Previous Next
A common sight on the streets of cities like Bangkok and Pataya is portrayed from the eyes of the girl.

Shy / Photo: a hundred visions

When cruising the streets of any hectic Asian city you will see them. You will judge them. You will either respect them and it or you will not.

You might see them walk hand in hand. Maybe he will have an arm around her. Maybe she will cling to him as if there’s no day tomorrow. You will see her dedication to him. And maybe you will see how much he enjoys the attention of a young feisty girl.

It’s all about the love between two people. A young Asian girl and an old grey man that has seen better days.

Can you call this love?

It all depends on the definition of the word “love”. There are many different levels of love and many ways of feeling this “love.”

More or less any poor Asian girl knows that if she lands a Westerner it means security. She needs it and she wants it. Her family is dependent on it and they know if there’s no cash on the table there’s no food in the belly.

Another Perspective

Through her eyes: picture a family of eight and where the youngest sister recently returned home with a new born baby, all living in a one room shed. A hole in the floor functions as a toilet and a bucket provides a cold shower. The kitchen is the fire they start outside their wooden entrance and only door.

You get desperate. You need money. You need security and you do not care how. Desperation for survival eats its way inside you.

You get desperate. You need money. You need security and you do not care how. Desperation for survival eats its way inside you.

Seeing the elderly Westerners who you know are looking for a good time, you start getting ready. Throw on your nicest piece of clothing and whatever make-up you are lucky enough to have and out you go. The bars, the streets, the restaurants even the corner of any highway.

When people look at you, they know. They think their thoughts about you and you feel humiliated, cheap and scared. But what you are most scared of is not being able to feed your sister’s baby and your family.

A man comes up to you and starts a conversation. You feel insecure about what to say. You want to say the right thing. You want him to like you, to take you in, to fall in love with you. To save you.

The Dream

It happens, the greatest thing you ever dreamt of happens. You pinch yourself making sure it’s real, that in this moment, in this time, in this place. It’s real!

Looking back / Photo: i see you

He feeds you, takes you to nice up beat restaurants, you hold his hand. You sleep with him and he treats you well. He’s a good man. An old man but a sincere man. You get to know more about him and him about you. He tells you he’s lonely and lives in a cold country on the other side of the world.

You cling to him; you feel “love” for him. You tell him you “love” him and after a while he says “okay.”

Your family starts to eat better; the baby is safe and healthy. He gives you money twice a month to help you and your family lead a better life.

Then he’s gone, back to his home country and your whole world falls apart. What now? The desperation you felt before meeting this wonder of a man starts burning inside of you again.

Then he calls: “Let’s go open a bank account and I will transfer the money to you while being home”. You feel relieved. You feel calm and most grateful to this God of a man.

A Reason To Live

Is this love? The answer would be yes and no.

She loves him of the fact that he helps her. We, the ones born and raised in a country where hunger is not an issue; far away from the world of poverty. We don’t see things the same way.

What we care about is having the right car, the cool shoes, the modern brands, the fashionable clothes, and the only desperation you feel is being cool enough join the community of the ridiculous materialistic world you live in.

He loves her too. She gives him a reason to live, even at home. He calls her, tells her what he’s been doing and how his side of the world treats him. They share stories, thoughts, smiles, and maybe even secrets.

They do have a relationship; they are together as a couple. Their exist in a world of their own.

What would you think if your father began dating this girl?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Culture + Religion

 

About The Author

Gizmo Joensen

Gizimo Joensen is living life as a story worth telling. While leaving delicate footprints behind her she is hoping on having made a little difference when exiting. She pays her way through her rootless travels by teaching English and as a personal trainer. She just recently decided to share her tales with others and therefore does not yet have an official site.

  • http://www.chronicleproject.org Gudgefilm

    Was surprised to read this article. Let’s be honest, this circumstance is what people like to call the “sex trade.”

    In my extensive experience working in Thailand, the majority of these types of relationships are pretty clear examples of prostitution. Sure it’s possible for certain types of “love” to be involved as you say, but I think that it’s probably better to call it “lust” on one side and a “way to survive” on the other. This is more sad than touching.

    As far as the girl taking care of her family, I think this rosy perspective is naive. Often there is a mother or father involved who rules the girl’s life, forcing her into these sexual transactions so that the family can be “provided for”. When it comes to family in Thailand, there are more cultural factors to be considered than what is brought up here. If a family is forcing a girl into this lifestyle then it’s called slavery. Slavery is bad.

    I’d love to see an article on BNT about why this sex trade has become acceptable (and for some people necessary) in Thailand. My vote is for the sex trade not being a good thing, so our dialogue should be about how we can help contribute to a better solution.

  • Sumi

    I would think my father was a fetishing pervert and I would hope my stepmother doesn’t catch him…

    Serioulsy, it’s nothing to think about because my father can’t go to the corner store without her companionship. I think many men seek out vulnerable poor girls to have their way with them. Some have fetishes for non-white women and ususally their intentions aren’t good. I don’t blame the girls for trying to eat, but I do blame society for not providing them with an opportunity so they could take care of themselves and not rely on some stranger. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure there are legitimite love connections made, but there are also many who get trapped with some bum who couldn’t get laid in his trailer or pit stop.

    • Ace Lamar Blockington III

      I think many young women seek out lonely old men. So who is the victim? At the end of the day (or night, as it were) the man is out money that he may or may not be able to afford. The woman has lost nothing.

      Women are naturally attracted to men who can support them.

      Men are naturally attracted to beautiful young women who can make healthy babies.

      Who are you to say this isn’t ‘love’?

      Look at how traditional ‘love’ turns so quickly to bitterness and hatred in the wake of divorce and infidelity. Unfortunately romantic love is just a chemical reaction designed by nature to keep people together long enough to raise children to a certain age (6 -8, not 18). It’s not the all-conquering mystical power that movies would have you believe.

      • DHarbecke

        Ace, your stance weakened after the first paragraph. Love isn’t the same thing as attraction, and certainly not as simple as you describe it. If it were, every woman would be chasing Bill Gates and every man would be buying their spouses prom dresses. Both cases are daaaaaamn creepy, with a capital “eep”.

        Traditional “love” (there’s another kind?) turns to bitterness and hatred because love doesn’t last without trust. Broken trust = disappointed attraction = sugar in the gas tank. Love fails for other reasons, too – the trick is keeping it alive.

        Romantic love as “just a chemical reaction” for procreation doesn’t explain homosexuality, single mothers (seeing kids to adulthood is successful procreation), 50th anniversaries or Ashton Kutcher/Demi Moore. Nor does it doesn’t necessarily fall away when the kids hit the late teens. And, if such extremes in cross-cultural couples are still together after a few years of miscommunication and homesickness, there’s probably something more to the “all-conquering mystical power” you dismiss as purely biological.

  • Sumi

    disregard typos. I forgot to use spell check

  • Mark

    Great article!

    Interesting and thought provoking question. Not sure what I think yet.

  • Georgia

    I have no judgment to make about the relationships that people get into. I lived in Asia and I saw this all the time, with American military men and Filipino women. I did not blame them for trying to escape their lot. I’m sure the relationships described run the gamut from real to exploitative. Nothing is going to change human nature except the choices that humans themselves make.

    I *am* concerned that Ms Joensen claims to be teaching English. That bothers me a lot.

    • Gizmo Joensen

      Hi Georgia,

      Thank you for your contribution to this discussion.
      Could you please state why me teaching English has anything to do with writing about this subject – I do not see my job having any connection to this discussion!?

      • http://www.LawOfAttractionSuccessStories.com Jonathan Lockwood

        Have to admit that I too am dying to hear why this person is so concerned that you are “claiming” to teach English. Do tell.

      • http://iridesnow.com/ Rob

        I don’t think what Georgia said about teaching English has anything to do with the subject of the article.

        I think she was expressing concern about you teaching English when there might be a couple instances in the article of, perhaps, not the most perfect use of the English language. However, she seems to be picking nits to me.

      • Monger

        I am a grammar Nazi, so I was getting worried as well. However, I saw half-way through the article that you do know the proper use of semi-colon. Don’t take offense to Georgia’s comments. She just didn’t read enough.

  • http://singingthesky.com Michelle

    Is it really all that different from what happens in the US? Lots of people marry because of the security that the other partner can give them. And many women here marry men who have good jobs (but who may not meet other, ideal, criteria) so that they can live in a nice house and maintain or gain social status. These marriages are made without concern for a sibling who could otherwise starve, etc. So who are we to pass judgment, really, since our reasons for relationships are often far more shallow than survival?

    Nothing wrong with surviving!

    This sort of arrangement may not be ideal, but we really should look at our own behavior first, perhaps.

  • http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com Turner Wright

    I’m glad you didn’t frame this article as a rant, but looked at both sides with a certain standoffishness.

    The truth is, I considered this kind of relationship just plain disgusting at face value when I first started living in Thailand; seeing the universal reactions of bar girls to me as a white walking wallet only cemented this belief: the whole thing is despicable.

    But then, like you, I started considering both sides of the situation, due to the fact I read a book about a seemingly reasonable old white man who married a semi-young Thai woman. He’s lonely, and tires of the complicated dating scene at home. She’s not exactly lonely, but in need. Desperately in need.

    I like the title of this, in the sense who are others to judge other relationships? We might see a white man and Asian girl in the middle of Bangkok and they could very well be identical to a john and a hooker, but on the other hand, there might be only feelings of amiability between the two, a “love” born in ways completely different than that we were raised to believe: a knight in shining armor, a princess fair and true, mutual respect and a relationship not based on financial dependence.

    It certainly isn’t love as we know it. But, in many ways, it’s not wrong, either.

  • Tonya

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong or disgusting with that: two consenting adults offering each other what the other needs/wants. It’s similar to a marriage, except without the certificate.

    • sunydayz

      Except that it ISN’T two adults.

  • http://wayworded.blogspot.com/ Hal

    Gotta agree with Sumi. If this were my dad, he wouldn’t be hearing from me anymore. There’s only one word for a sexual relationship with this kind of power discrepancy: abhorrent.

    Your conscience is there for a reason, old white dudes. Use it.

    • Howie

      I thought this was a great article. It is unfortunate that society creates stereotypes based on prejudices. I happen to be an old white guy who has to be careful how he looks at kids or the opposite sex for fear of being labeled a pervert. Never mind the fact that I met and married an Asian women over twenty-five years ago or that I raised three beautiful children. It’s true that the sex trade is alive and well in Thailand, but it is also alive and well everywhere else. I agree with Gizmo!

  • A Thai in Brussels

    I’m a Thai woman, my husband is white guy from Belgium.
    I’m so sick and tired of this kind of stereotype people have towards Thai females in general without even knowing in depth.

    You have rights to think that this kind of relationship is disgusting.
    Not a problem. Because it is disgusting even to us, who hold the same nationality as those girls.

    Being a Thai, married and living in Europe. People don’t care what you do, once they know you’re Thai, you’re labeled as wh*re right away. I don’t find it amusing at all.

    Even I’m earning money more than my husband these days (I’m a graphic designer, sorry for not falling in cliché type of ‘job’) But just because I’m Thai, people shut down their mind and treat me like bar girls.

    For those who don’t have to face this kind of problem. I’m happy for you guys. But since I’m a woman, who is Thai. This is what I got.

    Bottom line is, we just WISH not to be generalized just because of our nationality. That’s all.

    • maryla

      I am agree about ur statements, the disgusting is how some man have prespektive
      About asian girl, they just think pay the girl and the young lady become his property
      Some white man exploitation the woman with a bit money try make bullshit and using the innocent girl, they have no respect,
      Even some asian girl lucky find a good guy but still they have perspektive asian girl marriage for many
      I from indonesia working as IT in my country and have bf swedish for 4 year, I never ask for money, not at all, and finally
      I know he bullshit me already
      They easy come and easy go I think

    • Monger

      True, it must be quite hard for you. Blame the American media and girls that do engage in such activities.

  • Amanda

    I don’t think you looked at both sides at all. First, I would ask where you picked up this story from? Have you spoken to any girls who have done this? I work with South Asian sex workers and I can tell you that ‘love’ is never a commonly used term. Also, you did not discuss both sides — you talked from a women’s perspective, a women in another culture and class. I see your voice too present in this story. What about the white old man — why is he in Asia? Rarely, rarely do white man decide to set up a system of funds for Asian girls they meet — please avoid painting a rare picture.

    I get your point, but I think this story is unreal and unlikely. This is exploitation, not love. When he can do without her, but she needs him to survive, he understands the power dynamics and can, and often do, abuse it.

  • Gizmo Joensen

    To the ones wondering where I “picked up” this story ; This article is based on a true story.

    Leaving names and details out, both these mentioned individuals are having the exact relationship as described in this story.

    Not all elderly while men are “perverts”.. some as said are just looking for a reason to live and feel the long lost love and hope they have been without for years!

    I hope that clears it all a little..

    Thanks for your comments, appreciate it!

    Giz

  • http://www.LawOfAttractionSuccessStories.com Jonathan Lockwood

    Well, so much for being able to set ones personal experiences aside and seeing such a situation from another perspective…

    Earlier in life I considered any relationship with a considerably older man and considerably younger woman to be so…obvious! Then something happened when I reached my late 30s: young women started coming on to ME. Now we’re not talking about poor, third-world women; just young 21 to 24 year-old ladies. I did not expect this, and was perfectly puzzled by it. I will never again allow a woman to portray this situation as “a perverted man using some poor girl.” In most cases, it’s the “girls” who are either incredibly open to it–or the initiators themselves.

    So, before moving onto the specific situation described in this post, let’s agree on a primary basis for these relationships: the fact that historically and biologically women tend to choose mates based upon “security.” Oh, it’s true… They SAY something different–but study-after-study demonstrates that “women were drawn to material wealth and security.” (See http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/6245.html) To be clear, men ALSO say one thing–and do another, so this is NOT an attempt to disparage women.

    I obviously wouldn’t advocate the horrific human slavery we’ve heard so much about, but the situation described here cannot be categorized as such. The fact that this “security attraction” exists between men and women in Western culture can certainly explain why it might happen in others–and why it might be magnified when those females are in particularly dire financial straits.

    Yes, it’s terrible to imagine anyone (male or female) using another under false pretenses, and discarding them. And some may to prefer to believe that ALL such relationships fit into this category, refusing to admit an actual, substantive connection can occur. (Or how common it is for young females to use males to advance themselves–only to abandon HIM later. That’s just something to be chuckled at.) But, if life has taught me anything at the age of 43, it’s not to let others dictate your opinions or define your reality.

    It’s not for me, but that shouldn’t matter to you.

  • http://voyagner.com Dan

    Someone already said these relationships can run the gamet from real to exploitative. It’s always the middle ages balding and overweight foreigner. Where this article fails for me though is the white woman pretending to understand the thoughts and motivations of the Asian women who become involved in these relationships.

    I wouldn’t call this the sex trade either, the girls who are unfortunately forced into that have a lot less to to look forward to than a loveless life with the stereotype above.

  • http://www.homewhiteningcare.org/ Gizmo Joensen

    Hi Georgia,

    Thank you for your contribution to this discussion.
    Could you please state why me teaching English has anything to do with writing about this subject – I do not see my job having any connection to this discussion!?
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  • d

    show me any country where hunger is not an issue.

  • Meli

    This happens to be a huge problem in Latina America as well. There were times where I would be at the bars and clubs, I would see a nice looking guy and would want to approach them. When I did, I got the most chilling stares from a lot of females, and they would quickly latch on the guys friends, if they had any.

    Don’t mess with their bread and butter.

  • http://fsmith2230@charter.net Florence

    How close to home that subject is. My son fell under the influence and married the young woman immediately after discovering that she was pregnant… you know, the old trick of women since biblical times… it most always works. Must be the first thing their mothers teach their female children when they become old enough. And, yes, living in the States, they are the ‘providers’ for dozens and dozens of family members ‘over there’ in the Philippines. However, even though the tales of the Asian vs the Caucasian are all true, they do indeed have a happy marriage.
    He is a controller personality and absolutely NEEDS a servile personality to be happy in life. Being a foreigner from dirt poor, she is indeed servile and fits into his life perfectly. No other personality would have been successful. Their children of Asian/Caucasian mix are quite beautiful, and are very intelligent.
    No attempt has been made by her to have any contact with her family, due to the differences, no doubt. Different language, different religeon, different culture.
    It will never be any different after 18 years. There is always a divide between us due to distance and la difference… but since they are very happy together, that’s all that really matters. She was one of the lucky ones who beat the system.

  • http://www.huevosalamexicana.com Sarah Menkedick

    I think there’s an important distinction here between long-term relationships and marriages and a lot of the short term joy rides men go on in Asia. In China businessmen come and hire out young girls to take them around to the Silk Market, to clubs, to restaurants. I used to see it all the time and my male friend, a lawyer in Beijing (I was teaching at a university there), told me that most of the men he knew were in Asia “for the women.”

    I do not think, much of the time, that those men are interested in marrying and providing for a wife and her family. In fact, many of them are married. The girl can make some money from the transaction, but it has almost nothing to do with love and is not what I would define as a “relationship” but rather an exchange of services.

    I do think, though, that it’s important to understand the dynamics behind the whole white male/Asian women cliche and the way we think about it. And I thought the Thai woman’s comment (A Thai Living In Brussels) was really relevant–it is important to step back before making all sorts of huffy judgments and assumptions.

    That said, I wouldn’t romanticize much of the foreign guy/Asian girl dynamic I’ve seen in China. My husband used to walk down the street and have men come up and try to drag him into bars saying “sex sex sex girls girls girls.” He couldn’t go to any foreigner/tourist area without that happening. That, I think, is the sign of something deeply wrong.

  • http://www.huevosalamexicana.com Sarah Menkedick

    I want to add, though, great and ballsy post, and great discussion! Thanks for writing this, Gizmo.

  • None

    Stop judging people. They each get what they want. Who cares? How does it change your life?

  • http://www.singleboersetest.com Jana

    In western countries you see an old rich man with a good looking young woman. It this always love?

  • http://yahoo margot

    hi,

    i came from philippines and married to a white man,i am 40 and hes 39 but he looks older than i,many people thought i am bet 27-30., but my husband look even older than hes age.so when were together and out,a lot of people
    staring on me and my husband and look back at me again,
    so i guess white man really look older than asian people.

    i belong to a third world country but i live a descent life back to my homeland, many time s on my way to europe and back to phils.i spoke to some white men who visited some women in diff parts of philippines and most of them or i would say 100 percent of them saying they working hard to find filipina because their wives cheated on them and go with another man,some they caught in bed…

    is that what u call love?..where is love?…why they want to find love with filifina women…

  • John

    My first reaction whenever someone shouts prostitution with regards to this type of relationship is to wonder what part of town they are hanging out in to form this generalization.

    There are many cultures in the world who hold different values towards relationships than yours – respect that and move on.

  • Gizmo Joensen

    I keep getting the feeling that a lot of you readers of this article see this article quite “black on white! Of course not all relationships are as mentioned. But that doesnt mean you have to forget that good relationship, strong, independent and healthy relationships does happen between young Asian girls and elderly men. Why do we always have to put our focus on the bad things in life. You turn the news on and all you get is what happens in the world of negative things.. how come they never mention the good stuff. The stories that put a smile on a face. With this article I think it’s real important to remember that it does happen. So before judging what you see when spotting these couples you might want to think twice.
    Yes some cheat but Westerners cheat too.. yes some have weird and scary sex fetishes ; Westerners do too.
    There will always be two sides of a story and it’s all up to you whether you want to think the worst or if you’re ready to open your eyes to new thoughts.. they might just be as happy as you are with your husband or wife. As said, age difference and cultural differences does equal “using each other for what they can’t have else where”!

    As some of the readers wrote, readers who are either married or in a relationships and healthy ones too, being Westerners and Asians, (some with children) they are the ones to keep in mind. They are the ones to focus on.

    It might be rare.. but why forget the rare and focus on the bad in life..

    In the end it’s all up to the people to decide how they want to see life and it’s stories, don’t you think?

    • Gizmo Joensen

      Please disregard above typing error:

      “As said, age difference and cultural differences does NOT equal “using each other for what they can’t have else where”!”

  • http://bayarea-wedding-photography.com/about.htm Amanda is a traveling

    Women have been attracted to “being taken care of” for a really long time. Men have been attracted to youth/beauty for just as long. Great article. In our generation, I think they we are seeing small changes. Women are outearning men in many marriages/relationships. I’m sure many of the people in these situations DO fall in love. However, I think that part of feeling is a fit of matching their “vision” of a more ideal life to a reality ( attaining the more ideal life ) .
    The title could just as easily been:
    middle class USA girl / upper middle class USA guy ………… is it love?
    lower class USA girl / middle class USA guy …. is it love ?
    There could be a ton more titles.

  • Keith

    This reads like a thinly veiled editorial with a boxed in position. You clearly have already assumed that all May-Sept relationships are exploitative in nature (vis-a-vis Thai). If two people fall in love then so be it, and if some girl (or guy) wants to get into relationship for financial reasons, then so be it as well.

    As for my dad… if he was single and the girl was a legal adult, then after getting over my initial surprise I wouldn’t give it a care in the world. As long as it isn’t an abusive relationship (from either direction), I don’t really care what people do.

    There is far too much politicizing on this site for my tastes. How about more tales of travel and less moral views and dilemmas?

    • http://www.ianmack.com Ian MacKenzie

      Thanks for your comment. Though I should clarify, BNT is for philosophy/ideas related to travel throughout the world. Most of the specific “travel tales” are published elsewhere, on our sister blog http://www.thetravelersnotebook.com

  • http://bayarea-wedding-photography.com/about.htm Amanda is a traveling photographer

    ^ I think a small article tackled a very big subject though. It is travel related because this is part of what travel is. You get to see things that are different and go ” hey ….how do I feel about this ?”. I agree with you too though. It really isn’t anyones business .

  • Nick

    No different to white trash Americans purposely hunting down and hooking up with rich city types – through out history have nots have been attracted to the wealthy and go after it.

    It is not for us to judge. I find some of these comments quite pathetic and I suspect come from do gooders that have never stepped foot outside of their own country (like most Americans) – possibly never out side of their own state.

  • t

    I think it is a lottery situation for both parties. An attractive female has an opportunity to lift her entire family out of poverty by meeting the right foreigner. The man may receive a great wife. Even if that didn’t occur the girl received a few dollars and the man had a good time. Who loses?

  • Joey

    The truth is that the feminist movement has made it dificult to find American woman who still want to marry. Look at yourself as an example. If some guy wants to be with an adult from a different country so be it. I think you are less judgemental of people whose life styles you approve of from those who choose to have traditional marriages even if they are acroos ethnic and racial divides. You sound like you disaprove on some racial grounds to the intermingling of peoples from different countries. I hope that both parties find happiness and love. You surely need some.

  • Jeamie

    The article and most of the comments are cliche-loaden. A lof of of sexual jealousy. Every tourist (oh, pardon, traveller) sees himself (and herself) as an expert on the subject. Generalizations and paternalism abound. We all believe what we like to believe. And ignorance helps.

  • http://www.huevosalamexicana.com Sarah

    “Generalizations and paternalism abound”? “We all believe what we like to believe”? These are much bigger cliches than anything the author said in the article.

    The author was willing to tackle a complicated and controversial subject–your comment is full of broad generalizations (“every tourist sees himself and herself as an expert on the subject”) with absolutely no backing or substance. I find that far more condescending and far less thought-provoking than anything in the article.

    As for “sexual jealousy,” many of these comments are about prostitution and the very real reality of sexual tourism, and if you think that the people leaving these comments are jealous of the prostitutes in China and Thailand with AIDS, living in squalor and selling themselves to support their families, than I think you’ve lost all credibility.

    Maybe your comment would be more helpful if you could back up any of those vague accusations with some real examples or explanations? What “ignorance” are you referring to? What examples do you have of people professing to be “experts”? I don’t see many people claiming to be “experts” on the subject of relationships between white men and Asian women–I see a lot of people relating personal experiences and analyses, unlike yourself.

  • DHarbecke

    Not solely to argue with Jeamie, but I confess to being no expert on this subject. However, some really interesting themes I’m seeing in the responses:

    1) If you’re an older man looking for a younger woman, you’re immoral. Period. You are only allowed to date women your own age. Now get back in your box and be who you’re expected to be.

    2) If you’re a woman looking for a man because he has money – not only is that OK, more power to you! Just make sure you reeeeally gouge him, because all the filthy perv wants is sex.

    3) Older men + younger women = sex trade.
    Younger women + older men = feminism on the march.

    I don’t believe any of these statements are inherently the case in these relationships, and I’m glad to see articles like this. Raising the question “what’s really going on here” is precisely what’s need to fight such broad brushstrokes as 1), 2) and 3) above. What’s described in the article isn’t necessarily prostitution – but YES, these things happen. YES, forcing women into sex is loathsome. YES, it shouldn’t be accepted.

    However: YES, sometimes men looking for beautiful companionship isn’t necessarily a euphemism for “lookin’ fer some tail.” YES, women sometimes want someone to provide for them without having to put up with the BS that often comes from men their own (chronological) age. And YES, if two people are genuinely happy with each other without exploitation, they should be spared the labels and the judgments because it’s nobody else’s business.

    • diana

      Dharbecke..for me
      For me Old white man+young asian lady=nature love.
      My husband old white man 62th and me 27 th, but I swear on my god (maybe u don’t have god)
      First time I meed my husband I never ask about money, he is alsmost perfect to me,
      He is the most good guy in the world, and I become care to him, that is our step before marriage
      So stop have perspektive asian woman just thinking about money u don’t know nothing, maybe only slut like that
      But some asian girl still have a nature love even get ur grand father

      • DHarbecke

        Easy, Diana – you didn’t understand my post. I agree with you. I’m glad you’ve found someone who makes you happy. That’s the most important thing. Good luck to both of you.

  • Ryan

    I am only 23 and have almost nothing (relative to these older men) to offer these women. However, I DO live in Thailand and AM attracted to Thai women–not the flahsy Bangkok ladies with tube tops and high heels but agerage Thai women. However, I am also turned off by the stereotype that has grown from these old man/young girl relationships.

    When I visit a place like Pattaya or certain parts of big cities I cringe and immediately look for the exit. Those old men have come to a place “where a woman knows how to treat a man” or where the only question they have to ask a girl is “how much?” These guys creep me out but I do realize that not every Thai/farang relationship is that same way. Even still, I have not once asked a Thai girl on a date because I am a westerner and she is a local. The stereotype and negative implications have scared me away from even trying to have a relationship here and that bums me out.

    My first girlfriend was Asian (I was 16) and am simply drawn to them. I’m not a pervert and I respect women and this is why I choose not to become another white guy with a Thai women in Thailand.

    I guess this topic just confuses and upsets me whenever I talk about it so I apologize if my reply is jumbled or misleading. I would like to see the status quo change but it’s tough to decide where to draw the line.

    • DHarbecke

      Ryan, if you’re going to treat a Thai girl well, don’t let the negative stereotype stop you – be the positive stereotype.

      The intent of this article, as I understand it, is to see past these things. If you really want to change the status quo, lead by example. There’s no reason to be shamed out of doing right by someone.

  • http://bayarea-wedding-photography.com/about.htm Amanda is a traveling photographer

    Ryan : Surely there are Thai women who are just as appaled about this kind of stuff as you are. I don’t think you need to write all Thai women off .

  • http://www.rebel-workinprogress.blogspot.com Rebel

    I think ‘A Thai in Brussels’, nailed it right on the head. There are many many MANY different kinds of relationships between white men and Thai women. Sometimes it’s prostitution and sometimes it’s true love and there’s a whole lot of grey area between those extremes. You simply cannot judge a relationship based on what it looks like on the outside. Plenty of relationships in the US look “perfect” on the outside and on the inside are filled with lies, cheating, abuse or exploitation.

    I think a more interesting issue to address would be the economic and cultural forces that keep women (like the sister in the article mentioned above) from being able to support themselves & their families without relying on ‘foreign capital’ as it were.

  • Bob

    I see over-weight white women with good-looking black men here in the southern US all the time. What’s the difference?

    • Buddy Daturtle

      Great example ….. except in this one she has a job and he doesn’t….j/k …the stated scenario is just sad all around, but all relationships are unequal in one way or another. Whether it is financial, physical, personality……no couple is equal. The example couple probably love each other more than 50% or American couples……..

  • http://www.maltabulb.com Malta Bulb

    I really think that people should mind their own business.

    Plus, I don’t get why people get so worked up on this issue anyway. You see older men with young women everywhere. What each party’s intentions are, only that particular couple can tell.

    Before one gets all judgmental about Asian women, one must first take a look around him or her and see whether that same type of situation is present in his or her own country.

  • Zak

    Wow, what a surprise! Younger women partnering up (on whatever basis) with older men who have money with all the advantages that brings. There is NO way any self-respecting Western woman would EVER consider money, security and social status to be even remotely important when weighing up a potential partner – they just want someone with a “nice personality”. The numbers of middle class girls you meet in the West who hook up with minimum wage guys from social housing estates is astronomical, they can’t get enough of men with little or no money.

    Ok sarcasm overload, but Western women who love to pass judgement on Western men about this sort of thing should think twice. Not all Western men abroad are sex tourists. Many are ex-pats who live there and it is only natural that they may meet a local partner. It is pure and simple prejudice to have a presumption of that when seeing a Western guy with an Asian (or any non-Western woman). If we reverse that and have a prejudical view of Western women with non-Western men, then these same Western women would be the first to start jumping up and down screeching about “racism”.

    Finally, don’t forget, Western women quietly indulge in sex tourism on a fairly largish scale, particularly in the Caribbean and parts of West Africa (also Turkey and North Africa). Perhaps there should be more discussion about this sort of thing instead of beating up older guys who go for two weeks in Pattay all the time. Surely if sex tourism is “wrong” then it is wrong. However, there seems to be a lot of hyprocasy from and about Western women about their own sexual conduct when abroad.

  • http://laobumpkin.blogspot.com/ Somchai

    Nice story Gizmo, I’d say if you were attempting to stimulate thought you have been successful. Just think, there are as many different stories as there are people in the world. I’m glad you teach English.

    Somsai

  • Educated Westernised Thai girl

    An interesting perspective, but only adds up to the aged-old cliche of desperate/poor/uneducated Thai ladies seeking money/security from White guys. Well, as my ‘pseudonym’ gives it away. I’m a Bangkok native with a BA from Australia and an MA from Europe. I’m now working as an English-language TV news anchor and a uni lecturer. I’m not here to boast my background, but c’mon there are thousands and thousands of educated/Westernised Thai ladies like me, but WHY oh WHY aren’t there any articles on us? All farangs I know use a pathetic excuse saying Thai bargirls/prostitutes are shoved on their faces everywhere they go, but WHERE do you go then? You didn’t happen to hang out with Thai professionals working in one of those skyscrapers or universities, did you? All my female friends on facebook speak English even better than many white guys (who are not English native speakers). I’m currently dating a Swiss guy I met when I was working in Switzerland and I’ve been correcting his English all the time.

    The bottomline: stop falling for the stereotypes, if you do, and fall for one of those bargirls, well, whatever, it’s your choice (but I may judge that you’re pathetic/desperate). Don’t tell me it’s real love (whatever level/definition of love you relate to), they can’t speak English, period. Stop being so stupid to be so impressed by their levels of English (like, honey I Iove you crap, this is all they can speak). Do you seriously think that these types of girls can type in perfect English that I’m doing right now? Of course not. I’m not saying that being able to speak English is everything. Of course not. But aren’t good relationships supposed to be based on good communications? And why do you want a bargirl as your girlfriend/wife in the first place? Don’t tell me they’re so poor they have no choice. Ok, I’ve never been in their shoes so I can’t claim to know everything they’re going through, but I’m not rich either. I studied abroad only by full scholarships. Without them I couldn’t study abroad. And you wouldn’t be so naive to think that I didn’t work hard to have got what I have, would you? All successes require hard work. And being a bargirl/prostitute, well, that only means they’re lazy, period. There’re thousands of other things to do. What’s so appealing about lazy ladies then?

  • Marco

    Winner of the most sensible, rational and articulate post in this thread goes to ZAK. You’ve hit the nail firmly on the head my friend!

  • tbone

    How is the girl different from any other gold digger here in the US? They both have the same needs and ambitions – find a rich husband who will take care of me. Although one being more of desperation and the other of greed some poor guy is still being used and will probably end up south on the deal at some point. Then again how empty are you if you need to resort to desperation and greed to find a companion? Loneliness, it seems, is worse than hunger, money or even death.

  • Adelle

    Zak, FYI … Turkey? Not in Africa (not in North Africa, not in West Africa). If you need some continent ideas, you may pick from Asia or Europe. Also, sex trade is actually much more rare (comparatively, to other countries) in Turkey. You certainly shouldn’t be lumping it in with the Caribbean when it comes to that statistic. The vast majority of persons being trafficked in Turkey are from other Eastern European countries, and typically the persons involved in the “Sex tourism” are usually just that … tourists of some sort, long term or not.

    Also, you fudged a few words. They’re spelled: judgment, prejudicial, and hypocrisy.

    Now go study your vocab, geography, and social science.

    • Zak

      Adelle – “FYI” (why in inverted commas by the way?) Turkey is in central Asia, I don’t need any lectures from right on students about geography, mine is fairly good. As for your attempt to hector me about semantics and “vocab” (don’t you mean grammar?), I didn’t do a spell check as I’m not that anally retentive.

      So are you a Turk or a Western, female sex tourist? Don’t bother answering, I really couldn’t care less.

      The only thing I do agree with you about is the trafficking of Eastern European women as sex slave through Turkey and the Balkans and the Albanians are the main culprits here. I always am amazed at the silence about this in trendy, “liberal” circles in the West. Just because the victims of sex trafficking are from non-muslim countries and the traffickers are by and large muslim, then no-one in the western, liberal elites has much of a “problem” with this heinous practice.

      By the way, the Turks are huge pepretrators of sexual exploitation of Eastern European women, they even have a name for them; “Natashas” and many Eastern European women activley connive with the Turkish sex slave traders to bring women over to Turkish, Bosnian and Albanian “brothels” (more like prisons).

      No, I don’t agree, Turkey is a major centre of sex trafficking and a destination of many Western women who go to seek out sexual activity and they are pure and simple sex tourists, no matter how they try to cover up their activities.

      • Adelle

        Reply to Zak (I’ll do this in bullet points … easier for you to understand):

        - No, I do not mean grammar. It IS in fact *vocab*. Why? You misspelled several words. That’s vocabulary.
        Now on to your vocabulary lesson for the last post: it is spelled “perpetrators.” Spell-checking isn’t a hard skill to master (or …. oh, I don’t know, knowing how to spell properly?). Good luck with that though.

        - Turkey is NOT in central Asia, hahahaha. Think about it: that branch of Asia ENDS in Turkey. How could that be central by any definition of the term? Look at a map. Here, I’ll make it easy for you — http://update.unu.edu/images/central_asia.jpg. This map is from the UNU.edu website. Would you like to argue about geography with the United Nations? Didn’t think so.
        I realize that I am terribly embarrassing you, but none of this would have happened if you had taken my advice and brushed up on your geography though. Too bad.

        - As for your question: I am neither a Turk, nor a sex worker. I’m just not a genius like you (look up sarcasm in the dictionary). I am an educated woman with a graduate degree from Yale, who knows more about linguistics, geography, and history than you ever will. I can also ‘decipher’ a map … you should probably feel threatened. I am a vocabulary-wielding, statistic-interpreting force to be reckoned with.

        - I am not supporting any act of covering up whatever the truth may be; however, if you took a look at some reliable and factual statistical data, you could stop talking out of where the sun doesn’t shine. I never said sex trafficking doesn’t happen in Turkey (it happens EVERYWHERE). All I said was that it is not as prevalent as compared to many other countries, and certainly not as prevalent as you are inaccurately making it out to be.

        - The rest of the verbal diarrhea you wrote, I’m not even going to respond to. You, sir, are a waste of my time, as well as the time of everyone else here. Although, writing this response was mildly amusing for me, so I’ll give you that much.

        • Zak

          Reply to “Adelle”. I’ll write slowly so you can understand as you obviously have some sort of a problem. (That’s a joke by the way just in case you are preparing to launch another barrage of name calling and abuse already).

          Wow! You really are a freak! There is so much material here; it’s hard to know where to start. But to be honest, as you are obviously some sort of arrogant, deluded idiot with too much time on her malicious hands. The sensible thing to do is to have a bit of a laugh at you and then let you get on with your weird little world. Youtube is the usual forum for silly, teenager style “arguments”, so that’s my tip for you, start ranting there about whatever insanity is plaguing you tiny, infirm, Walter Mitty like, little mind.

          You are obviously some sort of sex tourist otherwise why the completely extreme, excessive and abusive replies in relation to a fairly non-contentious and non-abusive post?

          The only person you are capable of “embarrassing” is yourself.

          Anyway, good luck with your next trip to the Caribbean, Africa, or central Asia (yes that’s right, Turkey is an Asian country). Maybe you will meet a new “boyfriend” and buy him a few “gifts” (otherwise known as payment for services rendered). Enjoy your sexual tourism; after all it’s not a criminal offence (yet).

  • Mike

    I am an uneducated American married to a Korean that has a masters degree and is working on a phd. What stereotype do I fit into?

    • DHarbecke

      Nobody tell him – I’m sure Mike already knows how lucky he is.

  • Andr

    Well , author’s judgement is too “narrow”, he focuses only on one particular case.
    I would enjoy reading more balanced essay.

    I am a white man.I have asian girlfriend which is exctly my age and we love each other just like other people. She is not looking for money and security…

  • http://blog.captured-ink.com Kelli

    I can come to an understanding of whey the women described in the story fall in love with these older men, but what interests me is the copious amount of other Asian women, who do not necessarily live in shacks or have to beg for food everyday, who seem to “fall in love” with some of the most obnoxious, unattractive, unintelligent Western men?

    I lived in Korea for some time and was surprised and annoyed at the way these LIA’s – Losers in America (I know it’s a bit harsh, but anyone who has lived in Asia can see that many of the Americans there are a bit off-kilter and probably went there b/c they didn’t fit in back home) would parade around the streets with these gorgeous, intelligent, funny, Korean girls on their arms. I know attractiveness is defined differently by different cultures and even by individual people, but I also know Koreans feel negatively towards fat people and many of these LIA’s were quite overweight and lived up to the typical-American stereotype with their loud ways, better-than-you attitude and their lack of desire to learn Korean.

    Can someone help explain to me why this is such a common sight in Asia? I would love to understand it more so when I’m in Korea next (in 2 weeks actually) I won’t want to grab the girl, shake her, and tell her, “YOU CAN DO BETTER!”

    I’m probably offending a lot of people who have made comments, but it is not my intention to offend. I want to let you know exactly what is on my mind and how this situation is viewed by many others and see what you have to say about it. I mean I actually know a Korean woman, who speaks no English, who is married to an American man, who speaks no Korean, and they communicate by asking each other “Are you happy?” and reply “Yes, I’m happy.” How can you have a relationship if you can’t speak to one another?!

    My comment will finish here, but I do eagerly await some reply.

  • Sherry

    I think this article assumes alot about the old nice man….this man has choices…. he could choose to be a person of integrity and honor work in missions ..give this poor child money for her family without demanding sex love or affection, from a child who can’t possibly have any choice in the matter , but he has an agenda that has brought him to this third world country ,his perversions will be tolerated here, to take advantage of another human being in the worst type of plight ,for that I will judge him harshly as the worst of creatures that slither and desecrate our future , on our green earth.

    • Markus Demetrius

      SHERRY – Not to cast stones, but you sound like a typical christian…extremely judgemental and intolerant of anyone who may not share your medieval morals.

      Different cultures actually do think differently. Some of us can accept this, even applaud it. How sad for you…

  • Ash

    “what would you think if your father began dating this girl”

    well my aussie dad married a philippino lady, im okay with it

    deep down i know that this is the truth though, she married for security, he married for power

  • marcos

    Comments above from the like of “Sherry” are pretty depressing. She thinks she has the best interest of a group of people she sees as victims and then indulges in some horrible prejudices.

    For example, I lived in Thailand when I was 23, I went there to train in Thai Boxing and stayed in two camps and stayed three months in Chiang Mai (six months in Thailand altogehter). Being a normal young guy, I formed a relationship with a local girl and we went out together. Sadly, when I left Thailand, I was realistic about things (we lived thousands of miles apart, visa issues, etc etc,) and we both decided to call it a day.

    One of the things I really resented was the prejudice displayed towards us by right on backpacker types ( middle class, Western kids on their gap years paid for by daddy) who looked at us on the street in Chiang Mai and even worse in Ko Phi Phi when we went on a trip together as if we had done something wrong. It took all of my control not to respond to this provocation. We were jus two young people going out together, but we encountered a lot of prejudice from Western tourists (sorry “travellers” after all they are “better” than “ordinary” tourists).

    Why is it ok to assume that if a Western guy goes out with an Asian girl that this is wrong? I know there is a sex trade in Thailand and I don’t like it anymore than you do- but there is also a huge sex trade in America and in Europe too and I’m pretty certain that none of the people who have posted comments above have a “problem” with that (Amsterdam anyone?).

    Is it just because this area is an easy target and it makes right on people feel better to ignore other real problems? Why not talk about the men from the muslim countries who visit Europe and Asia to seek out the sex trade there?

  • Ali

    Actually, my Aussie dad also married a Filipina woman. He is a doctor and she is the CEO of a very successful business- so who married whom for what reason other than the fact that they loved each other? I grew up in a mixed background home in New York City and never experienced any sort of discrimination until I attended university outside of NYC. I was constantly bombarded by questions and ignorant assumptions– people just assumed that my mother was poor and was “rescued” by my dad. A total load of crap. In school, I was also a target of white boys with “Asian fetishes” who saw me as an exotic creature to be experienced… that was disgusting and demeaning. I find myself attracted to white guys for whatever reason, but they would call me Asian and couldn’t seem to grasp that I was white too..

    Right now I am living in the Philippines doing volunteer work and see many white men (older, overweight, rude) with beautiful young Filipina girls. Seeing as I have mixed experiences with the whole Asian girl, white guy thing, I’m not too sure how I feel about the matter… all I know is that it does make my stomach turn a little, for whatever reason.

  • Ryan

    Obviously, older thin white guys do not engage in this.. only the overweight.

    • may

      sorry asian girls dont do fat moronic ignorant losers like you

      • DHarbecke

        I think what Ryan means is that even users are as prone to stereotyping as the used. I’m sure there are thin, young, intelligent but monetarily challenged men who take advantage of people, too.

        If you could spot dirtbags just by looking at them – well now, we’d neither have an article nor so many responses. Guess you have to take it on a case-by-case basis, and it’d help if people wouldn’t judge one another so quickly.

        Peace owt.

  • Tom

    Who should or shouldn’t be with whom is complicated and there is no single, correct answer.

    To me, the idea behind the post is to offer a perspective that is not often expressed, and I think that perspective rings true. For example, I had many soldiers in the 1980′s in the Philippines who had great marriages with women from all kinds of unfortunate backgrounds. The two posters above offer two other perspectives.

    Here’s mine. Racists, i.e. people who view life through the narrow prism of (their best guess at) a person’s race, often have a problem with mixed race relationships, although for many different reasons.

    Agists, i.e. those who tend to view life through the narrow prism of (their best guess at) a peron’s age, often have a problem with mixed age relationships, although for many different reasons. Same with classists, education snobs and so on.

    I found it interesting when my Thai wife and I lived in the US that we were made more comfortable in Houston than San Francisco. In S.F., there were just too many hangups at the fancy law firm about what Asians should be and how they should think. Somehow the firm in Houston was much more open to the idea that people from vastly different backgrounds could still have much more in common as humans than not.

    I also found it interesting years ago when my wife’s nieces and nephews were young, and I would take one out for ice cream, or on errands or whatever in Thailand, how so many Western tourists in Thailand would stare at me like I was some kind of monster, instead of just guessing, as did most Thais, that I was out with family. Somehow the Westerners’ prejudices blinded them to subtle signs about our interactions that should have been telling. And yes, this is a common story among expats in Thailand and the Philippines.

    Hence, I suppose my reaction to the OP and the two posters above is many, many perspectives on this issue can be legitimate, but that if the view arises out of some kind of intolerance or ‘ism,’ other perhaps than intolerance of intolerance, the perspective is highly suspect, at best.

    Thought provoking OP, thanks.

  • Tom

    Wow- sorry I missed the other 70-plus posts when I did mine. Guess teeny laptops on the road have their limitations, at least with me…

    But having now reviwed the other posts, I do find it telling that so many young people presume partners should be close to their age, and so many relatively educated posters, such as the Westernised Thai or whatever her name was, seem to think that people must necessarily find a partner in their education or income class or some such.

    Why be so judgmental and limiting? The world and humanity are vast–there’s room for all kinds of different approaches, except perhaps for the idea of seeing a couple and judging them on their apperance alone.

    As with other posters, I’ve also known relationships where the Asian woman was much more educated and made a lot more money than the farang–is that wrong? Of course not. Live and let live.

    So many posters here would feel sorry for a poor, old, ugly and relatively dumb African or South Asian, but can’t find the same sympathy for some of the beaten down Westerners one sometimes runs across in Asia. Why? Why dole out the sympathy or respect or pity or whatever on a race basis? Cool to be ok with the exotic person in a bad way, but not your countryman?

    Live and live, and have a heart for others as you move through life. Who knows, you or a loved one could be the one in need of pity at some point.

  • DBW

    (Ignoring the fact that my dad is happily married) If my father married a Thai girl (as long as she was old enough to be legal in our state) I would react under the assumption that he had met her, gotten to know her, and fell in love with her. As such, I would react in exactly the same way that I would had he married a white american woman around his age.
    Well, I’d crack jokes, but me and my dad crack jokes about whatever is available. She would be welcome as my dad’s wife, even if she was younger than me. If I thought the humor would be received in the intended context I might jokingly ask if she had a sister. :P
    If both parties are consenting adults, and neither party is unhappy with the arrangement, any judgments laid down by westerners who think they have the right to speak on the propriety of other people’s perfectly legal lifestyles are being completely irrelevant.

  • MM

    I know the author specifies old grey man and really young Asian girl, however topics that include interracial relationships particularly involving a western man and an eastern girl should only be written by people who can actually comment from experience. It has never failed to annoy me as this ‘issue’ encourages people to gross generalise particularly when travelling abroad to places like Thailand and basically any other country in the South East Asian region. The stereotype is usually an educated, rich white man and a very young, un-educated, non English speaking Asian girl. I am married to an English man, I on the hand am Malaysian (though born in Malaysia, I grew up in England), although my husband and I are very close in age, there are people who never fail to insult us by giving us the dirtiest of looks and occasionally insulting comments when we’re travelling or even when we are in our home countries. With all the other problems in this world interracial relationships should be the least of our worries. Seriously though? relationships between older men and younger women, or relationships whereby one benefits from the other (in this case the wealth of the other)– it happens everyday, in every country–why single out young ASIAN girl on the streets of Bangkok and Pattaya ?

  • badguest

    hey marcos, sex trade in europe ala the movie taken anyone?? good call man like the comment u left.

  • Marcos

    Thanks badguest. My personal opinion is that because the perpetrators of the sexual slave trade involving Eastern European women (and women from other parts of the world including Asia as well) is that those in the media, chattering classes and positions of power tend to hold “liberal” political views. Invariably they regard Muslims as “victims”. Therefore where you have situations where Muslims are perpetrating crimes such as sexual slavery, someone who sees themselves as a liberal cannot overcome their pre-judged opinion that this group of “victims” are in fact perpetrators.

    This truly evil trade is alive and well all over Europe where the Albanians now effectively run the show and in many parts of the Muslim world where women in the sex trade have been “imported” from non-Muslim countries. I wouldn’t bet on any open debate about this evil trade in the West, let alone serious, determined action to put a stop to it; that would involve asking very honest questions about attitudes to women and sexuality in the Muslim world. Watch anyone who tries to raise this issue being insulted and silenced by “liberals” in the West and having their lives threatened by those making countless millions from slavery.

  • http://www.tellinitlikeitiz.worpress.com Tiiz

    This is just ONE example. You can replace X and Y with whatever you like. This example is posed to ask a humanitarian question of whether or not there are those who PREY on each other and whether or not we should care. It is thought-provoking and opens doors for discussion. I can’t believe we shouldn’t discuss the matter it if it’s not happening to us. So should nations such as France etc. have just turned a blind eye to slavery (which was clearly wrong and has long-standing implications in the west) because they themselves were not engaged in the practice or didn’t involve them. Stay alert. Ask questions. Be tolerant and listen before acting. If you act in good will towards others in all that you do…good will most likely will be the outcome. (again..take this statement in context).

  • Cheri

    It only takes not being able to feed your kids, missing a couple meals, getting thrown out of your residence to get a grasp of what probably 1/2 the world experiences daily to answer that question. Love or not, people of all kinds and colors have come together for what ever it is they get from another person. Sometimes its love, sometime its survival. Does our opinion of what it may be really count? Only if you give a sh– what somebody else thinks. Besides the people that make the decision on what is proper is some old dude with a lot of money or in government and an opinion, and you know what opinions are like.

  • brad

    now everyone can have an Asian girlfriend, just make your current g/f “Asian” here’s how
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/how-to-talk-and-act-like-a-japanese-girl/

  • Steve

    Japanese girls flock to the beaches of Bali to have holiday flings w/ the local beach boys. Nothing wrong with it, and good for them! As long as both parties are of age who cares who hooks-up with who. Everyone should just mind there own damn business!

  • Reeti

    While I appreciate the sentiments of this post, I am deeply disturbed by the “White man, Asian Girl” portrayal. I am, in all senses of the word, an “Asian” girl and I am appalled by the sweeping generalisations that this post makes. Poor people all over the world suffer and negotiate their way through their difficult circumstances. I am horrified by what I will call here the “Slumdog phenomenon”. The exoticism that seems to be the core of this post has shocked and angered me. It would be nice if the post was about facts and figures and not a “oh-look-at-these-poor-asian-girls”. The article smacks of patronising.

  • zak

    Perhaps these right on types who look out for a cause to share their many opinions on should think it through before parading stereotypes (nearly always negative) and other sweeping statements that only serve to offend Asian women and in particular, people involved in mixed race relationships with Asian women.

    Just try and see if you can get an article printed on this website querying the huge numbers of White, Western women who go on trips to the Caribbean and parts of Africa etc primarily to have sexual encounters with black men. Then try to attribute a negative portryal of the black men in question – just see how far you get.

    What we need is a bit of common sense and attempt to rise above the usual, lazy and offensive cliches and stereotypes about mixed race relationships involving Asian women.

  • Akemi

    I’m an Asian woman, married to a White man. We fell in love because of our personalities. I know there are people who stereotype Asian women as uneducated, dumb, submissive, poor, etc. I don’t blame those people…I have seen a lot of women from poor Asian countries who would perfectly fit into the stereotype. It used to bother me when people would assume I was “one of those women”, even when I’m educated, speak 3 foreign languages, and came from a middle-class family. People also stereotype my husband as a “macho” or a “looser” who was not able to “get a white woman” (like the highest prize in life). We have learned to ignore stupid people and not being bitter about their comments. Instead, we enjoy making fun of them by telling untrue stories of how he payed my parents money to let him marry me, or how he sent me to school for the first time, or how we met at a Bar when he was in the Navy”. It makes people happy to hear those stories full of missery. I guess they feel better. I also know that a lot of Asians stereotype White women in a very negative way.

  • http://happywashere.wordpress.com Happybrunette23

    Hi, i saw your comment and would like to say you are right about the prejudices westerners displayed when a white man is seen going out with an asian girl. I am an asian girl brought up in Australia and it dawned on me that the people that have this type of prejudices don’t know any better. They want to judge about what they saw and make final conclusions. They will not treat you any friendlier once they know ..”owh… she’s educated apparently”… makes me want to laugh. The yellow to white combination in Australia is almost the same in certain parts like the East coast and over there it’s no different from Bangkok’s Sukhumveet roads.

  • may

    i just can’t stand the misconceptions people have about an asian girl and white man getting together.firstly not all white men who have asian girls are fat old and sorry looking arses.secondlynot all asian girls who get a white guy are poor naive uneducated fools and thirdly its not always a poor asian girl meet a rich white guy and falls in love.take me for instance i am a an educated goodlooking asian girl who happen to meet my french husband while he was doing his externship in my country we met we fell in love and now we have two beautiful kids.i fell for him not because i wanted to flee off to what some people insist is the great western country and its offerings of a better life (i consider this a rather presumptious idea the ignorant white lot have)but because i could totally connect with him on so many levels and because i wanted to be with him not because i wanted a better life or because i wanted a white man .if you see around you now you will see its not the white countries that are developing but its the asian countries that are developing at a far greater rate and do consider the droves of asian blokes working as the brains in your companys at present you wouldnt be anywhere without us.one thing i can say you wouldnt be anywhere without us asians love or hate us you still need us eitherway because when it comes to brains and its works i can say with total confidence that the size of your brains is equivalent to the size of a pineal gland.ahyeah and i forgot to mention my man is a hottie not a fat obese white loser in ref to some person who quoted its the fat obese kinds who hook up with us asians.my man says he digs asian woman because we’re sexy soft and warm and we have a fierce mind to match.

  • http://yahoo Bart

    I never thought it would happen. If you told me 3 years ago I would have an Asian girlfriend I would have responded you were nuts. We are too different. Raised in worlds far apart……..but guess what, here I am a white male with a beautiful asian girlfriend. So you think they are uneducated? I beg to differ, get into a debate with this one and you will need to be adept mentally and factual or she will out manuever you. So you think she is poor? Wrong again, she owns her own business and her income is greater than mine. This has been a different journey for me. I have found that she has a sense of humor. She can be as hard as a diamond yet loving and devoted. I treasure the time I get to spend with her family even though when we watch Thai movies I do not understand. Above all I have come to the realization that except for the language and dietary differences we are very much the same inside. When I look at her I don’t see “Asian” I see someone I love but who can be a “big headache” on occasion……….just like me.

  • http://yahoo Bart

    Ooops!! I almost forgot to tell you. Last year we decorated our first Christmas tree together. You see, she is Buddhist and I am Catholic. She is new to the tradition but we had a very good time. Did I tell you I took her home to meet mom for the holidays? I thought the two of them would never stop talking………”you blah,blah,blah too much” I would tell her with a big happy grin on my face. Can’t wait for this Christmas! Funny how things turn out in life, yes?

  • Robert

    Bart,
    I’m envious. Congratulations. Let’s see if I have a beautiful Asian girl within three years.

  • Ryan

    This is such an old sterotype which may have been true 30 years ago but not today. The vast majority of the White male/Asian female couples I’m seeing are young and attractive with the woman often being a professional so I very much doubt money comes into it, I’d imagine the biggest components would be physical attraction and compatability. Take a look around any major Western city and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  • William

    I guess I am one of those rich white guys with a poor Thai girlfriend, and yes I am older than her. I am not grey, fat or desparate. In fact, the reason I love her so much is because she is not full of all the prentention that consumes women in the US. She is far more beautiful, feminine, decent and honest than any Western woman I have ever met or dated, and there have been many over the years. And she has never asked for a single dime from me. Don’t tell me western women aren’t after your money, and for a lot less honorable reasons. Just try driving up to some trendy club in any big US city in a Fiat and see how much action your good looks and personality get you. And god help you if you marry one – you talk about one expensive learning experience!!! Unlike some poor Asian girls who are just looking to survive, the hypocritical western woman goes for the money and security and she doesn’t even need it. It’s all about status for her. How shallow and empty is that? Sorry to burst your bubble ladies of the West but us men aren’t going for these beautiful, loving and caring Asian girls because we can’t get one of you – the fact is that for most of us we simply don’t want one of you anymore! Been there, done that – got the t-shirt and never again. If all the men of the US knew what they were truly missing there would be nothing but single women in this country. They have you beat in beauty, femininity, grace, honesty and integrity and you hate them because you know you simply can’t compete. We men are finally figuring this out too!

  • Shamika

    So when did we get to the point where someone else’s romantic choices are any of our business? Why should anyone care who is sleeping with whom or who anyone else marries? Or why? It’s none of our business. I mean really-are we that bored?

    As a black American woman in a relationship with a European man (and living in his home town), I can tell you, most of our outside criticism comes from other North Americans (and mostly Americans) who seem to think I’m scamming my boyfriend for money and he’s with me for the sex. Yes he is older, divorced and yes we did meet while on vacation. And? So what. . .little do these people know that I have an MBA and speak 4 languages and have travelled all over the world while he’s a nice local chap who bearly graduated from (community) college. It’s kind of funny watching people’s faces when they realize “oops. . .i got it wrong”.

    I encourage all pepole in interracial relationships to keep going along their path-having fun and enjoying life. Living well is the best way to live. . .

  • Phillipe

    Most of the people who have posted on this thread seem to share a general sense of frustration at the repitition of tired old stereotypes about Asian women. It is offensive to Asian women and Asian women who are in relationships with non-Asian men to wheel out these negative stereotypes time and time again. The “liberal” backpackers should think twice about re-hashing this line and change the record. Here’s an idea, go to any of the many places in the world where Western women go about their sex tourism business and write about that – just for a change.

  • http://laowaiink.blogspot.com Mark

    I think it’s easier to be a Western man with an Asian girl in an Asian country than in the West. I’m a mid-twenties American guy living in China and I got married this year to a Chinese girl. Most people think that we’re just bf/gf but they always smile with surprise when we tell them that we’re married. In China, at least in urban areas, most people look favorably upon Western guy/Chinese girl relationships, especially if the Western guy has money. I don’t have a lot of money, but I am able to give my wife a comfortable home and she loves me not for my cash or passport. There are plenty of “groupies” (girls who exclusively hang around and go after foreign men) in China but there are plenty who simply want love, security, and affection, which is sadly lacking in many marriages in China. I’m not being racist, it’s the truth. And of course there are plenty of Western douchebags here to looking to jump on the train and jump right off again. The point isn’t race or nationality. If you’re a girl, treat your man like a man, and if you’re a guy, treat your girl like a lady, and you’ll have a solid relationship, regardless of where they’re from.

  • http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/deuglish Taryn

    Don’t I know what that feels like?! I spent 6 months working in Switzerland and fell in love with an older man (I’m not talking 60, but notably older than myself). As I am an Afro-Latina-American mix (originally from L.A.), most Swiss folks assumed I came from Cuba or Brazil and was simply with my man for security and a Swiss visa. They generally viewed me with a certain amount of pity in their eyes and even as a sort of prostitute. There are very many Thai, Latin American and other exotic women living there by way of marriage so much so that the Swiss seem to know nothing else. Not that this doesn’t also happen to me in Germany from time to time, but it was my daily experience in Zurich and St. Gallen, Switzerland.

    I do love the Swiss and I love Switzerland, but there’s nothing worse for a relationship than the stares of strangers disgusted by what they see. I could dress as conservatively as I wanted to and still be looked at as a poor whore. It took me quite some soul-searching to get over it, but the relationship ended nevertheless.

    I refuse to believe as the Swiss did that every woman from a third world country is poor and dependent upon finding a man to take care of her. If that’s the case, it’s no different in the West. How many women in the West would love to date a rich man? How many would refuse a monetary gift if we think the man has way more money than we do? I didn’t look at Thai women in Thailand like poor souls forced to sleep with dirty, old men, but rather women with goals taking advantage of what they consider to be a lucrative business.

    I could be wrong, but the fact that I don’t pity them means I’m one staring and disgusted tourist less than they regularly confront. It means I mind my own damn business and let them do theirs.

  • Phillipe

    Taryn,

    Excellent contribution. Your experiences demonstrate how hurtful and destructive these negative stereotypes are and how they affect real people trying to live their lives in peace.

    It’s probably a waste of time to ask people to stop perpetuating these stereotypes, but there is no harm in trying.

    One thing I have noted is that often these negative views are aired by young, white, middle-class, Western backpacker females. I can’t help but feel that deep down they believe that if a white man is with a non-Western woman, that is because he “couldn’t get” a White woman. Of course, as this prejudice is embedded in their subconscious, they will vehemently deny that this belief lies behind their negative views on this sudject. However, I’m not convinced, anyone who has seen young, Western backpackers spending daddy’s money abroad, is likely to have detected an air of superiority (whether verbalised or not) over the “locals”.

    Just more double standards and hyprocasy. It would be good if some of these young, privileged women would learn to keep their noses out of other peoples’ private lives.

  • Markus Demetrius

    ADELE – You wrote “I never said sex trafficking doesn’t happen in Turkey (it happens EVERYWHERE). All I said was that it is not as prevalent as compared to many other countries.” Just what do you base your statement on? News articles? TV? I’ve lived in 7 countries and visited a half dozen more. I’ve lived 4 years in Turkey and, aside from Thailand, Turkey has more sex trafficking than anywhere I’ve ever seen.

    As far as the rest of your comments, well – off the top of my head I’d say that it appears that you probably believed you were the smartest person in your family, got some education, and now you are the know-it-all bore of every party you can sneak into. Good for you. How nice it must be up there in Mensa-Land.

    Too bad you didn’t learn manners and diplomacy at Yale…

    JUST PASSING THRU

  • misha

    This blog is certainly brewing a hot debate.sort of stumbled on this,and this article kinda left me fuming.i fail to understand why interracial relationships are considered a taboo,common we are no longer stuck in the middle ages.who is seeing who, is no concern to anyone but the couple involved and it is certainly no ones business to judge them or rate their social strata,age gap,appearence or racial attributes.
    i’m an asian girl who recently got engaged to my italian bf after 3 years of courtship,we met while i was backpacking across europe while on a gap year from my studies after many years on we are still together because we clicked well and we create a great equation.to those who tend to stereotype us asian girls as naivette uneducated pitiful creatures i say please come down your high horse ,look around you and get your mindset right.its good to see things on a wider perspective you’d be amazed at how different things look when you do so.something that i’ve notice is that its usually the ladies who tend to majorly stereotype us.come to think of it they even try to hit on my bf while we were on vacation because they thought that if given a choice at a white and asian chick he’d probably pick them,thats what this white lady said.i failed to understand what do they have that we dont,which is basically nothing!!obviously me and my man had the biggest laugh because we’re very familiar with this kind of incidents.i wonder do the asian man having white woman face this situation too?do this white woman also turn to this asian man for financial benefits and security??obviously i know its not so but to every statement there could be a vis a vis or vice versa.
    coming to the asian prostitution trade isn’t this a global thing consider holland the russians,danish the east european and even the americans afterall its a global trade why just keep stressing on the thai part,total bullocks.

    • http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/deuglish Taryn

      Misha,

      I’m pretty impressed with your comment. Thanks for having the balls to come right out and say it’s “the ladies who tend to majorly stereotype us”. Philippe also mentioned this in response to my previous comment and it’s been something I’ve always known, but kept to myself. It’s true that being with a white man has often perplexed white women and yes, they would hit on the boyfriend thinking he’d prefer them over non-white me (at the same time emtting a feeling of nobility) as if a white man is thinking “hmm well if I can actually have a white woman, why bother being with this dark-skinned person?” It’s something I’ve learned to live with and even begun to laugh about, but it takes guts just to come out and tell the white people what they usually just don’t want to hear or accept.

      Thanks, Taryn

  • Felix

    I’m pretty good with words, so I could write one of’em nice stories I’ve seen here, but this is about being sincere.
    If my father were dating this girl, I’d be jealous like hell. On him. The love that comes from pain is the most precious of all, and all to hard to find in our cushy society. Except having sone finances and a bit of life experience and time, what did he do to deserve it?
    I, for one, have learned that there is beauty in pain. I treasure my little aches. But yes, in such a case I would be jealous.
    And I feel goddamn frustrated that I was formed and educated by a system that does not care nor enable. I feel like the little engine that can’t.
    A world away in more ways than one. What can I do?
    Probably I’ll just have to be a bit older, more experienced, financially stabe and have a little time to understand that. And hear someone asking: “what did you do to deserve that”?

  • http://missmentor.com Lisa

    Interesting point of view. I just came back from living in Vietnam for 2 years (I’m Vietnamese American), and I saw plenty of this. In most cases, though, the men tend to end up marrying their VNese wife. I also had a few friends who dated local girls.

    I understand it is a trade off, and even so, doesn’t mean feelings can’t be sincere. Typically it is guys who have not faired well with the ladies back home and now they are finally receiving attention. That being said, I judged guys who dated local girls deep down because I know the connection usually does not run that deep due to cultural and language barriers. I considered dating a guy (he was white) while I was in VN, but because he had typically dated only local girls since he had been there (and he spoke Vnese quite well!) I still had my own preconceptions and thought less of him. Not as a friend but as a contender to be someone I would date.

    People have their own criteria for what they want in a relationship, but regardless everyone deserves to be loved. Even LBH’s.

    MissMentor

  • http://playgroundwords.blogspot.com Hanny

    I think I have enough with this “thing” lately! Because, I’m an Asian girl, Indonesian and now I’m dating a German guy.
    Thanks to God that my family have enough money to feed me well, even spoil me with unnecessary things. So money things or feeding my family is definitely not something that I should care about too much now, because my parents still do it very well! And I fell with him not because he’s a westerner and I want him to take me to his country! Geez!! I can’t do it with my own money or at least, my parents’. After-all now he’s been living in North Sumatra, Indonesia for a year and will spend another year here. He hates tourists even he’s one of them! Even though we have long distance relationship because I live in Jakarta, but still this ‘Western guys with Asian girls’ case disturbs us! We don’t like it!!
    Why people care too much with other’s business!? And the thing is, is it our fault (Asian girls) if western guys fall in love with us? And do you think all of Asian girls are bad?? Hey you don’t even know all of us! You can’t just make a generalization from your own point of view and your own experience! Don’t be such a narrow-minded, you have to be very objective!
    I know most of people in the world think that girls are weak, especially Asian girls (but we’re not that weak actually!). So it’s easy to take advantage from us. If people do so to us, who’s bad anyways??
    Sorry if I’m being too emotional. I just hate this case, because I feel it haunts me everywhere I go lately..

    • http://playgroundwords.blogspot.com Hanny

      ahh.. it should be “I can do it with my own money.”

  • Paty

    Intersting to see how so many people are personally hurt, offended and sick and tired of backpackers peddling their prejudices about this subject. This is hypocrisy from the white, western females who seem to be the demographic who are keenest on this destructive stereotype.

    I can just imagine the reaction of the people who continue to foist their views about it on everyone else if the spotlight were turned on them for a change – maybe I should sumbit an article about western, white females strutting around places like Morocco and Jamaica with their new “boyfriends” when they are on holiday? Or would that be classified as “racist” (unlike their views on Asian women of course which “aren’t racist”)?

  • http://michatheperegrine.googlepages.com michaela lola

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen this article. The last time I read it, I had to step away from the computer because I wanted to punch the screen. And you know what? Months after the I first read it, I still want to punch the screen. I hate that the article is saying how much we should “understand” yet its pretty clear she doesn’t understand the situation at all. I hate how the article seems to say “let’s stop being ignorant” when the article itself is so ignorant.

    Am I condoning how foreigners go to third world countries and making it their sex playground? Hell no. I grew up in a third world country. Yes, I’ve seen the red light district. When I was a kid, I lived in Olongapo City which was near the Clark Air Base (an American military base..gee, google it!) and the hotbed of both prostitution and also some legitimate, as you say “White Male, Asian Woman” romance. So I do know a bit what I’m talking about. If you think that strolling in pattaya beach, backpack and all, scrunching your nose at these couples means that you understand and can put yourself in their shoes? I’m sorry, but that’s a big fat no. Growing up in that area, I remember a lot of (good and not-so-good and just plain horrible) occurrences and issues with both Caucasian men and the Filipina women. I won’t discuss it now, but I state it because before everyone jumps at me, I want to emphasize how little a traveler or even an expat (maybe most especially an expat) can understand these issues and the writer putting herself in the shoes of the girl – creating her as a limited, pathetic, one-dimensional being – does more of a disservice than actually fostering understanding and discussion.

    Honestly, I’m red in the face with anger.

    a) Yes, I get the “point” you were trying to make. YOu know what your problem was (and also the team of Matador editors – come on guys! geez!) is that you failed to define what you mean. Do you mean ALL Asian women? ALL White Men? I’m Asian. My boyfriend is German. So are you going to see us and try to “understand”? How about making some concrete definitions. Maybe you could of tackled prostitution in third world countries. (THAT would of been interesting). Maybe you could of discussed the propensity of foreign travelers that go to poorer nations for the sole reason of securing an asian wife.

    Maybe you could of tackled how former colonies, such as the Philippines (did you know that the Philippines was a former colony of the US? BET You didn’t!) continue to have a lasting effect on the country, such as the power relationship of the American male and Asian woman and how they are perceived by the rest of the world. Another possibility would have been how families from poorer countries are the ones who set up their daughter with a foreigner? You could have explored the motivations, why it continues, how it happens, etc. How about the “binary relationship between ethnic asian nationals and foreign immigrants: obstacles, perceptions and realities”?

    What about the abuse that often occurs in these kinds of relationships (based on economic inequality, the “mail order bride” phenomenon, etc.) where a national from a poorer country views the male as her “rescuer” only to have him abuse her physically, emotionally and mentally. Hence, mimicking history’s pattern where the “liberator” is also the colonizer. Or how the tragic histories of many of these countries has affected the perspectives and power relations between the Asian and the Westerner? (i.e.Vietnam). how about the effect of the media such as Hollywood films?

    Did your father start dating an Asian girl similar to the one in your article? Then maybe talk about that – your reaction to it, your relationship with him and her. If it’s too personal, then you could have written it anonymously or even wrote it as though your “friend” was going through it. (I only ask because I DON’T UNDERSTAND why you would use that line at the end of your article).

    There are thousands of articles and statistics of these cases and you could of done something that would have made an IMPACT. How about an article on how Asian women are essentialized and exoticized, often limited as stereotypes by Western media and colonialism? (Made into that mysterious, exotic, dark Other).

    OR you could of even done something like “What perceptions and misconceptions continue with mixed race relationships?” — THAT would have been interesting. THAT would of made a point. THAT would have gotten people thinking.

    What about extending your idea, posing the first section as an topic of discussion and then exploring what happens when this third-world national marries the Caucasian male and moves to his home country – what challenges does she face? What perceptions does she have to deal with? Does their balance of power in their relationship shift? IS there even a more dominant person in the relationship? What are her (and his) motivations? Instead of “putting yourself in her shoes” (which resulted in showcasing your own ignorance, even if your mission was to abolish ignorance…), you should of supported it with interviews or research. Yes, articles have an 800 word limit but you could have made it short but powerful if you had based it on something concrete and then let people discuss…

    b) Did you even think to interview any of these couples that you have seen? Or were you just content to imagine yourself as a poor Asian girl? Yes, the negative perspective of the “Dirty Old (White) Man” (D.O.M. or in the case of this article, D.O.W.M.) and the “young asian woman” is present, even with locals, but I took a German language class in Manila a few months back and those “types” of relationships were present but yes, there was a LOT more to it. (As you pointed out, they have their own reasons). What could have helped your article is to have actually interviewed couples you’re eager to “understand.” And are you SURE this is exactly how the Asian woman (I get the “kind” you meant yet failed to define – which could also translate for other poor countries such as Africa, Latin America btw!) thinks? That a poor Asian woman of the night, or a poor Asian girl from the province involved with a rich older white man thinks this way? Are you certain that is their situation?

    c) “What would you think if your father began dating this girl?” – Wow! Honestly, there was a moment that I was also trying to understand the point you were trying to make (however badly executed). I was also trying to walk in your shoes, trying to think, “hey, this person comes from a first-world country, maybe she’s had a bad experience with that.” Or “her journey to Asia as a teacher probably shocked her and she’s only scratched the surface, at least she’s speaking out and trying to develop dialogue.” Poor little white woman from a first-world country! How wonderful that she’s trying to understand us lesser beings! Goddess of Caucasian understanding! (Doesn’t feel good to be essentialized, no?)

    By the way, my grandmother was a white woman from a well-to-do family and my grandfather (her husband) was a Filipino man who grew up poor. Are you saying he’s a male version of that? Was his motivation only money? Was he also fanning the charcoal flames in his tiny shanty, thanking his stars that he found a rich, white woman to buy him things? I know for a fact that this is not true.

    Also, I’m curious…if the gender roles were reversed, would you still think the same thing? Now gee, that could have been another interesting topic.

    This article sounds a heck of a lot like a bad case of “White Man’s Burden.” Yes, I get what you were trying to do. How noble of you. To “shed light to this darkness.”

    Hey, if you’re going to spew out articles calling to abolish ignorance or foster dialogue, how about you study the situation a bit more? Research. Interviews. Don’t put yourself in another girl’s shoes and make her a one-dimensional, limited being. If that’s your style of writing and/or you were truly curious what it would have been like, then it would have been beneficial for you and your readers to have contemplated on the ‘character’ a bit more

    Okay. I’m sorry I’m a bit harsh. I’m sorry if I said anything personally mean. BUT this article still gets my blood boiling. And not in a good way. It doesn’t foster dialogue, it just makes people mad. There’s no jump-off point to actually discuss (other than, “What would you think if your father began dating this girl?”). To me, it feels like a cheap ploy to get people to react without much substance. (Kind of like Fox news or one of bad reality shows).

    Are articles like these the standards of Matador these days? I’ve noticed a lot of “soap box” articles and though I was an avid reader and a member of the network (and even writer), I’m saddened by how many articles throughout all the other Matador channels attempt to only scratch the surface. Some pieces have been more to elicit reaction (hence, get more page views and comments like mine) than to actually really change, inspire and motivate readers to discuss and think about the world. As a reader, I think its well within my right to give feedback because I want to read articles by other travelers that push me to think deeper, challenge my preconceived ideas, learn ideas about different cultures and perspectives. I really do. If I’ve ended up burning bridges, then so be it. I’m sorry then but yeah, articles like these are NOT okay. I’m not saying squash ideas or that I’m personally attacking the writer (I’m sure she’s very good, but this article could have been much better) or the editorial team, but maybe develop pieces before sending them out. Hey you guys are the ones talking about setting high standards, right? So why not put that into practice beyond the first-world Westernized perspective. It’s not just about the page views or how much T-shirts you can sell. (Is it me, or has Matador become more consumer-driven than idea-driven?)

    p.s. that picture that came with the article. NOT OKAY.

    • http://www.ianmack.com Ian MacKenzie

      Michaela, I appreciate your issues with the post. Clearly, it’s something you feel strongly about. I edited this piece, and ultimately, decided to post it.

      I felt the aim of the article was to simply give another side to the story, and encourage people not to be so quick to pass judgment on others. No more, no less.

      I find it disheartening that because of this piece, you feel Matador has become “consumer-driven” which is odd, considering we have very little advertising on the site – the majority of which is for our own websites and a few key partners.

      Our aim is to provoke thought, and in some cases, reaction, to get people talking about these issues. And that’s far more interesting than what you’d read in Conde Naste Traveler.

  • http://matadornights.com Kate

    to michaela lola and others that have weighed in with similar insights -

    Thank you for posting and for putting your point of view out there. I am very much inclined to agree and would like very much to see a published rebuttal on the network.

    micheala lola-

    You are giving so many great ideas away, but what about lampooning this piece or refuting it in any of the ways you outlined above!? I’d love to read it!

    Kate

  • http://michatheperegrine.googlepages.com michaela lola

    Ian,

    Thanks for responding. But let me ask, what do you mean by other side of the story? I’m sorry but there was no story. In fact, it was devoid of anything provoking deep thought, reflection or a strong stance. Yes, it had potential but was published raw. Nothing deeper. I’m sorry that you thought as editor that it was fine. But you know what? It wasn’t. Yes, it provoked reaction but for what? There were so many other angles, avenues and ideas that the writer could have fleshed out that could have made it GREAT. a piece that would really make people (at least me) think “hmmm…I never thought of that before” or “I disagree!” but it was left ambiguous and at the same time, reflective of an ignorance, a hypocrisy and a neo-colonial mindset that I’m sad to see still present (AND espoused by some backpackers, thinking that they are open-minded when in fact, many still reinforce old stereotypes and clichés – the WORST part? They don’t even realize it).

    The writer could have even done her own self-analysis – what she thinks when she sees these couples and the inner-struggle to understand but also her frustration and disgust with the situation.

    What the article did was cause people to talk not about the issues but the problems with the writer’s approach. The discussions ended up unfocused: Some argued about their own mixed-race relations, others about the age-gap, and then those focusing on the physical aspects of the “fat grey old man.” But you know what would have been great to discuss?

    A) Why do situations like these occur?
    B) What kind of prejudices do we have as outsiders?
    C) What power relations continue as travelers in poorer countries in terms of romantic partnerships?
    D) I could go on and on (I am already aren’t I?)

    Seriously, if any one small tiny thing that could have made this article remotely less insulting was if the person defined her terms. (Though I still would have thought it would have been somewhat insulting, but hey, I would have understood her perspective).

    If she/you wanted to show a “different perspective” then the points I discussed in my last response would have done just that (or made the writer’s point of view clearer and that much more powerful). Instead…it’s just the perspective of another backpacker from a first-world country trying to be “understanding” to these poor Asian women. Ummm…please, I beg you, do you not see how messed up that is? And if that’s truly a perspective that you wanted to use to facilitate discussion, then the writer (and you as the editor) should have prodded deeper, asked her to maybe use a different approach or perspective (as I said above, her own views traveling in say Thailand or Manila) or actually interview a girl living that life.

    “I find it disheartening that because of this piece, you feel Matador has become “consumer-driven” which is odd, considering we have very little advertising on the site”

    – hmmm……aren’t T-shirt’s and your brand also a product for public consumption? My critique was, for me, what seems like more content seems to be focused on getting a rise out of people for page views but once read, I’ve found some content a tad shallow. I’m sorry if you disagree. That’s just my impression. And hey, I’m sorry if I’ve insulted you and Matador. I’m not trying to make enemies but as a reader, I am also trying to voice how I feel that the network has changed. And I do hope that as an editor, a co-founder and as a traveler, you (and the rest of Matador) would be open to criticism (and I do believe mine is more constructive than malicious). Heck, isn’t critique supposed to push you guys to be even better? It wasn’t personal to you or the site. I just expressed my critique because ultimately, I DO want to read better stuff. I started out writing for you guys and in a way, there is a sense of loyalty there. I DO want Matador to succeed but in a way that I can keep believing in. That’s just my humble opinion.

    And that’s far more interesting than you’d read in Conde Naste Traveler. – I’m sorry but that’s like comparing apples to oranges. BNT (Matador) is a completely different vein of travel writing. I would compare Conde Naste Traveler to say, Travel + Leisure. (Does conde Naste own Travel + Leisure? I can’t remember, but you get my drift).

    If I was going to compare the Matador sites, it would be with other sites/publications that follow the same vein/approach, say World Hum.

    So comparing Matador to Conde Naste…well, I’m sorry to say, but that’s bit false and misleading. It is clearly not the same thing in every sense. It’s a false argument, a false analogy.

    And hey, I do hope that you and the rest of the team don’t take my critique of the article and Matador personally. It wasn’t. I have the utmost respect for you, Julie, Lola, David and the rest of the team. And if my criticisms are unwelcome and would fare for me badly as a writer, then so be it. But I don’t believe in withholding criticism just because I’m worried how it might affect my career. If I did that, then I should have never become a writer.

    • http://www.ianmack.com Ian MacKenzie

      The article you’re asking for has already been published on BNT: The Shameful Truth About Sex Tourism
      http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2007/11/02/the-shameful-truth-about-sex-tourism/

      This article is only one more perspective on a complex issue. It was meant to provoke. Given that it has over 100+ comments now, it has done just that: opened up a space for people to speak out about this issue.

  • Adam Roy

    Bravo. You don’t have to worry about anyone censoring you here. And damn, I HOPE we’re not Conde Nast. That’d be depressing.

  • http://michatheperegrine.googlepages.com michaela lola

    Hmmmmmmmmmm…………

    Okay, so it WAS to provoke. For me, as one reader, that makes me cringe a bit. Yes, articles come out all the time – on NYTimes, newsweek, etc. – to foster discussion, but I feel as though there’s a concrete stance that they are pushing. But topics made to simply elicit a knee-jerk response (or page views?)…I’m sorry, but I have to just shake my head…

    But that’s just me. I’m just one person.

    Yes, 100 + people commented. But I believe that quality is a lot more important than quantity. Sure you got the number but did it get a significant point across?
    No, I personally think that it failed at that.

    Yes, it provoked people but I think it was more about the readers’ reaction to the article’s treatment of the issue. And I still don’t understand what you mean by “perspective”? What “perspective” is that? I would honestly (and I’m not being snarky or mean about this) like a definition. What kind of perspective were you guys trying to promote with the article? Because the only thing that seems pretty clear to me is that the focus became on the execution of the article than the issue itself – an issue that the writer failed to set a focus for thus allowing such a broad, complex topic float in ambiguity. Of course there are 100+ commentators! Everyone is commenting on different things since the article left everything open—too open in fact. Thus, what kind of impact does it leave? For me, it just left me feeling angry and disappointed that articles like these are published and espoused as pieces created to foster understanding. I’m sorry, but the editorial team’s avowal of such a work that is condescending, not to mention, hypocritical, for me, was quite disheartening.

    And thanks for the link. I was throwing ideas out there (a lot more than just that one you’re referring to) on ways the piece could have been better. They were suggestions on how the article could have, “opened up a space for people to speak out about this issue.”

    Well, Ian (and maybe Matador), I think in terms of the flaws and failings (or for you, success) of the article, we are going to have to respectfully agree to disagree. I understand the intentions of the piece, but I think it showcased a lot of negative traits (a colonial view, a 1st world naivete, ignorance, etc.). I went from anger to disappointment. I say this not as an “Asian,” or as a woman, or even as a traveler, but as a human being who thought that society had evolved beyond this way of thinking. I’m very sorry you see the article as a success, because I really, really cannot fathom such a concept. But “c’est la vie!”

    Or in tagalog… “bahala na!”

  • Steve Little

    I am English born from Scottish descent and grew up in Australia. I learned as a teen how cruel girls can be. So I have discovered a whole new king of cruelty. The Asian girl who awaits the day all your money is hers. I still want to have an Asian girl – one with a heart that can stay true through thick and thin and not be twisted by her contemporaries and government handouts.
    I would be happy to live there so long as I am not a ‘shall I say” sucker.

  • Dio

    It’s odd how critical most of the comments are — because the article makes a rarely honest point, taken from a perspective that is for once, not a male perspective.
    It is relevant that the men who want Asian women are, of course, full of prejudices both about Asian women and regarding white women. I often smile when I see little Asian girls growing up in American families because I know that once they are grown (and hopefully not before them) men will hit on them in bars and night clubs and have no idea, so thick is the prejudice regarding Asian women, that these girls are as American as apple pie.
    My sisters and I have always joke that the men who date and the men who marry Asian women do so because they have smaller penises — or the psychological equivalent of the same.
    And it is men’s fear of women, especially white women, that is at stake here. This fear can be dangerous.
    But the idea that it is not about power and money is preposterous.
    And the young women who offers a fat, grey, older man her youth is missing out on being with a younger man.
    Nor is it the case that ‘fat, grey, older’ women can date Asian men (and given the penis thing, why would they wish too). Moreover Asian men do not count as automatic trophy dates, not for women in any case.
    It may be worth reflecting that we often tell ourselves that we are in love, and tell others how much we are in love, just when we know that our real reasons are a little less idealistic.
    And how many of us are that honest with ourselves.
    Why do any of us ‘love’ as we do?

    • JACK

      We should all thank Dio for proving the point made above by William.  Did I hear someone second me when I say, “You’re a jerk Dio.  You not only missed the point, you proved it with the insipid attitude you display in your comment.  

      • http://twitter.com/mymanysmells Ben Dan

        You don’t even know what insipid means, loser. And YES, you are a loser. You can delude yourself into thinking that you aren’t, but the whole world sees you as a fat old loser who has to go to a third world country to get a woman.

        • Jack

           Yes I think I know what insipid means, thank you.  It was a word rarely used in my MBA and professional life, but I like that word because it says so much about so many people.   I have taught it in TOEFL advanced English classes, BTW.  

          And yes the prejudiced and inexperienced people of the world think I am a loser and that is fine with me.  I have nothing to defend.  Like my girlfriend often says “Up to you!” 

          I have a very good life with a younger devoted (64/43) Thai girlfriend of three years.  And yes I am fatter than I want to be.  I won three trophies for triathlons this year, but none for first place.  If I could only lose a few more pounds maybe I would be first in age group instead of second or third.  In that way I am a loser, right, since I wasn’t first.  I paid cash for my condo here. 

          Retirement in Thailand for people in the right circumstance can be quite marvelous.  It is indeed a paradise for older men, but this creates an element of mystery and jealousy too.  Come take a look, Ben Dan, and see if you are man enough to be a loser here with me.    

    • lol

      lol just like the post ur comment is so full of stereotypical trash its disgusting.

  • user1

    If you are interested in WMAF, this link is 
    the grand collection on this topic:
    http://fafast.com/play?white+guys+asian+girls

  • JACK

    The fault in this story is that there are two pictures and both show young children.  The first looks like a 12 year old.  Linked to that picture is the story of elderly foreign men.  Since I live in Bangkok I see older men, but hardly elderly in the sense that they are quite active and probably between 50 and 70 yo, who are with younger women but those women are in their 20s to 40s.  Frankly those women look very happy and they are the clinging ones in those relationship.    

    I laughed recent about my Belgium neighbor’s story.  We live in Bangkok.  I saw him as he moved out of his apartment temporarily.  His drop dead gorgeous  Thia girl friend has a nicer condo than his and so they moved in together.  He told me she gets 100,000 Baht a month from her Australian boyfriend who is only rarely able to visit Bangkok.  100,000 Baht is more than my two pensions which is a huge wage here in Thailand.  This is not an unusual story.  First world male visitors are as stupid as third world women – no question about that! 

    On the other hand my 42 yo Thai girl friend is not drop dead gorgeous, but we have a proper relationship for over two years.  At least I think so.  I pay for everything including a small amount for her mother in the country.  Our mutual loyalty is expressed every day.  

    Aren’t both situations exactly what happens any where in the world?  As long as the sensationalism in the media like we see in this story above can get put back in the bottle, life will be normal.  When you read blogs and HUBs etc like the one you see above the statistics can racket up more and more.  One day you see a report that 50,000 women are “trafficked” into the US each year and the next you see some one say it is 300,000.  One day you see a report that 9-12 years old girls are forced into prostitution and the next time the report will say it is always 9 years olds bla bla bla.  Stories get more extreme every day. 

    This kind of crap should be put back in the bottle but unfortunately, like bad slasher movies, this sensational talk is entertaining in our new social media culture.   

    Every time I read that a sex trafficked woman was “rescued” I think that a woman who probably knew exactly what she was doing is now out of a job and has to use her “victim card” to get along until she can resettle and be a sex worker some where else.  But that’s only my firs hand experience with this issue in several developing countries as well as in the US.  We need to put this crap back in the bottle and stop the craziness.  

    • realist

      Older white men with Asian women is sickening. The women often look prepubescent or very, very young. These women are looking for an escape out of poverty and are not interested in these dim-witted, pudgy-faced, sweaty white men. These white men develop huge inflated egos because they aren’t accountable – but they’re seen in the street and sniggered at by both Asians and Caucasian - because we all know the young Asian girls are only with these dumb and insecure men for money. 

  • Imnotletting

    This story tries to sell idea that these thai girls are selfless and just want to help their poor baby sisters. Truth is that many, if not most, of them just like money and living easy life. Stories about baby sisters and sick mothers are usually just that, stories. People in poor countries are not more selfless than in richer countries, usually less so.
    Tourists fust provide them rich lifestyle without much effort, work or study.

  • Guest

    you’re pathetic

    • Lllll

      Smart comment. Why not explain your view?

  • Luna

    As an asian girl live in asian country, i disagree with this author. He(she) just looks one side of this issue, Asian girl now is quite strong, intelligent and independent they know what bring happy, what is a freedom life. What is an old white man looking for when find an young asian girl, with his age and his economic situation cant afford for white girl, asian girl is the best choice, the men once again find the love when still have the girl adore him 

  • Ocguy715

    I have to agree with you. Everyone needs love and part of that is taking care of each other. Yes you are stereotyping of course and it doesn’t apply in every case but stereotypes are based on the larger reality. Asian women are just better, more caring, docile, ego boosting, and way cuter than white american women so it makes sense.

  • struggling

    My brother has married a Filipino woman–actually on his 2nd one now as the first one died 18 mo ago.  I struggle with this soooo much.  First of all,  he wanted to retire early and had lived like a pauper for his whole work life, saving nearly every penny.  Now he has nothing–and I mean nothing–to his name!  That’s just after wife #1.  Wife #2 seems very nice and is a hard worker, but wants to get pregnant ASAP–she’s 20 yrs younger and had 3 children already, by different men!    She has brought the 2 yr old to America with her but left the two teenage boys behind.    I am sure this is her plan for securing HER future financial situation as well as her children. 

    Wife #1 was verbally and physically abusive to him and my mom.   Because of her, I struggle to accept any of this.  I try to be happy for him, because he does seem happy, even though he is now completely broke and no longer has a good job (oh yeah, he had to quit that because  of wifey #1 also–she wanted him to take her back to the Philippines! ) While married to her, he supported her family in the Philippines and her son in Chicago, who didn’t work, even though he was in his 30′s! Why work when you have a stupid, middle-aged American man who will support you, right?  I don’t know to what extent he is “supporting” his new wife’s family in the Philippines now but my guess is they are sending money as much as she can get her hands on it. 

    He works for just over minimum wage now and lives in a dump that should be torn down–not paying anything to live there!  But I guess the sex sure must be good  because he and several of his middle-aged friends are all doing it! 

    It is an insult to me as an American woman–there were opportunities for him to be with wonderful AMERICAN women but they were not 100# showcases.    It is an insult to me just as a woman because these women are PROSTITUTING  themselves–for security or whatever you want to label it as.  Ok, maybe it is to “put food on the table” for their families, and yes, we as American’s don’t have a clue what it is like to live like that, but any American guy who would stoop to this level just to “get some” is not worth a second look in my opinion.  If he is so bent on “helping” these women and their families (as my brother has said to me) then HELP THEM WITHOUT THE BENEFITS, but don’t sell your soul and give your life savings to them, and then bring them back to the US and expect your family to do the same!!!

    These posts are so old I don’t know if this will even be read, but it helps me be able to vent anyway….

  • Ck4pk4

     I am an old asian guy living in usa. I had a relationship with a young teenage dutch girl, who was solely in for my money.  Guess what, once she found some european guy younger than me, who had a prospect for a decent income, she dumped me like a hot potato.

    I imagine that same thing will happen to 99% of you old white dudes who go sleep with teenage asian girls.

    eh, we all deserve what we get. I found another girl, this time in usa.  She’s young, but she’s not the money grubbing whorish type so maybe this time it will work out. Or maybe I am delusional, just like most of you.

    • John

       Let’s get something straight.  Very few “old white dudes” “sleep with teenage Asian girls.”  As an self-proclaimed Asian man you know better than most that a 25 yo Asian girl might look a lot more like an American high school girl, but she is still 25.  That is part of the appeal of course since so many American women was chubby and sloppy well into their 30s.  But Asian “girls” I see with older men are well into their 20s and also 30s in most cases.  Let’s forget that ingrained prejudice about age and analyze why it happens at all. 

      The foreign man probably has the advantage of more money, but I also think, specifically regarding Thailand, that three factors skew the ratio of men to women:  (1) to many young Thai men die or are maimed in car and moto accidents, (2) a large number of young men spend some or all their time as a Buddhist monk, and (3) a shocking number of men would rather be women, AKA ladyboys.  I have met ladyboys who are waitresses, store clerks, and post officer workers.    All over Bangkok you see Tom and Dee couples (lesbians) too which is also a likely result of a severe shortage of healthy, acceptable men.  Older foreign men are healthy and manly as well as being able to provide for a family.  If a 30 yo Thai man has one leg or is wearing a saffron robe or a dress without a penny to his name, why is anyone surprised to see a 25 yo Thai woman ignoring him and behaving affectionately to a 50 yo white man?  Its a matter of simply demographics.  Healthy, educated young Thai men with potential also can be “butterflies” – as they damned well know – which also makes the foreign men look appealing.   It is a complicated issue that results in a paradise for the older foreign man at the moment and a mystery or a scandal for the rest of the world to ponder. 

  • Seung-li

    This is full of it. For one, I prefer white men over Asian men because I encounter mostly white men in my life after growing up in a place I hardly see Asian guys. If I do, none really like me. I don’t want money because I’m independent, but support and stability is just a plus. So don’t generalize that stupid stereotype of Asian women doing something like that. You make us seem like we’re desperate people. I’m Chinese and I love my fiancé of a Serbian and Norwegian descent because I love who he is and how he is. We met in high school from a friend and he was the one who liked me. I just ended up falling harder for him because how amazing of a person he is not because he has money or only he’s white. Sorry, this post is just dumb.

BBC film crews capture the dynamic human species around the world.
When in Rome, right? David Francois talks about his banya experience in St. Petersburg.
Does any culture have the right to define modesty, nudity or “freedom” for everyone...
Dane Phillips saw the recent protests firsthand - and wonders how he could still be so...
Check out a different side of New York's museum scene with these 5 recommendations from...
What it means to leave a life of thrills in Thailand only to return to the...
Do more than snap photos, eat biryani, and bargain for shawls.
Darley shares about producing an Emmy-winning travel show, how horses have allowed her to...
Tim Patterson rants about culturally inappropriate backpacker dress in Southeast Asia.
During the season of the dead, Christine Garvin uses ritual to try and understand a bit...
Art Deco movie palaces, futuristic big screens, movies on the roof, and in a cemetery.
Avrol Looking Horse leads the Lakota Tribe in trying to shift mankind's energy toward...
Natalie Grant just made your resolution-making decisions easier.