I love your column. I have been coming to Asia from the US for 15 years. I bought a condominium here, got a drivers license, bought a car, and have a retirement visa. I am continually amazed how stupid western men are when they come here. They do not act the way they would back home and take women for granted. I frankly think they deserve to get taken for all they are stupidly worth or claim to be. I hear too many of them bragging (mostly lying) about how great they are, how much money they have, etc., I hope they get robbed. I live here and have many Thai friends. I respect them for their lifestyle and do not care that I may have more money that they, they have HUGE hearts and that is what I care about. Those idiots who come here to use them deserve to get ripped off. So, to those who do not learn or respect the culture, spend your money and get the hell out.
Anyone who starts their message with “I love your column” goes straight to the top. Flattery will get you everywhere, and some chockies and bubbles gets you even further! Unfortunately you are correct that many westerners do write their CV on the plane coming over, thinking that nobody in a third world country will ever know the truth - but the social networks soon show up the frauds. After that it is downhill from there. I am glad to hear you have some Thai friends and you respect their lifestyle, which can be quite different from the westerner’s, but you are here in Thailand and have really made the grade. Well done.
Its Resurrected Delboy, I loved that title you have given me. You are a great asset to Pattaya Mail (hope the Editor is reading this). Hillary I have had three motorcycle accidents since that really serious one when two of the three guys on the bike that hit me head on died. So no cremations to pay for in the last three accidents, only replaced torn clothing to pay for. I guess I should not joke about things like that, but I am hoping to live long enough to be the oldest motorcyclist in Thailand. Back to Triple Wrapped Thailand Hillary, I cannot find any broken biscuits at my supermarket but I will ask the check out lady to open the outer wrapper for me, then my tea will still be warm by the time I open the inner wrappers. Thank you and all the team at Pattaya Mail for a great read and also the Email updates.
Dear Resurrected One,
If you want to be the oldest motorcyclist in the Kingdom, then you’d better be more careful. Three accidents since the last time we were in contact does not sound too good to me. I’m afraid I won’t ride pillion with you. Or is it a sidecar these days? Enjoy the tea and bikkies.
What is the situation here as far as dowries is concerned. I have been living with this girl I met in the local bar for a few weeks and I have been up to her home town to meet her folks, and they seem to be OK sort of people. Her mother looks after her child from a previous marriage. Her father has a small rice farm. My girl is now saying that her parents expect us to get married and we must go back to her village for the ceremony, and that I am expected to pay the dowry for her as well as paying for the monks and the marriage ceremony and party. I asked her how much did they expect and she tells me around 200,000 baht will cover everything. Honestly Hillary, that is a lot of money, being a bit close to 4,000 pounds, and I don’t know that I really want to go through this at that sort of money. I understand this may be the custom out here, but I want your opinion on it. I haven’t got anyone else I can ask to get some sensible advice.
Dowries are still expected in some regions of Thailand, but 200,000 baht is a bit steep for a blushing bride you met in a bar, who has been married before and already has one child being looked after by her mother. Are there any others hiding round the corner? Any contract of marriage should not be entered into when there are doubts, and you are certainly showing more than a few doubts (not that I blame you). You do not say how long you have been in Thailand, but I get the feeling you are a newcomer. A ‘real’ marriage, which is recognized in both Thai law and the UK, is not the one in the village, but is done at the local amphur office. You asked for my opinion, Petal, and here it is - run!
I used to think I was lucky. I saw all my mates have marriages that went down the tube, but I considered myself lucky, my marriage was great, and she wasn’t a bar girl, but my mates had married bar girls. Then I find she’s been seeing some bloke behind my back, lying all the time, even pretending she was staying a couple of days in the temple, when she was holed up in an apartment round the corner. I was heartbroken, but she said the affair was all over and I forgive her. Six weeks later, she’s at it again, and that’s when I left. Bar girl or no bar girl, they all seem the same to me. Is there a difference?
Relationships are strange things. Forget about the “bar girl” thing. It isn’t a Yes or No factor, you are talking about Thai women, that’s all of them, from all walks of life. Add in differences in ages and poor knowledge of the languages, Thai for you, English for her. No wonder it comes down to a financial arrangement. Money is something the Thai women all understand, and that is what many Thai-Foreigner marriages are based on. He gives her a better life and she gives him a better bed companion in return. That’s a win-win situation, but after the money arrangement goes sour, the relationship does the same. Nothing to do with her past occupation.
You drew attention to the “Long Stayers” a couple of weeks ago and highlighted a few problems with their living in Thailand. But in the good ole “Land of the Free” this week, police were charged with using excessive force on a minority group. A teenage pool party was raided by police with drawn guns and batons against 15 year girls who were thrown to the ground, sat on and handcuffed. Same treatment to innocent bystanders. Also this week a prisoner was released after 44 years in solitary confinement. Perhaps you have little time for minority groups and that is why you mentioned “Long Stayers”?
As a long stayer, you should by now be calling yourself “Bin”, but whilst everything you mention is true, you are comparing apples and oranges. The US has its own problems, just as Thailand has its own problems, which currently do not include breaking up pool parties with drawn guns. But you cannot directly compare the two. I think many Americans who live here are still proud to be American citizens, but prefer the lifestyle here, and we are happy to have the happy ones here.
I have just been watching some poor bloke’s tale of woe on facebook. Came out here, met the girl of his dreams in the bar. Shacked up together, wedding in the village, then blew all his savings building a home for her (and her family) and a pig farm. Money started to run short, the missus gives him short shrift and he has to return to the UK penniless. And he wonders how this can happen. There’s one born every minute as they say.
There certainly is one born every minute, and it seems that at least 50 percent of them catch a plane to Bangkok where they meet the girl of their dreams, get married in the village, build the house, with or without pig farm and settle down into an alcohol fuzz, lost in a foreign culture which they will never understand. You have to feel sorry for them.
The culture here is so different from their own culture in the UK, USA, Europe, Australia, and without language skills they will never be able to bridge the great divide. Many people have tried to warn these star struck chaps, point them to books like Stephen Leather’s Private Dancer, counsel them, but to no avail. “This one’s different” is mentioned all the time as they go into the second and third relationship. Like lemmings they all rush over the matrimonial cliff together and end up sitting outside the local convenience store drinking cheap beer from 10 in the morning. A far cry from their initial thoughts of going back home with the beautiful trophy bride on the arm and show off in front of family and friends.
However, if you read this column regularly, you will find that there are some relationships that do work, but Hillary’s experience is there’s far more heart breaks than celebrations.
So what are you going to do, Rufus? I am doing my bit, now it’s time for you to join the warning party!
What is the attraction of the primitive villages in the north east that these Thai girls come from? At every opportunity they seem to go back there, for to see Mama, or another funeral, or a special event at the local wat. Funerals? There seems to be one every month. These villages must be dangerous places! What is the pull that makes them go back?
My Petal, have you never heard the phrase “There’s no place like home”?
It seems that I get either a feast or a famine in the GF stakes here. A couple of months ago, I was wondering if I should enquire about saffron robes, and then, just as quickly, I have four on the trot, and it gets difficult to roster the overnighters, without letting the other three know what’s what!
This is not a real problem, Petal. All you have to do is line up another three and you have one for every day of the week. Give them all a fixed night of the week, so both you and they know if it is “their” night. Roster problems fixed! See, it was easy.
I like skinny dipping in our pool at night, but my lady friend says she is too shy to do this. How do I get her to change her mind?
What an interesting name you have, but I suppose it is easier than being the San Fran Cisco kid. Thai ladies are really very shy, despite what you see in Soi Half Dozen, so don’t think that just because you want to expose yourself that she will do the same. If skinny dipping (or even fatty dipping) is your thing in life, then get another lady who is happy to lose the underwear and plunge in.
I dropped by the other day to your office, but the receptionist said you were away for the day. Do you have a regular time where I could meet you and then I could tell everyone that you are real and how I had met you? I could even take you to lunch, but the champagne thing is a bit too much as I have to watch the money as I am almost at the end of my holidays here (once a year).
What a dear and almost potless man you are, my Petal. Did you honestly think I would jump at the chance to go to lunch with a Cheap Charlie like you? What was it going to be? A bottle of Chang and two straws? At the front apron of the local 7-Eleven? Sorry Mike, that I have to let you down like that, but when you’ve saved up your pennies to cover the costs of my favorite champagne and chocolates feel free to contact me again.