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Thailand has everything for the perfect holiday destination: beautiful beaches, rich tropical jungle, inexpensive food and drink and a wealth of cheap readily available prostitutes.  From the bar scene to full-on brothels, Thailand has it all for the sleazy Western male, which is why so many of them decide to turn what begins out as a 2 week holiday into a lifetime of dangerous late-night sexual encounters with girls more half their age – this is when they officially become known as a Sexpat.

Sexpats originate from all major Western countries, yet it has been noted that the English, Germans and Americans make up the vast majority of the vile, sweaty and obese men that crawl the late night bars and Go-Go clubs in some of Bangkok’s seediest districts.  Sexpats have only 3 main motivations: to get drunk, sleep with hookers – preferably in that order – and to not catch an incurable STD.

They support themselves in a number of ways.  The lucky ones have taken early retirement and spend the days sleeping off hangovers or going to the clinic to get another HIV test, some have set up businesses and have opened a bar or a restaurant selling their native cuisine, with the unlucky ones having to make do with being a TEFL teacher.  They spend their evenings lining bars, occasionally glancing over to their mate Derek to see if the alcohol has managed to numb his conscience and mask his shame as much as it has their own, before beginning some horribly bigoted conversation around such topics as “The problem with Thailand” or “How much better Thai women are compared to Western ones.”

That leads me perfectly onto my next point: every single Sexpat fervently believes that Thai women are immeasurably better than their Western counterparts because A “they better understand a man’s needs,” B “they are much more feminine” and C “they never get headaches.”  While it is true that Thais by nature are more feminine and their culture still encourages women to be subservient, the real truth behind the Sexpat’s gripe is simply that Western women have much higher standards, meaning overweight alcoholic losers with no money, no looks and a BO problem have absolutely no chance of attracting a mate.  In fact, rather than address these issues by a course of self improvement, the Sexpat has simply thrown in the towel, decided to take the easy option to “a better life” and move to Thailand.

Once a Sexpat has fully ingratiated himself within the Sexpat community, there is abolutely no chance for his re-assimilation back into the real world.  The underlying shame and guilt for the extent of his insalubrious indulgences can only be managed so long as he maintains his current lifestyle and continues to live a life of deluded bliss.  The real world will simply not accept someone so lacking in basic moral standards, personal hygiene and self-respect – plus his mate Dave will probably call him a poof.

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TEFL:  people teaching under-privileged children in developing countries, a true form of altruism, travelling around the world making a difference to the lives of people who need it most by those who are truly altruistic.  No.  Teaching English as a Foreign Language consists of under-qualified teachers working in an impoverished nation teaching the top 5% of society a language that only the top 5% of their students will ever be able to speak properly, often working in schools more cut-throat and money orientated than your average US private hospital for less money than you would earn working in a bar at home.  And what about the people who choose to work in this farcical profession where a promotion actually amounts to a reduction in social status, a profession underpinned by the idea that if you just put a white face in a classroom then the students will miraculously learn to speak English – where to begin?

Many theories have been suggested as to why TEFL attracts some of the strangest cross-section of society outside that of a mental institute or the sex offender wing in a prison.   It’s almost as if the entire industry is a refugee camp for losers, or a pilgrimage for those looking to find the answer as to why their respective society just doesn’t like them.  “I just couldn’t find a job I wanted at home,” laments one, or “England has no culture, it is so boring living there,” bemoans another.  However, reading between the lines you will see that the truth is very different: nobody wanted to give you a job and you couldn’t get a girlfriend.

The vast majority of TEFL teachers are male – I will cite the aforementioned lack of a girlfriend as a main motivator – have a drink problem, are guaranteed to never have had more the 1000 pounds to their name at any one time and will probably be running away from something back home.  They will be society’s under-achievers, or just people who were lucky enough to be born in an age where degrees grew on trees and polytechnics counted as real educational establishments.   While the world’s economies are faltering, the TEFL industry is booming with an influx of cheap flexible labour creating a kind of economic ulterior universe, an unreality where-by a man with little or no qualifications, no discernable talent in anything, is guaranteed a job in some of the most exotic locations on the planet.  An economic model that philosophically underpins the disconnected and soul-less existence of a TEFL teacher.

The TEFL teacher is notoriously badly dressed, possibly a combination of a lack of money and self-esteem, being easily spotted by their baggy polyester trousers, over-sized short sleeve shirt and cheap rubber shoes.  They will be highly sexually frustrated and, depending on age, quite often a failure in their “true” path in life, whether it be a writer or a musician.  They usually have a wealth of stories about past adventures, many very interesting, yet all too often revolving around the excessive consumption of alcohol and a regretful sexual encounter. The more detached from his native society he becomes the looser his grasp on reality, resulting in a break down of the fundamental moral and social standards that he used to so tirelessly uphold.  It’s not his fault, he has simply succumb to draws of what in the industry is known as TEFL Madness – it can happen any time between 2-15 years after the first entry into the industry, but seems to fully manifest itself at around the 10 year mark.

TEFL Madness has many symptoms, some of them are often misdiagnosed as more well known personality disorders such as Bi-Polar or ADHD, but I assure you they were once pleasant, well adjusted people.  A person with TEFL Madness will often display an over-inflated ego combined with an intense air of self-righteousness mostly originating from a strong conviction that no matter how badly you do your job, no matter how many corners you cut and no matter how many people you manage to drunkenly offend, you are still vastly superior to the natives around you and pretty much everyone who still “stupidly” inhabits your home country – so what is essentially 99.9999999% of the world’s population – and you are most definitely sure that you have the best job in the world.  This delusional combination of feigned superiority and ignored failure can be fatal, leading the teacher down a path of physical and mental self-destruction often resulting in death, possibly from heart failure, depression or an incurable STD.  There have been no reported cases of anyone who has worked as a TEFL teacher for more than 15 years living into their 70’s.

So what is the outlook for one diagnosed with TEFL?  Well if spotted early then a person can go on to live a long and healthy life beginning with self-acceptance and a move back home.  Many ex-TEFL teachers are living happily back in their respective countries, however many have found the same problems with work and love have eroded their ability to resist the urge to TEFL and they have unfortunately re-entered the industry.  It has been reported that the first 2 years are the hardest, especially after new EU legislation banned anyone who has been a TEFL teacher from either owning a house or being able to vote for up to 6 years, essentially declaring them not just morally but financially bankrupt too.  This coincided with the launch of a government run initiative to create a national database of TEFL teachers to give employers and concerned parents the opportunity to find out if one is living or working in your area.

There are of course exceptions.  Those who are stupid enough to pay for TEFL tend to leave their short internship relatively unscarred, and it seems couples manage to retain a grip on reality – yet only ones who met before they were TEFL teachers.  If you’re thinking about becoming a TEFL teacher, then take the time to consider just to what extent you have right qualities to swap the comfort and security of your cosy developed country for the turbulent life of TEFL:  just how big a loser are you?

The Backpacker takes many forms, whether it the simple party seeking type just looking to get sloshed and be sick in the sea, to the more refined and ever ubiquitous tie-dyed-middle-class-pseudo-hippie – the worst kind of backpacker. They lurk wherever you travel, wherever you stay, from any major Western developed country, pushing on you their self-righteousness with increasing force until you become suffocated enough to vow never to leave your bed again. But what is uniformly true about all backpackers: they are idiots.

Being a backpacker comes with all the draws of any major modern trend, from whatever end of the spectrum they spawn from. Standard attire is, well, a backpack of course – but nothing under 300 pounds that hasn’t been tested in the Arctic will do – flip flops, board shorts and then an array of assorted accessories that can be purchased from an “authentic“ street vendor en route to the next well trodden “adventurous” location. These range from Fisherman’s Pants that even the locals haven’t worn for 100 years, to some kind of crap headscarf – basically stuff that they wouldn’t dream of wearing at home. The backpacker is constantly inquisitive of his fellow sort, always making sure he is on the cusp of the next wave of true middle-class individuality, and just like all major modern trends, said individuality is completely and utterly lacking in any originality.

The Backpacker is a product of modern society’s material culture and excessive individualism, just in a fluffy handmade artisan box that has been parceled up and sent off to all corners of the globe – well the ones with nice beaches and cheap beer. They are of course educated, hence their inherent curiosity, but lack any kind of freedom of thought. They travel solely for social enterprise because people who haven’t travelled are in their mind culturally bereft, characterless fools with no understanding of anything.

The backpacker craves authenticity, through food or mixing with locals. The idea of eating a Burger King or anything remotely Western after travelling half way around the world is seriously frowned upon, but at the same time secretly accepted as part of the late-night ritual when alcohol has broken down the cheap veneer of pretense and one comes to his senses – Burger King is good and rice with fried stuff is well, shit. If you canvased Burger Kings in Bangkok I guarantee that not a single one has ever sold so much as a glass of water to a Backpacker who wasn’t one whiskey and coke away from a stroke.

An encounter with one goes very much like this “Hello where are you from?” Hi, I’m from The States, how long have you been travelling?” “About 3 months” “Oh excellent, want to get drunk?” “Yes.” The rest is a gargling mess of incoherent stories about getting stuck on a bus in the middle of Laos without air-conditioning while their iPod ran out of battery, or something equally inane.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not so much individual Backpackers themselves that I can’t stand – many are very pleasant people – it’s what they collectively stand for: absolutely nothing. Yet I challenge you to find a single one that doesn’t claim his extended holiday hasn’t somehow changed his entire outlook on life. In many ways I can tolerate them as they are in the main naïve and young, and don’t seem to have yet developed the reflective capabilities to understand their own inadequacies. They’re just like lambs lost on a mountain with nothing but a copy of Lonely Planet to tell them what to do; spoilt children who have had the good fortune to find that the entire world is now their playground. If they could only realise this then maybe I wouldn’t dream of a particularly strong batch of magic mushrooms persuading them to undertake one final yet ultimate voyage of discovery, one which ends up with them en masse trying to paddle to the equator on an inflatable lilo.