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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wisdom from the Pornmeister...

 View from my workdesk: Bang Bao (near Lonely Beach, Koh Chang island, TL)
Welcome to the new Mind-Futures site! (almost). I am completely re-doing my main site and blog. Why am I doing this?

Well, it all began when I met a porn meister in a little village in a small island in the Bay of Thailand about three weeks ago. I met Yohan when I rocked into a Rasta bar one evening while on my month-long holiday on the Island. The bar was dark and smelly, and there were more dreadlocks to be seen than in a Jamaican cricket ground. Yohan was very tall and very Dutch – and we hit it off right away. I eventually got around to asking him what he did for a living.

“I design web sites.” He said is his Arnie-esque accent. “Some dating sites. And mostly porn sites.”

“Ah huh. That’s nice.”

Turns out Yohan was a really nice guy, not exactly in the porn business himself, but flirting round the edges. He told me how, since breaking up with his girlfriend of ten years, he had gone on the road, and was living as a “digital nomad”, traveling the world and living in inexpensive countries. In Lonely Beach he was staying in a beach hut for 150 baht a night – that’s about eight American dollars. He had a magnificent silver computer in his backpack. Straight away I realised that we had a lot in common, even though I have no connection with the porn industry (honest!). I, my good self, was travelling light around the Sand of Smiles. I had one very simple, small, black backpack which contained a small laptop, two shirts, one pair of jeans and a single pair of shorts (yeah, some socks and underwear, too). My inspiration for this midlife-crisis of an experiment was none other than Julian Assange, whom I have read travelled around in similar fashion before he became internationally (in)famous. Julian, it was said, had only a single, collared white shirt in his backpack, which he washed daily – even when fronting major international organisations and media presentations (Note: you should try travelling this way. It’s great! No need to wait for your bags when your plane touches down as you just take your single little bag on the plane).

Anyway, I am not the judgmental type, so I immediately accepted Yohan for what he is. I realised I could actually learn a lot from him. After all, he epitomises many of the qualities of what Timothy Ferris calls “The New Rich” (I wrote a review of Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week here).

While Yohan was slumming it in his beachside bungalow, I was living it up in a luxurious beachside resort some ten kilometres down the coast from Lonely Beach. I had a huge air-conditioned room, a huge soft bed with about ten pillows, and a massive 50-inch TV screen with international cable TV. Outside there were two swimming pools to choose from, jungle walks, and two palm-tree lined beaches – the resort was sandwiched between two seas on an isthmus. I felt very guilty for the US$37 a night I was paying . But hey, you have to splash out sometime in life! 

Video taken while driving (single-handed! - thus the shaky footage) on my motor-scooter, leaving my resort in Bang Bao, Thailand
Each evening I drove my motor scooter over the hilly road from the resort, through the jungle and into Lonely Beach. There I would meet up with Yohan and we would talk about some deep and meaningful subjects; and many were not about pornography ;-) . Then, after a timeless time, we would walk few metres into the bar street and chat and dance the night away - often barefoot – in the balmy tropical evenings. And no, I wasn’t dancing with Yohan. The porn thing kind of put me off.

Lonely Beach is mainly a young backpacker’s hangout, so there were lots of people much younger folk there than Yohan and I there, but we didn’t care. We just had fun. On more than one evening I drove my motor scooter back to my hotel (the last part being through rather wild jungle) at very early hours of the morning.

I had given Yohan my business card at one point, and so it was that on one evening when I met up with him at a coffee shop in the town that he looked at me rather seriously.

 Me, at the caffee where I had the conversation about my website. Luckily Yohan didn't start on my dress sense (but hey, this was TL!)

“Hey. I have been looking at your website.” He said in his strong Dutch accent.

“MindFutures dot com?”

“Yeah. It’s not good. It’s like something from ten years ago.”

I felt a bit defensive. “Yeah. It’s just for academics. It’s not for the general public.”

“I looked at some of your other sites. You have sites all over the place. You need to have one centralised site. That would be much better.”

I nodded. In the days that followed, I reflected on Yohan’s advice. Here was a man, seasoned in the subtle arts of the porn industry, and he had found me wanting. My site was useless. Impotent even. He was right. I needed a site that would get people excited. Arouse their interest. Something more…sexy.

In the end I came to see that Yohan was right. It is always good to get the view of an outsider.

After about ten days in Lonely Beach I bid farewell to Yohan, and not without some degree of sadness.

Just yesterday I was in contact with Yohan. He is still in Lonely Beach. But then again, it is still just a couple of weeks since I left that place. He has invited me to join him at his next destinations – Columbia, Brazil, Mexico... You, know… all the great places where you can find adventure, even in dreaded middle age… and where you just might get shot up in a drug bust or a gangland shakedown. But hey, there is no adventure without risk! Maybe I will take up that offer. One day. Before I am too old to explore the new. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the new I think you’ll find it a little bolder than this blog, more dynamic, and maybe even a little more sexy. You can thank a Dutch porn meister for that one.

Many blessings,

PS. This will be the last post on – and the first on (which will go up in the next day or two). Please do join me for adventures into the frontiers of mind and spirit… into the unknown… and the future!


  1. After reading "The Shock Doctrine" all I could think about was how the locals get f#@%ed over by rich Westerners exploiting their beaches for profit.So it was probably appropriate that you ran into a pornmiester there.
    I'm not trying to make you feel guilty,but read "The Shock Doctrine" if you get a chance and I think you'll understand where I'm coming from.
    Good luck with your new website,by the way.

  2. I thought the light-hearted tone of the piece would have been fairly obvious, Daz. This includes the term "pornmeister."

    I find the Thais to have quite a different attitude to tourism, given that their economy runs on it. Sometimes spiritual folk - and westerners in general- are a little too judgmental and moralistic, viewing other cultures through their own values. I have lived in Asia for 13 years, and have seen many sides of it. I have learned to accept the choices of the people, and also the way they choose to develop their economies. This includes human sexuality, the multiple expressions of which I view without judgment. If people want to watch videos of human sexuality, I couldn't care less. There are a hell of a lot worse things going on in the world. BTW, Lonely Beach is a fairly undeveloped area, with mostly low budget travellers and almost no sex tourism. That's why I liked it so much. It's nothing like Phuket or Pattaya. Interestingly Yohan also didn't like the developed areas. I found him to be a great guy.

  3. Hear hear, Marcus. I think the humorous, non-judgmental tone of your piece is very clear (after all, you could just have described Yohan as a generic web entrepreneur). To open to learn from anyone we meet and anything that happens to us is a pretty good definition of living consciously - and joyfully.

  4. Thanks, Simon. I did have a lot of fun there.

    Brizdaz, I received another comment from you in my yahoo email, but for some reason it hasn't shown up here. Maybe the system identified it as spam for some reason. I'll see if I can find it in my admin page and reactivate it (if it's there).

    There's good and bad with tourism. "Exploit" is an intrinsically negative word. I don't see being a tourist as being any attempt to exploit people - anymore than any business "uses" people. Thailand is the world's biggest tourist destination with about 50 million tourists a year. The country gets an awful lot of money and employment out of that. If things are managed well - and that's entirely up to the way the locals and Thai govt. do things - there's no reason why it has to be negative.

    The "guilty" reference to staying in a great hotel for not much was tongue in cheek, even though Yohan reckoned I was "wasting money" at US$37 a night. But I was only there for a few weeks, and Yohan is permanently travelling. In contrast, when I went back to Hong Kong for a few days I had to stay in a hotel and was charged US$235 a night for a small room - no pools, ceratinly no beach anywhere near, and not even bottled water in the fridge!

    The hotel was cheaper than usual - I went there in the low season - summer - it is hot and rainy. But not unpleasantly so. For me it was worth it.


  5. Here's Brizdaz' comment, which for some reason never made it here (I'm assuming he didn't remove it himself). It didn't appear on my admin page - I got it from my yahoo account, where I receive a copy of all comments.

    "My comment has nothing to do with sexuality or porn,apart from the expression "f#@%ed over",which was meant to imply locals being screwed out of their prime beachfront land by rich resort developers who cater to the money of foreign tourists.
    It was only when you said
    " I felt very guilty for the US$37 a night I was paying." That I thought back to "The Shock Doctrine"
    and thought I bet if you gave a local US$37 they would have thought that they had won a major prize in a lottery.
    I've never traveled outside of Australia,apart from one trip to New Zealand,and I don't have any real desire to.
    Read "The Shock Doctrine" as it's a good book and I would like to see you do one of your reviews on it.
    There is even a movie called "The Shock Doctrine" based on the book...but is not as good,still worth a watch if you get a chance.
    It might be on You Tube somewhere."

  6. Great to hear from you, Yohan! Some good points there. There's certainly a price to pay for economic development. But how many countries actually say no to it, and go back to living a simpler, less economically developed lifestyle? I am not aware of any. Given this the ideal is to work responsibly and intelligently with the resources you have - including the beaches and natural environment. I don't think you can really blame tourists for going to nice places - although sometimes their behaviour might be found a little wanting - especially in TL!

  7. Fascinating adventure, Marcus. Can't wait till you have the new site up and running. And Daz is right about The Shock Doctrine. It's one of the best books I've ever read.