Club brawl at Khao San Road
Music blaring, people dancing, drinkers drinking and druggies ballooning.
Just another typical night on Khao San Road, I guess.
I was out with a few newfound friends who were obviously way cooler than I am. We hopped from bar to live bands, to clubs. We ate dirt cheap Pad Thai. We became witnesses to Reece’s first scorpion. The whirlwind of night activities kept me grinning awkwardly from ear to ear— for once, I felt like the cool kid. We stumbled upon a shady looking club with people spilling from it’s premise into the road, rocking out to some of the best EDMs I’ve heard thus far.
It is near impossible to not have skin contact with anyone; the place was packed.
The dance floor was filled with an assortment of characters. We settled near a Thai dancer contorting her body to the rhythm of the music. Her movements were slow and deliberate, transfixing anyone who is watching her. She was staring into distance, stealing glances to her small wristwatch when she can, and letting out inaudible sighs. It feels like she dances not because she enjoys it; it’s because it’s her job, and her job, is to entertain.
On the other end of the spectrum, a man was gyrating with anyone who tolerated his hip thrusts. He moved like a bee, buzzing from lady to lady, trying to engage them in dance. Some amused by his audacity, some shied away. Regardless, he buzzed from flower to flower with his boyish confidence, eyeing the myriad of beauties on the dance floor.
A Thai girl with incredible boobage suddenly barrelled towards me, eyes wide like a dear caught in headlights. She was trying to fend off a burly beefcake who owned biceps bigger than my head. She kept saying no, kept pushing him off. Beefcake was relentless. He persisted. “Come on”, he said, “Let’s have some fun. You were okay with it earlier.”
“Help me”, she said to me, looking like she’s on the brink of tears. I looked at her, squarely in the eye and asked her if she’s okay. She shook her head furiously, saying “No! No!”. That’s all it takes.
I held the girl, trying to console her and give her courage at the same time. I modelled what I think is aggressive body language: puffed up chest, expansive gestures and held a murderous eye contact. Naturally, Beefcake became defensive. He tilted his head up, adopting a similarly aggressive gesture, eyes looking down on me to tell me— no, demanded me— to get the fuck out of the way.
I was scared shitless. But I can’t, and I won’t, be intimidated. Not when it is so blatantly obvious that it could develop into rape. Not when someone is counting on me to help them.
Jesse, valiant Jesse, was observing the whole exchange with watchful eyes. I must have looked really desperate because he stepped in between Beefcake and me, shielding the girl and I from the man, as soon as we made eye contact. Jesse looked like he was ready to fight. Tension oozed from these them; they angled each other like prowling lions. Nadiah and Reese took a different approach. They comically stepped in and dance between them casually, effectively preventing a fight before it could break out.
After Beefcake left, the girl hugged Jesse and me and thanked us in a hurry. She hastily went after her friend, who was apparently hounded by Beefcake’s friend.
The whole thing couldn’t have lasted for more than 15 minutes. Yet, I felt like I just ran a marathon, as cliched as it sounds. Threads of accusing thoughts coursed through my mind. How can anyone had ignored the whole commotion? I tried to justify the behaviour—
maybe some are simply didn’t notice, maybe some is too drunk to care. However hard I tried to stand on the other side, it doesn’t excuse the fact that nobody came to help. What if I’m the one that’s going through that shit? I shudder to think of the consequences. As shitty and as faithless in the human race as that sounds, I honestly do not think I’d get any sort of help from this crowd.
On the other hand, I’m super proud of the BKK party squad. They helped when no one did; they stood up for the girl who could have been anyone of us. They did the right thing despite the threat (Beefcake is really huge, to me anyway). Asians from my part of the world tends to stereotype Westerners— those partying it up in Bangkok particularly— to be airheads obsessed with booze and sex, which I’ve subconsciously adopted until tonight. I wouldn’t say that I’m a changed woman, but I’m honoured to have met these great people in my travels. Perhaps, there’s hope for the human race after all.
|Reece, I hope you don’t mind me posting this picture! 😀