go walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight to get to downtown Manhattan; that could turn out to be a fine journey, or a fatal one--the individual must use common sense to predict whether the risk is worth the adventure.

    As to #3, your answer here also surprised me. I assumed most young Thai sex workers were involuntarily dragged into what's called The Life in the US, but you said this isn't the case. Rather, it seems to be the choice between the rock and the hard place: girls appear to occupy a secondary position in ordinary Thai society, and working for a bar or brothel keeps them well-paid and under a roof, and even able to send money home to the family. But if this choice is voluntary, what does that say about the country's options, and its ethos across the board? My understanding of Thai law is that drug use and possession are highly frowned upon. Yet one can buy a thirteen-year-old Thai child of either sex for a night, a weekend, however long one wishes. These chidren are of the generation that will soon be the country's middle-class economic base. What will they have to offer if they've spent their youth as prostitutes? How many of them will even be alive long enough to suffer the disenchantment of a few years in a brothel?

    I'm sure I'll come in for a lot of criticism here, but I am of the opinion that virtually nobody with real options would choose a life in the sex trade (except for teenagers, who have only vague and glamorized portrayals of the industry to go on). Everyone may appear to be having a wonderful time, but it's the same duplicity that lies under the smiling man who drops a plate in front of you at an exclusive Thai resort: "Enjoy yourself. But you're only as good as your money. When it's gone, you are too. Otherwise--knock your socks off."

    Thank you, Enzu, for a very enlightening

  101. Melinda Li

    From the comments here, I cannot believe I watched the same film as the others. The comments appear to be male-dominated but correct me if I am wrong. Ladies, please speak to me. This guy is one independent doc maker, not some big budget filmmaker. Why do people feel threatened and offended by this?

    To my knowledge, he did nothing but film this one individual's life, balancing his compassion with a certain amount of objectivism necessary to make a good doc. I found it sad, touching, tragic, and at times, revolting. I wanted so badly to protect this girl and, just like the filmmaker, in the end, I could not.

    I don't understand why such a film could evoke such snotty, aggrieved, holier-than-thou comments which seem to imply that these woman choose to live this way and any of us who don't believe it are dirt dumb. I'm just not convinced that is the case.

  102. calbs

    Yes, "Dirt Dumb" is a good description for those who fell for this pathetic attempt of a documentary.

  103. Silsal

    Okay so I'm a girl too... not too many others seem to have chosen to comment on this doc. I agree that it's a small section of Thailand as a whole country but it is still a section. And Pla was a human being who had altogether too short a life.
    Guys why are you so defensive? Is it the idea that these women are all sex slaves? Has that ruined your idea of a good time? It's like Pla said "Everyone has a story" the one night stand you had with the girl you later described as a "slag" do you think she doesn't have a reason for being like that?
    In Pla's circumstances I can't say I wouldn't do the same. Hell in the UK it's crossed my mind but I don't think that trying to put down Thailand is the point of this documentary.
    I think it's more a way for the maker to express his love for Pla. She probably haunts him to this day. The only way he felt he could pay tribute was to make a documentary about her. Her life, her world and her spirit.
    Yes it's a bit weird but not all people express love in the same way especially when that person abruptly passes.
    Chill out a bit, if you want a doc on Thailand, watch a doc about Thailand. This is clearly named Bankok Girl and then goes on to explain it's about Pla.
    I for one am grateful to know she existed.

  104. Roiyar

    It's interesting to see many of the callous remarks left by many on this commentary. The fact is. Poverty breeds exploitation and the people who exploit see justification in it. if a world were to be where exploitation and human rights are upheld. No person would subject themselves to being morally depraved by another. Yes we all know it is money driven. Yes we all know this has been going on all over the world since the beginning of time...still does not make it right. Only those who understand it will get it, certain reasoning will be lost on those ears that have a narrow understanding of the human condition.

    I don't have the answers but I do know it starts with corruption at the top level of government and the abuse of power in the economy. which trickles down to the workers and the rest of society.

    This was well done and very sad to watch. The obnoxious Bar patron Farang who the girls had to tolerate, clearly deserved a swift punch in the face. I just wanted him to shut up and go away he was disgusting.

  105. Raylz

    I thought this was great. A documentary doesn't have a story line its real life and i feel you captured a real view of who Pla was. In fact if it wasn't for you then what she said when she says no one cares about her would true. She would just be another girl dead, you are lucky to have captured her before she past.

  106. Kyle

    Beautiful story of a woman who nobody took the time to listen to...until Jordan, of course. The images of those men holding hands with their Thai "girlfriends" disturbed me. I wonder if their wives knew where they were and how they were taking advantage of these women?

  107. Blueyonder

    Perhaps some of them see themselves and become defensive.

  108. Samir

    The mafia in thailand is very rich and makes millions out of the tourists. The poor thai girls come from agricultural areas like Isan, where they grow up in rice farming villages. The girls leave the rice farms as there is little money in that compared to big tourist areas. The western tourists bring a lot of cash, and are charged tourists high prices which to western standards are still cheap. The mafia controlls the brothels to massage parlours to the whole tourist routes in many key areas including the full moon party island. The mafia deliberately create extra hidden costs for tourists if tourists are travelling across thailand. The Govt could step in aggressively and address poverty such that the young girls have a future other than sex with customers at a bar.

  109. ZZ

    i think it is equally important if not more to show the non-obvious the hidden and the underground world..this documentary ended with Pla being dead..her death was used for the interest of the documentary well it shouldnt stop there... light should be shed on the "unxpected dearth of the thai girls instead of using it to make a dramatic end the help the documentary...why was she dead?and how?

  110. rljp

    I think you came to Thailand to do a documentary with a modicum of intelligence on the culture and the business. Look, I would guess 90% of the women or girls there would just love to meet a nice man who will take care of them and provide a nice life for them. Be it a Thai or farang. So that is why they go to the bars. Also you paid the bar fine. Is that prostitution? You meet a lady in a bar and you come to an agreement whereby you go out and have dinner and decide if you want to go further or not. Also the girlie bars were there before the vietnam war. The bars are a part of the culture for Male Thais. As you say what chance does she have of a future so she has choices which lead her to where she is. She most likely has family to support. She is trying to attract you because you are a nice man and would be a good candidate to take care of her forever. You do not know what poverty makes people do. You have no comprehension of that desparation. You do not know the right questions to ask to even gain a modicum of understanding. You played on the desparation of a young girl as she uses sublte desparation in hope that you will be attracted to her and take care of her and her family like she has seen many a good farang do for other Thai women. Not all the farangs are bar hoping short time guys.

  111. Terry Beaton

    I saw this doc. on television some years ago. I too was uncomfortable with his (what seemed to me) subtle exploitation of Pla. It was such a self conscious, preconceived piece of filming that I found myself cringing in places. I never knew quite what to make of Pla, as they both seemed to be attempting to get something from the other. He wanted a sad story, and she wanted to get something for hers.

  112. cyberfrank

    well, now Pla will remain with me as well, she was so gentle and touching, I would do well if I d only find a girl like her, it s sad story, but, it helped to see things in her shoes.

  113. lpen7

    Please, don't try to read more into this than is intended. As it's titled, it's a view into a small part of what life in Thailand might be. Pla is a lovely girl. Yes, she's "earning" her "bar fee" but, she's also trying to share HER experience of Thai life & Jordan's filming it. Period. Many of the comments seem awfully angry and misguided. The drunk dude pawing the girls and saying the most ignorant things is the villain, not the doc maker. I will say a prayer for Pla. Her death is a different story that should be investigated and told.

  114. Unknown Traveller

    I kept expecting Jordan to say "I arranged for Pla to go to school at...." Or "I got her a job training with..." He obviously cared about her. I found it strange that he could look that deeply into her life for his film and then jump on a plane. There seemed to be some things left out.

  115. spleege

    Hilarious. why do people still assume Thailand is the benchmark for south east Asia. I mean you have to give credit where credit is due. Thailand spends big dollars on tourism. good for them. but let not the educated south east Asian traveler confuse Thailand with other SE Asian experiences. Every Thai "experienced" ex-pat is a dips*it. Clueless. Thailand is the LAST place you want to go to really experience all that SE Asia has to offer. I love it though because you see the same limp crap over and over. frequently regurgitated by moronic brits and really s*upid Americans. Sympathetic, heartfelt stories of abuse on both ends i.e. the foreigner that got his "heart broken" or the Thai girl that got her "heart broken." Is it all just marketing or are these stories really just examples of what a joke the white dudes are? From the nincompoops I have met. the later is the case.

  116. spleege

    when i observed the year this was made. It made more sense. It is more applicable to about 1995. this is still a very naive "documentary" and really should be removed due to its outdated and amateur questions.

  117. Phred

    I went to Bankok with two other guys. The pretty bar maid did not enguge us in conversation. Two of us were trashed, the third was our appointed simi-sober person.

    Some resonibly attractive "prostitute"(not the bar maid) came up and started talking to us (broken English). She said she could call two friends. My collegue spoke more Thai than I did, and was somewhat sober. He told her "You are very pretty, but we are sorry. We are all married. We only came here to drink, and eat.". She left. An hour, or two later, as we were leaving, the same woman met us again and asked if we needed a guide to help find gifts for our spouces.

    Nobody else approached us over the two days we spent there.

    i enjoyed the video, even though I felt so sad for pla! :)

  118. Ming

    Isn't that everywhere? Maybe I still live in a bubble but the government is a mafia that distributes rights.

  119. Laughterror

    after 2nd view of this film(and without reading other comments) i believe the more important information is being overlooked. I'm not sure of this filmakers intentions, fiction or non-fiction, but a work of art has been created that exposes the inner bullworks of life. I know a person who visits bankok 3 to 4 time a year. I must endure many photos and stories(he is my boss). There was even a point when he imagined sometype of relationship was formed between a thai girl and himself. Finding this film I thought it would be a great way to wake him up from this fantasy by showing it to him. I didn't have the heart to attack him with my true feelings(myself living in a fantasy that i could wake up others to their negative actions without gaining an nme)that everytime he had sex with these girls, he was hurting them mentally. He started to watch, laughing and pointing. Exclamations of memories or here and there, this and that, the possibility of recognized faces. As soon as this nostalgia settled and he focused as the dialoge scratched beneath the surface of novelty he lost intrest and excused himself from the room. My conclusion......we all live in a dream. Sometimes the dream we live in is our own, sometimes its someone elses. Be very carefull if you enter anothers dream. You will be exploited, reclassified, regulated and disposed of when neccessary. The art i see in this film come from the narration. He is honest about everything but he is not honest with her. He did not want her to see him as a 'farang' and yet he was nothing but that to her. an exploiter in a plastic bubble. and she only reveled enuff about herse lf to remain in her bubble. the no-journey-involved of this travel film. the expected end ending reflects life as it is. a world-wide fight to the death with oneself to prevent the wake-up call and face reality. My curiosity is focused on the mothers of these children(?) are they the only ones to discourage this(?) and to the filmaker, with the greatest lesson learned given to yourself(possibly) and success of this reel......go back to bangkok....not to exploit but to take direct action(not to direct a film or make an action film) direct action as in DIRECT ACTION. A healthy, positive, direct action to help someone distressed.
    All power to all the People !! The Power of the People is stronger then the people in power !!

  120. mark

    Man, that's the most heartbreaking thing I've seen in a long time.

  121. Afghiweed

    man this guy filming is so gullable. falls in love with this girl immediatly, and stupidly believes she has worked in a bar for 6 years but is totally innocent. she will play him for money like they do with any idiot as gullable as him. his stupidity is annoying

  122. Coast2Coast

    In regards to the people above commenting against the Doc,

    The sex trade has always and will always exist everywhere. That being said, very few women (given the option) would be involved if it were possible to make a better living doing something else. Sure, some women enjoy the work however it can be very dangerous and yes, the fact that millions of westerners travel to Thailand every year with intentions of getting anything they want with their vast amounts of money is very textbook exploitation. They/we are taking advantage of the lack of regulations because they/we are greedy capitalists. Thailand is one of the largest contributors to the human trafficking market. People think the same things about the red light district in Amsterdam because the women there all seem happy and willing but the fact of the matter is that many of those women have been forced drugs and/or sold into the trade and have no other options because they will be killed. In Thailand a man can pay to have sex with a minor. Are you trying to tell me that its perfectly alright for a wealthy old gluttonous man to pay to have sex with a child? At what point do you draw the line and say that we are partially to blame for wanting to do these things. Just because they are offering does not make it right to take it. Hell, you could probably pay money to kill someone there if you met the price, would that be alright as well?

  123. Jeralynn

    How about a comment from a Thai woman? 👩🏽 Albeit, I was born and raised in California. Rather than painting a broad paint brush and labeling with bold certainty that all sex workers who sell their bodies do so willingly out of their own free choice or, the opposite extreme, that each was coerced, frauded, forced, etc. why don't we realize that each person is an individual with their own motivating factors, whether or not their reasons are justifiable. It's something most of us middle to upper class people can't comprehend.

    I'm making that assumption because you're reading this on an iPhone or desk/laptop that you most likely bought and paid for. My father is an architect and I was raised middle (maybe upper middle in some viewpoints) class and my female cousins are all professional people (who are Thai inside and out - not Americanized like me - who live there) from medical, nursing and design backgrounds. It boils down to opportunities (are they or their family able to afford a decent education for these girls? If so, they probably won't sell their body in the majority of cases).

    Are the girls from a poor and/or dysfunctional family? Then they are more than likely to sell their bodies to survive and/or provide for their families or are unwilling victims. I was shocked (I shouldn't have been) when my friend said that we could stay with her sister who was 35 and her "farung" husband was 80 years old (they'd been together for 10 years). They both told me several times how happy she was and how he treats her well. I met them both and I believe it. She worked for him by keeping the house maintained and helped with his health issues and was his companion. My western mindset seemed to judge them both in the back of my mind.

    In the end, I couldn't. What I did judge, however, was my Thai friend's farung ex-husband who was abusive to her and is like that teacher in the documentary except even worse: he is unstable, abusive, retired, and just spends his money on prostitues 1/3 of his age. 2 different scenarios but both originated from supply-demand. Are there people from lower class families that have decent jobs (non-sex-working)? Absolutely. Are there people from middle to upper classes that sell their bodies (for whatever reasons: extra cash from a farang or it happens anywhere, maybe they were sexually abused at home so this is normal to them, or maybe there is force, fraud or coercion by a trafficker).

    If you're going to paint people, do it individually because everyone is an individual. I pray for these precious, lovely Thai women and all women around the world who are oppressed and/or think sex working is their only questionable means to an end. I thought it was a good documentary. Not all encompassing, but very eye-opening. I do agree with what Coast 2 Coast said. Just because there's supply and demand and some girls (Pla?) do it willingly it doesn't justify the insidious skin trade.

  124. Jeralynn

    So many criticizers and haters of this documentary and they have a right to, but what are these people doing to open people's eyes to this issue? At least this filmmaker is sharing his perspective and shedding light on this prevalent issue and not sitting back trolling...-A Thai Lady

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