Dying to Leave Thailand

Seesaw & Ice Cube by Bill Thomas
Seesaw & Ice Cube by Bill Thomas

Cue the Theme song to M*A*S*H

Yesterday actor David Carradine was found dead in his Bangkok hotel room. By all accounts this sounds like it was an auto-erotic asphyxiation death, although there are some reports stating his hands were tied as well which could place someone else in the room. If he was alone you have wonder why anyone would choose auto-erotic asphyxiation over Bangkok’s infamous night life. Women ( or men/ladyboy’s if that’s your thing) trump choking yourself with rope while masturbating any day.

I’m not trying to make humor out of a senseless death but there seems to be a problem here.

Falangs (foreigners) die a lot in Thailand and not by natural causes. Some overdose, some like to take small jumps off of big buildings and then there are the ones who hang themselves. Last year the Thai police were alerted to a mans head dangling off of Rama VIII bridge. At first they thought it was a murder but eventually it turned out to be a badly planned suicide…rope too long…man too fat…leaves a head on a rope and blood everywhere.

What is it about Thailand that drives falangs to their death? Certainly there are the falang that have come to the kingdom to live out their utopian dreams with just enough money to give them 5 years or so which is just about as much time to make sure they can’t go home easily and when they run out of money they pull a jumper or hang themselves.

But there are also cases of men who seem to be very happy, have money, have a good relationship and they are found hanging or jumping or overdosing. Sometimes they are murders but more often than not they are suicides.

These deaths shouldn’t be confused with  the fools that come to Thailand in search of marathon sex and pop a handful of viagra and wash it down with 10 beers, they find out soon enough just how stiff viagra can make you. Then there are the men that think it would be a great idea to rent a large motorcycle in Bangkok or Pattaya, I guess they think they look cool but all the pictures of the inevitable accidents I’ve seen suggest differently. Hard to look cool when being picked up off the pavement with a shovel and poured into a plastic bag.

Like moths to a flame Thailand draws many men each year to their death. I’m not sure about tourist statistics world wide but I would venture to guess that Thailand ranks high up on the list for tourist and expat deaths. Maybe there should be a huge warning label plastered across Suvarnabhumi Airport stating: “ Men, Thailand can be hazardous to your health“. Yes, I said men! When was the last time you read about a female tourist or expat offing herself, overdosing on sex related drugs or wrecking a sport bike in Thailand?

As a man I can attest to the strength of Thailands draw but I don’t think I’ll be offing myself anytime soon and if you’re a man that’s been to, plans to go to,  or lives in Thailand you shouldn’t either. Nothing is ever so bad that you have to kill yoursef.

No one knows the complete circumstances of David carradines death yet but his name will be added to the long list of falang that off themselves in the big mango every year.It seems paradise also has an ugly side and many a man has fallen into it’s grasp.

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11 Responses to Dying to Leave Thailand
  1. *lynne*
    June 5, 2009 | 11:58 pm

    I wonder about the circumstances of his death. It was shocking for me to see the headline yesterday – I don’t know what about is that continues to disconcert me so. Bottom line: if there was foul play, I hope they get to the bottom of it. May the not-so-young-anymore Grasshopper rest in peace.

    *lynne*s last blog post..Beyond the Rim: David Carradine

  2. Mike
    June 6, 2009 | 12:01 am

    Talen I remember David Carradine for the TV cult programme (in UK) called Kung Fu.

    I enjoyed his other film work too, but for me he will always be remembered as Grasshopper.

    Sad to see him go, given the circumstances, I guess it was just a tragic accident.

    Mikes last blog post..My Thai Top Ten

  3. Windmill
    June 6, 2009 | 1:00 am

    Oh dear Talen,

    Shocking news this is on a Saturday here.

    David Carradine, the Actor? WOW! that’s really sad.

    Cool Actor in the roles that I watched him.

    Windmills last blog post..My message to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – change your mindset!

  4. Pete, FrogBlogger
    June 6, 2009 | 1:55 am

    Grasshoppers often meet untimely ends, especially in Isaan (grilled, fried). Seriously though the circumstances seem odd, or though as you suggest, perhaps not so odd for Thailand. So many come to LOS to let off steam, to rebuild lives, to explore the exotic. It’s perhaps not surprising that a fair proportion, especially of the male visitors, let their guard down and take risks they wouldn’t dream of taking back home.

    Pete, FrogBloggers last blog post..Brash Bangkok, culture-hound Chiang Mai, pornographic Pattaya, innocent Isaan – which one is your Thailand?

  5. Western Observer
    June 6, 2009 | 2:30 am

    I enjoyed Kung Fu. My favourite bit was when Grasshopper took his instructions from an an old fella with eyes like ping-pong balls. I wonder what happened to him?

    Western Observers last blog post..Satellite TV in Thailand: Dump TrueVisions for Astro or Multichoice

  6. Catherine
    June 6, 2009 | 6:47 am

    I was shocked too.

    First, there was an announcement of a famous Hollywood Star committing suicide in Bangkok.

    A half hour later, they said who it was.

    The ‘Hollywood star’ part threw me off as I usually equate expat male + suicide = total BS.

    So it took me awhile.

    A bit after I made the connection, the shoestring article came out.

    The whole thing is like a bad movie script:

    David Carradine dies in the former Bangkok Hilton under circumstances that involve shoestrings.

    I used to have a crush on David Carradine. It is all so very sad.

    Catherines last blog post..Interviewing Myke Hawke: Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast

  7. Martin In Bulgaria
    June 6, 2009 | 4:49 pm

    Hi Talen,
    Like Mike Grasshopper is the memory I have of this man. Escaping into something you think it is Eden then discovering it is another dead end leads exactly that. Memories of his acting live on even if the actor doesn’t.

    Martin In Bulgarias last blog post..Bulgarian Marrows (Tikvichki) But Not As You Know Them

  8. Martyn
    June 6, 2009 | 5:13 pm

    Just how stiff viagra can make you….wonderful line and unashamedly I’ll admit the sort of creative writing that really draws me into a post. David Carridine yeah sure I absolutely loved his Kung Fu series but like so many before him and I dare say so many after he’s turned out to be a little like that Soft Cell song ” Tainted Love.” Maybe he should have stayed in the temple a whole while longer.

    Martyns last blog post..Thailand Blogs – May 09 Review

  9. Talen
    June 6, 2009 | 6:12 pm

    David Carradine was great in Kung Fu but his career was quite lackluster since then. Even he said in an interview he had hoped to become more with his acting but he wouldn’t complain about being a d list actor.

    Pete: I think you’re dead on that many men take risks they normally wouldn’t…and for many they find out that Thailand can be an unforgiving mistress.

    Martin: Escping is the perfect word…it could be anywhere but many men escape each year to some destination like Thailand without a clue of how bad it can get if they screw up.

    Martyn: I couldn’t pass up the stiff joke and it’s quite true. Now I have tainted love stuck in my head…Thanks! Fitting though…Maybe they will do a movie about Carradine’s life and times. They could call it: A Man and His Rope-Tainted Love the David Carradine story.

    Cat: I bet a lot of women had a crush on him he was definitely one women fell for. Just imagine if he would have met you and fell in love instead of rope/string.

  10. Catherine
    June 6, 2009 | 7:51 pm

    Talen, it’s terrible, the first thing I thought of was ‘giving a man enough rope to…’

    Quite a few Western women die in Thailand too. Those two girls who died hours apart (poison? fumes?). Then the beach deaths, those are quite popular for women.

    But it is the men who have the majority of the misadventures in Thailand.

    Men take more risks, go to places women tend to avoid, and there just might be more of them percentage-wise.

    Catherines last blog post..Interviewing Myke Hawke: Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast

  11. Catherine
    June 6, 2009 | 9:06 pm

    ‘Just imagine if he would have met you and fell in love instead of rope/string.’

    He never came across to me as the marrying type / one gal type of man.

    And at the time my crush was in full heat (my early teens) my lustful thoughts consisted of staring into his eyes with deep, soulful looks, and saving the world, one episode at a time.

    Not exactly conducive for a relationship in the adult world.

    Catherines last blog post..Interviewing Myke Hawke: Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast

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