What happens in Thailand, stays in Thailand

‘Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’ misrepresents the travelling experience

Cartoon: Rebecca Drake

Cartoon: Rebecca Drake

BBC 3 has just released its latest instalment of ‘Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’ and this time they have encountered their most adventurous destination yet: Thailand. The first episode follows two entirely different set of friends, who take on boozing, self-induced money difficulties, and confidence struggles away from home for the first time, and leaving a trail of horrified parents in their wake.

The first personality we meet is ‘mummy’s boy’ Alex, 20, who apparently can’t seem to do anything for himself, apart from drink himself into intoxication, and recklessly spend his earnings. This cocky Yorkshire born ‘lad’ takes the holiday as a boozy bender and attempts to pick up as many girls as he can. Not quite grasping the full cultural experience, he went to a pole dancing club in order to understand the concept of ‘ping-pong’ shows. On his first night, he flings away £500 into the knickers of Thai dancers.

This amount lasted me for an extravagant month, taking part in a ridiculous amount of audacious activities, and countless extraordinary nights. His clear lack of respect toward women is revealed in a bumpy Tuk-Tuk ride, jeering at Thai women. This clear sexism is not representative of travellers, and was rarely observed, unless you wanted to end up in hospital.

Alex-the-lad couldn’t quite keep up with the infamous cocktail buckets and ends up chundering, passing and blacking out continuously throughout the holiday. His apparent lack of common sense is not to be confused with the backpacker stereotype, who really need to be particularly careful with possessions, as one wrong move could land themselves without a debit card for the duration of their trip as my travelling partner found out.

The other character the BBC follows is Joss, a 22-year old wannabe actor from Kent who is battling sexual confusion and crippling confidence problems, stemming from long-term bullying at school. His mother is hoping that Joss will develop self-belief from the travelling experience, which is relatively relatable when thrown out of your comfort zone.

As Joss finds out, travelling does make you do some pretty crazy stuff, and by the end of it, his confidence is boosted, and a new found sense of discovery has developed. Personally, I have found that since travelling to Thailand, I’ve become a lot more confident in myself, and I’m not afraid to let loose. Interestingly, Joss was extremely accepting of lady boys, admiring their confidence in their life choices, showing openness not all Brits share.

The BBC has mis-represented the travelling lifestyle, and shown youngsters to have a lack of decency, establishing poorly informed stereotypes. Everyone we encountered behaved responsibly, considering the drinking pressures.

One thing this episode missed out on were the beach parties, which for us formed a large part of the nightlife, especially on other islands. Dorms formed an integral part of our trip, as you meet various personalities, and this has not been demonstrated either. At the end of the day, they are just out to have the adventure of their lives away from the smothering clutches of their parents But this is not Magaluf, and some of them need to behave more respectfully. The programme didn’t represent the travelling experience as I and many others know it. It isn’t something to be taken lightly as there is so much to be gained from the experience.

However, they only went for one week, only experiencing a bucket-induced, boozy-mess, not long enough to fully experience the lifestyle and intricate culture of Thailand. For the cost they spent, they should have gone to Malia for a similar experience at a far cheaper price.

One comment

  1. Can you imagine if Thai-teens came to England and jeered at walkers by. Doesn’t at all represent why Brits travel to south-east Asia for the most part. Well written article!

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