Home > Disclosure, Expat life, Foreign Media, Nightlife, Scumbags > On Flare-Ups, Failures and Facts

On Flare-Ups, Failures and Facts

This previous week marked the near-total implosion of Big Baby Kenny, both the dubious website and the author, Professor Kenneth Ng of California State University at Northridge.

The absence of the website is little loss and the general consensus is that the internet has gotten marginally smarter by its erasure. Although there are questionable retrospective-cum-appreciations already in circulation, one is left wondering why it’s worth anyone’s time to remark at length upon it.

BBK was a site with an abominable presentation, poor writing and a factual basis that varied from poor to so jaw-droppingly inaccurate it recalled the famous remark of Wolfgang Pauli: “it’s not even wrong”.

These defects would have doomed the site over the long haul, or at least confined it to the internet version of vanity press, but Ng unwisely accelerated the process with a very high-profile battle with the owners and manager of the Big Mango Bar and their blog.

Ng’s great mistakes were three: losing control of the scope of the argument and verging into manufacturing information rather than discovering it, failing to secure his own position, and letting his ego get in the way of prudent judgement.

For these reasons and more, the situation echoes the past contretemps between Keith Summers (his John Galt act and his website now on an apparently indefinite hiatus) and Paul Owen (whose Stickman persona and website have settled into an irrelevant senescence akin to a faded late-career Bernard Trink).

While this has been remarked upon elsewhere, the conclusion that Ng’s efforts were substantially similar to Summers’s (and as substantially ineffectual) can’t be supported.

Ng continues, by posting justifications for the former content of his website, to battle to save his job and substantial salary. CSUN administration for its part seems content to put the matter to rest, and absent a second wave of media coverage focusing on Ng’s documentable misuse of state resources, he will probably succeed. For the time being, Kenneth Ng still has his position, but his tilt with the Big Mango has had a very lopsided outcome (which is a sanitised way of saying abject failure) and may result in his dismissal.

By contrast, if indications are correct, Summers’s campaign seems to have struck the target. Word is that Owen is now poison in the educational community in Thailand, although if pressed the concern is usually phrased less in terms of his website content and instead focuses on the quality of his teaching credentials — some liken them to the sort of thing you get during a walk down Khao San Road or 4 to 6 weeks after sending a dollar and two box-tops to a post office box in Battle Creek, Michigan.

None of the four main parties in these two situations are without blame…

For their part Ng and Summers thoroughly failed at the tasks of information security regarding themselves and their real-life endeavours. And they committed the sin of letting themselves drift away from a factual, clinical approach into one of misrepresentations in service of personal vengeance. Summers ultimately went to court because of his indiscretions and Ng’s crucifixion in the court of public opinion may still intensify.

In viewing both Stickman and Big Baby Kenny it is perfectly correct that broader questions have been asked about whether it is appropriate for anyone involved with education (especially of minors) to be at the same time involved with the very adult nightlife scene here, and whether their behavior is in compliance with community standards and the terms of their employment.

And as for the Big Mango and Stickman as the putatively aggrieved parties, it really is difficult to feel at all sympathetic. When setting yourself up in business you must make certain factual disclosures on the public record. And when one becomes a celebrity — particularly when it is done voluntarily as a commentator or blogger — one must accept that fame comes with a price. And that goes beyond criticism right through to being named and enduring some ugly threats.

(In the Big Mango’s defense, they did attempt to “extend the olive” branch at one point, to quote one insider there. They were rebuffed as Ng took their efforts as a show of weakness. That however only covers the disinformation being spread about them, not disclosure of the factual essence of their ownership and management structure which some weak minds conflate with “outing”.)

With these thoughts in mind, and yet undeterred, in the coming weeks and months we’re going to be telling you a lot more than you ever thought you’d know about Thailand and especially the nightlife scene and the players in it.

It is never useless to repeat the words of Paul Fussell — “What someone doesn’t want you to publish is journalism; all else is publicity.” MongerSEA will put this principle into action.

    26 April 2010 at 15:11

    Always nice to be called a “weak mind”. Thanks for the kind words. In my view there is a great difference between having your identity known by a number of individuals and having it published with the intent to do harm. What happens with most who participate in blogs is the former, what BBK did was the latter. Perhaps it is more my choice of words rather than the actual concepts where the difference of opinion exists?

    “…when one becomes a celebrity — particularly when it is done voluntarily as a commentator or blogger — one must accept that fame comes with a price…”
    So based on the quote from above, am I to understand that you fully anticipate your name and personal information to be made public and that is OK? Rhetorical question you need not answer.

    • 26 April 2010 at 15:39

      The description you choose for yourself is just that, your choice. You weren’t named in the article, were you?

      As to your other remarks, try reading with more attention and understanding. This has little to do with the readership of blogs, and everything to do with people who put their name on the public record as a business director or shareholder, then whine about it when that information does not remain sequestered in some obscure but very public database.

      There are legal remedies, even in Thailand. Big Mango should have taken legal steps; there are some very quirky principles in defamation law which they could have used to their advantage.

      And as to the second paragraph, yes, which you may take as bring it, if you can.

      • SBDOTKU
        27 April 2010 at 11:46

        I understand the point you are trying to make. I agree that the BMB owners obviously risked exposure because of their ownership and creation of the blog. You are correct, anyone can then go do the research and publicize the information – and Kenny exploited this, poorly.

        I see we agree that the other things BBK said, regarding the BMB being a brothel (it is not) and his statements about the profitability of the bar they sold, stand as possible defamatory statements.

        And regarding the challenge you inferred was present in the second paragraph, no such challenge was meant – that is why I asked the question rhetorically. I have no wish to do anything resembling that. That was not my intent in quoting you but rather for illustrative purposes. I enjoy people discussing things with a degree of freedom based on anonymity. It allows for a more truthful discussion. But though I try to be frank, I try to be neither rude nor threatening. Sorry you took it that way.

        Best of luck with your blog. You write well and have an interesting viewpoint. I’ll continue to come back and read it.

  2. 27 April 2010 at 18:13

    Without nesting comments to a ridiculous degree, this is in reply to SBDOTKU as well as intended as a general announcement… there is an article on brothelkeeping (and accusations pertaining thereto) in the draft stage which will be published quite soon.

    • 29 April 2010 at 05:34

      Are there any hidden comment threads that we are unaware of in this particular thread? (i.e. “Without nesting comments to a ridiculous degree”)


      • 30 April 2010 at 12:32

        No. Comment nesting goes 3 levels deep.

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