Diplomat’s blog triggers storm over red-light trips
BRITISH EMBASSY’S POLITICAL DIVISION HEAD UNDER ATTACK
A British diplomat in Thailand has learned that writing a blog can open the door to some very undiplomatic exchanges — on delicate subjects such as his outings in Bangkok’s famed red-light districts.
Ian Proud, who heads the British Embassy’s political division, accepted an offer to become an honorary blogger this week on the website of the Thai English-language The Nation newspaper.
The idea was proposed to him by the newspaper’s editor, Tulsathit Tuptim, a personal friend who envisioned the blog as a forum in which Proud could discuss his “Thai experiences with British perspective and humour” before ending his four-year tenure in Bangkok next month, according to the blog’s introductory message.
What ensued could better be described as a case of a blog gone wild.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Proud said yesterday, contacted by telephone. “What have I gotten myself into!” As of midday Wednesday the blog had attracted more than 3,000 viewers and about 100 postings since its start two days earlier.
Proud’s picture appeared with the blog, prompting several bloggers to note that they had seen him around town, particularly at Bangkok’s red-light districts.
“I recall going to the embassy once and that same night I was down on Cowboy and who did I bump into? Yes, it was Ian,” wrote Edwardio Shanks, referring to notorious Soi Cowboy — Cowboy Street — which is packed with go-go bars and Western men on the prowl.
Simon Peltier wrote, “I saw him walking arm-inarm with a girl ... I bet that girl got a visa no problem.”