Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Nation's Star British Blogger for the Week Patronizes Thailand's Red Light Districts

Blog Gone Wild for British Diplomat

Wednesday April 11, 2007 6:01 PM

By JOCELYN GECKER Associated Press Writer

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - A British envoy in Thailand has learned that writing a blog can open the door to some very undiplomatic exchanges - on delicate subjects such as his trips to Bangkok's famed red-light districts.

The trouble started after Ian Proud, who heads the British Embassy's political division, accepted an offer to become an honorary blogger this week on the Web site of The Nation, an English-language newspaper in Thailand.

The idea was proposed to him by the newspaper's editor, Tulsathit Tuptim, a personal friend who envisioned the blog as a forum in which Proud could discuss his ``Thai experiences with British perspective and humor'' before ending his four-year tenure in Bangkok next month, according to the blog's introductory message.

What ensued could better be described as a case of a blog gone wild. Proud's picture appeared with the blog, prompting several Web surfers to post comments saying they had seen him around town, particularly at Bangkok's red-light districts.

As of midday Wednesday, the blog had attracted more than 3,000 viewers and about 100 postings since its start two days earlier.

``I recall going to the embassy once and that same night I was down on Cowboy and who did I bump into? Yes, it was Ian,'' wrote Edwardio Shanks, referring to notorious Soi Cowboy - Cowboy Street - which is packed with go-go bars and Western men on the prowl.

Simon Peltier wrote, ``I saw him walking arm-in-arm with a girl that could only be described as '2 dollar whore.' I bet that girl got a visa no problem.'' Other postings claimed to be authored by the diplomat, but weren't, Proud said in a telephone interview Wednesday, noting one in particular that said: ``Yes, I did go with prostitutes during my tenure here with the Briyish Embassy, but that does not make me a bad person.''

``My syntax is a lot better than that for a start,'' Proud said, not denying familiarity with the red-light districts but insisting he did not patronize them on ``a regular basis.''

``I'm not going to complain that I've never been there. But at the same time, the suggestion that I'm some sort of upholder of the sex trade in Bangkok ...'' he trailed off. ``It's pathetic, frankly.''

Postings were not exclusively about Proud's wanderings through Bangkok's nightlife. Some readers complained about the consular office's visa section and hurled criticism at British diplomats in general, while others wished Proud well in his future endeavors or urged him to stop blogging to save his pride.

Proud had introduced himself on his blog as someone new to the blogging scene who hoped to share thoughts on his love for the country that had become home for the last four years.

``When my posting to the embassy ends next month, I don't think I can bear to leave; this country is my home now,'' he wrote in his introductory note, suggesting he had perhaps found his true calling and would stay in Thailand to become a ``professional web-blogger.''

I don't know which is more disgraceful for Mr. Proudd, affiliating with the whores of Soi Cowboy or fraternizing with the whores who work at The Nation.

Once there was a time when the British produced the most outstanding foreign service officers in the world--many of whom were stationed in Bangkok during times of crisis.

Now, Whitehall produces the likes of Ian Proudd. Lovely.


Anonymous said...

In the 'Bowring crisis' of mid 19th century, it was the capitalists of the East Asiatic Company and other British tradesmen that held real political and economic clout behind the negotiation between Siam and Great Britain. The Japanese, American, Swiss investors replaced them by the end of the Cold War.

Mandarins& honourable 'gentlemen' of the British Empire were and remain to be counter-productive at the time of Thailand's (regular) crisis. At present, 'Tesco' probably speaks louder than the British Foreign& Commonwealth Office. International relations have proved to be nothing but 'to trade, or not to trade'. Excellent, mankind...


Anonymous said...

This guy is a clown. Did he really offer or agree to post a blog for the Nation so he could announce his daughters reaction to seeing some mangy soi dogs?

He badly need to be on the next plane home, and that is without considering the truth or otherwise of his alleged outing(s) to Soi Cowboy.


Anonymous said...

This guy has been deleting posts as well. Jesus, what a clown.