How to make the most of a holiday in Thailand’s bustling capital city.
Plan your itinerary
Make sure you have an idea of which areas you want to visit before you go. For example, Bangkok is massive and a short trip will only let you do so much. Choose an area you are most interested in, and plan your stay accordingly.
Choose a hotel in a suitable area
Find a centrally located hotel with easy access to the city’s attractions. This is the best way to explore the city. Pick busy Sukhumvit if you are interested in shopping, nightlife and contemporary design.
Or alternatively staying close to the river gives you easy to the city’s cultural highlights like the reclining Buddha and Wat Arun.
Choose your budget.
Are you a backpacker? Bangkok has dozens of affordable hostels, and they tend to be in the slightly more interesting, gritty parts of the city. On the other hand, hotels along Sukumvit of course have better connections to the transport links. You get much more for your money out of the centre, and these areas come with the city’s most affordable places to eat. A luxury hotel will be comfortable but will put you at a distance from other travellers and can be isolating. Then again, staying in a dorm means less privacy and comfort.
How much do you want to do?
A day trip with careful planning can include, a visit to the royal palace in the morning, A floating island in the afternoon, then dinner and a show or clubbing in the evening, but you won’t have the energy to do that every day.
Are you here for the red light shows?
Then avoid certain areas and choose a place to stay with access to cheaper hotels, massage and go-go bars, such as Silom.
If you are on a family trip, think about the places which are suitable for children. Bangkok has parks, zoos, and resorts where children can play happily.
Take the time to learn the beginner phrases in Thai, making it easier to get around and be understood.
The Asian ‘girlfriend experience’ in two American movies
If we take a look at depictions of Asian women is some famous American films, we can get an idea of how certain ideas and stereotypes have gained a hold in people’s understanding of Asian women. I want to look at two American films that show relationships between a white man and an Asian woman.
Released in 1992, the film is a full length feature about two slacker types who run their own TV show from their basement. The men are typical of the audience the film was presumably aimed at. Whilst Garth has his own dream woman in the form of a blonde fantasy goddess, it’s Cassandra (Tia Carrere) who is the object of Wayne’s affection. That the actress playing Cassandra Wong is not Chinese but Hawaiian is beside the point – most of the time Hollywood will choose actresses who look only part Asian rather than look for an Asian-born actress who can speak fluent English.
Cassandra is by no means a submissive Asian woman, but it’s interesting to see how her Asian-ness is at times highlighted in the film. For example, she wears a traditional Chinese dress when meeting her father with Wayne. This is a very curious scene since it plays into the fears white men have of dating an Asian woman. Most commonly these relate to feeling inadequate, especially in the eyes of the girl’s family.
In another scene, Cassandra orders Wayne a Chinese takeaway. She’s far from an ‘easy’ woman, in fact she’s not terribly interested in Wayne until he shows that he has the ability to be successful. At the same time, Cassandra is seem to be in every way the perfect girlfriend. It doesn’t hurt that Carerre looks gorgeous in the film. She looks good in every scene, whether it’s the red lace dress she wears performing on TV, the bikini she wears in a dream montage, or the leather outfit for the video shoot. These aren’t the clothes that would normally be worn by a rock singer, even a grunge singer would wear much less revealing outfits. In case we had an idea that Asian women are submissive, the film has Cassandra executing a perfect flying kick to a drunk gig-goer who gets in her way.
The Social Network, 2010
The second example of an Asian woman girlfriend comes from the film that covers the origins of Facebook. Brenda Song plays Christy, a student at Harvard who meets Eduardo Saverin when he is at a speech given by Bill Gates. Although Christy is not the main character in the film, she makes quite an impact. The film has already explicitly mentioned Asian women as being attracted to Jewish guys, “and you don’t need an algorithm to work it out. “They’re not Jewish and they can’t dance,” says Eduardo at a party scene.
If Cassandra is in many ways the ideal Asian girlfriend, Christy is the exact opposite. Firstly, she is shown to be jealous and controlling of Eduardo to the point that she openly accuses him of being unfaithful because he hasn’t changed his relationship status from single on the website he co-created. In another scene, Mark asks Eduardo how his relationship with Christy is. ‘It’s terrible, she’s controlling and incredibly jealous. I’m scared of her.’ In the next scene, Eduardo gives his girlfriend a gift in an attempt to mollify her. Instead, she flies into a rage and then sets the scarf on fire. It’s as if the film is sending out a warning to viewers that they shouldn’t become romantically involved with Asian women, unless it’s to have fast and exciting sex in restaurant wash-rooms.
I draw these as examples because I feel that the cinema is a strong cultural indicator of society. It may not have quite the range that it did, but films are still a global force. What I’m really interested is how films shape and help us to make sense of the world. If you wanted to understand what it’s like to date an Asian woman, you could watch Wayne’s World and it would give you a good indication of what to say, the kind of things to do and just as importantly, the things you shouldn’t do.
I particularly like the way Wayne at some point in the film realizes that he may be losing Cassandra to the smarmy TV executive, so he has to work harder to get her back. In this way, the film is as positive in in it’s summation of how it is to date a sexy Asian woman. It’s mostly fantastic of course – the film shows us exactly why Wayne has such a thing for Cassandra and gives the idea that the most unconventional of men can attract their very own Asian beauty to be their girlfriend.
Sadly, there are other ideas people have about Asian women that aren’t nearly as positive. If you ask some men what they think of Asian women, they might say something along the likes of ‘Asian women are easy‘ – meaning I guess that Asian woman are easy to have sex with ( as long as you are a white male to begin with).
Unfortunately, Asian women have been portrayed as little more than sex objects and certainly no more than thinly sketched love interests for the main character. In most action films where the male visits Asia there will be a minor character who might provide some extra exoticism to the film. You can see this in franchise movies such as ‘Tokyo Drift’, or some of the Bond films set in Asian countries such as ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘You Only Live Twice’.
You do wonder why Hollywood has been so reticent when showing interracial relationships. Certainly it’s unusual even now to see films where the couple are of different nationalities. Even as international marriages become so common as to be not worth mentioning, the movies are such a long way from catching up that the movie that is closest to the reality of dating an Asian girl is still good old ‘Wayne’s World’ from 1992.
One of the things that annoys me by the glib term ‘yellow fever’ is that it only looks at one side of the equation. If you’re a white guy and you prefer to date women of a particular country, for example, China, you might feel a level of stigma for doing so. Maybe you prefer Asian women because of their interesting personalities. Or you like their unique dress sense. It could be that you have a unique feeling when you spend time with them that you never have when you are with women of other nationalities. Like creatures of habit, we Asian fanciers know from experience that we want to be with the yellow women, and it’s going to take a lot more than the disaproval of a bunch of angry man-hating liberals to make change our ways.
It is a bit rich to criticise men for favouring ‘eastern’ women, when those women profess an equally strong preference for men of Caucasian race. Another oft-mentioned claim is that white men exploit Asian women who they consider an easy target. This is not only a gross oversimplification, but it ignores something far more noticeable. The lack of desirability of many white women, along with their ridiculous levels of expectation, means that most white guys don’t stand a chance with women of their own race. If you were constantly ridiculed by women growing up, and seen as a loser by women in your surroundings, how are you able to form healthy relationships with the opposite sex? Its because men who move to Asian countries experience such a positive response from the women there that they begin to see themselves in a new light, and finally have the confidence to start approaching women in a natural and healthy way. It’s this new-found confidence that gives men the ability to start trading up – giving them the opportunity to meet girls considered out of their league back home.
Game playing If you’ve ever been on a date with someone whom you met through a datingapplication, be it tinder or similar, you probably faced a whole load of questions about things. Should you pay for the first date? Do you kiss her? Where do you go? Should it be somewhere expensive, or just a causal place? The problem is, no-one knows the answer. It’s why dating has become so much harder, especially now that women want to be seen as equals, whilst still clinging to the idea that men should pay for everything. The other thing you hear is that men dating white women have to jump through so many hoops, prompting one internet writer to declare that the real reason whitewomen are against men dating Asian women – they don’t want other men to see how easy it is when there are no games to play and you don’t need to go to great lengths to win her approval.
Stereotypes You hear so much about white men and Asian women, but what about the reversal? If you’re a woman who likes Korean or Japanese culture, you’re probably equally interested in men of the culture. Surely all the fans screaming at BTS aren’t just excited about the music? Yet, nobody has suggested that these women are racially stereotyping these men.
Why I prefer Asian women
Not that I’m some kind of pervert or anything, but I do happen to believe that Asian women have the nicest bodies of women anywhere. I have tried women all over the world, so it’s not like I’m an experienced loser who likes Asian women because those are the only women he has been with.
Do Western women even want to dress nice and make an effort? Lets face it, they never wear the clothes and accessories that men like. If they wore some nice skirts with tights and heels, wore make up an went to the gym, I might have a scintilla of interest. As it is, they way they dress makes me want to cover my eyes in shock.
You can bet I was swiping right on all of these. A fair few girls still like to wear denim cuttoffs, and why not? As I said, it’s all about looking as good as you possibly can. True, these aren’t the youngest women, but with my age fast approaching 40, there’s not too much I can do about that. Sometimes I think about settling down ( I will, eventually). But at the moment, I’m having so much fun getting to know these wonderful women. London has more Asian women than I will ever be able to date and I have no intention of ever stopping. All I can say is they have changed my life and they have changed it for the better.
China is in the news for many reasons. There is the on-going
trade war with the United States….. The persecution of the Uighur minority. The
country continues its dizzying rise to modernity, with cities being completely
redesigned in a few years.
One interesting social phenomenon that has recently been documented is the rise of the ‘leftover woman,’ (Sheng nu). This derogatory phrase refers to a woman over 26 (or thereabouts), who is not married or in a relationship. From the point of view of the labeller, its not a positive term, and it’s unlikely that any woman would want to refer herself as such. Nevertheless, with more and more young women in China choosing to delay or in some cases avoid marriage completely, many young women are so scared of being given the classification that they are doing whatever they can to find a husband.
Marriage markets are popping up in towns across the country. Here, parents display photographs and mini biographies of their daughters in the hope of attracting potential partners. And on dates, where women are trained to act as demurely as possible, they are advised to not assert themselves in any way or mention their careers.
Who might be considered ‘leftover’?
In theory, any woman above a certain age without prospects could be considered a leftover woman. However, it’s typically used to denigrate women who choose to ignore Chinese culture and tradition that says they should marry and start a family as soon as possible.
What are the reasons
for the leftover women?
China’s growing middle class are increasingly well-educated;
often much more so than their parents. They study more, often overseas. The
one-child policy introduced in 1980, meant that women born in this period are
considered by the older generation to be the most spoiled in history. Yet they
are also perhaps the most fortunate, being born at a time of greater prosperity
and fortune than their parents and grandparents. Women who grew up without
siblings (even though parents typically preferred a son) had more of their
parent’s attention and were able to enjoy a better education going further than
what would normally be available to women in families with sons. As a result,
many of today’s young women are focusing on their careers, choosing to provide
for themselves and get ahead.
Lack of suitors
The men in China are sometimes unfairly depicted in American
cinema as unreliable, addicted to gambling and alcohol. Whether this is the
reality, there must be a reason why Chinese women are choosing not to marry.
Whilst 28 is hardly considered old for women in Western countries, it’s
different in China. Many men want somebody younger than them, which explains
why so many Chinese women are marrying abroad. It is also worth noting that
women are often so much more educated that men cannot accept the prospect of
being married to someone more successful than they are.
“Leftover women” seems to be a handy term to describe a problem that isn’t really a problem at all. The emergence of women with greater economic independence and education is of great advantage to China, especially when women become successful internationally. The population of China has stayed steady and -even though the one-child policy has been rescinded – families are having smaller families anyway, reducing the poverty and the starvation of the Cultural Revolution.
With 15 million more men than women in China, there are is a
shortage of brides. It’s strange that it’s the men who are often being left
behind, – by a rapidly modern society – but women are the ones being labelled
Hint of misogyny?
To some, the term “leftover woman” is an attempt to stigmata a certain segment of women who are using more freedom that is now available to them, exactly the freedom that men have always had available to them as a matter of course. And more to the point, people aren’t happy that women are no longer happy to just stay at home and look after children. At the heart of the issue is there are women in China, a country considered at the other side of the world geographically and politically, who are closer to women in the west than those in small villages only a few hundred miles away.