I had great plans yesterday evening to head to a night market to buy “genuine fake” presents for my lucky friends and family (spending the big bucks on them this Christmas season - y’know, so they know I care), when I met a girl who was on her way to, “either a ping pong show or ladyboy cabaret.”
Well, as we all know, my experience with Bangkok’s ping pong show isn’t too stellar, so I quickly told her not to head there, but instead to the “Ladyboy Cabaret.” Although truth be told, I didn’t really know what that was either, but as “cabaret,” sounded more legit than “ping pong” she agreed and invited me along.
The evening turned out to be pretty fun (and interesting).
Essentially it was a “world class” show (false. these shows would not make the cut for Vegas people.) performed by transgender men. I was actually *certain* the cast was 50% males, and 50% females because some of the ‘girls’ were stunning, but then I read afterwards every person was a man. Huh. (Most were prettier than me #thatsawkward).
I then headed home and hopped online to research about Ladyboys as I find it so interesting how conservative the Thai culture is (I was told couples aren’t allowed to touch in public), but then they have these massive variations from what I would consider conservative.
I found this (hush you, Wiki is sooo a source):
Ladyboys are more visible and more accepted in Thai culture than transgender or transsexual people are in Western countries or the Indian subcontinent. Several popular Thai models, singers and movie stars are kathoeys, and Thai newspapers often print photos of the winners of female and ladyboy beauty contests side by side. The phenomenon is not restricted to urban areas; there are ladyboys in most villages, and ladyboy beauty contests are commonly held as part of local fairs.
This reminded me of when I was in Vietnam and saw how they had
thousands millions of people affected by agent-orange (the pesticide the USA dropped over Vietnam during the war to kill plants/trees/crops to help them find Vietnam’s troops). Sadly the agent orange chemical caused mass defects among Vietnam’s people, and has carried through to a second generation.
Long story (somewhat) short, while in Saigon I saw some of the most deformed (I hope that’s the right word?) people I’ve ever seen, but they were out living their lives. No one was staring. No one making fun. They were just like everybody else, despite their huge deformity. Then it occurred to me how that’s a very Western culture thing; to make fun of people who are different. From my 27 years on this Earth I’ve wintessed people being made fun of for being too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too feminine, too manly, too beautiful, too ugly, too different. Very sad really, but that hasn’t been my experience while in Asia. Everyone is simply on par.
I got some emails about the previous post about the ‘one female in the photo,’ and how “gross” or “unpleasant” it was, and I thought that was such a shame. I don’t think any of the Ladyboys I saw last night would have chosen that difficult route (coming out, being different, surgeries, etc) if they had had a choice, but they were simply born that way.
As were the people affected by agent orange - they were just born that way (Lady Gaga anyone?)
Well this is a bit of a ramble now, and actually wasn’t my intent when I started this post, but point is, I think the Asian culture is ahead of the curve in accepting people for who they are, and seeing the Ladyboys last night in all their glory was quite fun!