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01 April 2004
William R. Morledge
Elvis HASN'T left the building
Easy Square  UPDATE
Rumor Of The Month
April's Follies in review
Fire guts Playskool


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         Last month, literally one hour after MIDNITE HOUR went to press, THE BIG CRACKDOWN was to have been implemented on Bangkok's Night Entertainment Industry.   We promised to "be on hand to observe how the reality unfolds as compared to the myriad predictions".   And 'on hand' we were, to see one of the most surprising policy turnabouts in the current Autocracy's term of office.   

         On 01 March, the date that all non-"Zone" Night Entertainment Venues were to close at the bewitching hour, a last-minute unofficial 'reprieve' was announced which allowed the closing hours of these non-'Zone' establishments to be extended for one hour to 01:00 am.   A collective, if somewhat disbelieving sigh of relief was heard from tourists, residents, Night Venue owners and their staffs, not to mention many (privately) within the current administration, and many more within the Tourism Authority of Thailand...

         But this was only the beginning of the "good news".   While the Press dutifully reported 'official' closing time as 01:00, Bangkok's Finest, somehow, were allowing Bangkok's Night Venues to continue to stay open until 02:00 am.   This extension of the old closing time was applied across the board, to include the smaller, outside bar beers. which for several months prior, had 12:00 midnight closing arbitrarily enforced at the capriciously twisted hands of those very same Men in Tan.   

         In other words, not only did nothing change for the bigger establishments, it actually improved for the smaller, outdoor bars.   The MIDNITE HOUR notes that regrettably, there has been certain obvious reversions to old habits, as some bar beer areas are now on earlier closing schedules once again.   Alas, unless and until Bangkok's Finest make up their mind to cease, or are forced to cease this practice of self-interpretation of the law, they will continue to deserve their 'dirty' reputation as one of Thailand's official Mafias.

         When - shortly thereafter - the next "official" word trickled from the Minoan Labyrinths of Power, we heard that the 01:00 am closing would become effective on 01 April 2004 instead.   But this seemingly 'official' word was not taken all that seriously; it looked to outsiders as though there was mass confusion in the 'corridors'.   No one knew for sure whether this was a face-saving 'way out' on the part of the Autocracy, or whether they actually "had a plan" they intended to implement.   To further muddy the waters, Deputy Preecha announced that the Zoning Law restrictions would apply only to those latecomer Night Entertainment Venues that were licensed after 13 January 2004, the day the Zoning Law became effective.   Further announcements tended to contradict themselves; - one such announcement said that at least until 01 April, Nightspots outside the Zone could stay open until 01:00 am, the same time as those within the Zones (note: Zone Night Venues could then stay open until 02:00 am.)   Once again "spokesmen" said that the old 'late opening' clause would be invoked after all (opening at 9:00 pm instead of 6:00 pm or earlier)   Or would it? - nobody could reconfirm this.   We then heard that Nightspots within the Zones would be closing at either 12:00 midnight, 01:00 am or 02:00 am, depending on the type of establishment - the types of establishments were, however, never defined.   In perhaps the most conundrum-atic statement yet, Deputy Government Spokesman Thorphong Chaiyasarn said that, instead of broad implementation, the Zoning Law would be applied against only those who broke it.   (Come again?)   The only thing certain was that there was no certainty.

         Behind this apparently very large crack in The Crackdown, one begins searching for 'motive'.   Did the Autocracy finally see the light? Did they get the word that their own populace, as well as the rest of the world saw "Social Order Crusade" as just another xenophobic knee-jerking effort - a self-serving attempt to be seen as "doing good"?   Did it finally hit them that they had their hands at their own throats vis-a-vis tourism?   I wouldn't count on it, brother.   Well, then, perhaps the hundreds of petitions signed by expat bar patrons as they walked in for their 'usual' at the local had a cumulative effect on the Powers-That-Be - bringing perhaps even a tear of regret to their eye?   Or perhaps the signs in Thai language posted in front of each Night Venue appealing for special Zone consideration, combined with the banners stretched across Sukhumvit Road calling for saner hours, and 'marches' by bargirls to City Hall are what finally swayed the Puritanical Forces of Good from their self-destructive path?   Don't count on it, brother.

         Try this on for size instead.   The incumbent Autocracy are advertising loudly and frequently that they will be running their own candidate for Bangkok Governor in the upcoming election.   Under ordinary circumstances, they already know they can ignore -at will- the wishes of the people - as well as any of the opposition.   But this is something not so easily ignored - especially when one remembers that the Crackdown is primarily a 'Bangkok thing', financially hurting everyone from the night street vendors on up.   The current Governor, Samak, got himself elected by promising MORE freedom, not LESS - specifically, by helping the street vendors, etc., and because of this he remains popular.   (Samak also is smart enough to know that he can't fight the Autocracy's money machine once he leaves the Governor's chair.)

         The incumbent Autocracy can no longer take the chance that they may not be able to just 'buy' the Governorship.   They now know, after their humiliating political trouncings in the South, that none of this is "a given".   The goalposts have moved, and this affects even the monolithic machine built by Thailand's richest billionaire.   This time around, this upcoming 'gubernatorial', they will somehow have to appear attractive to the public, as well as spend the big bucks.   And they won't be able to accomplish this with what Bangkokians have come to perceive as an economically counter-productive Crackdown .

         In an effort to maintain a realistic 'perspective' on the ongoing "crusade" we need to remember that this Night Entertainment Crackdown remains an ongoing story, and it ain't over until it's over.   There may in fact be further changes in the Autocracy's Zoning Plan effective tonight, 01 April, and then again, we might have to wait until after the gubernatorial election to see any further changes.   MIDNITE HOUR will continue to cover the high points in the upcoming months, and continue to chronicle same in these pages.

Related Events:
Urine Swoops resumed

         It's almost as if the Autocracy had been embarrassed at being seen to be in a state of self-contradiction and disorganization over their botched Zoning implementation...   Almost as if over-compensating, they immediately launched themselves into yet another high-profile Urine Swoop blitzkrieg.

         On 17 March, the Novotel's basement disco, Concept CM2 (owned by incumbent party MP Pornchai) was swooped down upon by Bangkok's Finest.   Their pretext for the raid was that they 'had received a tip-off' that Russian prostitutes were soliciting therein    Of course, it is always difficult to keep up with the latest scientific testing methods, but since when do you catch Russian hookers by urinalysis?   (Is there something we should know about Russian hookers?)   

         At any rate, that's what happened folks.   Bangkok's Men in Tan rolled their sleeves up and got their hands very, very wet determining just who was taking diet pills, antihistamine cold tablets, anti-allergy medicine, and, oh yes, who might have taken an illegal amphetamine.   They tested over 300 foreigners, and a good number of locals.   Good going, gang.   The Concept was closed for 30 days, because they found only one single legitimate violation - a single Thai youth under the age of 18 yrs had slipped past security staff.   --Or were they really closed down for 30 days?   Last time we looked, they were back open again.   It looks as though Thai really does Rak Thai.   As usual, no one was held as a result of having been tested for, and found to have "purple piss".

         Two nights later, Friday, the 19th of March, in the year 2004, under cover of extreme darkness, crack anti-fun troops launched further sorties deep into the heartland of Bangkok's Night Entertainment district.   Two of the larger soft targets were the Q-Bar at the back of Soi 11, and the brand-new Mystique on Soi 31.   I know each of you is sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what went down, however, you are going to be bored to tears to hear that it went exactly as it had gone before at the Concept CM2, and the Thermae Coffee Shop before it, and Soi Cowboy before that.   Sorry, no juicy drug busts, despite an enormous volume of urine collected by an enthusiastic Constabulary.   

         To set the record straight, we at BANGKOK EYES do not support drug abuse in any way, however we are against any violation of personal privacy or freedom, except in any such case which would limit the freedoms or safety of other individual(s) in the community, such as credible threats of terrorism, and anything similar.   But party-crashing, and the intentional humiliation of visitors to Thailand (and /or anyone else), solely for the purpose of self aggrandizement of one's own political party hardly comes under that category.   The indiscriminate enforcement of mandatory drug testing, where the testers know in advance the test results to be ambiguous and therefore useless, is premeditated, egregious harassment of the civilian population, - and there is no other way to say that.

Night Venues gouged
Ministry bilking will
encroach on 'Police Territory'

         As covered in the local Media, it appears that Night Entertainment Venue licenses will soon cost a hundred times more than they do now.   The Interior Ministry announced recently that this increase will affect those establishments it "considers to be the cause of the social problems".   (No longer will it be the private domain of Bangkok's Finest to bleed Bangkok's Night Entertainment Venues - and this time 'round, it will be sanctioned and above-board.)

         A Ministry spokesman said that "discotheques, ballrooms, restaurants with hostesses, and massage parlours would each pay 50,000 baht" for an operating license.   Currently those same fees are from 500 baht to 1,000 baht.   Similarly, Restaurants with live music, entertainment shows and dance floors would have to pay 30,000 baht the first time 'round, and 10,000 baht on renewal.   And out of the goodness of their hearts, they said they would have lesser rates for those smaller venues that would otherwise be driven out of business by their new exorbitant rates.

         So, at least they admit they are only trying to bilk the Night Entertainment Venues, and not actually trying to kill the geese that lay tourism's golden eggs.   Nightspots can go right on "causing social problems" as long as they pay for the privilege.   Now that's what I call downright thoughtful, don't you?   These Ministry guys are real bricks.

         This is the first time MIDNITE HOUR has heard about the Puritanical Forces of Good going after venues such as 'restaurants ...with dance floors'.   I'm sure you all know how decadent dance floors are.   I'm reminded of American disc-jockey Wolfman Jack - several years ago he announced on the radio that the Government was going to outlaw making love standing up because it could lead to dirty dancing.

*CLICK* on thumbnails to view these
Crackdown 'Signs Of The Times' -
 *Translation by Zootramp Publications

Easy Square Update

         Last month we at MIDNITE HOUR carried the story "Easy Square On Brink - Building Boom Erupts".   The following is our promised follow-up story on what will likely be Bangkok's next new Night Entertainment Area.

         Of Easy Square's 34 new bars-for-lease to have been completed by the end of last month, 14 of them were to have been occupied in the 15 - 31 March timeframe.   Although construction had proceeded to the "complete and useable facility" stage, by month's end none of the future occupants had yet completed their interior renovations.   

         Further, the original section (forming a "U" around the boxing ring) would not have 14 bars as originally planned, as some of the lessees had contracted for 2 or 3 or even 4 lots for their single bar beers.

         Two of these bars have completed the tiling of the floors and are starting to haul in items of fixed and moveable property.   Between them, they have taken up 6 of the 14 lots.   It is anticipated both will open before the end of April.

         The front section, containing the remaining 20 sections for lease is also physically completed, however prospective lessees have been slow to snap them up.   Owner / developer Khun Kai has her offices on premises - at the rear - for those interested in leasing.   She may be contacted at phone no. 01 426-3256.

         In the last half of February, the rapid pace of development had everyone convinced that Easy Square would gain the necessary depth and breadth to attain the magical "critical mass" before the end of March.   The reality is the Square is not quite there yet, although it is possible they will emerge as a self-sustaining Night Entertainment Area by the end of this April.   In the meantime, one shouldn't fill one's head with unrealistic expectations - things just aren't coming together at Easy Square as quickly as the owners and developers would have liked.

         Making matters even more ambiguous, many prospective lessees are being frightened off by rumors that the land under their future lounges and bars is destined for development into a super-large 5-Star hotel.   (See our "Rumor Of The Month" Award this month.)   The land owners, while confirming that the area has already been piled for just such a project, have stated that all the pilings have been broken off and have been covered over.   They offer as proof of their actual intent to develop the land as a Nightspot their own multi-million baht investment in the land improvements, the interior roadways, the construction of the beer bar areas, and the several earlier lessees now enjoying long-term leases.   This will be an interesting 'story' to follow as it precariously unfolds.

"Rumor Of The Month"

Where there's  

      "Rumor : No-fault confabulation, chain-reaction speculation...."    Nevertheless MIDNITE HOUR again presents the most outrageous / prevalent rumor to cross our desks this past month:

       "Easy Square, barely having crept out of the hole of anonymity, is said to have been doomed before it was born. Rumored to have already been deep-piled for the construction of a new hotel, after the '97 economic collapse, the pilings were covered over, and the land was filled to be let out on short term to other developers. Next year, the construction of the new 5-Star hotel will commence.

MIDNITE HOUR includes as part of our Rumor Of The Month an ongoing evaluation as to the accuracy of said rumors since the inception of the award.

As of 01 April 2004, the Rumor Accuracy Quotient remains at -

See our Archived Rumors at their worst : click   HERE.

April's Follies
begin here

      MIDNITE HOUR presents the NEWS on the Bangkok Night Scene; - the 'history-in-the-making' for all major Night Entertainment Areas  - for the month ending  1 APRIL, 2004 :

  • PATPONG  I • .
           The latest flip-flop by SuperGirls upstairs A-Go-Go-show bar leaves it's street-level doors tightly bolted from the outside yet again.   Going back to July 2001, they closed for renovations, but were reopened a month later, seemingly more ready than ever to take the world by storm.   But by August 2003 they had closed again, mainly due to lack of business.   Rumors of their relocation aside, they reopened again this January (2004).   Long time residents and return visitors may remember it as the Blue Angel Bar, which remained its legal name to the last.   Observers on the ground say they have moved to Silom Soi 2 - but somehow we doubt that, for if true, they have become one of half a dozen katoey bars now open on that soi.   (Silom Soi 2, limited in size, will never be able to reach the critical mass of a self-sustaining Night Entertainment Area.)   • PATPONG I •             Radio City, a thriving live music lounge since it absorbed Smile Club in October of '94, has probably the most hideous Elvis Presley statue ever devised by man.   Obviously a 'labor of love' by someone with absolutely no talent for sculpture.   If Elvis isn't spinning in his grave, I'll eat my hat - if I may mix a metaphor or two...   Located strategically between the outside seating area and the entrance to the upstairs Lucifer Disko Tk, we originally thought it was placed there temporarily for a music promotion.   How wrong we were.   Our best guess is they are using it as a sort of scarecrow to keep dogs and motorcycle drivers from urinating there during the day.   Nevertheless 'there's good rockin' tonight', both downstairs and upstairs.   • PATPONG I • 

  • PATPONG  II • .
           Chicken Divine, now having completed it's renovations -without closing- has a big new sign which adds the words, "Bar Beer" - almost as if we wouldn't be able to figure it out on our own.   They are now Chicken Divine Bar Beer, and their sign even has a Dixie Chicken doing her Marilyn Monroe 'wind-blowing-the-dress-up' thing.   Let the good times roll.   • PATPONG II • 

           Having often been asked, MIDNITE HOUR takes care to report a Night Entertainment Venue's name exactly as appearing on it's most prominent sign.   (You would be surprised at the number of different ways some venues represent their own names at any single given time.)   There are a couple of reasons for our decision to choose the most prominent sign - first, it helps our readers to quickly identify these venues when visiting for the first time.    Secondly, as a matter of historical record - to chronicle "the Scene" as accurately as possible, especially when some bars carry the same, or very similar names.   In the past, we frequently noticed, but did not write down almost insignificant changes in the signage, only to find out later that in some cases there had been a change of owners and /or a change in format and/or we had missed a crackdown by authorities on 'legal names'.   We also record /report it's legal name, if different, and if posted.   The latest bit of such minutiae (also noted last month) is S.T.V. Bar (Memphis Queen Beer Bar), where only the brackets are new - however in this case, its business as usual..   • PATPONG II • 

           The cat seems to be mostly out of the bag on the future of the once proud Rififi.   Although the new owners won't quite make their anticipated 01 April opening, they will, all going well, be in the saddle and riding hard on 03 April.   And who are "they"?   We originally heard it would be another Dollhouse, however current signage belies that.   It will be the Electric Blue, and it will be an A-Go-Go show bar, similar in format and "look & feel" to its slightly older twin sister in Pattaya.
      MIDNITE HOUR often sees 'signs of the times' which we feel should be "captured" for posterity - actual signs, or representative occurrences from which some future historian might get a better feel for "today".   The Electric Blue's sign, a large, hand-painted banner advertising that it will be opening soon and that it is now hiring, is just such a sign.   And we quote ; -

  • "Now Hiring !
  • Showgirls      12,000 baht/mo
  • Dancers         6,000 baht/mo
  • Cashiers         5,000 baht/mo
  • Bartenders      5,000 baht/mo.
  • Security/safety persons (read 'Bouncers')   5,000 baht/mo
  • 4 days off per month !
  • Ma Ma - (Mamasan)  (Ma Ma- also a popular brand of Thai noodles - ed)
           Contact us by phone, or apply within starting 03 April."

     *Translation by Zootramp Publications
  • .  • PATPONG II • 

               Without regurgitating the entire listing of name changes and openings & closings over the last 2 years, the King's Lounge Disco has opened it's second floor doors once again. (Located on Soi Bookstore, which connects Patpong I & Patpong 2.)   We wish you constancy.   Once again.   • PATPONG II • 

      • NANA  PLAZA • .
               The Casanova in the corner on the 2nd floor, has a brand-new sign which stretches it's name to Casanova Bar, thus differentiating it ever so slightly from the just plain "Casanova" which is found on Soi Bookstore between the Patpongs.   The format for the Plaza's Casanova Bar remains Transgenderite A-Go-Go.   • NANA PLAZA • 
               The Playskool A-Go-Go was severely damaged by fire about 06:00 am in the morning of 30 March.   Renovations/repairs should be completed before 01 May, all going well, however with the Songkran holidays coming up, tradesmen will be more than a little hard to come by.   Dancers and inside /outside staff will be transferred to Lucky Lukes a few doors down, and to their Soi Cowboy outlets, Sheba's and the Suzie Wong Bar in the interim.   Playskool's outside bar beer was not damaged, however without electricity, only darkness shines out from within - it remains cordoned off with yellow cellophane tie-wrap for the foreseeable.   • NANA PLAZA • 

      • SOI  COWBOY • .
                Something's been a-building between Cowboy 1 A-Go-Go and it's sister, Cowboy 2.   At first we thought it was an expansion of the Cowboy 1, but as it nears completion, they have posted their own rap samak duan sign, wanting to hire 'beautiful dancers for high salary', cashiers, bartendees, hostesses and khon serbs.   Living on-campus (upstairs) is being offered to prospective employees.   Rather than posting rumored names for the future venue, we will wait a few more days and see for ourselves, as it looks like it will be on the firing line before the end of the month.   • SOI COWBOY • 

      • COWBOY  ANNEX • .
                In a surprise reversal, the Fantacy bar beer in the 4-Pak has risen from it's own ashes and now finds itself nearly alone (one of five bar beers) in what is now a virtual wasteland at the Soi 23 side of this Annex.   How long the reprieve is good for is anyone's guess, as the land owner stalls yet again on commencing construction on this property.   Welcome back to the wargames - while they last.   • COWBOY ANNEX • 

      • SOI  DEAD  ARTISTS  (Soi 33) • .
              Gone but not gone, the Casablanca has but changed the way it spells it's name.   Down with the old sign, up with the new:- 'Casablanka Japanese Karaoke' spells everything out quite clearly now - orientation : Oriental.   • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

              Not to be outdone, the Koi Gokoro has also dropped its old sign, putting up a fancier, more complete version for public consumption:- Koi Gokoro Club & Karaoke.   All else remains the same...     • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

                As anticipated, the Oliver reed's Club may now be counted among its peers.   It has thrown its ample doors open and rolled out the red carpet.   No, you aliterates, Oliver Reed was not an impressionist painter, he was a thespian more famed for his drunken shenanigans than his profession (he once passed out on a baggage carousel at an airport, making the full circuit several times before authorities finally removed him). He finally drank himself to death (3 bottles of rum at a single sitting) during the filming of Gladiator.   Can this really, then, be that good a name for a bar?   Who are we to say?   We noticed on the new sign that 'Reed' was not capitalized -- was this a case of  , or was the guy just drunk?   Seriously, though, we welcome them to the slaughterhouse.     • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

              Just next door, in the same complex the You and Me Club have only recently finalized the interior decorating and have hung their sign out to glow.   It's attractive hostesses greet the passing denizens-of-the-night from the almost-street-level front porch.   'Lounge-Bar' the prime agendum.   May there always be a chin-choke in your corner.    • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

              Across the street, the just-plain Papa has also made its maiden sortie into the night-world this last month.   It has switched on the colored lights and unlocked the liquor cabinet with a vengeance.   The hostesses provide a pleasing ambiance and welcome one and all in for a visit.   'Lounge-Bar' is, of course, the modus operandi.   May Papa and staff prosper at the feet of the night-Gods.     • SOI DEAD ARTISTS • 

      • TOBACCO  ROAD  • .
                The Hello Bar wasn't really dead last month - it was just playing 'possum.   It has reopened and seems to be keeping it's few customers happy.   Welcome back to the dogfight.   • TOBACCO RD  (Soi 0) • 

                Most of the action in Tobacco Road seems to be at the top of the soi, where Duang Phithak Road meets Sukhumvit at the railroad tracks.   The outdoor noodle shops, while selling a few bowls of kwei-tiew now and again, are making their real money selling buckets of ice, bottles of Mekhong whisky and tall bottles of Beer Singh.   Last Saturday, a fairly large local crowd, mostly from the Ma Chim chum chon, had gathered at the approximately two-dozen folding metal tables and were proceeding to get themselves good and plastered - Thai style.   While certainly an interesting development, and not particularly disconcerting to the regular expat, it might be a little off-putting to new arrivals making their way past all this to get into the bar area.   • TOBACCO RD  (Soi 0) • 

      • " SOI  KATOEY " • .
                At the old Velvet digs, the new owners put up a sign in mid-February saying, "NEW CLUB OPENING IN MARCH".   Yes, they failed to say March of which year.   The large, boldly lettered sign, however, is masking a flurry of late-night construction activity - and, to be fair, it looks possible that they could open before the end of April.    That's this April.     • SOI KATOEY • 

                The downstairs Speed has absorbed its upstairs Hip Hop R&B yet another time, becoming just Speed - yet another time.   We have no idea when they will stop their name-games, and we are quite certain they have no idea either - perhaps it's another case of battling Mor Feng Shui.   Nevertheless, they are survivors - wish them well.    • SOI KATOEY • 

      • EASY SQUARE • .
                Two weeks ago, Easy Square's looongest bar hung out its neon shingle.   The bar beer itself is fifty feet long, and almost 10 feet wide.   The new 4 U Bar has a pool table at the West end.   Its make-do sign, created with light strings in clear plastic hoses proves more than adequate.   We welcome them to the sharkpool.     • EASY SQUARE • 

                At what was dubbed the "soft opening" the second round of Muay Thai matches was held in Easy Square on 27 March.   The venue was the slightly-smaller-than-regulation boxing ring located in the center of what French developer Ludo Ludvig is tentatively, if more than a little ambitiously calling 22 Square Boxing Stadium.   The event looked more like a moo-baan Saturday night than an expat attraction, but things will soon change if Khun Ludo has his way.   Once the 'stadium seating' details are worked out and constructed, it will be a professional arena for martial arts and shows, with tour busses supplying the bulk of the ticket-buying customers.   We sincerely hope this comes to pass without incident, but our past experience -(failed boxing rings at Clinton Plaza, at Sukhumvit Square and at Cowboy Annex)- leads us to tread warily.   In each of the above mentioned cases the nak-leng element soon raised it's ugly head, and aside from rampant gambling, there were often alcohol-augmented fights outside the ring as well.   All previous attempts failed after a few months in operation.   Nevertheless, we admire his enthusiasm and welcome him to the wolfpack.   By the bye, Khun Ludo has a few bar beer sub-leases available ringside - and can be contacted at mobile phone no. 07 914-0488.     • EASY SQUARE • 

      • " 13  NIGHT  MARKET " • .
                The Mic Chokdee-Bar bar beer have opened in a flurry of enthusiasm found only in those who have never owned a bar before.   Wish them luck as they cast their dice against the pitted wall of fate.   They bought out the old Thai Tattoo Bar who have quietly decided to call it an evening -after helping to 'pioneer' this Night Entertainment Area about this time last year.   Greener pastures, gang.     • 13 NIGHT MARKET • 

                The Golden Eyes has a new sign which says just that.   The old sign, in place for several months, had fallen victim to   - it read, 'Golden Eeys'.   The new sign, aside from being spelled correctly, is an improvement over the old.     • 13 NIGHT MARKET • 

           The blind Isan beggar makes his way slowly through the crowded, narrow lane that separates the bar-beers in the 13 Night Market.   His black-on-white pa-kao-ma is his shawl, and bare feet are more than good enough for the soft city life.   His patient wife guides him at the elbow while he plays a traditional up-tempo tune on his home-made khaen.   He holds the ancient reed instrument as if in a wai, and plays in an animated fashion, racing from high to low notes and back again.   The one small problem is there is no sound emanating from what must surely be a virtuoso performance of some magnitude.   The white rap thundering from Monica's, the techno-crap scragging out of the Mic and the acid-rock cracking out of the Sweet Home Bar are entirely inundating any melody that may or may not be emanating from the old bamboo khaen.   The old man's spirited improvisations are reduced to a bizarre, head bobbing pantomime.   Not often one takes pity on Bangkok's beggars.   Tonight is an exception.
        • 13 NIGHT MARKET • 

      • The No-News-Is Good-News Dept.• 

      •  QUEEN'S  PARK  PLAZA• .


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