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trink

Bernard Trink

Bernard Trink (born 1931) is a former columnist for the Bangkok Post. A native New Yorker, Trink came to Bangkok in the mid 1960s and taught English at various universities before taking over the "Nite Owl" column in 1966 at the now defunct Bangkok World, Bangkok's evening English-language newspaper. Trink's popular "Nite Owl" column ran weekly for the next 37 years, covering Bangkok's night time entertainment (go-go bars, nightclubs, pubs and massage parlors). He also wrote restaurant reviews as Friar Tuck and did regular film and book reviews and interviews under his own name.

History

Originally, Trink's "Nite Owl" was an informative three page illustrated section that appeared in the World every Friday afternoon. However, when that newspaper was bought out and shut down by the Bangkok Post in the mid 1980s, Trink's column was shortened to just one page and the photographs were eliminated. The Post also restricted what Trink could write about and his column became decidedly tamer. However, he continued to have his dedicated fans and when the Bangkok Post tried to stop his column in the late 1990s, a letter writing campaign persuaded the paper to change its mind. Nevertheless, the column was further reduced to just half of a page.

In December 2003, Trink's column was dropped without fanfare by a new editor, who decided it was time for Trink to go. There was no announcement that it was ending, nor any farewell party for the long time columnist. The "Nite Owl" column simply vanished. Trink still writes book reviews for the Post and for a time did his own web site, but he is now more or less retired.

Trink in his columns was often critical of the city's seamier, sleazier nightlife and always warned foreign men about becoming romantically involved with bar girls, whom he held in low regard. He also spoke out for women's rights and against child prostitution, but his belief that HIV did not lead to AIDS brought him considerable criticism and may have contributed to the demise of his column.

Trink is the subject of an unauthorized biography by Jennifer Bliss, called But I Don't Give a Hoot, published by Post Books in 2000.

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