Wednesday, 27 August 2014 16:00

Did I deserve this?

Dear Hillary,

I need to comment on the debate between “got” and “gotten” as an American. Firstly, language evolves and is not static and never has been. Our collection of words that we call “English” has so many German, French and Celtic roots it is an amalgam that to suggest there is a “British vs American” way of speaking overlooks your Commonwealth partner Canada. Do you intend to also give language lessons to the Australians? English was largely crafted by evolution and just because American English is the world standard preferred business language... speaks to the wealth of its evolution.

An apple. An orange. A tree. Note it is not “an tree.” The article “an” is used when there is an “a” or “e” sound in the subject and makes the sentence more musical to the ear. Now, “got on” or “gotten on” are equally correct, but one is definitely more musical.

The bus itself was a French invention in fact and the plural is spelled in two different ways... buses and busses. Usage in either form is interchangeable. As you are speaking in third person with your phrase (describing someone else) “got” and “gotten” are both past tense verbs.  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gotten?s=t

Present tense: “I am getting on a bus.”

Future tense: “I will get on a bus.”

“Purity of communication” my dear doctor Hillary Dolittle? Have you spoken to a British person in their 20’s lately? Or worse yet have you tried to understand a Yorkshire or Scottish person? We Americans have not massacred anything linguistically more than you have, but the language is not frozen in stone just because the extremely massacre prone British Empire has ended. (Including those you performed in Canada. You can check massacres of the British Empire online.) That said we all have phrases that bother us... “Ya know, mate?” “Good on” Prince William for being the first British royal to work for a living flying a helicopter. Even royalty evolves just as language must.



Dear Robert,

Dare I say thank you for the scholarly barrage sent in my direction? How we managed to get Parisian busses into the mix, I have no idea, but then, of course, I am not a proud American, such as you, so that probably is the reason that you were giving the Canadians some stick.

However, if you wish to nit pick, you use “an” before any word starting with a vowel (that’s a-e-i-o-u at last count) and not just “a” and “e” and also before a word starting with “h” such as an hotel. Does sound better, I agree. In Thai we use “na” as a word with no meaning, but just there to keep the words flowing.

You also seem to have a problem with “its” and “it’s”, the former shows possession, while the latter is a contraction of “it is”. So where you wrote “speaks to the wealth of it’s evolution” it should be “speaks to the wealth of its evolution”. But thank you for your interest my Petal and the language lessons which are always appreciated, and I’ll get off the bus now, if I may? Next stop Dijon?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 15:58

Don gives me the Nod

Dear Hillary,

You didn’t have to rearrange my name letters as she can’t read but does know I philander, when she is away. It’s really an adult game we play as I suspect many others do as well, “mouse can play when cat is away”! The “blossoms” I cavort with cooperate in this game as well!



Dear Don (who doesn’t need to be Nod),

So glad you don’t have to use an alias any more when you’re out non-philandering. However, I have a new girl in my English classes who said her husband’s name was Don. I hope it wasn’t you, My Petal. I am a bit confused too with your “blossoms” who “cooperate in this game as well.” Do you mean to say that they call you “Nod” as well, or what? Or are you saying you have a ‘gik’ or two in the shadows? You men do lead some rather strange lives.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 15:55

Cheating and weakness?

Dear Hillary,

I would like to add to your advice to Don aka Nod. I too am in a committed relationship, and like any red blooded male I look at a sexy woman and think Be Jazus it’s me that would like a piece of that, and that’s as far as it goes. By saying you are in a committed relationship and then admitting you cheat shows what a weak person you are.

You must be one who when a girl says “Hello Sexy Man” you believe them. Like the Gaffer said to the truck driver, “Pull out Driver you’ve got your load”. (Think about that one.)



Dear Sean,

I think you are being a very naughty boy. I want you to stay in after class and explain all this truck driver thing to me. I think it must be something to do with sheeting and tying that I am told all truck drivers do. Am I correct? Are they practicing some weird form of S&M or something. However, congratulations for keeping all that libido in check.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:58

Soi 6 Money Exchange

Dear Hillary,

How do I find true love in Pattaya?  The girls all seem nice enough, but I am sure they are only after my money.  I do not want to be the cash cow for every bar girl in sois 6, 7, 8 and onwards.  I go out with the idea that I will only spend 500 baht, but by the end of the night, it has been several thousands.  What do you suggest, Hillary?

Johnny Cash (Cow)


Dear Johnny,

Where you are going wrong, Petal, is you seem to be frequenting the currency exchange fun parlors of sois 6-8 as your happy hunting grounds.  The reason there are so many “tellers” ready to look after your money in these soi 6 currency exchanges is to give you the guarantee there is no kiss and telling afterwards.  If you can’t stand the heat - get out of the kitchen, my Petal.  Or, if you can’t stop worrying about the exchange rate, get out of the soi.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:57

Frenchman looking for excitement

Dear Hillary,

I will be coming to Pattaya at Xmas time and wonder if you knew where I could rent a motorcycle for the time I will be there (2 weeks).  Is it insured and is it OK to drive with my French license?  Do you ride on the same side of the road as we do in France?  Thank you.



Dear Pierre,

The only insurance you will need is a very expensive policy to cover the hospital expenses for the major injuries to your French body after you get run over by an 18 wheel truck.  However, if you ride a motorcycle through the traffic in Paris, you could escape damage.  The motorcycle will have some sort of minimum accident cover, if you rent from a large enough rental company, but if you deal with one of the side of the road operators, you will be on your own.  And finally, do not let them hold your passport as a surety.  And no, we do not drive on the right, as in France, we drive on the left, the same as Britain and Japan.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:56

Water meter woes

Dear Hillary,

We have not been here very long and already we have had the water cut off from the house (twice!) and the electricity (once) all because I do not understand when and how the bills come.  Do they post them or what?  I am sure we did not receive at least two, but when I tried to explain this at the Water Department I got nowhere - and had to pay an extra 500 baht to get re-connected.  What can we do?



Dear Bill, or as we would say, Dear Bin,

The account is a piece of paper that is either stuck in your gate, or slipped under your door.  They look very similar, but the “bin electric” is generally in blue ink and is from the PEA (Provincial Electricity Authority).  You do get a few days grace, but once those few days are over, you are then disconnected and in the case of the water, they just remove the meter and smash the on-off handle (just in case you have ideas of joining the input and output ends together).  What you have to do is remember what day of the month that the meter men come, and then look for the bin (sorry bill).  Frustrating and annoying, but that’s just one of the things that make up “Amazing Thailand”.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:55

Kamoyed in the kitchen

Dear Hillary,

My wife has started cheating on the grocery bills and I am sure she has started to sneak the odd thousand baht from my billfold when I am asleep.  At first I thought it was the kids, but they couldn’t get to my billfold during the night, while my wife could very easily.  I also note that she seems to have less jewelry than before, and when I have asked her where her necklace is she gets very defensive and says she is having it cleaned.  I am sure she is not having an affair, as she is always home at nights with me, so what can I do to check?  Where is the money going?  Do you think it might be gambling?

Emptied Wallet


Dear Emptied Wallet,

You’re sure she’s not having an affair because she’s with you at night.  What about daytime, Petal?  Ever considered that?  However, back to the disappearing 1000 baht notes.  The easy way to see if the money is running away is to count the number in the wallet before bed and again in the morning.  Even jot down some serial numbers to make it even more evident.  The little stock take in the morning will show any shortfall immediately.  Unfortunately, when wives take up gambling, the first sign is missing money and gold.  You are going to have to be very careful in checking, and then comes the difficult part of confronting her with the evidence.  You are in for a rocky road, Petal.  Wives have been known to mortgage the house you are buying for her with your hard earned money.  Beware, beware.

Thursday, 14 August 2014 09:50

Take out Buffalo insurance

Dear Hillary,

I was introduced to a Thai Lady three years ago. We hit it off almost immediately and I returned later in 2011 and finally got married in December 2012 at the local Amphur Office. My now wife had been married before so did not want a religious ceremony and as for the dowry I was asked by my wife to give Bht 10,000 to her parents as a token. So, you will see that all Thai Ladies are not out for what they can get. OK, I help the family a little each month but I have never been happier! However, I suggest that all Farangs should tread carefully and as soon as you hear that the family water buffalo has died or papa needs an expensive operation - RUN!



Dear Rocco,

I am so happy for you, my Petal. I do hope your happiness continues for many years to come - provided the buffalo has taken out life assurance.

Thursday, 14 August 2014 09:50

How broke is “broke”?

Dear Hillary,

Does anyone want the company of a broke person? I’m available.

Singha Jerry


Dear (impecunious) Singha Jerry,

At your age, “broke” usually refers to something like, “I fell over and broke my hip.” You, my Petal, are really saying that you are wanting a cashless transaction (mainly because you haven’t got any)! Perhaps if you stopped donating money to the Singha Brewery, you could start looking for a paid companion again?

Thursday, 14 August 2014 09:49

Birthday problems

Dear Hillary,

One of the receptionists in our company is very attractive and I would like to get to know her better, but I have a problem. I am not the pushy type, so can’t just go up to her and ask her out. She knows my name even though we have 600 on staff, and if I meet her walking into work she is always very chatty and will hold my arm with her hand. She doesn’t wear any rings, so I don’t think she is married or anything like that. She did ask the other day what I was getting her for her birthday, and I almost fell over, but mumbled something like wait and see. I know, I missed my opportunity again. Do you think she is interested? What is the next move, and please don’t say just to go and ask her out.

Bashful Bob


Dear Bashful Bob,

I feel for you, my Petal. I really do. You are from the UK I presume and it is nice to see you aren’t one of those dreadful lager louts that populate the bars as winter comes on. Even though Thai people are very welcoming and friendly, this girl seems to be giving you a message. You don’t need to be brave to buy her a box of chocolates and quietly present them to her on her birthday. Or if that is too much, just leave them on her desk. Put a card with them saying “From Bob” and your phone number. If she rings you to thank you, then ask her out for dinner to nice restaurant. Not over the top, but one where you can chat and get to know each other a little. However, if she refuses the chocolates, just send them over to my office, marked “For my Darling Hillary”. I will appreciate them.

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