Read with pleasure the mail from Craig about his finding a wonderful wife there in Thailand. I also was a widower and I could have written that letter. Our situations are identical. I married a wonderful Thai Lady 50 years old and we are now celebrating 12 years of wedded bliss. Everything Craig indicated in his letter was the same. So yes, there are others who have succeeded in finding that wonderful life partner. Love your column and faithfully read it every week. Keep up the good work.
Jerry and Tu Miller
Dear Jerry and Tu,
Thank you for the update. I remember when you had only been together for six years. You wrote, “After six happy years of marriage we are not only still together, but she is the love of my life and I of hers. Yes, there were cultural differences to overcome and yes I married the whole family. However we share a wonderful marriage here in the US and are looking forward to my retirement in the land of smiles. We own our own home, have money in the bank and will have a very comfortable retirement thanks to this wonderful lady.
I am sure my experience is not unique, but you just can’t find a diamond in a pig pen. Keep up the good work Hillary, enjoy your column every week.”
Well done, both of you! However, what you have brought out is that most people do not write to an Agony Aunt when they have no problems, such as yourselves and Craig. All Thai-Farang marriages are not the same, ATM cleared out and wife clears out as well. Sick buffaloes, brothers with broken legs and loan sharks about to take the family rice paddy. I have read them all. Thank you for showing there is a balance in this country, and not every Thai woman is on the make. By the way, has anyone got an old, discarded ATM with still some money in it/him? Please let me know!
We are new here, but enjoy the finer things in life, food, wine, etc. Where would you recommend that we start looking. We are asking you as you are obviously a refined lady and would understand that we don’t want to go traipsing around the place, to end up being disappointed. We anxiously await your words of wisdom.
Jack and Anne
Dear Jack and Anne,
Oh my Petals, if only life were so simple. Chocolates, caviar and French champagne (vintage of course) delivered by a handsome young man to my office every day. Unfortunately, on my humble stipend, eating out is a som tum at the side of the street, and a large bottle of beer (they don’t sell it in small bottles). However, I do have the answer for you, and it is right here in your weekly Pattaya Mail. The Dining Out page will give you unbiased opinions of the local restaurants, and some tips on wines to go with the meal, all written by a lovely lady called Miss Terry Diner (say it quickly) and her Madame. I do know that the Dining Out team are very keen on some of the wine dinners offered by our major hotels. You can look them up in back issues of the Pattaya Mail on the web.
I was told many years ago that you shouldn’t let your wife’s family come to stay with you, even just for a few days, as it always ends up for weeks or months. I thought I was lucky because it never happened to me. Relatives might stay one or two nights, but that was it. Recently things have changed a lot now with her brother and her cousin and her mother all staying in the house with us. They all stay in the one room which I think is a bit unhealthy, and they’ve been here for three months and there’s no sign of them leaving. I asked my wife about it but she just says it’s OK and they’ll be going soon after they brother and cousin have got jobs and mother is just having a holiday. What’s the next move, Hillary? I have a close family in the UK, but they wouldn’t come and stay for ever. Perhaps I should charge them rent?
Harry the House Husband
Dear Harry the House Husband,
You are now starting to see a little of what Thai society is all about, my Petal. Family reigns supreme, and it is usual for them all to sleep in the same room. It’s not unhealthy. It is Thai. When you got married, you joined a Thai family, much more than your wife joining your UK family. After all, you married a Thai lady and chose to live in Thailand. You would have to expect that Thai culture will be dominant. You can try voicing your reluctance to have them there, but be prepared for difficulties. This is your wife’s immediate family. You can always try to find them jobs - in a far away city. Lots of luck!
I can see from reading your column this week that you are running out of serious issues, so I have one very important question for you. Why do the Vanish Dishwasher tabs, with illustrated red power ball, sold in local supermarkets not actually contain the red power ball? I have bought Vanish dishwasher tabs in Europe and there is always a red power ball. Do you think they are fake? What is happening to all the red balls? What can you do about it? Should I petition trading standard, move to another country or get visiting friends to bring kosher supplies?
PS Recently we have noticed red worm like larvae (mosquito) in the bathroom toilet bowl of our condo unit in South Pattaya. Some have even hatched out during the night, sadly only to be swatted the next morning. Should we be worried, as this is also the same water we drink; not from the toilet obviously? The water is supplied by the condo from tanks on the roof.
What a quandary you are in! No balls in the kitchen and mozzies in the loo! You are certainly in the wrong place, and the option of moving to another country might be the answer. You have not come to terms with living in this country, have you? Washing your own dishes! Educated people don’t wash their own dishes and don’t care if their balls are red or white or tartan (you’re not Scottish are you)? I don’t wash my own dishes, so why are you?
You must also remember that the maid you are denying employment for has two children in NE Thailand that she is supporting, and by doing your own dishes you are stopping two needy children’s education. I hope you are suitably embarrassed by all this.
Now to the mozzie problem. I am so relieved to read that you are not using the toilet water as drinking water, but you probably are in the dishwasher (without red balls). Is this really fair? Mosquitoes have their place in this life, remember, and swatting is an occupation listed only for Thai people, so you are in danger from the labor department as well as getting your posterior bitten.
The more I consider your “important questions”, the more I think I should devote my time to the really deserving people, you know, the ones who have been here for three minutes and want to buy a house for the GF’s parents, rather than people who are worried about the color of their balls. Powerful or otherwise.
Like you always advise us, look for the “good” girls, and I have found one, but there’s still a problem. She works in a dress shop and is really quite a stunner. I pass by every day and if she spots me, I always get a wave and a big smile. Sometimes I catch her outside the shop and she is always happy to chat. In English which makes it even better, because my Thai is not so good. She saw that I had bought a soft drink one day and told me what soft drink she likes and so I have been buying a can for her and giving it to her if she is outside. But today she just looked away and I was too embarrassed to go further. Hillary, I have put six months into this, and I am starting to feel the chase after “good” girls isn’t worth it. What do you suggest?
Dear Drink Can,
You are certainly not the one to be pro-active, are you? After six months and the best you have been able to do in this relationship is to buy her a 10 baht can of drink and chat for a few minutes outside a dress shop. For six months this wonderful “good” girl has been waiting for something a little better than a can of soft drink. Just what do you chat about? The merits of aluminium cans over steel ones? The weather? Dress fashions? You are wimp, my Petal. Just what have you put into this relationship in the six months? She has been waiting for you to ask her out, to dinner, to a disco, to the movies - anywhere that young people go to starting a relationship. And the best you have managed is a can of soft drink. Honestly, what is wrong with you young people these days? You don’t deserve a good girl.
My wife is 15 years younger than me and this gives us a problem. When we go out to a bar, many foreigners assume that my wife must be, or have been, a bar girl. I realize that 85 percent of all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists”, so what should we do?
Where did you get this 85 percent figure from? Total nonsense, Petal. “Sex tourists” don’t come over here to get married. That’s the last thing on their minds. I suggest you and your wife stay away from the bars and drink somewhere with better clientele.
As a widower I went looking for a partner in my home country. All the ladies were more interested in what kind of car I drove, how much money I made per year and on and on. They were not interested in anything else.
With much misgiving I started looking in other countries. The dating services did not manage to find anyone near my requirements, but then I hit the jackpot and met a great lady who was 50 at the time, never been married, and ran a small corner shop.
Now after 10 years I do not regret anything. She has been a wonderful partner. Yes, there were cultural differences to overcome and yes I married the whole family. So we send some money to her mother, not a lot and it is a small price to pay for my own personal happiness.
Despite all the doom and gloom letters you get, this is just to show there is another side. I am sure my experience is not unique.
I am very glad to read of your finding the ‘right’ person for you. You obviously went looking in the right places and not the ‘easy’ places, which is where so many men on the mission go wrong. As I have said many times, you don’t go looking in a hardware shop for a round of cheese.
I have come to the sad conclusion that all the women in Thailand are on the make. Every last one seems to have her hand into your wallet within days of going into a live-in relationship. At first it was money to buy groceries, and I thought that was great, looking after me. But then the grocery bill seemed to be going up all the time and the amount of food was getting smaller. Then it was some to send to Mama, school fees (in a village school?) for her children being looked after by Mama, it just went on and on. That ended that one. Then the next one was the same, and the one after that. Is there one honest woman in Thailand looking for a partner and not an ATM?
Enough is Enough
Dear Enough is Enough,
Is there an honest woman in Thailand? Of course there are plenty of them my Petal. Look at the letter above yours. “Easy” women who enter live-in relationships will generally turn out to be very hard to live with. You are looking in the wrong places.
I picked up one of those tourist magazines the other day and it had listings of good places to go for the tourists. The interesting thing I noticed was the dual pricing which was plainly printed for the tourists to see that they were going to pay something like twice the price of the Thais. I thought it was against the regulations to have dual pricing. We certainly don’t have that in the UK. What is the real situation?
I get embarrassed by this situation, but I can also understand why this arises. The majority of Thai households do not have the spending power of the tourists, which is the basic reason behind the double pricing. It would be much better if these attractions advertised one price, but offered a 50 percent reduction for Thai residents (and that would include the foreigners who live here).
Why do Thai women continue to wear such silly platform shoes and high heels? They are dangerous and many countries have already banned them. There is nothing wrong with wearing not-sexy wearing sensible shoes. What is your opinion, or do you wear such ankle breakers?
What do the Thai women use as personal transport round here? Motorcycles - correct! Now when you are only 1.5 meters tall what happens when you stop at the traffic lights? Your feet don’t touch the ground - correct! And you have to dismount or fall off. Thai people are very practical, my Petal, and they are safer with the platform shoes.