Thought I'd file this under "interesting destinations"
Patpong girls taught to become better go-go dancers
The Nation, 25 October 2006
Dancing course set up by Empower, because it's 'most useful to their work'
After 10 years of providing girls in Patpong with non-formal education and vocational programmes, Empower Foundation has decided to teach go-go dancing. Empower founder Chantawipa Apisuk said several types of dancing courses such as ballroom dancing have been provided in other non-formal education centres. But for the Bang Rak centre, the only dancing that was suitable and useful for students was the go-go style, which is what they do for work. "We have provided development programmes for go-go dancers and sex workers for a long time and thought 'why not open such a dancing course' - if it is actually useful for those wanting to learn and who could put it to practical use in their careers," Chantawipa said.
The non-profit organisation has been linked with a non-formal education centre in Patpong since 1993. The education provided includes English and Japanese language lessons, plus computer courses. The new go-go dancing course was launched at a bar on Patpong road last Sunday and was joined by more than 100 go-go dancers and sex workers from the local area, plus Empower members from across the country. The syllabus for the go-go dancing course is in the process of being developed. Chantawipa said that besides teaching young women to dance nicely, the course would aim at techniques for dancing safely and styles that are socially acceptable. [Doesn't seem of particular importance in this case....]
While there may be fears the new course would promote go-go dancing as a career, Chantawipa said the non-formal education centre opened only for workers in Patpong and they were mostly go-go dancers. "We only want to make them be more professional, and also it is a matter of the state accepting them as workers," she said. Empower has asked the non-formal education centre to provide certificates to those who pass the course.
Meanwhile, Chantawipa said Empower proposed that the interim government should consider boosting welfare protection and rights of sex workers and go-go dancers. Politicians and state officials have claimed that night entertainment spots were places of crime and immorality. Workers in these venues had become victims when politicians needed to "show off" or promote themselves. But few politicians had sincerely considered the rights of the women workers. Head of the Bang Rak non-formal education centre, Plernphit Shunnawan, said Empower should propose a syllabus for the go-go dancing course for the centre to approve first. "If the course teaches the art of dance, dressing suitably and dancing safety that would be useful for the dancers. Then, we would have no problem approving the new course," she said.
Thechas Khonman, a freelance dancer who is the course instructor, said more than 20 go-go dancers had applied for the course. He said the dancers could go through their careers without knowing any proper dance steps. "Learning with us, they will learn how to dance beautifully with outstanding acting and movement, as well as how to dress suitably. [Why dress at all?] "The ways are different for each person," he said. Go-go dancer Lek, 36, said she had danced for years without any technique, so she was keen to take the go-go course. She wished the centre could teach her proper dancing styles.
born in Southern Lower Saxony - at home in the City of Angels