Is it safe to make an arrangement to meet someone through a social network? I have been chatting for a couple of weeks to a woman who lives fairly close to me, and she has been suggesting that we should meet for dinner. I am no spring chicken (64), and neither is she (42 years old and divorced she said) so we aren’t silly teenagers. I just worry a bit about what I can be letting myself in for?
It is safe enough, as long as you remember that details given out over social networks are not necessarily the truth. Hiding behind a computer screen it is easy to say you are 42 when actually the truth is 52. What if she isn’t divorced but is just looking for a bit on the side (a “gik” in Thai culture)? And the husband is a black belt in karate? Go on your blind date, my Petal, but don’t hold out great hopes. If nothing else you get a nice meal out of it. Miss Terry Diner’s column each week will give you plenty of ideas as to where to go.
I read in the papers that there has been a crackdown recently about copy goods - shirts, CDs and watches and the like. Pictures of them being burnt in the street and all. Why is this? Everyone knows that you go to Asia to buy real bargains. I always bring back a sack of watches and all the latest movies on DVD and some footy shirts for the blokes. What’s wrong with this? If I can’t get the stuff in Thailand any more, do you know where I can get them? I like Thailand, but I have to look at what I can take back to sell, to pay for the trip.
Dear Copy Cat,
This is what they call a vexed question, Petal. How would you feel if you made some type of special goods and your living came from selling them throughout the world and then found that cheap copies were being marketed at half the price you sell them for, and you don’t get anything from that sale? Mind you, I think that many of these overseas goods are highly over-priced too. The whole question of copyright is well beyond me, I’m afraid. I’m just worried about getting landed with ‘copy’ champagne. As to where you can go to get the things you want - the markets here still have them I believe, but don’t tell the powers that be. Unless the powers that be are running the market!
I’m a bit new to Thailand, so I’m probably not the first to ask this, but why do Thai women sit sideways on motorcycles? When did it start? Have they always done this? You would never see anything like this in England, so it really blows me away every time.
Dear Sideways Sam,
You seem to have your eyes open here, but you must have had them closed in the UK. Go to any horsey event and you will see the women riding side-saddle. Even the Queen of England rides side-saddle for the trooping of the colour. However, getting back to your question regarding riding side-saddle here, it is for the sake of decency, young man. How can a woman in a long skirt, or even more in a short skirt, look polite and decorous with the hem hitched up above the hips, and legs hanging down each side of motorcycle (or horse or elephant)? Thai women have had wrap skirts for years and rode buffaloes side-saddle, long before the motorcycle arrived in the villages.
Would you prefer it if we gazetted laws like those in Connecticut, with Section 14-289c saying, “Any person who rides sidesaddle on a motorcycle and any operator of a motorcycle who permits such riding or who carries a passenger on any motorcycle not designed for passengers shall have committed an infraction.” It could be worse, in Montana’s State laws, “No passenger shall be carried in a position that will interfere with the operation of the motorcycle or quadricycle or the view of the operator. And again, “No person operating a motorcycle or quadricycle shall carry any packages, bundles, or articles which would interfere with the operation of said vehicle in a safe and prudent manner.” Those two laws would bring the local motorcycle community here to a grinding halt. No small child in front of the rider, and a side-saddle passenger or two on behind and no shopping bags hanging from the rear vision mirrors. The streets would be empty, Petal!
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. They are quiet and do help around the house and garden, but this wasn’t what I really expected. I asked my wife about it but she just says it’s OK and they’ll be going soon after the brother and cousin have got jobs and mother is just having a holiday. Well I wish I could have three month holidays. What’s the next move, Hillary? Enough’s enough, surely. I have a close family in the UK, but they wouldn’t come and stay for ever.
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 wanted a haircut so I went to my usual barbers the other day, to find it was closed. This was something new to me, so I drove around to see the next one, and it was closed as well. Asking around with my friends, I was told that all barbers close on Wensdays (sic) and it was a Wensday (sic) that I was looking at. Can you tell me why they all want to shut on that day. I had to spend the rest of the afternoon in the pub instead. Is it a goverment (sic) rule or what? Just sign me Hairy Harry.
Dear Hairy Harry,
Aren’t you lucky, it was just the Bar-ber that was closed, and not the Bar-beer! Your friends were correct, the barbers close on Wednesday (write out the correct spelling 100 times, Petal). It is not a government (write this one out 100 times as well) rule, but comes from the fact that we consider it to be bad luck to cut our hair on a Wednesday, so the clever barbers may as well close, rather than spread the bad luck. It is something like the old religious edict of “no meat on Fridays” overseas, which gave the butchers a holiday as well.
I don’t think that Thai women have the vaguest clue to honesty in a relationship. It does not surprise me that Thai women have been voted as the world’s biggest cheats, and this in a country where not committing adultery is written into the five basic ideas that all Buddhists are supposed to follow. I think they have a totally different idea as to what is morally right. I think they work on the principal that if they don’t get caught, then it is OK. Listen to a bunch of Thai women talking and it is a competition to see how many have a “gik”, and then how many “giks” at one time. The “gik” idea works well for these women as they can pick them up and put them down as and when they wish. There are no regular money payments to leave the “follow the money” trail or anything like that, so they think they can get away with it. The survey showing that six out of 10 Thai women have affairs while married must mean that the Thai women have a different idea as to what is expected in a marriage, even though it is in the Buddhist precepts. Yes, Hillary, I was cheated on, but never again. She is now just an ex-wife and from now on I will rent, not buy.
I am sad to see that you are still hurting, but you have to understand that you can’t make another person see life as you see life. What is considered as being OK in Thai culture may not be the same as within the western culture. Relationships are certainly different, and to look for the four out of 10 Thai women who don’t cheat is too much of a lottery for you, my Petal. You have the correct idea to rent. You may change your mind later, but avoid deep commitment at this stage.
I wanted to take out this girl from my office. I suggested dinner at a very good restaurant and when I asked where should I pick her up, she said that she would meet me there at the restaurant. When she turned up (late) she had another girl with her and we ended up eating as a threesome, with me paying of course. They chatted to each other all the way through the meal and all but ignored me. They both ordered the most expensive dishes on the menu and couldn’t eat all their food and insisted on being given doggy bags to take home. I was going to run them home, but they said that they were going clubbing and said good night. What is the score here, Hillary? Am I being taken for a mug, or what?
Vic the Visa card
Dear Vic the Visa card,
I am afraid that the girl from the office, on whom you had designs, does not regard the association with you as deep as your hopes for a liaison with her. Look at the big picture, Petal. Even though it is common for Thai girls to bring a chaperone in the early stages of a relationship, the disregard for you and the expensive orders and going clubbing and not inviting you does not look like someone trying to impress you, does it? Put it down to experience, Vic and probably try to evaluate any relationship a little further before jumping in with invitations to expensive restaurants.
A chap called John wrote in a couple of weeks ago complaining that his rented “wife” for two weeks was costing him a lot of money. He wrote, “The girl has got her hand out for this and that, mobile phone needs replacement, money for Mama, money here, money there. It really does add up. I think you should be letting your readers know about these things, Hillary.” Now I don’t know where he comes from, Hillary, but for as long as I’ve been reading your column, which is a few years now, you have been advising and warning all the “Johns, Toms, Dicks and Harrys” about just that problem. What does he expect? She’s got two weeks to make the biggest score she can, and she certainly found one sucker in John. It was up to him to just say “No!” What could she have done? Run away? That won’t happen, not while our John has anything left on the card. Don’t these people understand the financial nature of their lifetime friend after two weeks?
Like you, I wonder some days, my Petal. Are these people like John living in some kind of a time warp? They must think the price for everything has remained the same as it was 20 years ago? Unfortunately, everything has gone up in price in that time, so much so that I have to rely on hand-outs for my chocolates and champagne. I certainly can’t afford them on my salary. I agree with your comments James, people like John have to start facing reality regarding their liaisons.
Hallo. Please do you have expirian (sic) about pregnancy trears (sic) for money.??? I was with girl a year ago for2 weeks...sche (sic) had period we quite sche (sic) spoke my new girlfriend and said sche’s not pregnant. Now I got mail with photos of ‘my baby’ they say they following me they say they have copy my driver license they will go, to embassy??? and I must give some amount.?? I was angree (sic) to see this and I deleted mail from J.D..... I remember. Do you know something about this mafia??? or what??
Regards. Tanx (sic). Louizino
Why do I get the impression that English is not your mother tongue? I managed to unscramble “experience” but I’m stumbling a bit with “trears” - “tears”? However, I get the message - you are simply being blackmailed, my Petal. If everything 12 months ago is as you describe, then it is not likely that the baby is yours. What to do? Challenge them directly to have the baby’s DNA tested against your own. That will very quickly show if the bub is yours or not. Just a word of caution - get the baby’s DNA done first, so they cannot try switching samples or whatever, and I might even suggest Singapore could be better for a laboratory where there is no chance of tampering with samples. In the meantime, tell them you had a vasectomy two years ago.
A few weeks back some guy wrote to you to say he had found the receptionist from his work dancing in a go-go bar and wondered then just how do us males separate the good girl/bar girl problem? Seems that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I went to one of the better known bars last week and the lovely up on the stage, hanging onto its chrome pole was a nurse assistant at one of the local public hospitals. She said she is studying to become a nurse but that is weekends only, so in between she dances in a go-go bar. Is this an example of getting the best of both worlds? Like to know your take on this, Hillary, as you have been promoting the idea of look for a good girl, not a bar girl.
You certainly have good English for a Frenchman Petal. Now tell me what was a good Gallic lad like you doing in a go-go bar anyway? You were not there looking for a “good” girl, were you? Or were you just caught short and went in looking for a “pissoir”? We all need money to live, and how we earn it is up to each person. I sit in the attic and answer letters like yours. She sits in the classroom and it costs her money, so she dances for her living and puts up with French people who want to know why she can be both a good girl and a bar girl at the same time. The answer is the fact that she is “good” for two days out of seven and “bar” for the other five days. One day you might need a nurse to look after you and you won’t care how she earned the uniform.
Greetings! Ever since I laid my foot to Pattaya 5 or 6 years ago, I have been an avid reader of your column. I’m an Asian foreigner contract worker in Pattaya then, but when my contract ended and moved to another country I kept the paper’s website and kept myself updated from your column. Over the years of reading your columns, it still humored and amazes me of the different stories and revelations. But above all, as most of the stories I read are the few men who were able to find their partners and knowing Thai women, well the relationship was a happy ending after all!
The thought crossed my mind of going back to Pattaya, this time not for work but for a partner...It sounds ridiculous, but I’m not getting any younger and the fact that I’m a woman!
Well Ms. Hillary, I bet this is the most unusual letter you’ll ever read, cause this time it’s a woman’s search for a partner...wish me luck Ms. Hillary!
Dear Lost Angel,
I’m sorry to disappoint you Ms. Lost Angel, yours is not the most unusual letter I’ve ever read, but back to your situation. You need a partner, and I can assure you that you will never be lonely in Pattaya, no matter what your needs in a partner entails - and you haven’t really told me much about that, have you? However, the simple fact remains for all people who come to Thailand looking for partners, if you choose from the commercial end of available partners, you will get what you pay for. A ‘mia chow’ or ‘rented wife’. “Love”, devotion, commitment are qualities you generally won’t find there. As in any relationship (m-f, m-m, f-f) go slowly, Petal. Go slowly! It is a dangerous battleground you are traversing.