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University Students: sex, drugs & uniforms Vol. 18 No. 3 March 2009


Every afternoon Chiang Mai's centres of education open their doors and out spill hordes of students onto the city's streets. At times, it seems, there are more uniforms in the city than casual dress. With 63,391 university students enrolled and living in Chiang Mai, they certainly make up a large, and significant, proportion of the population.

No doubt if university students in western cities wore uniforms we would likewise feel surrounded by the lucky blighters, who are yet to experience the 9-5 slog. Though that would never happen, and the reason for that of course, is western students are seen as adults and Thai students merely kids in uniform. But as Thailand edges towards globalisation, its students are ripping the binds off piece by piece. There are still the traditional kids, the mummy's boys and girls, though there is a strong subversive counter group, and these students are tired of being children.

A mere generation ago, Chiang Mai and Payap Universities were surrounded by noodle shops and bakeries, sex before marriage was taboo, girls didn't drink or smoke, and - on the surface at least - university students were as well behaved as they were when they were in high school. Today Chiang Mai's six universities and their campuses are surrounded by pubs and bars, sex before marriage is the norm, girls drink their boyfriends under the table and university students are as wild and independent as many of their western counterparts.

"The elder students are expected to tell, and show, younger students how to behave." explains Kanokwan Sodata, a master's student in Engineering at Chiang Mai University. "Skirts are actually supposed to be to the knee. But if older students get away with short minis, the younger students copy." The uniform is no doubt a refection on the changing times, as students strive for independence they manipulate their dress code as a means to show off their sexuality, their rebelliousness and alliance with certain sub-cultures such as Hip-Hop.

It seems more university students are supplanting their books for beers, stripping off their uniforms in favour of sexy dresses or tight jeans, then drinking and dancing the night away at Chiang Mai's numerous hotspots. Countless female students divulge that university allows them to let loose for the first time. "Being at university makes it safer to party for women because it is easy to go out in big groups," said one student.

"Partying here is not just about being out, it is about being seen in the right place," admitted one university socialite, acknowledging that being packed into Warm Up with little room to breathe, let alone dance, is better than going anywhere that is not 'in'.

Sex and Shame

Around the world university students are hooking up with each other and sharing their exploits with their mates, encouraging and egging each other on in their sexual experimentations. While in the west such experimentation often begins in high school, in Chiang Mai, students are for the most part relatively chaste until they arrive at university. Being away from home for the first time is a giddying experience and many students succumb rapidly to peer pressure. Most people I asked were not keen on discussing the subject of sex, even anonymously, especially girls - chastity being the traditional expectation for young women in this patriarchal society. Many said they were still virgins, though with a wry smile. One may question their veracity when vowing never having taken the carnal plunge, as there is increasing evidence in Thailand on the changing sexual habits of students.

Double standards still occur in Thailand causing wide discrepancies in the behaviour of young men and women. Sexual activity among young females is strongly disapproved of.

Sex is still seldom discussed; many parents do not have 'the talk' with their children. As abstinence is still enforced by many parents, many students are dating without parents' support, leading to students not knowing who to go to for advice when dealing with rape, pregnancy, STDs or other sexual-related issues.

Sugar Daddies and Sugar Mommies

Students deny there is any prostitution at their universities but do admit there are many students with sponsors. What is the difference between sponsorship and prostitution? A sponsor is often justified as a rich boyfriend or girlfriend (albeit often decades older) and not seen as a direct exchange of sex for money. One student revealed "we are beautiful women, in a few years we will be married, until then we have to take advantage of it. So men want to take care of us and pay for us, why not let them?"

Paweena Nakha graduated from the Faculty of Humanities 15 years ago while reflecting back she tells me how little has changed. "Thailand is still a male dominated society, and sponsorship is accepted. I knew many girls who had sponsors. They were all nice girls that were not poor but did it for fun. They hooked up with businessmen and had them pay their way during university, receiving gifts and goodies along the way. You always hear about young women with older men but boys also had sponsors whom they used to support their real girlfriends."

Universities and the government have been urged to take action against the trend of students using social networking websites to advertise themselves sexually. Ramjitti Institute director, Amornwit Nakhonthap, believes that the student sex trade via the internet is not surprising, but rather in keeping with the trend towards promiscuity and prostitution in an increasingly materialistic society.

Up the Duff

An English student enlightened me on pregnancy at CMU, saying that, "students who are pregnant have to wear loose clothes and make sure they look fat instead of pregnant. This way they can study as long as possible, drop out for a semester to have the baby, and then return to their studies. If a teacher finds out a student is pregnant, no matter what month she is in, she is expelled."

Turn On, Tune Out, Fall Over

"What kind of drugs, you mean from the pharmacy?" An innocent student asked as I inquired about drug use on campus. Many students confess to not knowing of drug use on campus claiming that, "beer promotions are our drug of choice."

A Humanities major had the low-down, "only certain groups take drugs, usually only during stressful times or after exams to let go. Ecstasy is the most common, but not so common that it is sold at the university." Again you might question the veracity of this answer, especially considering that when students' behaviour was surveyed in 2003, 17% of university students in Chiang Mai that were randomly selected admitted to taking illegal drugs. Drugs are still very underground even with club drugs becoming increasingly popular.

Apinun Aramrattana, the Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Health Sciences, CMU, has conducted years of research on drug use in Thailand. Methamphetamines are becoming the most popular drug in Thailand and many students are becoming addicted. "The demand and the accessibility are here, drugs are still not talked about, making it hard for users to get help. The majority that we are able to help are those that have hit rock bottom and are forced into rehabilitation by the police or their parents."

Though compared to the west, there is less concern over drugs in Chiang Mai, alcoholism in this province is rife, accidents and violent crime related to alcohol far outweigh any consequences of drug taking. The Thai media may not expose this, it is not a populist mandate propelled by any of our short-lived governments, but statistically, alcohol is the one drug parents ought to be concerned about, though paradoxically, they rarely are.

It was the Sorbonne students of Paris who rioted through the streets with lime in their eyes that eventually overthrew parliament. It was the students at Thammasart who fought for freedom of speech and human rights, and it is to the students that we should be looking to lead us into the future, not stamping on them with our dogged pasts. No doubt Chiang Mai students want to have sex, experiment with drugs, stay out all night, and who can blame them? It is in their independence that they will no doubt learn the most, be it through their mistakes or success. We just have to make sure that we are there to support them and guide them through their individual journeys.
by Jessica Mauer
   The Price of Being Farang
l  Review  l
   Review 1:
I am searching Chiang Mai Student for girl friend
From: Maw Pi    [ 30 September 2013 12:48:14 ]
   Review 2:
Plenty of food for thought here. I dont like the label prostitution . I think its out dated or the wholly negative connotation it poses. It would seem there is a grey area , when is it socially wrong to accept finacial reward for sexual gratification ? I could argue that relationships are based complimenting eachothers needs for financial support and emotional needs.
From: sam    [ 10 July 2013 23:25:00 ]
   Review 3:
Hi there, this is anonymous yet all true.

1) Most girls do state they have 1+ Gits (Some can handle near 5 with secret Simm cards)... for financial benefit and fun. (As an anonymous forum my own Aussie Git allows me to use his email- so no Uni one is used. I studied OS and in CMai yet Thai 100%, so some will class I not traditional.... I am traditional Hi So city. My No 1 Git accepts i need to do what I must as a pretty 20yo and accepts to 2 younger men I see sometimes when he away.

2) More girls DO perform out of NEED for financial incentive. As several head to bars x2 pw for quick few 1000 (FriSat are key $ makers). Some for mostly fun as it interesting to have large selection of young and older. It not ALL about greed, for many it is a necessity. Yet given the chance will wish for more than simply necessity. Do guys dream of living from day to day only- No. We do whatever is necessary for any advantage in life. (Yes guys most pretty girls have far more than you to select from- sorry guys).

3) Parents are told 100% Zero. never ever ever... we do what we would never do back in our family home, district or moo barn.

4) Payap girls or CMU or even international private high schools makes no difference. Fact is when in US for 1 year, no difference as well. It worldwide and women prepared to pursue as much as men, in different ways.

5) Young handsome men whom are friends get more than me Lol, from Euro older gay lovers. Aka Riverside Condos and Hillside full of 60yo +++ with 20yo handsome boys. Some not even gay... this is the shocker for the older guys yet true. We should know when we called up then they ran over to our place, when you are out.

6) Drugs like B and E and even Ice, now arguably more prominent in Hi So when you consider it cost 1-2 cocktails for a B or E. Less Hi So tend to over drink IMO. This for the masses. Hi So role models buy in serious bulk for far less than most think.

7) We enter our home town with new car, gold, and the works and we treated with more respect than most could ever want. All for doing what most men wish they could do anyway. Men have most of business in Thai, pretty girlsboys have their young lives to make something decent. Most often nothing more. Then what a noodle shop like mama. Yes unless you smarter than av. IMO.

7) My favorite guy is a wealthy and handsome for mid aged 40 something yo Aussie guy. Why? As family would never disapprove if taken to another level, I get the things I desire daily (Not rarely), I am spoilt Hi So young girl.

8) 4 & 5 star hang outs are the go. Most men call us very high maintenance, meaning it costs them. Men in these higher class places do not care as they have the funds, wealth, business, family or whatever no to really care about money. As most young and old men insist not to love them for what they can make or do or help our life and families. Yer right- wealth security, respect of familyfriends, keeping looks thus money obviously makes us feel for the man.

As above girl in article had courage to say to an editor (I would never- nether 99.9% of others I know) said many have only got a small window of opportunity in this mostly male dominated thai society.

Go Grab what you want and sanuk. If it a poorer man for love then be prepared for lifetime struggle.Then maybe dumps you if even makes a few $ when you older. It is the real world for both sexes. MEN want better and more. Now women do as well.

Bye- hope of value.
From: PAYAP pretty girls    [ 16 October 2011 19:59:00 ]
   Review 4:
What the difference between ya ba Vs ya-E???

What do students prefer better?

One friend said ya-E makes sex x100 better and feel super human.

Ya Ice is never seen in Chiang mai, as the risk from taking fr BKK to Cmai not worth it I gather for risk. Plus profit.

Burma guys are supposed to get 100,000 pills for 150,000bt I hear. Meaning buy 15 bt each sell in bulk for 150bt and x10 your money in a week. Or get death sentence if caught. Lol. Other methods to remove profits for dealers. Whilst profits like this they will always try turn 150k savings into 1.5 Mio... for maybe a 1 in 50 chance of being caught.

Some will play that game with their life- no doubt.... other methods better than killings and 3rd world tactics. Let educated manage as needed. Rehab and clinics will help- anyone can get yaba like pills in some drug stores... or import. They under USA brand names like XYZ... Lol.

most suppliers are u in hills or over border.... students take outings to the hillsides sometimes.

One group got in BIG trouble asking around the hills... ending up in jail for asking.

Some go in on 200 pills for fraction of price i hear. Yet risky I hear for a 60% discount.

Anyone say ya ba Vs ya-E from experience. Not saying to try.... just I not agree ya-E most popular. Never ever seen ya E in Chiang mai.

Yet offered E and ice all the time as a farang in BKK.... sois of Sukhumvit mostly.

Farang students are worse I think- they can get diagnosed with ADD at home say Aussie. Then have government pay. As some have greater affects than the weak street ones here...

They are crap here I am told compared to homeland where quality demanded. Here it like throw in caffine and baby powder and slice and dice with baby powder.

Are Sugar daddies really supplying sugar- LOL another name for amphets? Lol.... sugar 4 sugar- Mmmmmm LOL.

Ice is meth amphet and clearpure and the high is superman like.... the con job with yaba is dependancy with short life. Users wish the slightly high feel or diet more every few hours.

Price as much as some people make in a day- rip off.

Ya-E I have no idea in thai....

I hear yaba from 100-300 bt here...... dependant on who and quantity bought. Some students say they get maybe x3 for sex a few confide. Bargain for the man at maybe 400bt.

Ya-E I hear double price yet longer lasting is what people say. Cmai never seen... so no idea.

How do real users afford x10 yaba per day.... it way too much. Next step is cheap injections I guess.

Dieters lose kilos in farangland use from Dr with no issue. Many are stronger than street ones here. Plus far cheaper.

Debate on Managing medicine Vs total ban is foolish.... Manage education proven to work far better in many countries.

Thailand have it wrong...... IMO.

Management clinics and Rehab centres moreso will be a business heaven for THAILAND. Let celebrities from Hollywood come to REHAB here- good deal.

It make impossible to get a clinic licence without government support.

Anyone have contacts to help open rehab as investors will invest big $$$$ here? As Investment advisor to farangs they wish they could.

A resort rehab for superstars and celebrities near PAYAP and CMU- perfect !!!

Farangs take like normal during test time to stay up to study daynight to get into best schools. It a joke that rules so hard as many ways to manage. These are very weak anyway... compared to crack or whatever on USA streets.

Never inject heroine, etc as many ever come back from such a huge High. As dopamine pumped in brain as pure pleasure. Maybe should be a death bed pain killer or sorts to end in bliss.

Cheers for any info on contacts in any help for rehab investments

Cheers JJ.

From: JJ    [ 15 October 2011 10:02:20 ]
   Review 5:
From: naymyoaung    [ 21 June 2010 13:01:30 ]
   Review 6:
this is my realy of my live
From: ridwaan    [ 18 November 2009 23:24:11 ]
   Review 7:
I want to contact with student of chiangmai universty
From: Hi    [ 20 September 2009 17:02:32 ]
   Review 8:
The article makes an interesting read and quotes well known experts. It does not look at the issue of sex, alcohol and drugs among teenagers attending international schools in Chiang Mai. There is lot of stuff happening on that front and most likely in the absence of parents concerned. "Farang and mixed blessing kids" feel kind of untouchable when knowingly breaking the law.
With many families of the international community being target audience of City Life, it is likely to get thumbs up from many folks.
From: Concerned in Chiang Mai    [ 04 May 2009 16:17:34 ]
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