sunday, august 28, 2007
m a n g o * s a u c e

FOR a long time now it has been my aim to make a living out of the growing genre of literature known as "the ex-pat Asian blog". For a couple of years now I have been thinking a lot about following the footsteps of Stickman and Mango Sauce down in Thailand, not to mention the bisexual babe Popagandhi in Singapore -- that is I have wanted to write a blog/online novel about sex and relationships and cultural misunderstandings and the thrill of the exotic which is life for the expats of Asia. I wanted to live the Hemmingway dream, and get paid for it! When Google Adsense came along, I realised it could be the engine to accelerate me into becoming a professional vagabondist writer, and enable me to endlessly travel the world. Google Adsense was to be my saviour, or so I thought at the time.

Bangkok, the sin capital of Asia
Despite the temples and cultural treasures
Bangkok remains a city of sin for many
In actual fact I have always wanted to be a writer, I just didn't know what I wanted to write about, and until recently at least, I simply didn't have the raw material/the actual lived experiences to make it happen. Maniac High had the material, and if you read his logs, he has probably bonked half the women in Tokyo (and he didn't even try to monetize on his exploits using Google Adsense!) On the other hand I, until recently at least, didn't have any material of note to make a note of myself, and sell myself. That has changed, and now I find myself on the brink of a promising porn career, and suddenly I find myself able to pull, and attract beautiful women and other interesting people into my life. Some of my experiences this year have had a truly literary bent -- for example getting arrested by the cops in Tokyo in May, and spending two weeks behind bars. There is surely a story in that, and a warning to other foreigners hoping to live in Japan (eg, don't trust Japanese cops! They're pigs!) Making my first appearance in a Japanese porn movie recently also deserves to be called an interesting experience, and you can read about it here. I reckon that if I have about another 200 wild and wierd experiences in the next 10 years, and write about them all, I will have built up enough captivating content to become a player in the Asian ex-pat blog/literary market. I will have the audience and the technology (Google Adsense, or future advertising programs of this kind) to make a fulltime living from my living. And with my life freed from conventional work, I will have more time to write and cultivate new wild adventures.

That is my dream, but it is still years off being realised (I am happy to know what I am on the right path, though.) However, I was surprised to discover rceently that one of the stars of the Asian sexpat genre -- the aforementioned Mango Sauce based in the saucy Thai capital of Bangkok -- managed to make Google Adsense his fulltime job, for a couple of years at least. That was until Google Adsense discovered he was violating its policies (no Adsense ads on adult only pages), and disqualified him. Mango Sauce's rapid rise -- and equally rapid downfall -- present me plenty of lessons on the right way to play this Asian expat literary game. And where Mango Sauce has failed, I hope to succeed; and while Mango Sauce succumbed to the weight of stalkers and hangers on naturally attracted to fame, I hope to (aikido style), harness such stalkers to my advantage. That all said, Mango Sauce is going to be a hard act to follow.

MANGO Sauce claims to dish up more than 8400 page views per day (some 10 times more than me), to roughly 3000 unique users. (On his site he reckons he has an audience of 100,000 readers.) The difference between Mango Sauce and me is that my interests and writings are quite diverse (from Hindu Gods to clubbing in Iceland. I am a generalist, whereas Mango Sauce focuses pretty much on the seamier side of life as a farang in Thailand.) But anyway...

One of the interesting and indeed tragic things about the demise of Mango Sauce, is that it shows that reality can continue to play itself out, even Online. There is so little reality in real lives these days, that it is a shock that reality has migrated onto the Web. The Mango Sauce story has all the qualities of a Shakespearian drama: an Englishman achieves the everyguy dream of making a living on the Internet courtesy of Google Adsense, while amusing himself with the pliant beauties of Thailand (or at least surrounding himself with them.) What I would give to be living that dream -- living off my blog in South East Asia, with a whole bevvy of beautiful girlfriends (not that Mango Sauce had multiple girlfriends, but if I were him, I would have.) But this is a story of Paradise Lost, as well as an invaluable moral story, for future generations who want to make a living from the Internet -- pride and greed can bring you down. In the meantime, any kind if fame will attract losers and freaks, like moths to a flame. If Mango Sauce had a nemesis, then it was surely the upcountry pervert and petty businessman John Galt (but then again, maybe Mango Sauce and John Galt were just two sides of the one coin. Both expats, and both fighting it out for supremacy of that rapidly expanding market which is the English language Thai blogosphere.) On his website No Stickman Bangkok, Galt mocks the hyperAdsensed Mango Sauce and the aforementioned Stickman: "The views expressed on this Site are NOT for Sale. That makes them worth a read." Hearing of Mango's demise, Keith wrote this sensitive post on the Mango Sauce forum (under the alias Kasman):

Grand Palace in Bangkok Thailand
The Grand Palace
bangkok Thailand 2002
"Granted it (Mango Sauce) was a popular site. But also granted is you (Mango Sauce) had NO WORK Permit and probably did not pay any Thai tax on the income you were earning.

"So you eventually got what was coming to you. If you live in Thailand and collect income, even if the site is hosted in the USA, you have a responsibility to pay tax.

"Granted I remember getting into a hoe-down a while back where some of your readers claimed you had more money than jesus, which at the time I disagreed with.

"So that does not appear to be the case if you are going out in search of a menial job?

"One of the posters had it correctly. You have a huge site, but your ego and eccentric behavior, combined with a lack of business accumen, led you down a path where you could not financially capitalize on the sites full potential.

"You should have roped in a couple of partners, increased the amount of daily stories, created all the contraversy in the world to increase the traffic, added your own Mango Themed products like hats and polo shirts, and a host of other things.

"Counting on Google ad-words (sic) for your only source of income, even though it may have worked, was incredibly stupid.

"While you had some income was the time to be building up more income, not by being arrogant and egotistical.

"I was never a fan of your stories at all and quite frankly the last story was a good summary of most of the stories here, in that it sucked.

"However, Bangkok needs a forum where all people can verbally duke it out with each other..."

It seemed fitting that a site which delved so frequently into matters of the seamier side of life and of criminality, should have chosen a petty criminal method of monetising itself (running Google Adsense on an adult-themed site.) It was a plucky move and it smacked of the petty criminal/vagabondist ethos of the class of (mostly white, European) men which have been attracted to Thailand (and other parts of Asia) for decades. (Note: not that I am making moral judgments here, I am a petty criminal myself, and I would like to spend time in the farang community of Thailand someday. I just get the feeling that the kind of guy who travels the world and loves Asia, is of course a football fanatic, is the type of badboy who enjoys drinking and the smoking of certain banned narcotics, goes to drum'n'bass parties, has an ambivalent attitude to the law (overstaying visa, smuggling, piracy and online theft!) and lacks the moral prohibitions to sleep with prostitutes or go out with bar girls -- that is the sort of guy who would read Mango Sauce, that was the audience. Face it this was no culinary site, of the ilk of Eating Asia or noodlepie over in Saigon. This is the seamier side of town, but it is also the realer side of town and the place where the action is truly going down. As one Mango Sauce commentator (Randy A) says: "i have seen the temples -- they are magnificient -- the restaurants terrific -- the massages the genuine ones terrific, the girls you fuk with fab -- take two at a time -- they aim to please you -- they don't hurry you -- take your time -- go to the strip bars watch live shows and tip the girls $5 at a time -- they are grateful -- they will try to make you come right there in a way you like -- anything goes. but the people are pleasant and friendly -- it is the whole package -- there is no comparison".

Well, I confess I am no Mango Sauce -- but I do have a blog idea which I think is going to work, and it's name is Porn Japan. Despite the saucy name, this will be a site about personalities rather than straight sex (because as I have come to know, even a porn star has a personality!) It will be a site devoted to relationships, rather than ass counts or whoring. And while the focus will be in Tokyo where I live, I consider myself to be panAsian.

I got this email from my Vietnam girl last night, and it revived my spirits after an afternoon of failed nampa:



I miss her too -- but I know I will be seeing her soon, and spending a month of tropical langour, in Vietnam!

Some other Thailand based bloggers using the English language as their medium:
bangkok pundit//lesbian japan//moving house//prison japan//thailand's lost boy
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