Up Country Isaan - a good read

Arliss Michaels

Active member
After Jonty's video on another thread about the Dad and Son, the drinking, the marriage, the love if any etc, I thought this was a good read over at another site, with a slant on the expats that live in Isaan

There is 3 parts , so far I have just read Part 1, but found it very interesting to get the writers view point , and some of the information he gets off a longtime Expat in the area. Also some great photo's

A Journey to the Deep North (Isarn) and Beyond: Part One

A Journey to the Deep North (Isarn) and Beyond: Part Two

A Journey to the Deep North (Isarn) and Beyond: Part Three

Arliss Michaels

Active member
As have plenty of down time at night with TG back home , and I like reading, found my way over at Stickmans, and reading some Readers Submissions and ended up at Stickmans Green Star submissions, which he awards to the best of the best. One writer there has two submissions in the Green Star section that I thought were very well written and an excellent reads, so I went searching the site for more of his submissions, which range from his life experiences in LOS, the P4P scene and how he bored of it, and also tours he has done in LOS and Laos. It was while searching for more articles, that I realised it was the one and the same author who did the initial articles in the OP of this topic.

Hope Wabbs don't mind championing another site but highly recommend if you like an excellent read and to learn more about almost all facets of LOS in an expats eyes search for posts at Stickman by "Mega". I have found most by googling Stickmans Readers Mega which will help you find his posts in a round about way.

Both his Green star posts are brilliant eye opening reads, he has a real knack for writing.


Had a read of a few of his contributions...agree, very interesting...although some things he says with absolute conviction (i.e. presented as facts, not opinions), I'm not sure are correct, which makes me question his other content. e.g. he goes over-the-top about the use of "chan/pom rak khun" vs "chan/pom rak ther", saying that the former is insulting and is meaningless, and that only "ther" really means "I love you". TG view was that "ther" would something kids would say in the playground. Internet search seems to also indicate that khun is more formal, so don't know why it would be insulting. Anyway, just made me question his "authority" on matters Thai reflecting his many pats on the back by Stickman.

Arliss Michaels

Active member
Agree with some what you say NTM, he speaks his mind in his writing, is very opioninated and is not afraid to write it about himself in the true (well if we believe what he writes), as he comes across at times as a bit of a smartie, sometimes a little aloof, and he doesn't suffer fools lightly". In general he writes it as he thinks it and does not gloss over to keep him smelling of roses.


Interesting read ... tho as NTM has said, he is opinionated in the extreme. For a guy who has spent 18 years in Thailand, to start drawing conclusions about the lack of poverty that he sees in just one city, based on construction projects and the amount of SUV's he is seeing, is incredibly naive. All he has to do it get out of town about 15 minutes, drive down any rural road and he would see it. The same was true when I was in Phitsanulok. In the city you did not see much poverty, but get out of town, and you saw it immediately. Not that the people I met on that trip were unhappy, they seemed far happier then the average affluent Canadian, but it was just glaringly obvious that they did not have much money to live on.

He also has a real thing about farang retirees. Here he is, a farang who has lived in LOS for 18 years he says, and harps on about guys older then him who want to do the same. Plus he then judges the state of their health. Judges the fact they are drinking to early in the day. Judges the fact they are sitting with young Thai girls. Judges the motivations of their Thai wives, who just want to "pick over their dead carcasses". He does a LOT of judging!! 555 Older guys going to the same bar every day ... that is not really a shocker. If they were back home they would be going through the same routine every day too, most likely. Or sitting in an old folks home rotting away, while the nurses made sure they ate their carrots every day and never let them have ANY "amber liquid". I see an older, retired farang enjoying his remaining years in LOS and think, "The lucky bastard ... he had the right idea." I am not sure what age the writer is, (18 years in LOS, he can't be that young), but he seems resentful of the retired farangs cluttering up "his" Thailand. Phrases like

"in a scene I’d come across with monotonous regularity during my short stay (2 days) in Nongkhai; older farang, most likely retired, huddled around a bar table with their bar girl friends."

They are minding their own business, not bothering him, so what does he care? Also, did he know the girls were bargirls? Did he go up and ask? On the next trip I'll be travelling to Chiang Mai with a girl who works on the Thailand Stock Exchange ... would he assume she was a bargirl too? We see what we want to see, and this guy makes a helluva lot of assumptions. Like the 30 something guy with his Thai gf/wife. He assumed she was a bargirl without even asking.

"His barfine had the look of a Rainbow gal about her. She was hard-bodied, dark, and lithe, and her eyes had the look of ambivalence; as though she’d done this before and it was nothing more than routine." and "his hard-bodied Nana princess."

Maybe he is right and maybe he is wrong, but I get this feeling that the guy sits in judgement of everything, giving his opinions as facts, and does not verify anything, just makes huge assumptions. He hardly observes, he critiques. We all live our lives based on a set of formulated pre-suppositions, and he wears his on his sleeve.

1. Older retired farang in Thailand are all alchoholics drinking themselves into an early grave.

2. All women with older farang are all hard, jaded bargirls just waiting for them to die so they can walk away with their money.

3. Poverty in Thailand, particulary in Isan, is just a myth perpatrated by the bargirls so they can move effectively rip off their farang victims.

etc ....

Anways, an interesting read AM ... tho I prefer a writer like Andrew Hicks, that seems to love the land and the Thai people far more then this guy.

I thought the sunset pick was really nice.