Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:49

A delicate shade of pink

Dear Hillary,

We live in Jomtien and often go to the beach there as it seems to be very popular with the Thais, as we see them swimming there a lot. Why do the Thai people wear clothes when they go into the sea? Sometimes it looks like shipwreck survivors from the Titanic. Some Thais wear bikinis, but they are in the minority. I even see them going in wearing jeans! Why, Hillary please tell us.

Bikini Bob


Dear BB,

You are obviously someone with a keen eye and worried about the health of the local people. Will they drown? Do they have a change of clothes? Well, I have good news for you. No, they won’t drown and yes, they do have a change of clothes. The reason you don’t see them in bikinis is the skin color thing. Westerners who are white want to be brown, so you see them out in their bikinis getting toasted by the tropical sun and turning a lobster red usually, but the Thai people who are naturally brown all want to be white. They enjoy the beach and swimming, but must cover their skin to stop tanning.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:48

Lost keys - again

Dear Hillary

My girlfriend and I live in an apartment in town. We have a good relationship except for the fact she keeps losing the keys and mobile phone. This is very annoying, how can I stop her doing this?



Dear Annoyed

Have you ever considered the fact that your girlfriend is losing keys and telephones as a subconscious way of expressing her lack of satisfaction with the relationship or simply as a device to annoy you? It is very difficult if not impossible to change someone else’s behavior unless you change your own behavior first. I suggest you change the way you respond to her. One quick fix is to either don’t let her see that it annoys you or simply don’t speak to her for a few days every time she loses things. The best way though is to “Give her the monkey and let her feed it.” This is a Thai expression for making her to take the consequence of her own actions. Do not let her have or use your mobile phone ever, keep a spare set of keys for you, but never unlock the apartment for her, and never give her another set after she has lost one. If this is too tedious, maybe losing this girlfriend would be less frustrating.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:43

Bessame mucho

Dear Hillary,

I find this habit of social kissing here disgusting. People just making an excuse to slobber all their germs over you, it is just frightful and unhealthy too! How can I avoid it?



Dear Yurky,

Where have you been all your life? It seems as though you don’t like socializing either? Most people have social kissing down to the fine art of just kissing the air beside the victim’s face. What you do on greeting occasions is to step into the person’s space first, grab them by both upper arms and kiss the air nosily beside each ear. Then say, “Don’t come too close, I’ve got rabies.” The alternative is to stay at home and watch TV.

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 16:29

Songthaews for 10 baht?

Dear Hillary,

A couple of weeks back you had some guy wondering how to stop the Soi 6 vacuum cleaners who seemed to be able to clean out his wallet very easily.  My advice is simple.  Try going out with the idea of having 500 baht cash only on you... or 1000 and a ten baht coin on you for a return songthaew.  Leave your credit, debit, and ATM cards locked in your safe.  Don’t worry, in due course you will be the least popular farang on Soi 6.  Perhaps then, rather than visiting with Soi 6 vacuum cleaners, you will put effort into finding a woman who could perhaps love you.  This is if you are looking for “true love” actually of course, but I doubt you are.



Dear Robert

You certainly win the Scrooge McDuck award for this week.  All good advice to get out of the “commercial” soi, but, pray tell, where do you get 10 baht songthaews around Soi 6, that is unless you are going from 6 to 6/1.

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 16:28

Bashful Bob’s first date

Dear Hillary,

‘Bashful Bob’ was wondering how to ask an educated Thai woman on a date.  ‘Bashful Bob’ obviously works for a living and is a newbie which is just grand for him.  Most likely he is even within ten years of her age which could make for an honest life together including perhaps family without dad being pushed around in a wheelchair himself someday.  He has found a woman of education who works for a living, speaks English, and is courteous to him.  To poor Bob I would say, I envy you, as you have found a beautiful bashful flower.  Proceed slowly, be prepared to put your best foot forward with the young lady’s family and ask if you may come to her home sometime to meet her mother and father.  Only then will you know if your suspicions that she is free are actual and she is really available.  As you have pointed out, in Thai culture family is everything.  If you are not a good fit with them your relationship will be complicated.



Dear Rob,

There are a few items you have forgotten in your very wise advice.  You forgot to tell him to enquire about the family buffalo and how her brother is after the motorcycle accident.  Also to ask if the family dines at the table or off the floor.  If she does have a table and doesn’t have a buffalo or a brother, you will have discovered a real gem.  In finishing, I have no buffalo or brother.  Chocolates should be sent to the Pattaya Mail office clearly marked “For Hillary”.

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 16:28

Moans from Manchester

Dear Hillary,

I have come over here on holiday from the UK and I am shocked by what I see here, going on night and day.  I can put up with the endless beer bars with young women trying to get people to sit down and drink.  I can put up with the fact there are gogo bars with women displaying their bodies as some sort of tourist attraction, but I cannot put up with the way old foreign men walk around with barely teenage Thai girls hanging on to their arm.  They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression.  Don’t they know, or doesn’t anybody tell them that they are just being taken for a ride?  They’re not clever.  It’s disgusting.

Mona from Manchester


Dear Mona from Manchester,

When you say “They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression” are you referring to the old foreign men, or the barely teenage girls, Petal?  Honestly Mona, this can be applied to both of them.  They are smiling because they have found themselves in a situation which is good for both of them.  The young girls have found a financial ‘sponsor’, whilst the old foreign men have found themselves a gorgeous young companion who will take care of their every need (until the money runs out).  They know what the name of the game is, Petal.  So what is so wrong with it?  It is a win-win situation, so no need to be shocked.  Can the ‘man from Manchester’ get a deal like that back home in the UK?  No, he’s more likely to get a moaner.

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 16:26

Comfort woman wanted

Dear Hillary,

You are always saying that we should be looking for a mate anywhere away from the bars, but what if we’re not looking for a mate for the rest of our lives?  I’m here for a couple of years at max, and I don’t need a wife dragging round behind me all over the world, as I don’t know where my next assignment might be.  All I need is home comforts while I’m here in Thailand, so surely the bar is the best place to find one?  You have to agree.



Dear Jim,

So you are looking for a ‘comfort woman’, that’s fine, but, do not expect anything better than purchased comforts, and there is no reason to be ‘true’ in such an arrangement.  These girls are very skilful at separating men from their money.

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.

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