Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
I don’t know much about Thai culture beyond what is perceived of it from an outside perspective. From that, I would conclude that the entire country has sold itself to the west by way of prostitution, cheap thrills and beyond. From movies like ‘Bangkok Dangerous’ to ‘The Hangover Part II’, where the recurring theme seems to be brothels, drugs and sex. If I were to ask you, or anyone else for that matter, what comes to mind when I mention: ‘Thailand’, I’m sure your answer would be no different. The sexual appetite of this world is massive and it has clearly found a smorgasbord in Thailand. ‘Sex Tourism’ has grown to a point where impoverished families are selling their own children into the sex industry. What was once sought after from a point of desperation has now become cultural. Why? It’s easy to look at a country like Thailand and see it the way we want to see it but like most countries, there is a reason why it is the way it is today. Crucial historical events set the scene and Thailand responded out of necessity.
Slavery was abolished in Thailand in 1800 and new legislation was implemented that forbid men to sell their wives. With poverty a growing concern, women began to prostitute themselves to earn enough money to live and provide for their families. According to the Thai government, there are 75,000 prostitutes in Thailand. However, this figure may not even come close to the accurate figure.
The more ‘glamorized’ and ‘popular’ sex scene as we know it today was brought into fruition in approximately 1964 during the Vietnam war after the United States Government established seven military bases in Thailand. Thailand agreed to provide American soldiers with “Rest and Recreation” or as the soldiers called it: “I & I” (intercourse and intoxication). Poverty continued to run rampant and many bars and businesses began converting their establishments into strip clubs and brothels as they saw fresh clientele stepping off the boats in packs.
In 1975, the war ended and the soldiers went home taking with them all the stories and experiences of prostitutes and brothels back to their homes. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the new generation of ‘sex tourists’ arrived and set up shop in Thailand. Officially, the Thai government does not condone ‘sex tourism’ and does not want to be seen as such a government that does. However, 60% of Thailand’s income comes from tourism, sex tourism. At a whopping 4 billion US dollars a year gross, sex tourism is not only drowning the moral of the country, but also allowing it to continue. Looking at the Thai sex trade, versus government and finance, one word is left in mind: ‘irony’.
I stood in front of my class today to present this information to them following another similar themed presentation. The previous student spoke on men frequenting brothels and and others selling their wives and children into the sex trade to compensate for the worsening poverty. Now, being a man, there's a degree on intimidation and obligation that arises when being in a class comprised of one guy (me) and eight girls. The intimidation becomes a factor given their 'possible' negative experiences with men. I have been outnumbered on previous teams that would gang up on the guys based on their experience with other men. Being a man, I want to behave like a man. Not in the way the world's stereotypical agenda has created but--what God had in mind when he created us.
As my peer went on about men forgoing their responsibility to their families and engaging in horrific and damaging sexual acts, I was overcome with a great sadness that brought tears to my eyes. I stood in front of my eight women class and began to talk about the issue. Maybe it's because of my past but this topic really grieves my heart. We are supposed to be men of integrity that value our wives and children--to fight for them and put them before ourselves. My emotional response caught me off guard somewhat. I continued to tear up throughout my presentation and even after I sat down. Maybe God has put this on my heart for a reason.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you..
Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I have made it to Thailand, as many of you already know if you have been following my on Facebook and Youtube.
I have been working on settling in and getting into the swing of thing. Schedule and whatnot. My time in Thailand will be spent in classes that are meant to ensure the entire team is on the same page 'skill wise'. We all come from different backgrounds and skill levels, so this time will be interesting to say the least. But, I am looking forward to it. Each week we have several assignments and projects to cover.
I set out to find a subject today for one of my photo assignments and ended up finding it in the form of a Thai farmer/fisherman. Needless to say he was startled when he turned around to find a strange white guy with a camera snapping away. I followed him around while he checked previously placed fishing lines for fish and rebated the hooks. He didn't speak any english and I didn't speak any Thai but he managed to teach me how to catch catfish with live crickets.
Anyway, I just wanted to get these photos out. More to come.
Check out my update videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/brenserez/videos