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Legendary nightlife columnist Bernard Trink dead at 89


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Legendary nightlife columnist Bernard Trink dead at 89

 

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A legendary Thailand based journalist and columnist of a bygone era, Bernard Trink, has died aged 89.

 

For many decades from the 1960s to 2003 Mr Trink was a columnist commenting on the nightlife in Bangkok and Pattaya in the Bangkok World and when that publication closed in the mid 1980s in the Bangkok Post. 

 

Mr Trink was a controversial figure with strident views that delighted and irked in equal measure.

 

But it was fair to say that most expats who followed his column would always read it even if they disagreed with him or didn't appreciate his content. 

 

A New Yorker born in 1931, Mr Trink served in the Korean war and later was a journalist in India, Hong Kong and Japan before settling in Bangkok in 1962. 

 

He started his famous "Nite Owl" column in the now defunct Bangkok World in 1966.

 

Every Friday evening there would be news about the bar scene usually accompanied by gyrating go-go dancers whom he might describe as "comely lasses". 

 

His lack of political correctness - in an era when that expression had not yet been coined - angered many and ultimately led to the end of the column. 

 

After the Bangkok World closed his column moved to the Bangkok Post first as a full page then just a half page. 

 

In the late 1999's the management of the post cut the column but there was a public outcry and it was restored until it was finally shelved in 2003. 

 

Mr Trink was well known in the bars and clubs of Bangkok and Pattaya, famous for "doing his rounds" with pants hitched high up and a medallion on his chest. He was often accompanied by his wife Aree Trink. 

 

Despite promoting the bar scene he always warned foreigners not to hitch up with Thai "demimondaines" (his word for bar girls and hostesses) whom he invariably described as untrustworthy. 

 

He was famous for what could be described as "Trinkisms" - words and expressions that are still used by many expats today. One was "T.I.T." (This Is Thailand) that explained away baffling occurrences in the kingdom.

 

He always signed off his column with "And I don't give a hoot".

 

The Bangkok Post management eventually did give a hoot and he was sidelined though he continued to go to the office to work on book and film reviews. 

 

One controversial thing that angered people and the Post management was his oddball claim that HIV did not lead to AIDS.

 

But he also campaigned fervently for the removal of the Patpong night market saying that fire engines would not be able to gain access if there was a "conflagration" in one of the bars or discos of what was Thailand's leading red light area of the time. 

 

A close associate of the legendary columnist told Thaivisa that it was always hard to pin down Mr Trink because he had no phone or computer.

 

Mr Trink, who passed away at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital from a blood infection, is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2020-10-12
 
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I worked on HIV prevention in Thailand full-time in the late 1980s and 1990s.    Bernard Trink couldn't understand why HIV wasn't "mowing down the bar girls in Patpong."   That led

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