Weekly Reports on Pattaya activities, 30th January 2000

Dr. Allen R. Briggs



Weekly Reports on Pattaya activities

30th January 2000


  • Bangkok Icon the Club opens Valentine’s Day, February 14, Silom Soi 4; comments on second singer added to staff
  • Throb Boys Bar now offers “exotic and erotic” sexy male strip show each night
  • Memory Bar closed at least temporarily; operator getting medical care in Bangkok
  • Ambiance Group part owner asks to meet with “Gay Pattayan” to clear up errors and problems with reporting
  • New musical performance of “CATS by Icon Dancers rated “Amazing”
  • Observations of frequent visitor on bar boys: they become “family” with other boys
  • Tough Love: “Helping” a boy in trouble and discussion of aspects of how you help


February 14 is the official “GRAND OPENING” for Bangkok’s Icon the Club on Silom Soi 4 in the former “Rome Club” building, which is now the Icon’s own building. The sale of the building and all of its contents was finalized a week ago, and the entire staff of Icon the Club in Pattaya, and the staff of Icon Boutique Hotel as well are stretching themselves to get the new facility ready for opening February 14, a Monday. Monday just happens to be Valentine’s Day, a “holiday-like” special day celebrated in Thailand equally with the US and other areas of the world.

William and David, the owners of Icon, are apparently taking their entire crew, including their second singer, recently introduced, into Bangkok for the Grand Opening, but thereafter, approximately half of the dancers will perform one week in Bangkok and the next week in Pattaya, and the other group will perform one week in Pattaya, and then the next week in Bangkok. William and David are now dividing their dancing staff into the two separate “troupes” which will rotate between Bangkok and Pattaya.

The singers, Khun Toi, and newly introduced Khun Bop, will also divide their time between the two clubs, one in each club each week. Based on the introduction that I saw Sunday night, and the reception both singers got from the Pattaya crowd, both singers will do fine, and provide excellent performances. William and David have hired a young man who appears to be another true WINNER as a performer and singer. I don’t know how Icon the Club does it, but they have truly come up with a seemingly fully qualified substitute for Khun Toi, so neither club will feel “cheated” when Toi is singing at the other. That is really a master stroke. I personally didn’t think they could do it! I should know better –never underestimate these Icon guys!

William indicates their tentative plans are for the Bangkok Icon the Club to be open seven nights a week, but perhaps with only five nights of shows. They will kind of “play it by ear” and see how it goes, but to get ready for the opening of Bangkok’s Icon, they have already instituted a major change in the Icon dancers’ performances in Pattaya. There is no longer a minute or two break between numbers while the dancers change costumes; now as quickly as one number is done, others in the cast will be starting out with the new number, so there will be virtually no break at all. It worked seamlessly Thursday night, despite breaking in six new dancers all at once to be able to have enough dancers to meet the needs of both clubs. In addition, William advises that Icon has hired a greatly experienced Disk Jockey (DJ) for the Bangkok Icon, who will start when the club there opens. He has been performing in Koh Samui’s largest and best known disco, William advises, and is able to play a wide range of music, to please everyone.

Emphasizing that Icon in Bangkok is still intended to reach basically the same type of clientele it has built for itself in Pattaya, William says they don’t see themselves as “competing” with DJ Station, the disco which seems to draw a very young crowd in Bangkok, but will be drawing upon what they expect will be even more people in Bangkok like those in Pattaya, who enjoy a pleasant evening of good musical entertainment aimed at all ages. He didn’t explicitly say it, but it appears they will continue to please all customers, not just the teen age, twenties and thirties crowds They recognize that they can’t please everyone, but they try!


Throb Bar in Pattayaland Soi 3 (BoyzTown) has apparently changed the format of its nightly “exotic and erotic” show. The show had earlier featured one “drag” act followed by a series of skits by male performers, in various costumes, that had received some degree of acclaim by visitors. However, this past week, the bar’s “notice board” out front indicates that the bar now features a “Sexy male Strip-tease show each night at ll:30.” We will check it out sometime soon. My attempts to get further information on this apparent change by checking their web site, www.throb-pattaya.com was unavailing. No specific information on the bar’s shows is offered by the web page at this time. Earlier photos of some of the acts are no longer displayed. I will provide more information after checking out the bar’s show, but I cannot guarantee that will be this week, or necessarily any time soon.


A friend visiting from Texas found Sunday that Memory Bar reports that Memory Bar is closed, at least temporarily. He has been advised by someone at a nearby hotel that the bar is closed because the operator is in Bangkok to receive medical treatment for some problem with a leg. Whether the information related to Ron, one of the partners in the new operation, who was involved in the original Memory Bar out in North Pattaya quite a few years ago, is not known. My friend did not determine when the bar is expected to reopen, but presumably, it should reopen in the reasonably near future. Memory Bar is located just off the road to Jomtien Beach a little distance past Icon Boutique Hotel as you head toward Jomtien. (See Map of the so-called Octopus-Icon district on www.pattayagay.com) We will provide more information as we become aware of it.


Jim Lumsden, one of the owners of Ambiance Group, which operates Ambiance Hotel, Boyz Boyz Boyz Night Club, Throb Bar, Splash Bar, and Body Club Fitness Center, has posted a message on the Conference Board of the web site, www.pattayagay.com, which reads as follows:

Dear Pattayagay.com,

>You have made a number of references regarding the establishments run by the Ambiance Group in your weekly reports section. Most of the items have been made without our prior knowledge or consent. I have emailed you in the past asking you to change some in-correct stories you have written. Also I asked if you could maybe come and visit so we could make your acquaintance. So far I have had no reply or visit. I note that you do seem to have contact with other establishments and refer to discussions you have had with the proprietors of the same. Can I ask if there is some specific reason you have made no personal contact with us but still feel you have the right to make any comment on the running of our establishments without our consent. I have posted this on your message board as you have left me no other avenue of making some kind of contact.


>Jim Lumsden

>Ambiance Group

This message really caught me by surprise, since I can never recall receiving any e-mail whatever from Jim Lumsden, or from anyone at Ambiance Group, and I certainly would not intentionally have failed to respond, let alone at least report changes requested in any incorrect stories I have written. I have posted a note on the board responding to the message, and have written to Jim using my own personal e-mail account, hoping we may be able to resolve whatever problem he feels has arisen. I have now offered to meet with him at his convenience to get acquainted and perhaps open new channels to correct and current information. That is always a goal I have striven for.

Frankly, as to my writing without their knowledge and consent, I was not aware I needed or ought to have either their advance knowledge or their consent. But I will be delighted to have any additional sources of information they will provide, and give them every reasonable opportunity to correct any wrong information I have published. I had thought that virtually every report I have carried from the first days of this web site about any of Ambiance Group’s functions have been favorable and laudatory (except for the delays in opening Splash Bar). I do not normally go around town identifying myself as “Gay Pattayan”. My information gathering is done by me wherever I go openly as an ordinary customer. I have never requested inside information, or special access to a particular story or bit of information. In gathering information, I also rely heavily upon several friends living here year round and many friends and visitors who come here and provide information and comments about the gay scene in Pattaya. When I publish friends’ opinions, they are clearly identified as such. (I do not always agree with my friends’ opinions, but always appreciate their willingness to share their views with the other readers.)

At any rate, if I have written any “incorrect stories” about Ambiance Group or its properties, I will be delighted to make corrections. I hope to be able to meet with Jim within the next week, and will report next week, including any corrections he may request that would be appropriate. I hope this seeming complaint will open even more doors to better information for you, the reader.


Guys, I know it must seem like I can’t talk about anything but Icon the Club some times, but a new number staged Thursday night at Pattaya’s Icon the Club just floored me. Just as I begin to think they have done everything so spectacularly they can’t possibly make their show any better, they come up with something completely different. And they sure did it up in SPADES Thursday night! (Obviously, this is my personal opinion, but I think you all realize that!)

With a new assistant choreographer on staff, Khun Taey, who is working with the whole crew now including six new dancers who have just started, the Icons put on a truly spectacular new act featuring the song “Memory” from “CATS”, which is Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musical that is now the world’s longest running musical in history. With the dancers all costumed as cats, the individual cats featured their own special feline characteristics one finds hard to imagine, much as in the stage production, from what I have read of it, with the various “cats” slinking all over the place, rubbing up against customers, sometimes scratching at and otherwise tantalizing a customer here and there. The musical performance was startling. Startlingly good!

“Midnight! Not a sound from the pavement. Has the moon lost her memory?

She is smiling alone

In the lamplight the withered leaves collect at my feet

And the wind begins to moan

Every street lamp seems to beat a fatalistic warning

Someone mutters and the street lamp gutters

And soon it will be morning”

And then the most “touching” part:

“Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me

All alone with the memory

Of my days in the sun

If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is

Look, a new day has begun”

(Lyrics from “CATS”) © Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber

You’ve got to see it to believe it. I never did see the theatrical performance of this famous show, “CATS”, or even pay any particular attention to it, but I now realize I have been humming a lot of the melodies from this great musical for years, and this is one really special performance at Icon the Club! When I got home, I “had” to get on the Internet and do some research on “Cats–the Musical”, and that was a revelation by itself! The Icon Dancers have really outdone themselves. Trust me on this!

Just an afternote: On Sunday night, while visiting the Club again with a friend from Texas, Khun Toi sang the song “Memory” from “Cats” in full, in what was to me a moving performance also. I don’t remember hearing him perform this song before, but he really did an outstanding job.


One frequent visitor to Pattaya sent the following message as his “continuing study of the bar boys in Thailand” in which he has some new observations which seem worthy of note:

“One observation, of course, is that they do it for money and most that stay at it more than a couple of months, I feel, enjoy the attention and nice dining and of course the travel and presents. But after being with a very loving boy who gave me a lot of fun for 10 days, I said something about him being my boyfriend. He immediately corrected me and said ” I am your Boy, not your boyfriend” So that is a very important distinction for them and how they draw the line. Besides in reality what can a 22 year old who is into CD’s and clothes have in common with a 55 year old on a long term basis. He never asked for anything and bought me a small present every day.

“His mother died when he was 14 and he quit school at 12 or the 6th grade and went to work at a plastic factory to support his ailing mother and then took care of her at night – his father does not work??? He wants to be a nurse. At the plastic factory he worked 12 hour days, 6 days a week, for 100 Baht a day. He told me it was so hot and the fumes were so bad that many workers passed out each day. So, working as a bar boy 6 hours a night is not so bad when you compare the alternatives available to him. He works at Dream Boys in Bangkok and because they have such a good show each night and draw a good crowd, the bar boys do not get any salary from the bar. He said he usually gets 1 or 2 customers a week, so you can see he makes many times over what he would in the plastic factory working 72 hours a week. And of course a 10 day stint in Pattaya with me or another customer is a real bonus. He said he still sends money to his father who now has a new lady, but his father does not know he is gay or works in a bar.

The second new observation is that the boys in the bar become a family unto themselves and watch out for each other and care for each other and share their belongings and money. Their cell phones are their life line to each other and not as large a luxury as we may think. Interestingly he pays 2,400 Baht a month to share a room, but his cell bill is 4,000 Bt a month and he spends 7,000 Bt a month on taxis. While I was sick with food poisoning he stayed by my bed for two days and would not even go eat. He sat on the floor and held my hand or cuddled in bed with me most of the time. He literally carried me to the bathroom and gave me a bath before going to the doctors office. So he will make a good nurse.

“We had a lot of fun together and of course some really great sex. But he did wait until a hour before I boarded the plane, after I paid the off fee for the evening for him and his friend, before telling me he would probably not be there in March when I came back because he was going to Sydney, Australia for three months as soon as his visa is approved. But he is not excited about the farang he is going to be visiting there. He told me the Australian farang does not have “a good Heart”. But hey, I would go to Sydney tomorrow if someone sent me a ticket.

“This boy wants to go to school for English so he can hopefully get into nursing school. As I left him at the airport, he said “I hope we can see each other again in March or in another life” Interestingly, though, when he went upstairs in his bar, his friends moved in like vultures, so we customers are still very valuable property to them.

In summary I can truly say it was another memorable trip to Thailand and hopefully I can return in March for another.


The following is a discussion between two highly experienced farang, one now living in Pattaya and the other widely regarded among friends as a wise counselor and confidant who visits here frequently. They have agreed to share this communication with others interested “for what it may be worth.” It appears to me that the discussion offers a great deal of insight and guidance into dealing with very hard and difficult decisions that arise when you get involved with young men in Thailand, much as may happen anywhere else. The discussion proceeds as follows:

Q. If you have the time, perhaps you could share some more wisdom with me.

A. Glad to give opinions, friend. But expecting wisdom from me is like expecting water in a desert from a passing Arab.

Q. I have been thinking about the email you sent me concerning the young man who you tried to help out many years ago.

A. That was B.. I’ve helped out many, few successfully, and in his case it was just awful.

Q. “D” (my young friend in Pattaya) will have been locked up for 1 month in a few days. My original plan was to let him stay there for about a month to give him time to think things over . . . any advice and wisdom you could throw my way would be appreciated.

A. There are many factors to be considered here, friend. Number one is that if you keep helping him out, he’ll never mature and be able to help himself now and later on. He has to learn to take the consequences of his own actions. If you help out, then such a lesson is wasted. In the instance of my experience with B., I kept thinking he would learn from his mistakes and appreciate what I was trying to do for him and straighten his act out. It never happened! What he saw was that I was always going to come to his aid no matter what. I’d take him back no matter what. I’d forgive him no matter what. And I’d always have money for him, even though it really stretched my circumstances enormously. Obviously that’s insanity.

“You cannot take the monkey off someone’s back. You cannot take on their troubles. Troubles happen for a purpose, whether mundane or divine I don’t pretend to know . . . but there are lessons to be learned from them and they are usually hard ones. He won’t learn them if you take his burden for him by helping. Helping him is a sure way to cripple him so that he will never be able to help himself. If you consider yourself a friend of his and are out for his best interests, let me suggest that his best interests lie in learning to stand up for himself and fighting his own battles. Now and later on in life when you won’t be around. My friend, let him grow up and understand life. You are now “in loco parentis”, in the place of a parent. You can be the kind of parent who lets his kid fall and then get himself up on his own steam. Or, like a preacher’s kid experiences, you can be the type of parent who picks the kid up, buys him a new ice cream cone, soothes his tattered nerves, etc., and ends up with an emotional cripple for a son. I’ve known too many “preacher’s sons”.

“When a person falls and is an adult, he must get up himself, get back up on that horse and ride into the sunset. His future will be worse if you give too much and tolerate too much than it would be if you let him pay for his own mistakes like a man. Let him be a man!

Q. I still care for him, and want to do what is best for both of us.

A. Oh, I know that, my good friend. God, do I know that! And let me tell you, it still hurts me what B. did and how he ended up . . . AIDS and on heroin and alcholic . . . and “Big Daddy” couldn’t help him any more. I helped him too damn much! I didn’t let him carry his own load. He never grew up! But it isn’t a matter of what is best for the both of you, my friend. That horse may already be out of the barn and down the road. What is signally important is what is best for him. You know that or you wouldn’t be asking me. I can promise you from my own experience, that you don’t help a person by helping them. Doesn’t that sound stupid! But it’s true. Let him grow up. Let him know what it is to be a man.

“He won’t understand that. He will still want you to pick up his problems. And if you don’t, he will blame you for all the ills in his life. But if he means anything at all to you, you must stand firm and let him become a man.

Q. I hate the thought of him being locked up like that.

A. Again, I know exactly what you mean. And so did B.. And so does your young man, “D.”. He has known for a long time how to pull your chain to get what he wants from you, and what’s more you know that’s true. And he never learned that one must work for what one wants or there is no pride in it. It has no value. He never had to face up to getting over drugs all by himself. The best thing you could have done for him when he started on drugs was to kick him out into the street. But that would have torn you up . . . and don’t think for a moment that he didn’t understand that fully.

“I ultimately came to the realization that B. was using me and that I was letting myself be used . . . and he knew it and I knew it but it didn’t seem to matter. I was sliding down a slippery slope with him and it was a mess. I came terribly close, my friend, to ruining my own life in trying to help him. Terribly close. But I am not emotionally (nor financially) prepared to go back to the way things were.

Q. I could go on and on, but I think you know where I am coming from…. so I will end…Any advice?

A. I absolutely hate giving people advice, because sooner or later it comes back to haunt me. But I am stupid enough to do it anyway. Let’s begin with some points:

1- D. has been using you for a long time to have a “good life” being a child and never growing up.

2- You know that he has been doing it.

3- He isn’t doing anything to intentionally hurt you, but that’s the way it generally turns out anyway.

4- He knows how to use you just like most kids know how to use their parents. But you understand that isn’t love and it isn’t respect. It’s just getting what he wants without working for it. And what’s worse is you let him get by with it. I know because I did the same damn fool thing.

5- D. will never ever ever ever grow up and be capable of having a normal existence if you don’t let him fully pay the consequences for his actions. He will be a social cripple for the rest of his life if you let things persist by “helping” him.

6- The question is not what’s best for you at this point. The question is what will be best for D. so that he will learn to adjust to a responsible good life. He is perilously close to disaster, my friend!

7- If he makes the adjustment, then you will look back on it with extreme joy and pride. That’s why his problem comes first and then your rewards come later.

“So here’s the “tough love” advice I have for you, whatever it’s worth. Don’t make things easier for him. For goodness sakes, if he must learn a lesson, don’t you try to make things easier for him. No lesson is learned that way. Don’t take money to him. Don’t communicate with him. Have nothing more to do with him AT ALL until and unless he straightens his act out. And he may not do it. It may be too late. But you will never know if you keep softening the punches that life throws at him. He has to be a man and take his own punishment. And you have to stand back wishing you could intercede. I know that, too.

“Further, my friend, you will not be helping him if you let him back into your house and your life without him having a job and being entirely self-sufficient. You know as well as I do that it is important for him to be planning for his future. That means ten, twenty, thirty, or more years from now. What you do and what you don’t do now will be critical to that future.

Q. I am planning on renting a taxi and going to Chonburi tomorrow to check things out, and give him more money for food / water / etc.

A. Why? What does that show him? It shows him that you are going to keep on running to his aid and picking up the pieces of his life forever. It shows him that you always take his burden. Don’t do it. It is possibly the worst thing you could possibly do. I hope he absolutely hates jail and that it is horrible experience for him. If it is, then he may think twice about how to stay out of it. But if you go there, I can promise you that things won’t end there. In all probability they will get only worse. In all probability he will keep using you because he doesn’t know any other way. And then, my friend, you will be where I was. God help you if that happens. Leave him alone! In your heart, you know that’s the right thing to do. Let him grow up! The best thing you could do for him is to tell him he has to solve his own problems and that you don’t want to see him again until he has grown up and is self-sufficient, off drugs, and straight with the world. And then close the door. Do not communicate. Make it a complete break.

” I hope all goes well with you, for I was never able to help myself get over B.’s life. Logic didn’t help. Don’t you put yourself in my shoes.”

Q. As far as your advice on D. goes, it is indeed a classic message.

A. It was from the heart, my friend. I surely hope it helps.

Q. I was wondering if you would mind if I modified it a little (leaving out names, etc), and made it available for anyone who might be interested and / or in a similar situation might request such information. “Gay Pattayan” might even want to post it on his web site.”

A. Go right ahead. My experience in the advice department is that people have to be ready to receive it before it does any good. I doubt that in the long run advice solves any problems, but it may serve to lighten the path to others to solve their own particular circumstance. Well, I’m not so sure it is the type of thing that one would like to read if one were planning a trip to Thailand. Hahaha But whatever you think is OK.

Q. Still have a hard time thinking of him there behind bars.

A. I hate to tell you this, my friend, but that feeling won’t go away. It will be there for years to come. BUT in my experience it changes in surprising ways. In all likelihood your “upset” feeling will turn into anger . . . but at D. for letting himself get into such a predicament. Don’t be surprised at your feelings turning to irritation at the tons of money you shed in his direction which all led up to, not a peak of social accomplishment, but to literally throwing it all away and being jailed. In a very real sense, my friend, you have lost much more than you now realize. That money and attention could have helped someone else, but you will never know now. And it definitely didn’t bring you happiness. You can’t buy that.

Q. And especially not having anything good to eat. I have heard many “horror stories” about the food they serve there (in Thai jails).

A. I hate to seem hard at this point, but it may be the very best thing that ever happened to him! It’s high time you stopped commiserating with him and began to take stock of your own losses, your own wear and tear.

Q. I plan to follow your advice word for word. The hardest part will be if and when I open the front door and there he stands. Hopefully I will be stronger by then than I am today!!!

A. If you are actually able to stand up to him and turn him away, completely cut him off and put him on his own hook for growing up . . . if you can do all that, then you will be helping him immeasurably, helping yourself immeasurably, and you will be stronger than I ever was. I could never do it. I was always too weak and too given over to the thought that I could still help him and still straighten him out. The only thing that stopped that was his horrible death by AIDS. And I am left with the knowledge that I contributed materially to his downfall by giving money and attention rather than letting him grow up and be a man about things. Giving money to B. was like giving him poison. It was the worst thing I could ever have done. And I’ll bear that onus for a long time. B. was estranged from his family, so he spent his dying months in my house . . . what a strain that was. At the very end I took him to a hospice in (a nearby major city in the U.S.) . The night before he died I was there with him for a long time. But when he died, they refused to give me the information. They instead told his family. I am still bitter about that. It was my responsibility to have him cremated and scatter his ashes and take care of his “stuff” in his care facility. Another close friend helped me with that.

“So you be strong. Start right now telling yourself what you will do. Hope I don’t sound like too much of a preacher on a soapbox. Take care. I’ll be happy to hear more from you on the subject as things develop and as you wish to share.

That’s the end of the discussion these guys chose to share with others who may find themselves in a similar position. Thanks, guys, for sharing this deep, ever so personal, distress and hurt! It may help someone else.


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