Part 1: Bangkok’s Ping Pong Shows
Any traveller who’s stepped foot on Koh San Road, Bangkok’s notorious backpacking hub, will have been accosted by touts making a strange “popping” noise. What these orally fixated touts are emulating is the sound of a table tennis ball being propelled out of a woman’s vaginal cavity. This act of genital propulsion is the main draw of Asia’s most notorious sex show: The Ping Pong Show.
Aside from ping pong balls, one can also see women blow whistles, write with pens, smoke cigarettes and even secrete razor blades using only their vagina.
Male members of the audience are often called to participate in the show. You may find yourself holding a balloon as a performer pops it with a dart propelled from…yep, you guessed it.
“I got called up on stage. Rapidly sobering up, I was lying back down on the stage and staring at a woman’s vagina hovering above me – I remember thinking that this might be the lowest point of my life. Soon a ping pong emerged (from the vagina) like an egg from a chicken, and dropped towards my mouth. My survival instincts kicked in, and I batted the small, wet ball away. The ‘performer’ was bitterly disappointed I hadn’t caught the ball in my mouth, motioned at me to man up and repeated the trick. Batting it away a second time caused her to banish me from the stage, with a disappointed shake of her head. Don’t get called up.”
– Matt Wilson
Other less willing participants include goldfish, who are used as vaginal ammunition, and large frogs, which performers battle to keep trapped inside their vaginas.
Should I go?
Most ping pong shows take place in Bangkok’s red light district, (the aptly named) Pat Pong, and are free to enter. However, be prepared to pay over the odds for obligatory drinks. Audience members who do not shell out for beverages have been known to pay an obligatory tip or ‘exit fee’ upon leaving.
Performers can also be treated unfairly and there have been human rights concerns over working conditions. The feminist scholar Catherine MacKinnon has described the shows as part of ‘a pornography of torture’.
One thing ping pong shows unquestionably are is a testament to the amazing propulsion power of the female vagina. But is that reason enough to go?
I’ve been to Bangkok a few times and the novelty appeal of attending a Ping Pong show has never been enough to coax me in. Reports of performers looking like caged animals was enough to over rule any cultural ‘when in Rome’ argument. It’s not what’s going on stage that I object to, it’s the recruitment and treatment of the performers.
Don’t take it from me
Unlike me, YouTuber SkyyJohn actually went to a show. Here’s what he and his two Australian cronies have to say: