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Vocabulary for Prostitution, Part 1 Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Beginner, Culture, Intermediate


Disclaimer: The following views and descriptions should not be conferred as the views held by Transparant Thai, and in no such manner is this article meant to demean women or Thailand. The following article is presented as a means to convey the darker side of Thailand, an opportunity to learn vocabulary that wouldn’t be taught in any formal/proper educational setting. Such vocabulary, culture, and events can be found in Thai movies and daily conversation, giving it practical academic use.


This is one of those really sensitive topics. Some people might enjoy learning about this subject, some might be offended by it, and I’m sure some Thais will feel ashamed by it. But in the end, Thailand is one of the sex tourism capitals of the world so it’s a topic that cannot be avoided. Anyway, everyone has their own opinions towards prostitution. This article isn’t meant to change your opinion in any way, just to better inform you of the subject with reference to Thailand. It’s also meant to teach you the necessary Thai vocabulary. Thailand is of course known for its rampant prostitution, and anyone who learns the Thai language at some point will need to know the related vocabulary. But that isn’t to say you or I support the ‘industry’.

Culturally, Thailand is a fairly liberal country, but it wears a mask of conservatism. Now, I’ve never been a customer to the darker side of Thailand. I’m a straight-edge type of guy. But I am very interested in Thai culture, all aspects, so I’ve put effort over the years to understand the ‘dark side’. And that’s what I’ll talk about, mixed in with various important vocabulary words.

Let’s start with the basics. Prostitution in Thailand is illegal (ผิดกฎหมาย, pid2 goat2 maai5). Really? Yeap. But the closest to enforcement of the law are policemen/politicians asking for ‘bribes’ to overlook the issue. And generally they (politicians and police) are all customers of these services.

But let’s first clear up some cultural confusions you may have.

My claim is that prostitution in Thailand is not the same as in the US (I’m American so it’s my reference point). Think about the western stereotype of a prostitute. They are typically drug addicts, with children to feed, low moral standards, low intelligence, bad families, history of violence at home, etc. Driving around in my home town, I’ve occasionally seen them, and they fit the stereotype quite well. Except . . . the ones I’ve seen were quite ugly, some very over weight, some 40+ years old, missing teeth, unkempt hair, smelly, etc. In the back of my mind I wonder if these girls use the money to feed their drug addiction, and perhaps the money then goes to fund drug gang violence (and murder). True or not, that’s the stereotype. Stay with me on this thought . . .

to be continued . . .

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  1. Mali:

    you are wrong writting in “ผิดกดหมาย” the right one is “ผิดกฎหมาย”

    • palmisano:

      @Mali oops . . . very embarrassing . . . I’ve made the correction!

  2. Mali:

    🙂 don’t worried, i have made wrong in ‘writting’ also but you didn’t remind me.