Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Report 7: Bangkok Boy - Story Of A Stolen Childhood

Front cover and the spine image
stitched together, for those
who browse used book stores
The man credited with writing the book "Bangkok Boy - The Story of a Stolen Childhood" is - despite all he's been through, including several instances where he by all rights ought to have died - is still alive.

Now somewhere in his mid-40s I've heard he works days as a tour guide and and can often be found on Soi Twilight, one of the main gay bar areas of Bangkok by night where he (I'm told) is a manager at the Scorpion bar. He's said to be married now, with two children.

I say "credited with writing," because in the acknowledgements he thanks one Soshan Itsarachon with making the book happen, and I'm going to stick my neck out and assume that Soshan actually ghost wrote the book for him.  The rumor is it was written by an Englishman, but it's of no real consequence who told the story; the fact that it appeared in print is what counts, I suppose.

In his mid-teens he was molested by a neighbor and given 100 baht, and that was his introduction to the world of prostitution. At the urging of some of his friends at he was swept away at the age of 23 by the lure of relatively fast money in the sex clubs of Bangkok, which is the real start of his story. His path then followed one familiar to most who fall into that quagmire of sex, drugs and violence, and parts of it are heartbreaking, so be warned.  He was lucky to escape from the alcohol and other addictions that overtook him, and his is actually a success story, as odd as that may sound here.

Nevertheless, it's a story anyone who dabbles in the "pay for play" world of rented admirers ought to find enlightening, especially if you're ready to take off the rose-colored glasses and see the truths (for many, anyway) of the World's Oldest Profession - for bar boys and bar girls alike. There have been several other books published that claim to illustrate the world of females in the business, but this is without a doubt one of the best I've found on the life of the bar boys/males many find entertainment with, comfort from, or both.

I bought my copy at Asia Books a handful of years ago and read it over a couple of long, lazy afternoons in Bangkok, but it's still in wide circulation and available from many places besides Thailand.

It's a disturbing but entertaining and reasonably easy read, and one I highly recommend.

Bangkok Boy: The story of a stolen childhood
Maverick Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-905379-51-4
Amazon: $12USD, Kindle $7.50, Asia Books: 525Bt


Anonymous said...

I met Chai last year in the Soi. We talk for hours about his past and his present. Chai is a terrific person who experienced a lot in life and willingly shared his experience in our conversation and his book. I was fortunate to buy a copy from him, which he gracefully autographed.

khunbaobao said...

Thank you for that. I hope to meet him on my next visit and ask him a few questions myself, if he's willing to talk a bit.