Frequent go go bar visitors have to admit that most of the mamasans are mainly mean looking Thai women. Not every mamasan is like that: meet the charming Jasmine.
She is 48 years old and worked and lived in South Korea before she moved back to Bangkok, where she started working as a mamasan at Nana Plaza area in the heart of The Big Mango. Right now she is more than 4 months in business and loves her job as being a mamasan. “I really like to talk with a lot of customers and take care of my girls”, she says.
Taking care of the working girls is definitely the most important part of being a mamasan. “The girls look up to the mamasan. They call me mama and it makes me proud that they listen to me. I am the one who is learning (teaching) them what they need to do.” But working with different girls also mean different personalities. “I want the customers to have a great time, I want to be good for my girls and of course make money for the bar.”
There are always girls who don’t care about the mamasan and work the way they want to do. What happens to them? “Let me explain that 60 up to 70 percent of the girls are okay and never make a problem. If some of them do, I warn them for 1 or maybe 2 times. They have to apologize. If they don’t do that or just don’t want to listen, they have to quit. I respect the girls, but they also have to respect the mamasan and the bar. If they respect me, I treat them back. Sometimes after the bar is closed I take girls to the discotheque, buy them drinks and we get drunk, haha!”
Another part of the job of the mamasan is to train the girls how to work in a go go bar. For example: if a girl is shy, she will learn her how to get in touch with a customer. “It always starts with smiling. Even when the girl can not speak English, she still knows how to impress her customer. They can come early to the bar to learn English. I talk English to them instead of Thai. That’s the best way how to learn it.”
Sometimes Jasmine has to push a new girl to sit with a customer. “I understand it’s tough, but the girl wants money. Sometimes they are really scared about a customer, because the girl don’t know what he wants. I help her and try to make her feel comfortable.” Everyone can come into the go go bar and take a girl out. And of course it happens an old or extremely fat guy barfines a young girl. “I feel sorry for her, but hey, it’s all about business right?”
A customer can pay a barfine for a go go girl, but how about the mamasan? “No, I don’t go with customers. The only person I go with is my husband”, replies Jasmine smiling. “I offer my girls to the customer. Some guys pay a barfine for me and my girls. We hang out for a party, but nothing happens of course.” Jasmine has 2 sons 20 and 14 years old. Does she mind when one of her sons come home with a go go girl? “No, of course not. It’s their life and they can love who they want to love. Even if I had a daughter and she wanted to work in a go go bar, I still don’t want to make a problem of it.”
By Harold Rolloos