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Thailand forum

Travellers who know what they're talking about?...Oh Yeah?

Posted by paulstuartiddon on 28/6/2008 at 16:59

I am the British father of a 19 year old son who has - so far- spent a week in hospital with a badly infected wound sustained in a 'fun' Thai boxing fight in the 'Reggae Bar' on Ko phi phi, Thailand.

My son and his friends, who were very drunk already were encouraged to fight 'Thai Style' i.e. using feet as well as fists, with a prize of another 'bucket' - a quarter bottle of Thai 'whisky' and coke plus red bull on ice.

Three of his friends sustained gashes and no attempt was made to offer first aid.

My son is suffering from Acute Cellulitis caused by the untreated wound he sustained.

I cannot imagine such an activity being tolerated under any sane legal system. Fatalities are not good for tourism.

I would suggest that a warning is put in place, and this establishment prosecuted for insanely dangerous practices.

My son is a happy young student, and his infection only became acute when he was back in the UK. At the height of his infection, Morphine was insufficient to mask the agony he was in .
Oh what fun, especially if you are the parent trying to nurse him through it for 48 hours.

Please be careful what you are recommending or promoting.

The fact is that it is only a matter of time before someone dies.

And as someone who travels a lot I DO know what I am talking about...

#1 paulstuartiddon has been a member since 28/6/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/6/2008 at 17:20 admin

Hi Paul,

I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your son and I hope he makes a full recovery as quickly as possible.

We've expanded our description of Reggae Bar on Ko Phi Phi as follows:

"A bit deeper into the village is Reggae Bar, which doesn't necessarily play reggae music, but they do have a Muay Thai boxing ring with regular exhibition events and occasional real fights -- on any given night tourists are invited to get in the ring and fight for the grand prize of two free buckets for his or her table. (A 'bucket,' for those not in the know, is a bottle of booze poured into, well, a bucket, with mixers and ice, to be communally slurped-up with straws.) For those who fancy their chances in the ring, bear in mind that getting into any boxing ring when drunk is very very very stupid. Also be aware that medical facilities on Ko Phi Phi are basic at the best of times. See this report (linked to this post on the forum) for an example of what can happen if you manage to drown all of your common-sense in a bucket and then get into the ring."

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by fondo on 29/6/2008 at 17:03

Sorry about your son's problems Paul.

I agree with somtam's notes above that getting into a boxing ring when drunk is very very stupid.

Maybe in future your son should settle for more controlled activities in developed countries, like the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

#3 fondo has been a member since 23/6/2006. Posts: 175
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Posted by AussieGuy83 on 30/6/2008 at 17:12

I’m sorry "paulstuartiddon", but what happened for good old common sense? Maybe your son needs to have better judgement of what’s safe, dangerous and/or outright stupid.

BTW, hope he is now in better health.

#4 AussieGuy83 has been a member since 31/3/2004. Posts: 2
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Posted by paulstuartiddon on 30/6/2008 at 23:01

Mmmmm I wonder how much common sense you had at 19 and totally legless?
Maybe you are the exception....yes? If so, well done.

It is normal for young men to wish to 'slap the bear', but the elders of the tribe were there to regulate activity and minimise risk....after all, not much point in investing 18years in youths if you are then going to sacrifice them willy nilly. Now we are in a global setting, we pass that responsibility onto others....its called Health and Safety. I am sure the Australian authorities havr a similar attitude!

Another point...a British guy had to repatriated from his 'Gap Year' from Vietnam after a motor scooter accident that the insurance company would not cover. It cost his parents £25,000. Or perhaps 18 year olds should have the common sense to be well up on the detail of insurance too.

I am afraid its old farts like me who worry about being these risks that don't cross the mind of the young. But thats my job. I just don't want guys my age who should know better exploiting kids....

#5 paulstuartiddon has been a member since 28/6/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by Tilapia on 1/7/2008 at 00:25

It's truly unfortunate, and not surprising considering typical teen and even twenty-something behaviour, especially when under the influence. We were all that age once. Through some miracle many of us are still around to talk about it.

Thais think very differently about these sorts of things. The "mai bpen rai" philosophy prevails in most aspects of daily life. If something happens, maybe they'll deal with it. But to think that "something might happen so better take the appropriate steps to minimize the chance" is not very common at all. Every day foreigners are surrounded by evidence of this, and most wonder how these things can possibly happen, and are amazed that they do.

Things are not going to change there. We're starting to see fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths possibly due to more enforcement and different alcohol laws, but they still number in the high thousands for a number of reasons (one of which is more vehicles on the road). Thais and Westerners have different priorities and levels of, as you say, tolerance for certain things. Also, Thailand has always been a place where foreigners have gone to do as they wished without anyone telling them not to. We have to be aware of that when we go there, regardless of how old we are, and then watch how we step while there.

Hope your boy recovers well, and that it doesn't sully his ideas or impressions of a very lovely country with very nice people.

#6 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by exacto on 1/7/2008 at 01:27


Along with everyone else here, I'm sorry to hear about your son and his suffering. But I'm afraid I also disagree with your suggestions about who is to blame for this incident.

In the first place, at 19, your son is hardly a child. Where I live, he's a fully legal adult, able to enter into contracts, join the military, and get married without parental consent. Oddly enough, he wouldn't be allowed to purchase alcohol until he is 21, which I'd always thought was unfair but I may need to rethink that now.

The larger issue, however, seems to be that you want to hold Travelfish responsible for your son's behavior rather than hold your son accountable for his own actions. I'm sure you'll let me know if that is not the case, but the title of your post is where I most definitely get that impression.

Somtam's response to your comments was typically gracious and quite generous, and he has added a specific warning for the bar where your son's unfortunate incident took place. But a travel website cannot possibly list every potential hazard for the region it covers nor can it be held accountable for other's lack of judgement.

By the way, Travelfish does include an article with tips on health and safety concerns in the Features section.

And while that article does not specifically warn against getting drunk and entering a Thai boxing ring, it does absolutely advocate moderate drinking as well as contain specific warnings against things like drinking too much and then trying to drive a motor scooter. That same article also specifically recommends purchasing travel insurance with a good medical evacuation clause for exactly the types of situations you've mentioned in your follow-up post above.

In short, I think the website and those of us who contribute via this forum have done more than a fair job trying to point out the potential hazards of travelling in southeast Asia exactly to share our hard-won knowledge with those coming after us, and that it is both unrealistic and unfair to suggest that Travelfish is even remotely culpable in this incident. Ultimately, we all need to be responsible for our own actions.

I hope your boy is better soon and that this painful incident helps him as well as others reading these posts to avoid similar unpleasantness in the future. Regards.

#7 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,764
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Posted by khunwilko on 1/7/2008 at 13:50

Sorry what are you complaining about?
The postings on this site?
the Reggae Club?
Your son's drunkenness?

oe is this just an angry reaction because you can't really pin the blame on anyone?

If you've traveled it might have nbeen helpful to pass your experience on....did your son blame a web site for encouraging this boxing?

Anyhow...whatever I still don't really get what you are getting at.

#8 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by SBE on 1/7/2008 at 16:04

Well said Exacto. Also very good point about the mai bpen rai mentality in Thailand from Tilapia. This same mentality means that (unlike in the UK) you don't get gangs of aggressive drunk Thai youths making it unsafe to walk the city streets at night in Thailand.

Also, If I'm not mistaken, the legal drinking age in Thailand is now 20 so your son was breaking the law by drinking that travelfishes fault too?

" perhaps 18 year olds should have the common sense to be well up on the detail of insurance too'

One would sincerely hope so, otherwise their parents shouldn't have let them travel to Thailand in the first place. If 18 year old Gap Year students have enough reading skills and IQ to get into university then I'd have thought they'd be capable of checking that their insurance contract covers THE most likely cause of injury while they are away. Many young people have motorbike accidents on Ko Phangan around Full Moon Party time BTW. No insurance company AFAIK covers injuries sustained when driving a motorbike drunk and stoned out of your mind parents will probably have to cough up quite a lot of money for medical treatment and repatriation if necessary. That's travelfishes fault too I suppose?

Ponder this. If your son was killed by a car driven by a reckless totally pissed 19 year old, would you say it wasn't the driver's fault because it's perfectly natural for 19 year olds to get drunk and behave irresponsibly?

Sorry but I think it's the attitudes Western parents pass on to their children that's the problem, not the Thais or travelfish. I grew up in Scotland where you weren't a "real" man unless you proved what a tough guy you are by having fights and got so drunk you threw up every Saturday night. Other cultures don't bring their kids up to think like that... why is our way of doing things so vastly superior? What's so hard about instilling basic common sense as a priority so they have less risk of getting into trouble and hurt? Instead we teach them it's normal not to behave like a responsible adult until they're WELL past 20 and old enough to qualify as a community "elder".

I hope your son gets better soon too and understand how hard it must be to see him in such pain but blaming this website and its contributers for what happened to him just isn't fair.

#9 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,053
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Posted by paulstuartiddon on 1/7/2008 at 16:13

If you actually read my note....I asked the website, along with other travel guides to be careful what they actually say. The host has kindly responded to my request and I am grateful.

I have nothing more to add

#10 paulstuartiddon has been a member since 28/6/2008. Posts: 3

Posted by SBE on 1/7/2008 at 17:55

Perhaps I, like others, misinterpreted the title of your OP. As you say, the host was exceptionally kind and helpful in his response to your rant ... as always ;-).

#11 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,053
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Posted by dixonstreet on 6/7/2008 at 07:02

remember back to when you where 19.for kicks we used to fight in a boxing ring for $20 if win zero if knocked down,its a dangerous sport.but not as dangerous as getting drunk enough to do this if you have been drinking.i have 4 kids now all teenagers but they will do what they will do,if they want to thai fight or box so be long as both parties agree.prosecuting the establishment?for staging the fights?maybe but than you can also stop all types of contact sports.maybe warning people thats its stupid to get into the ring whether drunk or not is better as most tourist will not know how to thai box nor protect themselves from a guy that does

#12 dixonstreet has been a member since 7/6/2008. Posts: 10

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